“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 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.



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, or it may … Continue reading

BBQ Hazards

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 month old Golden Retriever pup who had been rushed to the emergency service at Twin Trees  … Continue reading

Cassidy the Kitten – The Blade Runner Cat

Soon to be the blade runner kitten, Cassidy is scheduled to become the first cat to be fitted with high tech prosthetic blade legs. Canada West Veterinary Hospital was happy to play a role in the recovery of the feral kitten, missing both hind legs. Found starving and with an infection in Langley, Cassidy was nursed back to health by Shelly Roche.

Canada West Vet, Dr. Mike Higgins recently treated the eight-month old Tabby cat with Botox Injections in preparation for prosthetic blades being attached to Cassidy’s limbs.


In a few months, when the kitten is closer to being full-grown, he will undergo surgery at North Carolina State University.

We are thankful for the publics support, and look forward to Cassidy’s life as the blade runner cat!  See more about Cassidy in the media here:

Metro News

The Globe and Mail

Winnipeg Free Press 

City News 

 … Continue reading

Neurology Case Profile: Mija The Terrier Puppy Suffers A Brain Injury After Bites To The Head From Larger Dog

Our case reports series discusses actual cases treated at Canada West Veterinary Specialists to help pet owners better understand our work and some of the processes and stages involved.

 This profile features Mija, an 8-month old terrier pup who recently underwent brain surgery at our hospital.

Mija 2 hours post surgery

 A Small Puppy Badly Injured By A Larger Dog

No one knows exactly what happened to Mija.  All her owners know is that they found their tiny (1.5 kg) terrier pup with a big dog standing over her, clearly in distress.

At The Family Vet

Mija was rushed to her family vet, who examined her carefully.  There were bite marks over the back of her neck.  She couldn’t stand but would just roll over and over; her head and neck were severely tilted to the left.  Her left pupil was also smaller than her right, her eyes were constantly flicking from side to side, … Continue reading

When The Vet’s Dog Has Cancer – Part 2

By Dr. Laurence Braun, ER + Critical Care Specialist

[Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Canada West Veterinary Specialists’ Dr. Laurence Braun experienced first-hand the range of emotions and considerations that our clients encounter as pet-owners of an animal in need of advanced care when her own dog was diagnosed with a fast-growing form of cancer.  

In part one of this two-part blog series, Dr. Braun discussed the discovery, diagnosis and decision-making process that ultimately led her to have her dog sent to New York for an advanced technology treatment known as “cyberknife” radiation that is currently available at only four facilities in North America. 

In this concluding post, Dr. Braun recounts her dog’s New York experience, current status, and future prognosis as well as Dr. Braun’s thoughts as a pet-owner on how to address a serious pet illness if it should arise in your own life.]

Mini Goes To

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