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DECEMBER 3, 2020

Research reveals impact of feral cats on Australian agriculture

Research conducted under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) has revealed that feral cats can cost the agriculture industry up to $12 million each year.

The study shows that feral felines are passing on parasites such as Toxoplasma and Sarcocystis to livestock and poultry, with devastating consequences for sheep and goats.

Infected cats often don’t appear sick themselves and through normal roaming behaviour can spread millions of tiny parasitic eggs into the environment. These eggs then persist in soil, pasture and water for months and can be ingested by livestock.

Rates of diseases are particularly high among sheep, with Toxoplasma causing the loss of over 62,000 unborn lambs each year and affecting South Australia and Tasmania more severely than other regions.

Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, welcomed the research as the first study to estimate the national production costs of cat-dependent diseases on farm animals.

“While the environmental impact of cats has been well recognised, this research shows there is also a significant impact on livestock production,” Dr Schipp said.
“The two most significant diseases impacting livestock are parasitic infections transmitted by cats which together are estimated to cost Australian farmers $11.7 million in annual production losses.

“It is easy for livestock to contract these parasites as they simply need to graze in an area where cats have defecated.
“While cat-dependent diseases affect Australian livestock, meat produced in Australia is wholesome and safe.

“Our meat inspection processes are thorough and effective and our strict biosecurity laws help to ensure we can continue to enjoy our world class produce into the future.”

Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box, said the research highlights the benefits of domestic cat containment and the importance of reducing the number of feral cats in and around farms.

“I encourage the community to reduce the spread of disease to livestock from domestic cat populations, as well as reduce the risk of cat predation on native wildlife, by being responsible pet owners,” Dr Box said.

“The best thing pet cat owners can do to lower the risks to livestock and wildlife is to keep their cats contained 24 hours per day and ensure that they are microchipped, registered and desexed.”

The study conducted by the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub is part of a suite of research to improve our understanding and capacity to manage the impacts of feral cats on native wildlife.

The Australian Government has mobilised more than $32 million since 2014 to support projects delivering direct, on-ground action and research to reduce the impact of feral cats.

To find out more about NESP, visit

JUNE 30, 2020

The RSPCA launches new site with tips and tricks to keep cats safe and happy … at home
While felines have traditionally fallen into one of two categories — secure at home or free range — a new campaign and website by the RSPCA highlights that kitties are safest and happiest at home.

The RSPCA has launched its new Safe and Happy Cats website at, following on from the successful guide (which can be downloaded here) and providing an online destination full of information on the benefits of keeping your cat safely contained to your property and protecting them from the dangers of roaming.

According to Dr Sarah Zito, Senior Scientific Officer at RSPCA Australia, “There are many significant benefits to keeping your cat safe and secure at home. By keeping your cat at home, you’re protecting them from the dangers of cars, other cats, toxins, dogs and getting lost. And you also get to spend more time with them and become even closer. There is also the added benefit of helping to protect your local wildlife” she said.

There’s an outdated myth that cats need to roam, but in fact, owners can provide their companions with everything they need at home; all it takes is a little bit of planning, practice and patience. breaks down your fur friend’s five basic needs — resting and hiding places, food, water, toileting areas, and places to scratch — and offers ideas on how to transform your home into a pussycat’s playground, without breaking the bank.

“I have four very contented cats who are safely kept at home in the house and in their contained garden; they get the best of both indoor and outdoor worlds” said Dr Zito.

“I get to spend heaps of quality time with them, and also have the peace of mind knowing that they are safe. Having had cats who were free to roam as a child, and suffering their loss on the roads, then seeing so many of the bad things that can happen to roaming cats during my career as a vet and researcher, I feel very certain of my decision to keep my cats safe and happy at home. I wouldn’t have it any other way” she said.

Check out for videos, animations and articles on the risks of roaming and perks of containment, as well as info on enrichment games and toys, cat-proofing your balcony or yard, and more.

The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.

JUNE 23, 2020

Committee sinks claws into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia

Committee Chair Mr Ted O’Brien MP said that the inquiry will take a national approach to the problem of feral and domestic cats and their impact on native wildlife and habitats across Australia.

“We’re not talking about lovable, lasagne-loving, lazy cats like Garfield, but rather predatory carnivores that hunt and kill endangered native animals,” said Mr O’Brien.

“We plan to assess their prevalence and impact, the effectiveness of current control measures and the interaction between domestic cat ownership and the feral cat problem.”

The terms of reference for the Committee’s inquiry are: 

  1. the prevalence of feral and domestic cats in Australia;
  2. the impact of feral and domestic cats including on native wildlife and habitats;
  3. the effectiveness of current legislative and regulatory approaches;
  4. the effectiveness of Commonwealth action and cooperation with states and territories on this issue, including progress made under the Threat Abatement Plan, national framework and national declaration relating to feral and domestic cats in Australia;
  5. the efficacy (in terms of reducing the impact of cats), cost effectiveness and use of current and emerging methods and tools for controlling feral cats, including baiting, the establishment of feral cat-free areas using conservation fencing, gene drive technology;
  6. the efficacy of import controls for high risk domestic cat varieties to prevent the impacts of feral and domestic cats, including on native wildlife and habitats;
  7. public awareness and education in relation to the feral and domestic cat problem; and
  8. the interaction between domestic cat ownership and the feral cat problem, and best practice approaches to the keeping of domestic cats in this regard.
The Committee will accept submissions addressing the terms of reference above until 30 July 2020.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry is available on its website.

JUNE 2, 2020

Petbarn calling on Aussies to ‘re-fur’ a friend for pet care relief package
The Petbarn Foundation, together with the Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC), are encouraging Aussies to nominate pet owners to receive an Act of Kindness pet care relief package.

