At the West Boulevard Veterinary Clinic wellness assessment is based on regular, routine consultation, physical examination and laboratory analysis. If any negative shift is detected remedial action can be instituted to offset the development of serious problems in the future.
At WBVC pre-purchase consultations, in which we help owners decide which pet is best suited to their needs and lifestyle, are complimentary. New pet orientation visits are also free of charge. This service helps get new pet owners, and their pet, off to a good start. It is much easier to avoid a problem than to fix it. Our commitment to pets, and their owners, is a life long, every day type relationship based on open communication and trust.
Young animals are generally seen for a series of visits corresponding to their vaccination schedule. This is a very important time when we learn how a pet is fitting in with the family. If there are any problems they can be detected and addressed before they get out of hand. Topics such as house “training”, nutrition, vaccination protocols, parasite control, housing style, requirements based on lifestyle and travel, crate training and interaction with other pets and family members are some of the common topics discussed during these visits. Testing for Feline Leukemia and FIV is recommended for cats. Permanent pet identification (tattoo/microchip) and neutering/spaying are highly recommended in both dogs and cats. Puppy classes and ongoing formal training are strongly encouraged.
Mature animals are seen at least once every twelve months; usually at vaccination time. As one pet year is equal to about seven human years we like to check older pets more frequently; at least once every six months.
What to Expect at a Routine Examination
When you book your appointment you will be asked to bring in a fresh stool specimen. If you cannot get a sample, and do not wish one to be collected from your pet during the visit, you will be sent home with a safe, effective broadspectrum deworming agent (Drontal Plus). If your pet is older, or has a history indicating a need for metabolic testing, you will be asked to bring a fresh urine specimen and to food fast your pet for twelve hours prior to the visit. You will be asked to bring in the name of your pets’ food plus any treats or over the counter supplements you are feeding.
When you arrive for appointment your pet will be weighed and the weight will be recorded in the file. From the moment you enter the clinic your pet’s behaviour is being noted. In Traditional Chinese Medicine observation of how your pet carries itself, sounds and smells is very important.
In the examination room a veterinarian will observe your pet as it moves about the room or the exam table, depending on its size. You will be asked if you have any questions or concerns about your pet. If your pet’s weight has varied significantly since the previous visit this will be brought to your attention. Significant alteration in weight can signal health or diet problems. Once concerns have been noted the physical examination begins. We usually start by examining the coat and skin. This gives us a chance to quietly handle your pet and thus increase its confidence in a strange situation. We note any problems such as poor hair coat, lesions, lumps or parasites. Grooming is often discussed at this time. Next to be checked are the muscles, bones and joints. The nails and feet are also inspected. The lymph nodes are checked for any sign of enlargement. At the head end the eyes, ears, nose, oropharynx and teeth are thoroughly examined. It will soon become apparent if you have been brushing your pet’s teeth! At the rear end the anus, anal glands, prepuce/penis or vulva are checked for signs of trouble. The chest is auscultated with a stethoscope. This lets us hear the hear the heart and lung sounds. We check that the sounds, rate and rhythm are normal. The quality of the pulse is assessed. In some cases the lungs are percussed and the chest assessed for compressibilty. The rate and nature of respiration is noted. In cats particular attention is given to the thyroid glands in the neck. The abdomen is thoroughly palpated in order to check for organ pathology or abdominal masses. This part of the examination is very important in rabbits. The temperature is taken; rectally in dogs and via the ear in cats. If you have an elderly or unneutered male dog a rectal examination will likely be performed to assess the prostate gland. For the TCM component of your pet’s chart particular attention will be paid to the appearance of the tongue, the quality of the femoral pulse and any Shu or Mu point sensitivities.
Any abnormalities will brought to your attention. The potential implication of these changes will be explained to you. Further testing or veterinary intervention may be suggested. If your pet has had previous problems which are being monitored, is elderly, unwell or is needing a general anaesthetic for a recommended procedure blood and/or urine specimens may be collected for testing. You will be contacted with the results later the same day or early the following day depending on the time of day the test was taken and the tests that were performed. If indicated management options will be discussed at this time.
If you plan to be travelling with your pet a heartworm detection test may be run in preparation for using Interceptor for heartworm prevention.
A fecal parasite examination will be run on the submitted specimen. If parasites are detected appropriate medication will be dispensed. If no sample is submitted a broadspectrum worming agent can be administered during the visit.
