Services

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 Your pet is an important part of your family, and we want to work with you to help you keep their health at it’s very best.  Whether it be preventative care or diagnostic testing, we are here to provide you with the latest information and health care to help them get back on their paws.

Our Veterinarians and Technicians strive to be at the top of our field by regularly attending continued education seminars. This helps us to keep you up to date on the latest advances in medical care. From adjusting vaccine protocols for individual pets, to increasing your pet’s overall oral health. We are committed to keeping you in the  loop and your pet’s health care program as individual as their personalities themselves. 

Anesthesia/Surgery

Our veterinarians and technicians strive to provide the safest anesthetic and surgical procedures we can for our patients. We do our best to educate you about the treatments and procedures we perform and explain why certain tests are performed. Our goal is to reduce any fears or anxieties that you may have, as we know how hard it can be to leave your pet at a hospital and not understand what may be happening. We treat every pet like they are one of our own and do our best to provide a stress-free, comfortable and safe experience for them. 

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Dental Care

If you have noticed bad breath in your pet, you are not alone. Dental disease is one of the most common health concerns in our pets, and it is much more than just bad breath. 

When plaque and tartar accumulate, bacteria become trapped in the layers of tartar on the teeth and contribute to inflammation and gum redness (gingivitis). As inflammation worsens, bacteria are able to get under the gumline and affect the roots of the teeth and the periodontal space – known as periodontal disease. 

Periodontal disease causes loss of bone around the roots of the teeth, tooth mobility, and oral pain. 

At our hospital we offer comprehensive oral health assessments and treatment plans designed for your pet to help maintain a clean, pain-free mouth with fresh breath! 

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Emergency Care and Critical Care

  Emergencies, accidents, and illnesses are unfortunate facts of life, but how many of us plan for the unthinkable before it happens? What would you do if your pet were suddenly sick or injured? Do you have a plan? Do you know where to go for help if your pet needed critical care or had to be hospitalized? 

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Hospice and Euthanasia Services

 Our pets are important members of the family. We never want them to get sick and we wish they could stay with us forever and we only want the best for them. If you have a pet that has been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition or you have concerns about his/her quality of life, our compassionate and professional team is here to support you and provide guidance regarding palliative care and euthanasia. 

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Laboratory

Our trained veterinary technicians are able to perform a variety of in-hospital diagnostic tests to help our veterinarians provide your pet with the most accurate treatment plans. We also use IDEXX Reference Laboratories for submitting specialty tests and larger blood profiles.

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New Kitten Exams, Vaccinations and Healthcare

Bringing home a Kitten is an exciting and exhausting time.  It can be overwhelming because of how much work is involved in raising and training it.  The age and health of the kitten when you get him/her will determine if two or three visits to the veterinarian are necessary within the first 6 months of his/her life.  This article explains why kittens need to see the veterinarian at each vaccination appointment and what happens at each visit. 

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New Puppy Exams, Vaccination and Healthcare

Bringing home a puppy is an exciting and exhausting time.  It can be overwhelming because of how much work is involved in raising and training it.  The age and health of the puppy when you get him/her will determine if two or three visits to the veterinarian are necessary within the first 6 months of his/her life.  This article explains why puppies need to see the veterinarian at each vaccination appointment and what happens at each visit. 

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Nutritional Counseling

Our hospital carries a variety of prescription pet foods designed to help manage specific health conditions. We also have a variety of life-stage diets that promote good oral hygiene, a healthy skin and haircoat, optimal urinary tract health and a healthy digestive system. Many of our diets are also available through our online webstore – you can have your pet’s food delivered right to your door and set-up auto-orders to ensure you don’t accidentally run out of food!

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Parasite Prevention and Control

There was a time when parasites like fleas, ticks, and roundworms were considered mostly a nuisance. Now, however, we know that parasites can cause serious illness and even death in pets. For example, ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella – the bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans. Another type of parasite, called a heartworm, is transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworms live in your pet’s lungs and heart, causing damage to these organs, and sometimes even death. Intestinal parasites, like roundworms and hookworms, also threaten pets and are transmissible to humans 

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Senior Care

Did you know that pets age faster than people and can be considered “seniors” at around 7-10 years of age (depending on species and breed)? Just as our health care needs change as we age, your pet’s health care needs also change. Nutritional needs, exercise habits, and many aspects of your pet’s daily routine can change as your pet ages. But how can you tell the difference between “normal” aging and a medical problem? As in humans, some health issues that affect older pets can begin with very subtle changes that may go unnoticed until the problem has become serious. 

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Vaccinations

Pets today can live longer, healthier lives than ever before—in part because of vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Over the years, vaccines against dangerous diseases have saved millions of pets and virtually eliminated some fatal diseases that were once common. Unfortunately, many infectious diseases still pose a significant threat to dogs and cats that are unvaccinated. Although vaccine programs have been highly successful and vaccines are considered routine today, we, as caregivers, and you, as pet parents cannot afford to become complacent about keeping pets up-to-date on their vaccinations. 

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Behavioral Medicine

Your pet’s behavior affects every interaction you have with him or her on a daily basis. Behavior dictates everything from meal time, to exercise time, to downtime such as relaxing on the couch with other family members. When a pet has a behavior problem, the consequences are far-reaching. Behavior problems threaten the bond you have with your pet by damaging the loving relationship that should exist between you. In extreme situations, a serious behavior problem can lead to euthanasia or surrendering a pet to a shelter. 

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Digital Dental Radiograph

As part of our Complete Oral Health Assessment + Treatment Plans, our patients receive full mouth dental radiographs. This allows us to assess the complete health of your pet’s teeth. It is a safe non-invasive procedure that allows us to see below the gum line and inside the tooth to determine overall tooth health. Dental radiographs allow us to monitor progression or resolution of dental disease as well as aid in dental extractions. 

