Animal Referral Hospital Essendon Fields

About us

The Animal Referral Hospital is Australia’s largest veterinary specialist and emergency group, providing outstanding veterinary care for pets across our eight hospitals nationally.


Our ARH Essendon Fields location has a 24/7 emergency department and specialist veterinary referral services in surgery, internal medicine, and oncology. This is supported by a range of on-site facilities, such as advanced diagnostic imaging, a laboratory and fully equipped surgical theatres.


Emergency and Critical Care Services

Emergency service Essendon Fields
(03) 9379 0700
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You don’t need a referral or appointment to attend our hospital in an emergency, although calling ahead to alert our team before your arrival buys us precious time to get prepared to provide prompt, sometimes life-saving, support.

If you are unsure if your pet needs emergency attention, you are welcome to attend our hospital to receive a no-charge veterinary nurse triage. Alternatively, we encourage you to call us, and we can help determine the level of urgency of the situation.

Our Facilities

Our hospital is open 24 hours a day and is managed by our experienced emergency and critical care (ECC) veterinarians to help your pet when an emergency arises.

Our team has 24-hour on-site access to:

  • A full in-house IDEXX laboratory
  • Digital x-ray
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Ultrasound
  • CT (16-slice helical)
  • MRI
  • Mechanical ventilators
  • Dedicated intensive care unit
  • Isolation ward for infectious diseases
  • Three surgical theatres
  • Comprehensively stocked pharmacy
  • Speciality referral services (surgery, internal medicine, oncology) to allow for a comprehensive approach to your pet’s assessment and specific care needs

In addition to specialist services, ARH Essendon Fields is a vet hospital open 24 hours a day. Our team of highly trained emergency vets is available 24 hours a day, and no appointment is needed.


Essendon Fields Vet Support Services

At ARH Essendon Fields, we believe our diagnostic imaging, nursing and intensive care services are the backbone of our hospital. We go to great lengths to ensure we have the best team and equipment in these areas so we can offer complete and cutting-edge assessment and treatment to all our patients.

At ARH, we offer a comprehensive range of surgical solutions for dogs and cats, including orthopaedic, soft tissue, trauma, reconstructive and neurological surgery.

Our surgery department is led by Dr Simon Kudnig, who is a specialist in small animal surgery, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) and a Fellow of the Australian College (FANZCVS). Simon has many years of experience as a surgeon and takes a considered approach to surgery. Simon and his team will provide a thorough plan to help ensure the best result for your pet.

Common surgical procedures performed at ARH include stifle (knee) stabilisation procedures for cruciate ligament injuries, fracture repair, limb deformity correction, arthroscopy, abdominal and thoracic surgery, reconstructive surgery, hemilaminectomy and ventral slot procedures for intervertebral disc disease, spinal stabilisation for fractures or dislocations, and laparoscopic procedures.

We are fully equipped with the most up-to-date surgical equipment and implants, including:

  • Standard and locking titanium and stainless-steel plates for fracture repair
  • Minimally invasive (keyhole) surgical equipment for arthroscopy, laparoscopy and thoracoscopy
  • External fixation implants for limb deformity correction and fracture repair
  • Ureteral stents and bypass implants for ureteral obstruction
  • Bipolar vessel-sealing technology for ligation
  • Stapling devices for organ removal
  • In-house access to CT, MRI, digital radiography, fluoroscopy and ultrasound, providing the most advanced diagnostic imaging options available.
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Our specialist surgeons are assisted by a highly qualified support team. The integration of surgery with internal medicine, oncology, diagnostic imaging, and emergency and critical care ensures a seamless approach to your pet’s care. Exemplary postoperative pain relief and care for surgical patients is provided by our 24-hour hospital and intensive care unit.

Our specialists are happy to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of patients with referring veterinarians by phone or email correspondence, including a radiographic appraisal of any case.

