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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Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Barn!

Anyone who has ever owned a horse knows what beet pulp is. Beet pulp is a by-product of the sugar beet industry that is commonly used as a source of energy and fibre in horses and other farm animals. 

It is the fibrous component of the beets left over after processing and is commonly available in a pelleted form which is soaked prior to feeding.  Beet pulp is also seen in the ingredients of pet foods as it is an excellent source of insoluble fibre.  Insoluble fibre is valuable. Unfortunately, dried beet pulp is a very real danger to our pets if ingested in significant amounts. Here at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, we’ve seen a few unlucky patients in critical distress, requiring immediate, emergency surgery after ingesting large amounts of beet pulp. The pellets have an astonishing ability to absorb water and expand in volume to many times the dried amount.

When fed to horses, 1 cup of pellets is often soaked in 2 – 4 cups of water before feeding to get the final volume. As you can imagine, it is problematic when a dog gorges themselves on unprotected pellets as dogs are not known for their capacity for restraint when chancing upon a potential treat. When the pellets reach the stomach they start absorbing fluid and expanding, causing pressure in the stomach and discomfort.  This can start to happen quite quickly after ingestion and time can mean life or death.

Normally when a dog gorges on too much food material, they will vomit the excess to relieve pressure in their stomach. Unfortunately, the beet pulp pellets form a firm mass that the dog is unable to vomit and thus cannot relieve the pressure in the abdomen.  These dogs often present with repeated attempts to vomit with no success, a large, hard stomach, elevated heart rate and severe pain after eating the pellets. At the hospital, the distended stomach is easily confirmed on x-ray.

This is a medical emergency that needs to be treated quickly to avoid a horrible outcome for your pet. If the stomach is significantly distended, surgical removal of the material is the best chance for success. This can often be a difficult, lengthy surgery. After a successful surgery to remove the blockage, most patients will be required to remain in hospital on IV fluids and pain control; as well as for observation for an additional 24 – 48 hrs.

The best medicine is prevention! Dogs are extremely clever when it comes to finding a hidden food source. Don’t leave it to chance. Even a sealed Tupperware or contained bin can be opened by the most determined of canines. If possible, always keep your feed locked up in a tack room or in a storage cupboard up and out of your pet’s reach. If your dog ingests beet pulp or you are suspicious of ingestion, don’t wait! Seek immediate help from your veterinarian.

Written by Dr. Laura Davenport 



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