One goodbye... and one hello

The team at Eglinton Vet is experiencing some exciting changes this week… one goodbye and one hello.

Many of our clients will have met Dr. Natasha Nofal, who joined our team in the fall of 2015 after she moved to Canada from the United Kingdom. Natasha is a fantastic veterinarian and was a wonderful team mate. Unfortunately for EVF, Natasha’s husband had a job opportunity in Montreal that they felt that he must pursue, and Natasha’s last day at EVF was this past Friday. We wish her well as she embarks on yet another new adventure!

We are pleased at the same time to announce that Dr. Eran Gilady will be joining the EVF team on a permanent basis. Eran has been working part-time at EVF since the fall of 2015, helping us in performing surgical and dental procedures. He graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2001, and worked as an associate veterinarian in the GTA prior to purchasing a clinic. Ownership of a veterinary clinic was not something that Eran enjoyed, for a variety of reasons, including the demands of a young family. He sold the clinic approximately 2 years ago, and changed his focus to working as a locum veterinarian, covering shifts in a variety of clinics in the city. He brings 15 years of clinical experience to our team.

During his time at EVF, Eran has seen the benefits of our laparoscopic surgery program, and he is very excited to now be qualified to perform these procedures after completing an intensive training course at a facility in the U.S. We are very thankful to find someone with the skills necessary to allow our laparoscopic surgery program to continue. Eran is excited about helping our patients through non-invasive surgery.

Please welcome Eran to the team if you do see him in the office!

 

 

When your own pet has surgery...

Many veterinary hospitals have their own clinic pets, and Eglinton Vet is no different. Our clinic cat’s name is Bo and she resides most of the time on the second floor of our building where we have our staff room and offices. Bo came to us in the summer of 2014 after her owner had allowed her to become obese and diabetic, and asked that we euthanize her at the age of seven. We refused to do this, and instead adopted her into the clinic. Our original goal was to treat her diabetes and have her lose weight prior to going to another home, but Bo won us over and is now a permanent fixture at the clinic.  Some of our clients will have seen her demanding her dinner in the reception area of the clinic in the evening.

A few months ago, Bo developed an ear infection that we all assumed would be easy to treat. Unfortunately, we were wrong, as the infection was related to polyps that were forming in her left ear; these masses were trapping infection deep in the ear canal. After weeks of attempting to treat her infection, we made the decision that the polyps needed to be removed. Bo was seen by one of our specialists for a CT scan, which revealed a very deep infection in her middle ear. She subsequently had her left ear canal and ear drum removed in a procedure called a total ear canal ablation (TECA). This is a very drastic surgery, but we made the decision to have it done because it was the best way to prevent her pain long term. She is recovering well under the care of our team.

The most interesting side note for us through this process is that Bo is a cat with a huge team of owners, and we found that we had all the same feelings of anxiety as our clients do when their pets are undergoing a procedure…. "She will be all by herself at the hospital after surgery at the referral clinic! She won’t like wearing the cone on her head! How will we know if she is in pain? Will this fix the problem for her? What about the cost? When is she coming home?"

Most of our team do have their own pets and deal with medical issues from time to time, but this process was a very good reminder to our team about what it is like to be a pet owner worried about their furry friend.  As veterinary professionals, we are used to walking our clients through all sorts of procedures, including surgeries. However, we need to remember that for most people it is a new experience and it can be incredibly nerve wracking to have their pet spend time in the hospital for medical testing or for procedures under anesthesia such as dental cleanings or general surgery.

Our team is highly compassionate and professional, but the experience with Bo will remind us why this is so important every day with all pets and clients. This week, thankfully, Bo is back to ruling the second floor of the clinic!

 

 

Welcome to 2017

Welcome to 2017!

This blog space has been very poorly used over the last year, and we have made it one of our resolutions to try to use our blog more regularly to reach our clients with information. To start things off, we thought that we could reflect on the good and the bad of 2016 from the clinic perspective.

The good...

Our pet care team: The first thank you to conclude 2016 needs to go out to our whole team, from those who manage the phones and front desk to everyone who makes sure that our furry friends are getting the care that they need in the wards of the hospital. We are very lucky to have had a very mature, stable and capable team come together in 2016, and they do good work every day while dealing with a busy schedule, long hours, and stresses of all kinds (both mental and physical). It is not easy to work in an animal hospital, and we are lucky to have a team that loves the pets that we care for.

New and improved options for pet health care: Veterinary medicine continues to evolve along with human health care and we have seen options expand for our patients on so many fronts. For example, we now have access to better pain medications, particularly for cats, who have unique physiology that makes pain control difficult. We have also seen an explosion in our understanding of supplements that can be used in pets, including probiotics, anti-anxiety remedies and supports for animals with liver disease, kidney disease or arthritis. Along the same lines, our understanding of how nutrition can assist in prevention of disease continues to progress. Finally, we are proud to continue to be on the leading edge of veterinary medicine in Toronto through our laparoscopic surgery program and laser therapy program.

Information on the internet: Technology makes our list as something good and bad in our world (see below for the bad). We love being able to communicate with our clients via email and social media, and have found that our clients have embraced our online store and pet portal. We can also use sites on the internet to point our clients to good resources when they might be in a situation in which they need to learn more about a specific pet health topic.

The bad…

The internet: As noted above, the internet makes our list as both a good and bad thing. Just as with news or personal interest stories that are inaccurate or hoaxes, there is a great deal of pet care information on the internet that is potentially harmful to the pets that we love. Regardless of the qualifications of our team, our recommendations may be put aside because “the internet told me to”, and this can be very frustrating. We would ask that our clients consider the sources of the information that they are using very carefully.

