Five Keys to a Healthy Pet

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 07:14 AM

download_8.jpgWhether it is to quit smoking, get more exercise or eat healthy. Many of us think of and treat our pets as part of their family – so it would make perfect sense to have a wellness plan for your pets. Here are five keys to ensuring the health of your pet.

There are many ways to keep your pet healthy, but to start you out – we have identified five areas that will help your beloved pet to live a long and happy life.

  1. Dental health. Dental disease is one of the most common problems found in pets. Your pet should have its teeth cleaned as advised by your veterinarian. When dental health is not addressed – it can lead to serious infections and the loss of teeth. Diseased teeth can also lead to other problems such as kidney and heart disease.
  2. Regular examinations. Remember – pets age faster than their humans. Just as you and your family members have regular physical exams, so should your pet. When illnesses are diagnosed early on – treatment will be less invasive as well as less expensive.
  3. Preventative healthcare. One of the most important responsibilities that come with being a pet owner is to provide preventative care for your animal. Vaccines given on a regular basis will help to keep your pet from contracting diseases from other animals, insects and from their surroundings. Your veterinarian will give you information on fecal testing and deworming as well as keeping your pet’s immunizations up-to-date.
  4. Healthy diet. Just as you are health-minded when it comes to your own diet – you should make sure that your pet is getting the nutrients he or she needs to stay healthy. No matter what type of pet you have – a healthy diet will lead to a healthy and happy pet. One of the most important things to keep your pet’s health at its optimum is to make sure they get plenty of water. They should have access to clean water at all times.

Your veterinarian will advise you what type of food is best for your particular pet – taking into consideration weight, age and mobility.

  1. Exercise. We all need exercise – and so does your pet. Physical and mental activity is important in order for your pet to stay alert and healthy. This is especially true if your pet is a dog. A dog needs to experience the smells, sights and sounds beyond their home or confines of your yard. Exercise for any type of pet is important to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a common health problem for many types of pets.

The best for our pets

We all want the best for our pets, and sometimes it can be costly. Your trusted veterinarian knows this and will find the most cost-effective way in which to offer services and advice to you for your pet. Your pet’s life will be extended when you provide the proper loving care that he or she needs and deserves.

Dog Apt Checklist

Topics: best vet, choosing a vet, dog care, cat care, exotic pet care, pet care, Halifax vet

Who’s going to care for your pet after you are gone?

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 @ 01:16 PM

download-2.jpegIn a lot of cases, pet owners assume that they – as humans, will outlive their trusted friend. But, that’s simply not always the case! In fact, in some instances your death might be unexpected, what happens then with your trusted friend? Its important that if you fall ill and become unable to care for your pets, or worse, you pass away, that you have someone who can provide, love and care for your loving animal. Here are a few options to consider for the future.

Emergency Caregivers – Temporary

Chances are if you love cats, dogs, or birds as much as we think you do, you probably have friends and family that also feel that way too. Consider talking to a handful of your friends and family and see if they would be willing and able to take your pet if anything should ever happen to you. This needs to be a person you trust fully, but also someone that can financially take on another mouth to feed and have the space for another animal. Never assume a friend or family member will be willing to step up for this role, have the discussion with them to ensure you can count on their commitment if needed.

Emergency Caregivers – Permanent

You also have the option, of course, to have your friends or family permanently take care of your pets. But, if you can't find someone close to you that you know personally, your next best step is to contact people in the pet field, such as Veterinarians. Sometimes they know of people that can take in animals if something has happened to their owner.

Make sure that you try to find alternative routes to finding a caregiver, either permanently or temporarily (for now), rather than taking them to the SPCA. Many shelters are nonprofit, or they rely on monetary donations – and even then, that’s never enough. They really do not have funds for caring for your loving pet indefinitely. Just look at how many animals there are already in shelters! They are already over populated as is.

No matter what option you choose to go with, either one of the options above, or another option entirely, always make sure that you note the plan for your pets in your will. That way everything will be finalized, and if anything should happen to you, you have definite plans for your pets. You can also set up a trust within your will and this will allow you to save up money on the side, and put it in the trust, so whoever takes over care of your animals, in the end, they will have the financial means to take care of your loved ones.

