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Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread.
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.
When we need to figure out what’s wrong with your pet, we routinely use x-rays to help identify the cause of the problem, rule out possible problems, or provide a list of possible causes. We may also use x-rays during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.
X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We use radiology alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.
We offer digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional x-rays.
To avoid a blurry image, pets need to remain completely still while an x-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia.
If you have any questions about our radiology service or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.
A flea problem on your pet means a flea problem in your home. Understanding the flea life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea prevention and if necessary, flea treatment.
Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections, or parasites such as fleas and mites. These issues can be difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.
We can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies.
Contact us if you notice your dog or cat scratching excessively or if he or she develops any bare patches, scabs, scaling, redness, inflammation, lumps, or bumps.
Although heart problems are found more often in older pets, these conditions can affect pets at any age. Heart disease is usually a life-threatening condition, but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your pet’s life. If caught soon enough, some forms of heart disease can be cured.
Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), which occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. If an animal is suffering from CHF, fluid usually accumulates in and around the lungs and sometimes in the abdomen. Congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the heart valves), arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances), and heartworm disease can all lead to CHF.
Call us if your pet starts breathing rapidly or coughing, loses his or her appetite, tires easily, seems weak, or has trouble exercising. We can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. Additional test, such as a radiographs (x-rays), are usually needed to accurately identify the cause of the heart disease.
It is crucial for your pet’s vision that we detect and treat glaucoma and other problems with intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye) as quickly as possible. We can test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure. The test, performed with a device called a tonometer, is not painful and does not require sedation.
If not treated immediately (within hours to days), glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Pets that have suffered eye injuries should have this test performed. In addition, we recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem becomes irreversible. Please call us to discuss whether your pet may be at higher risk for glaucoma.
Call us right away if you notice any of the following problems in either or both of your pet’s eyes: dilated (enlarged) pupils, clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye), red or bloodshot eyes, one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other, squinting, or tearing. Because glaucoma is painful, your pet may react by rubbing or pawing at the eyes or rubbing his or her head against the floor or furniture more than normal.
Identifying endocrine problems as early as possible is important in dogs and cats. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.
The endocrine system is made up of a group of tissues (mostly glands) that release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction and are dispersed to different areas of the body, depending on the hormone’s function. When a hormonal balance is disturbed (by a tumour or autoimmune disease, for instance), an endocrine disorder can develop. “Hyper” refers to an excess of hormone, and “hypo” refers to a deficiency in a hormone. Treatment varies depending on the disease.
There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:
- Diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency in or resistance to the hormone insulin.
- Hypothyroidism, which is often diagnosed in dogs, indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormone.
- Hyperthyroidism, which frequently affects cats, indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats.
Contact us if your pet begins panting excessively, develops any skin issues (such as hair loss or dull coat), or shows any changes in behaviour, energy levels, appetite, weight, water consumption, or urination.
To ensure a proper diagnosis, we often need to examine your pet. We begin a medical assessment by looking at your pet’s eyes, ears, and skin and checking his or her cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, and skeletal systems for any abnormalities. We will perform blood and/or urine tests as necessary to check your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, and endocrine system, including the thyroid and adrenal glands. Based on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as radiography (x-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound, or biopsy.
If you’re concerned that something may be wrong with your pet, please call us to schedule a medical assessment. Depending on the symptoms, we may ask you to bring in your pet right away.
Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring
We monitor our patients to keep them as safe as possible during procedures that require general anesthesia. A veterinary technician will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to help prevent any anesthetic risk. Please feel free to ask us about our patient monitoring protocol or any concerns you might have about your pet’s procedure.
For some procedures, your pet will need to be administered general anesthesia so that he or she will be unconscious and not feel pain. Many pet owners worry about their pets being administered general anesthesia. We can assure you that modern anesthesia is generally quite safe; to further lower any risk, we perform a physical examination and we give our clients the option to run blood work prior to an anesthetic procedure ahead of time to catch any underlying health issues. In addition, we follow a specific anesthetic protocol, including monitoring vital signs during the procedure, to ensure the safety of our patients.
We begin most general anesthetic procedures by administering a sedative to help the pet relax and decrease any anxiety and pain. We then administer an intravenous drug to provide complete anesthesia and place a breathing tube into the patient’s trachea (windpipe). To maintain the state of unconsciousness, we deliver a gas anesthetic in combination with oxygen through the breathing tube.
Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving general anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.
If your pet is having a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure performed, we sometimes use a local anesthetic to help control pain. For example, when we perform a biopsy (in which a small portion of tissue is surgically removed so it can be examined), we often use a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics cause a loss of sensation in the area where the procedure is being performed. We sometimes use a sedative and/or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) in combination with the local anesthetic to keep pets calm during a procedure.
Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet receiving local anesthesia or about the procedure for which your pet is scheduled.
We can perform vaginal cytology on female dogs to help determine the optimum time to breed and enhance the success of pregnancy. To do so, we take a swab of the vaginal cells and analyze them under a microscope. Usually more than one swab is required.
Additional tests, including a thyroid analysis, should be performed on your dog before her estrus cycle. These tests can rule out any potential problems or alert you to issues that need to be addressed before breeding.
Please call and set up an appointment with one of our veterinarians to discuss how we can further assist you with your breeding program.
Most animals give birth without any complications. However, mothers occasionally need help with delivery. We usually attempt to resolve the problem using medical therapy first, but when that doesn’t solve the issue, we will perform a caesarean section.
