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GVH Blog

Summer Heat Safety for the Active Outdoor Dog
June 15, 2017

Heat stroke and heat-related injuries in dogs can be common in the hot summer months. Heat stroke can be very dangerous for your pet and even deadly.
Certain risk factors will increase the chance of a heat stroke event occurring, such as:
• Duration of time: shorter walks will have a lower risk compared to longer walks.
• Type of work: a dog running in hot weather is at a greater risk than a dog laying down.
• Type of climate: including temperature, humidity and airflow.
• Condition and breed of dog: overweight dogs or brachycephalics (pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, English bulldogs etc.) will have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature by panting. It is always best to have a gradual introduction to exercise to gain conditioning.
Environmental factors that pose the biggest threat are:
• temperature
• radiant heat (infrared light from the sun)
• humidity
• airflow
Minimizing exposure to these factors is key to reducing risk of heat stroke or heat injuries. Be proactive to provide shade, fresh water and keeping pets calm (i.e. not allowing them to over-exert themselves and providing breaks while out on the trails).
Be prepared with a folding water bowl and fresh water, or knowing where to find fresh water sources; and having clothing or towels to wet and provide external cooling.
DO NOT dunk an over-heated dog in cold water, as this can cause shock and vasoconstriction of peripheral blood vessels. Cooling needs to occur slowly. Place a t-shirt or towel that is damp/wet under their belly and arm pit area, while providing fans or shade to help with increased cooling. Dehydration is a critical concern and fluid replacement is essential. Many pets may not want to drink if a heat injury has occurred and may require IV fluids.
If you think your pet is experiencing a heat injury or heat stroke, please contact us at GVH or 604-898-9089 immediately for care.
Play safe and have fun this summer!
– Dr. Alexandra Kirkham


Hot Times in the City – Summer Safety
June 4, 2017

Heat injuries and heat stroke can be common occurrences for our pets in the summer but these situations are avoidable by being proactive and well prepared.
It is so much fun going for walks on a nice summer day and what better companion than your four-legged friend? However, the temperature of the asphalt rises dramatically on a hot summer day. Absorbing warmth from the sun, asphalt temperatures can sometimes reach 60 degrees Celsius, which can cause severe burns and blisters on the pads of your dog’s feet. Avoid having your pet run or walk on asphalt, allowing them to take the boulevard’s grass instead. If running on asphalt is unavoidable, best to be done in the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Booties for feet can also be used and may be helpful. Have a folding water bowl and fresh water available to keep your pet well hydrated.
Leaving a pet in a parked car in summer is dangerous and can be deadly!
Rising temperatures, humidity, radiant light from the sun and decreased airflow are all factors that increase the risk of heat stroke. When a pet is left in a car in summer months, these factors come into play at high levels. Leaving windows open a crack is not nearly enough to allow for comfortable conditions. Even just a few minutes left in a car can be dangerous. The temperature rises quickly inside a car, increasing the humidity. This is hastened if parked in the direct sunlight, such as in a parking lot. Temperatures inside the car can be up to 20 degrees hotter than outside.
Signs of heat stroke or heat injuries are lethargy, excessive panting and not able to calm. Pets experiencing heat injuries may not want to drink but dehydration is a major concern. Correcting dehydration with IV fluids is sometimes needed. NEVER dunk your pet in cold water, as this can cause shock and vasoconstriction of peripheral blood vessels. Instead, use a damp or wet towel under their belly and arm pit area and provide other external cooling sources like shade, air conditioning or fans.
If you think your pet is experiencing heat stroke or a heat injury, please contact us at 604-898-9089.


Making Travel and Veterinary Visits With Your Cat Easier
April 6, 2017

Helping your cat to be comfortable with car rides and being in a carrier will make veterinary visits less stressful for both of you! You’ll be more able to get your cat to the veterinary hospital in times of need and for routine preventive health.


First, choose a carrier that is appropriate for the size of your cat. Ideally, they should be able to turn around, stand and lie down. Carriers that come apart in the middle are helpful as they can be taken apart at the hospital allowing your cat to stay in a more comfortable place for examination.

