Pet Rehabilitation: A Path to Recovery After Orthopedic Surgery

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Welcome to the Steeples Veterinary Clinic blog! Today, we want to shed light on the importance of pet rehabilitation, particularly after orthopedic surgery. Just like humans, pets require specialized care and rehabilitation to ensure a successful recovery and regain their mobility. Let’s explore the world of pet rehabilitation and discover how it can benefit your beloved pet after orthopedic surgery.


The Role of Rehabilitation in Orthopedic Surgery Recovery

Orthopedic surgeries, such as fracture repairs, joint surgeries, and ligament repairs, can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life. However, the journey to recovery doesn’t end with the surgery itself. Rehabilitation plays a vital role in helping pets regain strength, mobility, and function. It focuses on reducing pain, improving range of motion, and rebuilding muscle strength.


Benefits of Pet Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation offers numerous benefits for pets recovering from orthopedic surgery. Some of the key advantages include:

– Faster Recovery: Proper rehabilitation can expedite the healing process and help pets regain their mobility sooner.

– Pain Management: Rehabilitation techniques, including therapeutic exercises and modalities, can effectively manage post-operative pain.

– Improved Range of Motion: Targeted exercises and stretching can enhance joint flexibility and range of motion.

– Muscle Strengthening: Rehabilitation programs include exercises that help rebuild muscle strength, preventing muscle atrophy and promoting stability.

– Prevention of Complications: Rehabilitation can reduce the risk of complications, such as joint stiffness, contractures, and secondary injuries.

– Enhanced Quality of Life: By restoring mobility and function, rehabilitation can significantly improve your pet’s overall quality of life.


Rehabilitation Techniques for Pets

At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, our experienced rehabilitation team utilizes a variety of techniques to aid in your pet’s recovery. These may include:

– Therapeutic Exercises: Customized exercise programs tailored to your pet’s specific needs, focusing on improving strength, balance, and coordination.

– Cold laser therapy: Class 4 Laser is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-intensity laser light to stimulate healing and reduce pain and inflammation. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions in both humans and animals, including musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis, wound healing, and nerve pain.

– Massage and Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques to alleviate muscle tension, improve circulation, and enhance relaxation.

– Assistive Devices: The use of braces, slings, or orthotics to support and stabilize affected limbs during the recovery process.


Your Pet’s Individualized Rehabilitation Plan

Every pet is unique, and their rehabilitation plan should be tailored to their specific needs. Our rehabilitation team will work closely with you and your pet to develop a personalized plan that addresses their individual requirements. Regular progress evaluations and adjustments to the plan will ensure optimal recovery and long-term success.


Monitoring Your Pet’s Progress

During the rehabilitation process, it’s essential to monitor your pet’s progress closely. Look out for signs of improvement, such as increased mobility, decreased pain, and improved muscle strength. If you notice any concerns or changes in your pet’s condition, don’t hesitate to reach out to our clinic for guidance and support.



Rehabilitation is a crucial component of the recovery journey after orthopedic surgery. At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to help your pet regain their mobility, strength, and overall well-being. If your pet is scheduled for orthopedic surgery or has recently undergone one, consider incorporating rehabilitation into their recovery plan. Together, we can ensure a successful and speedy recovery for your pets.

Stay tuned for more informative blog posts from Steeples Veterinary Clinic. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our clinic. We are here to support you and your pets every step of the way.

Wishing you and your furry friends a healthy and happy journey to recovery!



The Team at Steeples Veterinary Clinic

Traveling with Pets: Your Guide to a Pawsome Adventure!

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Greetings Pet Parents!


As the temperature rises and the days grow longer, August is the perfect time for some exciting travels and new adventures. And what better way to make your summer escapades even more special than by bringing along your furry friends? At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we understand that your pets are part of the family, and we’re here to help you navigate the ins and outs of traveling with your four-legged companions.


1. Plan for a Happy and Healthy Journey

Before you set off on your trip, it’s essential to ensure your pet is in tip-top shape. Schedule a pre-travel checkup with our experienced veterinarians to make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations, parasite prevention, and overall well-being. A clean bill of health will give you peace of mind and set the stage for a successful journey.


