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October 12, 2019

Reflecting on almost a quarter century of Veterinary medicine in Niagara on the Lake.

Back in 1996 when we first opened the doors of Upper Canada through to the present we have had the good fortune and privilege to serve the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding areas.

Whether a relatively new or “old” client we hope that everyone feels welcomed with open arms and they feel assured that we will do our absolute best for every pet and every person in every situation.  I’ve always felt that the key to success is quite simple in that it stems from two principles. The first being that of the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated, and the second: find your passion and if at all possible, develop your life around it. By following the Golden Rule we are able to look in the mirror each day and be proud of the individual looking back and by finding your passion life becomes so rich and fulfilling that you can’t help but develop a deep and well rooted sense of gratitude. I hope people sense that when they enter our doors these two principles have been the rock which the foundation of our hospital has been built on.

Over the last quarter century we’ve gone though a tremendous amount of growth. What started as a small 3 staff facility has evolved into an 11 person hospital which contains a surgical referral service that provides care for pets from throughout Ontario and update New York. Our hospital has also become an accredited AAHA facility with all team members trained and certified in Fear Free practices. We have been showcased by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association as an example of an exceptional Veterinary Hospital, and have received the OVMA Practice Management Award.  Accomplishments like this are a credit to each of my team members.

When I look at all of the growth and change that has occurred since our inception I’m so proud and thankful for the exceptional staff and clients that have been so instrumental in allowing us to continually improve and develop.

When I think of my life as a Veterinarian for the last quarter century in Niagara-on-The-Lake it can be summed up pretty easy in one word: GRATITUDE.

In that never altering circle of life we have seen many a puppy and kitten as well as owners go through various stages of their lives. We frequently see second generation owners and it amazes me to see how these once young children who entered our doors, often times holding their parents hand or even carried in their owners arms, have grown into, and become responsible loving pet owners themselves. Through the years we’ve developed friendships with clients that transcend the veterinarian client relationship, and we are proud to call each and every one of our clients family.

Jim Turpel, DVM

July 27, 2019

Fear Free

If you’ve been around the clinic over the last year or so, you may have noted that we at Upper Canada Animal Hospital have all become Fear Free Professionals.  But what does this mean exactly and why is it so important?

Fear Free Pets is an organization that started in the United States with the aim of caring for the emotional wellbeing of pets in the clinic, in the training facility and at home.  Certified Fear Free professionals include veterinarians, veterinary technicians, office managers, client care representatives and trainers.  The organization provides online and in person education, knowledge and tools to help us all understand our pet’s behaviour and work with it to achieve the best interactions and outcomes for our furry family members.

What does this mean in practice?  First, we need to understand that all pets undergo Fear, Anxiety or Stress (FAS) at some point in their lives.  For some pets, this occurs only at the vet clinic, or with unfamiliar situations.  For others it may be the presence of other animals or children. For still others, fear and anxiety are daily struggles, much as they are for some people.  FAS does not look the same for all creatures.  For some, it may be growling, hissing or barking, seemingly aggressively.  For others it may be cowering in a corner with tucked tail, looking away from the perceived threat.  For others, it may manifest as hyperactivity.  It could be as subtle as showing the whites of the eyes or lip licking and yawning or as obvious as an attempt to bite.  These are all manifestations of stress!

How do we address FAS ?  By changing the way we interact with our pets and patients!  This may involve differences in the way we approach your pet, offering lots of yummy treats, breaking up one appointment into smaller appointments and sometimes, by prescribing medications that reduce anxiety.  This latter option is one that makes some pet parents nervous.  But the benefits are astronomical for a pet that suffers from severe anxiety in the vet clinic (or in other situations as well).  When we are severely afraid, we lose our ability to learn.  I am afraid of spiders and if I have a spider crawling up my arm, I am sure not going to stop and eat delicious food and stand still for you.  This is how some dogs and cats feel when they are experiencing FAS in the vet clinic.  But when given a medication to reduce anxiety, a dog or cat may have enough fear reduction to stay still and accept an exam. They may even be able to enjoy treats or gentle petting.  Over time, this can change their negative fear response to a positive one. This means better vet visits, better, more thorough exams, more accurate diagnoses and happier pets and pet parents!

How can you help?  Call us and ask us what you can do at home to prepare your pet for a visit.  When you come to the clinic, bring your pet hungry so food will be more enticing.  If your pet has allergies, feel free to bring tasty high value food treats from home, but we also have lots of options here.  Leave prong and shock collars at home; they INCREASE fear and anxiety and can worsen a veterinary visit or training experience.  Ask us for medication if you feel it may help, even before we offer it.

Fear Free practice takes time, patience and ongoing work but the benefits for your pet are amazing.  We are proud to implement Fear Free strategies in our hospital.  Please feel free to call and ask us about Fear Free Practice or check out for more information.  Hope to see you soon!

Angela Granacki, DVM

July 20, 2019

Dr. Turpel Wins International Surgical Award

Dr. Turpel recently attended a conference and wet lab course on an advanced elbow surgical technique known as the PAUL (proximal abducting ulnar osteotomy) procedure. Attendees included board certified surgeons from throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The course was designed to demonstrate the successes seen in treating elbow dysplasia and elbow arthritis with the PAUL procedure.  The PAUL procedure has been recognized as a excellent option in the treatment of elbow dysplasia and arthritic changes. The development of the PAUL is considered a giant leap forward in our ability to help dogs with elbow disorders.

We are very proud to announce that at the end of the conference Dr Turpel was awarded first place in a competition amongst his peers. Congratulations Dr. Turpel!