Your pets are like your kids. You probably wish you could have them forever or they could have you forever, but unfortunately, that's just not the way it works!

Some forethought on after life care will ensure your pet continues to be well loved and cared for if anything happens to you.

Dog Apt Checklist

Topics: best vet, cat care, dog care, exotic pet care, Halifax vet

Ways to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, Feb 07, 2017 @ 06:39 AM


All too often, pet owners don't realize that their cat is sick until their dear friend is very ill. However, most problems are best treated if recognized early. Unfortunately, cats are good a hiding their pain and they may even instinctively hide themselves away when they are sick because in the wild that is safer. Luckily, your pet doesn't have to get better on their own. You can help them get treatment from a veterinarian if you pay attention to these ways a cat tells you they are sick:

Behavior Changes

Did your previously well-trained cat start eliminating outside the litter box? Is your generally independent cat suddenly more clinging? Or is your friendly cat suddenly hiding under the bed all the time? Cats are animals who love routine and any change in behavior can be an indicator of anxiety or illness. If you've recently moved or changed a routine, that might account for the behavioral change, but if not, suspect illness and consider taking your pet to the vet.

Eating and Drinking Differences

Have there been changes in your cat's eating and drinking habits? Drinking more or less water could indicate kidney disease, or perhaps diabetes, especially in an older cat. Eating more could show hyperthyroidism. Eating less might be an indicator of a dental problem or perhaps even cancer. Since changes in eating and drinking patterns can be signs of a serious disease, you need to make sure a medical professional evaluates your pet, especially if the problems persist.

Losing or Gaining Weight

Some disorders cause weight loss or gain without a change in eating habits. So if you pick up your cat and notice they are heavier or lighter than before, that can be a clue they may need medical attention.

Bad Breath

Don't just hold your breath if your cat has halitosis. Bad breath may not be just a problem that makes it less pleasant for you to interact with your pet. Kidney disease, digestive disorders, and dental disease can all cause bad smells in a cat's mouth. Let your veterinarian decide whether this is something that you need to treat.

Grooming Less Carefully

Does your cat's hair look mangy? Is your cat not grooming as fastidiously as in the past? Cats are careful in their personal grooming and if your cat is not looking its best, it can be a sign they have pain from arthritis or dental disease.

More or Less Sleeping

Let's face it, all cats do sleep a lot. However, if your cat is more lethargic and sleeping even more than before, that can be a sign they aren't feeling well. Just as humans often sleep when we are sick, cats do too. Your pet's health care provider should be consulted.

More or Less Talking

Is your cat vocalizing more than usual? Or maybe your usually frenetic cat suddenly becomes silent. Take more or less "talking" as a clue your pet may have a medical condition. Changes in vocalization can be caused by feline cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure, anxiety or hyperthyroidism. Have your pet checked out.

The Bottom Line

Is your cat acting differently? Do you see some of these signs? You are your cat's best friend and first health care provider. Since you see them every day, you are the one who can best notice that they need help and take them to your veterinarian for a check-up. Purrs and love from your cat will thank you!

Cat friendly practice


Topics: cat care, best vet, pet cancer, Halifax vet, pet behaviour

Could Your Pet Be Over or Underweight? Find out Today and Save Him/Her from Potential Health

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 @ 06:09 AM

111209_26_toe_cat_tb.jpgDogs generally have the reputation for eating anything. You may have found that you have to restrict the amount of 'table scraps' you share as your pet is getting a little too bulky. There are also many 'weight control' dog foods on the market to target overweight pets. Having to help your pet gain weight is not a common problem. Even though uncommon, it is a problem many pet owners face and it can be a result of serious health issues for your pet.

Underweight Pets Could Face Serious Health Issues- Discover How to Help Your Pet Gain Weight

If you are concerned your pet does not have a healthy weight, you should take him or her to the Veterinarian for a checkup. Different breeds have different body structures and it may just be a breed characteristic. Make sure more weight is necessary. If there is a health issue that is causing low weight, your Veterinarian will be able to work with you to help them gain more pounds.