Our internal medicine team, led by Dr Robert Labuc, treats a broad range of cases, such as gastrointestinal disease (including liver, pancreas and bowel disease); cardiac and respiratory disease; endocrine problems (such as diabetes and thyroid disease); kidney issues; immune problems; and joint disease.

The training and experience of our internal medicine specialist enable him to work with your local veterinarian to provide the highest standard of care for your pet. Our specialists receive referrals for patients that are critically ill, as well as those with chronic or ongoing problems.

They are able to use their expertise combined with diagnostic tools, including endoscopy, ultrasound, CT and MRI, to investigate the cause of a pet’s illness and to offer the best possible advice on treatment options.

Our specialists are happy to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of patients with referring veterinarians by phone or email correspondence, including a radiographic appraisal of any case.

Our emergency and critical care department at ARH Essendon Fields offers a high level of patient care, diagnostics and intensive care medicine. This includes blood transfusions, emergency oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation, emergency surgical procedures, blood gas analysis, constant delivery of pain medications, and the treatment of heart failure, poisonings and trauma.

Specialist referral to emergency and critical care is available by prior appointment. We also provide regular support, case rounds, and back-up for our emergency team at other times.

ARH Essendon Fields diagnostic imaging suite is very advanced, allowing our specialists to obtain the highest quality images required for diagnosis, treatment planning and prognosis of your pet’s condition.

On-site, ARH Essendon Fields have:

  • 16-slice helical CT
  • CR digital radiography
  • Two ultrasound machines, including colour flow Doppler
  • MRI
  • Fluoroscopy

Images are interpreted by our highly skilled clinicians and supported by specialist radiologists within the ARH group

Our ARH nurses are highly skilled, compassionate people who will go above and beyond when caring for your pet. We have dedicated nurses in surgery, internal medicine, intensive care, and emergency and critical care. All our nurses undergo regular in-house training and attend conferences and lectures to ensure they provide the best care to our patients.

ARH encompasses a specialist referral service and emergency hospital in one business, which allows our nurses to provide seamless continuity of care to your pet. Whatever time of day your pet is being treated, our nurses will strive to provide a comfortable and anxiety-free stay for them.

ARH Essendon Fields offers on-site pathology through Idexx’s state-of-the-art point-of-care systems. This includes biochemistry testing, complete blood count (Lasercyte and Procyte), urine testing, cortisol, thyroid and blood coagulation testing.

This means your pet's test results can be available swiftly in an emergency, by providing life-saving information without the need to send blood samples to an external laboratory.

For intensive care patients, the Radiometer ABL-90 blood gas analyser provides comprehensive, critical information regarding your pet’s blood pH levels, electrolytes and haemoglobin levels. Blood gas and electrolyte results are available in less than a minute once the sample is collected.

During normal business hours, we are backed by the full support of Melbourne’s leading veterinary pathology laboratories, including Idexx and Gribbles.

Getting a diagnosis of cancer in a pet can be a terrifying experience. However, our oncology team is here to assist pet owners through this difficult time. Our in-house oncologist, Dr Selvi Jegatheeson, is available for consultations with owners and their pets on Mondays.

Our oncology service provides owners with a full appraisal of their pet’s cancer diagnosis, and a discussion about any further diagnostic tests required, treatment options and prognosis.

Our oncology team can put together detailed treatment and monitoring plans for pets with cancer and works closely with the medicine and surgery departments to implement these plans.

In cases of advanced disease, palliative plans can also be discussed. We work closely with local vets to ensure optimal quality of life for pets during this difficult time.

Our specialists are also happy to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of patients with referring veterinarians by phone or email correspondence.

Our ARH receptionists are the welcoming face of our organisation and will support you during your time at our hospital. Our receptionists are highly trained and compassionate people. They can assist with making and changing appointments, organising visits with your pet, providing information on hospital stays and connecting you with our specialists. They are also the resident experts in payment options, such as VetPay, and can process your insurance claims if desired.

 

 

 

Meet the team

Our team members at ARH Essendon Fields are not just experienced leaders in their field; they are also compassionate, hard-working animal lovers. Our combined specialist and emergency hospital means all team members work hand in hand for your pet’s care.

