COVID-19 Update – April 2022

As the B.C. Government has announced that the province will be further loosening COVID-19 restrictions, we have made further modifications to our COVID-19 policy. These changes came into effect April 8, 2022.

Clients will no longer be asked to remain outdoors or in their vehicle while their pet is inside for their appointment and are able to attend in-person appointments. We will continue to ask that clients keep a safe physical distance from our team and other clients, as well as wear a mask when in our reception area, in their appointments, or when visiting patients.

We thank you for your continued cooperation in helping us provide safe and expert care for your animal family members.… Continue reading

Feline UFOs and FUOs: What’s the difference?

A common saying in veterinary medicine is that “cats are not small dogs”. Cats are a very different species with different diseases — some even joke that cats have an extraterrestrial origin — feline UFOs you might say.

We also see fever a bit differently in cats and dogs. Typically with dogs, if a diagnostic “net” is cast wide enough a diagnosis can be made but that is not always the case in cats. If enough parameters are met in investigating a cat fever without the cause being identified, we will call this “Fever of Unknown Origin” (FUO).

Although fevers are common in cats, information about FUO in cats is limited. Most often, feline FUOs are eventually determined to be due to an infection. Less often, cancer or immune-mediated disease is found to be the cause of the fever. Still, the origin of 10-15% of fevers of unknown origin in … Continue reading

COVID 19 – Canada West Hospital Procedures Update

The B.C. Government has announced that the province will move to Step 3 of its restart plan effective July 1, 2021. At Canada West, we are excited about the progress being made to limit the spread of COVID-19.

According to the advice of Dr. Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, we will continue with mask wearing and curbside service until the majority of our team members are fully vaccinated. This means that clients will continue to be asked to remain outdoors or in their vehicle while their pet is inside for their appointment, and to keep a safe physical distance from our team and other clients while they wait.

During the weeks ahead, as we plan to welcome you back into the clinic, we will be monitoring our internal air circulation systems and gradually adjusting our policies to allow owner access to the hospital based on our assessment … Continue reading

Toxic Tartar? New Findings about Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs

Back in 1999, the ASPCA APCC (Animal Poison Control Centre) first reported on the poisonous nature of grapes to dogs when they noticed a cluster of dogs that became seriously ill after eating grapes or raisins. In the ensuing two decades veterinarians have diagnosed many cases of grape and raisin toxicity in dogs, but the actual toxic agent was unknown. Was it the seeds, the skin, or pesticide on the skin? These were all eliminated as causes, and the reason for grape poisonings in dogs remained elusive. To deepen the mystery, the degree of illness was inconsistent between cases. In comparison, when we look at other substances that are toxic to dogs such as chocolate, antifreeze (ethylene glycol), or Ibuprofen, we find that the toxic doses per kilogram are consistent (although with chocolate we also have to factor in the concentration as well — i.e. 90% dark chocolate is more … Continue reading

Coyote Attack on Luna The Cat

Luna is a 2-year old cat that was presented to Canada West Veterinary Specialists on June 26, 2020, after being attacked by a coyote.


She was let outside around 4 am along with two other cats in her household. When the two other cats returned, Luna was nowhere to be found. Her owner went outside to look for her and saw a coyote on top of her. He was able to chase the coyote away and then brought Luna in for emergency care.

Luna was in shock and semi-comatose when she arrived. There was evidence of a crush injury to her head with several lacerations, including to the eye, the eyelid and the neck. There was concern that she might have severe brain damage but she was also in shock. We needed to stabilize that first in order to assess the extent of her injuries.


Luna the cat following the incident with the coyote.


Once she … Continue reading

New minimally invasive procedure saves Sophie’s life


Sophie was a happy and healthy 4-year-old Great Pyrenees until she began urinating blood in December of 2019. She was initially seen by her family veterinarian, where several tests were performed to rule out more common causes of bloody urine such as a clotting disorder, urinary tract infection and urinary stones. When an obvious cause was not found, she was referred to the Internal Medicine department at Canada West Veterinary Specialists.

Sophie had a CT scan and cystoscopy (scoping of the urinary system) performed and was diagnosed with a rare condition called “Idiopathic Renal Hematuria” (IRH). IRH occurs when a blood vessel in one or both kidneys begins to bleed for no identifiable reason. Over time, this can lead to anemia requiring blood transfusions or obstructions from blood clots. Because these complications can be life-threatening, treatment is generally recommended. Historically, removal of the affected kidney was used to treat … Continue reading