2. Road Tripping with Fido: Unleash the Fun!

Is there anything more exciting than hitting the open road with your canine sidekick? Road trips with pets can be a delightful experience, but a little preparation goes a long way. Pack a travel kit with all the essentials – food, water, medications, favorite toys, and a cozy bed to ensure your furry friend stays comfortable during the trip. Don’t forget to make frequent pit stops for bathroom breaks and short walks to keep your pet relaxed and happy.


3. Taking to the Skies with Fluffy

If your travel plans involve taking to the skies, flying with your furry feline or small dog is entirely possible! However, each airline has its own set of pet travel policies, so it’s crucial to do your homework well in advance. Familiarize your pet with their travel crate before the flight, and consider using calming products to ease anxiety. And of course, consult with our veterinarians for any additional tips and advice.


4. Seek Pet-Friendly Accommodations

When choosing your accommodation, make sure it’s pet-friendly. Fortunately, many hotels, motels, and vacation rentals now roll out the red carpet for your furry companions. Be sure to check out nearby parks or open spaces where your pet can burn off some energy and enjoy the new surroundings.


5. Safety First: Identification and Microchipping

Traveling can increase the risk of pets getting lost. To prevent this nightmare scenario, ensure your pet has a well-fitted collar with an updated ID tag that includes your contact information. We highly recommend microchipping as a permanent and reliable form of identification that can be a lifesaver if your pet becomes separated from you.


6. Combatting Motion Sickness and Travel Anxiety

Just like us, some pets may experience motion sickness or anxiety during the journey. Talk to our veterinarians about potential medications or natural remedies to help ease their discomfort and ensure a smoother trip for everyone.


7. The Perfect Pet Travel Kit

Prepare a well-stocked travel kit with all the essentials. Pack their favorite food, collapsible water bowls, a leash, waste bags, first-aid supplies, and any necessary medications. Being prepared for any situation will give you peace of mind and ensure your pet’s comfort throughout the trip.


We at Steeples Veterinary Clinic are dedicated to the health and happiness of your pets. If you have any questions or need advice on traveling with your furry companions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our caring team.

Wishing you and your pets a summer filled with unforgettable adventures and cherished memories. Happy travels!

Embrace Preventive Health for a Lifetime of Happiness with Your Pets

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Summer is here, and at Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we’re passionate about keeping your pets healthy and happy. As we dive into the sunny season, we want to shed light on the importance of preventive health care for your furry companions. Just like us, our pets benefit immensely from proactive measures to ensure they live a long and thriving life. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of preventive health and provide you with practical steps to keep your four-legged friends in the best shape possible.

Annual Wellness Exams: A Gateway to Early Detection

Regular check-ups are the key to identifying potential health issues before they become major concerns. By scheduling an annual wellness exam at our clinic, you’ll give our veterinary experts an opportunity to assess your pet’s overall health, administer necessary vaccinations, and provide tailored advice for their specific needs. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and these exams can go a long way in safeguarding your pet’s well-being.

Vaccinations: Shielding Your Pet from Diseases

Immunizations are a critical component of preventive care, protecting our pets from contagious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Ensure your pets are up to date with their vaccinations, including core vaccines such as rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and feline leukemia. By staying current on vaccines, you’re providing a powerful shield for your pet against these harmful diseases.

Parasite Prevention: Banishing the Tiny Terrors

Warmer weather brings an increased risk of fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites. These nuisances can cause a range of health problems, including allergies and the transmission of serious diseases. Protect your pets by using veterinarian-recommended preventive treatments and adhering to a regular schedule for flea, tick, and heartworm preventives. Don’t let these tiny terrors disrupt your pet’s comfort and well-being.

Dental Care: A Gateway to Overall Health

Dental health is often overlooked, but it’s crucial for your pet’s overall well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to dental diseases, pain, and even organ damage. Establishing a regular dental care routine is essential, including brushing your pet’s teeth, providing dental treats or toys, and scheduling professional dental cleanings. By prioritizing your pet’s dental health, you’ll ensure they have a bright smile and a healthier life.