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Dr Thurid Johnstone

Veterinarian

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Dr Thurid Johnstone

Veterinarian

Dr Thurid Johnstone is a European (ECVIM-CA) board-certified specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine and has practiced in Melbourne since 2013.

Her professional career started at Leipzig University (Germany), after which she completed a PhD at Massey University (NZ), an internship in Auckland (NZ) and a residency in Dublin (Ireland).  Thurid worked in Ireland, Sweden and at the University of Melbourne as senior lecturer, clinical researcher, and clinician before joining the team at ARH Essendon.

As clinician, she aims to deliver compassionate, best-practice care for pets and their carers.  Thurid is happy to assist with all internal medicine enquiries, though her main interest areas are in urology/nephrology and endocrinology of dogs and cats.

When Thurid is not working, she enjoys time with her husband and two kids and happily hangs out in the fantastic outdoors of Australia

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Dr Tania Shaw

BVSc(Hons), GradDipEd, DACVS-SA

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Dr Tania Shaw

BVSc(Hons), GradDipEd, DACVS-SA

Tania graduated from the University of Sydney in 2007 with first class honours, and then spent 3 years in general practice in Melbourne.

Following her passion for Small Animal Surgery, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Queensland Veterinary Specialists in Brisbane in 2011, followed by a surgical internship at Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre in 2012, and another surgical internship at the Murdoch University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Perth in 2013.

Tania then returned to Melbourne to complete a 3-year Small Animal Surgery Residency at Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre, training under our very own Specialist Surgeon, Simon Kudnig. After completing her Residency, Tania joined Animal Referral Hospital as a Surgery Registrar while preparing to sit her ACVS Board examinations in Small Animal Surgery. She passed her exams in March 2020 and is now a ACVS boarded Specialist Surgeon, making her a recognised specialist in Small Animal Surgery in Australia and the United States.

Tania enjoys all aspects of surgery, however her main interest is in soft tissue surgery, particularly surgical oncology, wound management, reconstructive surgery and abdominal surgery.

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Dr Rachel Apfel

Bsc DVM

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Dr Rachel Apfel

Bsc DVM

Rachel graduated from Murdoch University and commenced work in a busy small animal hospital in Adelaide, before relocating to Melbourne. Alongside a passion for all things emergency and critical care, she has a keen interest in rabbit and guinea pig medicine.

Outside of work, Rachel enjoys the Melbourne food scene, yoga and camping.

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Dr Ania McInerney

Veterinarian

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Dr Ania McInerney

Veterinarian

Dr Ania is a 2016 graduate from the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the University of Melbourne, and also holds Bachelor degrees in science and music. The class valedictorian, she went on to work in small animal general practice at leading Melbourne clinics before embarking on her ECC journey. Dr Ania has a special interest in animal behaviour, and is passionate about treating the mental health needs of her patients. She also enjoys soft tissue surgery, emergency medicine, and seeing her patients go home to their loving family at the end of treatment.  

Before becoming a veterinarian, Dr Ania was a professional opera singer who toured in Australia and abroad. She still enjoys performing occasionally around Melbourne (and singing to her patients) when she isn't escaping the city to go hiking or camping. Dr Ania loves cooking and pottering about in her kitchen and garden. She lives with her beautiful husband, son, and their sassy feline overlord, Ziggy. 

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Dr Charlie Banks

BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine of Cats)

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Dr Charlie Banks

BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine of Cats)

After graduating from Bristol University (UK) in 2015 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Charlie spent 3 years working in a combined general and emergency practice in Essex, then a year in a large emergency clinic in North London. He moved to Australia with his partner in 2019 and after 6 months of travelling in their campervan they settled in Melbourne, where Charlie began locuming across both GP and emergency practices. He joined ARH as a permanent member of staff in 2022, the same year he obtained membership within the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) by sitting further examinations in the field of Medicine of Cats.