Helping Your Underweight Pet Gain Pounds

There are some steps you can take once you've determined there are no underlying health issues with your pet. Knowing it is just their appetite that is causing low weight try some of these ideas to increase their interest in eating:

  • Putting something special on top of your pet's food will increase their desire to eat an entire serving. Adding wet food into the dry mix, add a few drops of salmon oil or any special food you know your pet likes often results in licking the bowl clean.
  • Puppy food is generally made with higher calories to help a puppy grow. Even if your dog is not considered a puppy any longer, you can still feed them this type of food to give them more calories. You won't need to increase the amount you feed as they will be gaining more from a puppy blend food.
  • Feed more often. If you generally feed your pet twice a day try increasing to three times a day. Getting a little more food each day will help them get more calories and increase their weight.

Health Concerns with Underweight Pets

There are a lot of reasons for a pet to be underweight. The best ways to understand your pet’s weight concerns are having your Veterinarian perform a checkup to look for possible causes. Some pets lose weight due to anxiety, some have picked up a parasite, and others suffer from one of many animal-related diseases. Knowing the reason behind the weight issue will help you treat it more successfully.

Some of the animal diseases that will result in low weight are diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Other issues that will result in low weight can be due to dental problems. If your pet has bad teeth or gums, it may be uncomfortable for them to chew or swallow food. Stress, depression, and anxiety also play a huge part in your pet's appetite just as they would in yours.

Professional Advice

Your pet is family and you want to make sure you approach weight gain correctly. Veterinarians are the experts on your pet's health and provide professional advice to help your pet live a quality life. We encourage you to take a free weight assessment to ensure your pet is at the correct weight. This is an important precaution to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life.


Topics: cat care, dog care, choosing a vet, pet nutrition, best vet, Halifax vet

Highest and Lowest Maintenance Pets

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 11:08 AM

baby.jpegHaving a household pet will add value to your life in ways that you never imagined possible. The pet will keep you company when you are feeling lonely and liven you up as they play around the house with toys. Apart from companionship, there are also some health benefits that you can derive from pets. A study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that having a pet at home can reduce the risk of a child developing allergies, for instance. This is based on the fact that exposure to pets at an early age triggers the child’s body to develop a robust immune system to counter the allergens. They can also bring a lot of joy to their owners, as they bring happiness and can improve your mental state. The maintenance level of pets, however, and have an impact on all of the benefits.

Here are some of the highest maintenance pets in the world today:


Chinchillas are ranked among the softest and cutest pets in the world today. However, they are very expensive to maintain. High temperatures can compromise their health, so you should ensure that the temperature in their enclosure does not fall below 75 degrees. Exposure to high moisture can harm their skin, and they should take several dust baths per week. Unlike other pets, such as cats, chinchillas do not like to be cuddled, and their diet should be balanced and in line with their nutritional requirements.


What is unknown to most people who buy rabbits is that they can seriously injure themselves, and these fluffy pets are susceptible to heart attacks when startled. Just like chinchillas, rabbits require a special diet plan that meets all their nutritional requirements. They also very active and require a lot of exercise, so they should be allowed to play and hop around the house during the day. It is also important to note that they have a habit of nibbling things. You will also have to clean the litter box daily to prevent infections and maintain a high hygiene level inside the cage.

Let us shift gears and look two of the lowest maintenance pets.


This is a type of parakeet that has a small body structure and is very friendly. The bird gets accustomed to living and socializing with people at a young age and can bring a lot of joy to your life. As you walk around your home, you can train the budgie to perch on your body and to mimic some of the words that you say. The only downside is that they don't have limits when it comes to their bodily it is best to place a towel on your clothing before allowing a budgie to sit on your shoulder.

Guinea Pigunspecified.jpeg

The guinea pig is an ideal choice for children who want a pet, but you aren't ready for a dog or cat. When happy, the guinea pig will love to play, and the sound of your fridge opening will often bring a squeak of delight, as they know where you keep the good food.

