Have A New Puppy or Kitty At Home?

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Do you have a new pet at home? Or know someone who does?

We are dedicated to being a "Fear Free" practice, and would love to share with you what this means.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Fear Free has become one of the single most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice, with nearly 33,000 veterinary and pet professionals committed to becoming Fear Free certified.

WHAT IS A FEAR FREE PRACTICE?

The Fear Free movement promotes positive veterinary visit experiences for our pets AND their parents (reducing any associated stress and anxiety that may come with a visit), to encourage better healthcare.

It’s a set of practices, methods, and tools that help to calm our veterinary patients and create a low-stress environment for their care.

Our staff is trained and experienced with Gentle Handling techniques, as well as other veterinary visit protocols which align with the Fear Free movement – like creating a calm, relaxing environment in our waiting area, using veterinarian-approved treats, choosing a suitable room for examinations, and cradling every pet’s physical and emotional needs. And yes – every visit seems to end with a Sunrise snuggle!

We also educate our families on how to best prepare their BFF for visits with us - be sure to ask us.

Many choose to pop in when they’re in the neighbourhood for a treat - which we greatly encourage - and we might even ask to snap a photo for our Facebook page! We welcome you to learn more on our website.

IF YOU KNOW A FRIEND WHO HAS A NEW PET AT HOME, PLEASE CONSIDER SHARING THIS BLOG POST WITH THEM.

WE'D LOVE TO OFFER THEM THE CHANCE TO GET TO KNOW US, TOO!

For the month of January only, we’re even offering FREE PET EXAMS to new puppies and kitties!

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From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis

Call us today to book or ask any questions: (250) 339-6555

Preparing Your Home for Your New Puppy

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When you bring a new puppy home, most people (and we’ve been there!) have more questions than answers about how to take care of their new family member.

Bringing home your new best friend is an amazing experience, so you’ll want to make sure you have everything at home at the ready for him or her!

Here’s a checklist of things you’ll want to make sure you have ahead of time:

1. An appropriately-sized crate

Dogs are den animals, and they love the comfort and security offered by a snug space of their own. This crate should have three walls, and a gate your pet can see you and the home through.

It's very important to find a crate that is the right size, with enough space for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. However, if it’s too large, they lose the sense of cosiness that a small crate provides, and also can increase the chance they may have an accident in it. Inside the crate, you should have comfy bedding and blankets - but be warned, these might become a target for chewing!

2. Playpen

As well as providing a place to play for your puppy, dog pens are great for blocking access to stairs and rooms you'd like to keep off-limits for the safety of your pet.

3. Puppy chew toys

Your shoes, furniture and even throw rugs become great toys for your puppy if you aren’t careful! They need to chew, so make sure you have plenty of dog toys for him or her to chew on. If you catch them chewing someone they shouldn’t be, redirect their focus and encourage them to chew on the proper toy.

Interactive puppy toys are always a good way to encourage brain development - toys that can be stuffed with fillings like peanut butter are great ways to keep your puppy occupied. Bring home a variety of toys for your puppy to see what they like best!

4. Leah, collar, and harness

Introduce your puppy to her dog leash and dog collar or dog harness, and get him or her accustomed to wearing it by letting them wear it in the house prior to taking going outside for walks. Please, don’t drag your puppy as they become used to this. They’ll get it over time, with lots of love, patience, and practice!

5. Puppy food and bowls

You’ll need to purchase veterinary-approved, high-quality pet food that is appropriate for your puppy. You can serve it in a stainless steel dog bowl (steel collects less bacteria over time than plastic), and there should always be a bowl of fresh water nearby. Come and see us for advice on the puppy nutrition that will suit your BFF best!

6. An enzyme cleaner

Even the best-trained puppy will have an accident at some point! The difference between enzyme cleansers and regular household spray is that the enzymes will eliminate odours that only your dog can smell. This works to reduce the chance they will remember that spot as a preferred destination to go potty! Pro tip - avoid any cleaning agent that contains ammonia—the chemical smells just like pee to a doggie!

For more of our Puppy Housebreaking tips, see here.

In January only, we’re offering FREE EXAMS for your new puppy or kitty.

Get in touch today to book yours!

Yours in good health,

From the desk of Dr. Gastis

Celebrating the Paw-liday Season Safely With Our Pets

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

We always want to share the best things in life with our pets; and that includes the holidays! When it comes to celebrating the pawl-idays with our beloved fur babies, the goal is to find ways to include them in the festivities, without causing them undue stress or placing them in harm's way.

Here are some simple steps that will allow your pets to join in the decorating holiday fun this year, while avoiding any trips to the animal emergency room.

