Canada’s Marijuana Laws Have Changed. What Does It Mean For Pets?

Given Canada’s new status as the second country worldwide to legalize recreational use of marijuana, it is important for veterinarians to weigh in on the risks that marijuana can pose to our pet patients.  While the change in legislation may be welcome on the human front, our concern is that people may be more prone to thinking that it is harmless or even beneficial to give marijuana to their pets.


The 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center cites a study from Colorado (where marijuana has been legal for medical use since 2005) and describes their increase in case load:

A veterinary study from Colorado published recently by the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care reported a four-fold increase in the number of dogs treated for marijuana intoxication between 2005 and 2010, following the legalization of medical marijuana in that state. Similarly, over the past five years Pet Poison HelplineContinue reading

Success Story Inspires

At Canada West Veterinary Specialists, we are always inspired whenever one of our patients recovers. However, the exuberant and determined efforts of the animals that are guided through long processes of rehabilitation, following the development of life-altering conditions, are always particularly uplifting.  Though the process of recovery can be arduous, the spirits of the animals that triumph consistently remind us of the incalculable potential of the will to recover.

Recently, we were exceptionally proud to see this indelible spirit highlighted on the website of Cesar Milan (the renowned dog-trainer and host of the popular television series “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan”). Milan’s website hosts a series of videos posted by proud pet owners and recently, fans were asked to vote for their favourite video. It was an immense pleasure for the staff of Canada West to discover that a video featuring a patient of ours, a grey and white … Continue reading

Breakfast Television Visits Canada West

Breakfast Television Vancouver came to the hospital today for a live  on-camera visit to show their viewers some of the work we do.  Today’s segments included:

  • Wilma – a cat who received a stent for a blocked kidney  (described by Dr. Marylin Dunn);
  • Wally – a dog with arthritic knees who receives stem cell injections (harvested from his own body) to treat his arthritis (described by Dr. Alan Kuzma);
  • Vinny – a dog who recently underwent hip replacement surgery for the insertion of an artificial hip (described by Dr. Teresa Schiller); and
  • Mango – a siamese cat suffering from pancreatitis that is being treated in the ICU (described by Dr. Laurence Braun)

BTV has visited us last fall and based on the positive viewer reaction to that show they were interested in coming back for a return visit.… Continue reading

Update on Palm

We had been concerned that Palm’s large thoracic wound would not heal easily with the first surgery.

The size, the depth and the contamination of the wound which would have occurred at the time of her trauma made it very likely that some of the skin would not be viable.

About 25% of her wound opened up and a sample taken from the wound showed large amount of bacterial growth which meant that simply going back to surgery to repair the wound would likely lead to further break down.

We have opted to treat the wound with honey bandages prior to attempting a final repair.

The use of honey in the management of wounds enhances healing and eliminates invading bacteria.  This often works better than oral antibiotics and is also less likely to lead to the creation of “superbugs”.

While the use of honey to treat infected wounds dates back … Continue reading

Guide dog dragged by skytrain sustains severe injuries

Authored by Dr Laurence Braun

Palm, a blind woman’s guide dog, was involved in a tragic accident last Thursday. When she was suddenly caught by the automatic closing door,  Palm was dragged by the Skytrain to the end of a station, striking a pole.

Fortunately, a staff member from Burquitlam Animal Hospital happened to be near and took the dog and her owner to the hospital where she works.  The doctor there quickly evaluated Palm, gave her emergency treatment and referred her to Canada West Veterinary Specialists for further surgery and specialized care.

It will be months until she can work again even if she continues to heal well.  We are still watching closely for further complications.

Amazingly, the roof of her mouth remained intact as well as her teeth.  She has been able to lick some gruel since last night and has kept it down.  She is truly a … Continue reading