Ideally, it is best to get your cat used to the carrier at a young age. Place the carrier in an area of the house that your cat frequents to allow for self exploration. This is best started a few days or even up to a  week prior to your expected day of travel. Once your cat has noticed the carrier, place treats and toys in the carrier to encourage further exploration of the interior. After a few days, you can slowly start to close the door for short periods of time. Add comfortable towels or clothing to the carrier to provide the added comfort of familiar smells. Spraying the clothing, towels or carrier with the feline pheromone Feliway can help keep a calming environment. When traveling, placing a towel over the carrier can help your cat remain calm.


Sometimes, cats are refractory to our best efforts and will not allow for an easy and stress free travel. For these cats, anti-anxiety medications used prior to travel may be prescribed by your veterinarian.


Dr. Alex Kirkham

Fractured Canine Tooth
March 23, 2017

Unfortunately, fractured teeth are common in dogs and cats.

Note the small dark circular area on the large canine tooth which is exposed root canal.

If a fracture does not expose the root canal, a restorative can be applied to protect the exposed dentin (the softer part of the tooth structure underneath the hard enamel). If the root canal is exposed, then root canal therapy is necessary to salvage the tooth. There are a number of factors to consider to determine if an injured tooth is a candidate for this type of repair. In this young patient, the tooth was not fully formed which makes the hope for successful salvage much less likely. The fracture plane also extended below the gum line in this case which is an indication for extraction. So, in this case, the tooth had to be extracted.

The crown of the tooth ( what is above the gum line) is much smaller than the root (seen below the q-tip).

Because the roots are very large in dogs and cats, we cannot just ‘pull’ a tooth. A fractured tooth must be removed by oral surgical techniques that require incising the gum to expose the bone around the root and carefully removing some of the bone supporting the tooth to allow safe extraction.
Chewing bones or very hard chew toys are a common cause for dental fractures. Ask us about safe chew toys and other measures that can be taken to protect the health of your pet’s teeth. Dogs and cats do well even after multiple extractions but it is always preferable to practice preventive care to keep teeth healthy as long as possible.
Here’s to healthy teeth for our pets!
Dr. Tom Honey and everyone at GVH.


Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases
March 21, 2017

What are ticks?

Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of a host which can be human or animal. Ticks are in the arachnid family (spider, scorpion, mite, etc). There are over 40 different species of ticks across North America and several that can be encountered in BC. Two species of tick are known to transmit Lyme disease in BC, these are:

Western Black-Legged Tick (Ixodes Pacificus) Ixodes Angustus (no common name)

These and other species of ticks in BC can also produce salivary neurotoxins that can cause tick paralysis which can be fatal for animals and people!

The long and short… ticks can be the source of serious disease problems and must be treated with respect!


What is the lifecycle of a tick?
(Lifecycle length and duration of each stage may vary depending on species and environment)

1. EGG:  3000-6000 eggs are laid daily by a female adult tick. These eggs are laid on the ground.

2. LARVAE: They emerge and find an appropriate host to feed on; primarily on small mammals and birds. After feedings, they detach from their host and moult (develop) into nymphs, typically on the ground.

3. NYMPH: They find a much larger host and feed to moult into adults.

4. ADULT: Female adults attach to larger hosts, feed, mate and then drop off the host to lay eggs.


How does my pet get a tick?

We live in a temperate, forest region that is densely populated with wild and domestic animals.  This gives ticks lots of opportunity to reproduce which increases the risk of exposure for our pets. Ticks are found in wooded areas with shrubs and tall grasses. They have heat sensors which allow them to detect approaching animals or people. Ticks will wait for a host to pass by and then crawl on board (ticks do not fly or jump). They burrow down in the coat of pets to the skin and attach with their mouth parts (they do not burrow under the skin). Ticks will inject the area where they bite with a local anaesthetic so that the host will be unaware of their presence!  Ticks become active at 4 degrees Celsius.With our typically mild winters, this means that ticks are a year-round concern. We therefore recommend year-round protection against ticks for pets that go outside. Despite our “colder than normal” winter this year, we have seen ticks in January and February.