HOLIDAY DECOR TIPS FOR YOUR PET'S SAFETY

1. Place your Christmas tree in a corner - ideally blocked off from your pet's wanting eyes. Watch out for the tinsel, too - it can potentially block intestines when ingested, and generally only remedied through surgical means.

2. Do not put lights on the tree's lower branches. They can present a burning hazard, plus your pet can get tangled in them, or even shocked by biting through the wire.

3. Ornaments need to be kept out of reach. They can potentially choke your pet or cause intestinal blockage, and when broken, the shards can injure their paws, bodies, and mouths. And those edible ornaments - like cranberries, popcorn, candies? Forget them!

4. Keep the area clear of pine needles around your tree. They might seem inconspicuous, but the needles can puncture your pet's intestines if ingested.

5. Know that holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. If you normally use these plants to decorate your home, keep them out of reach.

6. Watch out for burning candles and wagging tails. A happy tail can send a burning candle wayward! Homes with fireplaces should use screens to avoid accidental burns.

7. Tape it up. To help prevent electrocutions, be sure to tape any exposed indoor or outdoor wires to the walls or sides of your home.

8. When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. There's no doubt that there is a lot at play when it comes to wrapping gifts - from wrapping paper, string, bows, and plastic - there are plenty of threats which can cause choking and/or intestinal blockage. Not to mention, sharp scissors need to be considered.

BE MINDFUL OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS FOODS

We know it can be tough, but try to keep the people food for the people! Make or buy a SPECIAL holiday treat for your pet that is formulated for them, like a new bone or homemade treats. They will enjoy it just as much, and maybe more!

Here are some holiday favourites that are hazardous for pets:

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off-limits to pets.

Other sweets should be kept out of reach of pets. They are too rich for pets, and an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.

Turkey and turkey skin can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.

Table scraps should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes.

Clear the food and trash from your table, and keep it off the counters and serving areas when you are done using them. A turkey or chicken carcass left out could be deadly to your pet. Dispose of carcasses and bones in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors.

This blog post is simply meant to help keep your pets happy and healthy during the holiday season, and hopefully preventing any unexpected stress or veterinary bills for you.

Be sure to tag us in your Facebook and Instagram holiday photos!

Yours in good health.

From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis

Sunrise Veterinary Clinic

How Pet Owners Can Keep Up With Their Cat's Health Care

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Keeping up with your cat's health through an annual wellness exam is very important for the longevity and wellness of your feline friend.

Our cats can be such independent creatures, that it can be easy for many pet owners to overlook their regular wellness exams. The truth is, that cats often mask the signs of illness (it’s a survival instinct) and they really do require ongoing veterinary care. Regular health exams will often increase the quality of their lives, as well as the longevity. Plus, preventative care can help save you big veterinary bills down the road!

We understand that bringing your kitty to the vet can be a stressful experience for both you - and your cat! At Sunrise, we focus on creating a pawsitive and fear-free experience during your visit.

Understanding what happens during the wellness exam is one of the ways we provide transparency and assist in creating a comforting visit.

Here is an overview of what your vet will be looking at during a feline wellness exam:

Weight - Taking and recording the weight of your cat is very important, especially as they age. We will monitor any weight gain or loss and recommend a healthy weight for your kitty.

Temperature - Every so often a seemingly healthy pet tips off the vet that something isn't quite right simply through an elevated temperature.

Skin and Coat - Both the skin and coat are excellent indicators of your pet's health. The coat should be shiny, not brittle and coarse, and the skin should be clean and not greasy and flaky. If they are experiencing any itchiness or allergies, this can as well be assessed.

Ears - Your vet will examine both ears. Deep in the ear canal is where infections can start, and if noticed early can be eliminated before it gets too serious.

Lungs and Heart - Every good exam includes getting that stethoscope against your kitties chest and listening to the lungs and paying close attention to the heart sounds. A good ticker and breathing are important for a long life!

Abdomen - A careful evaluation of the abdomen can make surprising discoveries. Kidney issues, tumours, pregnancy and even bladder stones can all be spotted through the abdominal exam.

Mouth - Oral hygiene (see our blog post last month on dental hygiene for your cat here) is one of the most overlooked aspects of feline health care. Infected gums, loose teeth and tumours can all be present, even without your pet showing signs of discomfort. Older cats especially may have oral hygiene issues that need dental work or treatments.

Paws and Toenails - A good look at the paws and toenails is critical. Your vet may recommend clipping your pet's nails or treat any cuts or punctures on their pads. This is especially important for outdoor cats.

For the month of December only, we’re offering 40% off your pet health exam!

Call the clinic at 250.339.6555 today - holiday hours are limited.