No matter what type of pet that you decide to keep, make sure that you provide the utmost care and attention, and always schedule regular vet appointments to keep your pet healthy. When it comes time to find care for your pet, we’d love to be your vet, come and tour our hospital and learn more.

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Topics: best vet, pet training

Top Benefits of a AAHA Hospital

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 07:39 AM

download_8.jpgWhen your pet needs medical care, choosing an accredited hospital comes with substantial benefits.

The American Animal Hospital Association, or AAHA, holds all hospitals it accredits to the highest standards. As an AAHA-accredited hospital, we offer you substantial peace of mind.

The Accreditation Process

To become AAHA accredited, a hospital must adhere to nearly 900 standards of care. At the culmination of the application, the AAHA sends an individual with substantial veterinary training to the hospital for an in-person inspection.

If the clinic passes its initial accreditation -- which is not guaranteed! -- it must submit for reaccreditation every three years. AAHA standards of care are rigorously updated, so that hospitals stay abreast of the most current developments in the veterinary field.

Preventing Contagion

Many health problems a pet can show may spread to other pets via exposure. AAHA-accredited institutions set up isolation rooms for pets with conditions that may be contagious, so they don't spread their viruses to other animals. Any instruments used for your pets (whether they're contagious or not) are carefully cleaned, and the isolation rooms for contagious animals are sterilized between uses. All staff members at AAHA-accredited hospitals are trained to identify and deal with contagious medical conditions, and must adhere strictly to all standards of hygiene and patient care.


If your pet must undergo surgery, we'll perform a complete pre-surgical assessment in advance. This includes a full physical exam, pre-surgical bloodwork (to identify potential risks associated with anesthetic, an IV catheter for fluids (which also serves as a port for medications) and then set up with anesthetic monitors to watch blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels and pulse rate.  All AAHA-accredited hospitals have dedicated surgical suites that are kept carefully sterilized. Just like with surgeries performed on humans, any staff participating in the surgery must scrub in and wear caps, gowns and single-use gloves. We clean, wrap and sterilize all our surgical equipment.

Emergency Care

Anyone who's been through an emergency knows it's tricky to find what you need, and that time is of the essence. That's why the AAHA requires that all hospitals they accredit keep an emergency kit, with all necessary equipment and drugs, in an easy-to-access location. We know we'll be ready for your pet, when required


While anesthesia is important for the well-being and comfort of your animal, it can be risky. That's why AAHA requires that all procedures that use anesthesia also use anesthesia-monitoring equipment.

This equipment tracks your pet's pulse, heart rate, temperature and blood pressure, so that the designated team member monitoring your pet's vitals will be aware of any changes in their condition, and can alert the veterinarians working with your pet to these changes.

Dental Caredownload_9.jpg

Many veterinarians and hospitals fail to recognize the importance of dental care. But several dental conditions in pets, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems.

AAHA standards require that dental care be taken as seriously as the rest of your pet's care. For instance, veterinarians in AAHA-accredited hospitals must perform a thorough dental examination. Any cleanings or other dental treatment must only be performed by a trained professional.

When your pet undergoes any medical procedure at an AAHA-accredited hospital, they will receive a full pain assessment, and they'll get any pain treatment they need. Cleanings or other dental treatment only take place under general anesthesia and intubation, so that your pet's comfort is assured.


We're proud to be an AAHA-accredited institution. We hold ourselves to their rigorous standards of care, and ensure that we treat your pets with the care and compassion that we would any human patient. When you bring your pets to us, you'll see the difference in the care they receive.

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Topics: best vet, Halifax vet, choosing a vet

Supporting Co-op Education

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Nov 05, 2014 @ 06:08 PM

On Monday of this week, we attended the Eastern Business College graduation ceremony as partners in education for their Veterinary Assistant Program.  

Partnering with educators to provide hands on work experience is a priority and pleasure for our three clinics.  Each year we have several Co-op students from three HRM high schools and many  college and university students as well.

Here are a couple of pictures with recent co-op students, both with Charlene Gallo (Fairview Animal Hospital).  Later this month Charlene is being recognized by the students and teachers of Halifax Regional School Board through their appreciation breakfast for partners on Nov 26th. The students and teachers of Halifax West speak highly of Charlene's support. 

