Pet identification

Collars and tags can easily fall off and be lost.  Microchips and tattoos provide a permanent method of identification.

A patient being scanned for a microchip. Each transponder has a unique number which will allow your pet to be traced back to you.

A patient being scanned for a microchip. Each transponder has a unique number which will allow your pet to be traced back to you.

Microchips are a permanent form of identification.  They are small transponders placed under the skin between your pet's shoulder blades. Microchips are registered with a microchip company. If a pet is lost the microchip can be scanned and is then traced back to the owner through the microchip company.  Veterinarians and many shelters, such as the SPCA, have scanners to read microchips.  Microchip databases are available internationally. 

Tattoo on the inside of a dogs ear.

Tattoo on the inside of a dogs ear.

Tattoos are another form of permanent identification. Tattoos are located in the inner ear of the pet. Tattoos are less costly than microchips however they are not registered on an online database, but with the veterinary clinic or shelter who creates the tattoo. Tattoos are composed of numbers and letters as seen in the photo on the right. The letters are specific to veterinary clinics and the numbers are unique to each pet. Tattoos are better suited for animals that won't be traveling out of province or country. The risk with tattoos are that they can fade over time.

Though it's a large needle, microchips can be inserted at any time. Tattoos are given only when a pet is under anesthetic for example at the time of a spay, neuter, or other surgical procedures.

Many owners choose both forms of identifications while others choose to have one or the other.

If your pets already have microchips or tattoos ensure that you keep your contact information up to date on microchip databases and at your veterinary clinic. This will ensure you will be contacted if your pet is found.  Having a microchip or tattoo for your pet is only valuable if the Microchip company can contact you based on the contact information you provide.


Blood donors

Dogs can donate blood too! Blood transfusions are required when a dog is anemic from trauma, disease, or toxicity. The transfusion replenishes the pet's red blood cells.

In Prince George we do not have a blood bank as we do in human hospitals. When a patient requires a blood transfusion we collect a fresh sample from a donor. The picture below is one of our staff members dogs Hazel donating blood.

Our technician places a needle in the jugular vein and the blood flows into a bag coated with an anticoagulant so the blood doesn't clot. The blood is then transfused to the patient.

This is a photo of our staff collecting blood from Hazel one of our assistant Kourtney's dog for donation.

This is a photo of our staff collecting blood from Hazel one of our assistant Kourtney's dog for donation.

Taking your cat to the vet

Taking your cat to the vet

Most cats do not like going to the vet. Often they become fearful and anxious. Here are a few things you can do to minimize the stress of a vet visit for your cat.

1)      Bring your cat in a carrier. Having your cat in a carrier can make them feel more secure. A veterinary clinic can be an overwhelming environment for cats. With new dogs, people, smells, sounds. Being in their carrier can make them feel safe.

If your cat is nervous when the carrier is brought out, keep it out prior to the exam. Keeping treats and toys in the kennel will allow your cat to associate it with a positive experience.

2)      Placing a towel over the carrier gives them a place to hide.

3)      If they are fearful of dogs and other cats leave them in the vehicle while you check in so you can bring the cat into the exam room right away. This way they will not have to sit in the waiting room as it can be overwhelming.

In addition many clinics welcome “happy visits”. Bringing your cat in for treats, pets, and cuddles, can allow your cat to be desensitized to the fear of the clinic.

Pet insurance

Accidents and illnesses can occur at any time. Pet insurance can ensure that your pet can recieve immediate care. When your pet requires an emergency surgery there isn't always time to budget and save for the procedure. Pet insurance companies can help. With easy monthly payments that fit your budget your pet can be covered for various accidents and illnesses.

The following are pet insurance companies that provide coverage for various illnesses and accidents. Each website has an easy, cost free, quote service. It is important to choose the plan that will best fit your pet and your family. For more information feel free to call us and talk to our staff or explore your options bellow.




Dog parks in Prince George

We are lucky in Prince George to have many easily accessible dog parks.

The following are designated dog parks in Prince George where dogs are allowed off leash. Many of these parks have available bags and garbage cans along the trails.

Duchess park dog park
Duchess park dog park is located on Ross road. It provides a large fenced in area for your pets to play and socialize.

Moore's meadow
Moore's meadow is found off foothills. The park spans 150 acres with trail networks surrounding the meadow.

Darren Fitzpatrick Bravery Park
Found on the Hart has a fenced in area for dogs, playground for children, lots of fun for the whole family.

Ginters meadow
Ginters meadow is found at the end of Massey drive. With a large field and many trails it is lots of fun for you and your pets. In addition to the paved trails at Ginters meadow there is a network of trails that come out at the top of the University hill.


There are also many on leash parks and trails in and around Prince George such as Cotton wood island park, LC Gunn park, Otway ski club, Greenway trail, Forest for the World, Eskers, Tea Pot Mountain, the Ancient Forest and more.


Tea pot mountain

The Ancient Forest

How to remove a Tick

The image on the right is a tick that was found on one of our patients while they were camping. What do you do if you find a tick on your pet and there are no veterinary services near by ?

