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Dr Brigitte’s  in-home medical consultation and assessment allows her the opportunity to observe your pet in his or her home environment, giving her insight into pain and discomfort levels, as well as challenges with daily activities. She will inquire about care and limitations as owner schedules and time constraints may complicate in-home palliative and hospice care protocols.

The in-home medical consultation and assessment is designed to help Dr Brigitte Sonnendrucker guide you in determining whether:

  • Palliative or hospice care is appropriate for your pet, and if so, what level of care is needed.
  • OR
  • The kindest option at this time is to consider euthanasia

He's doing well for his Age!

 What on earth does that mean? Since when did old age become a disease? How often do we accept that our dogs or cats fall apart gradually as they become older?They seem to die in instalments, saving just a little of that poor old body until the last great inevitable day. Why do we accept that? Old age is NOT a disease in Doctor Brigitte’s book. Yes, things change and yes, they may deteriorate a little. The ‘spark” should burn just as brightly, though and the body should be able to stay in one piece, to convey the spirit, with appropriate dignity, into its next existence. We should be able to keep body and soul together, until such time as they have to separate.


Fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal worms – for their small size, these parasites pack a lot of misery for you and your pet. Besides driving your faithful companion crazy, they pose a hazard to pets and people. It is important to routinely check your pet for internal and external parasites not only to keep them healthy, but also because some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans. It is especially important if there are any children, elderly, or immuno-compromised (e.g., pregnant, ill) individuals at home.

Fortunately, you’re not without the means to fight back. I can help you make an informed decision on the products available.


Vaccinations or Titers ?

First, let’s start with a little background on vaccines. There are generally two groups of vaccine types: noninfectious (killed, inactivated, etc.) and infectious (attenuated, modified live, etc.). The noninfectious vaccines don’t contain the actual live virus, though they might contain pieces of the virus. They can’t make your pup sick by causing the actual disease. The downside is that many of them don’t induce a huge amount of immunity on their own. This means that your pup’s body doesn’t have a large immune response to these types of vaccinations. That is why these types of vaccines generally have adjuvants in them. Adjuvants help to stimulate an immune response. They can also cause vaccine reactions in some dogs.

Infectious vaccines, on the other hand, cause the body to mount the same type of immune response that it would mount if the pup were actually infected. These types of vaccines may contain the entire virus, but it is attenuated (damaged) so that it can’t cause the disease.We already know that we have to vaccinate puppies in a series because we are fighting maternal antibodies, which are very powerful. This is absolutely necessary for protecting puppies against infectious diseases.

What about puppies who are over 16 weeks and receiving their first vaccination? Should they get an entire series of each vaccination?

The short answer is, maybe. For some vaccines, like the canine distemper vaccination (modified live or recombinant), and the canine parvovirus (modified live), one dose is considered protective if given after 16 weeks of age. This is true of many of the core vaccinations (for an explanation of core vaccines, see last week’s blog). The exceptions are usually the non-core vaccines. Now, on to titers — otherwise known as antibody testing. Basically, antibody testing measures your dog’s immunity to certain diseases. Not every infectious disease has a currently available titer. Titers are a good way to measure immunity for canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, rabies virus and canine parvovirus. Titers are a snapshot in time. They don’t tell you how long your dog’s immunity will last, but they do tell you what her status is right now.

If you are interested in titers, you can start to titer your dog after his or her series of puppy vaccinations have been completed so that you will know how well she is protected against certain infectious diseases. This seems like overkill to me, because the majority of pups will be protected by the series. When your dog is about 16 months old, she will be due for boosters of the core vaccinations. We know that long-term immunity will be present in most dogs for at least canine distemper virus and canine parvovirus after they receive this 16 month booster. In most cases your dog will not be due again for a booster of the core vaccines for three years after her 16 month appointment. At that point (your dog is about 4 ½ years old now), your veterinarian may recommend that you check your dog’s titers.

Canine distemper virus and canine parvovirus (modified live vaccines) have been shown to induce immunity for five years; so why not wait five years to vaccinate all dogs? Because some dogs are genetically non-responders. This means that their immune systems may not respond to the vaccine like normal dogs. If your dog has this defect, a titer will catch it and your veterinarian will know whether or not to vaccinate your dog.

In the end, veterinarians are about finding what is right for your individual pup — now and as she ages. Make sure to have these conversations with your veterinarian early so that he or she can plan the right vaccination schedule for your dog.

Titers. There is no science to support annual boosters and in fact there is evidence to the contrary.



