Immunization and Wellness Care
At Westmount Animal Clinic we like to focus on preventive medicine whenever possible. To help your pets stay healthy it is important to have a physical examination at least once a year for young pets and twice a year for senior pets. At this time we assess your pets’ overall health, nutritional status and answer any questions you may have regarding your pets’ health and behaviour. We will provide you with updated information on current recommendations for preventive health care as well as parasite prevention . Simply put regular yearly/bi-annual exams focus on keeping your pets healthy and confronting problems before they get out of hand.
Although some vaccines are generally recommended for all dogs and cats, our veterinarians can assist you in selecting vaccines for your pet based on the unique set of risks faced by your pet. Some factors to be considered include the number of pets in the household, exposure to other pets or wild animals, age and health status of your pet, as well as travel and kenneling considerations. By measuring blood titre levels of antibodies to the core vaccines we can determine whether immunity needs boosting or not (at this time titers are available for dogs only).
Research has shown that both puppy and kitten maternal antibodies can persist for months and their immune systems are initially slow to develop, both contributing to poor immune response to early vaccination. In our practice area it is recommended that those pets at high risk should get their first vaccine at 8 weeks, but both puppies and kittens really need the 12 week and especially the 16 to 18 week booster to maximize their immune development.
Adult cats get the respiratory series which includes a herpes virus (Rhinotracheitis) and Calici virus and the Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) vaccines yearly, all combined into one injection. It is much safer to give these “unadjuvanted” vaccines yearly than to use the extended three year vaccines with adjuvants, that have been shown to cause sarcoma cancer in some cats.
Our core canine vaccines; Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus are licensed for only 1 year but have been tested to last longer. As such we promote testing your pet’s immunity levels with a quick blood test at the time of their first adult check up. It is better to know if your pup has an adequately functioning immune system and can mount lasting immunity to vaccines, rather than just giving a vaccine injection that some pets will not need. If indeed the immunity drops below protective levels, we can then boost the vaccine with confidence.
Rabies vaccine is given once every three years for the life of your pet and because titre testing is so expensive, usually only pets going for export get their Rabies immunity levels tested.
Bordetella vaccine if needed is given yearly to some and twice yearly for those at high risk such as those frequenting day cares, boarding facilities and grooming parlours or in some cases given incidentally only when your pet needs to be kenneled.
At Westmount Animal Clinic, laser surgery is our primary surgical method, which allows us to continue to provide high level of quality care that our clients have come to expect from us. We have been offering this progressive alternative since 2005 with tremendous results. We began using this alternative in order to provide less painful surgeries with faster healing times for our patients. The laser works by emitting an intense beam of light at a very high temperature that is able to vaporize the water in tissue. This process removes only a very small amount of supportive tissue when compared to conventional surgeries performed with a scalpel.
Benefits of laser surgery include:
Recommended Procedures for Laser Surgery:
If you feel that laser surgery is something that may be beneficial to your pet please call the clinic and any of our staff members would be happy to answer all your additional questions or to set up an appointment for you.
Our in-house laboratory allows us to run most diagnostic tests on-site including serum chemistry, blood analysis, urine tests, fecal exams, and cytology (from ear swabs or from skin lumps). This allows for prompt results and decision making when it comes to the treatment of your pet.
PRE-SURGICAL TESTING & SURGICAL MONITORING
At Westmount Animal Clinic we recommend pre-surgical blood testing for all patients to ensure your pet can properly process and eliminate the anesthetic drugs. If through this testing we find any abnormal results we will adjust our anesthetic protocol to provide the safest anesthetic for each patient. Along with the pre-surgical testing we use modern equipment to monitor each patient’s vital signs throughout each procedure. These include: heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, temperature and more. A Registered Veterinary Technician monitors your pet throughout the procedure.
Cardiology is the study of the heart and how it functions. We can help to diagnose heart conditions by blood tests and x-rays. If it is decided that your pet needs to be evaluated by a cardiologist we can quickly make that referral for you.