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Fully Stocked Pharmacy

Our hospital has a fully stocked pharmacy for your pet’s health needs. These include, but are not limited to: antibiotics, heart medications, parasite preventatives, supplements, medicated shampoos and a variety of pain medications. We are also able to have veterinary compounding pharmacies (Summit Pharmacy and Chiron Pharmacy) formulate medications in specific doses and formulations (tablets, flavoured chews/liquids, transdermal gels) when needed. 

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Microchipping

Each year, thousands of pets go missing, and many don’t make it back home. Many pets (especially indoor pets) don’t wear collars or tags. Even if your pet wears a collar and identification tag, collars can break off and tags can become damaged and unreadable, so these forms of identification may not be enough to ensure your pet’s safe return. Your pet needs a form of identification that is reliable and can’t get lost, stolen, or damaged. A microchip is a safe, simple form of identification that can significantly increase the chance that your pet will return safely. 

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Radiology (X-ray)

Digital Radiography allows us to capture images quickly. The images are very crisp and clear for the Veterinarians to review. They have the ability to view and discuss findings with you in the privacy of our examination rooms. These images can submitted to Referral Veterinarians for patients who may need Orthopedic consultations, Internal Medicine Specialists etc. We will even send you home with your own digital copy. 

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Wellness Exams

Your pet can benefit greatly from regular wellness examinations or checkups. Whether your pet is a youngster, a “senior citizen,” or any age in between, wellness examinations provide an excellent opportunity for us to conduct a thorough physical examination and develop a health profile for your pet. This information will help us identify medical problems and any other issues that can affect your pet’s health and quality of life 

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Massage Therapy

Canine Massage Therapy is a more holistic approach for the well-being of our pets. Massage can have a very positive effect on the body's overall system whether it be physical or psychological. The touch component of massage is known to have a relaxing effect on the nervous system all while concentration on specific areas that need conditioning. Senior pets that have chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis can get some relief and general feeling of comfort and relaxation.

Massage promotes healing to muscles by bringing in oxygen and releasing endorphins creating a calming effect in the body and general feeling of peace. 

One of our technicians is certified in canine massage and would be happy to help. Please call the office if you are interested in arranging an assessment.

Anesthesia/surgery

 What to expect when your pet is scheduled for surgery?
 

Before and during Surgery
The night before surgery your pet can have his/her usual dinner and access to water. We will provide you with a Cerenia tablet which is an anti-nausea medication that helps with the nausea associated with anesthesia. This tablet can be given with a small snack at 10pm. At 12am (midnight) your pet is no longer allowed to eat, but they may still have access to water. No breakfast is given on the morning of surgery. Please allow your dog/cat to have his/her regular bathroom break in the morning. If the pet is a dog, please attempt to catch his/hers first morning pee sample in a clean container and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bring it to the clinic.
 

When your pet arrives at the hospital a registered veterinary technician (RVT) will weigh him/her and admit him/her for surgery. There will be some paperwork for you to review and sign as well.
 

The veterinarian performs a full physical examination prior to any sedation/medication being administered to ensure he/she is healthy for surgery.
 

A blood sample is collected and a pre-anaesthetic blood screen is performed (if it has not been done prior). This blood work ensures that the kidneys and liver are working appropriately as these organs process the anaesthesia and pain medications. Red blood cells, white blood cells and clotting cells are assessed to check for dehydration, infection/inflammation/allergic response and clotting ability.
 

Based on the physical exam and blood work results, an anaesthetic plan is developed for your pet. Pre-medication sedation is administered to allow him/her to relax. This pre-medication contains a pain medication that helps to prevent pain from occurring even before surgery begins.
 

A small area on a front or back leg is shaved and sterilely cleaned. An intravenous (IV) catheter is placed in the vein. This allows us to provide injectable anaesthetic, pain medications throughout the day, intravenous fluids and, if necessary, emergency drugs that can be administered quickly without wasting time trying to access a blood vessel.
 

An injectable anaesthetic is administered using the IV catheter. Once anaesthetized, a tube (endotracheal tube) is placed in the windpipe (trachea) to allow the inhaled anaesthesia and oxygen to be delivered. In cats, a topical anaesthetic is sprayed on the entrance to the airway to reduce the risk of spasms. The endotracheal tube has an inflatable cuff at the end which, when inflated, ensures that no saliva or food material can enter the lungs (preventing aspiration pneumonia). Inhaled anaesthesia and oxygen is delivered through the endotracheal tube at an amount that is necessary to maintain the appropriate level of anaesthesia for surgery. The RVT closely monitors this before and during surgery to prevent too much or too little anaesthetic being used.
 

Intravenous fluids are connected to the IV catheter. The rate of fluid intake is based on what your pet needs (determined from his/her physical examination, pre-anaesthetic blood work and pre-surgical blood pressure measurement). These can be adjusted throughout surgery depending on your pet’s blood pressure. The fluids are kept warm to prevent unwanted cooling of your pet during surgery.
 

One RVT checks the patient’s depth of anaesthesia, heart rate and rhythm (listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, feeling the pulse and monitoring the ECG), breathing rate and effort, blood pressure (with a Doppler monitor machine), gum colour and hydration.  The other RVT (or the veterinarian depending on the available team members) clips the hair at the surgical site.
 

The patient is moved into the surgical room and placed on a warming pad to help maintain his/her body temperature during surgery. An ECG (electrocardiogram) is attached to consistently monitor heart rate and rhythm in addition to the RVT monitoring with a stethoscope.
 

The area that has been clipped for surgery is cleaned with a 3-step surgical scrub procedure.
 

While this is occurring, the veterinarian prepares for surgery: surgical mask and cap are worn, a 5 minute (minimum) surgical hand scrub (from finger tips to elbows) is done, a sterilized gown is worn over clean surgical scrubs and sterilized gloves are put on.
 

The RVT sterilely opens the surgical pack (sterilized surgical instruments, gauze and surgical drape) and gives the veterinarian a sterile scalpel blade and suture material.
 

