In The News: A Reported Increase in Respiratory Disease in Dogs

There has been an increase in reporting of respiratory diseases in dogs. It has primarily been reported in several US states, and a specific new causative agent has yet to be identified. Contagious respiratory disease in dogs (kennel cough or the canine infectious respiratory disease complex) is common and can be caused by multiple viral and bacterial causes. Kennel cough (or CIRDC) is airborne and highly contagious. Dogs exposed to more crowded environments, such as shelters, kennels, and daycare centers, where several dogs are assembled, are more at risk. Dogs can become infected with CIRDC simultaneously by two or more different species of bacteria or viruses. Several often-implicated pathogens include the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, the canine parainfluenza virus, and the canine adenovirus type 2. CIRDC is not a new disease.  However, the increased frequency of the reporting (in the news but also discussed on professional discussion boards) and the progression… Continue reading

An unusual Saturday night at our hospital

We recently worked on a Serval Cat!

Serval cats are medium size cats from Africa.  The cheetah is thought to descend from them.  Like so many other animals in the wild, their numbers have dwindled.  Their population has been in decline largerly due to human population encroaching on their habitats or being hunted for their beautiful pelts.  Servals can also be preyed upon by other large cats.Their introduction as pets in North America is recent but the ancient Egyptians worshipped the serval as gods, and kept them as pets.

Servals  are known to develop an intense emotional bond with their original owners and this lovely girl was no different. We could not have approached her easily on our own (servals have unusual long legs and proportionally small heads but she showed us her teeth were definitely full size!) without stressing her and possibly causing her harm,  but she was completely … Continue reading

The Fungus Among Us: Cryptococcus


In my last blog, I alluded to some medications that can affect the liver.

Medications used to treat infections caused by fungus is one such family of drugs and when they are used, blood tests are done on a periodic basis to help monitor the health of the liver.

While fungal diseases have always been an issue in patients with compromised immune systems, one such fungal disease affects individuals with normal immune systems.

Our neurology department has seen several cases of an emerging fungal disease.  The author of this week’s blog is Dr Nicki Davis who has been collecting data on these cases.

This infection, which can affect your pet in British Columbia more than any other place in the world, is a fungus known as Cryptococcus, or shortened simply to “Crypto”. This is a new type of this fungus that has arrived in BC and that can infect both … Continue reading

Palm’s recovery

Palm was at our hospital yesterday to get her sutures removed from the 2nd surgery. 

We are happy to report that the surgery was successful. 


The key to success in such wounds is to go back to surgery when the underlying tissues are not infected. 

This is problematic when the skin is not intact (the wound is open) which predisposes to infection even when precautions such as clipping hair (see her haircut!), disinfecting solutions, wearing gloves during bandage changes are used.  This is compounded by the fact that reliance on antibiotics  eventually leads to more resistant bacteria which in turn become more difficult to treat.   The antibiotics get progressively more expensive and have more side effects. 

The use of honey bandages  allows us to make the wound environment less hospitable to bacteria without relying solely on antibiotics.   If the patient is not ill, we may even forego antibiotics all together … Continue reading

Update on Palm the seeing-eye dog

All of us at Canada West Veterinary Specialists and Palm’s family are touched by the caring and generosity we have witnessed since she has been hospitalized.

Palm has well-wishers from North America, Australia and as far as Bejing!

Our miracle girl has been doing well.  We were hoping to send her home for a few days before her next series of tests but a recent episode of intestinal upset has delayed her discharge – hopefully by not much more than a day.  It is Thanksgiving week-end in Canada and we are certainly all thankful for her recovery!

The main hurdles she still has to overcome are the wound on the chest and her crushed nose.  It is likely that she will need a second surgery as some of the skin does not seem viable.

Palm does have some  effort when she breathes in.  This may be related to the amount … Continue reading