courtenay vet

What We Need to Know About Caring for Our Senior Cats


Generally, cats over 7-10 years of age should be considered seniors, and as they age, changes in the body occur as well. For instance, in one study, roughly 90% of cats over the age of 12 years were noted to have radiographic evidence of arthritis! Needless to say, with arthritis comes pain and mobility issues. If your older cat has become less active and is now reluctant to jump on counters and couch tops - it may be less that he/she has become obedient, and more that they are in pain due to arthritis.

Dental disease can also pose a problem for our senior cats. This can be painful, even causing your cat to have difficulty eating or even avoiding eating. Talk about discomfort! This is no way to live.😿

Weight loss is not only attributed to dental disease, but our senior cats can also suffer from kidney disease, thyroid disease, liver disease, heart disease   and other conditions that may result in weight loss.

On the other hand, some senior cats may have the opposite problem. Some cats will become less active with age, essentially becoming couch potatoes, and will gain weight as a result! 
What can you do to help your senior cat?

Come in and receive 20% off your Senior Pet Exam this month only. This is for pets over 10 years of age. We're here to help!

From the desk of Dr. Stacey Gastis

5 Ways to Go Green with Your Pet for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! There are a lot of ways to help your pets have less of an impact on the environment. Here are some ideas from your Sunrise Family. 

1. Recycle. It might go without saying, but recycling packaging from items you buy for your pet can make a major impact. You can also donate some gently used items to our local animal shelters, too!

2. Take a Walk! What better way to celebrate Earth Day by exploring a new walking path or spending a few hours at a neighbourhood park with your BFF? We've got some amazing spots here in the Comox Valley! 

3. Scoop the Poop! Be sure to clean up after your pooch and try using biodegradable poop bags. 

4. Save Water. If you're washing and refilling your pet's water dishes, try watering some plants with the extra from the dishes - instead of putting it down the drain! It can be the little things that make a big impact.

5. Spay and Neuter. Many pets are euthanized each year because of pet overpopulation. Along with people, animals also contribute a small amount towards our carbon footprint too! 

These are only 5 - we could have kept going!

Comment below with your suggestions - we'd love to hear them. 

Meet Sunrise Vet Pet - Cooper

Comox's East Coast Import  

Introducing April's Sunrise Vet Pet of the Month - Cooper! We asked his family a few questions about him. Here's what the Gresko's had to say! 

1) Cooper is from Nova Scotia - how did he make it to beautiful BC? 
We were posted from Comox, BC to Greenwood, Nova Scotia in Aug 2008 and I started searching for Labradoodle breeders on the East Coast. We found Labradoodle By Design right in Nova Scotia and went to visit her. She had a wide variety of sizes and in Sep 2009 we chose Cooper, a small/medium Chocolate Australian Labradoodle from her. We were then posted back to Comox BC in 2011 and made the drive back across the country with our Cooper!

2) It seems like Cooper is a very important part of your family! Tell us more about the impact he's had on your lives. 
In the fall of 2013 we went through a very difficult family situation. I have only one son and Cooper was extremely sensitive to our emotions and helped both me and my son cope with the changes. He began going into my son's bed to help him fall asleep at night and always made him feel better when nothing else would help. He has also helped us both with health issues and won't leave our side if we are ill. I was released from my 30+ year military career due to medical reasons and he has been instrumental in my recovery. He is unbelievably intuitive with anyone he comes in contact with and will "talk" to you to get your attention. We can't imagine being without him. 

Cooper also LOVES to sing with us! I joined the Women's Military Wives Choir Comox in the fall of 2016 and have to practice frequently (because I'm not that good) and he signs along with me. 

3) How has Cooper's experience been with Sunrise Veterinary Clinic? 
Sunrise Veterinary Clinic has been so helpful with Cooper! Back in April 2012, Cooper began vomiting and couldn't keep anything down for about 24 hours. I brought him in and x-rays were done. On the x-rays you could see that he had a blockage in his intestines and he required immediate surgery. His cecum was totally impacted with some sticks and it was removed. A biopsy of his intestines was also done and we found he had a rare form of Eosinophilic colitis and couldn't eat any animal proteins without getting very sick. He was put on a Hypoallergenic food and is fine unless he somehow gets a hold of some animal protein (he can be sneaky sometimes!).

Thanks to Cooper and the wonderful Gresko family for being such a valued part of our Sunrise family! 

Do YOU want to be the next Sunrise Vet Pet of the Month? Stay tuned to our social media for our casting calls. 

Dr. Stacey, help! My dog drinks a LOT of salt water every time we go to the beach!

I know I watched Clara my Newfoundland drink up half of Comox Bay last week and she was just out of reach watching me the whole time daring me to stop her. She won! Later that night the catharsis began - and in our home no less. She won again!

Apart from the intestinal issues and the vomiting a big intake of salt can really hurt doggies. While there is no specific amount per kg of pet that will tip the balance, you really need to watch for signs of salt toxicity. The early sign is vomiting, nature’s way of preventing further toxin absorption. This is a good thing and probably prevents trips to our hospital. Signs of more serious toxicity include in-coordination, staggering, depression, tremors and seizures. 

If you see signs beyond vomiting then call us right away. Don’t wait till morning. We've got our emergency line available 24/7 (250) 339-6555

Treatment can take up to 2 days in the hospital because too rapid a correction with IV fluids causes irreversible brain damage.

 Homemade play dough ingestion will cause this as well.

Next time, I told Clara I’ll be going in to get her!

Itchy Scratchy Cats and Dogs

Skin problems are one of the most common reasons why people bring in their cats and dogs to see us.  It's easy to imagine that our itchy cats and dogs have a decreased quality of life and can even feel quite miserable due to their discomfort, so we aim to diagnose and establish a treatment plan as quickly (and cost-effectively) as possible. The underlying causes of your pet's itchiness can vary widely, and should be properly diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Some signs you might notice in your itchy pet include: 

  • Ear infections
  • Redness of the skin
  • Wounds associated with scratching (“hot spots”)
  • Secondary infections
  • Hair loss
  • Gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea (associated with adverse food reactions)

What are the most common causes of skin problems?

Flea allergies, atopic (environmental allergies), adverse food reactions, and skin infections are common culprits.

If your pet seems to be continuously itching and scratching, bring them in for their Itchy Scratchy exam. We can help you uncover the cause, and find them some relief!

This month only, we're offering 20% off our Itchy Scratchy pet exams. Call us today. (250) 339-6555