Author Archive

Practice Manager

Bec Platten

Why did you want to work in a veterinary hospital?

When I was a kid all I wanted to do was work in the veterinary field, I have always had a love for
animals and their wellbeing and thought it would be amazing to be able to assist in their care and
would be very rewarding career. However after starting a family young I realised I did not have the
time to commit myself to the years of study and took a career in  administration. After 20 years of
working various administration management roles I’ve found my way back to my passion.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Being the practice manager is a very varied role to begin with and I deal with many operational
aspects of the hospital. What I enjoy most is that no day is ever the same and you are always

Do you have any pets? Can you tell me a bit more about them?

Yes, I have two Cats; Morgan and Lilian, Morgan thinks he is a dog and is very well trained he is
also a Kleptomaniac. Lilian is a  cranky old girl who is very stuck in her ways. I also have two
dogs; Ruby and Mia, Ruby is a red heeler x and is very energetic and loves attention sometimes
she is to smart for her own good. Mia is a bull arab x she is not as energetic but is the trouble
maker out of the two and does not realise her size sometimes. Lastly is Leonardo an Eastern Long
Neck Turtle, he is the easiest of all of them.


Dr Richard Phillips

How did you become a vet?

I studied a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at The University of Queensland and graduated in
1989. I spent the next three years in Tamworth in a mixed practice treating farm animals as

well as local pets. I spent five years living in the UK working in mixed practice, before returning to
Canberra. Every now and then I miss working outside on farms and drives in the countryside, but
I don’t miss the middle of the night call outs.

What does being a vet mean to you?

I believe that being a vet is about supporting families who love animals, even if that family is just
the two of you. By keeping our pets happy and healthy, I think everybody is happier and healthier.

How long have you been a vet?

I recently got together with some friends from Queensland University to celebrate 30 years since
graduating, but it doesn’t seem that long ago. I have been working at Weston Creek Veterinary
Hospital for over 20 years now. Meredith and I raised our family in Weston Creek and we feel a
close attachment with this community.

Do you have any special interest?

In 2000 I completed a course of study in Small Animal Surgery, an area that had become of
increasing interest to me. I became a Member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists
in 2001 by examination in this field. Specific areas of interest are surgical oncology and
reconstructive surgery.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I find it very rewarding to be able to help animals. No day is ever the same in the hospital and I
find it fascinating treating such a variety of cases.  It is also so nice being a part of our friendly
Canberra community. I have been working at Weston Creek Veterinary hospital for 20 years and I really enjoy it.


Dr Meredith Phillips

How did you become a vet?

I studied a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Sydney University then later completed a Master of
Veterinary Clinical Studies through Murdoch University. This involved more intense study in areas
including Radiology, Clinical Pathology, Dermatology, and Endocrinology.

What made you want to be a vet?

I knew I wanted to be a vet from a very young age. I have had a wonderful array of animals in my
life over the years. At the moment I have two Border Terriers named Alice and Carlisle.

Do you have any special interest?

My special interest is Ultrasonograpy. To develop this I spent a year training through the Centre
for Veterinary Education. I love that it is a non invasive way to investigate, diagnose, and
solve health problems in our pets.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I find it very rewarding to be able to help animals. No day is ever the same in the hospital and I
find it fascinating treating such a variety of cases.  It is also so nice being a part of our friendly
Canberra community. I have been working at Weston Creek Veterinary hospital for 20 years and I really enjoy it.


Dr Doris Beck

Do you have any special interest?

I have a special interest is in Animal behaviour, because a pet’s behaviour can affect the bond
between the owner and pet so much. Sadly, the number one killer of young pets is poor behaviour
resulting in euthanasia and I would like to try and do something about that.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell me a bit more about them?

I have a little dog called Pip and my cat Penelope. Pip is a Shi Tzu Poodle Cross and loves his
walks. He definitely believes his number one job is keeping the boss happy and does not like it
if I am having to tell him off for being naughty. Penelope is quite a nervous cat, she is a bit
bigger than Pip and tries to boss him around occasionally. He is a gentleman until it comes to
his toys. He won’t share those.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is helping animals return to full health and enjoying life
again, or in the case of behaviour problems helping the owner and pet finding a way forward
to a happy life together.

Have you achieved any further qualifications? What was involved?

