Resources /Frequently Asked Questions

Hospital Information
May I request a specific Veterinarian for my pet's appointment or surgical procedure?
Yes, each time you call to book an appointment, we will always ask whether you have a preference as to which Doctor you wish to see.

May I tour the Hospital and see behind the scenes prior to becoming a client?
Absolutely. We welcome the opportunity to show you our modern hospital facility.

May I come to the Hospital whenever I like to have my pet weighed?
Yes. You may visit us for this complimentary service anytime during regular hospital hours.

Are you locally owned and operated?
Yes. Unlike some Ottawa animal hospitals which are owned by corporations based in Toronto and Calgary, the Doctors who own our hospital work in the practice. The Hospital was established by Dr. Janet Biggar in 1989 and is owned by Dr. Keith Johnson and Dr. Saye Clement. These Doctors all work in the Practice.
Annual Vaccinations and Examinations
My cat appears healthy and rarely, if ever, goes outdoors. Is an annual check-up and/or vaccinations really required?
Ignoring the issue of vaccinations for a moment, an annual physical examination is recommended for every pet, regardless of whether they venture outdoors. The early stages of dental disease, kidney disease, eye problems, heart problems, etc., may not be observable to even the most conscientious pet owner, but may be detected by your Veterinarian. Through physical examination alone and/or in combination with blood tests which assess organ function, the opportunity to diagnose and initiate preventive measures or treatment in the early stages of any condition is ideal. Vaccinating an indoor pet against at least the upper respiratory viruses makes good sense. Not only is there the potential for a human to transmit these viruses to your pet but, should your pet someday require Hospitalization or surgery, he/she will be protected against exposure from these airborne viruses.
Parasites and Zoonotic Diseases
What is a zoonotic disease?
Zoonotic diseases are those which can be transmitted directly, or indirectly, from animals to humans. The best way to minimize the transmission of a Zoonotic disease to members of your family is to administer a once-monthly parasite prevention product to your pet on a year-round basis.

Why should I administer year-round parasite prevention to my pet?
Given the number of internal and external parasites to which your pet is susceptible, the use of a once-a-month parasite prevention product on a year-round basis is recommended to protect the health of your pet and family.

My dog was diagnosed with Lyme disease. How did this happen and am I at risk of getting Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia organism which is carried by the deer tick. If you or your dog is bitten by a tick carrying this organism, you or your dog can contract Lyme disease. However, you are not at risk of contracting Lyme Disease from your dog, even if your dog has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

What is Giardia ?
Giardia (pronounced jee-AR-dee-ya) is a microscopic parasite which can infect the bowels of humans and many species of animals causing severe gastro-intestinal disease. Dogs, cats & people can all be infected by the Giardia Parasite. While cats are susceptible to Giardia, the incidence is lower in cats than dogs. The reason for the lower incidence of Giardia in cats may be that they are less likely to come into direct contact with soil, or drink from puddles, streams, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water which contain Giardia cysts (eggs). Giardia cysts are deposited in soil or water through the feces of infected birds, rodents, beavers or livestock.

When does bloodtesting for heartworm disease commence for dogs?
Since all dogs should be administered once-a-month Heartworm Preventive medication for at least the Spring to Fall period, and ideally year-round, veterinary practices have historically tested for Heartworm Disease in the spring period prior to dogs commencing preventive medication. While spring testing will continue for dogs commencing Heartworm preventive medication for the first time (e.g. puppies, adult dogs not tested in the previous year, etc.), dogs screened for Heartworm disease in the prior year may now have their blood test performed at the time of their annual check-up & vaccination visit.
Ear Health
What causes ear problems in dogs?
Most people think of bacterial infection when their dog develops an ear problem, however in many cases underlying problems are present that allow an infection to occur. Two common conditions that can cause ear problems are Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and food allergies.

How can I prevent or reduce ear problems for my dog?
Environmental factors play a big role. Dogs who swim and/or have floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. In both cases, the ears retain moisture which allows bacteria or yeast to overmultiply. This does not mean you cannot let your dog swim, but it is essential that these pets have their ears cleaned once a week using a recommended ear cleanser.