Flea and tick prevention/treatment will be discussed and the appropriate product dispensed.
You will be asked to outline your pet’s feeding and exercise regimes. Changes may be recommended based upon your pet’s breed, age wellness and lifestyle.
We will discuss your pet’s behaviour, and the role it plays in the lives of you and your family. Young children, compromised seniors and interaction with other animals are often a concern for pet owners. Any problems such as inappropriate urination/defication, furniture scratching, aggression, barking, separation anxiety, etc., will be addressed at this time.
At the end of the visit you will be asked if there is anything else about your pet you wish to dicuss and if you have any questions pertaining to the examination and recommendations given. If necessary a follow up visit will be scheduled.
We sincerely hope that each person leaves our hospital understanding that they and our staff form an essential team in their pet’s ongoing health care.
Flea and Tick Control
At WBVC we strive to have all pets free of fleas, ticks and other parasites. Fleas have been a major problem in our area in the past. However since the introduction of more effective, safer and easy to use flea products this situation is easy to control.
New products have made flea control manageable and if required treatment rapid and effective: Advantage, Ovicollars and Program for fleas and Preventic and Ovitrol Plus collars for ticks. Frontline is not approved for use in Canada. Ovicollars (collar) and Program (oral/injectable) break the flea life cycle thus stopping environmental infestation. Advantage (topical) kills the adult fleas and is particularly useful in animals with flea allergy dermatitis. These two types of products can be used together in areas of major flea infestation. As the tick collars are potentially more toxic, we only recommend them for animals travelling to, or residing in, tick infested areas. Even then we restrict their use to the seasons when the local tick species are actively feeding. A new addition to this market is Revolution. This product controls fleas, ticks, ear mites, heartworm and some intestinal parasites.
Internal Parasite Control
At WBVC we recommend routine fecal floatation examinations for intestinal parasite detection. If worm eggs, Giardia or Coccidia are detected appropriate medication is dispensed. If owners cannot supply a fresh fecal specimen we advise routine worming with Drontal Plus. Dogs on Interceptor are generally free of intestinal worms as this product is effective against heartworm, roundworm, whipworm and hookworm. It does not address protozoan parasitism. As intestinal parasites can affect humans the need for effective parasite control cannot be underestimated!
Choosing the best diet for pet can be a very confusing challenge! There are many products on the market. All these companies are in business to sell their product. It is the owner that buys the product, so it is to these people that the companies aim their marketing strategy and advertising savvy! It is also a confusing world for professional caregivers. At WBVC we have been assessing pet food products for many years. Although there are some products we definitely do not endorse and some which we place in a no mans land, there are a few that have through consistency and effectiveness of product, ongoing product research and company support gained our trust come to be the mainstay of our feeding regimes. Most but not all of these companies have both an over-the-counter and a prescription line of products. Hills (Science Diet), IAMS (Eukaneuba), Innovative Veterinary Diets (IVD), Veterinary Medical Diets (VMD Medical), and Walthams are the products we usually recommend. Some animals with complicated allergies require specially formulated diets. These can be cooked at home by their owners or KOKO’s Gourmet Pet Foods will make fresh customized pet food and deliver it to the door twice weekly. The diet we suggest will depend on the species, breed, age and health of your pet. Your pet’s taste preferences also play a role. No single diet is suitable for every pet! We have assessed several Raw Food diet manufacturers but to date none have been able to provide anything but annecdotal evidence that they are nutritious and safe. We have not been able to find a manufacturer that is CVMA or AFCO Certified. Nor have we been able to locate a manufacturer that is doing standardized scientific research on their product. To date we have looked at Fargo, Pet Chef and Amore, however, as none of these manufacturers meet our criteria for product performance testing, we cannot recommend them to our clients. To obtain the best diet for your pet we strongly suggest you consult your veterinarian not your food or pet store sales person. Only your veterinarian has the training required, plus the intimate knowledge of your pet’s needs, to make an educated decision for optimizing your pet’s nutrition.
General Veterinary Advice
- Do not assume that your pet is well. Many animals do not exhibit gross signs of illness until a problem is very advanced. Any problem is easier to deal with if it is detected early on. Schedule your pet for comprehensive routine check ups.
- Do not assume that if your pet has a problem that nothing can be done for it. Even if a problem has not been successfully dealt with in the past, new treatments and medications are being discovered all the time.
- Remember that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your pet’s well-being and comfort.
- Be an active partner in your pet’s health care.