I graduated with first class honours and a Bachelor of Veterinary Science Degree in 1990 and then I did 2
one year long distance education courses in 1997 and 1999 and I sat for my membership
exams in internal medicine with The Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists
in 2000. This was a written and a practical exam. As part of my ongoing registration requirement I do a
number of continuing education courses each year as well.



Dr Isabella van Veen

How did you become a vet?

I grew up on a farm south of Albury, and have loved having animals around me my whole life;
cattle, chickens, dogs, cats, mice, a rabbit. It was only logical that I’d train for a job where
I can keep doing this & helping people’s pets.

Do you have any special interest?

I’m fascinated by feline medicine – I love working with cats, and it’s such a fulfilling challenge
getting to the bottom of an illness and finding a solution that works.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell me a bit more about them?

I have two rescue cats – Tigerlily is an older girl who is a shorthair grey tabby-tortie, is very sweet, and has three legs.
She adores new people! Oliver is a big fluffy tabby boy who may only have two brain cells active at any time – I still love him though.

Do you have to do any further ongoing education? / Am I planning on doing any?

I’m currently learning how to perform & interpret ultrasounds with the help of Meredith – she’s a
great teacher and it’s so fascinating


When infection is present in your pet, often a judicious choice of antibiotics by our vets is sufficient to resolve the problem. However, it may be necessary to establish exactly what bacteria or fungi are present in some cases.

The procedure we follow in this instance is to take a sample of the infected area – for example, hairs and/or a skin scraping from skin, a swab from ears, a urine sample – then either plate the sample onto fungal growth media in our own laboratory, or send the sample to a nearby laboratory for culture.

Once the organism has been grown, it is identified by microscopic examination and a variety of biochemical tests.  Antibiotic sensitivity testing may also be used to determine the most appropriate antibiotic for treatment of disease. Sometimes in resistant infections, six to eight weeks worth of antibiotics may be required. In these cases, it is desirable to treat with a drug that is most effective at killing the organism in question.





While our in-house cytology can provide some of the answers about the origin of a particular tissue mass, histopathology is often necessary to determine the exact nature of the tissue, whether it is malignant (in the case of tumours), and whether all of the tissue has been removed if surgery has been performed.

Once the sample tissue has been removed it is placed into formalin, packaged and then sent by express post interstate. There, the sample is processed and examined by a histopathologist and the findings are returned to the Hospital by fax. It usually takes four to seven days from submission of the sample to final reporting.


Urinalysis is composed of several different stages. A portion is placed onto a urinary biochemistry stick. Information about the pH of the urine, presence and amount of protein, blood, glucose, ketones and other compounds is gathered from this test.


After the biochemical tests have been completed, a refractometer is used to determine the specific gravity of the urine. This allows us to tell if the kidneys are working to keep the urine concentrated or not, or whether any other disease might be causing the urine to be inappropriately dilute.

Finally, the urine is centrifuged and the sediment is examined under a microscope.  We determine if any crystals are present in the urine (There are a number of different types of crystals that animals can develop). We also check to see whether cells, casts or bacteria are present. This information helps us build up a picture of exactly what is going on in your pet’s urinary tract.


Obtaining a Urine Sample from your Pet

Many clients find this task quite difficult, so we hope the following information will be of assistance next time your Vet asks you to collect a sample.

Our canine buddies are generally not as privacy-seeking as our feline friends but none-the-less you need to be readily armed and quick!

dog-urine-collectionFor dogs use a washed and dried takeaway container and, putting a lead on him or her, walk them to their favourite toileting area.
As soon as your female dog squats move the corner of the container between the back legs and collect the urine. In the case of a male dog move the container in front of the back legs under the stomach as he lifts his leg.

Pour the collected urine into a washed and dried jar and bring it to the hospital. If the sample is collected outside working hours wrap it in a plastic bag and refrigerate it until you can drop it off.
Catrine Litter

In the case of cats it is usually best to attempt collection using a washed and dried litter tray and special non absorbent cat litter.

Lock you cat in a room with the litter tray, food and water overnight and see if they co-operate by using the litter tray.

As cats can be very fussy about the toilet they use, sometimes they will not use the litter and in this case it is better to bring your cat to the hospital for us to collect the sample.


white cat dog

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Tests

old_dogEvery pet that requires and anaesthetic receives a full physical exam at Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital.

However, this can sometimes not be sufficient to detect problems with organ function, which can increase the risk of anaesthesia.