Radiology (x-ray) is used to provide valuable information about your pet’s health. It can be used alone, or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools such as blood tests to provide a list of possible causes for a pet’s condition, or to come to a definitive diagnosis.
We are equipped with a digital x-ray unit. Digital radiography provides a very high quality image that allows better visualization of bones and soft tissue, and allows us to manipulate the images to help improve our ability to make a diagnosis. These images are captured and can be shown to you within minutes or forwarded to a specialist in case of needed referral. If you would like a copy of your pet’s x-rays we will happily email or provide you with a CD copy.
We are equipped with Tonometer to help diagnose your pet’s ocular (eye) disease. This allows us to quickly diagnose the pressure inside your pet’s eyes (elevations can indicate a serious condition called glaucoma). If your pet needs to see an ophthalmologist we can quickly arrange a consultation with a local board certified eye specialist.
X-ray images may not always give us a clear enough view of the inside of your pet’s body. Our ultrasound equipment can help to give us additional information.
If there is an organ or mass that requires a biopsy, we can quickly obtain a sample under a deep sedation, and can usually have results within a week’s time thanks to the commercial laboratories in Calgary.
Nutrition & Weight Management
Good nutrition is as important for pets as it is for people. Nutritional counseling (which includes a review of supplementation needs) is part of your pet’s annual/biannual veterinary assessment. Every pet has unique nutritional requirements in some way. Growing puppies and kittens have different nutritional needs than adult dogs and cats. With so many different brands available, choosing the right food for your pet can be a challenge. Our team can help you make informed choices to optimize the health of your pet. At Westmount Animal Clinic we have selected nutritionally balanced brands that we are confident will meet your pets’ nutritional requirements based on their specific needs.
Another challenge for pet owners is at what age to transition their growing pet from a development to an adult maintenance diet. This is a complex topic, but choosing the right time and the appropriate food is important for your pet’s optimal health. We at Westmount offer complimentary Transitional Nutritional Consultations in order to help you help your pet.
Some pet owners are becoming more interested in feeding homemade diets as well as providing a variety of whole foods to supplement their pet’s diets. Cooking for your pet can be fun, though it tends to be time-consuming and challenging to maintain a consistent nutrient balance. If you have the time, the budget and the desire to prepare your pet’s food, make sure it is a balanced ration that is appropriate for your pet’s age and condition. Please feel free to call us and we can assist you with information on nutritionally balanced home cooked diet formulation.
One of the most common findings during regular pet assessments is obesity. Over 60% of our pet population is overweight. This can cause significant health problems as well as shorten your pet’s life. We see higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis in these pets. Call and ask for a free nutritional counseling program – called SLIMFIT. Our team has undertaken extensive nutritional training to help ensure that they can properly educate you on how to help your pet reach a healthy weight!
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the time they are 3 years old. Dental disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Common signs of oral disease can include bad breath, red and swollen gums, tartar buildup, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and generalized depression. Many dogs and cats can have significant oral disease such as abscessed or fractured teeth without showing ANY outward signs of discomfort, even though oral disease is very painful for your pet.
At Westmount Animal Clinic we recommend that your pet’s dental health be assessed at least once a year since bacteria and food debris accumulates around pets teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and tooth loss as well as affecting the health of other organs in the body. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the blood steam causing serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung and heart disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate in-house diagnostic laboratory work can determine if this is the case.
Just like people, pets require periodic dental cleaning and assessment. The procedure for cleaning your pet’s teeth (called a dental prophylaxis) is no different from that which we experience at our own dentist. The only difference is that our pets won’t sit still and keep their mouth open on command. A general anesthetic is therefore required in order to safely scale, probe, assess and polish all surfaces of all of the teeth. Our dental operatory allows us to treat a wide variety of dental disease as well as provide routine prophylaxis It includes a digital dental x-ray which helps us ensure your pet’s teeth are healthy above and below the gumline.
The keys to your pet’s oral health are professional veterinary dental care and good care at home. Too few pets receive both and most don’t receive either. You can change that today!
