RAPS Animal Hospital is very fortunate that we have been gifted new and very modern in-house diagnostic equipment for all of your pet's need. This allows us to keep down the cost to you of diagnostic treatments so that we may service you better.
What is a Geriatric Panel? And why should I have my pet’s blood & urine screened?
This is for senior pets, eight years and older, or for pets with underlying conditions that could benefit from an overall screening. A geriatric panel is a diagnostic tool that our veterinarians use to look inside your pet and assess their overall health. This panel can be used when a pet is ill to help our veterinarians determine the cause of the illness.
A panel can be performed when a pet is otherwise healthy to help detect early illness/disease before noticeable symptoms become apparent. Normal results give our veterinarians a baseline for your pet.
To begin with 2mls of blood and urine is collected from your pet. This small amount of blood and urine provides a lot of useful information about your pet’s health. The samples are prepared in our very own laboratory.
The samples are collected and placed into special tubes that preserve and help separate the cells from the serum. The samples are spun, slides are prepared.
The blood itself is closely analyzed. A comprehensive blood cell count is performed; meaning the amount of red and white cells is counted as well as each type of red and white cell. The white cell count and type helps to rule out infection and inflammation.
The red cell count and type helps to assess hydration and rule out anemia. It also counts platelets that are important to circulation and clotting.
Next is your pet’s chemistry! The chemistry looks at many different factors in the serum part of the blood. Electrolytes like potassium and sodium are analyzed. Results may point to problems with electrolyte imbalance, organ disease or hormonal imbalance. The geriatric panel can produce results related to liver, kidney, pancreas, and thyroid.
Your pet’s urine is collected and a urinalysis is performed. What your veterinarian team is looking for in your pet’s urine is:
There is a high-level overview of a geriatric blood panel and urinalysis. Our veterinarian is here to guide you through the numbers and values. Routine testing is important, catching illness in its early stages can make treatment easier, more effective and less costly.
Several dogs in Metro Vancouver have been diagnosed with canine parvovirus infection, a highly contagious illness that is potentially fatal. The Regional Animal Protection Society is urging dog owners to get their pets vaccinated against the virus. Call your veterinarian, or the RAPS Animal Hospital at 604-242-1666.
The canine parvovirus (CPV) can take two different forms. Most commonly, the virus attacks the intestinal system, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and lack of appetite. The virus may also manifest in a fever or, conversely, low temperatures. Less frequently, but more critically, the virus attacks the heart muscles of fetuses and puppies, often resulting in death.
Most cases occur in puppies between six weeks and six months old. Early vaccination can dramatically reduce the likelihood of a dog catching the virus or suffering the most serious consequences of it.
Symptoms include severe and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, fever and severe weight loss caused by the body’s inability to absorb nutrients. Dehydration and weakness occur quickly and the tissues of the mouth and eyes may become noticeably enflamed or reddened. Rapid heart rate is also common.
Parvovirus is usually spread through contact with an infected dog or their feces. The virus is concentrated in an infected dog’s stool, so can be transmitted by sniffing an infected dog’s stool or anus. It can also be spread via shoes that have come into contact with virus-infected feces. The virus can also live in soil for as much as a year and is largely unaffected by most cleaning products. To clean a parvovirus-contaminated area, safely dispose of all vomit and feces, then wash the area thoroughly with concentrated household bleach solution, one of the only known means of killing the virus. It is recommended not to have a puppy in any home that has had a parvovirus-infected dog for several years.
Again, please contact your veterinarian for a vaccine and, if any symptoms of the virus are present, call ahead to arrange to bring your pet to the hospital without coming in contact with other animals.
The first hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber in B.C. has opened in Richmond. Tom Walsh is finding out it’s being used to speed up healing in dogs and cats. As seen on Breakfast Television.
A BC veterinary clinic is leading the way in using hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help pets heal. Melinda Breda explains.
As seen on Global National.
In addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the RAPS Animal hospital also just purchased an ultrasound machine – thanks to a very generous donation from a supporter.
Having an ultrasound machine in the hospital will allow doctors to provide more timely and responsive care to animals.
“An X-ray is two dimensions and ultrasound is three dimensions,” says Dr. Guy Arad, one of the veterinarians at the RAPS Animal Hospital. “We are able to see through and visualize the organs, measure them, check the texture of the organs, find abnormalities, growths, cancers.”