So we can minimise this risk by doing a blood test known as a PAP (Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Profile) that allows us to check the liver and kidney function, red blood cell levels and electrolyte and protein levels. This is especially important in animals that are older (over 8 years of age) or ill as these patients are more likely to have abnormalities.

blood-test-300x168The test requires only a small blood sample (approximately 0.7ml) and the results are obtained within 10 minutes. This allows us to run tests on the morning of admission and get results before any sedatives or other medications are administered.

What if abnormalities are detected?
One of our veterinarians will contact you about any problems and decide with you if it is safe to continue with the procedure or not. Often with adjustments to the drugs used, use of intravenous fluid therapy and post operative medications we can continue with the procedure as planned. Once a problem is detected we can also monitor these and if necessary do further diagnostic tests to treat these more specifically.

Need more information?
We have brochures describing each of the tests in the pre-anaesthetic test panel, as well as for some of the other blood testing we routinely conduct at the Hospital. Please ask one of our receptionists for a copy of this information if you are interested.


preanaesthetic results



Cytology Stains


Cytology is the examination of individual cells and surrounding material. These samples are usually gathered either by taking an impression smear, fine needle aspirate or skin scraping of the area in question. Once the sample is collected, it is either viewed freshly or dried and stained using a three-step staining technique. It is then examined under a microscope.

While this technique may often give accurate answers about general processes, sometimes additional testing, such as histopathology or bacterial culture and sensitivity, may be necessary before a definitive treatment regime is begun.


Blood Tests

Blood Pathology

At WCVH, we test the majority of our blood pathology samples in our own laboratory, saving time.

However, some specialised tests necessitate off-site analysis, and these samples are sent interstate for processing. Once these samples are analysed, the results are faxed directly back to our Hospital.



Idexx MachineAnalysis of blood biochemistry gives us vital information about the function of your pet’s liver, kidneys, biliary duct system, pancreatic function and electrolyte concentration. Depending upon the clinical presentation of the patient,  the most appropriate of these tests may be undertaken in hospital.

A selection of these tests comprise our pre-anaesthetic blood screen, which we recommend all sick or elderly patients have before undergoing anaesthesia or sedation.

Blood Counts:

Blood counts (or blood cell analysis) give us information about the body’s response to certain diseases. This is usually seen in increases or decreases in the normal range of red and white blood cells, and platelets.

Drug monitoring:

Drug monitoring is important in certain diseases, such as canine epilepsy. In the case of canine epilepsy, phenobarbitone and potassium bromide concentrations are measured at regular intervals. The results of these tests are interpreted in conjunction with the results of a thorough physical examination of the patient, and the seizure history since their last check-up.

Testing for Infectious Diseases:FIV

Many viral diseases can be tested for with a simple blood test. The most common viral test we run at WCVH is the test for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) prior to vaccinating a cat for the first time. Some tests are sent to an outside Laboratory to confirm results of in house tests or check for other viruses, these include Feline Leukemia Virus, and Feline Corona Virus.


 blood test


Emma Streatfield

Emma is our Head Nurse. She has over 10 years experience nursing in the UK and overseas
and has worked as a locum nurse at WCVH in 2014 before becoming a permanent member of staff in March 2015.

Her training and studies were completed in the UK and she has worked in several Small Animal
Practices as well as a Specialist Hospital before deciding to see something of the world and working as
a locum nurse in South Africa and Australia.

Emma’s skills and experience are an excellent addition to our nursing team and her baking skills
are equally welcome by all staff members!


Sammi Muir

 How long have you been a vet nurse?

I have worked in the industry since 2010, in November 2011 I completed my Cert IV in Veterinary

Do you have to do ongoing further education?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology by distance education through CSU
and will graduate in 2025.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell me a bit more about them?

I have many pets but my 3 legged rescue cat Milo is my favourite. He was surrendered to me
when he was 2 yr old, besides missing a hind leg and limiting  his jumping ability it hasn’t
affected his life otherwise and he is most affectionate.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Vet nursing is a very rewarding job, I like being able to advocate for patients and give advice
to owners. There is no standard day as a nurse, everyday presents new challenges and
opportunities to learn. Helping animals through illness and into recovery is a truly rewarding










Arnie was a great companion for all our staff and some of our patients. He was one of a kind. We loved his chirpy little songs and his bobbing little dance. He is dearly missed.