We are proud to offer Laser Therapy as an effective, proven, pain free, non-invasive, drug-free treatment option for our clients who want to ease their pet’s pain and inflammation. This powerful modality provides:
Laser therapy treatments typically last anywhere from 3-15 minutes in duration, and most pets rest comfortably during this pain-free procedure. Clients see positive results in one to three treatments. Acute condition can subside with as few as one set of treatments where chronic conditions can be managed with regular monthly treatments. There are no know negative side effects and often pain medication can be reduced or completely eliminated with the use of laser therapy.
Westmount Animal clinic has been providing laser feline PDA (partial digital amputation or declawing) procedures since 2005 with tremendously successful outcomes for our patients. Laser surgery has substantially improved the PDA surgical protocol and outcomes, by minimizing pain, bleeding and tissue trauma. With the use of laser surgery along with post surgical laser therapy we are seeing our patients return to normal life quicker as well as reducing the need for post-operative pain medications.
The procedure is performed here only after extensive consultations with the pet owner and after trialing all of the alternatives strategies available. PDA is considered a ‘last option’ for destructive clawing behavior, which is normal behavior for some cats. With over 12 years of experience we can state that if done properly on selected patients the surgery has been proven to not have any negative affect on long term health and behavior and we do carefully select our cases for surgical consideration.
We appreciate the CVMA position statement opposing elective and non therapeutic PDA procedures as the procedure offers no advantage to the feline pet and the lack of scientific studies leaves us unable to predict the likelihood of long term behavioral and physical negative side effects.
In the current absence of a legislated ban on PDA surgery in Canadian jurisdictions, the CVMA, though opposed to elective and non-therapeutic PDA, supports the actions of provincial veterinary governing bodies that require that veterinarians, as a minimum, provide clients with information regarding PDA surgery, potential side-effects, and alternatives that is sufficient for owners to give informed consent.
Veterinarians have the right to refuse to perform non-therapeutic PDA surgery. If alternatives fail to alleviate undesirable scratching behaviors, veterinarians have the right and responsibility to use professional judgement for a humane and ethical outcome.
If you require further information or to book a PDA surgical consult please call the clinic and any of our team members would be happy to answer all your additional questions or to set up an appointment for you.
Our in-house pharmacy allows us to provide your pet with most of the medications prescribed by our veterinarians. If we do not carry it in stock we often can order it quickly for your pet, or can provide a prescription for you to use at a pharmacy of your choice.
If your pet is difficult to medicate we have access to a special veterinary formulating pharmacies that can make medications in all different forms and flavours! Even the most challenging pet can be medicated.
We carry a wide variety of supplements that may benefit your pet.
Quality of Life Consultation
At Westmount Animal Clinic we consider pet’s quality of life a priority which begins with the very first visit. As pets age, changes in nutrition, environment and veterinary care are necessary to keep pets as healthy as possible. Arthritis, heart disease, kidney dysfunction and cancer are just some of the conditions that are common in older pets. These conditions can be managed with appropriate care but will progress until a patient is no longer comfortable. We work together with pet owners to ensure their pets age gracefully. When a pet’s quality of life has diminished, it may be time to say goodbye peacefully and gently under our veterinarian’s care either here at the clinic or at your home.
Many of us have faced the difficult decisions regarding end of life care for our pets. Providing compassionate guidance to pet owners regarding their aging pets is an essential component of our quality veterinary care. Quality of life consultations involves a discussion of the patient’s health history and current lifestyle. During this time family members provide valuable input regarding their pet’s behaviour, appetite, and mobility. This information, combined with a comprehensive physical exam, enables our veterinarians to help assess the pet’s quality of life and provide helpful feedback to the family. If the level of suffering appears to be too great to overcome with intervention, we will offer options for a peaceful goodbye.
We understand that each family has a unique way of facing end of life decisions and how they wish to memorialize their pet. We will make every effort to ensure that the pet and the family members are as comfortable as possible throughout the process.
A special keepsake capturing your pet’s paw print (memorial clay paw) can be made along with your pet’s hair clipping to add to the many memories you have of your pet!