We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

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When is Amputation the Right Decision?

Amputation of a pet’s leg is one of the most drastic decisions an owner can make. There are many reasons for amputation including irreparable trauma, infection, paralysis, severe arthritis, chronic pain or even cancer In some cases, such as trauma or bacterial infection, removal of the leg cures the patient. In the case of bone tumours, an amputation is done to relieve pain and extend quality of life but rarely cures underlining cancer. Owners frequently reject the option of amputation because it is seen as too extreme and they worry their pet will not be able to adapt with only three legs. This is a very legitimate concern, and the decision to amputate should not be made lightly.

The truth is dogs and cats can function extremely well after amputation. In fact, most are just as mobile after surgery as they ever were; especially in the case of prolonged pain and discomfort. Although there is an adjustment period, many can live a happy, active life. There’s no doubt that amputees have to recover from their surgery and it may take several days, even weeks to learn how to balance on their three legs. However, over time they will successfully navigate the house, enjoy running along the beach and getting in and out of the car (sometimes a little help is appreciated) just like they used to. In many cases, the affected limb was non-functional, to begin with, and they already had to adapt to the use of just three legs. In these cases, the transition from 4 legs to 3 can be quite easy.  Unfortunately for some patients, specifically obese, giant breed dogs or those with restrictions to the functioning of their other limbs, could have much greater difficulty adapting and may not be suitable candidates for amputation.  The decision to amputate and your pet’s ability to adapt can also depend on which leg is affected.  For large breed dogs or dogs with broad shoulders that carry most of their weight up front, losing a front leg can be much harder to lose vs. the loss of a hind leg.  It can be especially difficult for the older, arthritic pet. In these cases, pain control, rehabilitation, an adapted environment and eventually humane euthanasia are sometimes the only option.

Three legs or four, our companions can still love life just the same and in some cases even more. There are many success stories out there so do your research. Browse on-line, talk to your family veterinarian or reach out to a friend or relative who has owned a pet with an amputated limb. If you are still struggling with the right choice for your pet, you may want to consider a trial amputation. Yep, that’s right; all that it involves is bandaging the affected limb up against the body for a couple of days to see how well your pet will function. Although they will be a little clumsy at first, keep in mind the extra bulk and weight will no longer be there post-amputation, and you will be amazed at just how quickly your pet can adapt.

Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital

Category:

Blog

Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Friday, March 19, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a “closed waiting room” policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 250.334.8400. We will take a history of your pet from outside your car, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. Once the examination is finished, the Doctor will either call you or come out to talk to you to discuss the treatment etc for your pet. For those who do not have a mobile phone, an easy knock at the door will work the same way!

2. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.

3. We are OPEN and temporarily operating as a 24-hour hospital.

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the Online Store, visit our website.

5. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

6. Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital