Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Introduce: Arbutus West Animal Clinic

Editor’s note: In the coming months, we’re going to be introducing veterinarians and vet clinics who have come highly recommended by our clients. This isn’t meant as an endorsement by Love on a Leash or PADs, but it strikes us that in order to make strong decisions regarding medical care for our pets, it’s good to have recommendations and it’s helpful to have lots of information at your fingertips.

Here, then, is the first in what we expect will be an ongoing series. In their own words, we’d like to introduce Arbutus West Animal Clinic in this month’s PADS newsletter.
Arbutus West Animal Clinic has been serving the Vancouver pet community for over 20 years and we pride ourselves on being a “friendly neighbourhood clinic, with a difference”. Traditionally the difference has been the warm family atmosphere and the extent of our practice cover “unusual” pets like ferrets, chinchillas, rabbits, rats and other small mammals. Since taking over leadership of the clinic in 2010, Dr. Uri Burstyn has built on this tradition of innovation, compassion and patient-first care by focusing on client service, education and cutting edge, evidence-based medicine.
We are still the clinic where people come by just to say hello and put their pooch on the scale, but thanks to considerable investment in new equipment, staff training and Dr. Burstyn’s uncompromising approach to quality of care, we can now provide medical care and surgical procedures that are rarely found in general practice. We pride ourselves with being able to deliver care and patient outcomes on par with teaching and specialty hospitals.

The latest addition to our clinic is something that you will not find anywhere else in the lower mainland: a full minimally invasive surgery (MIS) suite. MIS, done through 0.5-1 cm incisions, is used for 95% of surgeries in human hospitals, and we are excited to be able to routinely offer it to our clients. MIS procedures are safer, have fewer complications, and cause far less pain than conventional open surgery. Most patients can go home the same day with almost no post-operative care required, and the difference in comfort is amazing!

We are currently doing spays and retained testicle neuters using this approach, which means that female dogs no longer have to undergo a full laparotomy and 2 week recovery after their de-sexing. We can also perform gastropexy (tack the stomach) on large breed dogs such as Great Danes, Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and other dogs prone to getting GDV or twisted stomach. Previously it was hard to justify doing surgery on a healthy male dog as a preventative measure (it is considered standard of care to perform a gastropexy while spaying the females), but now there’s no reason not to gastropexy the stomach in males and prevent this deadly surgical emergency from happening.

Almost any procedure can be done with a MIS approach. What many doctors are excited about, is the ability to do a biopsy of any internal organ without causing undue pain or distress. Liver, pancreas, bladder, tumour and intestinal biopsies are often the best way to diagnose a condition for optimal management, but traditionally open surgery was required to collect them, and many owners were reluctant to put their pet through the stress and recovery of diagnostic surgery even if there was real benefit to the biopsy.

It is impossible to differentiate between IBD and low grade lymphoma without biopsy, and clinicians are frequently forced to guess which to treat. This no longer the case! Whether curing a chronic pancreatitis by finding and removing the pancreatic abscess causing it, or finding a foreign body lodged in the wall of the intestine too small to be picked-up on ultrasound, MIS offers solutions to previously incurable problems. Now, we can get the diagnosis, and the dog or cat can go home with a 1 cm incision; less trauma than a scratch from a nail!

There are many more applications to MIS techniques that we are only starting to discover. We are already removing bladder stones from dogs with recurrent oxalate stones, scoping ears for chronic middle ear disease, and doing nasal scopes to diagnose cancer, remove foreign bodies, and resect polyps.

For a complete list of services offered and a bio of our doctors and staff, please visit Arbutus West Animal Clinic on the Web. You can also find us on Facebook.