We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.


The Word No One Wants to Hear: Bloat

In the veterinary field, there is a lot of things that we don’t want to say out loud for fear of tempting fate. Often times we refer to these words by their first letter only. Heaven forbid anyone says the “Q” word, more commonly known in the clinic as ‘quiet.’ That’s the easiest way to have everyone in the clinic shout at you because it means that the rest of the day will erupt into a multitude of emergency and critical cases. One of the many other dreaded words is bloat. Bloat is also known as gastric, and it may be something that you’ve heard of before, especially if you have a large breed dog. If someone in the clinic utters this word, then the universe will surely send at least one bloat case our way before the sun sets.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is when the stomach flips and then proceeds to fill with gas or vice versa. When the stomach fills with gas without flipping, it is known as gastric dilatation, but when the stomach flips it is known as volvulus. When it occurs in combination, the stomach fills with gas and flips, it is known as gastric dilatation volvulus. This condition is extremely painful and is fatal if not corrected. It can happen in any breed of dog, but it is most commonly seen in large and giant breeds. Large and giant breeds are considered to be Great Danes, Weimaraner, St. Bernards, and Greyhounds, to name a few. It is also frequently seen in dogs with deep chests; large chests, with narrow waists (think of a Greyhound).

When the stomach flips and fills with gas, it can fill to the point that it adds excessive pressure on to the diaphragm which can cause difficulty breathing. It can also cause reduced blood flow which will cause the stomach tissue to die. There is also a risk of the stomach rupturing due to the pressure and dead tissue. Due to the way the stomach rotates, it can also restrict the blood that flows back to the heart. All these things can lead to shock which can be deadly on its own. It’s extremely important that these dogs receive immediate medical attention to give them the best chances at survival.

The signs and symptoms of ‘bloat’ can include: standing and stretching, distended abdomen, non-productive retching, drooling, general signs of uncomfortableness. As the condition progresses, the dog’s condition can deteriorate. They may begin to pant excessively; due to the pressure on their chest, breathing can become very difficult. It is extremely important that these dogs receive immediate medical attention.

It’s important to consider the statistics about bloat when looking at getting a large breed dog so that you are prepared for what may happen. There are lots of studies that you can read in more detail should you want more information, just ensure that the information is coming from a legitimate source. You can check out this link where they have gathered some more information and statistics on ‘bloat.’

‘Bloat’ can be very scary, so most owners want to know what they can do to prevent it from happening. A couple of precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of ‘bloat.’ There is a surgery that can be performed, typically at the same time as their spay or neuter. This procedure is known as a gastropexy and involves suturing the stomach to the wall of the abdomen, which helps reduce the risk of ‘bloat.’ Gastropexies are very invasive surgeries, so it’s important that you have a conversation with your veterinarian about whether it is a good option for your dog. There are non-surgical precautions that you can take also. It is best to feed multiple smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to one large meal once a day. You should not let your dog play or exercise too much after eating a meal because this can cause the stomach to fill with gas and/or flip, leading to bloat. Make sure that your dog doesn’t inhale their food at the speed of light. This can cause them to ingest air with their food, leading to bloat. If you have a speed eater, there are multiple things you can do to slow them down. You can purchase a puzzle or a maze dish so that they are forced to slow down and work out the kibbles. If you didn’t want to purchase a special dish you can try placing the kibble onto a cookie tray so that they aren’t all close together like in a bowl. You can also feed them using a muffin tin as well, which works similar to a puzzle dish.

If you are looking to adopt a large breed dog make sure you do thorough research about the breed and talk with your veterinarian, they are there to help! I’m not trying to scare you away from getting a large breed dog, it’s just important to know and understand the breed and the associated health complications that come with them. Every dog has health risks that come with their specific breed so it’s not just large breeds.

If you have any questions or concerns about bloat or gastropexy’s, let us know and we are always happy to answer your questions.

Written by: Kelsey Hewgill, RVT



What you need to know about kitten vaccinations

Kittens will get vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then annually. Overview A vaccine is a substance created to incite an immune response for a particular disease.  It needs to be given multiple times to a kitten to initiate his immune system. 

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

Last updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1. We are currently operating a "closed-waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 613-394-4811. We will bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. The veterinarian will then call you to discuss our recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a technician will return your pet to your car and take care of any needed medications and payment.

2. We can now see all cases by appointment only.

3. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday: Closed.

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 5-7 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive at 613-394-4811 to pick up your order, but do not enter the clinic. We do have our online store available, which can be accessed from our website by clicking the online store button.

5. Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs. We have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid, and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Hillcrest Animal Hospital