Under the guidance of the ultrasound, Dr. Arad says, vets can take samples in real time.
“For example, if you have a lesion in the liver, you can aim a needle and take a sample without doing surgery,” he says.
The ultrasound machine and the hyperbaric oxygen therapy are the latest additions to the state-of-the-art hospital, which is about to celebrate its first birthday Feb. 12. The fully equipped facility offers an entire range of diagnostics that can provide almost instant results of blood tests, organ functions, chemistry, urine analysis and more.
Make an appointment for your pet now.
Used for decades in human medical care, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a comparatively new approach in veterinary settings. It is available at about 50 of the most advanced veterinary practices in the United States.
The therapy can speed healing and avoid more invasive procedures in animals with a vast range of health issues.
The community-owned, not-for-profit veterinary facility located in Richmond, is celebrating its first birthday February 12 with the opening of Canada’s only Veterinary Hyperbaric Medicine centre.
The RAPS Animal Hospital, which opened on Family Day, February 12, 2018, and is wholly owned by the Regional Animal Protection Society, is proud to be the only veterinary hyperbaric oxygen therapy provider in Canada.
“Used in conjunction with other preventative and treatment regimes, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can deliver anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and tissue-healing benefits, accelerating healing dramatically, especially in conditions involving an oxygen deficit,” says Dr. Roey Kestelman, a veterinarian at the RAPS Animal Hospital.
“As part of a comprehensive and holistic approach to animal wellness, hyperbaric oxygen therapy addresses a vast range of medical conditions and may reduce or eliminate the need for surgery or other invasive treatments in some cases,” says Dr. Guy Arad, another of the RAPS Animal Hospital doctors.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves placing the patient in a pressurized environment of pure oxygen. The higher ambient air pressure allows the body to absorb considerably more oxygen than under normal conditions. The ability for oxygen to travel or be transferred from the blood to the tissue in need is enhanced by hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
“We set out to be a full-service, state-of-the-art animal hospital,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of the Regional Animal Protection Society. “In barely a year, we have positioned ourselves among the most innovative, advanced practices in North America.”
Find out more and register your pet for this therapy online!
A day of procedures clears backlog at Shelter
Veterinarians from the RAPS Animal Hospital and from other vet facilities volunteered their time to spay and neuter animals at the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter, clearing a backlog of animals waiting for the procedure.
It just happened to be Halloween – that was a coincidence – but the impacts of leaving pets unsprayed or unneutered is truly spooky. Spaying and neutering animals is critical to preventing animal overpopulation, homelessness and euthanasia. The speed at which animals can reproduce is incredible.
Consider this: A female cat can produce an average of three litters in a year, and the average number of kittens in a feline litter is five. So in just two years, one female cat and her offspring could produce 225 cats.
With an average of one litter of five puppies per year, in just two years, a female dog and her offspring could produce 25 dogs.
And the numbers skyrocket from there exponentially.
Of course, no animal is ever fostered or adopted from our Shelter until they have undergone the procedure (or are scheduled for one, in the case of young animals).
The RAPS Animal Hospital is a full-service, not-for-profit veterinary facility. Our motivation is not profit, but providing the greatest amount of quality care to the most animals.
Most people know that chocolate is toxic for dogs – this is especially true of baking chocolate and dark chocolate. Many do not know, however, that chocolate may be equally poisonous for cats. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that most cats are less likely than the average dog to sneak a bite of the sweet treat. But if your cat is one of those especially curious types, you should take extra precautions – especially as Halloween approaches.
There is a lot to be aware of at this time of year in order to keep our furry family members safe and happy.
While chocolate is a no-no for pets, don't assume that other kinds of Halloween candy are safe for animals, either.
“An artificial sweetener called xylitol is in many candies and can cause sudden drops in blood sugar, loss of coordination and seizures in animals,” says Dr. Assaf Goldberg, a veterinarian at the RAPS Animal Hospital. “It can potentially lead to liver failure in dogs.”
While research does not yet indicate toxicity levels in cats, vets recommend keeping all candy safely hidden away from pets.
Symptoms to look out for include diarrhea, vomiting, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and possibly seizures.
