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Welcome to Rathmines Veterinary Hospital & Catalina Cat Boarding

Where we take care of your pet as if they were one of our own.

Established in 1986.

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Clinic Hours

Consultation by appointment

Mon-Fri: 8am-6.30pm

Sat: Temporarily Closed
Closed Sundays & Public Holidays

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Meet Our Team

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Dr David Clifford

Veterinary Director & Co-owner

Having graduated from University College Dublin, Ireland in 2014, David joined the Rathmines Veterinary Hospital team back in late 2018 after spending several years living and working in Australia. He spent his formative year working in a mixed (companion animal, equine and farm animal) practice on the New South Wales Central Coast where he began to ‘learn the ropes’ of veterinary practice prior to accepting a more senior position at a large, busy veterinary hospital in Gosford. This proved to be a great experience and was the first major step in a career working exclusively with companion animal species (primarily dogs and cats, with occasional rabbits, birds and wildlife also). David subsequently spent some time working further North in both Newcastle and Port Macquarie before discovering the ‘Hidden gem’ of Rathmines and the greater Lake Macquarie region. Having spent a little over three years working as a senior veterinary surgeon on the Rathmines veterinary team, David and his wife, Emma – a very accomplished veterinary nurse and veterinary practice manager – took the plunge of practice ownership.
With an almost six-month old baby (William) in-tow and with a Pep in their step, this young family has taken the challenge of practice ownership by the horns. From the ‘Get-Go’, Emma and David realised that there was a significant amount of work required to bring the practice up to the standard that they wished to provide to the wonderful and loyal clients of Rathmines and surrounds.  This started from day-one with longer consultation appointment times; increased and improved staffing and support and recruitment of top-class veterinary professionals for what was to become the top-class general practice veterinary service we are so proud to offer today.
Away from work, David is the loving husband of the multi-talented and beautiful Emma, as well as the extremely proud and adoring father of William and baby Daniel. He is also the proud pet parent of three great dogs – ‘Penny’, ‘Seamus’ and little rescue dog, ‘Lily’; as well as five cats – ‘Dusty’, ‘Jackie’, ‘Meg’, ‘Dora’ and ‘Clarice Starling’, three horses – ‘Shrewdy’ a retired Racehorse and two miniature ponies ‘Creamy’ and ‘Coco’; Three goats – ‘Basil’, ‘Sybil’ and ‘Trevor’ as well as the star of the show, ‘Freddie Mercury’ a storm-rescued featherless baby bird who grew into a large, flamboyant Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. When not spending time with family/chasing toddlers or walking dogs, David is happiest meeting friends; travelling when he can and getting in the water for a Scuba dive – always hoping to spot a (non-aggressive) shark or two!

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Dr Alex Pan

Senior Veterinarian

Dr. Alex Pan joins us on a part-time basis after a number of years building his professional career in a well-established; very busy small animal veterinary hospital on the Central Coast; working his way through the ranks to senior veterinarian (and ultimately head veterinarian). It was at this practice where Dr. Alex met an Irish vet called Dr. David Clifford, with whom he worked for approximately 18 months. Skip forward a few years and these two have been reunited under a different roof but with the same zeal and drive to deliver the best possible care and support to the pet population (and their owners) of the greater Lake Macquarie region.
Dr. Alex has a special interest in advanced and emergency medicine and is currently under-taking post-graduate study to gain formal qualifications in this area. His other area of particular expertise is in ultrasonography (ultrasound scanning), which he is well-versed in applying to many types of medical situations ranging from screening animals for evidence of certain endocrine (hormonal) disorders; investigating potential cancerous and benign growths internally and even cardio-thoracic investigation (heart and lung examination) as well as screening animals with suspected abdominal organ (liver; kidneys; spleen and digestive tract dysfunction to name a few) and unexplained fluid accumulation in and around the organs. This skill-set makes Dr. Alex very well-equipped to handle even the most challenging situations, as and when they arise and he is a great addition to our team.
Aside from all the ‘fancy stuff’, Dr. Alex is equally fulfilled with the ‘routine’ cases and is often found in the consulting room performing health checks; vaccinations; medical consultations; lump checks and dermatology discussions with owners to ensure they and their pets achieve the most out of their journey through life together.
We are very excited to have Dr. Alex on our team and we hope that you and your fur-family have the pleasure of meeting him soon.

