News & Info

Above & beyond the call of duty

One of my professors liked to tell us that vets belong to a learned and honourable profession, and I agree. Nevertheless there are many times when I’ve ended up in some less than dignified situations.

Once we had clients moving house the day their cat was scheduled for an operation. Foolishly I offered to collect it from the old place, do the operation and then return it to the new one. I arrived in the evening, to find the cats all in one room and the patient extremely agitated due to all the packing activity, also no spare cat carrier was available. I hadn’t thought to bring one, but decided to make a plan. I had several plastic storage boxes in my vehicle that I keep medicines in, so I emptied one, and put the cat in. On the drive home it was doing laps around the box, and because there were no air holes I had to periodically open it to let fresh air in. Then it pooed and peed in the container and spread this about as it threw itself around. It was a relief to arrive home, put the cat in a proper kennel, and then clean out my storage box. At least the next day I was forewarned, the cat was dopey after its anaesthetic and contained in a proper carrier, so that trip was a breeze compared to the night before.

On a worse occasion I was bringing home a very enthusiastic Labrador to neuter. I had him on the backseat, which worked well. Then on the way back I got a call to meet a collapsed dog along the way. He needed to be transferred into my car too and I needed the backseat for him, so I made place for the Labrador on the front seat beside me. This meant he could now pant (and drool) all over me. I had to drive with one arm pushing him off me while he kept trying to climb onto my lap. Eventually I used the towel under him (which he wasn’t sitting on anyway!) as a drape over my left shoulder to keep me dry. Just before we reached home I heard liquid flowing from the backseat. Thinking the collapsed dog was urinating, I pulled over only to discover it had loosed very liquid diarrhoea all down my back door. That took several days and many washes to remove the stench, the next day I was given a beautiful freshly caught salmon by a client. When I arrived home I cleaned out the car for the umpteenth time, and forgot about the fish. I left my car in the garage all weekend, with the doors open to air it, and on Monday was amazed to find the stench not much better. That was when I discovered the flyblown salmon!

I wouldn’t even go into details about the time we’d emptied our outdoor medical waste freezer (where we also store deceased animals). I wasn’t there for the pick up, but later switched off the power to save electricity. This was just before Christmas, so the clinic was quiet and for about (a very hot) 2 weeks we had no waste to refrigerate. In the New Year I started smelling something off, didn’t think much of it for a few days, until eventually the thought hit, what if? With trepidation I opened the freezer and discovered the liquefied remains of a dead dog that had been overlooked. Surprisingly there were no volunteers to help me clean that up!

Times like these just remind me not to take myself too seriously. There have been several occasions I or members of my family have had patients sleep in our beds if they’re anxious or need extra TLC, and sometimes we just sit and hold them, even my tough teenage son. I still love my job, there are just some things they don’t tell you before you sign up!

dan billy


As well as an online store with an extensive range we've also created an online portal to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions or pet food and other animal health products. You can also view invoices and statements as well as update your and your animal's details, and view their vaccination history.

Now you can like us on facebook to receive regular updates (including the monthly news article) and interact with us online.

Under the higher Covid alert levels we've got good at tele consults and limiting face to face contact. You now have the option of booking a tele consult with our vets or sending us a message or email. Please note for all remote veterinary opinions (phone/video/email/message) there may be a small charge ($25-45).

Our Diamond Harbour clinic is up and running at 9 Stoddart Terrace, Church Bay. Please call in and say hello to Sandy. Dr India Martin joined us in July 2019 and is mainly based out of Lincoln servicing our dairy and lifestyle block clients, you will also see her at the clinic occasionally. We have beautiful cat greeting cards available to help fund our kitten rehoming and stray cat desexing work. Thanks to Cat Rescue Christchurch  who also generously pay for many of our surgeries on strays! You can hire stock signs for your car or to put on the road, as well as orange flashing beacons and hi-viz vests from us to comply with the new regulations when moving stock. We've put shingle down in the parking area and made it drive through so please park inside and tell us what you think! Also have you noticed our freshly painted roof?

We have a large of foods and animal health products, including the BlackHawk working dog food at great prices. Our cattery has proved very popular, and we've had many repeat customers. Masterpet has taken over the cattery's food sponsorship with BlackHawk cat and kitten food, we'd also like to thank Hills Pet Nutrition for their food sponsorship over the cattery's first 5 years.

We've upgraded our in house blood analyzer, so we can run many tests while you wait. This allows us to offer pre-anaesthetic testing as well as health screening for older animals, and provide an emergency laboratory service afterhours and weekends when the Christchurch laboratory is closed. We also now have a portable ultrasound scanner, good news for pregnancy testing.

We once again have the cheap mismating injection available for bitches. This has been off the market for a few years now, but Paul has been able to have some compounded. We have some ideas to help you save on animal health expenses- ask us about very competitively priced BlackHawk farm dog food specially designed at Massey for NZ working dogs, and get to feed a premium, performance enhancing brand. Also the RFID electronic ear tags are now compulsory for cattle and deer. Ask us about ordering NAIT tags for your stock, or about the new tagging requirements. There is a lot more flexibility in what visible tags are acceptable- they don't all have to be yellow! We are able to procure eartags at below recommended retail prices.

We also have a large range of Acana/Orijen, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin and BlackHawk dog and cat food in stock. We can deliver to Akaroa on Tuesdays and to Diamond Harbour on Mondays and Thursdays.

Animal health information - Archives

Most of our articles are available to view as posts on Paul's Linkedin page. Please contact us if you’d like copies of any that are not yet online, also let us know if you’d like to see any other topics featured here.

A different perspective, Animal welfare, Accidental poisonings, Arthritis, Allergies, Above & beyond, After Hours, Akaroa or bust

Becoming a vet, Becoming a veterinary technologist, Birthing & midwifery, Be wormwise this Autumn, Barley grass

Calici vaccination update- rabbits, Canine cough

Dental care, De sexing, Dogs, sheep measles & farm etiquette, Distemper

External parasites, Euthanasia, EID's, Equine deworming recommendations & autumn animal health advice

First aid in animals. FIV and Feline Leukaemia, Five Freedoms

Grain Poisoning

Happy to be stuck with you, Human-animal bond, Heat Stroke

Internal parasites, Is it too late to spay or neuter my pet? Internet & Google- the good the bad and the ugly, It shouldn't happen to a vet, I don't vaccinate my animals, Insights from a vet nursing studentIndoor cats & ways to reduce predation

Kitten rehoming, Kennel cough

Lamb rearing

Mafikeng rhino, Memories of Mafikeng, Mr Talkative, Mycoplasma bovis , Microchipping,

Nutrition, Nutrition in pet rabbits, New Year Animal Health Checklist

Obesity in pets, Onwards & upwards

Poisons in the pantry, primary health care, Plant poisonings, Pigs rule, Pig's Ear, Pathology & blood testing, Pet statistics in NZ, Phamaceuticals- the NZ situation, Parvovirus

Quotable quotes

Rabbit calicivirus, Ramped up rhino, Resistance-squandering a miracle, Road block

Senior wellnessSheep measles, Snuffles

Tapeworm, TB in NZ, The nasties, The big move, The Challenge of Diamond Harbour, The thief, The Driving Lesson, Technology at work, Tom cat vasectomy

Urinary problems in cats, Upper Respiratory Tract (URT) infections

Vets’ cars, vaccination principles- ruminants, Vaccination of dogs & cats, Vet lifestyler

War wounds, Why vaccinate?, World veterinary year, World vaccination guidelines, Wild & stray cats

Xhosa- lost in translation

Yoghurtised milk recipe