Outside of work he enjoys Melbourne's music scene, cooking, travel and spending time with his two cats Finn and Ted.

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Dr Clifford Ho Lee

BVSc MANZCVS (ECC)

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Dr Clifford Ho Lee

BVSc MANZCVS (ECC)

After graduating from Melbourne University in 2009, Clifford worked in a small animal general practice clinic for three years. He subsequently pursued an interest in Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) and completed an ECC internship in 2013 at the ARH Essendon fields hospital. In 2014 Clifford obtained membership status within the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) by sitting further examinations in the field of veterinary emergency & critical care. Since 2013, he has remained a consistent figure within the hospital and is a senior veterinarian within the ECC department. 

Outside of veterinary practice he enjoys playing tennis, cooking and is kept busy with his young family and pets. 

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Dr Harris Boubis

BSc DVM MANZCVS (ECC)

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Dr Harris Boubis

BSc DVM MANZCVS (ECC)

Dr Harris graduated from The University of Melbourne in 2014 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

The following week he began an internship in Emergency and Critical Care at Animal Referral Hospital, and remains part of the team to this day. In 2019, Harris became a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (in the Emergency and Critical Care chapter).

Harris enjoys the wide and interesting caseload that a career in emergency medicine provides, with particular interests in the treatment of intoxications and envenomations.

When he is not at work, Harris enjoys exploring Melbourne’s food scene as well as interstate and overseas travel.

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Dr Selvi Jegatheeson

BSc(hon) DVM MVS MVSc (Clinical) FANZVCS (Veterinary Oncology)

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Dr Selvi Jegatheeson

BSc(hon) DVM MVS MVSc (Clinical) FANZVCS (Veterinary Oncology)

Selvi is passionate about improving cancer care for pets. She completed a medical oncology internship at a busy private practice, followed by a 3-year residency through the University of Melbourne. Selvi passed her specialist examinations in 2022 and is a registered specialist in veterinary oncology.

Selvi also has experience in cancer research, and is currently undertaking a PhD at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where she aims to develop novel immunotherapy treatments for both people and pets with cancer. Selvi is currently on parental leave and will return in late 2023, where she will consult on Mondays.

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Dr Kimberly Yeung

Veterinarian

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Dr Kimberly Yeung

Veterinarian

Kimberly graduated from her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2020 at the University of Melbourne. After graduation, she worked in small animal general practice for two years and discovered her passion in small animal surgery. She is currently working as a surgery intern at Animal Referral Hospital to further explore and pursue this interest. Kimberly is also planning to sit her ANZCVS membership exams in small animal surgery next year.

Outside of work, she enjoys board games, bouldering and going to Sunday markets. She lives with two mischievous cats, Kiki and Rory. 

Information for vets referring to our Essendon Fields vet hospital

At ARH, we work closely with referring veterinarians to ensure a coordinated approach to pet care. Our specialist and emergency services are combined in one fully integrated business. We share the same team members, computer systems and equipment, making communication easier and ensuring treatment is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

All pets are referred back to their regular veterinarian for continued treatment and management of conditions. We are not a general practice and do not perform any routine duties such as vaccinations, heartworm injections or microchipping. Our ARH specialists are available via phone or email to provide advice to referring veterinarians. We can also talk through treatment options and cost estimates.

If you are a referring veterinarian, please contact us by phone to speak directly to a specialist in the relevant department. Our specialists will make every effort to come to the phone. However, if a specialist is not available immediately, one of our nursing team will be happy to take your call and answer any questions you may have.

We are also happy to discuss a case at any time, including after-hours advice from our emergency team.

We welcome feedback on any of your cases referred to ARH. Please fill in the information below. Alternatively, please phone the veterinarian you have been working with or hospital manager on (03) 9379 0700 , or email us directly essendon@arhvets.com to provide feedback, follow-up information or suggestions

 

 

Information or pet owners visiting our Essendon Fields hospital

When your pet is staying at ARH, we encourage you to visit during visiting hours. The vet looking after your pet will be able to advise you if this is appropriate or not, so mention it to them when they call to update you. Please speak to one of our receptionists to arrange a time to visit your pet. Throughout your pet’s treatment, we will keep you updated on their progress. We understand you may miss your pet and be worried about them, and we encourage you to call for updates.