Nutrition and Weight Management: The Foundation of Health

Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. A balanced diet tailored to your pet’s specific needs is vital for their overall well-being. Obesity is a growing concern among pets and can lead to various health complications. Consult with our veterinarians to develop a personalized diet plan and ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight. With the right nutrition, you can lay the foundation for a healthy and vibrant life for your furry friend.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Enriching Lives

Regular physical activity and mental stimulation are essential for keeping your pets fit and happy. Engage in interactive playtime, go for walks, and provide stimulating toys and puzzles to keep their minds sharp. By incorporating exercise and mental stimulation into your pet’s daily routine, you’ll not only enhance their physical health but also strengthen the bond you share.

Senior Pet Care: Nurturing Aging Companions

If you have senior pets, they require extra attention and specialized care. Regular senior wellness exams, blood work, and joint supplements can help detect age-related issues early and improve their quality of life. Our veterinarians can provide guidance on how to best support your senior pet’s specific needs during their golden years. By embracing senior pet care, you’ll ensure your loyal companions enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling life as they age gracefully.


At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we’re committed to providing exceptional care for your pets throughout their entire lives. By embracing the importance of preventive health, you’re taking proactive steps to ensure your furry companions live a lifetime of happiness and well-being. Remember, our dedicated team of skilled veterinarians and compassionate staff are here to support you in maintaining your pet’s preventive health. Together, let’s create a future filled with love, laughter, and good health for our beloved pets!

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s preventive health, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Wishing you and your furry friends a fantastic summer filled with boundless joy and vibrant health!

Warm regards,

Your friends at Steeples Veterinary Clinic

Protecting Your Pets: Common Toxins and How to Keep Them Safe!

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Welcome to the Steeples Veterinary Clinic blog! As we embrace the sunny days of June, it’s crucial to stay informed about potential dangers that can harm our beloved pets. In this article, we’ll highlight common toxins that can affect dogs, cats, and horses and provide you with valuable tips to ensure their safety. Let’s dive right in and equip ourselves with knowledge to protect our furry friends!

Dogs and Toxins:

Our canine companions bring boundless joy to our lives, but certain substances can pose risks to their health. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Foods to Avoid: Chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, avocados, and products containing xylitol are a big no-no for dogs. Safely store these items to prevent accidental ingestion.
  2. Household Chemicals: Everyday household cleaners like bleach, ammonia, and detergents can be toxic if ingested by dogs. Opt for pet-friendly alternatives or store these substances securely.
  3. Garden Hazards: Some plants commonly found in gardens, such as lilies, azaleas, and tulips, can be harmful to dogs. Additionally, pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers may also pose risks. Take precautions when using these products and explore pet-safe alternatives.
Cats and Toxins:

Our feline friends are known for their curiosity, which makes it vital to safeguard them from potential toxins. Consider the following points:

  1. Poisonous Plants: Lilies, lilies of the valley, azaleas, daffodils, and certain ferns are toxic to cats. Keep these plants out of reach or opt for artificial alternatives.
  2. Essential Oils: While essential oils offer benefits to humans, some can be harmful to cats. Tea tree, peppermint, and citrus oils, for instance, can cause adverse reactions. Use these oils with proper ventilation and limit your cat’s exposure.
  3. Medications: Human medications can be dangerous for cats. Never administer them without veterinary guidance. Store medications securely and dispose of unused or expired ones properly.
Horses and Toxins:

Our majestic equine companions deserve our attention when it comes to toxin safety. Consider these tips:

  1. Pasture Safety: Horses grazing on grass and plants are susceptible to ingesting toxic substances like ragwort, yew, oak leaves, and certain fungi. Regularly inspect pastures and remove any poisonous plants promptly.
  2. Chemical Storage: Horses are naturally curious animals, so store chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and rodenticides out of their reach. Avoid using these substances near their living areas to minimize exposure risks.
  3. Feeding Precautions: Some common foods, such as chocolate, caffeine, garlic, onions, and excessive amounts of apples or carrots, can be toxic to horses. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure a balanced and safe diet for your equine companion.

Prevention is the key to safeguarding our pets from toxins. By staying aware and taking necessary precautions, we can create a safe environment for our beloved pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic or shows unusual symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team at Steeples Veterinary Clinic. We’re here to help!

Wishing you and your pets a safe and enjoyable June! Stay tuned for more informative articles and updates on pet health and wellness. Your pets deserve the best!