During surgery, the following are monitored continuously by the RVT:

· Heart rate and rhythm with stethoscope and ECG

· Breathing rate and effort

· Blood oxygen level

· Blood pressure (feeling pulse and Doppler monitor)

· Gum colour, capillary refill time (perfusion) and texture (moist vs. dry)

· Depth of anaesthesia (eye reflexes, eye position, jaw tone, breathing rate, blood pressure, toe-pinch)

· Body temperature

After Surgery is Complete

The inhaled anaesthesia is turned off and oxygen is continued for 5-10 minutes. The RVT continues to monitor vital parameters. The patient is moved to a recovery kennel (located beside the veterinarians’ desks for constant observation).
 

If the patient is a dog, the endotracheal tube is left in place until he/she is able to easily swallow. If the patient is a cat, the tube stays in place until the cat shows minimal tongue movement. Cats are different than dogs because their airways are much more sensitive and can go into spasms (obstructing their ability to breath). No patient is left unattended until either the RVT or veterinarian determines that he/she can safely remove the endotracheal tube. The patient is further observed to ensure that no breathing difficulties occur once the tube is removed (i.e. RVT or veterinarian observes the patient from a close distance or is sitting in the kennel with the patient).  Warming discs, blankets and a warm-air generator are used if the patient is cold.
 

IV fluid rate is adjusted for the patient based on his/her needs. A pain medication plan is developed throughout the day based on the patient’s comfort level in recovery. Injectable pain medication is administered through his/her IV catheter as needed to maintain comfort in recovery.
 

The patient’s heart rate/rhythm, breathing rate/effort, gum colour/texture, mental awareness/attitude, body temperature, incision and comfort level are monitored by an RVT or veterinarian every hour for the first 2 hours after waking up from anaesthesia. If he/she is doing well, checks are scheduled every 2 hours thereafter. Additional TLC (snuggle-time) visits are performed. A small portion of food is offered when the patient is bright and alert. IV fluids are discontinued when he/she is eating well and there are no concerns with blood pressure or hydration.
 

The veterinarian, or technician, will call/text you to give you an update on your pet, review the procedure or any concerns, schedule a discharge/pick-up time and review any concerns/questions you may have after reviewing the discharge instructions.
 

Here at the hospital we perform a number of surgical procedures including following:

· Ovariectomy/ovariohysterectomies (Spay-Females)

· Orchidectomies (Neuter-Males)

· Oral surgery including tooth extractions and mass removals

· Wound and laceration repairs

· Abdominal exploratory surgery including foreign body removals (socks/tennis balls, etc.)

· Fine needle aspirations/ Biopsies – used to diagnose types of masses/tumors

· Mass/cyst removals

· Auricular hematoma repair (A blood filled pocket that forms in your pet’s ear either from trauma or infection)

Dental Care

Dental health is a critical part of your pet’s health because it can be associated with other health problems and oral pain. Unfortunately, our pets often do not show signs of discomfort until there is significant dental disease. This is because our pets do not understand that if they demonstrate pain, someone will identify it and have it assessed and ultimately fixed. They only understand that if they stop eating, they will not survive. 

To accurately assess your pet’s dental health, routine oral examinations are necessary. This allows us to evaluate:

- plaque and tartar accumulation

- gingivitis (gum redness)

- abnormalities with occlusion (which can affect chewing habits and cause soft tissue damage in abnormal)

- identify possible missing teeth (x-rays are needed to confirm if teeth are missing – unerupted teeth still located below the gumline can contribute to the development of locally destructive bone cysts in the jaw)

- identify any retained baby teeth or “extra” adult teeth

- assess the gum tissue and oral cavity for any masses or abnormal tissue growth

Once a preliminary oral health assessment is performed, our veterinarians can determine if a more detailed evaluation is needed. A detailed oral exam, including intra-oral dental radiographs (x-rays), under general anaesthesia is the only way we can accurately assess our pet’s for periodontal disease (as 2/3s of the tooth is located under the gumline). 

Once this comprehensive assessment is complete, our veterinarians will discuss any concerns that they have with you and formulate a treatment plan which may include an oral hygiene procedure (ultrasonic scaling of the teeth above and below the gumline (we are only able to remove accumulated plaque under the gingival margin), hand-scaling (into crevices and occlusal pits), polishing (to smooth the surface of the enamel – as plaque accumulates more quickly on a roughened surface), fluoride treatment, or oral surgery to address teeth affected by periodontal disease, resorptive lesions or fractures with pulp damage. 

Referral to a veterinary dental specialist may be recommended depending on the severity of your pet’s dental disease or if certain dental conditions are noted on the preliminary oral health examination. 

Home care dental plans are an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth. There are several diets, water additives, tooth brushes/pastes and dental chews that can be helpful for your pet. It is important to look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval on these products – this lets us know that these products have been tested to be safe and effective for your pet. 

Emergency and Critical care

  Emergencies, accidents, and illnesses are unfortunate facts of life, but how many of us plan for the unthinkable before it happens? What would you do if your pet were suddenly sick or injured? Do you have a plan? Do you know where to go for help if your pet needed critical care or had to be hospitalized? 

We understand how upsetting it is when your pet is sick or injured. We also know that when your pet is hospitalized and needs critical care services, you want the best care possible. Our expert health care team is staffed with caring, compassionate, highly skilled professionals who are dedicated to providing quality care for your pet. 

Your pet is a special member of your family and provides you with companionship, entertainment, and unconditional love. But your pet relies on you for daily needs such as food, shelter, and safety and to take care of things when they go wrong. Our veterinarians and technical support staff are on premises working as a team with expertise to respond to emergency calls and critical care situations. Rest assured, if you have an emergency with your pet, there is quality veterinary help nearby.

Help is only a phone call away. Keep our phone number with your other emergency numbers. If it is outside of our regular business hours, please visit our Emergency page.

Hospice and euthanasia services

Caring for a pet with a terminal illness, chronic discomfort or mobility changes can be difficult, both emotionally and physically. Our veterinarians and support team are here to help you with decisions regarding home-care, medications and alternative therapies, environmental/home modifications and to explain all available options for your pet. 