5 Tips to Take Care of Your Senior Dog

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As your pet heads into their golden years, they will have different health and wellness needs than their younger counterparts.

Senior pets require increased attention, including more frequent visits to the veterinarian, possible changes in diet, and in some cases alterations to their home environment.

We know how heart-breaking this can feel when they start to show signs of slowing down.

However, there are many ways we can help improve the quality of their life and make them feel better!

1. Bring them in for regular check-ups

Our senior pets require more care and attention, which includes regular visits with your veterinarian. In fact, many veterinarians recommend that senior dogs should be examined twice a year, even more so if the dog has serious health issues. You veterinarian will be performing thorough physical examinations to uncover any potential health issues that can impact your pet’s life and comfort level, such as dental disease, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and more.

2. Watch for changes in behaviour

Our pets are masters of disguise – they are experts at concealing illness and poor health, and we must watch them closely. Why? Changes in your dog’s behaviour may be a symptom of disease, pain, or discomfort.

Things we want to watch for - look closely for any changes in your dog’s appetite or water consumption, urinary/bowl habits, and changes in sleep patterns. If your dog suddenly becomes irritable for no reason, it may be because he is in pain, having difficulty seeing, or having a hard time hearing properly. Any changes in your senior pet’s routines or behaviours should prompt a consultation with your veterinarian.

3. Help them get around with ease

Our senior dogs may not have the agility and mobility they once did, and they may have pain caused by arthritis or other health issues which can slow them down. One day, you might notice they have difficulty getting into the car or onto furniture! It can take awhile for us to recognize that our doggies are slowing down. You can consider providing ramps or stairs to allow your senior dog to access furniture, and you could even look at placing some carpeting on slippery floors – and let’s be honest, helps us ALL gain our footing!

4. Consider their nutritional requirements

Just as our diets change and evolve as we age, so will your senior dog’s nutrition plan. Our senior dogs can have a tendency to gain weight, whereas some have a difficult time holding on to a healthy weight, and older dogs with diseases may need to address certain dietary requirements for best treatment and/or prevention. Your helpful veterinarian can help you sort through the "nutrition noise" and help you choose an appropriate diet for your pet.

5. Make sure your pet’s bed is extra cosy!

This is a great way to say “Thank You” to your pet for being such a valuable part of your family for all of these years. Help your senior dog rest easier by ensuring they have a comfortable, quiet space to sleep. Pad their bed with extra pillows and blankets, and if needed, consider a special orthopaedic bed made just for senior dogs. These can have a denser form to help cushion your senior pet’s joints, and can even be equipped with a heat and/or vibration source. This is great for increasing circulation and reducing any stiffness – ideal for our doggies with arthritis!

When in doubt? Give us a call. We love our senior pets - let's ensure their lives are as happy, healthy, and pain-free as possible.

Do you have a senior cat? Be sure to read our tips for caring for our senior felines, too!

THIS MONTH ONLY, RECEIVE 20% OFF YOUR SENIOR PET EXAM @ SUNRISE. (THIS IS FOR PETS 10 YEARS OF AGE AND OVER.)

From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis.

How Can I Help My Senior Pet?

“I have an older dog who’s really having a hard time walking. What do you suggest, or should I be thinking it’s soon time to say goodbye?”

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ASK DR STACEY OF SUNRISE VET CLINIC IN COMOX

I understand how heart wrenching this can feel. Our senior pets have been with us a long time and they are our friends and family… they are our heroes!

I think if your pet is still having fun, wanting to be with you, and they can get around with some ease, then it’s not time to say goodbye yet. If they are in trouble past this, we must ask ourselves if it is possible to bring some quality back to their lives. To me, this means less arthritis pain and feeling well more than they feel nauseous or sick.

The question of arthritis in older pets is not “does my pet have it” it’s “how much does she feel it?” Remember we humans are the ones who have to see the signs. They won’t tell us. And we can miss this for months. A simple 1 week trial treating pain can reveal any pain they have been in.

Hand in hand with arthritis, is making sure other diseases easily treated are not making the pain look worse. A good history and exam for me tells a lot about where to go - always keeping in mind quality of life over simply extending life that’s not being enjoyed.

I think keeping treatment as simple as possible is important. This may mean fewer medications which is easier for us to give (a must with busy lives). Also, finding ways to make medicines a daily treat and not a struggle is important for your relationship with your aging pet.

If you’ve been thinking “something’s up but there’s nothing that can be done” this is probably not the case.

There likely is something that can be done to improve quality of life.

These questions are best answered in the exam room face to face.

Find out what you can do for your senior pet.