May 2023

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Understanding and Addressing Behavioural Issues in Dogs and Cats

As pet owners, we want our furry friends to be happy, healthy, and well-behaved. However, behavioural issues can arise in dogs and cats, making it difficult for us to understand and address their needs. In this blog post, we’ll discuss common behavioural issues in dogs and cats and provide some tips on how to address them.

Common Behavioural Issues in Dogs

  1. Separation Anxiety: Dogs are social creatures, and being left alone for long periods can cause them to experience separation anxiety. Some signs of separation anxiety include destructive behaviour, excessive barking or howling, and inappropriate urination or defecation. To address separation anxiety, it’s essential to gradually desensitize your dog to your absence by leaving them alone for short periods, gradually increasing the time you’re away. Providing them with interactive toys or treats can also help keep them occupied while you’re away.
  2. Aggression: Dogs can become aggressive due to fear, territorial behaviour, or lack of socialization. Some signs of aggression include growling, biting, snapping, or lunging. Addressing aggression in dogs can be complex, and seeking advice from a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer is recommended.
  3. Excessive Barking: Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate, but excessive barking can be a nuisance. To address excessive barking, it’s important to determine the cause of the behaviour. Some dogs bark when they’re bored, anxious, or want attention. Providing plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce excessive barking.

Common Behavioral Issues in Cats

  1. Urinating outside the Litter Box: One of the most common behavioural issues in cats is urinating outside the litter box. This behavior can be due to a medical issue or a behavioral issue. To address the issue, it’s essential to first rule out any medical issues with a visit to your veterinarian. If the issue is behavioral, try providing multiple litter boxes in different locations, keeping the litter box clean, and using a litter that your cat prefers.
  2. Scratching Furniture: Cats have a natural instinct to scratch, but this behaviour can be destructive if they’re scratching your furniture. Providing your cat with scratching posts and rewarding them when they use them can help redirect their behavior. You can also try placing double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the furniture to deter them from scratching.
  3. Attention-Seeking Behavior: Some cats demand attention by meowing excessively or engaging in destructive behaviour. Providing them with plenty of toys, playtime, and attention can help alleviate this behavior.


Behavioural issues can be frustrating for pet owners, but it’s important to understand that these behaviors are often due to natural instincts or a lack of training. Addressing behavioural issues in dogs and cats requires patience, consistency, and understanding. If you’re experiencing issues with your pet’s behaviour, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a veterinarian or professional dog trainer. With the right training and care, your furry friend can lead a happy, healthy, and well-behaved life.

April 2023

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Spring is here, and along with the blooming flowers and warmer weather comes a few important considerations for pet owners. One of the most crucial things to keep in mind is ensuring that your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we understand the importance of protecting your furry friends from infectious diseases, so here’s a quick guide on vaccinations for dogs, cats, and horses.


Rabies: a virus that attacks the nervous system and can be transmitted to humans through an infected animal’s saliva.

Core vaccinations are recommended as well for all dogs, as they protect against potentially life-threatening diseases. The DAPP vaccine is a combination vaccine that includes:

  • Distemper: a virus that can cause severe respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system symptoms.
  • Adenovirus (hepatitis): a viral infection that affects the liver and can cause fever, lethargy, and abdominal pain.
  • Parvovirus: a highly contagious virus that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and potentially fatal damage to the heart.

Other vaccinations, such as those for leptospirosis, bordetella (kennel cough), and Lyme disease, may be recommended based on your dog’s lifestyle and exposure risk. Our veterinarians can help determine which vaccinations are necessary for your pet based on their individual needs.


Rabies: (same as the dogs) a virus that attacks the nervous system and can be transmitted to humans through an infected animal’s saliva.

Also similar to dogs, there are core vaccinations recommended for all cats, including the FVRCP vaccine, which includes:

Feline distemper (panleukopenia): a virus that can cause severe gastrointestinal and immune system symptoms.

Feline herpesvirus and calicivirus: viruses that can cause upper respiratory infections.

Additional vaccines, such as those for feline leukemia may be recommended based on your cat’s lifestyle and exposure risk.


Horses are also susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases, many of which can be prevented through vaccination. Core vaccinations for horses include:


Tetanus: a bacterial infection that can cause muscle spasms, stiffness, and potentially fatal respiratory failure.

Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis: viral infections that can cause fever, neurological symptoms, and potentially fatal brain inflammation.