What do I do if I find a tick on my pet?

After you have been outside, in the bush, on trails, wooded or grassed areas, ensure you do a full body ‘tick check’ of yourself and your pet. The best way to check a pet is to firmly rub or pat all body surfaces (including the armpits, between the toes etc.) If you feel something under the fur, part the hair to have a look. If you find a tick, proper and complete removal is of utmost importance to minimize the risk of transmission of Lyme Disease and to prevent tick paralysis. We do not know precisely how long it takes for Lyme disease to be transmitted from an attached tick to the host which is why we recommend checking your pet daily after it’s walk. The tick must be removed completely to ensure that disease transmission does not occur. We can show you the proper technique to do so. If you are uncertain as to how long the tick has been present on your pet, we should evaluate to determine if Lyme Disease may already have been transmitted. There are a number of indicators that we can pick up on with a thorough history and physical examination.


Engorged Tick


Removing a tick using the “De-Ticker” tool


How can I prevent ticks on my pet?

There are a number of strategies and safe medications that can be employed to reduce your pet’s risk of contracting ticks and being exposed to Lyme Disease or tick paralysis. Call us at 604-898-9089 or book on-line to discuss the best strategy for your pet’s protection with Dr. Honey or Dr.’s Kirkham.


Here at Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital, we are very passionate about preventive health care. This includes parasite control as parasites in our area can pose a threat to our pets and to us! If you would like to discuss an overall parasite control strategy or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 604-898-9089 or book an appointment on-line.


Article by Jessica Rumm, VA


Dr James Kirkham
We welcome new pets and owners to the Sea to Sky Corridor!
January 14, 2017

We’d like to take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to all who have recently taken up roots in the beautiful Squamish community and Sea to Sky area.


If you have recently moved with your pets and haven’t yet had the opportunity to establish a relationship with a Squamish veterinarian, we encourage you to do so. There are many reasons why having a Squamish veterinarian is important including; up to date knowledge of local disease, parasite prevalence and local wildlife hazards. As well, a veterinarian in your community can provide timely treatment for illness and emergency services. At Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital, we are always accepting new patients and would be happy to hear from you!


Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital has been well established in the Squamish community for 20 years. Our veterinarians and staff have excellent knowledge, experience and expertise to keep your pet healthy, or to restore your pet to health should it become ill.


And we do so in the most caring way! The Squamish Chief Reader’s Choice Awards, as voted by the community, awarded Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital “Best Veterinary Services”, “Friendliest Staff” and “Best Receptionist” for 2016.


GVH is also the Squamish veterinary hospital that makes every effort to be there for you and your pets when needed and/or when it is convenient for you.


· Appointments can be made on-line at 24 hours a day;

· We can arrange drop off appointments any time after 8am to be assessed by Dr. Honey or Dr. Kirkham;

· We will contact you by phone to discuss results if you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment;

· We can arrange communication by text, email, telephone, or whatever communication is most convenient and suits your schedule;

· We are open late on Wednesdays and Thursdays;

· We are open full days on Saturdays;

· We provide emergency care 24 hours per day, 7 days a week for our clients.
To all new Squamish residents – we hope you feel welcomed by this wonderful community and we hope to see you soon!


Sincerely, Dr. Tom Honey, Dr. James Kirkham, Dr. Alexandra Kirkham and staff

Dr Tom Honey
Signs of Dental Disease can be Subtle!
December 14, 2016

We have learned to never ignore a potential sign of dental disease, however subtle.


In Bobby’s case, there was more tartar on the teeth on the left side than there was on the right side of his mouth. This made me concerned that there was some painful problem on the left side that was making Bobby spare the that side of his mouth.


The teeth all looked normal on exam, even after cleaning away the tartar. However x-rays revealed extensive bone loss from an abscess around the root of one of Bobby’s molars (circled in green). This tooth had to be extracted.