Glow sticks should also be kept away from pets. The liquid that gives the novelty items their effervescence is not toxic in itself but — according to those in the know — the taste is nasty and could lead animals to become upset, scratch at their mouths and vomit. Food and water can help your pet overcome the unpleasantness but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A few other things we might not always think about include the kinds of ornamental items we use at Halloween.
“Pumpkins, dried corn and gourds may not necessarily be unsafe for animals, but could cause gastrointestinal problems if consumed in quantity,” says Dr. Goldberg. “Potentially of more concern is that we often leave our jack-o'-lanterns sitting around for quite some time. If they become moldy, those spores can lead to neurological problems in animals.”
Also, remember that pets can bump into jack-o'-lanterns and, if there is a burning candle inside, cause harm to themselves or potentially incinerate the entire house.
“As veterinarians, we are primarily concerned with the physical well-being of animals,” adds Dr. Goldberg. “But, of course, emotional well-being is critical to overall health too. Keeping your animals free from fear during Halloween is important – and keeps them from getting scared and disoriented and possibly fleeing and getting lost.”
The RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter receives more lost pets during Halloween than at any other time of year. Before Halloween: Make sure you have a dog license and that your pets have tattoos and/or microchips.
Dr. Goldberg recommends keeping pets in an enclosed room – inaccessible from the opening and closing front door as trick-or-treaters stream by. Use some music or TV as white noise to block out the sound of fireworks and other unfamiliar noises.
Halloween is meant to be a fun and scary time. For pets, though, being scared is not fun. A few easy precautions can prevent tragedy.
“We would love to see your cat or dog,” says Dr. Goldberg. “But not because of an emergency. Preventative care is always best … and with a few preventative steps, this Halloween can be safe and happy for your human and four-legged family members.”
Keep your pets safe during wildfire smoke.
The smoke in the air is irritating to everyone. For family members with smaller lung capacities, the effects of rampant wildfires throughout the province can be especially problematic.
The rule of thumb is that if you can smell or are otherwise affected by the smoke, your companion animals will be at least as affected by it.
Animals with known respiratory or cardiovascular issues are obviously most at risk. Birds are extremely vulnerable to smoke and airborne particulates.
Here are some of the signs to beware of:
Here are some precautions and things to consider:
If you are concerned about your animal’s reaction to the smoke, call the RAPS Animal Hospital at 604-242-1666.
Most people (hopefully) by now know how dangerous it is to leave a dog in a hot car for even a few minutes.
But dogs and cats can face heat-related dangers even around your home. There are some common warning signs about dehydration and preventative measures that are easy to take that can ensure your pet’s happiness and health in the summer sun.
As in humans, water is an irreplaceable component of body function, helping to lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and flush waste.
Dehydration is a result of a loss of fluid levels due to either increased fluid loss or reduced intake of water. It can be a result of overheating in hot weather or through vomiting or diarrhea, particularly in puppies. Water can be lost through urinating and defecation, but also through panting, breathing and even evaporation through the paws.
Common symptoms of dehydration are sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, nose and gums, and depression. Dehydration may be a sign of an underlying condition, such as kidney disorders, infectious diseases or cancer. Elderly, pregnant or nursing dogs may also experience dehydration, as can dogs with diabetes.
An easy test that can indicate dehydration is gently lifting the skin on the back of a dog's neck or between the shoulder blades. The skin should return to a normal position immediately (no more than one second) if the dog is properly hydrated. If dehydration is present, the skin may not have the elasticity to return to its normal position. (The elasticity test may not be effective on overweight dogs and it may be difficult on “wrinkly” dogs, like Shar-Peis … in such cases, practice the test when you know your dog is hydrated so you can tell the difference in the event of dehydration.
Even so, many signs of dehydration are not identifiable to the untrained observer. Any suspicion of dehydration should be referred to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Treating dehydration requires more than providing a bowl of water. It is necessary to replace electrolytes and a veterinarian can provide fluids to balance the system and return to healthy hydration levels.
Veterinarians can quickly alleviate the problem with intravenous or subcutaneous fluids and determine if there is an underlying cause of the problem.
To prevent dehydration, you should:
There has been a great deal of education around dogs in hot cars. This summer, we should also be keeping a close eye on our pets’ in and around the house, seeing how much water they are going through and whether they show any symptoms of dehydration.
Have a great, safe summer!