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Emma Clifford

Practice Manager, Veterinary Nurse & Co-owner

Emma brings a wealth of experience to our veterinary team after many years, working her way through the ranks from Animal attendant at a RSPCA shelter, followed by more than 11 years of practice as a qualified veterinary nurse working in a variety of areas of practice including companion animal general practice and mixed animal (farm animal, companion animal and equine) practice. She has also dabbled in small animal emergency practice and specialist equine practice, but over the years has found that her invariable drawcard has been in practice management.
While much of her time is consumed with behind the scenes management of the clinic, she is also still actively involved in ‘hands-on’ clinical work including preparing patients for surgery, helping with management of medical cases and monitoring of sedated and anaesthetised patients as well as general ‘front of house’ duties on reception and when the vets need a helping hand. Emma has pursued further studies in veterinary practice management, having obtained a full scholarship to undertake her diploma in general practice.
Emma’s ‘other job’ is the full-time care of her and David’s family consisting of their young son, William as well as a menagerie of pets including two horses, four goats, five cats, their three kelpie-cross dogs 'Penny', 'Seamus' and the most recent addition 'Lilly'. Last but not least is a an orphaned Sulphur-crested Cockatoo called ‘Freddie Mercury’. All of these pets, bar one of the dogs, the 19-year-old cat and the two horses are rescued from less fortunate situations and make a dynamic group of much-loved misfits.

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Carolyn

Head Veterinary Nurse

Carolyn has been a part of the fabric of the team long before any of the current staff. Starting off as a veterinary nurse work placement student way back in 2012, she has been a central part of the Rathmines veterinary hospital team for a full generation of our much-loved patients and their pet-parents. Having been a local of the area for many years and having seen the full spectrum of what can come through the door of your local veterinary hospital from cute puppies to emergency life and death situations, we feel like Caz is ready for any challenge at any time of her shift. As well as being highly clinically competent, Caz plays a vital role as second in-charge to Emma on the management front and is often the in-clinic go-to to address any issues as they arise. You will find Carolyn in-clinic most weekdays as well as some weekends.
As well as her extensive experience in general practice, Carolyn holds a certificate in Animal behaviour and training which has helped her to design an up-to-date Puppy Pre-school curriculum which she teaches  to puppies and their pet parents interested in maximizing their puppies early behaviour development, dog-to-dog social skills and human-animal bond. Those who have attended puppy school will attest to this.
Carolyn’s home-life is just as busy as her work life. She and her Partner Matt and their son, Layken  are kept busy with two Large-breed dogs – Echo, the diabetic Rottweiler and Lacey, the naughty Irish Wolfhound cross who LOVES eating naughty things…so much so that Carolyn and David spent Easter Sunday 2021 in theatre removing a school sports sock from her small intestine!

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Vas

Veterinary Nurse

Vas is a long-time vet nurse who has come full-circle from her days as a full-time veterinary nurse and practice manager at a busy veterinary clinic on the Central Coast.
Having worked with a mix of ‘normal’ domestic pets as well as lots of greyhounds from a local rehabilitation and re-homing centre as they transitioned from racing dogs to family pets. From here, she decided on a change of career path within the animal care industry, and moved in to full-time work and management on an equine agistment, reproductive and rehabilitation facility where she has been able to apply her skills and knowledge from her veterinary nursing background with her other four-legged love – Horses. These days, unable to stay away from hands-on veterinary care, Vas divides her professional time between equine work and companion animal veterinary care. One thing you’ll never find with Vas is a dull moment as she always has an anecdote or a funny story to share as well as being a great source of knowledge in both companion animal nursing care and a pearl of management wisdom.

Vas shares her home with her horse ‘Yogi’ as well as a Gentle Giant, Jordon, the Rottweiler x Boxer who is never far from Vas’ side. She keeps threatening to get a puppy though, so…watch this space.

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Lucy

Veterinary Nurse

Lucy joined us in early 2022 after gaining experience working in two multi-vet practices both in the Central Coast and Newcastle regions. After being offered a full-time position by Emma and David, she decided it was the right time to jump ship and join the close-knit team at Rathmines veterinary hospital, where she has fitted in immediately. With a particular interest in anaesthetic and surgical nursing, you will often find Lucy attending to our hospitalized patients ensuring they are kept safe, comfortable and warm before, during and after their medical or surgical procedure, whether that be for medical investigation, x-ray imaging or surgical procedures of all types. Lucy truly loves what she does and it shows in her attention to detail and compassion for all creatures great and small.