I have a cat and wonder if I should be cleaning his/her ears to prevent infection?
Cats rarely develop ear infections as adults, so be sure to have your cat seen by a veterinarian if signs of an ear infection are present. The most common ear problem in cats is ear mites. Kittens or outdoor cats are most likely to have ear mite infections. To prevent ear problems in outdoor cats, a once-a-month topical product which protects against ear mites should be used. Indoor cats do such a good job at cleaning themselves that routine ear cleaning generally is not needed. Simpy watch for signs of scratching or rubbing at the ears as an indication that your cat should be examined by a veterinarian. Food allergies, parasites and ear canal tumours can also be underlying causes of ear problems in adult cats.
Dental Health
Why do pets require teeth cleaning?
The purpose is to reverse the inflammation and build-up of plaque and tartar which has accumulated. Left untreated, these changes are what lead to gum loss, bone loss and tooth loss, not to mention pain and discomfort. Treated early, these changes can be reversed. Treated too late, the progression of gum and bone loss can be slowed, but not reversed, and there is an increased risk of teeth needing to be extracted.

My pet's teeth are relatively white. How can a teeth cleaning be necessary?
The primary purpose of a dental cleaning & polishing is not to ensure white teeth. The purpose is to treat the dental disease process which is occurring beneath the gum line. Regardless of the appearance of the visible portion of the tooth, bacteria and plaque/tartar accumulates beneath the gum line, resulting in inflammation of the gums which, untreated, leads to gum loss, bone loss, pain/discomfort and eventual tooth loss.

Is my pet too old for dental care & teeth cleaning?
In terms of life-expectancy and quality of life (pain-free, etc.), an otherwise-healthy Senior pet stands to benefit most from dental care. With advances in general anesthesia, anesthetic monitoring, protocols which include pre-anesthetic bloodwork and IV fluids, the benefits of dental care outweigh the associated risks.
Food and Medicines to Avoid
What are some foods I should avoid feeding my cat or my dog?
Common foods such as onions (dogs) and chocolate (dogs and cats) should never be fed to your pets as they can prove life-threatening. There exists anecdotal evidence that grapes and raisins, in sufficient quantities, can lead to sudden kidney failure and death and should be avoided.

Is it okay to give my pet Tylenol?

NO

Tylenol contains the active ingredient acetaminophen, and acetaminophen should never be administered to cats or dogs as they lack the liver inzyme necessary to metabolize this drug.
Surgery and Anesthesia
What type of procedure can be performed with laser surgery?
Spays, neuters, growth removals, exploratory procedures, cystotomy, orthopaedic surgeries (cruciate ligament repair, etc.) and more.

Are there any health benefits to having my pet spayed or neutered?
Spaying a female pet avoids the inconvenience of heat cycles, eliminates life-threatening infections of the uterus, and decreases the risk of breast cancer. Neutering a male pet decreases the incidence of tumors of the anus, rectum, testicles, & prostate. Surgery may also decrease the tendency to stray or roam.

I have been taking my pet to another veterinary hospital for many years, but would like to have an upcoming procedure performed with laser surgery. Is this possible?
Yes. You may have your pet's surgery performed at Carling Animal Hospital to avail of laser surgery and continue to use your regular veterinarian otherwise. Prior to your pet's surgery, we will ask your regular Veterinarian to fax a copy of your pet's medical record such that we are aware of his/her medical history. Following the surgery, we will fax an update to your Veterinarian such that your pet's medical file remains current.

My dog has a growth which does not appear to bother him. What should I do?
Growths (tumors) can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) and yet not "appear" to visibly affect your pet. The appearance of the tumor cannot tell you if the growth is cancerous or not and, for this reason, it is best to determine the tumor type. If it is cancerous, please realize that cancer is and remains the single most curable chronic disease which a pet may face. A "fine needle aspirate" is a simple procedure which can be performed on most growths and will usually provide a diagnosis of the tumor type. This test does not require sedation and can be performed on an out-patient basis. Once a diagnosis is determined, treatment options can be determined and discussed.
Miscellaneous
I am interested in fostering rescued pets which need a temporary home while awaiting permanent adoption. Who would I contact?
There are many rescue groups who are looking for volunteers to foster pets until homes are found for them. To foster cats, you may contact Friends of Abandoned Pets, an organization which rescues abandoned animals and then seeks suitable permanent homes. Contact Carmel at 729-9820 or visit their web site at www.foap.on.ca. To Foster dogs, you may contact BARK (Bytown Association for Rescued Kanines) at (613)738-0119 or (819) 776-5090. You can visit their website at www.home.ican.net/~933435/.

Do most people consider their pet(s) a full-fledged member of the family?
As published in the August, 2002 edition of Veterinary Economics, 83% of respondents surveyed say they often refer to themselves as their pet's Mom or Dad and 63% say "I love you" to their pet at least once a day!
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