The Act of Kindness initiative has been launched to support those experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 by providing a month’s worth of food to more than 3,000 pet parents to help them keep their pet dogs and cats healthy and happy.

The initiative is open to anyone that has been financially impacted by COVID-19 and the general public is invited to nominate a pet owner in their community, or themselves, to receive a pet care relief package by visiting:

George Wahby, Chief Executive Officer at Petbarn and Greencross Vets, said, “With many pet parents experiencing extreme pressure and uncertainty at the moment, it has never been more important to support our animal loving community. Pets have an extremely positive impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing and are key companions to so many Australians. Act of Kindness is our way of supporting and protecting that special bond.”

With many Australians relying on their furry friends for companionship more than ever, the Act of Kindness initiative will provide a helping-hand to those who need it most.

Scott Charters, Chairperson of the Petbarn Foundation, said, “We’re calling on Aussies to nominate a friend, or a member of their community, who is having a hard time to receive a pet care relief package and make a big difference to their day. We’re also encouraging self-nomination - we want to help as many people as possible with this initiative!”

With everyone’s situation unique, the initiative also gives senders the option to send a pet care relief package anonymously. It is hoped that this option will provide reassurance to those that may otherwise be too afraid to ask for help.

Each pet care relief package will be hand-delivered and includes a bag of premium pet food and other essential items including fleas, ticks and worm treatment, litter, a toy and a treat.

Kelly Eaton, Project Manager at Animal Rescue Cooperative said: “Throughout COVID, we have been partnering with The Petbarn Foundation to help animal rescue centres receive much needed supplies, and now we are helping individuals who need a bit of extra support too. The idea of referring someone you know really helps drive that community spirit of pulling together and supporting one another through these uncertain times.”

The Petbarn Foundation, in coordination with Animal Rescue Cooperative, will distribute packages through a Nationwide Network which operates a triage system to ensure the care packages reach those who need it most.

About The Petbarn Foundation:

Founded in 2012, The Petbarn Foundation has raised over $13.2m to support animal welfare groups and rescue organisations throughout Australia. $700k worth of services, pet food and supplies has been pledged to help people and pets in the community that have been affected by COVID19.

All Greencross Companies support the Petbarn Foundation and its initiatives. For more information, visit:

APRIL 23, 2020

Rescue Awards back to encourage and inspire Australian rescue groups
Open for entries 1 May 2020! 

The Companion Animal Rescue Awards returns for its third year to celebrate and inspire rescue groups and animal shelters to continue their efforts in saving companion animals, particularly during these challenging times. This year, Jetpets is again the Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner.

The Rescue Awards is a national for purpose program managed by Pets4Life, an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those thinking of getting a pet. The mission of the Rescue Awards is to celebrate and recognise achievements in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of companion animals in Australia. It is the platform to showcase excellence and innovation, thereby raising the standards of rescue groups and animals shelters nation-wide.

“The Rescue Awards is more important than ever to put the spotlight on the sector. While rescue organisations are experiencing some of the highest ever adoption rates - PetRescue website has seen more than 12,000 pets adopted in just six weeks – these organisations are also struggling from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic following the bushfires," said Rescue Awards founder and pet adoption advocate Cathy Beer.

Every year, approximately 190,000 pets remain unclaimed in Australia’s pounds and shelters, and thousands of volunteers support over 1,000 rescue groups and animal shelters across Australia¹. The Rescue Awards recognises the dedication of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to help rescue pets find homes. 

“Our past winners and finalists say the recognition by the Rescue Awards gives their staff and volunteers the motivation to ‘keep calm and carry on’ rehoming surrendered and abandoned pets every day in a challenging environment,” said Cathy. 

In 2020, the Rescue Awards is building on the success of 2019 when over 1,000 entries were received. Cathy reveals exciting changes to this year’s program in her video message, including a new Ambassador plus new JudgesCategories and Supporters. She also thanks animal lovers across the country for helping to make a difference by adopting or fostering a pet. 

Cathy is very excited to announce two new Categories. 
She said, “The ‘Refuel Digital Technology Award’ is for rehoming organisations. The use of digital technology has enabled rescue groups and shelters to continue their great work despite natural disasters and the current pandemic lockdown. The Drontal® Foster Carer Story is for thousands of volunteer foster carers around the country looking after companion animals until they find a new home.” 

Jetpets Managing Director Sandy Matheson said, “For the third consecutive year, Jetpets is proud to be the Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner. In wanting to support and recognise the remarkable work being done by so many individuals and rescue groups throughout Australia, we are thrilled to come on board again as the Platinum Partner for the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards. I’m looking forward to being involved and ultimately congratulating the winners of the various award categories.” 

The Rescue Awards 2020 is thrilled to announce a new Ambassador, Lara Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer, Animal Welfare Advocate and Host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play. Lara shares her enthusiasm for the Rescue Awards in her video message

Rescue Award Categories

The Rescue Awards 2020 has 10 Categories with one winner for each category. 

Award categories 1 – 8 are for industry. Category 9, the 'Advocate® People’s Rescue Story’ is for Aussie pet guardians who have adopted a pet and category 10 is the ‘Drontal® Foster Carer Story’ for foster carers of companion animals waiting for their forever home. 

“Pet adoption changes lives for the better,” said Cathy. “This year we’re looking for 1,000 heart-warming stories from pet adopters and 500 inspiring stories from foster carers about how their adopted/foster pet has transformed and changed their human’s life.” 


