Interesting Cases

It’s Amazing What Dogs Eat!

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Saber is a typical energetic 3 year old Husky who was playing with his stuffed toy.  To the owners amazement Saber swallowed the entire toy without chewing.  Attempts were made to make him vomit it up, but the toy did not come up and Saber soon stopped eating and became lethargic and sick.  Saber presented to us 2 days after the toy was ingested since he was declining.  Abdominal radiographs revealed an obvious object in the stomach (see the arrows on the x-ray) which showed the toy upside down with the 4 feet being visible, but the head was likely lodged in the pylorus which connects the stomach to the small intestines.

The stuff toy was definitely “stuck” with the head lodged in the pylorus and was not going to come out on its own.  It was opted to remove the toy as minimally invasively as possible so endoscopy was opted for.  The object was easily seen in the stomach with the specialized medical camera and the image below shows the head of the toy stuck in the pylorus and endoscopic forceps being used to bring it back into the stomach.

An endoscopic snare was then used to grasp one the legs and the object was slowly teased out of the stomach, brought back up the esophagus and removed orally.   The object turned out to be a 15 cm stuffed giraffe which was eaten intact and then removed completely intact.

Saber made a complete recovery and was back to eating normally within 24 hours.  I’m sure the owners will now select different chew toys based on Saber’s chewing habits, but it is amazing why Saber would eat this stuffed giraffe to begin with!

Neville the Itchy Puppy

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Neville is a 5 month old German Shepherd mix breed puppy with a real zest for life! He presented to our hospital  months ago for his puppy boosters and was reportedly scratching himself for what seemed to his parents to be an excessive amount of time. They had tried moisturizing shampoos and a better quality diet which seemed to improve this for him so no further investigation was made at that time.


Fast forward 2 months later and Neville continues to itch and scratch and his coat is now brittle and patchy, especially on his legs and face. Skin scrapings were taken to look for a type of skin mite known as Demodex. The scrapings are made in a few areas of the body, allowing us to count numbers of mites and identify if the mites are thriving (juvenile and adult mites) and if they are reproducing (discovery of eggs).


Demodex mites are very common, humans even have their own species of these little critters living in their eyelashes and eyebrows. Normally there are a few mites found on the skin of healthy dogs, but in young puppies their immune system sometimes cannot keep up with the mites and they grow and multiply excessively in the hair follicles producing the itch and hair loss.


We were able to start treatment to eliminate the excessive number of mites from Neville’s skin, and his parents report he is much more comfortable and no longer constantly itchy. After a few months of treatment his hair coat will return to normal, and he can go on learning and growing and being a puppy.


Dr. Charlotte Sir


Cryosurgery and wart (adenoma) removal

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Lumps are quite common on dogs as they get older.  Some larger lumps or lumps under the skin and may need a biopsy or fine needle aspiration to rule out a serious cancerous growth.  However adenomas (or warts) are one of the most common lumps that we see on our dogs.   Most of these warts or adenomas to not bother the dog.  However, sometimes they do irritate the dog who will chew at them or get them infected.  Sometimes the owner just wants them removed since it is on an area where they commonly pet the dog such as the top of their head.   In the past, we had to use a general anesthetic or local anesthetic in order to excise the adenoma and place sutures. 

Recent advances in human medicine, and now veterinary medicine,  has made cryosurgery accessible to veterinarians.   We are able to use a Cryoprobe which sprays a very cold yet precise flow of nitrous oxide directly onto the wart.  The freezing power of the Cryoprobe penetrates fast to the bottom of the lesion.  That results in effective treatment with very little discomfort and without the need for any sedation or anesthesia. Give us a call if you are interested in having any warts removed from your dog.   

Laparoscopic Spay

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We are excited to offer this minimally invasive alternative to traditional spays.  A laparoscopic spay provides up to 65% less pain to your pet compared to a traditional spay.  A laparoscopic spay (medially termed a laparoscopic ovariectomy) is also less traumatic and provides a faster recovery time.


Click on our YouTube link below to find out more this procedure and how well Ziggy did undergoing a laparoscopic spay:


Why Choose a Laparoscopic Spay?

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure performed by passing a narrow medical camera (laparoscope) through a tiny incision into the abdomen. The laparoscope provides a magnified view of the organs allowing for greater precision.

A Laparoscopic Spay (medically termed a laparoscopic ovariectomy) requires a second tiny incision (typically <1cm) for the placement of medical instruments to perform the spay.

The ovaries are identified and isolated with endoscopic forceps. A special vessel sealing device carefully cauterizes, seals and cuts the ovarian blood vessels and ligament, thereby freeing the ovary from the rest of her uterus. The ovaries are then retrieved and removed through the tiny instrument incision. The uterus is left intact and in its natural state.

Research has found that there is no benefit to removing the uterus**. Retaining the uterus will not increase the risk of breast cancer or uterine infections, nor will your dog go through any heat cycles.

Lap OVE1

Lap OVE2


By Interesting Cases

Clients are always curious with what goes on “behind the scenes” and some of the procedures we perform.

Click on our You Tube link below to get a hospital tour of our facility and check out some of the procedures we perform on a daily basis.


Interesting Cases – 2 Mummified Fetuses in a Spayed Cat – Dr. Tina Gagnon

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Lena is approximately a 3 year old female, spayed, calico cat. Her new owner had brought her in within three days of adopting her, because she felt a mass in her abdomen. The mass was confirmed as abnormal on general physical exam and we decided to take an x-ray to find out more. Surprisingly, we saw two fetuses in her abdomen. I confirmed with the veterinarian that performed the spay procedure, at another veterinary clinic, that Lena had both of her ovaries and her uterus removed. The abdominal radiograph (x-ray) shown above does identify 2 kittens in the abdomen (white arrows pointing to each one) and we could see the kitten’s vertebrae and skulls on the radiograph.

We performed an abdominal ultrasound to see if she had any reproductive structures and to find out if the fetuses were alive. If they were not alive, we needed to know if they were attached to any abdominal organs that would complicate the removal of the dead fetuses. The abdominal ultrasound revealed two mummified fetuses in Lena’s abdomen. One was located near the stomach and the other was located between the left kidney and the spleen. These may have resulted from an ectopic pregnancy or, her uterus could have ruptured during a pregnancy, expelling the fetuses into the abdomen, then healed back up.

We then performed surgery to remove the mummified fetuses. One was covered in a membrane and was attached by scar tissue to the side of her abdomen. The other was walled off by abdominal fat and also attached to the back of her abdomen. Both were successfully removed. Lena stayed in the hospital over night on intravenous fluids, pain medications and antibiotics. She was sent home the next day and made a fabulous recovery.

Lena in surgery showing a mummified fetus.

Lena in surgery showing a mummified fetus at the tip of the arrow



Interesting Cases – Tuna the 3 Legged Cat

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Tuna is very loveable 5 year old Tabby cat who had a severe accident to his left front leg.  The leg unfortunately could not be salvaged and had to be amputated.  However, this video was designed to show how adaptable our pets are and how Tuna still has a great quality of life despite only having 3 legs.

Interesting Cases – Feline Liver Disease

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Miche, is a 3 year old Seal Point Himalayan. Shortly after adoption from a humane society,  Miche started to sneeze and sound congested.  She became less active and stopped eating.  When she arrived at our clinic she continued to show these signs and she had a fever.  It is common for cats to develop upper respiratory tract infections, especially if they have been in contact with other cats. This usually involves different viruses that affect the upper airways and can involve bacteria as well. These cats usually do not eat because they don’t feel well, they cannot smell their food and they have a fever.

Miche was kept in the hospital on intravenous fluids to hydrate her and was on intravenous antibiotics for the infection and fever. She was being fed by mouth but would not eat on her own and Miche’s fever remained high so a second antibiotic was added. After a few days, Miche stopped sneezing, her temperature normalized, she was brighter and was less congested. She still didn’t eat well, but some cats won’t eat in the hospital due to the stress of being in a different environment. Since Miche made a good recovery we decided to try her at home.

Miche was acting normally at home except she was not eating. This prompted bloodwork to see if there was something else going on causing her not to eat. The bloodwork showed that there was a problem with her liver. Cats that stop eating for as little as 3 days can mobilize their fat to their liver, causing liver disease. Considering Miche’s history of not eating, this was very possible. This is reversible and treatment involves insertion of a feeding tube to make sure the cat is getting enough nutrients.  A liver biopsy would also tell us what is happening in the liver and how to treat it.

This is what Miche's liver looked like during her laparoscopy (a special camera that looks inside her abdomen). The mottled tan liver is seen and her gallbladder is the round grey/blue structure.

Taking a biopsy of Miche's liver. The view is magnified 10 times and the sample is actually only 4 mm diameter. The liver typically is a reddish/purple colour but appears quite pale and mottled here.

Miche’s owner decided to proceed with a liver biopsy and insertion of a tube that would allow her to feed Miche through this tube directly into her stomach.  Although it was difficult at first, her owner was very dedicated and learned how to feed Miche through her feeding tube. The liver biopsies came back as lymphocytic pericholangitis which is a type of inflammation of the tissues surrounding bile ducts in the liver. Miche was put on 2 medications: one to reduce the inflammation and one to help decongest the liver.  Miche’s owner was able to give these medications through the feeding tube.

The stomach tube is placed with the help of an endoscope in Miche's stomach. A catheter is inserted into the stomach through the skin in the ideal location after the endoscope fills it with air and the graspers grab the suture material that is tied to the feeding tube and brought back into the stomach.

This is how the feeding tube appears in the stomach. Food is placed through the tube with a syringe and exits through the holes in the 'mushroom tipped" end. The tube can remain in place for months and once Miche began eating normally on her own, the tube was removed.


Miche continued to improve and now she is a loving, active and healthy companion for her human mother.  Three weeks later, a blood test was done to assess her liver function and came back all normal. Miche is now eating well on her own.  Her stomach tube was removed and she will continue to be monitored.  Miche is a fabulous cat and we all care for her very much.


Interesting Cases – Gingival Hyperplasia

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This is a great picture of Zar who is a 9 year old male Boxer who has had some VERY bad breath and even difficulty chewing at times.  The photo below shows what his mouth looked like when we saw him.  Zar is suffering from a condition called gingival hyperplasia where his gums started to over grow inside of his mouth to a point where it was actually covering some of his teeth and he was chewing on his gums when he was eating.  The odour from is mouth is due to food getting stuck in the folds of the excessive gums and forming infections which also accelerated regular plaque and tartar formation in his mouth.

This is a photo of Zar's mouth immediately after being anaesthetized with his endotracheal tube in place to maintain his anaesthesia during the surgery. Some of his teeth are not even visible due to the excessive gum (gingiva) formation.

Boxer’s are one of the breeds that are predisposed to this condition and can progress to a point where they can get quite sick and lose weight due to painful eating.  The next photo show’s Zar’s mouth immediately after surgery where we surgically removed as much excessive gum tissue as possible to reshape the gumline to the orginal location.  He was also placed on pain medication and antibiotics immediately after surgery while his mouth healed.

This is the appearance of Zar's mouth immediately after surgery. You can now see a lot of the teeth that were covered by the overgrown gums. His upper canine tooth was extracted due to being too severely diseased by the condition.


Zar did FANTASTIC and his owners were amazed at how much better he felt and was eating.  They also appreciated the dramatically improved breath!!

The final photo was taken at his 2 week re-check where his gums have completely healed and his mouth looks dramatically better then his initial photo.  Since this condition has a genetic component, the hyperplasia could start forming again.  However it took 9 years for Zars mouth to get to this stage and he will likely never need any more surgery in his mouth again.

Zar's mouth 2 weeks after surgery showing that his gums have completely healed and he now enjoys eating pain-free.