Posted By: Greg - Vet

Greg's travels in Australia

A week into the Australian job and I feel just about settled into Aussie life. The veterinary practice I am working at is situated at Central Coast - an area of suburb approximately 80km north of Sydney, and is surprisingly, on the coast! That’s a definite benefit to living here (as well as the constant sunshine) and means I get to enjoy the various sandy beaches on my days off. There are a few inland lakes and estuaries adding to the picturesque environment, so there’s always water in sight. There are many national parks here so I’m never short of any exploring or hiking either. Although it can be difficult when the temperature reaches 38 degrees as it did this week! I am staying above another veterinary practice, 20 minutes from my work, so I am also lucky enough to drive the practice van, which comes in handy when I want to explore.

As for the job itself, it is similar to what I’m used to as a fairly busy general practice. The practice is a good size, with all the necessary facilities such as digital X-Ray and ultrasound. There is a team of 3-4 vets and 8 nurses, and the general caseload and operations are similar. A lot of my appointments have been routine vaccinations (against the same diseases we vaccinate for in the UK) which gives me a chance to get used to the ‘normal’ aspects of Australian pet ownership and to have a chat to the public, who have all been really friendly and welcoming. One difference between the UK and Australian veterinary health care is the routine preventative cover of ‘heartworm’ - which is an annual injection for dogs often combined with the vaccination. Heartworm is a parasite that we fortunately don’t experience in the UK, transmitted by mosquitoes. As the name suggests, the worm enters the bloodstream and can live in the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, eventually causing signs of heart failure. So, obviously a nasty disease that we are fortunate to be able to prevent.

Another selling point of Australian life is the amazing array of wildlife that this country has to offer. As with the UK, injured wildlife often gets presented to the practice. But the amount of birds, reptiles and especially mammals can be so much more varied than I’m used to in the UK. For example, a ring tailed possum was brought in to me, but although I was excited to see such an incredible creature, it wasn’t a happy ending for the possum. She had been electrocuted by contacting a power line, and the damage to her front legs was too severe to save her, so I had to euthanase her. Hopefully, I will have more positive experiences with the wildlife - I was at least lucky enough to pass a pelican after one of my house visits!

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