The Rescue Awards is thrilled to announce 20 judges who bring expertise in companion animal welfare, rescue and sheltering, veterinarians, compassion fatigue, digital technology and animal behaviour.
The Rescue Awards wishes to thank the judges for donating their time and expertise. 

1. Tim Vasudeva, Director of Corporate Affairs at Animals Australia 
2. Dr Alison Shen, Veterinarian and Co-star in the TV series Bondi Vet Coast to Coast* 
3. Nell Thompson, Coordinator for Getting 2 Zero 
4. Emeritus Professor Jacquie Rand, Executive Director & Chief Scientist, Australian Pet Welfare Foundation* 
5. Vickie Davy, Co-Founder & joint CEO of PetRescue 
6. Dr Anthony Bennett, Veterinarian, Equine Dentist & Royal Easter Show panelist 
7. Dr Jo Righetti, PhD Animal Behaviourist, Pet Problems Solved* 
8. Dr Vanessa Rolf, Compassion Fatigue Therapist* 
9. Brooke Rankmore, CEO at Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities* 
10. Sandy Matheson, Founder & Managing Director of Jetpets 
11. Dr Anne Fawcett, Animal Welfare Veterinarian 
12. Dr Michael O’Donoghue, Small Animal Veterinarian and Co-Founder of ‘People and Pets’ 
13. Anne Boxhall, Animal Welfare Advocate with 28 years’ experience in sheltering and rescue 
14. Ryan Jones, Founder and CEO of Refuel Creative* 
15. Brittany Bloomer, International TV Presenter and Founder of charity Pound Paws* 
16. Annette Hughes, Publisher of Where Pets Are Found* 
17. Elliot Chapman, Customer Success Manager, HubSpot* 
18. Tara O’Connell, Pet Diaries App Creator* 
19. Dan White, Senior Brand Manager, Bayer Animal Health (categories 9 and 10) 
20. Cathy Beer, Founder of Pets4Life (categories 9 and 10) 
* New judges in 2020. 

Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2020 Categories 

1. Outstanding Rescue Group
2. Outstanding New Rescue Group
3. Outstanding Animal Shelter
4. Outstanding Council Animal Shelter
5. Innovation in Rescue
6. Community Education and Outreach Program
7. Volunteer of the Year
8. Refuel Digital Technology Award (new)
9. Advocate® People’s Rescue Story
10. Drontal® Foster Carer Story (new)

Open for Entries

Enter online from 1 May to close midnight on 19 July 2020.
To enter, visit and follow the links.

Watch a short video to find out what our judges and past winners have to say about the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards.

For updates on the Rescue Awards program, please visit, sign up to the e-newsletter or follow the Rescue Awards on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. #jetpetsrescueawards2020 - Photo Credit (top): Jo Lyons Photography.

APRIL 21, 2020 

20,000 same day free deliveries for those who need it most

An Australian first for the pet care industry, Petbarn has announced a Store to Door Same Day Delivery Service that will allow pet parents to place an order online and have the items dropped to their doorstep that very same day – enabled by Uber and made possible by Petbarn’s network of over 200 stores.

As part of the launch, The Petbarn Foundation and Uber will collectively donate 20,000 free deliveries to help vulnerable and elderly pet parents. Those in-need of extra support are encouraged to register for free delivery through

George Wahby, Chief Executive Officer at Petbarn and Greencross Vets said; “Care is at the core of everything we do at Petbarn and we understand that many of our elderly and more vulnerable customers are feeling anxious about being able to get to the shops and these 20,000 free same day deliveries will provide much needed support during these challenging times.”
“Store to Door Same Day Delivery is the latest in a number of initiatives we have introduced that make it easier for all pet parents to get their pet essentials speedily and when they need it” said Mr Wahby.

Petbarn confirmed the Same Day Delivery will launch in Victoria, initially covering most metro Melbourne suburbs and is intended to be expanded to other states in the coming weeks. The new and innovative service ensures the health and wellbeing of both pets and pet parents, whilst being at the cutting-edge of on-demand delivery.

In exciting news, Greencross Vets will follow suit by launching a Clinic to Door Same Day Delivery Service through their network of 167 clinics and Emergency and Referral Hospitals. In addition to Same Day Delivery, Petbarn have already introduced Zero Contact Click and Collect across its stores and opened up some of their stores as distribution centres. Minimal Contact Pet Care options have also been introduced at Greencross Vets.

Georgia Foster, Country Manager, Uber for Business ANZ, said, “As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, we remain focused on moving what matters. People around the world are looking for new ways to have necessities delivered to their door quickly and safely, so we are pleased to be able to leverage Uber’s platform and partner with Petbarn to provide this service to pet owners across Australia.”

“We’re especially glad that Petbarn has partnered with us to provide 20,000 free deliveries to older Australian pet owners, as part of our global commitment to deliver 10 million free rides and deliveries to those who need it most during this challenging time.”

Pet parents will receive same day delivery 7 days per week when they order through before 4pm. 

Same Day Delivery is currently available for an introductory price of $9.95 per delivery.

APRIL 3, 2020

The Petbarn Foundation partners with Animal Rescue Cooperative to pledge 1.7m meals to support animal rescue groups in need

Rescue groups in need of urgent support as surrender of pets expected to rise

Greencross, which operates Petbarn and a network of 16 general practice veterinary clinics, Animal Referral Hospitals and Animal Emergency Centres across Australia, is helping people and their pets at this time of need through its Petbarn Foundation.

Some animal rescue centres are seeing an increase in surrendered pets, with financial stress cited as a contributing factor to animal relinquishment[1]

The Petbarn Foundation together with Animal Rescue Cooperative (ARC) have pledged $500k which equates to 1.7m meals in pet-care relief to help animal rescue groups doing it tough amidst this crisis. Greencross CEO George Wahby said, “We know that pets play a pivotal role in contributing to the joy and wellbeing of families, so we are doing our best to ensure pets continue to stay in their loving homes.”

