1. Who should I go to for advise regarding my pet?

Veterinarians are the best source of information regarding pet health issues. They have a minimum of 6 years university education. They also are required by the British Colombia Veterinary Association to have a minimum of 15 hours per year of continuing education in order to keep current. As veterinarians we have to offer our clients reliable information that is backed up by research and by our peers.

2. How do I choose a veterinarian?

You need to be able to trust the veterinarian of your choice, For many people location and referrals decide which clinic they go to. While location is definitely important, be sure to choose someone who you feel comfortable with. It may be worth your while to visit a clinic and take a copy of their Clinic Brochure and ask the receptionist questions about the clinic’s services.

Make sure the clinic that you go to is an accredited facility according to the standards set by the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC). An accredited facility is one that has met the minimum standards set out by the CVBC which is our governing body. You can ask the CVBC if the clinic you are visiting is accredited or not.

Clinics that are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have voluntarily attained higher facility and care standards than those of the CVBC. Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited veterinary Clinic.

3. Why do veterinarian services cost so much?

In Canada we have Medicare for people. Canadians are unaware of the high cost of medicine as we are used to Medicare taking care of our medical bills. A very high percentage (30 to 40%) of our income taxes go to fund Medicare. In general the price you pay for veterinary services reflects the cost of the service performed.

Costs of services are based on the cost the business has to pay for many things. It is not just the cost for the veterinarian’s time or the cost of the drug or materials used. Each procedure must help pay for it’s share of the overhead of the business (rent or lease of the building, utilities, maintenance, office supplies, receptionist’s time, veterinarian’s time , technician’s time, cost of materials, cost of equipment, continuing education for the entire veterinary team, and many other necessary costs to running a business)

Elective surgeries (spays and neuters) are subsidized by the business. There are no subsidies received from government, charities or other businesses or individuals to offset the costs faced by our business. Private veterinary clinics pay taxes on all income. These taxes support our Canadian social programs. We also pay staff and good staff deserve to be paid well. Our staff are much loved by our patients and clients and we consider them valuable members of our health care team. We do not have volunteers.

When shopping around for prices bear in mind the following:

1) As always you get what you pay for so be sure to compare apples with apples. The cost of a service reflects the costs born by the establishment and what is done for that service. At Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic Ltd we do not cut corners in the care of our small animal patients. If we did we believe we would compromise our care and we will not do that. Some of our services are subsidized by the owners. This is a cost to the owners of the business. The way their are able to do this is that they do not take holidays and they work all the time.

2) What is involved in the physical exam? Ask what the veterinarian does for a physical exam so that you know. You also need to know what other services are included with this service. Some clinics will send out reminders when certain services such as rechecks and vaccination boosters are needed. These services are very important for your pet’s continued well being. As our pets age so much faster that we do we need to see them more often than a human doctor needs to see their patients.

4. Why does my pet need a physical examination before receiving a vaccination?

The physical exam helps the veterinarian determine whether your pet is well enough to receive the vaccination. The physical exam also enables the veterinarian to find any health problems. All pets should have an annual physical exam. For dogs this is equivalent to once every 7 years and for cats it is similar to once every 4 years. A lot can happen in this time span.

In Dr Banyard’s experience many problems are discovered during the annual physical exam that the owner had no idea was present. Our pets cannot tell us what is happening in their lives although they do try. A thorough exam will often pick up these problems. In some cases the vaccine will have to be postpones so that health problems can be corrected first.

5. What is a physical exam?

At Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic Ltd. the veterinarian records the temperature and heart rate, and then she examines the eyes with an opthalmoscope, and ears with an otoscope. These instruments enable her to see inside the eye and down the long ear canal of the pet. She will check the heart sounds, listen to the lung fields, feel the lymph nodes, palpate the abdomen, feel for evidence of pain while palpating the body and ask you many questions. This is a chance for the owner to ask questions about any concerns they may have regarding their pet’s health. Physical exams usually take about 15 to 20 minutes. As the veterinarian discovers areas of concern she will describe to you what she finds and how to treat these conditions. Be sure to ask questions should you not understand. In some cases due to time restraints all questions and concerns cannot be covered during one exam and another visit will be scheduled for the patient.

6. How long does it take to become a veterinarian?

Veterinary graduates from Canadian Veterinary Colleges have a minimum of 6 years of post secondary education but some veterinarians have more. Dr Banyard started studying to become a vet dentist in February 2005 and became a Diplomate of the American veterinary Dental College in 2013 – so an additional 8 years of study in dentistry. Animal Health technologists have 2 years training. Veterinary Office Assistants have 6 months training in animal health. No other group has this training.

7. Do veterinarians need to continually update their knowledge?

Yes they do. In British Columbia we are required to take 15 hours of continuing education annually. At Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic all staff are required to have continual education every year.

8. I want to know how to receive PetMews.

PetMews is the newsletter by Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic – recently we have suspended this popular newsletter due to time constraints but have not given up on it…stay posted. We hope to continue to create new versions. Dr Jo has intentions to make old versions available through this website as pdfs – but as she is wearing many hats and juggling many commitments this may be a slow process.