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

Oh Barf: Vomit versus Regurgitation: What’s the difference and what’s the big deal?

There are many, many reasons why our pets may “bring up” something, and it’s easy to assume that what they are doing is vomiting. But what if we told you that in addition to the reasons to vomit, there are many other reasons why they might regurgitate!  Being able to differentiate between vomiting and regurgitation helps us diagnose pets and get them feeling better faster.

Vomit:
To vomit means to force out matter from the stomach through the mouth. It is an active movement in which the abdomen contracts and forces the stomach contents up and out. The material can be an array of colors depending on what was eaten or what the underlying condition is, and can contain some digested food, as the stomach has begun to process it.  The list of diseases causing vomiting includes stomach upset, foreign bodies stuck in the stomach or intestines, pancreatitis, or countless … Continue reading

Case Report: Raisins, Grapes, Kidneys and Crisco. Hardy Has A Tale To Tell.

Hardy is an aptly-named and lovely 7-month old Bernese Mountain dog who recently arrived at our Emergency Room after eating a large amount of raisins and two pounds of Crisco (vegetable shortening)!  That night his owner discovered more than 50 raisins in his stool along with some paper towel remnants.

Blood work was done to rule out the two concerns that could arise from the ingestion of these two separate potential trouble-makers:

  1. Raisins or grapes, which can cause kidney failure. (The mechanism by which raisins or grapes cause kidney injury is unknown).
  2. Ingestion of high amounts of fat (from the Crisco) can cause pancreatitis.

 

Hardy was treated with IV fluids, monitored and was discharged home after a couple of days. He was very lucky, but not all dogs are.  We have seen dogs succumb to pancreatitis, despite our best efforts.

Pancreatitis can strike fear in the heart of emergency/critical … Continue reading

Lily Toxicity in Cats

Easter is around the corner and we’ve already had two cases of lily toxicity here at Canada West. Now is the time to review how certain species of lilies cause kidney failure in our feline friends.

It has been pointed out that every time holidays roll around I’m doom and gloom about the possible hazards. Fair enough! There’s a reason we call them the “chocolate holidays”. But while most people now know to keep chocolate away from dogs, they may not know that the lily they were given might kill their cat.

Several species of lilies are toxic to cats, including Easter lilies, Stargazer, Tiger, Japanese, Asian and day lilies. The toxic species are either from the lilium family or the Hemerocallis family (true and day lilies)

It is important to note that all parts of the lily (the flowers, pollen, leaves and stems) are toxic in even very small … Continue reading

(Un)healthy appetite

As the holiday season approaches, this is a bit of a cautionary tale and a reminder that dogs can be, at times, indiscriminate eaters…and that “dietary indiscretions” can sometimes result in a foreign body that gets lodged in the digestive tract and has to be removed by scoping or by surgery.

In Millan’s case, our adventurous 8-month-old labrador, surgery was required to remove a deflated football from his stomach!

We see him here with the usual “I’ve had the belly surgery haircut” and then further into his recovery, a beautiful picture of him on the beach.

Again, our best wishes for the holidays and reminding you to keep an eye out for our mischevious furry family members!

 

 

 

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Caring For An Aging Pet

I have learned a lot from my geriatric animal patients over the years. I’ve had that in my back pocket, and so when it came to looking after my own geriatric girl, Mini, I had the good fortune of having shared experience and knowledge from others in a similar situation of caring for an aging pet.

A first-hand perspective

While I was in the thick of caring for Mini I wanted to share the delights but also the reality of dealing with an aging and sick dog, but I somehow couldn’t do it.  Maybe I felt it would jinx how well she was doing; then, in the last few months when her care was fairly constant (I did not leave her more than 4 hours without someone checking in on her) the worry that I was not making the right decisions for her was almost overwhelming.  After I lost her, … Continue reading