Animal Rescue and charity groups provide care, food and shelter for when no one else can. They rely on donations and volunteers however, due to COVID-19 this assistance has been limited. Immediate support from the Petbarn Foundation and ARC will provide Pet Care Relief Packages to pet rescue groups to enable them to continue caring for animals across Australia.

The Pet Care Relief Assistance Package will include:

✔️ 1.7 Million dog and cat meals
✔️ 5,000 Flea, tick and worming treatments
✔️ 5 x Tonnes of cat litter
✔️ 500 kilos of chicken feed

Scott Charters, The Petbarn Foundation Chairperson, said: “Surrendering a pet is a distressing last resort for many people, and many of the reasons for surrender are beyond the owners’ control.

“Sadly, during these unprecedented times, we are likely to see an increase in the number of pets that are surrendered as the impact of COVID-19 puts many Australian families under extraordinary pressure.

“Unfortunately, this puts immense pressure on pet rescue groups that are so reliant on donations to keep them afloat.

“We hope our Pet Care Relief Packages will reduce the pressure and support these amazing organisations continue to look after the wellbeing of so many beloved animals. We have also pledged $100k to the NSW RSPCA to support people who have been tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot leave their homes-we will deliver their pet food and supplies at no cost to ensure their animals are kept fed”.

Program Manager, Animal Rescue Cooperative Jen Barbour, said: “It’s an uncertain time for so many of us and unfortunately pet rescue groups across Australia are feeling the strain too.

“With the number of pets surrendered to shelters expected to rise, it’s more important than ever that we support rescue shelters and charities to ensure the welfare of animals is not compromised during this difficult period.

“Our triage process will also ensure that these vital supplies of pet food reach those organisations that need it most.”

The Petbarn Foundation, in coordination with Animal Rescue Cooperative, will distribute packages through a Nationwide Network which consists of 13 key Distribution Hubs.

In addition, The Petbarn Foundation is assisting the RSPCA get food to people who are currently in quarantine by prioritising the order and providing free deliveries to all pet owners currently impacted by self-isolation measures.

For more information, visit

[1] ABC

APRIL 2, 2020
Adopt A Pet with 'Adopt from Home'

From today, all RSPCA NSW shelters and care centres are closed to public walk-ins, and animal adoptions will be processed via Adopt from Home, which will see the entire adoption processed via phone or video call and the animals being transported to their potential forever homes by RSPCA staff.

These changes come as further restrictions were announced by the Federal Government, and as new laws enacted by the NSW State Government came into effect this week to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We have seen so many animals go into their forever homes, and we hope they’re bringing you some much needed love, warmth and company,” says RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman.

“We are adapting to the changes as best we can to give our animals an opportunity to find loving homes, and to ensure our doors are still open for animals in need.” 

RSPCA NSW has seen an incredible increase in adoptions across the state’s shelters and Petbarn adoption centres over the last two weeks, which saw just over 500 animals adopted across the state.

This represents an increase of 28% in adoptions across the state, compared to this time last year. For Petbarn adoption centres only, the increase has been a staggering 48% compared to this time last year.

Mindy is waiting for her furever home
available from RSPCA NSW Sydney shelter
Though the new adoption process will be via phone or video call, normal adoption procedures will apply to ensure every animal goes home with the right family.

There will be some compulsory purchase requirements also such as a carry box and/or lead and car harness. We will ensure that their new family also has all of the essentials needed to ensure the success of their new pet in the home.

Once the adoption is approved, an RSPCA staff member will drive the animal to their potential new home for a meet-and-greet. If everyone is happy, the adoption will be finalised.

RSPCA NSW shelters and care centres will remain closed to public walk-ins until further notice. Emergency surrenders and strays will be handled via appointment only.

The changes to the usual adoption process are temporary. Any person wishing to adopt a pet with Adopt from Home, please fill out an appointment request form and a staff member will be in touch. RSPCA NSW reminds the community that we are operating with a reduced number of staff, and are thankful for your patience at this time.

All animals available for adoption can be found at

MARCH 19, 2020

2020 Cat and Dog Lovers Shows rescheduled

Following recent instruction from the Australian Federal Government regarding the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation and advising against non-essential, organised public outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people and indoor gatherings of more than 100 people for up to six months, Event Management International (EMI) have rescheduled all 2020 events.


• 2020 Melbourne Dog Lovers Show: rescheduled to Friday 27 until Sunday 29 November 2020
• 2020 Melbourne Cat Lovers Show: rescheduled to Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 May 2021
• 2020 Sydney Dog Lovers Show: rescheduled to Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 August 2021

EMI CEO, Jason Humphris, said “In light of the recent Government announcement we have had no choice but to reschedule all our events to safeguard their long-term future.”

“Naturally, we are incredibly disappointed because these events play such an important role in supporting the dog and cat loving communities but we are confident that these new dates allow us to continue presenting these world class festivals in the safest environment possible for all people and pets.”

“Like so many other businesses in the event and pet industries, we are determined to weather this current situation and return with an even more impressive event as the Show provides a highly valuable marketing platform for the pet sector and educational resource for dog and cat owners across the country.”

“Given the extra time we now have to prepare, the company is in a strong position to present an even more exciting festival line-up for visitors when we next open the doors.”
“In light of the hardships the community is facing, we ask people to consider the health and wellbeing of their pets and to please support their local rescue groups as they will need all the support possible right now,” concluded Humphris.