Your companion animal is a member of your family. In fact, your pet may be as important to you as children, siblings, or best friends are to other people. Your companion animal is always there for you, never judges you, and accepts you no matter what you say, do or feel. Preparing for the end of your pet’s life requires you to make many decisions. Knowing when the time is right to help your pet die is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. Because Doctor Brigitte cares,  she is prepared to guide your decision-making and offer you support along the way. One way Doctor Brigitte will guide you will be to offer your choices about:

– how to say good-bye to your pet

– whether or not you will view your pet’s body if you are not present when your pet dies

– how you will take care of your pet’s body after death

– how you will memorialize your pet

Being able to make choices allows you and Doctor Brigitte to work together to make your pet’s death as comforting and meaningful as possible.


Nutrition What diet to feed

The most rapidly expanding aspect of modern veterinary businesses is that of pet food sales. Most dogs and cats in BC are fed on manufactured foods and supplements. Among the readership of this website, it is likely that most readers, are themselves, eating very wholesome diets. In many cases, great efforts will be made to seek organic food ingredients for the family. Can the same be said of their pets?

The body’s functions, energy and daily renewal processes depend upon the food taken in. If that food is not of top quality, then the functions and structure of the body cannot be of best quality. Make no mistake, there is no short-cut to health and food nutritive quality is central to any health program. No medecine is effective alone, without the support of a healthy diet. This article is short, necessitating brevity.  Doctor Brigitte will guide you in feeding regimes catered specifically for your pet. Pros and Cons of Raw. Pros and Cons of Manufactured diets etc..Our bodies are driven to balance dietary ingredients over a period, taking what is needed from our daily intake. Balance does not occur in any single meal but over the weeks. We are driven to seek variety, both by instinct and by biochemical processes, in order to ensure that the body is offered sufficient variety from which to select and glean its needs. This is no different for our pets

Needle Aspirate Cytology

Needle Aspirate Cytology (needle biopsy of tumors) to determine course of treatment if any is needed

Dental Exams and Oral Care

You can virtually assure yourself of your pet’s good oral health if you follow these suggestions : regular check-ups with Doctor Brigitte, periodic checks of your pet’s mouth for bad breath and discolored inflamed gums: a diet which generally avoids sweet or soft sticky foods and daily use of oral products.

Geriatric animal exams

Our pets age much more rapidly than we do and frequent health examinations provide the best tool to ensure your pet has optimal health throughout its life.  As our pets age, changes begin to take place that may impact their ability to maintain good health.  Some of these changes are a normal part of the ageing process and we need to be able to monitor these and intervene where appropriate.  By the time most animals reach ten years of age (or even younger for some large breed dogs), they should be examined at least twice a year.


Individualized consultations that considers both the pet caregiver’s level of ability and participation, while addressing the pet’s comfort and medical needs. Consultations available for quality of life and end of life care, and longevity.

Fluid Therapy

 If I’m treating a pet that has some combination of diarrhea, vomiting, excessive urination, and/or poor water intake, fluid therapy will always be a part of my treatment protocol. Sometimes that may be as simple as encouraging the pet to drink or eat water-infused foods. At other times, I’ll give a bolus of fluids underneath the patient’s skin that they can draw from on an as-needed basis (Subcutaneous Fluid therapy) .

How to medicate ?

It’s no secret. Most pets don’t like medecine. And without the right pill-time trick, your pet may bite or squirm frantically to avoid even the most crucial medcines. Still, your dog or cat’s health depends on making sure your veterinarian’s recommendations are followed.

Failure to give medications as directed can cause : additional, sometimes more serious health problems, long extended illnesses or unnecessary pain for your pet. Nearly 80% of pet owners admit their pets spit out pills.  I will demonstrate how to administer your pet’s medication. I will work with you in finding the right formula that will eliminate the struggle.


All necessary medical therapy, especially multimodal pain management according to protocols of the International association of Veterinary Pain Management (IAVPM) will be administered as necessary.

Ear exams

  • A Complete medical history and a physical examination is necessary to determine the cause of your pet’s ear problems.  I will pay close attention to the size of the ear canal, presence of pain, smell of ears, presence of hair or foreign material, masses or polyps, character of discharge/exudates, soundness of the ear drum, and general health. Some of the tests that might need to be done  are : Cytology and/or Cultures. Cytology involves taking a swab of the ear discharge. Cytology is used to identify parasites, yeast organisms, bacteria and cellular components. This test will help to determine the cause of otitis externa and choose the proper treatment for your pet. Culture and sensitivity tests are used in cases of recurrent infections, as there are some organisms that are often resistant many antibiotics.

Sick Exams (excluding emergencies)

Sick Exams (excluding emergencies)
Categories: Veterinary Services

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  • Affiliations

    College of Veterinarians of British Columbia College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC), Society of Veterinarians of British Columbia (SVBC), Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)
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