You will need a referral from your regular veterinarian to see an ARH specialist. Appointments can be made by contacting a member of our reception team on (03) 9379 0700 or essendon@arhvets.com. We have free onsite parking.

Please bring your referral letter as well as any other information, such as x-rays and current medication. Usually, we get these directly from your referring vet, so don’t worry if you don’t have any paperwork.

Depending on the nature of your pet’s illness you will meet with either a surgical or medical specialist. Your specialist will discuss your pet’s history and assess your pet. Your pet may need to stay in hospital for further diagnostic work or treatment, so we advise keeping some flexibility, where possible, on the day of your appointment.

Your specialist will provide a complete range of options for your pet’s treatment, including prognosis and an estimation of costs. Our specialists will work closely with your referring veterinarian to ensure a coordinated approach is taken to your pet’s care.

Your specialist will discuss any costs with you before these take place unless it is an emergency situation. Please see reception after each appointment to finalise your account.

A veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has undergone specialised residency training in a chosen field, such as surgery, neurology, internal medicine, or emergency and critical care, for example. Specialist training commences after the completion of a veterinary degree and usually involves between three and five years of additional training and supervision.

Our emergency department veterinarians staff our hospital 24 hours a day. Like a human hospital, no appointment is needed for the emergency department. However, if you are seeing a specialist, you are required to book an appointment. Our reception desk is open 24/7, and you can book an appointment at any time. Appointments with our specialists, however, are conducted during normal business hours.

Your pet may be required to stay at ARH for further diagnosis and treatment. You will be provided with a Consent for Treatment form, which will include an estimate of costs.

If your pet is coming in for a procedure, please ensure they fast from the night before. This means they can have dinner as normal but take their food away at around 10 pm so they have an empty stomach for their procedure. Offer them as much water as they like. If they are diabetic or have any other medical conditions, please contact your vet or our friendly reception team to discuss. Please note: do not withhold food from exotic and avian patients.

During your pet’s hospital stay, you may miss your pet and be worried about them. We encourage you to call us at any time, day or night, to find out how they are doing. The treating vet will do their best to update you as often as possible, but in the event they are attending to another patient or are performing a procedure when you call, please understand we may need to leave a message for them to contact you. ARH Essendon is open 24 hours a day, and our visiting hours are flexible throughout the day and evening. Please speak to the treating vet to arrange a time to visit your pet.

Our team will discuss any costs with you before treatment takes place unless it is an emergency situation. Please remember this is an estimate and costs can potentially increase due to unexpected complications and prolonged hospital stays.

ARH requires at least 50% of the treatment estimate to be paid prior to the start of treatment, with the account to be finalised at the time of your pet’s discharge. We may ask for a progress payment during your pet’s stay in hospital. Please see our customer care team after each appointment to finalise your account. ARH accepts cash, EFTPOS and credit cards.

If you feel you will need assistance to pay your account, please speak to our customer care team as soon as possible. VetPay is a company that offers affordable finance options. For VetPay finance to be approved, applications need to be made before treatment begins, so please speak to our customer care team for information as early as possible.

Our friendly customer care team members are happy to complete insurance claims for your pet’s treatment with us. Most insurance companies now accept claims online, so all we will need is your insurance company name and your pet’s policy number to process your claim when you finalise your bill.

GapOnly™️

As a pet parent, when your fur baby gets sick or injured, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether you can afford treatment. An innovation in the pet insurance claims experience is GapOnly™️, which reviews and calculates your claim while you’re still at ARH. You simply pay the gap (the difference between your ARH invoice and your pet insurance).

Learn more about GapOnly™️ here

 

 

 

 

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