When palliative care is unlikely to provide your pet with a good quality of life or you have made the decision say goodbye to him/her in the most peaceful way we can, we are here to walk you through the process. 

We have a comfort room at our hospital to provide our clients and their pets with privacy and a sense of “home” for quality of life consultations or euthanasia. Our goal is to ensure that we make this incredibly hard time peaceful and comfortable. 

Pets Above provides after-care services, including cremation or burial at a pet cemetery, to our hospital. You can visit their website to learn more about their services and memorial options including urns, pawprints and jewellery. PearTree Impressions pawprints are also available as a memorial keepsake of your pet. 

Our technician Becky is available for bereavement counseling for you and your family. You can also reach out to the Pet Loss Support Hotline at info@ontariopetloss.org or 240-389-8047. 

Dr. Lynn Henderson is able to provide in-home quality of life assessments and euthanasia services if you feel that this is the best choice for your family and your pet. You can visit her website hendersonmobilevet.com for additional information about her services and to contact her directly. 

Laboratory

The following are some of the tests we routinely run in the hospital:

· Pre-anesthetic blood work testing

· Packed cell volume and total protein assessments 

· Comprehensive chemistry blood work profiles

· Complete blood counts (red and white blood cells, clotting cells)

· Urinalysis

· Microscopic analysis for ear/skin infections, external/internal parasites 

· Microscopy cytology of fine needle aspirations (masses/lumps)

· Vaginal cytology 

· Heartworm and tick-borne disease screening 

· Parvovirus screening 

· Feline immunodeficiency virus and leukemia virus screening

· Canine pancreatic inflammation screening test

New Kitten information

Owner History
The first part of any visit to our office is the collection of what we call the pet’s history.  This is a question and answer period between owner and veterinarian that establishes specific concerns about the kitten’s health or behaviour at home.  In addition to ensuring the kitten is not showing any signs of illness (vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, skin infections, fleas, etc.) this is your opportunity to voice any concerns you have and to ask questions.

Common questions to expect from the veterinarian may include:

  • Where the kitten came from
  • Previous veterinary visits/medical care (vaccinations, parasite screening, parasite treatment/prevention)
  • Health problems of parents or littermates
  • Diet (brand, kibble, canned), amount fed, frequency of feeding, treats
  • Litter training and environmental enrichment for indoor cats
  • Contact with other animals (what kinds), wildlife, children, elderly, immunocompromized individuals
  • Lifestyle – indoor vs outdoor

Many new cat owners are surprised by the amount of time we spend talking at the beginning of each appointment.  Asking these questions is critical in determining if your kitten is displaying any early signs of illness or behavioural issues and whether he/she may be carrying diseases or parasites that could affect the health of your family or other pets.  They also help us determine your kitten’s individual risk level for getting infectious and parasitic diseases, allowing us to choose the vaccinations and parasite preventions that are best suited for your kitten.

Physical Examination
A thorough physical examination is the most important part of each kitten visit.  The most common question many kitten owners ask is why a full physical examination is necessary at every visit.  The reason for this is similar to why your child needs to have an examination at every vaccination appointment – to ensure that his/her growth and development are progressing normally and to address any health concerns early, hopefully avoiding permanent health problems.  Another important reason is that we are often administering vaccinations and/or additional medications during these appointments, which can only be administered to healthy kittens.  Administering a vaccination to a kitten that is sick or fighting an infection (even if they are not showing signs of illness at home) is not safe and can result in serious health consequences.  A thorough physical examination is the only way to ensure the kitten is healthy enough to receive these treatments.  Although every veterinarian has a slightly different technique and style for examining each pet, there are some key areas that should always be assessed during the physical examination:

  • General attitude and behaviour assessment – Overall impression of the kitten’s mental alertness (normal kittens should be bright, alert and inquisitive, providing it is not nap time) and attitude towards new people (normal kittens should be friendly and curious).
  • Oral Cavity/Dental examination – Assessing the colour of the gums (pale gums or bright red gums can be indications of illness), bite/occlusion and dental anatomy (overbite/underbite or malposition of baby teeth that may interfere with normal eating behaviour), cleft palate and damaged/loose baby teeth that could be painful or lead to infection. We will also discuss safe toys and how to care for your cats’s teeth as it grows.
  • Ophthalmic (eye) examination – Examine the eyelids, conjunctiva/sclera (soft tissues surrounding the eyeball), and the eye itself including the external surface and internal structures of the eye (cornea, anterior chamber, lens, iris and retina).  We are looking for signs of trauma, infection, and anatomical malformations , underdeveloped eyes, abnormally rotated eyes, retinal abnormalities, congenital blindness.
  • Ear/Otoscopic examination – Signs of excessive wax/dirt accumulation, foreign material within the ear canal (hair, foreign material, etc), ear mites, other external parasites , infections or malformations of the ear canal.
  • Lymph nodes – These paired, soft tissue structures are part of the immune system in the body. They act like surveillance in the body for infections and also help to fight these infections by making white blood cells. We will palpate all the superficial (peripheral) lymph node looking for asymmetry or enlargement that could indicate an area of infection or inflammation.
  • Hair coat assessment – Assessment of hair coat quality (a sign of overall health), evidence of skin infections, external parasites (fleas, mange, lice, ticks), or fungal infections.  We evaluate areas that could be concerning in certain breeds  and discuss home care to maintain a healthy coat and prevent infections (how often to bathe, required grooming, etc).  We examine the nails and foot pads and demonstrate how to safely trim his/her nails.
  • Thoracic auscultation (listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope) – Assessing for heart murmurs or arrhythmias while feeling the kittens’s pulse to assess his/her cardiovascular health and blood pressure.  We listen to the puppy’s lungs and upper airway, evaluating for any areas of dullness, crackles or wheezes that could indicate pneumonia, upper airway infection, and fluid accumulation within the lungs or free fluid within the chest.  We look for anatomical abnormalities that could affect the kittens’s ability to breathe normally.
  • Abdominal palpation – We palpate the kitten’s abdomen looking for signs of pain, abnormal gas accumulation or distensions that could indicate internal parasites or intestinal obstruction.  We palpate the kidneys, bladder, liver and spleen looking for signs of enlarged, underdeveloped, or missing internal organs.  We assess the integrity of the body wall and umbilical region to ensure the kitten is free from congenital hernias (which could require surgical repair).
  • Musculoskeletal Examination – We assess the kitten’s body weight and size and determine if his/her current daily food intake is appropriate.  We evaluate the kittens’s conformation and evaluate developmental/growth abnormalities (abnormally rotated limbs, abnormal laxity in the joints, etc).  We look for pain or sensitivity that could indicate a trauma, infection or inflammation.
  • Genitalia – We examine the kitten’s external genitalia to ensure that there are no congenital abnormalities (undescended testicles, malformations of the penis/vulva, malformations of the anus, etc).
  • Neurological examination – We examine the kitten’s mental awareness, gait and reflexes looking for neurological deficits that could indicate central nervous system infections, congenital malformation of the skull/brain, toxin ingestion, or juvenile epilepsy.