Lucy is a true local, having grown up in Lake Macquarie. In her spare time away from the clinic & Vet nurse life, she teaches children and adults dance at a local dance studio. You may also find her at the beach going for a walk or a swim.
Lucy shares her two dogs, Jasper and Dixi and a cheeky kitten named Cal with her partner, Sam.

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Hayley C

Veterinary Nurse

Bio coming soon

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Hayley T

Veterinary Nurse

Hayley has been with the team since 2017 and in that time she has worked her way up through the ranks to be the knowledgeable & friendly face we know and love today. While Hayley enjoys the daily challenges that first-opinion general veterinary practice entails, she has also been known to do some shifts with our awesome colleagues at the Animal referral and emergency centre at Broadmeadow.
Hayley is involved in all aspects of the day-to-day work of the practice and is not shy to admitting she is a true cat lover. So much so that if ever she can’t be found in the veterinary hospital, she has likely nipped next door to our cat boarding facility to check-in with our fabulous feline friends. Back in the veterinary hospital. Hayley can often be found in theatre assisting with surgical procedures ranging from lump removal procedures for suspicious growths; wound re-construction surgeries after dog and/or cat fights to routine desexing procedures through to more exotic procedures such as advanced soft tissue surgery and orthopaedic surgical procedures.
When not at work, Hayley is kept busy at home with her Husband, Jordan and their fur family consisting of two cats - ‘Sammy’ (aka Bam) and Sebastian and their adorable rescue dog, Soku who ensures Mum and dad are kept fit with his demands for regular walks on the edge of beautiful Lake Macquarie.

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Enola

Animal Attendant

Enola is our animal attendant who helps both with the cat-boarding facility and with some reception work. As a full-time university student, studying occupational therapy, we only have the pleasure of working with Enola on a Monday morning, but her great work ethic makes everything run that bit smoother, as Mondays are often a very busy time in the vet hospital and cat boarding facility. Life is busy for Enola as when she gets a break from work and study, she plays soccer locally as well as enjoying drawing and spending time with her pets – Ginger, a Golden-Retriever x Dachshund and a pet snake called Monty. When asked what part of the job she enjoys most, Enola admits it’s spending time with all the cats and dogs that does it for her.

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Mac

Clinic Cat

Mac is our longest standing team member and he has been with Rathmines Vets since he was brought to the clinic as a tiny stray kitten 11 years ago.
Now that he is into his senior years, Mac enjoys joining the team for lunch breaks, sunbaking and coming in for his 4:30pm snuggles at reception.

Our Services

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Pet Wellness Exams & Preventative Care

As caring owners, you want the very best for your pet. That’s why we encourage you to schedule regular Pet Wellness Exams. By seeking to prevent problems before they arise, you’re ensuring your pet extended health and happiness.

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Veterinary Pathology

Description coming soon

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Urgent Care Services

Description coming soon

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Surgery & Anaesthesia

Many procedures, both surgical and non-surgical (e.g. x-rays; Dental treatment; Wound management) require us to sedate or anaesthetise patients to ensure they are pain and anxiety-free during their procedure. We have invested in our team and our equipment to ensure your pet is not only as safe as possible, but also as comfortable as possible during their procedure.

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Internal Medicine Services

Our local team at Rathmines veterinary hospital have the experience, the compassion and the care to ensure that no matter the cause, we are here to provide the medical care your pet needs. After working in the veterinary industry since 2014, Dr. David has gained extensive experience in all aspects of veterinary medicine and his relaxed, but caring nature and strong knowledge will ensure both you and your pet are put at ease during your visit to Rathmines veterinary hospital.

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Dentistry

Description coming soon

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Radiology and Ultrasonography

Description coming soon

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Puppy Preschool

Our highly trained Veterinary Nurses provide a safe and positive environment for your puppy to learn to establish good behaviour patterns, and to have the opportunity to socialize with other puppies their age.

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Catalina Cat Boarding

Here at Catalina Cat Boarding, your cat will be looked after as if they are one of our own, by our team of dedicated and experienced Vet Nurses.

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Online bookings and Pet Portal

Booking your pet in for their next appointment is easy with our online booking system.

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Contact Us

5 Immarna Rd, Rathmines NSW 2283, Australia

(02) 4975 3366

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About Us

The Clifford family

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