West Nile virus: a virus that can cause neurological symptoms and potentially fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Additional vaccinations, such as those for influenza and strangles, may be recommended based on your horse’s lifestyle and exposure risk.

At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we are dedicated to helping keep your pets healthy and happy. If you have any questions about vaccinations or would like to schedule an appointment for your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s all have a safe and healthy spring season!


May 2022 Announcement

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Dear valued clients,

As many of you are aware, these last years have been extremely challenging for the veterinary community. Globally, the veterinary profession has been faced with a serious crisis. We have experienced a shortage of veterinary professionals firsthand in the Kootenays. On top of this, the local veterinary community has been faced with an overwhelming increase in demand for both emergent and non-emergent veterinary care.

This demand, coupled with the shortage of veterinarians and veterinary technicians, has resulted in burnout and mental and physical exhaustion amongst many veterinary professionals in the area.

Historically, after-hours emergency service has been offered based on the preferences and capabilities of each individual veterinary clinic.

In the Kootenays, the veterinary community unfortunately does not have the luxury of an emergency referral practice within a reasonable driving distance, which would greatly help mitigate the volume of emergency calls those local veterinarians and veterinary technicians are faced with on a daily basis. While the clinics in our community have managed to provide uninterrupted emergency care in the past, this task has become too overwhelming for the few clinics to maintain.

Our goal is to find a way to provide consistent emergency after-hours care in the East Kootenays, in a way that is sustainable, and that will preserve the health and longevity of our veterinary community.

With careful consideration, we have formed a cooperative group with all clinics in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Creston, and Invermere, to share the increased demand for emergency after-hours care in our region. As a group, we strive to achieve a sustainable and reliable after-hours network. This partnership is a fluid arrangement that may evolve as the needs of our community change. The call sharing is based on available team members per clinic, with clinics with more team members offering more coverage and clinics with fewer team members offering less coverage.

What does that mean for Steeples Veterinary Clinic clients?

Beginning now, all of our after-hours calls will be triaged by an experienced registered veterinary technician, who will help you determine whether emergency service is required and if so direct you appropriately. If your pet requires emergency care, you will be directed to the clinic on call for that particular day, and the on-call veterinarian will be given all details of the call and anticipated arrival time, to make the admittance process as smooth as possible.

The majority of the time, the clinic on-call will be located in Cranbrook. However, there will be occasions where travel to Creston, Invermere, or Fernie may be required. While we truly understand how inconvenient this may be, the alternative would be to refer our clients to the nearest veterinary emergency center, which would be a minimum of 3 to 4 hours away, and which we really want to avoid.

We are confident that this partnership, referred to as the East Kootenay Veterinary Group (EKVG), will succeed in maintaining the consistent level of emergency after-hours care that is imperative for the health and well-being of our veterinary community and to those who count on our community’s veterinary clinics for these services.

The EKVG would like to highlight that this new partnership will allow for high-level, consistent, and, most importantly, sustainable emergency after-hours care for our community.

We thank you for your understanding, and we appreciate your kindness and patience as we get the fine details of this new partnership smoothed out.

We are thankful to live in a community where local clinics are able to come together in times like these, and we are confident that this will translate to even better service for our clients.


Steeples Veterinary Clinic

A Few Hot Potatoes about Pet Nutrition

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I heard a colleague say that along with politics and religion, you should never talk about pet food and what people are feeding their pets.

I get why this could be a thing:  there are so many new pet foods out there in the last 10 years. There are so many opinions and so-called experts and there is so much aggressive marketing. Pet owners can be very passionate about what they feed their pets.

But I am a veterinarian. I am a doctor and a scientist with a goal of helping pets. I think we SHOULD talk about pet food. No, I’m not a veterinary nutritionist, and I’m not an alternative/holistic veterinarian.  But I am trained as a general veterinarian, I do study researched articles, I attend veterinary continuing education, and I have a lot of hands-on experience with my patients.

I know that our pets are part of the family and we want the very best for them.  But they have become so anthropomorphized that whatever seems to be the latest diet trend/fad/craze for people is now the going concern for our pets as well. Much of what people believe comes from the media, from marketing, and from celebrities on social media.

I don’t want to upset pet owners or get on a soapbox because I have no soapbox.   I want you to be informed. I have the responsibility to educate you and to challenge unscientific, fear-based marketing ploys. 

