FAQs

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Dogs

When is the best time to start my dog on flea prevention?

In the Fraser Valley we are known as the "flea capital of Canada". This is because our environment is perfect for reproduction and growth of fleas with just the right amount of heat and humidity. Fleas are not just a spring and summer event either! It is very common for us to see fleas in the fall and winter months too, so that is why we recommend year-round, monthly treatment for these pesky ectoparasites!

When should my puppy be brought to the veterinarian?

Within three days of adoption so the doctors at Ellwood Park Animal Hospital can identify any potential health problems. If you wait longer, the breeder will not take responsibility for any problems we find. Also, some conditions are contagious to other pets or people in the house.

How can I tell which vaccines my dog needs?

We determine the appropriate vaccination schedule based on your dog's risk of exposure to disease. In other words, your dog may require more or fewer vaccinations than a friend or neighbour's dog, because of greater exposure to wildlife, parks, or even the traveling plans you may have with your dog.

What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a worm that survives by living in the blood vessels and heart of canine species. It is not contagious to people or directly contagious to other dogs.

How does my dog get Heartworm?

This parasite is spread through the bite of certain species of mosquitoes. Currently, these mosquitoes only survive and transmit heartworm in the South Okanagan during the summer months. You can keep your dog safe with monthly tablets of either Sentinel or Interceptor.

Why does my dog's breath stink?

The most common cause of halitosis in dogs is oral disease. This can range from periodontal disease to tumors of the mouth. In severe cases, the breath will smell like rotting flesh.

Is raw food good for my dog?

We recommend avoiding raw food as a general rule. There are risks to your dog (nutritional imbalance, bacterial infections) that far outweigh any claimed benefits. Raw dog food also presents risk to anyone handling the food or in close contact with the dog.

Can dogs be allergic to things in the air?

Just like people can have "hay fever", dogs can have a similar allergy called atopic dermatitis. This condition is very common in the Pacific Northwest, and especially the lower mainland of BC. There are both medical and non-medical ways to help your dog with these allergies.

What is Cushing's disease?

Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, this disease is caused by a tumor, either in the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland. It is most common in the small breeds of dogs, especially the Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzus and Bichon Frise. Untreated, it can lead to a variety of health problems such as diabetes and bladder stones. The most common sign of this disease is a dramatic increase in thirst and urination.

What are the advantages of spaying my female dog?

A "spay" procedure involves removing the ovaries and uterus (also known as an ovariohysterectomy). We recommend that all female dogs not used for breeding be spayed before their first heat cycle. Spaying will prevent breast cancer and "pyometra", both of which are common, serious diseases of older female dogs (not to mention the inconvenience of the "heat" cycle!).

Does a dog's behaviour change over time?

Yes. Age affects the canine brain the same way it affects the human brain. Also, older dogs lose some sensory perception (hearing and sight) which can dramatically affect their behaviour.

What is Canine Cognitive Disorder?

This is an age-related deterioration of a dog's brain function that has many medical similarities to Alzheimer's Disease in people. Typical signs include loss of house training, unexplainable vocalization, wandering and disorientation. There is now an effective treatment that controls and even improves the lives of dogs affected by this.

Cats

When is the best time to start my cat on flea prevention?

In the Fraser Valley we are known as the "flea capital of Canada". This is because our environment is perfect for reproduction and growth of fleas with just the right amount of heat and humidity. Fleas are not just a spring and summer event either! It is very common for us to see fleas in the fall and winter months too, so that is why we recommend year-round, monthly treatment for these pesky ectoparasites!

What is the best age to adopt a kitten?

Kittens form the strongest bond with their new family between 6-9 weeks of age. For this reason, adopting your kitten at 6 weeks old will assure a strong bond with you.

When should my kitten be brought to the veterinarian?

There many common contagious diseases of kittens (worms, ear mites, ringworm, and feline herpes to name a few) that are uncomfortable and even contagious to other cats in the house. For this reason we recommend an examination by our doctors within 3 days of adoption.

Does an indoor cat really need vaccinations?


Yes. Feline Panleukopenia (aka "distemper") virus can be spread to indoor cats very easily. It can be brought into the home on clothing, hands and even through an open, screened window. This disease is so devastating that every cat should be protected from this virus.