Vaccinations
Core vaccinations are required at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.  A single vaccination does not provide protection to your kitten with the exception of the rabies vaccine.  This means that your kitten needs to have at least 2 vaccinations, administered three to six weeks apart, in order for his/her immune system to produce enough antibodies to protect against infectious diseases.

The mother’s milk contains antibodies that provide the kitten with protection against diseases. When the puppy stops nursing, these antibodies start to decline and the puppy is no longer protected. This occurs around 6-8 weeks of age which is why we administer the first vaccination at this age.

BUT, there is a risk that this first vaccination will not be protective if the kitten still has a certain level of antibodies from the mother in his/her system. Unfortunately, we do not have a way of knowing if this first vaccination is effective or not. This is why the second vaccination is administered at 10-12 weeks of age.

The final vaccination is administered at 14-16 weeks of age because this is when the kitten’s immune system is primed to form antibodies against specific diseases. This vaccination “boosts” the immune system which then forms a memory response allowing it to fight these diseases if exposed to them.

We recommend that all kittens receive vaccinations against Feline Rhinotracheitis-Calici-Panleukopenia, Feline Leukemia and, rabies.

Internal Parasite Treatment and Prevention
Most kittens are infected with internal parasites.  They can be transmitted to the kitten before birth while it is developing in the mother’s uterus.  They can be passed to the kitten in the mother’s milk while others can be ingested as the kitten explores its world by licking, chewing on and biting things.  Many internal parasites are passed in the stool as microscopic eggs and are not visible with the naked eye. A stool analysis is important for all kittens to screen for internal parasites that could make the kitten sick and negatively affect its growth and development.  Some parasites can be transmitted from kittens/cats to humans.  Children are at an increased risk for infection with internal parasites because they don’t always wash their hands before eating or touching their mouths.  A number of internal parasites carried by cats can cause very serious and, in some cases, life-threatening disease in humans, so it is CRITICAL to have your kitten checked for internal parasites as soon as possible after adoption (ideally before introducing it to children or other household pets).  The Canadian Parasite Prevention Council recommends all kittens receive parasite prevention at least once a month from 8 weeks of age to 6 months of age.

External Parasite Treatment and Prevention
Fleas, ear mites and lice are all more common in kittens than in adult cats.  External parasites can cause discomfort, secondary skin/ear infections and can spread serious diseases.  Heavy infestations with fleas can cause life threatening blood loss/anemia in young kittens.  If parasites are seen during the physical examination the appropriate medication will be administered to resolve the infection and prevent spread to other pets and family members.  If no external parasites are identified during the examination, a topical medication will be administered that will prevent your kitten from acquiring fleas, lice and ear mites for 30 days after application.

Sterilization – Spay/Neuter
We recommend spaying or neutering all cats not intended for breeding.  This eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancies and reduces the risk of specific cancers.  Spaying a female cat eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer and, if performed prior to the second heat cycle, reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer by approximately 97%.  Neutering male cats eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease and other testosterone-related disorders such as perineal cysts, glandular hyperplasia (stud tail).

Historically we recommended that all kittens be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age if they were not intended for breeding or showing in conformation classes.

Many people express concern that their cat will become overweight or lazy if they are spayed or neutered.  Weight gain is a valid concern as we know that sterilization will result in a decrease in metabolic rate.  We monitor all our kittens for several months after sterilization with no-charge weight checks and body condition assessments to ensure they are not gaining weight too rapidly, allowing us to intervene before a weight problem arises. It is uncommon for energy level to change after sterilization.

New Puppy information

Owner History
The first part of any visit to our office is the collection of what we call the pet’s history.  This is a question and answer period between owner and veterinarian that establishes specific concerns about the puppy’s health or behaviour at home.  In addition to ensuring the puppy is not showing any signs of illness (vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, skin infections, fleas, etc.) this is your opportunity to voice any concerns you have and to ask questions.

Common questions to expect from the veterinarian may include:

  • Where the puppy came from
  • Previous veterinary visits/medical care (vaccinations, parasite screening, parasite treatment/prevention)
  • Health problems of parents or littermates
  • Diet (brand, kibble, canned), amount fed, frequency of feeding, treats
  • House training, kennel/crate training, obedience training
  • Contact with other animals (what kinds), wildlife, children, elderly, immunocompromized individuals
  • Lifestyle – swimming, hiking, camping, contact with wildlife, dog shows/sports, kennels, puppy classes, etc.

Many new dog owners are surprised by the amount of time we spend talking at the beginning of each appointment.  Asking these questions is critical in determining if your puppy is displaying any early signs of illness or behavioural issues and whether he/she may be carrying diseases or parasites that could affect the health of your family or other pets.  They also help us determine your puppy’s individual risk level for getting infectious and parasitic diseases, allowing us to choose the vaccinations and parasite preventions that are best suited for your puppy.