Tickets purchased for all 2020 Shows will be valid for the rescheduled dates. All current ticket holders have been contacted via email to explain the re-issuing process as well as the option to obtain a full refund if they would prefer to do. EMI encourages ticketholders to attend the re-scheduled dates as it will help stakeholders, breed clubs, rescue groups, and the event through a very difficult time.

Event Management International are now developing a range of digital, data and social media-based advertising packages for businesses so they can still reach the extensive Dog and Cat Lovers Show audiences in other virtual ways this year. Organisers are committed to providing a range of new marketing opportunities that will provide a much-needed sales boost to struggling retailers during this period of social distancing.

MARCH 13, 2020
Cautious Pet Owners Avoiding Clinic, Calling Vets Home

Coronavirus-cautious Australian pet owners keen to avoid taking their fur babies into vet waiting rooms are boosting demand for mobile veterinary services.

National app-based mobile vet booking service Pawssum Vets said it was experiencing a 200 percent spike in requests for home consultations on the back of fears about the virus.

Demand was rising across all states but was higher in Melbourne and Sydney, said Pawssum Vets co-founder Guy Sharabi.

Many people are telling us they don’t want to take their pets out of the house, that they’re worried about the chance of exposing their pets and themselves to the coronavirus, so are calling the vet to their homes instead,” said Mr Sharabi.

“Even though the World Health Organization is stating there is no evidence that companion animals such as dogs or cats can become sick with the new coronavirus, it certainly appears some pet owners are self quarantining in their homes as much as they can.

“This consumer ‘stay at home’ or ‘nesting’ phenomenon is likely to increase demand for other order-in services like Uber EatsNetflix and Amazon Prime.”

Pawssum vet Dr Kirsten Aberle said information from the World Organisation for Animal Health and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, the preeminent bodies associated with animal health, revealed no evidence that dogs or cats played a role in the spread of COVID-19.

“We do not have to fear that our pets will get sick from COVID-19, nor do we have to fear that they will give it to us,” said Dr Aberle.

“One dog has tested positive to COVID-19 after close contact with its infected owner, however the dog is not sick and transmission back to people has not been established. Our current knowledge is that COVID-19 is a human only disease.

“This new coronavirus infection is thought to have originated from Horseshoe Bat populations and the spread of it is due to human to human transmission only.
“Other coronaviruses exist in our pet populations, but they are not COVID-19; they are completely different viruses that do not cause COVID-19 disease.”

Pawssum Vets provides personalised health care to pets in the comfort of their home by highly-skilled local vets. On-demand veterinarians are available 365 days a year with extended operating hours.

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with the nation home to an estimated 5.1 million dogs and 3.8 million cats, and owners spending more than $13 billion a year on their fur babies**

FEBRUARY 13, 2020
Pet Insurance Australia announces its biggest promotion to date: 25% off Pet Insurance for the life of your pet.

Until 23rd March 2020, any Pet Insurance Australia policy purchased will receive an impressive 25% off premiums - for the LIFE of your pet*” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “This offer is open to dog and cat owners nationwide.”

With many new pet parents looking for pet insurance there’s no better time to get your beloved bundle of fur covered.

Pet Insurance Australia has never offered this type of saving before and is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for Australian pet lovers to make some sensational savings on their pet insurance premiums.”

As long as there is no break, or change in cover, the 25% discount applies for the LIFE of the pet and is calculated as one-quarter of the annual premiums spread evenly over each policy period and deducted from each premium instalment. The discount will be factored into the premium displayed on your Certificate of Insurance each year.

“At Pet Insurance Australia, we understand that the decision to insure your pet can be a difficult one,” Crighton says. “Most consumers do not appreciate the importance of insurance until the unthinkable occurs.”

This is what has spurred Pet Insurance Australia to come up with this unique opportunity for pet owners - 25% off new policy premiums for the LIFE of the pet.*

“At PIA we want every pet owner to have access to care and treatment for their pets,” Crighton says. “Having pet insurance can give pet owners a helping hand to access these services.”

A pet eating a corn cob can cost $14,000, and high-end cancer treatments can cost $25,000,” Crighton says. “All insured pet owners hope they never have to use it, but a pet insurance policy can help protect your loved ones when the unexpected happens.”

With savings like this, Australians can consider the peace-of-mind that pet insurance can provide knowing their pet has access to cover that can help during times of sickness and injury.

“Every day we see first-hand the real-life effects of having pet insurance and the lives saved,” Crighton says. “Being able to offer such a wonderful promotion to allow more companion animals access to our insurance policies is something PIA is very proud of.”

The average retail/payable premium for PIA was $570 for January 2020 so this could mean a saving of around $142.50 each year, for the lifetime of the pet.
See the savings here!

Pet Insurance Australia Facts

  • Pet insurance is heavily used: 37% of PIA customers claimed last financial year, submitting an average of 5.3 claims.
  • Pet insurance is used more than many other insurances: pet insurance policies make up only around 1% of general insurance customers, but account for 12% of claims processed.
  • Pet insurance pays out: pet insurance has some exclusions, but 81% of PIA claims were accepted and paid out last financial year. In 2019, PIA paid $11.3m million in claims benefits.
  • PIA also utilises the GapOnlyTM service, making it even easier for clients to pay and claim for their eligible veterinary treatments at participating vets.

*Offer is subject to the terms and conditions of the Pet Insurance Australia (PIA) policy. Offer applies to new PIA Pet Insurance policies purchased using the promo code PIA254LIFE before 23/03/2020. Offer does not apply to a continuation of any current or previous pet insurance policies you hold issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd. Discount applies for the life of your pet (as long as there is no break in cover) and is calculated as one quarter of your annual premiums spread evenly over each policy period and deducted from each premium instalment. The discount will be factored into your premium displayed on your Certificate of Insurance each year unless advised otherwise. Please note that your premium will still increase each year in accordance with the policy terms and conditions. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. PIA may vary, amend, extend or withdraw this offer at any time without notice.

