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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Understanding Wheat & Wheat Gluten in Pet Foods

At Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, we often hear people say – “I thought animals can’t digest gluten or Why would I feed my dog or cat wheat or grains?! They wouldn’t eat it in the wild”.

While the latter may be true, we can’t forget that our pets no longer live “in the wild” – we have domesticated them.  As humans, we also used to live “in the wild” and ate as such – but we too have become domesticated mammals. One of the most important aspects of what we all eat is digestibility – in other words – what we eat is actually utilized and digested by our bodies in a beneficial way.  Pure proteins, often advertised as being the main ingredient in wilderness-type diets, are not always easily absorbed by our domesticated pets which can cause for gastro intestinal stress such as:

Most would agree that when we have to pick up our pet’s poops or when our cats are using a litter box, the last thing we want is smelly, sticky poops! What we do want for the health of our pets, is a diet that is easy to digest and utilize the nutrients we feed them.

However, one might now ask:

What about gluten allergies or celiac disease? I mean, if we can’t digest gluten how can our pets?

This is where we need to look at what wheat and wheat gluten is and is it actually beneficial and digestible? Wheat and wheat gluten has been under examination for quite some time – mainly because of the link to celiac disease found in individuals whom must avoid gliadin – a glycoprotein found in gluten sources.  True celiac disease only affects approx. 1 in 100 people (1% of the human population) however we often hear of people who suffer from a gluten sensitivity.  This is more of a concern for those with higher risk factors such as diabetes, blood disorders or for those whom have a genetic predisposition for the condition.  In dogs, gluten-sensitivity is quite rare and is from an intolerance to gliadin but is not an allergy to gluten and consumption of wheat gluten will not cause your pet to develop the disease. Gluten-sensitivity in animals is also rare and seems to affect certain predisposed breeds such as the Irish Setter.

“Should I be worried about gluten in my pet’s food?”

In pet food, gluten is used in a dried powder form and is an excellent protein source with 99% digestibility by the small intestine.  This minimizes the delivery of undigested proteins to the large bowel which reduces indigestion, fecal odour and flatulence thus preventing toxic effects on the mucosa of the colon which helps to lubricate the passage of food. Wheat gluten is a valuable source of protein, it is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and has an amino acid profile that is complimentary to meat protein profiles allowing for nutritional precision – hence why it can be found in most veterinary exclusive diets.  You can rest assured that years of research lie behind the benefits of wheat and wheat gluten and they can be an ideal ingredient for the specific health needs of cats and dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes!

By Heidi – 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