The first steps of a

DIAGNOSTIC

DERMATOLOGY (SKIN)


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.

CARDIOLOGY (HEART)

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.
TONOMETRY


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.

ENDOCRINOLOGY (HORMONES)


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.

ANESTHESIA

Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring

During surgery and other medical procedures, our team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians monitors all patients to ensure their safety. We monitor every procedure, regardless of whether it’s routine or more advanced. The type of anesthesia we use depends on the procedure. Some require general anesthesia, while others may only call for local anesthesia. For more specific information on our protocols, please see the individual descriptions or contact us with any questions.

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.

General Anesthesia


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.

Local Anesthesia


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.
BREEDING SERVICES

We need to have a kennel or breeding license number before performing atificial insemination. This needs to take place 24 hour to 48 hours before the procedure to ensure that the breeder is licensed to be bred due to a by-law that prohibits breeding without a license.

Vaginal Cytology


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.

Caesarean Section


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.

VETERINARY SPECIALIST REFERRALS

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.