This offer is only valid on policies purchased before 23/03/2020 and the discount ceases to apply where there is a break, gap or change in your level of cover.

Any advice provided is general only. Pet Insurance Australia is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (AFSL 241436), administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (AFSL 420183) and promoted by Pet Insurance Australia Pty Ltd (AR no. 326233), an Authorised Representative of PetSure. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold this insurance.

JANUARY 8, 2020
Vets Beyond Borders providing veterinary volunteers and funding to help wildlife impacted by bushfires.

As the bushfires ravaging many parts of Australia are having wide ranging and devastating impacts on local communities, Australia-based international animal charity Vets Beyond Borders highlights the serious impact of the continuing disaster on animal populations. 

VBB’s Australian Veterinary Emergency Response Team (AVERT) is assisting government authorities with animal evacuations and providing care to animals impacted by the fires. 

“Countless animals, both domesticated species and wildlife, have died – we can not bring them back. However, Australians can and will do all we can to care for survivors, especially sick and injured animals,” said VBB Director Dr Ian Douglas

“Governments in affected states are responding as fast as they can to the crisis and have deployed veterinarians and allied staff to the fire-grounds. VBB is working with this government response and is providing authorities with appropriately experienced veterinary volunteers from AVERT to assist in this work.” 

Many hundreds of vets and vet nurses have registered to volunteer with AVERT, with more offers of assistance pouring in every day, from Australia and overseas. 

“We sincerely thank everyone who has responded to our call for volunteers. The generosity of the veterinary profession is an inspiration” said Dr Douglas. 

VBB assistance for wildlife rescue groups

In addition to the government-coordinated effort, VBB is also offering support to wildlife rescue groups struggling to provide care to wildlife.

“Whilst VBB is already assisting in government responses through provision of AVERT volunteers, we are also positioned provide direct support to organisations that will be inundated with sick and injured wildlife,” said Dr Douglas.

VBB is already assisting Adelaide Koala Rescue in South Australia, providing veterinary volunteers to assist them in their work following recent fires in Adelaide Hills.

“We are now contacting groups in other affected regions, to offer the services of our veterinary volunteers and provide financial support to enable the purchase of veterinary supplies, mainly analgesics (pain killing medications), burns dressings, rehydrating fluids and antibiotics. We are keen to hear from organisations that would like the assistance of VBB,” he said.

Animal rescue groups in need of help are asked to contact Vets Beyond Borders on

Veterinarians, vet nurses and other veterinary personnel willing to join the AVERT team, are asked register interest via

For more information about our programs and how you can help, please visit

National relief for wildlife in need

As bushfires ravage Australia, and an estimated half a billion animals perish, PETstock and its charity PETstock Assist have pledged more than $150,000 to wildlife organisations in affected states.

Donations will be made to Wildlife VictoriaWildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) in NSW, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Wildcare Australia) in QLD and Fauna Rescue SA.

PETstock has experienced the impact of these fires directly, with team members and stores affected on the south coast of NSW and East Gippsland in Victoria.

PETstock CEO Shane Young says he’s humbled by the support and care shown by team members in affected areas and beyond.

“Stores within the affected areas of NSW and Victoria are working with and supporting their local communities to supply food and products to those in immediate need and taking refuge in relief centres,” he says. “Nationwide our team has shown an outpouring of generosity and goodwill to help those affected.

 the direct donation made by PETstock and PETstock Assist we will also be providing channels for the community to support these wildlife organisations as they care for the animals impacted by these devastating fires.”

All donations made to PETstock Assist throughout January will be donated to Bushfire Support through the following wildlife charities: Wildlife Victoria, Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) in NSW, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Wildcare Australia) in QLD and Fauna Rescue SA.

How you can help

  • Round up your purchase online or in-store – every bit makes a difference
  • Donate to PETstock Assist online or via donation boxes in-store nationally 
  • Wash your dog for a cause – from Monday 6 January to Sunday 12 January all DIY Dog Wash sales will be donated to local partnering charities to provide relief to those communities directly affected. 

About PETstock Assist

PETstock Assist is a registered charity committed to making a long-term difference and positive change in the lives of pets and humans through education, awareness and donations. 100% of donations to PETstock Assist are donated to charities that share its mission.

Since inception, PETstock Assist has microchipped more than 22,000 pets, found homes for more than 12,000 rescue pets, coordinated food drives to the value of $5 million and donated more than $3 million to charities including PetRescue, Guide Dogs, Assistance Dogs, Young Diggers, individual rescue groups and many more.

JANUARY 7, 2020
The Petbarn Foundation delivers $1.2 million to support Australian animals

As bushfires continue to ravage the country, people, companion animals, and wildlife are being displaced and killed. It’s estimated almost half a billion animals have perished, with habitats lost and animals left without access to food. 

Petbarn, City FarmersGreencross VetsAnimal Emergency Centre (AEC), Animal Referral Hospital (ARH) and Veterinary Referral Hospital (VRH), under the Greencross Limited banner, have united with The Petbarn Foundation to help animals at this time of need. Animal welfare organisations are at the forefront of the unrelenting fight for the survival of Australia’s pets and native animals. 

The Petbarn Foundation is providing over $1.2m to several partners via a combination of funds, food and supplies to evacuation centres in emergency sites, and vets volunteering their time. 

