Medical Services

If your pet needs medical care, Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital is ready to give your pet excellent care. Our knowledgeable Animal Care Team and modern facilities are equipped to handle a wide variety of medical conditions, including emergencies. Because we can perform many diagnostic procedures right in our Waterloo veterinary clinic, we can often give you immediate answers and start treating your pet quickly. In some cases, your pet may require hospitalization and further diagnostic tests. Please take a look at the more detailed descriptions of some of the medical services we offer, or call us to discuss your pet’s specific medical needs.

Dentistry for dogs and cats

Dentistry

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Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality.  Dentistry is an important veterinary health care service. Did you know that 85% of adult dogs and cats have some form of dental disease? Periodontal disease is the number one disease of pets today. It is a diagnosis common to all pets, in all age groups, becoming more advanced as pets get older.

We can assume that dental disease causes pets significant chronic pain, just as it does in people. Yet it is very preventable. Factors that influence the development of oral disease include genetics, diet, and home care. At Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital we know that periodic professional dental cleanings coupled with home dental care is a critical element of total healthcare for our pets.

Carriage Place Animal Hospital offers excellent animal dental care in Waterloo, Kitchener, St. Jacobs and surrounding areas. We offer both preventive care such as physical exams and cleaning, as well as medical treatment for dental and periodontal disease.

Common signs of tooth or gum disease in a dog or cat include:

  • Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depression

Even without these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.

Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread. Read our 10 Steps to a Healthy Mouth blog post.

Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital will be happy to schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.

Radiology (X-rays)

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When your pet is ill or injured, we routinely use x-rays to help identify the cause of the problem, rule out possible problems, or provide a list of possible causes. We may also use x-rays during a wellness exam to diagnose potential problems before they become serious.

X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We use radiology alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.

Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital is proud to offer Waterloo digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional x-rays.

To avoid a blurry image, pets need to remain completely still while an x-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia.

If you have any questions about our veterinary radiology service in our Waterloo location, or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Flea Control

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A flea problem on your pet means a flea problem in your home. Understanding the flea life cycle and methods for its control can be a daunting task. We will gladly assist you in this process. We can provide you with safe, effective flea prevention and if necessary, flea treatment. See the flea article in the Pet Health Library of our site.

Dermatology – Skin Problems

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Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections, or parasites such as fleas and mites. These issues can be particularly difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.

At Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital, our Animal Care Team can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies.

Contact us at our Waterloo animal hospital location if you notice your dog or cat scratching excessively or if he or she develops any bare patches, scabs, scaling, redness, inflammation, lumps, or bumps.

Endoscopy

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This minimally invasive procedure allows a veterinarian to see inside a pet’s body and, when necessary, take biopsies (tissue samples) without having to perform surgery. Endoscopy is commonly used to examine the inside of the ears, nose, esophagus, colon, bladder, stomach, and other internal organs. Endoscopy can also be used to assist with minimally invasive surgeries and is particularly valuable in retrieving swallowed items.

To perform this procedure, our Waterloo veterinarian inserts the endoscope (a long tube with a camera at one end) into the area to be examined. Incisions are sometimes required; however, the incisions used for endoscopic procedures are considerably smaller than those used in traditional surgery. This means a much less painful and quicker recovery for your pet.

Endoscopy does require that your pet be placed under anesthesia. As with all such procedures, we follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure his or her safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.

If you have any questions about our endoscopy service at Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital, or what to expect during your pet’s procedure, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Cardiology (Heart)

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At Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital, we know the signs of heart disease in cats and dogs can be subtle or severe, and consequences range from life threatening to benign depending on the type and stage of disease. Heart transplantation is not currently an option in pets, but some forms of heart disease can be cured with appropriate management if caught early enough. Other diseases such as abnormalities of the heart valves can respond to surgical intervention. Most other forms of heart disease cannot be cured but can be slowed down dramatically by medical therapy.

Myocardial infarction, or a “heart attack” is actually quite rare in cats and dogs, unlike humans with our predisposition for coronary artery disease. Much more common in pets is a condition called congestive heart failure, or congestive heart disease.

Congestive heart failure is a complication of heart disease where the failing heart cannot move blood efficiently through the body, allowing fluid to build up in and around the lungs and sometimes the abdomen. Common causes of congestive heart disease in dogs and cats are: Deterioration of the valves controlling blood flow through the heart, thickening or dilation of the heart muscle, abnormalities of the rhythm of the heart’s electrical activity (the heart beat), and the presence of heartworms in the arteries leading to the heart.

Diagnosis of heart disease usually requires a combination of x-rays, cardiac ultrasound (called echocardiology) and often an electrocardiograph. In our Waterloo animal hospital we perform x-rays and blood tests for markers of diseased heart muscle, relying on our skilled network of local specialists for advanced testing. Watch pets closely for signs of increased lethargy, coughing, rapid or laboured breathing, weakness, and reduced capacity for exercise. At higher risk are breeds including Doberman, Boxer, Ragdoll and Maine Coon. These breeds should be regularly tested for heart disease, as should any pet showing these symptoms.

Treatment of heart disease can be very rewarding, whether curative or palliative. Reducing fluid retention often dramatically improves quality of life by lessening the signs of congestive heart failure. Improved energy and appetite, greater interaction with family members, and extended quality of life are common treatment goals. So although heart disease is a frightening diagnosis that hits close to our “hearts”, early and appropriate treatment can dramatically improve patient outcomes.

Medical Assessment & Diagnosis

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To ensure a proper diagnosis, our Animal Care Team often needs to examine your pet. We begin a medical assessment by looking at your pet’s eyes, ears, and skin and checking his or her cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, and skeletal systems for any abnormalities. We will perform blood and/or urine tests as necessary to check your pet’s kidneys, liver, pancreas, and endocrine system, including the thyroid and adrenal glands. Based on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as radiography (x-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound, or biopsy; all of which can be done in-house at Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital.

If you’re concerned that something may be wrong with your pet, please call us to schedule a medical assessment. Depending on the symptoms, we may ask you to bring in your pet right away to our Waterloo Veterinarian.