More great news
We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming another new face to our teams of veterinarians at Sooke Vet! To keep up with the growth of Sooke, and to allow us to take on new clients again in the future as we grow, we were on the lookout for a fantastic vet to join us and our passion for pet care. We struck gold with Dr. Drew Collins! You'll see him on and off in the background as he gets orientated to our software and the clinic, but he'll soon be in the consult room meeting our wonderful clients face to face!
A word from Dr Drew Collins!
Greetings patrons and pet owners of Sooke Veterinary Hospital!
My name is Drew Collins, and I am looking forward to meeting you all in the coming year! Born and raised in Coquitlam BC, from a young age I was fascinated with all animals - be they cats, dogs, Great Whites during Shark Week, or following ants in our backyard. In high school I narrowed my passion down to veterinary medicine, confirming my love for the profession by volunteering at a variety of local animal hospitals.
After completing my BSc at UBC, I was accepted to the DMV program at Ross University on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. While in some ways living in the Caribbean was as idyllic as it sounds, it was also a great challenge and amazing learning experience! After completing my DVM in 2019, I moved back to BC with my two rescue cats, Petrie and Phil, and settled in Kamloops. During my time there most of my immediate family moved to Langford. Missing my parents, siblings, and most importantly young niece and nephew, I decided it was time for a change. And so in March 2023, with my adventurous feline companions, I moved again - this time to an Island in the Pacific!
My professional passions lie in preventative care, internal medicine, ultrasound, education, and accessible veterinary care. My goal is ensuring animals undergo the least amount of stress and discomfort needed, and that owners are armed with knowledge to make informed choices.
In my spare time I am experimenting with a variety of hobbies, including hiking, camping, painting, photography, and drumming. I am new to Vancouver Island and am keen to explore as much of it as possible!
I feel blessed to be welcomed onto the excellent Sooke Veterinary Hospital team, and I am very excited to grow with them to provide quality care for your pets!
Although space is limited, we now offer one-on-one puppy classes with one of our amazing technicians for our clients! We use positive reinforcement to teach you puppy basic foundation behaviours, giving you and your new family member the best start. You can choose between single-issue session or the five-session course that includes..
Classes are held at The Sooke Veterinary Hospital and are one on one with the technician, lasting 45min to 1 hour. Call at 250-642-4413 for availability.
This is a crucial time in a puppy's life, the best time to learn how to become a happy, confident, well-rounded family member!
A new addition!
It's a good news/bad news kind of post...
In brief, we are so sad to report that Dr. Lauren Di Ponio is leaving us as of June 2023. She is moving to Ontario to be with family at this key time for her young family! While we are sad to see her go, we value family highly at Sooke Vet and understand. We, of course, wish her well on her adventure. If anyone's wondering, Dr Deborah Lambert will be taking back over the clinic 100% with the help of the new manager Kayla, so no worries about that!
Now for the good news: We got incredibly lucky and snagged us an amazing new vet! Meet Dr. Michelle Lareau! We asked her to introduce herself here! She'll be starting in May 2023.
Hello Sooke Veterinary Hospital clients!
My name is Michelle Lareau and I am thrilled to be joining the Sooke Vet hospital team as an Associate Veterinarian. Having moved to Sooke from Victoria in 2021, Sooke is definitely home, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to meet more of the people of Sooke, as well as the members of their animal family.
After first volunteering with, then working for the Regina Humane Society, I realized that I wanted helping animals to be my full time job, so I decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 and moved to beautiful BC shortly afterwards. I have worked primarily in general practice, with some emergency experience in my first 5 years of practice. I have a huge soft spot for geriatric pets (an old grey face melts my heart every time), and a passion for stress free handling and internal medicine. In 2020 I completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society program, and will soon be offering veterinary acupuncture services to Sooke and the surrounding area. It has been extremely rewarding to practice this complementary modality alongside Western medicine, particularly with my patients who are geriatric and/or having mobility issues.
My intention is to listen carefully to and communicate clearly with every client, so that we can create a health plan, together, for your pet that works best for everybody.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time near the ocean or Sooke River, camping, traveling, live music, working in my yard, with my house plants, or on crocheting and macrame projects.
My animal family includes my handsome Basset hound Jake (always up for either adventure or a nap), and my recently adopted 12 year old cat Olive (very small, entirely toothless, but full of strong opinions).
Having known Dr. DiPonio for years, I am very much looking forward to working with her once again (though too briefly), and getting to know her Sooke Vet Hospital family.
Due to the inclement weather, yo might have noticed we're a bit limited in staffing! Yesterday we did a half day one-woman team and today (Dec 21st 2022) we plan to be open until 12:30pm to accommodate our clients' needs but then get our staff home.