First start by collecting necessary materials such as tweezers and gloves. If you do not have gloves, use paper towel or tissue paper to protect your fingers.

You may need a second person to securely hold your pet. Place the tweezers on the tick's head as close to the pets skin as possible. Pull the tick out as straight as possible applying even pressure. DO NOT twist while pulling. It may take time for the tick to release the skin. Continue applying constant pressure until it detaches.

Ticks can become quite large as they become engorged with blood.

Ticks can become quite large as they become engorged with blood.

You can refrigerate the tick in a container if you would like to have it identified or sent to a lab to test if it carries a disease.

If the site swells after removal this can be due to a normal reaction with the tick's saliva much like a mosquito bite. If it persists or there are any symptoms such as lethargy, decreased appetite, ect contact your veterinarian.

We do not recommend home remedies found online as they can cause the ticks to release saliva, increasing the risk of transmitting diseases. These remedies include holding a match to the end of the tick and using petroleum jelly/grease to suffocate the tick.



Spaying and neutering rabbits

Like dogs and cats, rabbits can be spayed and neutered as well. We recommend that rabbits are spayed and neutered between 4-6 months of age. There are many benefits of sterilizing rabbits. Firstly it contributes to population control. Secondly it reduces aggression towards other animals as well as owners and territoriality in both males and females. Thirdly neutering can reduce urine spraying. Lastly sterilization reduces the risk of uterine and mammary cancer in females.

After surgery male rabbits must be kept separated from females for at least 2 months as semen can live long periods of time and females can still become pregnant even if the male has been neutered.

What to do if your dog gets stuck by porcupine quills

This patient and his brother got into a prickly situation when they found a porcupine near their home. Luckily their owners knew what to do. They called the clinic right away and brought them in to have the quills safely removed !

Porcupines have 30 000 quills largely concentrated on their tails which they swing at predators. The quills aren't thrown off but do detach easily. The quills have white tips, and the portion that penetrates the skin is black. This makes it difficult to see especially when the dogs fur is dark like this patient.

It is important not to try to remove quills at home. Pulling the quills is not only painful but they break easily and the tip can remain embedded in the skin. This can cause an infection or abscess. The pieces can also migrate through the body, risking puncturing or tearing organs.

Additionally it is important not to cut or trim the quills. The shorter pieces can make their way into the skin making them impossible to find. They can also migrate much like a broken quill.

When you bring your pet to the veterinarian they will sedate or put your pet under general anesthetic in order to safely remove the quills with minimal pain. When your pet is relaxed it is also easier to feel the entire body for quills that may have been missed. As well as remove tough to reach quills in their mouths.

If your pet ingests quills, making them vomit often causes more harm than good due to the risk of perforating the esophagus. Feeding high fiber foods such as canned pumpkin or boiled asparagus can bind to the quills and decrease the risk that they will cause damage as they pass through the digestive system.


Taking your dog camping and hiking

Summer is finally here ! With so many great lakes and trails around Prince George I'm sure many of you are just as excited for camping and hiking season as we are.  Here are a few things to be aware of when taking your pets camping or hiking.

Tick Prevention: whether hiking or camping, being in a highly wooded area can increase your pets risk of getting ticks. Ticks are not only irritating to your pets but they can also transmit diseases. Tick prevention medication is applied once a month and gives your pet protection from ticks, fleas, lice, and some internal parasites.

Vaccines: when taking your pets to provincial parks and other busy campsites ensuring your pets are up to date on vaccines. Vaccinations aren't mandatory to visit these parks however with a large number of dogs in one area keeping your pets up to date on vaccines can protect them from contracting any diseases. Many viruses such as parvo virus can live in the environment for a long period of time.

Hydration: Especially when it's hot, having water available for your pets is very important. Camping and hiking your pets will be running and playing in the heat. It is important to have water readily available for them. Bringing along portable water dishes when going for long walks is a good idea.

Water safety: Swimming is a great way for your pets to cool off and exercise in the Summer heat. Life jackets are a good idea for dogs who are weak swimmers or if they will be swimming for a long period of time. Especially in rivers where currents can be strong and unpredictable.


Cat nail trim

Scratching can be a destructive behavior in a home. A good way to reduce damage to your furniture is by trimming your cats nails regularly. In addition, if nails aren't routinely trimmed they can grow long and curl around into the pads of their feet. Here are 3 easy steps to trimming your cats nails. Remember to offer treats throughout to ensure a positive experience.

Step 1: hold your cat in a way that they are comfortable. This can be simply sitting on your lap or if your cat squirms around, by placing them on their side and holding the legs that are closest to the ground as in the picture bellow. Another method is to wrap them in a towel or blanket with one leg out at a time.

Step 2: Gently hold your cat's paw. Apply a small amount of pressure to the top of the toe with your thumb this will extend your cat's nail.







Step 3: Clip the white part of the nail. Be careful not to clip the pink portion. This is where the nerves and blood supply are found.




Remeber to provide treats during and after to reward your cat for its good behavior.

Progesterone testing

Progesterone testing

Progesterone testing is a blood test that is used to determine optimal time for breeding. A peak in the progesterone levels in the blood correspond with an increase in the leuteinizing hormone. When these levels rise it indicates that ovulation will take place in 48 hours. By detecting the spike in progesterone levels in the blood we can determine the optimal breeding time.

The first progesterone test should be taken 7-9 days after the bitch shows signs of being in heat. This can include the first sign of blood or swelling. The test is then repeated every 48 hours until there is a spike in the progesterone level. Some require 2-4 tests, while others more, depending on the bitch.

When the progesterone levels spike breeders should skip one day and breed the next two consecutive days. Breeding twice can increase the chance of fertilization as well as increase litter sizes.

The mother of this litter of puppies had progestrone testing to determine breeding time. 

The mother of this litter of puppies had progestrone testing to determine breeding time. 

Canine Vaccines

Canine vaccines

Rabies, and Distemper/Parvo vaccines are given as an injection under the skin.

Rabies, and Distemper/Parvo vaccines are given as an injection under the skin.

We recommend dogs be vaccinated for Distemper/Parvovirus (coombination vaccine), Bordetella, and Rabies.

Canine Distemper is a viral disease transmittable through the air. Exposure to infected animals can put your pet at risk. The disease affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, andthe central nervous system as the disease progresses. Symptoms can include lethargy, nasal discharge, coughing, and vomiting and diarrhea. Twitches, loss of vision, and even seizures can also occur.

Parvovirus is transmittable through the feces of infected dogs. Ingesting feces or being in contact with a surface that had contact with contaminated feces can put your pet at risk of becoming infected. Parvovirus can remain active in the environment for a long period of time (years). Symptoms of Parvovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and pets often become lethargic.

Rabies is transmitted through saliva by the bite of an animal that is infected. The virus targets the central nervous system resulting in behavioral changes. These changes can include aggression, anxiety, slow loss of control of limbs, and distortion of the face.

Bordetella is an intranasal vaccine. This means it is administered in the nose of your pet.

Bordetella is an intranasal vaccine. This means it is administered in the nose of your pet.

Bordetella is more commonly known as kennel cough and is spread through close contact with infected dogs. Kennel cough is commonly contracted in areas where there are a large number of dogs such as boarding facilities, shelters, and dog parks. Signs include coughing, runny eyes and nose, and dogs may become lethargic.

Rabies is a fatal disease.  Distemper and Parvovirus can be treated until the virus runs its course. These treatments are expensive and outcome is not always favorable. Kennel cough can be treated with cough suppressants and is not typically life threatening. It is similar to having a cold. By vaccinating your pets you are able to protect them from these disease and save yourself costly medical bills.

To learn more about when to vaccinate your pets feel free to call and our staff can help to set up an appropriate vaccine schedule.


Did you know the gestation time for cats and dogs is 2 months ! At 28 days the foeti are detectable on ultrasound and by 53 days the foeti have calcified, making them radioopaque, and visible on Xray. Generally ultrasound is used to confirm pregnancy as counting is not as accurate with this method. Xrays are often used to determine the number of puppies so the breeder knows how many to expect during a natural birth. This can help to determine if there are any puppies or kittens in distress and when surgical intervention may be needed.
Neither ultrasound nor Xray cause any harm to the mother or the growing foeti.

Can you count the number of puppies and kittens in the following photos ? Scroll down for the answers. 

Answer to how many puppies and kittens: photo 1:6 puppies, photo 2:5 puppies, photo 3:4 puppies, and photo 4:5 kittens.

What is a spay ?

There are two methods of spaying your pet: ovariohysterectomy and ovariectomy.
Ovariohysterectomy is the removal of both ovaries and the uterus; it was previously believed that leaving the uterus would predispose the animal to developing uterine infections or pyometra. However, new research has shown removing the ovaries by themselves, and leaving the uterus, is enough to prevent a uterine infection and also eliminates the possibility of pregnancy. The uterus is a larger organ thus removing both uterus and ovaries increases the trauma to the pet. Removing just the ovaries decreases the trauma and is a less invasive approach.

Why ?
The benefits of spaying your pet include population control, and preventing heat cycles. Dogs that have had between 1-3 heat cycles also have increased risk of mammary gland tumors.

When ?
Veterinarians recommend small breed dogs be spayed at 6 months of age and large breed dogs between 6-8 months.

Negative effects of spaying your pets include estrogen responsive incontinence or hormonal incontinence in which your pet may leak urine when sleeping due to lack of estrogen. This problem can be corrected with an estrogen supplement given once a week.
In large breed dogs spaying can cause joint problems and certain tumors if spayed before their first heat cycle and is why large breed dogs are being spayed later than small breed dogs. Joint problems may include elbow or hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament rupture.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding having your pets spayed or neutered discuss your options with your veterinarian.