Physical Examination
A thorough physical examination is the most important part of each puppy visit.  The most common question many puppy owners ask is why a full physical examination is necessary at every visit.  The reason for this is similar to why your child needs to have an examination at every vaccination appointment – to ensure that his/her growth and development are progressing normally and to address any health concerns early, hopefully avoiding permanent health problems.  Another important reason is that we are often administering vaccinations and/or additional medications during these appointments, which can only be administered to healthy puppies.  Administering a vaccination to a puppy that is sick or fighting an infection (even if they are not showing signs of illness at home) is not safe and can result in serious health consequences.  A thorough physical examination is the only way to ensure the puppy is healthy enough to receive these treatments.  Although every veterinarian has a slightly different technique and style for examining each pet, there are some key areas that should always be assessed during the physical examination:

  • General attitude and behaviour assessment – Overall impression of the puppy’s mental alertness (normal puppies should be bright, alert and inquisitive, providing it is not nap time) and attitude towards new people (normal puppies should be friendly and curious).
  • Oral Cavity/Dental examination – Assessing the colour of the gums (pale gums or bright red gums can be indications of illness), bite/occlusion and dental anatomy (overbite/underbite or malposition of baby teeth that may interfere with normal eating behaviour), cleft palate and damaged/loose baby teeth that could be painful or lead to infection. We will also discuss safe chew toys, how to care for your dog’s teeth as it grows, and techniques to help deal with inappropriate chewing associated with teething.
  • Ophthalmic (eye) examination – Examine the eyelids (dogs have three), conjunctiva/sclera (soft tissues surrounding the eyeball), and the eye itself including the external surface and internal structures of the eye (cornea, anterior chamber, lens, iris and retina).  We are looking for signs of trauma, infection, and anatomical malformations (drooping or rolled eyelids, prolapsed gland of the third eyelid (cherry eye), underdeveloped eyes, abnormally rotated eyes, retinal abnormalities, congenital blindness.
  • Ear/Otoscopic examination – Signs of excessive wax/dirt accumulation, foreign material within the ear canal (hair, foreign material, etc), ear mites, other external parasites (mange), infections or malformations of the ear canal.
  • Lymph nodes – These paired, soft tissue structures are part of the immune system in the body. They act like surveillance in the body for infections and also help to fight these infections by making white blood cells. We will palpate all the superficial (peripheral) lymph node looking for asymmetry or enlargement that could indicate an area of infection or inflammation.
  • Hair coat assessment – Assessment of hair coat quality (a sign of overall health), evidence of skin infections, external parasites (fleas, mange, lice, ticks), or fungal infections.  We evaluate areas that could be concerning in certain breeds (the face folds in short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs) and discuss home care to maintain a healthy coat and prevent infections (how often to bathe, required grooming, etc).  We examine the nails and foot pads and demonstrate how to safely trim his/her nails.
  • Thoracic auscultation (listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope) – Assessing for heart murmurs or arrhythmias while feeling the puppy’s pulse to assess his/her cardiovascular health and blood pressure.  We listen to the puppy’s lungs and upper airway, evaluating for any areas of dullness, crackles or wheezes that could indicate pneumonia, upper airway infection, and fluid accumulation within the lungs or free fluid within the chest.  We look for anatomical abnormalities that could affect the puppy’s ability to breathe normally (stenotic/pinched nostrils in brachycephalic/short muzzled breeds).
  • Abdominal palpation – We palpate the puppy’s abdomen looking for signs of pain, abnormal gas accumulation or distensions that could indicate internal parasites or intestinal obstruction.  We palpate the kidneys, bladder, liver and spleen looking for signs of enlarged, underdeveloped, or missing internal organs.  We assess the integrity of the body wall and umbilical region to ensure the puppy is free from congenital hernias (which could require surgical repair).
  • Musculoskeletal Examination – We assess the puppy’s body weight and size and determine if his/her current daily food intake is appropriate.  We evaluate the puppy’s conformation and evaluate developmental/growth abnormalities (abnormally rotated limbs, abnormal laxity in the joints, etc).  We look for pain or sensitivity that could indicate a trauma, infection or inflammation.
  • Genitalia – We examine the puppy’s external genitalia to ensure that there are no congenital abnormalities (undescended testicles, malformations of the penis/vulva, malformations of the anus, etc).
  • Neurological examination – We examine the puppy’s mental awareness, gait and reflexes looking for neurological deficits that could indicate central nervous system infections, congenital malformation of the skull/brain, toxin ingestion, or juvenile epilepsy.

Vaccinations
Core vaccinations are required at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.  A single vaccination does not provide protection to your puppy with the exception of the rabies vaccine.  This means that your puppy needs to have at least 2 vaccinations, administered three to six weeks apart, in order for his/her immune system to produce enough antibodies to protect against infectious diseases.

The mother’s milk contains antibodies that provide the puppy with protection against diseases. When the puppy stops nursing, these antibodies start to decline and the puppy is no longer protected. This occurs around 6-8 weeks of age which is why we administer the first vaccination at this age.

BUT, there is a risk that this first vaccination will not be protective if the puppy still has a certain level of antibodies from the mother in his/her system. Unfortunately, we do not have a way of knowing if this first vaccination is effective or not. This is why the second vaccination is administered at 10-12 weeks of age.

The final vaccination is administered at 14-16 weeks of age because this is when the puppy’s immune system is primed to form antibodies against specific diseases. This vaccination “boosts” the immune system which then forms a memory response allowing it to fight these diseases if exposed to them.

We recommend that all puppies receive vaccinations against distemper, parvo virus, canine hepatitis, parainfluenza and rabies.  Depending on your puppy’s expected lifestyle, exposure to standing water or wildlife, boarding at a kennel or attending puppy classes, additional vaccinations may be recommended to protect against Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection transmitted in the urine of raccoons and skunks) and kennel cough.
 