These are some hot button points/untruths:

  • Grain and corn are bad for pets
  • Natural is better.
  • By-products are bad.
  • Raw food is better and healthier for pets

Myth: Grain and corn are bad for pets.

So, maybe wild canines don’t eat corn, but wild animals are also one step away from starvation. They have little fat reserves because they eat food (other wild animals) that is low in energy and high in protein. Corn and grains are a source of carbohydrate that if added to diets in a proper amount allow us to feed our pets affordably and in a more sustainable, earth-friendly way (plant proteins have a lower impact on the environment than animal proteins).

I am not saying that our pets need to be vegetarian or vegan. Just that protein, made up of individual amino acids, can be sourced from many places. An amino acid is an amino acid and it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It only matters that there are enough of the correct amino acids in the right ratios to make up a complete or whole dietary protein for the type of animal being considered.

Corn is a nutritious nugget.  It’s a good source of two amino acids, which make up protein. The carbohydrate part of corn is used as an energy source in pet food.  Corn is also a source of fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is affordable and available.  Unless your pet is actually allergic to corn, there is nothing bad about it in the right amounts.

Did you know that only a very small percentage of skin irritations in dogs and cats is due to food allergies?

Grains contain a very digestible protein called gluten.  There are only a very few dogs that are intolerant to gluten. Celiac disease is a human disease, and although there is a similar condition in some setter type dog breeds, it is very rare. Sensitivities to grains and/or gluten in dogs may exist, but they are super uncommon.  In general, grains are a very good source of digestible amino acids (but not complete protein), carbohydrate, vitamins, and fibre.

The most important thing in pet food is high quality nutritional ingredients in the right proportion for the animal’s dietary needs.  Yes, some animals have allergies and sensitivities, but that’s no reason to condemn the whole group.

I like strawberries and think they’re wonderful, but some people cannot enjoy them because they’re allergic to them.  It doesn’t make them bad.

Many commercial grain-free diets that have potatoes or legumes instead of grains have now been shown to be at the root of a life-threatening heart condition in dogs call cardiomyopathy. The condition is related to an absence or imbalance of the amino acid, taurine.  The relationship between grain-free and this missing amino acid is not quite understood yet. We have seen dogs in our practice with this heart condition that was totally caused by a diet heavily marketed as healthy and grain-free.

This leads me to another myth…

Myth: Natural is better.

Well, no.  Not always. This is nothing new to you. Poison ivy is natural.  Tornadoes are natural. Forest fires are natural.  Oil bubbling up out of the ground is natural.  Having well organized sewage retrieval systems in our cities is not natural. (But it sure is good and sure goes a long way to improving the sanitation and decrease spread of diseases in our country).  Natural is not always what you want. 

We need to look at what natural means. Just because something was added, even a flavour or a preservative, doesn’t mean that it’s bad.  Preservatives actually improve the flavour and lifespan of pet food. Flavours make eating enjoyable for fussy pets and help to keep your pet eating nutritionally sound food instead of salty junk food that’s not so good for him.

I have always been confused by the stigma concerning protein derived from “by-products”. By-products are the things that people don’t eat from butchered animals, such as the internal organs and intestines.  A wild animal eating another wild animal will eat these parts first, as they have far more nutritional value than the muscled part of the carcass, which is what humans eat. All proteins are not the same.  What matters is how digestible they are and what complement of amino acids they have. By-products would be considered “natural”, and yet they are heavily shunned on many marketing campaigns.

The movement toward avoiding vaccination and feeding raw diets – both very dangerous “natural” practices, is a threat to animal welfare. This is only made worse by marketing that capitalizes on people’s misconceptions and fear.

Raw diets.

Raw food is definitely what animals eat in the wild.  But there is no research that proves that raw has more nutritional value than cooked food.  Cooked food is definitely safer than raw.  Yes, dogs and cats have more resistance to bacterial disease in raw food than humans, but they are not immune to them. As a veterinarian, I see many cases of digestive upset and illness related to raw food ingestion, either purposefully or raw food that animal found on its own. Intestines perforated or obstructed by bones and pet dental fractures are very commonly caused by chewing on bones.  