Please drive carefully! We plan to be back in force tomorrow as the roads steadily improve and our staff dig themselves out.
New website feature
We've got a new feature on our website; "Working with us!"
We wanted to give a sense of what it's like to work with us, plus give us a place to share any new jobs that are available. We're looking for a vet to join our growing team even now! But we're always happy to take in a resume for everything from reception, to technician, to entry level pretty much for keen individuals. Even if we don't have a position now, we'll keep it on hand until we do. We've found some of our star staff members that way!
If you know anyone looking, or are interesting in learning more yourself, check out the new page HERE and let us know what you think.
Closed for Remembrance Day
Canine Kennel Cough
We had a pretty good summer, with few cases of this contagious cough, but definitely saw our share at the end of the summer! So what is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is an infectious bronchitis of dogs characterized by a harsh, hacking cough that most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in their throat.” Most cases are mild and short-term and require no treatment. But if your dog is coughing enough to be waking up, is restless, off food, lethargic or has discharge from their eyes or nose, then a vet visit is in order!
Lots of different organisms, viral and bacterial, cause kennel cough, which is why vaccines are not completely effective at preventing it, although they often shorten the course and the severity of the infection. This is also why vets do not routinely prescribe antibiotics for all cases; it depends on severity of the cough, and the degree to which they suspect a bacterial component. Puppies in particular are at risk for this disease, and are more prone to possible complications (including pneumonia and bronchitis), so need to be monitored closely.
A typical course is 7 to 10 days of coughing, but the dog may be contagious for up to 2 months. We ask that you avoid dog-dog contact during that time. If your dog's condition worsens at all, please contact the vet again. This includes going off food, seeming lethargic (lacking energy), being restless overnight or troubles breathing.
Closed Sept 30th
We live in a region with a rich Indigenous history and feel it is imperative for our community to come together and foster respectful collaboration with our local nations and across the country. We will be closed September 30th in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Kennel and Crate training
Our feature topic this month as people get ready to return to work/school, is crate training!
Many pets are fearful of car rides and kennels, which makes it harder for us to give them good medical care. With a little preparation and patience, you can greatly improve your cat or dog's comfort level and our ability to care for them! A pet comfortable with their kennel is more relaxed when hospitalized, and they are less likely to be ruining your furniture while you're out too!
1. Start carrier training as young as possible (but it’s never too late). Starting as kittens or puppies teaches your pet that the carrier is just another fun hiding place, or play area, rather than a confined punishment space. Carriers that load from the top or especially those that come apart in the middle are helpful, as veterinarians can then take the top off and start their examination with the pet comfortably sitting in the bottom. Put the carrier in a room that the pet likes to be in, perhaps in a sunny location, with a soft piece of bedding to encourage exploration and voluntary use.
2. Add toys, treats or bedding into the carrier. If your pet has favorite toys, treats, bedding, or brushes, please bring them to the clinic when you visit (for training visits and the actual exam).
3. Encourage daily entry. Every day, put a piece of kibble or a treat in the carrier. When the pet eats it, calmly praise/pet it and give it a few more treats. If the pet doesn't take the treat right away, just walk away; if you try to persuade them, they will become suspicious! It may take a few days, but the pet should start to eat the treats, although maybe when you are not watching.
3. Gradually close the door. Once the pet happily goes into the carrier when you are around, gently close the door, give a treat, and open the door so that they do not feel trapped.
4. Extend the door-closure period. After several days of this, leave the door closed and walk out of the room for a few seconds before returning and giving another treat. Gradually work up to carrying the carrier to a different place in the house.
5. Begin car rides. If you plan to travel with the kennel, move on to placing the carrier in the car, then to short car rides, then a ride to our veterinary clinic for a treat (and love from our staff if your pet is comfortable with it). If at any point your pet becomes nervous (crouching, ears back, refusing treats etc.), go back a step and give treats until your pet is more comfortable with that level.
6. Cover the carrier when traveling. When you start taking the carrier in the car, place a towel over it; cats usually feel safer this way.
7. Consider using Feliway® or Adaptil® (pheromonal anti-anxiety spray) just before traveling. When the time for the examination arrives, the routine will be familiar and your pet will be much more comfortable. With especially nervous or suspicious cats, Feliway® can help with the initial training period as well.
8. Don’t put it away. Even when you don't need the kennel on a daily basis, leave the kennel out as a safe hide, with their fuzzy blankets, toys, treats, and even a warm beanbag or similar. The goal is to have the carrier familiar, friendly, and happy!