Scott Charters, 'The Petbarn Foundation' Chairperson, said: "We are offering support to organisations who are helping pets caught in the disaster, as well as the many animals and wildlife injured in the fires." The Petbarn Foundation is currently providing over $1.2m to worthy charities;

  • $551k donation to the RSPCA, from the Christmas ‘Tree of Hope’ campaign
  • $390k donation to 33 local charities from the ‘Tree of Hope’ campaign 

  • Eight pallets of bird food and supplies have been donated to Native Animal Rescue Group 
  • Over 100 pallets of dog and cat food and supplies have been donated to evacuation centres, pet rescues and farmers 
  • $75k donation to Vets Beyond Borders for vital Vet assistance 
  • $100k Foundation Evacuation/Pound Packs for companion animal assistance to Showgrounds and Pounds in emergency sites 
  • $25k Wildlife Care Package via the Rescue Collective 
  • $50k WIRES donation to support the care of native wildlife 
  • $10k for Dingo Rescue 

We have, and will continue to allow, our resources and skilled vets to assist in a variety of ways.

Greencross Limited CEO George Wahby said caring for animals is ingrained in the company's values. "Like every Australian, we are all saddened by the devastation and destruction caused by the extensive bushfires, and now more than ever, we need to pull together to support the pets and native animals most precious to our beautiful country. Our team have been incredible, as it’s at the core of our values to protect all animals, native and domestic, and that’s why we are so passionate about ensuring we help Australian animals get through this devastating time,” Mr Wahby said. 

Greencross Limited is thankful to their community who have reached out to offer support for pets and wildlife, who have been affected by these devastating bushfires, and asks that customers and clients that would like to pledge their support, do so by donating at any Petbarn store, Greencross Vets clinic, Animal Emergency Centre or any of our specialist hospitals like ARHVRH or online at

Partner Websites

About the Petbarn Foundation:

Founded in 2012, the Petbarn Foundation aims to support pet welfare programs and organisations throughout Australia actively. All Greencross Limited Companies support The Petbarn Foundation and its initiatives.

1 JANUARY 2020
Cat Curfew Introduced by Knox City Council (VIC)

On Wednesday 1 January 2020 Knox City Council will be introducing a 12-month pilot cat curfew, requiring cats to be confined to their owner’s premises between sunset and sunrise everyday.

This will mean that your cat will need to stay in your house, shed, garage, yard, enclosure or similar to ensure it does not leave your property between sunset and sunrise.

For more information, visit

24 DECEMBER 2019

Gus the Cat Enters the annual Scotland Island Dog Swimming Race ...

The Scotland Island Dog Swimming Race takes place every Christmas Eve in Pittwater (north of Sydney). In its 45th year, it is a quirky and quintessentially Australian event: where else but Australia would entrants compete for a prize of dog food and beer?

However, a ‘wild card’ entrant has announced its intention to compete in the forthcoming race and this is raising a few hackles. We can let the cat out of the bag to reveal it’s an 11-month-old Tonkinese named Gus

A little bit of history ...

The Scotland Island dog swimming race has been held every Christmas Eve since 1974, when two Pittwater ferry captains insisted that their respective vessels were faster than the other. This friendly rivalry escalated to a brag that each captain’s dog - one a German Shepherd named Connie, the other a black Kelpie named Diesel - was a faster swimmer than the other, ultimately resulting in a challenge to prove it. 

The rivals decided the best way to settle the score was a doggy-paddle race from Bells Wharf on Scotland Island to Church Point, some 550 metres across Pittwater. 

And so a tradition was born, with 14 entrants in the inaugural year as others joined the friendly rivalry, curious to see if their dog could better Connie and Diesel (Connie beat Diesel, which failed to finish, although she was not the ultimate winner). 

Since then, the event has been modified, with dog owners paddling a range of water craft in front of their pets to entice them forward, significantly safer than the propeller-driven dinghies of yesteryear. 

Entry fee consists of a long-necked beer bottle and a large tin of dog meat, which are pooled and then divvied up between winners of the three respective dog size categories. 

Big water dogs, such as Labradors and other Retrievers, predictably fare best overall (a black Lab named Cooper won five years in succession from 2005-2010), but the prizes are divided between the first three finishers in big and small dog categories. 

A Tonkinese cat is competing in the Scotland Island dog swimming race on Xmas Eve. Photo: Alec Smart
Gus is a Tonkinese, a cross between Siamese and Burmese, that is typically very lively and playful. Named after the Tonkin region of north-east Vietnam, from which they have no historical connection, they are lithe and muscular and not shy of water, like most domestic cat breeds. 

Gus, who enjoys waterborne adventures including kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and swimming with his owner, Glenn Druery, spends much of his time on – and immersed in - Middle Harbour, Sydney. 

Druery explained how his cat’s introduction to swimming in seawater was the result of a simple miscalculation. 

“Gus’ first swim was an accident. My partner and I were at the wharf where we berth our boat and I was getting into a kayak. Gus was so keen to join me he jumped with such enthusiasm from the wharf that he missed the kayak completely and landed in Sydney Harbour! 

He wasn’t stressed and swam around a bit. I fished him out and hosed him off but he hasn’t shied away from the water and since then it’s been one watery adventure after another! 

He loves the kayak and paddle-board, but I often take him mountain biking where he rests on my shoulders, or across to Manly in a dinghy on shopping trips. He’s relaxed in rainy weather too, the complete opposite of most cats.” 

When it comes to entering a cat in a race against up to 70 dogs, Druery asserts Gus won’t panic. “We’ll be very aware of dogs in the water. Besides, most dogs know to stay away from the swiping range of a cat’s paw. I’ll be swimming right next to Gus, so if there’s any problems he’ll climb straight onto my shoulders. Gus’ safety is foremost, I’m confident he’ll be okay.” 

