We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

Veterinary Hospital Open 24 Hours a Day

How to Know When They Are Sick

How many times have you checked your cat’s temperature or listened to your dog’s heart rate? I am thinking, probably never, but good for you if you have. Many clients ask how they could have known their beloved pet was sick or showing symptoms of disease when I talk to them in the exam room. It is not a simple thing to answer as not all diseases, or all sick pets follow the same script. But there are some things you can check at home if you think something is up.

Temperature – Normal dogs and cats should be no higher than 39.5 C / 103.1 F degrees. You can use a pediatric thermometer in the rectum with a small amount of lubricant.

Respiration – Normal dogs and cats breath 20-30 times a minute. However, the character of the respiration is more telling than the rate, as dogs pant rapidly for many reasons, and cat respirations are just plain difficult to observe. So, look for panting when it should not be there, i.e. dog at rest, low ambient temperature, not having exercised, not stressed. For cats, look at the mouth, is it open, is the tongue hanging out, do you hear noise associated with breathing? Cats breathe very subtly, so it takes a bit of practice to note their breathing character — the most important is tongue colour. The oral membranes should be pink, not blue or pale pink.

Comfort level – Since they can’t speak, you have to watch their body language. If they are holding a leg up or limping, there is a bone or joint issue. Cats will squint their eyes and sit very quietly when they are in pain. There is also the ‘praying position,’ hips up and chest down. It may indicate abdominal pain. Can they get up and walk around? Can they go for their walk?

Appetite – An easy one, right? Not really. I have seen dogs and cats who eat well, even though they are sick, or in significant distress. Appetite over time might be more reliable. Have they slowly become less interested in food, or have they slowly lost weight over time?

Vomiting – People often overlook symptoms of a gastro-intestinal disease as normal. Vomiting is not a disease; it is a symptom of a disease. Cats especially are observed to vomit, and it is considered fairly normal behaviour by their owners. But it is not normal and should be taken into context. Chronic vomiting cats should be presented to the veterinarian. Dogs that are vomiting should be evaluated.

Itching/scratching – Scratching is not a disease; it is a symptom of a disease. Cats are fastidious groomers; they like being clean. Dogs, not so much, and licking or grooming is usually indicative of skin problems. Many of our pets have allergies, the very first symptom of which is excessive grooming, licking or scratching.

Interaction with owners – Sick pets are usually prone to resting or hiding. So if you notice a change in their behavior, you should consult your doctor. If they do not feel well, there is probably more to it than you think.

Overall, it is the pattern of these things that is probably most important. Changes in the normal routine are often predicated on health status changes. If you think something is wrong, there probably is something wrong. Most importantly, give your doctor a call, maybe we can help you over the phone to decide if you should come in for an exam.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 902.225.7543

Written by: Dr. Kip Grasse, DVM

My husband and I would like to say thank you to Dr. Brittni Milligan, for the wonderful care she gave…

Karen Budden

The team took such wonderful care of our kitty. They took her in on an emergency call and did not…

Natasha Caldwell

The staff here is so caring and attentive! I just moved here from newfoundland and it broke my heart leaving…

Stephanie Chaulk

Amazing experience! Staff is very sweet, they were very informative and upfront about everything. My kitty Diego went in with…

Brittany Devarennes

Incredible place to bring your best friend. My dog Nero had the most pleasant visit!

Horizon Eye Photography


What You Should Know About Onion and Garlic Toxicities in Pets

Many people don’t realize that onions and garlic are toxic to pets.  It is so sparsely known that garlic powder is actually a dangerously common ingredient in some homemade dog treat recipes found online.  They are also very common ingredients in many different dishes that we humans love to make, so we need to be extra careful to not allow our pets to ingest anything containing these ingredients. No more licking the plate for Fido and Fluffy!

Read More
See All Articles

COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a "closed-waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 902-225-7543. We will bring your pet into the hospital for an examination with the veterinarian. The veterinarian will then call you to discuss our recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a technician will return your pet to your car and take care of any needed medications and payment.

2. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets only. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.

3. With dramatically increased demand and dwindling supply, combined with supplier purchase limitations, we are experiencing unprecedented difficulties in obtaining many pet foods. Although we remain in stock of many of your favourite foods, and continue to order our daily maximum allocation, we regret that we are forced to temporarily suspend special orders. Please continue to call us and we will do our best to fill your needs with food we have in stock, but we can no longer guarantee supply on all brands. We are monitoring this situation daily and will advise when this situation has eased. At this time most drugs and over the counter products remain unaffected. For food and prescription pick ups, please call us to prepay and advise us by phone when you arrive at the hospital to pick up. We will meet you at the front of the building to deliver your order. We do also have our online store available, which can be accessed from our website by clicking the Online Store button.

4. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs. We have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid, and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at 4 Paws 24 Hour Veterinary Hospital