My cat spends time in the backyard only. Can she still get Rabies?

Yes. In BC, 5-6% of bats carry the Rabies virus. A bat that is infected with Rabies virus will often have difficulty flying, and can easily end up in your back yard. For your cat, even a casual touch can be fatal!

I'm a vegetarian and I would like to make my cat to be one too. Is this safe?

No. Cats are "obligate carnivores" which means their entire metabolic system depends on meat protein. Cats that don't receive meat in their diet suffer from heart disease and even blindness.

Is it OK to spank my cat when she is misbehaving?

Definitely a no-no! Any physical discipline will result in a fearful and anxious cat over time. This can lead to urine and feces deposited in various places in the house, which leads to more frustration by you, and destruction of your relationship with her. Ask us about appropriate ways to stop undesirable behavior by your cat.

Can old cats develop arthritis?

Yes. A recent study revealed that 100% of cats over the age of 13 have radiographic evidence of arthritis.

Can anything be done for my arthritic cat?

Yes. The pillars of arthritis treatment for cats are weight control, protection of the joint surface and anti-inflammatory treatment when needed. Often this will involve a diet change and possibly a Metacam© prescription. Metacam© is the ONLY safe and approved non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for cats.

How common is diabetes in cats?

The incidence of diabetes is 1 per 200 cats, and rising. These cats suffer from Type 2 diabetes, often caused by obesity and insulin resistance.

Do I need to give my diabetic cat insulin shots?

Depending on how sick your cat is, maybe not. Even if insulin is needed in the beginning, there's a good chance we'll be able to get him off it eventually.

What kind of food should I feed my diabetic cat?

Proper diet is critically important and may reduce or eliminate your cats need for insulin. High protein, low carbohydrate diets for diabetic cats have been formulated by Hill's, Royal Canin and Purina for this purpose.

My cat is urinating on the floor and carpet. Is he doing it to get back at me?

No! Cats do not act like humans and seek revenge. This problem may well have a medical reason such as bladder infection, kidney disease, diabetes, etc. Fast diagnosis and treatment is essential to get your cat back to normal without suffering long term problems.

OK….the blood and urine tests were normal. That proves he's getting back at me!

Not at all. Although it is now considered a "behavioral" problem, we need to take a long look at what stimulated this in the first place. It can be as simple as a new type of litter, or as complex as neuro-chemical problems. It could even be YOUR behavior! We have lots of expertise in this area, and you'll need all of it!

My 13 year-old cat seems like a kitten again! He runs around more, eats a lot and even plays with some of his forgotten toys! Is this normal?

It may be normal, but often it is caused by an excess of thyroid hormone produced by a malfunction of his thyroid gland. This is known as Feline Hyperthyroidism and it is the most common hormone disorder of older cats.

Does hyperthyroidism need to be treated?

Yes. If he has thyroid disease, he will not be a happy cat for very long. Untreated cats develop heart disease, weight loss, liver disease and even hypertension which can lead to retinal detachment and kidney failure.

Is there any treatment for hyperthyroidism? Will he survive if treated?

Several effective treatment options are available including radioactive iodine, oral medication, topical medication, and even dietary iodine restriction. If caught early, successfully treated cats can live a normal life for many more years.

My cat is recently having trouble chewing his kibbles and seems to be eating less. What could be the problem?

Cats can develop dental and oral problems like the rest of us. In fact they can have tooth cavities (called FORLs )that are extremely painful and will reduce their ability to chew.

What can be done about a FORL?

Unlike our cavities, FORLs don't respond well to a dental filling. Instead, we extract the affected tooth which permanently relieves the pain and gets the patient back to eating within a day or two.

Can my cat have allergies?

Absolutely! Cats can develop allergies to many things including food, airborne particles and even household fabrics.

Does an allergic cat sneeze and have runny eyes like me?

Not usually. Allergic cats can have any number of signs such as coughing, itching, vomiting, scabs on the skin, excess grooming, and even ear infections. Allergies can mimic a lot of different conditions so a thorough investigation is needed.

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