Nevertheless, others have expressed concerns about what could be seen as a rogue competitor. [...] 
You can read the full story on Australian Dog Lover.

The race is a wonderful social event that brings the community together in festive spirit, arguably more fun than a wet dog shaking itself dry on your grandmother. Although outsiders sometimes question the safety of swimming across open water, those sharp-toothed dorsal-finned opportunists, synonymous with Australian waters, are respectful enough to stay away and not spoil the revelry. 

Credit: story and images by Alex Smart, December 2019

FEBRUARY 15, 2019

Technology Helps Tackle Australia's Veterinarian Shortage
Technology and innovation could be the answer to the record number of Australian veterinarians abandoning the industry, which is prompting fears there won’t be enough vets to take care of the nation’s pets.

A just-released Lincoln Institute survey found that nearly 90 per cent of veterinary business owners and managers reported unprecedented difficulty filling vacancies. Forty one (41) per cent waited longer than six months to fill positions and 18 per cent waited up to two years or more to find new vets to work in their clinics.

Adding to the concern is that demand is rising for Australia’s $4 billion vet industry, which is growing at around three per cent a year, according to an August 2018 IBIS World report*, thanks to higher pet insurance uptake, growing awareness of animal health issues, and the increasing availability of advanced surgical and diagnostic procedures for animals.

A working paper with recommendations is due in March as an industry steering group look into the issues but some parts of the industry are worried pet owners could struggle to find a vet if the situation isn’t addressed.

National mobile veterinarian booking service Pawssum – which utilises app-based technology to send vets to the homes of pet owners – believes it’s helping to address the vet shortage by attracting experienced vets back into the industry.

“As a separate Lincoln survey showed, vets have been leaving the industry in droves – and many more are planning to leave – primarily due to poor work conditions, low remuneration, long hours and stress,” said Pawssum CEO Dr Jon Berkowitz.

“However, there is some good news; our service is helping vets return to the job they love – treating animals – because they can sign up to work with us as a mobile vet and work as little or as much as they want.

“They can choose when they want to work, what type of work they want to do and they don’t have to worry about invoicing clients or marketing or providing their own insurance – we take care of it all, which is helping vets choose to come back into the industry.” 

Melbourne-based vet Dr Tim White is one of more than 130 vets in the Pawssum community, joining the platform last year after a decade in the industry.

“It was an easy choice to start with Pawssum; not only is it convenient for pet owners but it is convenient for vets,” said Dr White.

“I can choose when I’m available and what cases I see, allowing me the flexibility to balance my work and family life and I find the house visits great for the pets and the clients are usually more relaxed as well.” 

Dr Berkowitz said pet owners who in the past had to visit the surgery and wait, or pay a substantial call out fee, now have another option available. 

“Many people are too time-poor to sit in a vet clinic and also many dogs and cats are anxious about heading to the clinic, making at-home visits very much in demand. If the pet needs further tests or surgery, we can refer them to one of our partner clinics,” he said.

Pawssum now operates in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra and has begun branching further out into locations such as Bendigo.
For more details, please visit

FEBRUARY 12, 2019

Greencross Vets Introduces New Operating Model ...
Greencross Vets are excited to announce a number of updates to the service offering for 2019, allowing for increased flexibility and convenience for both animals and their owners to include Telemedicine, Mobile Vet Services, Team Based Consulting and Extended Hours. These new introductions form part of the commitment that Greencross holds, to ensure clients can access care for their pets where, when and how they want to. 

Using innovative technology, Telemedicine offers the customer ease and ensures that the pets health is the number one priority. Chief Veterinary Officer, Rachel Chay comments “This will provide an expanded level of care to our patients particularly those with chronic or ongoing medical conditions. It also gives peace of mind to our clients who wish to ensure their pet has the best level of care but find it challenging to visit us regularly in clinic.”
This first to market service is available to existing Greencross customers and allows for a less stressful experience for the animal rather than travelling to the vet; perfect for those in remote locations the consultations are conducted by a qualified Greencross Vet. 

Complementing the Telemedicine offering the Mobile vet service allows animals to be treated in a familiar environment with no travel involved. “Along with the other services being added this provides a gold standard veterinary care service in the convenience of your own home. For many pets, particularly cats, a simple trip to the vet is a very stressful event. 

In some cases, with this level of stress clients may delay or not seek veterinary assistance for fear of causing this stress to their beloved pets! Likewise, for some of our valuable clients it is difficult to come into our clinics. So again, it is all about providing convenient veterinary services to our clients and improving the care their pets receive” Chay said.

On the contrary to the at home services Greencross is leveraging individual’s specialities with Team based consulting; this offering is being rolled out to provide a collaborative approach to medicine and health care, whilst leveraging individual’s specialities to care for your pet whilst increasing the standard of care. With increased standards of care, communication and teamwork nurse’s involvement is also bought into practice. Rachel Chay says “Increasing the touchpoints of our entire team of veterinary professionals with the clients, strengthens the communication. It is a very efficient way of working without decreasing the time our clients have to talk through their pet’s health concerns”.

Finally, allowing for added flexibility and convenience extended Vet Hours co-located stores (Petbarn and Greencross vets) will align their hours to trade for the same amount of time, which will allow pet owners accessibility to the full range of services.

About Greencross Vets:

Greencross Vets are a local network of well-equipped veterinary practices across Australia. Although Greencross Vets is part of a national organisation all practices are run and managed by a local team of dedicated pet care professionals who are passionate about pets. For more information visit

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