The Southern Highlands used to be the holiday destination for Sydney’s elite in summer so that they could escape the heat. Now tourists come to visit in Winter to sit by fires, feel the cold nip in the air and layer up. This quarter’s newsletter is filled with topics relevant to winter while also celebrating the achievements of Dr Bob Rheinberger.

Dr Bob Rheinberger named the Australian Cattle vet of the year.

In April this year, Dr Bob Rheinberger was awarded the title of “Cattle Vet of the year” by the Australian Cattle Vet association. This is a national award and recognizes the contributions and hard work Bob has put into cattle medicine and welfare over the last 40 years. Bob is the first vet in NSW to win this prestigious award and it is awarded based on the votes of fellow cattle veterinarians.

Although the Ironmines Veterinary Clinic is a mixed practice that treats all animals from cats and dogs up to cows and horses, anyone who has met Dr Bob will know of his expertise and passion when it comes to cattle. Bob graduated from the University of Sydney in 1973 and has worked in the Central West of NSW, Quirindi, Darwin, Wollongong and Camden before moving to the Southern Highlands. During this time, Bob spent 8 years working for the University of Sydney as the cattle clinical registrar teaching hundreds of veterinary students. In 2009 Bob opened the Ironmines Veterinary Clinic in Mittagong and has continued to consult to dairy farmers through to hobby farmers whilst still seeing the occasional sick cat and dog.

Dr Bob has been involved in a range of professional organizations for the veterinary profession including being the Australian Cattle Vet association president in 1998, The Vice president of the World Association of Buiatrics (cattle vets) for the past 16 years and he has also completed his Memberships in Beef Cattle medicine. Memberships for veterinarians involves passing additional examinations on specific topics.

Despite this award, Dr Bob is not resting on his laurels and is back out seeing farmers’ day after day and helping them treat sick cows through to advising about how to improve their milk quality.

Nurses attend conference

Two of our veterinary nurses, Hayley Allen and Isabel Harnett, attended the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia in March. This 3 days conference was held in Darling Harbour and included talks from veterinarians, nurses and industry representatives. The conference principally focused on treating cats, dogs and horses. Continuing education is important for all members in the veterinary profession, as it allows our staff to stay current with the latest therapies and medications. Our veterinary nurses are involved in many of the behind the scenes aspect of looking after sick patients, from monitoring anesthetics to ensuring medications are given at the right time (which is no easy task, as any cat owner will know)

Why do animals hibernate?

The word “hibernation” is derived from the Latin word hibernatus, meaning, “to pass the winter”.  Hibernation involves slowing the animal’s metabolic process meaning that all bodily functions slow down including a reduction in the heart and breathing rate while dropping their body temperature. Certain species of animals have evolved to hibernate, during winter, to survive through a period where food can be scarce. In Australia, pygmy possums and echidnas can hibernate but will do so for a couple of days to weeks instead of months like bears in North America. When echidnas hibernate, they will drop their body temperature to within 0.5 degrees of the soil temperature. Other Australian animals can enter a state called “torpor” where they will slow their metabolic rate down for a day or overnight as a way to conserve energy. Wildlife is common in the Southern Highlands and now you know why you see less of certain species during the winter.

Committed to the veterinarians of the future

Since the Ironmines Veterinary Clinic opened in Mittagong 8 years ago the clinic has always hosted veterinary students. Becoming a veterinarian involves studying between 5 or 6 years, depending on the university, and involves many hours of practical placement in vet hospitals. Students begin their placement in second year where they begin to appreciate the day to day running’s of a vet hospital. By final year students are, while under supervision, involved in surgery, anesthesia, pregnancy diagnosis and case management in all species. Currently we host students from: The University of Sydney, Charles Sturt University in Wagga, James Cook University in Townsville and The University of Melbourne. Many of the students that we host have grown up in the Southern Highlands or have a particular interest in working in a mixed practice. Teaching the veterinarian of tomorrow allows the Ironmines Veterinary Clinic to give back to the veterinary profession while staying up to date with the latest research coming out of the university teaching hospitals.

Puppy preschool

Shanay from ‘Rascal to Regal’ runs our puppy preschool classes at our clinic in Mittagong. She is currently running her 8th class since starting at the Ironmines Veterinary Clinic. The classes go for 5 weeks and cover topics like dog behavior, training, obedience and allows an opportunity for puppies to socialize with other vaccinated dogs in a safe, fun environment. In the first 16 weeks of life, dog’s are in a socialization development phase where their developing brains are open to learning about appropriate behavior. Puppy preschool is the ideal way to help your dog become a relaxed and social member of your family.

have a laugh

What do Polar bears eat for lunch?

Ice Berg-ers

What do you call a grizzly bear caught in the rain?

A Drizzly bear