General Questions

The office is closed and my pet needs emergency care. How can I get in touch with a veterinarian?

Van Isle Veterinary offers an emergency answering service to help you get in contact with an on-call veterinarian in case of an emergency. If you leave your contact information the on-call vet will return your call as quickly as possible. Find the phone number and more information here.

I’m not sure whether or not my pet needs to see a veterinarian. What should I do?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Every patient and situation must be looked at on an individual basis. What may be a serious illness for an elderly compromised pet may only be a minor concern for a young healthy pet. In most cases, if you are worried enough about your pet to consider bringing them to see your veterinarian, then you may want to schedule an appointment for your own peace of mind.

If you are having trouble deciding, please call our office and although our receptionists will not be able to answer all of your medical concerns they can help advise you with your decision.

Small Animal Questions

I just got my first puppy. When does she need to come in for her 1st set of vaccines, and what does she need to be vaccinated against?

Puppies should receive 3 sets of vaccines during the first 4 months of their life, ideally starting at 8 weeks of age and booster vaccines at 4-week intervals.

Their first vaccine – DAP or DA2P (also referred to as a “distemper combo” or “core vaccine”), typically contains a combination of Distemper, Parvovirus, and Adenovirus. There are many different theories and protocols as to when this vaccine should first be administered and the starting age can vary slightly. We suggest a series of 3 shots to be administered by your veterinarian at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. Your puppy will require a booster 1 year later when she is around 16 months of age and then every 3 years after that.

Are there other vaccines my puppy may need?

During your first appointment, your veterinarian will discuss with you what she/he feels would be the best vaccine protocol for your individual puppy. They will help you decide what is appropriate for taking a good history of the puppy’s health to date, as well as discussing what your puppy’s future lifestyle will include. Factors used to decide what other vaccines may or may not be appropriate for your puppy include things such as exposure to other dogs, enrolment in obedience classes or even travelling.

Other vaccines your veterinarian may suggest for your puppy are Bordetella (also known as the kennel cough vaccine), Rabies and sometimes Lyme disease.

Bordetella (Kennel cough vaccine) should be administered if your puppy is going to be exposed to large groups of dogs or dogs that you are not familiar with and do not know their vaccine history. This is an annual vaccine normally administered intra-nasally. Kennel cough is highly contagious between dogs, which is why it is typically mandatory before enrollment into many obedience and puppy classes. It is also highly recommended and often mandatory if ever you need to leave your dog at a kennel, doggy daycare or the groomers.

Rabies is typically administered during the 2nd or 3rd set of vaccines when your puppy is at or over 12 weeks of age. It is only administered once, requiring one annual booster and then every 3 years after that. It is recommended by our hospital that rabies is considered part of your puppy’s “core vaccine”. It is recommended not only because there have been some reported cases of rabid bats on the Island, but mostly due to the complicated issues and protocols enforced upon you and your un-vaccinated pet if ever a human were to be bitten. Many countries, such as the United States will not allow dogs across the border without a valid rabies vaccine certificate.

What is the gestational period of a pregnant cat or dog?

The gestational period of a pregnant cat is typically between 59 to 63 days. Dogs can vary a little depending on their size, breed and number of pups they are carrying. Their gestational period is also typically between 59 – 63 days.

I would like to have either an ultrasound or x-ray performed to confirm my pet’s pregnancy. How far along does she need to be for an accurate confirmation?

An ultrasound can be performed as early as 25 days into pregnancy, but a more accurate confirmation can be given between 27 and 30 days. Ultrasounds are great for not only confirming pregnancy but also in detecting viable heartbeats. However, an ultrasound is not the most accurate way to count puppies or kittens. For this, you would need an x-ray.

An x-ray is a more accurate way to count puppies or kittens, however still not 100% guaranteed. It can also detect possible issues that could arise during whelping, such as one very large puppy! An x-ray is performed much later in the pregnancy usually between 55 and 58 days.

I think my pet has a fever. What is a normal temperature for a cat or a dog?

Typically the normal temperature for a cat and a dog is between 38 and 39.2.


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