Internal Parasite Treatment and Prevention
Most puppies are infected with internal parasites.  They can be transmitted to the puppy before birth while it is developing in the mother’s uterus.   They can be passed to the puppy in the mother’s milk while others can be ingested as the puppy explores its world by licking, chewing on and biting things.  Many internal parasites are passed in the stool as microscopic eggs and are not visible with the naked eye. A stool analysis is important for all puppies to screen for internal parasites that could make the puppy sick and negatively affect its growth and development.  Some parasites can be transmitted from puppies/dog to humans.  Children are at an increased risk for infection with internal parasites because they don’t always wash their hands before eating or touching their mouths.  A number of internal parasites carried by dogs can cause very serious and, in some cases, life-threatening disease in humans, so it is CRITICAL to have your puppy checked for internal parasites as soon as possible after adoption (ideally before introducing it to children or other household pets).  The Canadian Parasite Prevention Council recommends all puppies receive parasite prevention at least once a month from 8 weeks of age to 6 months of age.

External Parasite Treatment and Prevention
Fleas, ticks, ear mites, mange and lice are all more common in puppies than in adult dogs.  External parasites can cause discomfort, secondary skin/ear infections and can spread serious diseases like Lyme disease.  Heavy infestations with fleas and ticks can cause life threatening blood loss/anemia in young puppies.  If parasites are seen during the physical examination the appropriate medication will be administered to resolve the infection and prevent spread to other pets and family members.  If no external parasites are identified during the examination, a topical medication will be administered that will prevent your puppy from acquiring fleas, mange, lice and ear mites for 30 days after application.  As ticks and Lyme disease are becoming an increasing problem in our area, some puppies will require additional medication for tick prevention

Sterilization – Spay/Neuter
We recommend spaying or neutering all dogs not intended for breeding.  This eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancies and reduces the risk of specific cancers.  Spaying a female dog eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer and, if performed prior to the second heat cycle, reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer by approximately 97%.  Neutering male dogs eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease and other testosterone-related disorders such as perineal cysts, glandular hyperplasia (stud tail).

Historically we recommended that all puppies be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age if they were not intended for breeding or showing in conformation classes.  This recommendation has changed to account for the different growth rates of different breeds.  Based on recent scientific studies, we know that the sex hormones produced by the testicles and ovaries are important in bone growth and development.  Eliminating these hormones through surgical sterilization before growth is complete can result in premature growth plate closure and could increase the puppy’s risk of developing joint issues later in life.   Based on your puppy’s breed, sex, size and behaviour, we will determine the best age to perform this procedure.
 

Many people express concern that their dog will become overweight or lazy if they are spayed or neutered.  Weight gain is a valid concern as we know that sterilization will result in a decrease in metabolic rate.  We monitor all our puppies for several months after sterilization with no-charge weight checks and body condition assessments to ensure they are not gaining weight too rapidly, allowing us to intervene before a weight problem arises. It is uncommon for energy level to change after sterilization.

Nutritional counseling

Our veterinarians and technicians understand that every pet is an individual and that there is not a “one-size fits all” diet. We will work with you to develop a nutritional plan that is best for your pet. 

Nutritional referrals are available upon request. We can also provide you with recipes and supplement balancers (through Hilary Watson’s complete and balanced cookbook or BalanceIt.com) if traditional commercial diets are not the best option for them. 

Pet obesity is a rising concern in our patients with over 1/3 of all cats and dogs being obese in North America. If your pet is suffering from being overweight or obese, our team can provide you and your pet with a healthy weight plan including:

- diet type,

- feeding amounts, 

- exercise plan,

- weight re-assessment visits 


Obese Pets
We work with you to develop an individual feeding and exercise plan to help your pet feel their best. Our staff are trained to take key body measurements on cats and dogs to determine their individual body fat percentage. This helps us to make adjustments to their diets to help them maintain an ideal body condition.  By working towards and maintaining a healthy  high body fat percentage we can help reduce the health risks associated with obesity.

The following are risks associated with obesity:

  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Reduced mobility
  • Arthritis
  • Increased Physical injury
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Cancer

If you think your pet may be overweight, please contact us to arrange a body condition assessment. 


 High Energy Pets Some pets lead very active lives and are true athletes. These pets require close nutritional monitoring to help maintain energy levels and muscle mass. 

Parasite Prevention and Control

You may not always be able to tell if your pet has parasites. Fleas can hide under your pet’s fur, and some ticks are very tiny (only the size of a pinhead), so they are difficult to find.

Intestinal parasites like roundworms and hookworms can cause diarrhea and anemia (low red blood cell counts) respectively. They can also be transmitted to people (zoonotic); those with compromised immune systems and young children or elderly family members are most at risk. 

A detailed history, physical examination and screening tests can help determine if your pet has any concerning parasitic infections and what their risk for exposure to these parasites is. 

Our veterinarians will recommend a parasite prevention plan and/or treatment plan depending on your pet’s test results and risk level. 

Preventing parasites in your pets also helps protect children and other family members, so let’s work together to protect your pets and family.

Senior Care

Regular wellness visits are important for every stage of your pet’s life, so don’t forget to keep your senior pet’s scheduled wellness appointments. We recommend that our senior and geriatric patients see their veterinarian every 6 months. More frequent examinations may be recommended if your pet has specific health concerns. 

If your senior pet is being treated for a medical condition, treatment recommendations can change as a condition progresses. Medication doses or frequency of administration may need to be modified or different medications may need to be considered depending on how your pet is responding to therapy and depending on any changes noted to their organ function based on monitoring blood work and urine testing or x-rays. 

Regular wellness blood work, urinalysis, x-rays and blood pressure monitoring are important for senior pets because these tests allow us to evaluate how your pet’s health is either responding to current management strategies or changing with age.

Your senior pet’s wellness examination is also your chance to have us address any of your questions or concerns about your pet. We welcome your questions and encourage you to be involved in decisions regarding your pet’s health care.

Older pets make wonderful companions, and thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever! You are an important ally in your senior pet’s health care. We are here to help ensure that your pet is safe and happy throughout the “golden years".

Vaccinations

Many vaccines are available for dogs and cats, but not every pet needs every vaccine. Some vaccines are considered core vaccines and should be administered to all pets, whereas other vaccines are optional and may be recommended for pets based on a variety of lifestyle risk factors. 

Vaccine recommendations can also change throughout a pet’s life, as travel habits and other variables change. We will consider all these factors as we determine which vaccines your pet should have.

We understand that your pet is unique and that no single vaccine program will be ideal for every pet in every situation. Our doctors and team members are well educated about vaccines and our goal is to give you the best advice for keeping your pet healthy. 

Certain vaccinations need to be updated annually while others can be updated less frequently. Using recommendations from the vaccine manufacturers, independent duration-of-immunity studies and recommendations from specialty organizations (American Association of Feline Practitioners, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, American Animal Hospital Association), and your pet’s lifestyle risks, we will develop a vaccination schedule for your pet. 

Vaccination titres are also an option for certain vaccines (specifically distemper virus and Parvovirus in dogs) – these allow us to measure the amount of antibody in the bloodstream which can determine if your pet requires a booster vaccination to maintain their protection. 

The vaccines that we use in our hospital are selected based on their safety, efficacy and comfort to the pet. 

We have cat-specific vaccinations that are non-adjuvanted, including a 3-year duration feline-specific Rabies vaccination. 

Our canine vaccinations have Pur-Fil technology eliminating the majority of any unnecessary protein material in the vaccine; they also a smaller volume for added patient comfort. 

Vaccinations we offer at our hospital include:

- Canine 1yr Rabies 

- Canine 3yr Rabies

- Canine Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvovirus

- Canine Leptospirosis (4 strains)

- Canine Distemper/Parvovirus/Adenovirus/Lepto (4 strain) combo

- Canine Bordetella/Parainfluenza (oral vaccine)

- Canine Lyme 

- Canine Influenza (H3N2, H3N8)

- Feline Rabies 1yr

- Feline Rabies 3yr

- Feline Leukemia virus

- Feline FVRCP (Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia, Calicivirus)

behavioral medicine

Pets can have a wide variety of behavioral issues, from simple housetraining problems to severe anxiety and aggression issues. We are well qualified and experienced in diagnosing and addressing behavior problems with an approach that combines skills from veterinary clinical medicine, behavioral medicine, and pet training. Our goals are to help pets and their owners live together comfortably and safely, and to help restore the bond between pets and their families.

Dealing with behavior problems can be frustrating for pet owners. Some pet owners may even blame themselves because their pet seems to have an emotional issue. Although behavior problems can result from emotional trauma or physical mistreatment, in many cases the problem can arise from simple misunderstandings or learned associations that were inadvertently established during training. In addition, several medical conditions can manifest in ways that mimic behavior problems. Scheduling an evaluation with a professional skilled in diagnosing and managing behavioral issues in pets is the first step on the road to resolving the problem.

Before you and your pet suffer through one more day of inappropriate behavior, call us. Let’s talk about how we can help.

Digital dental radiography (x-rays)

The benefit of digital dental images is that we can capture the images quickly, which means a shorter anesthetic for your pet. We also have the ability to manipulate the images to gain the most information possible.

Once your pet’s digital dental radiographs are complete we will send you home with your own digital copy. 

Fully Stocked Pharmacy

When a medication is prescribed for your pet, our veterinarians will review his/her medical history and any other medications your pet is currently taking. This ensures that the most appropriate medication is chosen and reduces the risk of any unwanted interactions between different medications. Our team will provide you with information about dosing, frequency of administration, duration of treatment, possible side effects and any necessary monitoring associated with the medications prescribed for your pet. 

The inventory we carry is from safe, reliable sources and is stored under optimal conditions.

Many veterinary products are only sold directly from the manufacturer to the veterinary supplier company. What appears to be the same medication from an online pharmacy may not actually be the product that it says it is and fraudulent products can be very difficult to identify. The manufacturers, and our team, cannot guarantee the safety or efficacy of these medications, nor can we guarantee that hot/cold temperatures will not affect them during shipping.

Microchipping

A microchip is about the size and shape of a grain of rice and is placed underneath your pet's skin between the shoulder blades. Microchip implantation takes only a few minutes and is safe. 

Each microchip is unique and carries vital information about your pet—including your name, address, and contact information. When a microchip is implanted, the pet owner is given a registration form to complete. Registering the number on the microchip includes your pet in a national pet recovery database. Veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and animal control offices across the country are equipped with electronic scanners that can detect the microchip and read the identification number.

If a lost pet is picked up by animal control or found by a Good Samaritan and presented to a veterinarian, a quick scan of the microchip reveals the identification number. A toll-free phone call to the pet recovery database alerts the microchip company that a lost pet has been identified. The pet owner can then be contacted and reunited with his or her pet!

Young puppies and kittens can receive microchips, but even if your pet is already an adult, you should consider microchipping. Even indoor pets can get outside accidentally and get lost, so if you’re relying on other forms of identification, you could be placing your pet at risk. Microchipping is a safe and effective way to help ensure your pet’s return if the unthinkable happens. 

wellness exams

A wellness examination includes an evaluation of all of your pet’s major organ systems. We’ll use the wellness visit to ask you questions about your pet’s behavior, appetite, exercise habits, and regular activities at home. This is also an excellent time for us to discuss any routine diagnostic testing that may benefit your pet or to recommend any vaccinations that may be due. If your pet seems healthy, a wellness examination is a good opportunity to note any changes, such as weight gain or loss or other subtle changes that may not be evident at home. Sometimes, information obtained during a wellness examination can help detect early signs of illness and address health issues before they progress.

A wellness examination is also your chance to have us address your questions or concerns about your pet. We welcome your questions. No question is too small or too silly, and it is our pleasure to address your concerns. We strive to help you understand your pet’s health considerations, and we encourage you to be involved in decisions regarding your pet’s health care.

Finally, wellness examinations help us establish a relationship with you and your pet. Through your pet’s physical examinations, other wellness procedures, and our consultations with you, we get to know your pet and learn about his or her lifestyle, personality, health risks, home environment, and other important information. We encourage you to use wellness examinations to take an active role in your pet’s health care.