The biggest danger is to human health. A raw diet is swimming with bacteria that pose a health risk to pets and humans Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Staph aureus are just a few of the organisms that linger in raw meat.  Raw food contamination of feed dishes in your home, and contamination around your pet’s mouth/lips is a true source of concern. Pets that eat raw food shed the bacteria in their feces, another source of contamination risk to humans.

Many raw diets are also not nutritionally complete.

Despite this, however, the raw food diet movement is huge and many pet owners and even some veterinarians swear by it. There is just no clinically proven benefits of a raw diet, but the hazards and risks are well documented.

I am not going to push this further. I know that it’s a hot topic.  But I do want you to take raw food seriously. Do your research and know what you’re getting into. Talk to a veterinary holistic nutritionist at least, and know that this is not a diet to play with or take lightly. It takes work, research, knowledge, strict cleanliness, and money.

What about commercial pet foods?

Well, if you stick with the companies that put a lot of their time and resources into research, testing, and quality control, you will be on the right track. I can name a really good company that puts huge amounts of time and money into testing and quality control. Seriously, I think it’s higher than human food company standards. I’ve visited the company and it’s food production facility and I was impressed.  Just ask me or anyone on our staff which company this is.

Yes, there have been serious problems with ingredients in commercial pet foods. Very serious. But you don’t hear about all the many more numerous serious problems caused by boutique trendy foods and raw foods to the same degree because there are so many variables.

Bottom line is: be a smart consumer. Don’t fall prey to heavy marketing that follows human trends. Try to stay with what’s been tested and researched and known to be the best nutrition for your pet.

Always talk to your veterinarian. We are trained and if we don’t know, we have resources to find out.

Some parting words…

“You are what you eat”.


“Food is medicine”.


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TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy.  This is a specific orthopedic surgery used to treat dogs with ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments. The cruciate ligament is part of the knee structure and gives stability to the joint. You may have also heard the ruptured ligament called an “ACL” tear, which is the term for a similar condition in humans – think of the athlete with an ACL tear or meniscal tear.

TPLO was first developed in the 1980s by an innovative veterinary surgeon, Dr. Slocum, and has been modified and improved ever since.  Although there are many different surgical methods to treat cranial cruciate ligament tears in dogs, TPLO has shown to be a shining star among them.

TPLO is an especially good treatment option for very active dogs and very large dogs that have torn the ligament, but it can be performed in any size or type of dog with very good results.

The procedure is all related to physics, forces, vectors and angles. So, don’t ever believe it that you don’t use what you learn in grade school!

In a nut shell, the surgery involves cutting off the top part of the tibia bone, rotating it, and then reattaching it in place with a specially designed plate and screws in order to change the angle between the tibia and femur bone.  This provides stability.

Then after weeks to months of recovery, rehabilitation, and generally taking it easy – this is a broken bone that needs to heal, after all! – your dog will return to near (but not perfect) normal function. That’s the goal – no more limping or pain and being able to run and be active again.

Studies have shown that TPLO dogs return to function faster, they develop less joint arthritis, and they tend to return to better functional levels than is seen with other techniques.

We now offer TPLO at Steeples Veterinary Clinic


The Importance of Online Reviews

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“Just Google it!” is such a prolific phrase that we don’t even think twice about it. 20 years ago, this was simply not the case. The internet and search engines have changed the social landscape so greatly that businesses and services are completely lost without it. Even well-established businesses can be forgotten about if they do not embrace technology and adapt to this new social landscape. At Steeples Veterinary Clinic, we pride ourselves on keeping as up-to-date as possible with technology. We have an app, an online store, and a reputable online presence in the community. There is one more thing that really helps business and services stay afloat. Online reviews!

Seeing reviews on Amazon can greatly affect your decision in choosing the right product for you. Even local services, like Veterinary care, are hugely impacted by these! Google conveniently organizes reviews to be at the forefront of business information when you are searching around for the product or service you need. These reviews provide great insight for businesses and services to serve you better. Google also chooses who to list first on their page based on various characteristics of each candidate. Affecting one’s ranking on this list is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. Having more reviews has a huge impact on ensuring products or services stay noticeable on search engines and the internet as a whole!

Long story short, the impact of an online review is immeasurable. Even though we have been serving the Kootenays for 20 years before Google even existed, a positive review on Google speaks louder than any of us could have imagined.