Blog

“Severe Tummy Troubles” – Understanding Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS) in Dogs

May 2017 saw a surge in cases of this type at our hospital with six animals presenting with symptoms of this condition.

The signs are acute bloody malodorous diarrhea, sometimes associated with vomiting, and mentally dull patients with abdominal discomfort.  The onset can be very rapid and can be associated with severe fluid loss, which can lead to shock even before classic signs of dehydration are seen.

Typically, small breed dogs are affected most frequently; Miniature Schnauzers are reported to be particularly prone to it.  In our region, poodles or poodle crosses are represented more than the Schnauzers, but that may be reflective of local breed popularity.

AHDS used to be referred to as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). Unfortunately, despite a new name that better fits the description of the signs, we still don’t really understand what causes it.

In AHDS cases the gut becomes “leaky” and proteins can leak into … Continue reading

Our Cardiology service will be closed as of April 13, 2017

Dr. Margiocco is taking a personal leave of absence in Italy with an anticipated return date of March 2018.

As of April 13, 2017, all prescription refills and monitoring will need to be performed by the family veterinarians.

During his leave, Dr. Margiocco will be doing telemedicine via Idexx.

We appreciate all of your support over the past 7 years and, as you all know, Dr. Margiocco is extremely dedicated to the care of your patients, and I’m sure we all look forward to his return.… Continue reading

Our First Dialysis Patient: Bluebell

A few weeks ago Bluebell — a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever — became our first dialysis patient when she suffered from acute kidney injury due to leptospirosis and arrived at our hospital less than 24 hours after our new dialysis machine was installed and became operational.

 

Bluebell during treatment

 

What is leptospirosis?

It is a bacterial infection that can affect a dog’s blood, liver and kidneys. The bacteria that cause the illness are primarily carried by rats, but dogs, livestock, raccoons and skunks infected with the disease can pass it on. There are 250 strains (“serovars”) worldwide; approximately 10 are important for dogs, and rarely, for cats.

How common is it?

Veterinarians in BC did not often diagnose this disease in the past. However, we have seen increase in cases in the past decade. This may be related to an increase or spread of the organism itself, … Continue reading

Dead Heat

Bugsy, French bulldog (Tanya’s dog)

The days of summer are (finally) upon us; the government has issued a heat advisory for the end of the week so now is the time to seriously consider the perils of warm weather.

Dogs have a limited ability to sweat so even a short time in a hot environment can be deadly.

I have seen many cases of fatal heat stroke, and those cases, although varied, have all been devastating – for the treating team but obviously to a much larger degree for the grieving families.  Heat stress happens very quickly and depending on a variety of factors can lead to heat stroke and what you might imagine Ebola to look like – bleeding, severe hemorrhagic diarrhea, organ failure and death.

There is no amount of time that is safe.   Just don’t do it – not even for 5 minutes – even with open … Continue reading

BBQ Hazards

Who knew this cute little ball of fur was going to get into so much trouble?

Although it doesn’t quite feel like summer yet here in the Lower Mainland, we are still playing outside.  Today’s blog is a reminder of the potential harm the seemingly innocuous BBQ can pose to the dogs in your family.

Corn cobs are very tasty yet poorly digestible and if eaten, will cause intestinal obstruction.  Over the years, we have removed more than our fair share of lodged corn cobs from the bowels of enterprising dogs.

Another hazard of family cookouts is skewer ingestion.  Even what looks like an empty skewer to us is a tempting treat to an animal with such a developed sense of smell.  Just like with sword swallowing, skewers can actually go down quite easily.  However, skewers can puncture the esophagus, intestines and other organs.

Recently, we saw a lovely 6 … Continue reading

Sago Palm Toxicity

Cycads (aka sago palms or Cycas revoluta) are highly poisonous plants that look like palm trees. Because they reached the height of their diversity during the Jurassic Period, they are often described as living fossils. In fact, when Jurassic Park movies came out, potted cycads were often sold with the slogan “dinosaur food”. Their natural habitat is a tropical environment, but they are found as houseplants and landscaping features as far north as West Vancouver, B.C.

Cycads (aka Cycas revoluta or sago palm)

While it may have been appropriate food for the dinosaurs (although things didn’t work out so well for them), cycads are definitely highly toxic to modern mammals. Our cats and dogs seem to find sago palms particularly tasty, with fatal consequences.

Seeds of Cycas revoluta

While any part of the plant is poisonous, the large seeds are especially toxic. Within twelve hours of ingestion, the plant’s … Continue reading