Gallo and Kayla Comeau



Pictured above, Charlene Gallo with Kayla Comeau, who is a Vet Tech student from Maritime Business College

C Gallo and Kelly2

Pictured above Charlene Gallo and Kiley Edmund from Halifax West High school

Topics: Halifax vet, veterinary hospital, best vet

Feline Friendly Practice

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Oct 06, 2014 @ 09:26 AM

Cats and dog both require special considerations when travelling to the vet. But cats in particulardescribe the image can require more preparation and attention to reduce the stresses related to the carrier, the trip in the car and being in a strange environment they may perceive as threatening. Some cats are more outgoing and more receptive to strangers than others, and those cats often do fine in a regular veterinary setting. Cats that have less experience outside their own environment and who are a little more leery of strangers can require special handling. That's where a feline friendly certified vet can be invaluable to help those more emotionally fragile or person-particular cats get through what can already be a stressful time, a vet visit. 

That's why Halifax Veterinary Hospital is working to offer a feline friendly practice certified by at one of our locations. Dr. Elizabeth Croft working at Halifax Veterinary Hospital has her "Feline Practitioner" designation.  While there are certainly outgoing and "dog-like" cats, many cats are accustomed only to their own families and find the process of even a routine vet visit to be highly traumatic and stressful. If the visit is due to your cat feeling sick or needing services beyond routine care that stress and fear can be multiplied substantially further complicating their care. is affiliated with the American Association of Feline Practitioners and they offer certifications to veterinarians around the world, including Canada, for veterinarians who achieve further education and training in specialized care for cats. 

Why seek out a Feline Friendly Practice for your cat?

It is estimated that there are 7.9 million feline companions in Canada, compared to 5.9 million canine companions. Yet cats are half as likely to come to vets as dogs are, and statistics show that is due to the increased stress of a vet visit both for cats and for their owners. In fact: 

  • Almost half of all cat owners say they only bring their cats to the vet for vaccinations. 
  • A little more than a third of cat owners will only take their feline companion to the vet if they were sick. 
  • A majority of cat owners report that their cat "hates" going to the veterinarian. 
  • One-third of cat owners say that just the thought of bringing their cat to the vet makes them feel stressed. 

A feline friendly practice alleviates these concerns by providing feline specialized care that can help even the most standoffish and nervous cats to feel more comfortable in a veterinary setting. A Feline Friendly Practice recognizes that: 

  • Cats find travel difficult and over stimulating. 
  • Cats are stressed by being in close proximity to other cats and dogs. 
  • Cats are more susceptible to stress and anxiety. 
  • Cats have unique medical requirements and also require gentle handling. 

Because of cats' unique needs and tendency to become anxious and stressed in over-stimulating situations such as a vet visit, veterinarians who have been certified as a Feline Friendly Practice offer a uniquely gentle and feline-specific approach that helps cats to feel as at ease and comfortable as possible. 

A Feline Friendly Practice offers caring and empathetic handling of cats and elevates care for cats by offering feline-specific facilities, care, and equipment designed to meet the unique medical needs of cats and is able to recognize, diagnose, and treat feline-specific diseases. 

Halifax Veterinary Hospitals are happy to be among the only clinics in Halifax offering this unique service. Don't hesitate to give your beloved feline companion the veterinary care they need by bringing them to a place where they can have a lifetime of empathetic and feline-centered care. 

Ready to give your cat the care they derserve?

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Topics: animal hospital, choosing a vet, best vet, cat care

CPR could save your pets life

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 @ 09:02 AM

shutterstock 8472445During human medical emergencies, the choices and actions we make can be the difference between life and death. Time is critical, as the first few minutes after an emergency are the most crucial to making the right decisions. The same can be said when dealing with a medical emergency with one of your pets. Although there is no substitute for proper veterinary care, there are things you can do in the interim.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a procedure used in emergencies to maintain brain function until blood circulation and breathing can be restored to a person in cardiac arrest. Performing CPR properly can be the key to saving someone’s life. Not only is CPR used on humans during distress, but also on our furry friends too.