GET 20% OFF YOUR SENIOR PET EXAM AT OUR CLINIC IN NOVEMBER (for pets 10 years+)

We’re here to help.

All the best,

Dr. Stacey

Keep Your Doggie and Kitty Smiling! (with fresher breath, too!)

It's true that most of us are well aware of our own dental health - we know about plaque control, cavity prevention, and the social importance and hygiene of having fresh breath. Many of us also realize the important role that dental health plays in the overall health of our bodies, too.

We're seeing more and more pet owners catch on to the notion that pet dental health is just as important for the overall health of the animal. Why is that?

In simple terms, bad teeth can lead to a sick animal - a very sick animal.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases in our pets. Our pets are subject to broken teeth, cavities, and other orthodontic issues like inflammation and infection. Scientific studies continue to demonstrate that chronic infection or inflammation in any part of the body can have serious negative impact on systemic health.

Not to mention, a painful mouth = a painful life for your pet. Some pet owners are shocked to see the condition of their pets' mouth post-exam, exclaiming "I had no idea!". Let's not forget that our pets are masters at disguising their pain. Masking pain and continuing to eat are evolutionary adaptive measures which have progressed the species over time - your dog has become wired to not show too much pain.

So what can you do? In cases such as these, preventative measures are simply the best. When you're in, we'll advise you on some great tips and tricks to establish a regular homecare routine.

At some point you need to make the decision to have your pet’s teeth cleaned. Cleaning saves teeth, heals red inflamed gums that are painful and freshens breath. Pet’s teeth can only be 100% cleaned with a sedative or alternatively general anesthesia. Awake, they simply will not accept a metal instrument under the gums or around the entire tooth and this is exactly where the most important scaling happens – under the gums.

Non-sedation cleaning is incomplete, painful and frankly very stressful for your pet. Is anesthesia safe then for pets? Yes it is, with the monitoring that’s done and the anesthetics used today and the quick procedure that it is… it is very safe.

In our practice we prefer to professionally scale with a sedative only to achieve 100% cleaning. This means your pet is not under a general anesthesia, they are simply relaxed. We are also able to x-ray teeth as well to examine tooth roots and look for painful disease.

So getting your pet’s teeth cleaned is not a big ordeal. Cleaning prevents tooth loss and dental surgery (which is a big deal)!

WE’RE OFFERING FREE PET DENTAL EXAMS + 20% OFF SEDATIVE-ONLY PET TEETH CLEANING FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER.

CALL US TODAY TO BOOK!

(250) 339-6555

Thanks for reading!

From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis

Your Questions About Your Cat’s Dental Care, Answered

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We often hear that one of the best things a pet owner can do to ensure the overall health of their pet is to do routine checking of the teeth, gums and oral cavity and to schedule their pets for routine dental cleanings with their trusted veterinarian.

Oftentimes, we’re asked if that includes our pet cats, too.

And the resounding answer is yes!

Cats use their mouths for all sorts of activities: eating, hunting, play, defence, and grooming. Subsequently, their teeth are exposed to many different materials and can develop various forms of dental disease over time.

Some of the most common dental problems in cats include:

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the number one medical condition diagnosed in cats — more than weight problems, or even kidney disease!

By the age of 3, many cats will have some degree of periodontal disease.

What begins as a buildup of plaque and tartar on the tooth, can turn into a spread of plaque below the gum line, which leads to inflammation, infection, and tooth loss.

Cancer

Cancer of the oral cavity is a commonly diagnosed cancer in cats. Early diagnosis is imperative to the successful treatment of this kind of cancer; making routine cleanings and oral examinations extremely important.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Bad Breath

Yuck, yuck, yuck! Dragon breath is a very common complaint in veterinary medicine.

Bad breath occurs as the result of multiple different problems in the oral cavity, from simple periodontal disease to an infected mass, or it can be the result of a systemic illness such as diabetes or kidney disease.

Bad breath (halitosis) may be the only sign of a more serious underlying problem, so it’s important to check out a stinky mouth!

Stomatitus

This is an extremely painful condition caused by severe inflammation or ulceration of the tissues lining the oral cavity. Cats with feline stomatitus have extremely reddened, inflamed mouths and may often resist having their teeth examined. We often see a reduction in appetite, and even malnourishment in more severe cases.

While mild cases may respond to medical care and home care, often surgical removal of the affected tissues will be necessary.

Following the complete removal of the roots, many cats will show great progress and will resume their normal eating habits soon post-surgery.

Tooth Resorption

Did you know that tooth resorption affects up to three-quarters of cats over the age of 5? This is when the body starts to resorb the dentin, loosening the tooth and causing painful exposure of the root.

The erosion begins below the gum line, making it impossible to determine which teeth are affected without dental X-rays.

This is commonly under diagnosed, because the symptoms can be very subtle; think of the cat who begins showing a preference for soft food, or who swallows his food without chewing.

Once the affected teeth (or tooth) is pinpointed, the affected tooth needs to be extracted.

Infections

We’re all likely familiar with the signs of an infection - swelling, redness, pus, abscesses, and discomfort. You may notice your cat pawing at their face. Infections in the oral cavity can result in pain and swelling in the jaw, quickly spreading to surrounding tissues. Owners may notice facial swelling or even a protruding eye if the infection spreads! Treatment involves extracting the infected tooth or performing a root canal, and treating the infection with antibiotics and pain control.

Malocclusions

When feline teeth are in abnormal positions, this presents the mouth from closing comfortably, which can lead to pain and trauma to the gingival tissues as the teeth bite into the sensitive gums. This can predispose a cat to periodontal disease.

A veterinarian can ensure the teeth are properly aligned by evaluating the bite in a thorough oral exams.

Treatments such as extractions (and even orthodontics!) can be suggested to improve the placement of the teeth.

Keeping your cat’s mouth clean and healthy

There are two things cat owners can do to ensure their cat’s mouths are healthy and clean - that is home care and regular veterinarian exams.

This isn’t a “one or the other” kind of thing either; you’ll want to do both for the best health of your feline friend!

We’re offering FREE PET DENTAL EXAMS + 20% off Sedative-Only Pet Teeth Cleaning for the month of October.

CALL US TODAY TO BOOK!

(250) 339-6555

Thanks for reading!

From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Cats and Dogs

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Before you defrost the turkey - there are some considerations to keep in mind to keep our pet safe and healthy over the holiday weekend! Have a plan and talk to your vet in advance to discover where you would need to take your pet if anything happened.

Here are some tips all dog and cat owners should keep in mind this holiday season:

BE MINDFUL OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS FOODS

We know it can be tough, but try to keep the people food for the people! Make or buy a SPECIAL holiday treat for your pet that is formulated for them, like a new bone or homemade treats. They will enjoy it just as much, and maybe more!

Here are some holiday favourites that are hazardous for pets:

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off-limits to pets.

Other sweets should be kept out of reach of pets. They are too rich for pets, and an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.

Turkey and turkey skin can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.

Table scraps should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes.

Clear the food and trash from your table, and keep it off the counters and serving areas when you are done using them. A turkey or chicken carcass left out could be deadly to your pet. Dispose of carcasses and bones in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors.

GIVE YOUR PETS A “CHILL” SPOT

Having visitors come and go frequently can upset pets. Even pets that aren’t ordinarily shy may become nervous in the excitement and noise!

Make sure your pet has a comfortable, quiet place inside if they want to retreat and get away from the commotion if they wish to.

Pets that are nervous around people should be put it in another room or a crate with a favourite toy.

GIVE GUESTS AND KIDS THE LOWDOWN ON PET SAFETY, TOO!

Communicate with your guests that your pet will be around and a plan with your visitors if they are bringing pets to your house. Consider any guests who have allergies so they can take any needed precautions to protect themselves.

Watch the exits, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming guests and collecting coats, your four-legged family member may make a break for it and become lost. Just in case, keep your pet’s collar and tags on during the holidays.

There are just a few helpful tips to make entertaining this year a breeze!

With that said, we wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PET’S SAFETY, GIVE US A CALL AT 250.339.6555.

Yours in good health.

From the desk of Dr. Gastis

Puppy Housebreaking Tips

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Have a new puppy at home? 🐾 With these puppy potty training tips, your carpet will thank us!

Puppy accidents are to be expected in the early days of training - however, there are a few tricks you can use to keep them to a minimum.

A very important thing to keep in mind, is that we must act kindly to our puppies - without overreacting! Remember puppies are not like humans - punishing them long after the accident will have no purpose; as they don't have the same sense of cause and effect and memory as we do.

So...

you'll want to keep an eye on the puppy✔️

distract them from eliminating in the wrong place✔️

and bring them to the appropriate place to go✔️

once they've eliminated, reward them with a treat! ✔️

Signs your puppy is about to eliminate? Sniffing at the floor, scratching at the door, whining or looking uncomfortable.

You want your new puppy to associate going outside to eliminate with good responses from you!

If your puppy has an accident, be sure to clean up the area - so they don't "remember" it by smell as a good place to go!

We’re offering 30% off the first visit for new patients for the month of September.

Call us today to book!

(250) 339-6555

Thanks for reading! Wishing you a great September.

From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis

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