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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The Facts About Dental Disease

If you were asked to name the most common disease of adult dogs and cats, what would your answer be?  Would it be heart disease?  Maybe liver or kidney disease?  Well, if you said dental disease, you would be correct.Studies indicate 85% of adult pets have some degree of periodontal disease.  This disease begins with the formation of plaque, which is a transparent adhesive fluid composed of saliva, food particles, and bacteria.  Did you know that plaque can form in only 2-5 days after a dental cleaning? We’ve all experienced waking up to that not so pleasant feeling in our mouths after 12 hours of not brushing… can you imagine your dog’s after eight years!

Tarter, which forms due to the plaque, inflames the gums and allows bacterial organisms to grow and cause further inflammation.  This causes swelling of the gum tissue and traps more bacteria below the gum line causing detachment of the gums and eventually leads to the destruction of the bone. Even though this destruction of tissue and bone may take 2 – 5 years, your pet can be in significant pain without you knowing it. Infection can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream and travel to the liver, kidneys, lungs, spine and commonly the heart.

The most common sign of an oral disease is bad breath. Subtle symptoms could be your pet’s preference to softer food or less interest in his favourite chew toy. Your pet may start chewing on one side of his mouth or chew less, which in turn can cause vomiting. Other signs of dental disease include increased salivation, pawing at his face, bleeding from the mouth, oral growths and/or sudden change in behaviour. You may also be surprised to learn that things such as chronic eye infections or drainage, sneezing and nasal discharge, can all be related to dental disease. As dental disease progresses, the treatment becomes more involved and more costly. This means that sooner is better than later when it comes to addressing your pet’s oral health.

So what proactive steps can be taken towards your pet’s fight against dental disease?

Firstly, you should examine your pet’s teeth monthly and look for accumulation of yellow or brown material where the tooth meets the gum line. Once you notice plaque or tartar accumulation, it is time for a professional cleaning. Remember, dental disease occurs below the gum line. By only removing calculus from the exposed tooth, although esthetically pleasing, you are not removing the disease caused by plaque and calculus that is forming under the gums. Larger dogs need a dental exam once a year and smaller dogs, twice a year. The intervals between teeth cleaning procedures will depend on your pet and how often you can brush your pet’s teeth.

One of the most common questions veterinarians are asked regarding dental cleanings is: “Why does my pet need general anaesthesia?”

Anaesthesia provides three important functions: immobilization to perform a thorough exam and cleaning below the gum line, pain control and the ability to place a tube into the windpipe so bacteria cannot enter the respiratory system. Dental radiographs may be recommended for complete evaluation of dental disease and are impossible to perform without anaesthesia. Besides, could you imagine trying to tell your cat to just “say aww” for 30 – 60 minutes, especially when extractions are necessary!

Before a dental procedure, your veterinarian should perform a complete physical examination, which may include basic blood tests. Blood tests are run to evaluate the liver and kidney function, as well as red and white blood cell counts. An increase in white blood cells could be an indication of an infection. The risks of a dental procedure are usually minimal. Anaesthesia is never completely without risk, but appropriate evaluation of your pet prior to the procedure and close anaesthetic monitoring can greatly reduce these risks.

Remember, the best medicine is prevention. There are special diets manufactured to help control plaque and feeding these diets in conjunction with daily brushing is the best way to keep your pets teeth clean and their breath a little easier to bare during those early morning “wake up and feed me!” kisses.

Written by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital


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