Pet Care

Standards of Care

The field of veterinary medicine is seeing constant changes, advances and improvements. The doctors and staff at West Kootenay Animal Hospital are committed to staying informed and up to date on the new advancements and changes in the profession by attending lectures and conferences and subscribing to several journals and online resources. We know you rely on us to offer the most current and comprehensive care for your valued pet, and we take this responsibility seriously.

The “Standards of Care” at West Kootenay Animal Hospital is a constantly evolving document that we are continually changing and improving as new information and research in the profession becomes available. These “Standards of Care” guide our daily recommendations and help ensure that your pet receives the best care possible while at our hospital.

Annual Physical Examinations

All adult dogs and cats should receive a comprehensive physical exam at least once a year. The West Kootenay Animal Hospital doctors will check all body systems and clearly communicate their findings and concerns to the pet owner. Recommendations and a treatment plan will be documented.


While vaccinations have drastically reduced the incidence of deadly viral diseases in our animals, new protocols have changed how we vaccinate our pets. We believe in responsible vaccination programs based on the risk factors in our community and your pet’s lifestyle.

  • Dogs: All dogs should be vaccinated against parvovirus, canine hepatitis/adenovirus, canine distemper and rabies. Unvaccinated dogs and puppies need a series of vaccines to produce adequate immunity. After the initial vaccine series, revaccination is done at less frequent intervals (every three years) throughout the pet’s life. Vaccinations against canine kennel cough (parainfluenza and bordetella) are strongly recommended for all dogs as we see a high incidence of this disease in our community. Other vaccines, such as Lyme disease and Guardia, are given on an “as-needed basis” after discussion with the veterinarian.
  • Cats: All cats should be vaccinated against panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and rabies. Unvaccinated cats and kittens need a series of vaccines to produce adequate immunity. After the initial vaccine series, revaccination is done at less frequent intervals (every three years) throughout the cat’s life. Cats who go outdoors should also be vaccinated against the Feline leukemia virus. Booster vaccinations for Feline leukemia are recommended on an annual basis.

Senior Pets

All senior pets should receive a complete physical exam every six months, a full blood panel, and a urinalysis yearly. More frequent examinations and regular blood work help detect disease earlier and improve the comfort and longevity of your companion in their senior years. The age at which your pet is considered a senior varies based on size and breed. Generally, dogs over eight years and cats over ten years are considered seniors.


It is strongly recommended that all animals undergoing general anesthesia undergo baseline blood testing before anesthesia. This includes a complete blood count and serum chemistry test for liver, kidney, blood sugar, protein levels and electrolytes.

All patients under prolonged general anesthesia:

  • Are placed on intravenous fluids. It is well documented that a high percentage of patients under anesthesia will become hypotensive (low blood pressure), which can lead to serious consequences if not detected or treated.
  • Are placed on a circulating hot water mat to help prevent hypothermia during anesthesia.
  • And heavy sedation will be closely monitored for the duration of the anesthesia and the recovery period by a trained animal health technologist or veterinary assistant.
  • Are monitored for blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm (ECG), oxygen saturation (pulse ox) and capnography (end-tidal Co2) levels and fluid delivery rates using specialized monitoring equipment.

Pain Management

Pain management alleviates your pets discomfort and improves their quality of life. It also speeds up and reduces the recovery period following surgery. At West Kootenay Animal Hospital, every patient experiencing pain should receive adequate medication to alleviate that pain.

All surgical patients will receive pain control medication before and after surgery to improve comfort during recovery. Any surgery, even elective surgery, has the potential to be painful, and we do not ignore pain management just because a procedure is deemed elective. Pain management is not a function of economics and should not be forgone because of economics or to reduce the cost of a procedure.

Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are commonly used in veterinary medicine to help control chronic, painful conditions such as osteoarthritis. However, these medications are very beneficial in chronic, painful conditions and can improve your pet’s quality of life. It is essential to ensure they are not causing problems with the internal organs. At West Kootenay Animal Hospital, patients prescribed long-term NSAIDs require a baseline blood panel (NSAID screen) before prescribing these drugs. Blood parameters will be re-evaluated in 1 to 4 months, depending on the results of the baseline testing, and then once a year for the duration the pet is on NSAID medication.