The CPR procedure can be done to save your dog’s life, should you find him or her in one of these terrifying situations. You need to act fast when the crisis arises, and we want to share a video with you to help you learn this very important skill. Properly performing this procedure could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.

Check out this video below on how to do CPR on a dog...


We hope you NEVER find yourself in a situation where you have to perform CPR on your pet, but knowing this skill will better safeguard you against the ultimate tragedy.

Do you have any questions about emergency health care for your pet? Contact us with any questions, comments or concerns below!

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Topics: veterinary hospital, animal hospital, best vet, dog care, vet halifax

Why your pet deserves pain free care

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Fri, Jul 05, 2013 @ 11:59 AM

Just like you and your human family members, your pets can feel and react to pain. As furry children and beloved friends, your pets deserve pain free veterinary care in order to live happy and healthy lives. When it comes to pain medication and the correct dosage, it's important that you know your vet will provide what your pet needs in order to be comfortable. This includes pain medication before and after surgery, pain management at all levels of care, and compassionate knowledge and empathy for your pet.

pain free vet care
The myth that animals don't feel pain is, of course, not true; just look what happens when you accidentally step on your pet's toe or tail. The difference between us and our pets is that our pets can't outright tell us that they're in pain- often, the exact opposite is true- they hide all signs of pain as a survival mechanism they developed over thousands of years of evolution to keep weakness hidden from predators and other members of their own colonies, Your pet may tell you in different ways when they are uncomfortable, such as by whining or whimpering, staying too still and showing little interest in what's going on around them, sleeping more than usual, becoming aggressive or intolerant of petting or exercise or even by becoming more active- pacing, circling, wandering- as the pain is too much for them to sit still and rest. In order to heal faster, your pet needs pain medication just as you do, and most of the medications are very similar to human medications in the kind of relief they offer, although they are usually very different in the way they are made, the way your pet’s body can use them and how safe they are for your pets internal organs..

In order to provide the best pain free veterinary care for your pet during surgery, your vet should be administering what's called multi-modal analgesia, where a combination of drugs are administered together. Your vet should tailor all medications to your pet's specific needs, but basic veterinary drugs for pain management include:

  • An anti-inflammatory
  • An anti-anxiety
  • An opiate
  • A muscle relaxant
  • A local anesthetic
  • Sedation

The opiate, along with the anti-inflammatory, will help to reduce your pet's pain and should be administered before anesthesia. Pain relief administered before surgery will make the procedures necessary during surgery, such as the breathing tube down your pet's throat and a catheter, easier and safer for your pet. Other benefits include better ventilation, more stable blood pressure, and less anxiety for your pet before and after their surgery. When surgery is done and your pet is free to go home to your loving care, you should be prescribed a painkiller.  Be sure to follow the directions exactly, and be aware that painkillers meant for humans should not be given to pets as this can seriously hurt them.

Many vets used to believe that not only did animals not feel as much pain as humans, but pain relievers would cause more complications by making the pets more active when they should be healing. Fortunately, veterinarians are now coming to believe that pain relief is more likely to help your pet heal quickly and naturally, without complications or further necessary surgeries. Unmanaged pain has been proven to cause breathing and heart problems, wounds that don't heal very fast, and an increased risk of infection by reducing the effectiveness of the immune system. Pain relief will enable your pet to relax and concentrate on getting better, instead of leaving them unhappy and uncomfortable

As a pet owner, you want only the best for your furry family member. Don't be afraid to ask your vet questions about their pain free veterinary care, such as whether or not they administer a painkiller before surgery, how they monitor their patients for pain management, and how best you can continue this care for your pet once you bring him or her home. By educating yourself on pain free veterinary care and choosing a pain free veterinary clinic, you can give back to your pet all the love they give you - and have many more years of happiness with them.

If you're looking to give your pet a pain free experience, why not schedule a tour and learn how we can provide the leading edge care without any pain.  

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Topics: veterinary hospital, animal hospital, choosing a vet, best vet