Weather patterns in 2016: The past year included some very bizarre weather in Toronto, including a very mild winter last year, an extremely hot summer and a long fall. Although good weather is a bonus in so many ways, veterinary teams face challenges in a year like 2016. For example, the lack of cold temperatures last winter meant that parasites could sustain themselves through the winter, leading to us seeing more pets with gastrointestinal worms, the worst flea season in several years, and the rise of ticks in Ontario (see below). We also see many pets (especially dogs) with seasonal allergies, and in 2016 these pets suffered much longer with more significant symptoms. Some pets with seasonal allergies continue to show symptoms even now due to the late frost. These itchy dogs need a break!

Ticks in Ontario: Ticks have been a nuisance in certain parts of Ontario for several years, but in 2016 we have seen the establishment of more permanent populations of ticks all over the province, and signs that ticks have made their entry into the GTA (there are now established populations in the Rouge Valley and on the Toronto Islands, plus reports from all over the city). Ticks are more than just a nuisance, as they have the potential to transmit infections to animals and to people. The most recognizable of these is Lyme disease, but we know that ticks in Ontario may carry additional diseases as well. The good news is that we can protect dogs (and as of 2017, outdoor cats) from tick bites and disease, but the protection for people is very limited. We will continue to educate our clients about ticks in 2017 and recommend tick protection for the pets that are outdoors with us.

As we look forward to 2017, our whole team wishes you and your furry friends a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

A reflection on laparoscopic surgery at Eglinton Vet

Dr. Bev and Dr. Natasha had the opportunity last week to speak to a group of dog enthusiasts at the North York Obedience Club about the benefits of laparoscopic surgery. We were very pleased to be invited and were given a very warm welcome. The audience was very brave about some of the surgical videos that we brought, and asked excellent questions about a range of surgical issues.

In preparing for the presentation, we realized that it is now almost 5 years since we brought laparoscopic surgery to EVF. At that time, we became the third practice in Toronto to offer this, but even now there are only a handful of clinics using a laparoscope for surgical procedures.

This program has added many things to the surgical program at EVF, including but not limited to:

-          The ability to perform procedures that may have not been done or may have been very difficult in the past. For example, deep-chested dogs may undergo a preventive procedure called a gastropexy, which may prevent them from experiencing a fatal GDV event (stomach flip). We are also able to scope the ear canals of animals with chronic ear issues and better evaluate what is going on and the best course of treatment.

-          The laparoscope allows the surgeon to better visualize the abdomen and the structures that they are working with, which allows for safer completion of certain surgeries (for example, spays on mature dogs who may be fat, making the surgery more demanding) and for better visualization during procedures where this is of benefit to the doctor (for example, liver biopsies or the removal of bladder stones laparoscopically).

-          The ability to perform some surgical procedures with much less pain for the animal. The best example of this is a laparoscopic spay, during which the whole ovariohysterectomy is performed via a tiny 1.1cm incision. This allows our patients to recover very quickly from surgery. They are often up and about within 1-2 hours after anesthesia and are only restricted from activity after surgery for 2-3 days, likely with no need for an Elizabethan collar. This is much better than the experience that owners and dogs went through in the past!

The things mentioned above are of benefit to our patients and clients. However, the laparoscopic program has also meant a lot to our team. The ability to work with new technology and do something different, especially when that increases the quality of life of our patients brings a sense of pride to the whole practice.

Eglinton Vet operates as any neighbourhood veterinary clinic would have decades ago; that is, we work very hard on customer service and the relationships with our clients and patients. Running in the background is a state-of-the-art 21st century veterinary practice, and the laparoscopic surgery program is one piece of this, combined with computerized records, online access for our patients, digital radiography, a complete in-house laboratory and a therapeutic laser program. We love to see ourselves as the “family vet”, while working on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine.

Please visit our laparoscopic surgery page here or call the clinic for more information. 

A veterinarian's thoughts on the warm fall of 2015

As we anticipate winter and dread the thought of scraping our cars in the morning and donning hats, it seems crazy to be lamenting our beautiful fall weather. However, the warm weather has had an impact on our patients and there are moments in a veterinary office where we hope for winter to finally make a visit.

The first issue that we have seen in the practice this fall is that our dogs with skin allergies are suffering much later in the year than normal. Most of these dogs require medications to control their symptoms through the summer and fall, but are able to wean off of their medications as of Thanksgiving, or at least by the end of October. No such luck this year! There are a long list of dogs still scratching away, thanks to the fact that the trees and grasses are still exposed, releasing the pollens that so irritate them. While some dogs require only medication to control their allergy symptoms, others need constant topical treatments such as baths, ear drops or sprays. We would love for these dogs (and their families) to get a much needed break from their discomfort.

Winter weather also allows us a break from parasite issues such as fleas, ticks and intestinal worms. This is why veterinarians in Ontario typically only recommend parasite control through October or November each year. This year, however, we are still diagnosing dogs with parasitic infections such as giardia (a gastrointestinal parasite that can cause diarrhea) and fleas. We also continue to get calls about ticks on dogs, as the ticks continue to be active when the daytime temperatures are above four degrees Celsius. We anticipate managing some dogs for Lyme disease over the cold winter months, if they have been infected by tick bites late in the season.

The last note about this fall at EVF is to comment on a very significant outbreak of kennel cough (the dog equivalent of a “cold” or “flu”). We generally see an outbreak of cough every fall, lasting a couple of weeks. This year, however, we have seen two different phases of kennel cough, with one outbreak in October, and then a second one just recently (obviously related). This particular strain of illness is quite aggressive, and for the first time in memory, we have had young dogs develop pneumonia secondary to infection. We are hoping that colder weather will stop this cough from continuing to spread. If your dog is coughing at all, please call the clinic, and remember that they are infectious to other dogs until 7-10 days after their cough stops.

So… Here’s to winter! Bring on the frost.