During a c-section, the mother is given an anesthetic. An incision is then made along her abdomen and through the uterus to retrieve unborn puppies or kittens. In some situations, we may recommend that the mother be spayed during this procedure, usually to prevent future problems of this nature.
Giant breeds such as Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, and giant schnauzers have unique dietary requirements. Very few commercial puppy foods offer the ideal mix of calcium, energy, and protein levels that these breeds need. We can provide you with feeding recommendations that will encourage your dog’s maximum growth potential without causing developmental problems. For added convenience, we also stock veterinary-approved diets for giant breeds.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns regarding your dog’s nutrition or if you would simply like to discuss this topic with us.
It’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed by all the pet foods on the market. We can help you weed through the choices and find a puppy or kitten food that will meet your growing pet’s nutritional needs. We even carry many nutritionally balanced, veterinary-approved brands in our clinic.
Feel free to ask us for a food recommendation or to contact us with any nutrition questions or concerns you might have.
With so many accessories available from pet stores, we know you have hundreds of options to choose from. However, not all of them are safe for pets. When you purchase accessories from us, you know they’ve been selected with your pet’s safety in mind. Plus, we can help guide you toward the right choices for your pet.
We carry a variety of collars, leashes, and harnesses that are designed to keep your pet safe and comfortable. Our halter devices can help you train your dog, making walks much more pleasant—without all the pulling. When you buy one of our halters, we include a “how to” lesson from a canine behaviour expert.
Stop by to check out the accessories and toys in our reception area, or feel free to browse our selection during your next visit. Maybe you’ll find your pet’s new favourite toy!
Flea Prevention and Control
Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets; they can bite people, too. For more information, contact us or see the flea article in the Pet Health Library on our site.
You don’t want these blood-sucking parasites on your pet or in your home. We can help keep them away or help you get rid of them if they’ve already found their way inside. Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventive today.
When they bite, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection. And those heartworms can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection; in those that do, symptoms can vary widely.
In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure); without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death.
Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD); the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.
Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive than prevention—and it can actually kill your dog. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection; others might not survive it. And even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.
Fortunately, there’s a way to keep your dog or cat safe: by administering monthly heartworm preventives. Most heartworm medications also protect your pet against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, ear mites, fleas, and ticks. We can recommend a regimen of prevention for your pet.
Our team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians provides many services at our clinic, ranging from routine to advanced procedures. Although we handle the majority of your pet’s medical and surgical needs in-house, we occasionally refer patients to veterinary specialists or specialty clinics when advanced training or equipment will be beneficial.
Board-certified specialists, such as oncologists, ophthalmologists, and neurologists, have extensive experience and training in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. Specialty clinics and university-affiliated referral centres have specialized equipment to perform procedures that are not routinely performed by general veterinary practitioners.
We make referral decisions because we want to ensure that our patients receive a high standard of care and the best possible outcome. Be assured that when we refer a patient to another hospital, we continue to stay involved with his or her care, consulting with the treating specialist and often providing any needed follow-up care and rehabilitation.
Microchip Pet Identification
Imagine if your dog or cat got lost. You’d want to give him or her the best chance of getting home. With microchipping, you can.
Microchipping is a safe, permanent way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A microchip, which is a tiny device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is placed just under the loose skin at the back of the neck. When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, a veterinarian or veterinary technician will use a handheld microchip scanner to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave. The veterinary hospital or shelter then calls the chip manufacturer, retrieves the pet owner’s contact information, and calls the owner.
Even the most responsible pet owners can’t always guarantee their pet won’t get lost. A leash could break or slip out of your hand, a pet could push through a screen door or window, or a contractor or friend might accidentally leave a door or gate open.
We recommend that you use a microchip, along with a collar and ID tag, to identify your pet. An ID tag is still a reliable identification method. Pets that have tags with current contact information are more likely to not end up in shelters and tend to get home faster than those without tags. However, collars and ID tags aren’t permanent and can be removed (overnight or for grooming); pets can also lose them. With a microchip, your pet will have a much better chance of being identified and returned to you. Pets without microchips that end up in shelters may be adopted out to another family or even euthanized.
Please contact us to schedule an appointment to microchip your pet. Although we hope your pet never becomes lost, we want you to be prepared. We can also suggest a plan to have in place so if your pet does go missing, you’ll be able to act quickly.
Si vous devez communiquer avec nous en cas d’urgence hors des heures d’ouverture, signalez le numéro de l’Hôpital et écoutez le message enregistré (en anglais et en français) qui vous indiquera le numéro à composer pour joindre le ou la vétérinaire de garde. Les vétérinaires de notre hôpital et des cliniques de la région travaillent par rotation comme vétérinaire de garde afin d’assurer les urgences qui surviennent après les heures d’ouverture et pendant les weekends. Heures d’ouverture pour l’été 2016 : du 1er juillet au 1er septembre, la clinique ne sera pas ouverte les mercredis soirs (la clinique sera donc ouverte de 8 h à 17 h le mercredi).
Bien-être et programmes de vaccination
Une des meilleures choses que vous pouvez faire pour votre animal de compagnie est de le garder en santé. Tout comme vous consultez votre médecin de famille annuellement, vos animaux de compagnie devraient être examinés par votre vétérinaire au moins une fois par année. Cet examen permettra d’évaluer son état de santé et de détecter précocement certaines anomalies. Le cas échéant, des recommandations pourront être mises de l’avant afin de maintenir une santé optimale.
Vous pouvez aider à garder votre animal en bonne santé est en le protégeant contre les parasites, les puces, les tiques et autres parasites internes et externes. Les parasites peuvent mettre la vie en danger de votre animal et causer de graves problèmes de santé potentiellement mortels.