Companion Services

Surgical Referrals

Orthopaedic and Soft Tissue Surgery Referrals

Dr Penny Birchall BVSc MANZCVS (surgery, radiology) leads the referral team at the Vet Hospital Group. Penny is based at the Albany Vet Hospital and came to the group with a wealth of experience from both New Zealand and overseas. She trained as a vet in the UK, then studied further in New Zealand, passing the Australia-New Zealand College memberships exams in both surgery and radiology while working in a vet hospital in Christchurch. Penny returned to the UK to work in a small animal referral hospital for 10 years where she also further studied ultrasound. 

During this time Penny and her husband and children managed to fit in a circumnavigation in their 40ft yacht, a truly wonderful and challenging experience, the highlight being Patagonia in the deep south.

Back in Auckland, Penny has been our surgical and ultrasound guru for some time now as a great many of you already know.

Penny is passionate about her work and most importantly passionate about helping her patients, she is fully committed to finding the best solution for diagnosis and treatment of your pet.

We carry out a huge range of orthopaedic surgery, soft tissue surgery and ultrasound.

Our range of orthopaedic surgery includes; 

  • Cruciate disease surgery (including tibial plateau levelling surgery), 
  • Luxating patella surgery, 
  • Growth plate injuries, 
  • Fractures, 
  • Joint surgery
  • Bone biopsies, 
  • Mandibulectomy,
  • Jaw reconstruction 
  • Cancer surgery
  • and many more.

Two of the more common orthopaedic problems we see are cruciate disease and patella luxation. Both are stifle (knee) problems and can be severely debilitating conditions if left untreated. Treatment options will always be tailored to the individual and the options will be discussed prior to surgery.

Cruciate disease is a very painful condition that can occur in any breed and leads to a very unstable joint. We offer tibial plateau levelling surgery to maximize the chance of return to full activity for your pet. 

Patella (knee cap) luxation is a growth abnormality we commonly see in the smaller dogs. We fix this with a combination surgery to realign and stabilize the knee cap in the correct position.

Soft tissue surgery includes 

  • Gastrointestinal surgery (foreign body removal, intussusception, biopsy etc), 
  • Cancer surgery, 
  • Skin reconstruction, 
  • Urethrostomy, 
  • Cystotomy, 
  • Laryngeal paralysis surgery, 
  • Brachycephalic obstructive airway surgery, 
  • Ear canal surgery
  • Other urogenital surgery 
  • Thoracotomy 
  • and many more.

Meet the rest of the team

Paula Thoms VN has been at Albany for many years and during this time has developed a  special interest in anaesthesia. This has been very much supported by undergoing considerable extra training in veterinary anaesthesia. She is passionate about doing the very best for your pets, and to assist with this we have an extensive array of very high quality monitoring systems.

Jo Carter VN was the first to join the team and like Paula, she is also outstanding in her abilities.Through all our complex surgeries, Jo’s attention to detail means that your pet is always receiving the very best care. One of her main roles is as my chief surgical assistant and in this  she is second to none. Her further training has been in radiography and rehabilitation and she is devoted to both.


Madison had a rostral mandibulectomy

Companion Vet Services

Ultrasound Referrals

Ultrasound interpretation and diagnosis

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Complete Vet Care

Our clinics are well-equipped to provide the optimum in care for your precious pet and our staff are knowledgeable and eager to help you.

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Pet Medical Care & Hospitalisation

We have a full hospital capabilities on site in each clinic, with dedicated nurses to offer attentive care for your sick pet.

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Pet Dentistry

Dental disease is one of the most common problems seen in cats and dogs.

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Pet Desexing

Desexing is a commonly perfomed surgical procedure for your pet.

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Puppy Preschool

Auckland Puppy pre-school classes are run at all the Vet Hospital Group Clinics.

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Pet Vaccinations

Prevention is always better than cure.

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Vet Consultation & Health Checks

We can give your pets a full and thorough check-over whenever it is needed.

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