Bobby is feeling much better now. His owner was very thankful to us for recommending the dental procedure which allowed us to get rid of a major source of his pain. Bobby is happier and has much more joie de vivre!


Thank you for your interest!


– Dr. Tom Honey



Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season
November 30, 2016

Happy Howl-idays!


It’s the most magical time of year again! Snow on the mountains, Christmas trees all decorated and gatherings with family and friends – all of our favourite things.

Let’s make sure our pets also enjoy a happy and safe holiday season.


Anxiety in cats
Stress in cats is more noticeable around the holidays as many “summer outdoor” cats are now indoors and having to take part in the festivities. This may result in stress, which can be manifested as inappropriate urinations, frequent trips to the litter box or blood in the urine. Try using feline pheromones such as Feliway to minimize anxiety for your indoor cats.


Note – if you are seeing signs of inappropriate urinations in your cat, be sure to call us at Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital to rule out the possibility of a life-threatening urinary blockage.


Christmas decorations
Beautiful Christmas decorations can also be hazardous to pets. Cats love to play with tinsel, but if swallowed, it can cause a life threatening linear foreign body, requiring surgery to remove. Holiday lights mean extension cords lying on the floors. Dogs (and some cats) like to chew on these and risk electrocution. If you notice your pet interested in electrical cords, call us at Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital  – we have tips and tricks to keep them safe.


Christmas treats
Christmas dainties and goodies are one of our favourite parts of the holidays; however, they are usually not safe for our pets to eat. Consumption of high fatty foods like nuts, turkey/turkey fat and ham/ham fat can cause the pancreas to become inflamed (causing a pancreatitis) and result in a sick vomiting dog with diarrhea. Many Christmas treats are toxic to dogs and cats. Raisins, macadamia nuts and chocolate can all be life threatening if eaten by dogs or cats.


CLICK HERE to search articles on holiday safety, including
Holiday Toxins for Pets
Household Hazards – Holiday Safety Tips for Cat Owners


Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about holiday safety for your pets. We hope you enjoy this festive season and have a fun and safe Christmas!


Best wishes from all of us at GVH

Dr Tom Honey
Parvovirus Outbreak
October 25, 2016

There have been a number of cases of Parvovirus among dogs in Squamish recently.


This potentially deadly disease is one of the diseases that we vaccinate for.


Parvovirus is extremely contagious. It can be transmitted from dog to dog by direct contact, contact with feces or even indirect contact with objects or an environment contaminated by an infected dog’s feces. The virus is very hardy and can persist on inanimate objects such as food bowls, carpeting, shoes or floors for several months!! (navigate to this link for more information about Parvovirus)


If your dog seems lethargic, is off its food, has diarrhea or is vomiting, contact us right away. These signs could be telling us your dog has Parvovirus. The earlier that treatment is started, the better the chance of a successful outcome.


Vaccination is the best tool we have for protecting dogs from Parvovirus. If your dog is not current for Parvovirus vaccination (or if you are not sure) contact us right away. We will schedule a time to get your pets’ vaccine current.


Also, make sure your pet has no opportunity to come in contact with other dog’s stool or with dogs who are ill.


Please be in touch if you have any questions!


Dr. Tom Honey and everyone at GVH.

Dr Tom Honey
GVH Staff voted Friendliest in Squamish!
January 27, 2016

I was so pleased when our staff  were selected “Friendliest Staff” in the Chief Readers Choice Awards.


The friendly appearance that each and every one of the staff projects is completely genuine and not just for the public eye. This caring and compassionate attitude extends  to every aspect of patient care anywhere in the hospital and also applies to how we treat each other.


All of the staff are first extremely competent but also unswervingly friendly, caring and compassionate.


Congratulations and Kudos to Aliesha, Lara, Michelle, Tracy, Laura and Emiesha. You all are really amazing at what you do and a pleasure to work with.


Sincerely, Dr. Honey

Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital