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GVH Blog



Easter Holiday Hazards for your Pets!
March 28, 2018

During the Easter Holiday there can be some increased risks for our pets in our homes.

Chocolate toxicity seems to have wormed itself into our collective consciousness as the biggest risk to pets since the chicken bone. In reality, it takes a pretty large amount of milk chocolate to make a dog sick, and even more to cause life-threatening medical issues. But it can happen. This rarely is a problem for cats as they seem less attracted to chocolate.

There’s a great deal of variation between individual dogs in terms of how susceptible they are to chocolate. The concentration  of the toxin (known as theobromine, a cousin of caffeine) varies quite a bit between chocolates; dark chocolate is worse for dogs than milk chocolate, and unsweetened or baker’s chocolate is the most toxic. In general it takes about a kg of milk chocolate per 20 kgs  of body weight to consider it a potential problem.

A bigger fear during around Easter is the lily. This is a serious source of toxicity for cats and ( less so ) for dogs.

Every part of the plant — leaves, stems, petals — are a serious risk to your cat’s health. Even a small amount of pollen or the water in the vase  can cause life-threatening medical issues. It is thought that just a few bites of the stem of some lilies can be life threatening for a cat. The damage is done to the kidneys, and death can occur as soon as one to two days after ingestion.

Lily toxicosis is treatable if is caught very early: the cutoff for success is about 18 hours after ingestion. Beyond that point, the chance of treating kidney failure from lilies becomes quite remote. Treatment involves stopping further absorption  (usually through making them vomit) and then IV fluid therapy for a few days to help flush the toxic metabolites from the pet’s body.  Lab tests tell us how successful therapy has been.

Over Easter, make sure your pets have no access to chocolate, lilies or any other hazardous household substance.

Everyone at GVH wishes you and your family a safe and happy Easter Holiday.

Dr. Tom Honey

 

 

Platelet Rich Plasma / Regenerative Medicine
November 16, 2017

The use of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a form of regenerative medicine therapy (another example of regenerative medicine would be Stem Cell Therapy).
 
PRP has been available for use in human medicine for some time and now is being applied in veterinary medicine.
 
PRP is created by taking a sample of blood from a patient. The sample is spun in a specialized centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma and concentrate the platelets in the plasma portion.
 
The resulting platelet rich plasma can then be injected into injured tissues or joints facilitating the healing of bone, tendon and ligament as well as inflamed joints.
 
It is thought that growth factors stored within the platelets help mitigate inflammation and initiate anabolic processes and tissue healing.
 
In our active community, we are often presented with pets who have experienced injury or have mobility issues. We have many tools with which to treat these problems including anti-inflammatory or pain relieving medications, specialized diets and supplements, activity moderation, weight management, physiotherapy, massage and surgery to name a few. PRP gives us another tool with which to manage these problems!
 
– Dr. Tom Honey

Keeping indoor cats content
October 11, 2017

Cats that go outdoors unattended are at great risk to injury from attack by animals (other cats, dogs or wildlife) or physical injury from things like cars.
 
They are also exposed to parasites (fleas, ticks, intestinal worms) as well as infectious diseases such as Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodefficiency Virus.
 
For these reasons, cats that are indoor pets, or that go out on supervised walks only, are safer and live longer lives (outdoor cats on average live about two years while indoor cats live to 15-20 years).
 
There are a number of ways to enrich the lives of indoor cats, satisfy their instinctual needs and give them the exercise they need.

  • Playing with cats using mobile toys or laser pointers provides them mental stimulation and exercise.
  • Putting some of their food in food dispensing toys keeps them occupied.
  • Creating multiple feeding stations which you move randomly around your home on a daily basis helps satisfy their hunting instinct.
  • Cats love perches and scratching posts, providing perches on book shelves, stairways, window ledges or cat trees is very satisfying for them.
  • Many cats will walk outdoors on a leash, particularly if introduced to a leash and harness at a young age. This allows your cat exercise, stimulation and fresh air but minimizes the risks that unattended outdoor cats are susceptible to.
  • Using appeasing pheromones like Feliway can help keep stimulate positive associations with your cat’s environment.

These are just a few measures to help keep primarily indoor cats content and healthy. Do not hesitate to ask us about how to keep indoor cats content or about the line of products that we carry that can help!!
 
Thank you, Dr. Tom Honey

National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day!
August 22, 2017

Tuesday August 22 is Bring Your Cat to the Veterinarian Day! Tell your friends. Call us for tips on how to make it easy to bring in your furry friend for a vet visit: 604-898-9089!
Or check out our recommendations here.
#nationalbringyourcattothevetday

Near Total Eclipse of the Sun Morning of August 21 2017
August 21, 2017

The eclipse of the sun on August 21st will be visible from Squamish. While we are not in the path of the ‘umbra’ (locations on the earth where all of the sun but its corona will be covered by the moon) 80-90% of the sun will be covered at 10:21am tomorrow! It will be quite spectacular and Squamish will not experience an event like this again until the year 2771!
 
For people, we need to take precautions about viewing the eclipse (special glasses or pinhole cameras) to prevent retinal damage. In addition, we should be prepared for the increased darkness and possible changes in wind patterns that could occur.
 
Pets are not considered at risk for visual damage; they seem to inherently know not to look directly at the sun. Still, it would be considered a good precaution to keep pets indoors. This can help shield them from the anxiety they might experience due to sudden darkening of daytime skies, changes in wind patterns and anxiety related to encountering groups gathered to witness the eclipse.
 
Enjoy the eclipse tomorrow. It looks like the clear weather will allow us to fully appreciate this phenomenon!
 
Dr. Tom Honey
 

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Kennel Cough Cases
August 16, 2017

We had two dogs present with Kennel Cough yesterday
This video provides an example of kennel cough in dogs:
 

 
While these two cases do not constitute an outbreak, they definitely have our attention.
 
Kennel cough is extremely contagious and is easily transmitted as contact between dogs is potentially increased during the active summer months.

  • If your dog develops a cough, contact us right away. (604-898-9089 or book online at GVH.ca)
  • Avoid contact with dogs that are coughing
  • Be sure your pet’s kennel cough vaccine is up to date

Contact us if you are not sure about your dog’s vaccination status, or if you have any other questions!
 
Thank you, Dr. Tom Honey

Air quality posted daily until the smoky conditions clears in Squamish!
August 9, 2017

Environment Canada Air Quality is still rated at 7/10 for Squamish.

Click on the ‘Air quality affects pets’ title below to read about tips  on how to protect your pet’s health while these smoky conditions persist.

Thank you! Dr. Tom Honey

 

Air quality affects pets

We will post Air Quality here Daily!
August 8, 2017

Air quality in Squamish is again rated at 7 on a scale of 10 (poorer quality as you progress toward 10). Below are the precautions you should be taking for you and your pets.
At-Risk Population
Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.
Find out if you are at risk.

General Population
Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Pets
We have posted a special page on how poor air quality affects pets – check it out for more information and to learn about measures you can take to safeguard your pet’s health.

For air quality updates, see the Environment Canada advisory page.

Please call us at 604-898-9089 if you have any questions or concerns,
Thank you, Dr. Tom Honey

We will post Air Quality information here Daily!
August 6, 2017

Air quality in Squamish is again rated at 7 on a scale of 10 (poorer quality as you progress toward 10). Below are the precautions you should be taking for you and your pets.

At-Risk Population
Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.
Find out if you are at risk.

General Population
Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Pets
We have posted a special page on how poor air quality affects pets – check it out for more information and to learn about measures you can take to safeguard your pet’s health.

For air quality updates, see the Environment Canada advisory page.

Please call us at 604-898-9089 if you have any questions or concerns,

Dr. James Kirkham

We will post Air Quality information here Daily!
August 3, 2017

Air quality in Squamish is again rated at 7 on a scale of 10 (poorer quality as you progress toward 10). Below are the precautions you should be taking for you and your pets.

At-Risk Population
Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.
Find out if you are at risk.

General Population
Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

Pets
We have posted a special page on how poor air quality affects pets – check it out for more information and to learn about measures you can take to safeguard your pet’s health.

For air quality updates, see the Environment Canada advisory page.

Please call us at 604-898-9089 if you have any questions or concerns,

Dr. James Kirkham

We will post Air Quality information here Daily!
August 2, 2017

Air quality in Squamish is currently rated at 7 on a scale of 10 (poorer quality as you progress toward 10). Below are the precautions you should be taking for you and your pets.
 
At-Risk Population
Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.
Find out if you are at risk.
 
General Population
Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.
 
Pets
We have posted a special page on how poor air quality affects pets – check it out for more information and to learn about measures you can take to safeguard your pet’s health.
 
For air quality updates, see the Environment Canada advisory page.
 
Please call us at 604-898-9089 if you have any questions or concerns,
 
Dr. Tom Honey

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.

 



Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital