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 atttending lectures and conferences and subscribing to a number of 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 recommendations on a daily basis and help to ensure that while at our hospital, your pet is recieving the best care possible.

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

Vaccinations: While vaccinations has drastically reduced the incidence of deadly viral diseases in our animals new protocols have changed the way we currently vaccinate our pets. We believe in responsible vaccination programs based on the risk factors in our community as well as your pets lifestyle.

  • Dogs: All dogs should be vaccinated against parvo virus, 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 3 years) throughout the pets 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 Guiardia 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 3 years) throughout the cat's life. Cats who go outdoors should also be vaccinated for Feline leukemia virus. Booster vaccinations for Feline leukemia are recommended on an annual basis.


Senior Pets: All senior pets should recieve a complete physical exam every 6 months and a full blood panel and urinalysis once a year. More frequent examinations and regular blood work helps 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. In general dogs over 8 years and cats over 10 years are considered to be seniors.

Anesthesia: It is strongly recommended that all animals undergoing general anesthesia will have baseline blood testing preformed prior to anesthesia. This includes a complete blood count, serum chemistry test for liver, kidney, blood sugar, protien levels and electrolytes.

All patients under prolonged general anesthesia will be 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.

All patients under general anesthesia will be placed on a circulating hot water mat help prevent hypothermia during anesthesia.

All patients under general anesthesia or 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.

All patients under general anesthesia will be monitored for blood pressure, heart rate and rhythmn (ECG), oxygen saturation (pulse ox) and capnography (end tidal Co2) levels and fluid delivery rates using specialized monitoring equipment.

Pain Management: Pain management not only alleviates your pets discomfort and improves their quality of life it also speeds and reduces the recovery period following surgery. At West Kootenay Animal Hospital we believe every patient experiencing pain should recieve adequate medication to alleviate that pain.

All surgical patients will receive pain control medication both prior to surgery and well as immediately post surgery to improve comfort during the recovery period. 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 (NSAID's): Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are commonly used in veterinary medicine to help control chronic, painful conditions such as osteoarthritis. At West Kootenay Animal Hospital any patients that are prescribed long term NSAID's require a baseline blood panel (NSAID screen) prior to prescribing these drugs. Blood parameters will be re-evaluated again in 1 to 4 months depending on the results of the baseline testing and then once a year for the duration that the pet is on NSAID medication. Although these medications are very beneficial in chronic, painful conditions and can improve your pets quality of life. It is important to ensure they are not causing problems with the internal organs.