FAQs

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital 101

Board-certified Veterinary Specialists

What is a board-certified veterinary specialist?

The American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) of the American Veterinary Medical Association currently recognizes 20 specialties whose regulatory bodies are called “colleges.” Examples include the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and the American College of Veterinary Radiology. A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who is certified by one of the recognized specialty colleges.

Veterinarians wishing to become board-certified must complete an approved post-graduate residency training program in a specific specialty, must meet specific training and caseload requirements, and, in most cases, must perform and publish case reports or research. Once the residency has been completed, the veterinarian must sit for and pass a rigorous examination. Only then does a veterinarian become board-certified. ABVS and CVBC rules state that only veterinarians who are board-certified may refer to themselves as veterinary “specialists” and these veterinarians will always state that they are “Diplomates” of a particular specialty college.

What is a Diplomate?

A Diplomate refers to someone who is board-certified in a recognized veterinary specialty college. For example, an “ACVS Diplomate” is a veterinarian who is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

What makes a specialist different from my family veterinarian?

A family (or general practice) veterinarian is a skilled professional with the capability to handle most of your pet’s healthcare. However, sometimes your pet may suffer an injury or develop a disease that requires specialized diagnostics or treatment; in these cases, your pet may benefit from a board-certified specialist.

Veterinary specialists in no way replace your family veterinarian. Veterinary specialists work hand-in-hand with your family veterinarian to provide the specialized diagnostic and treatment skills to ensure the most seamless care possible.

How do I know if my pet needs a specialist?

Advances in animal health care have led to a wide variety of treatment options, including highly specialized diagnostic and treatment procedures. Board-certified specialists have spent at least three to five years after obtaining their veterinary degree focusing strictly on a specific discipline. This concentrated training results in an in-depth knowledge of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in a given field, which allows a specialist to provide specialized treatments for your pet. In addition, a specialist may have access to diagnostic equipment not generally used by your family veterinarian.

Commonly performed procedures may be less likely to require someone who is board-certified. You and your pet may benefit from a specialist when

  • Your pet’s disease is not routine, is complicated, or is undiagnosed after standard testing;
  • You would like a second opinion of your pet’s condition from someone with specialty training in your pet’s condition;
  • The outcomes of the current treatments are not going well or as expected;
  • Your pet requires a specialized diagnostic or therapeutic procedure that is offered by a specialty hospital;
  • Your pet can benefit from 24-hour monitoring provided by a specialty hospital.
  • Your pet experiences a life-threatening emergency

How do I find the right specialist?

It is critical that you feel comfortable with the specialist who will be providing care for your beloved pet. You should expect that the specialist has thoroughly examined your pet, explained the pros and cons of each procedure or treatment, discussed costs, and answered any questions you may have.

Why should I consider Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital?

The specialists at BBVSH understand that the diseases that require specialty care are complex and multifaceted and we use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnostics and treatments. Our specialists also understand that there may be more than one good diagnostic or treatment method, and that it may not be easy for a pet owner to decide which method to choose. We will communicate all of the diagnostic and treatment options to you and answer any questions you have to help you decide the best option for your pet and your family.  We will remain accessible for questions throughout the diagnostic, treatment, and recovery process.

Do I need a referral from my family veterinarian?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital strongly encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their primary care veterinarian whenever possible; this ensures the proper transfer of medical information. It is is beneficial to your pet and the specialty veterinarian to have all relevant medical information and will help your companion receive the appropriate care.

Once your veterinarian has sent a referral, we will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours of your veterinarian sending a referral, please contact a client care representative at 604-514-8383.

If you need guidance, are unable to obtain a referral, or do not have a veterinarian, please contact a Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital client care representative at 604-514-8383.

After your appointment, BBVSH will communicate directly with your family veterinarian and will provide a complete written report regarding your pet’s diagnostic tests, treatments, and outcome.

How soon can my pet be seen by a BBVSH specialist?

We will do our best to accommodate your pet as soon as possible. Specialty service appointments are generally available Monday through Friday (surgery appointments are available 7 days per week).  BBVSH specialists are also on-call if for emergency patients requiring the care of a specialist.

Surgery

What is a board-certified veterinary surgeon?

The term “ACVS Diplomate” refers to a veterinarian who has been board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in veterinary surgery. Although any veterinarian may use the term “surgeon”, only veterinarians who have successfully completed the certification requirements of the ACVS are Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and have earned the right to be called “specialists” or “board-certified” in veterinary surgery. In addition to completing undergraduate and veterinary degrees, veterinarians wishing to become board-certified in surgery must complete a three-year surgery residency program, meet specific training and caseload requirements, perform research and have their research published. This process is supervised by current ACVS Diplomates, ensuring consistency in training and adherence to high standards. Once the residency has been completed, the resident must sit for and pass a rigorous examination–only then does the veterinarian earn the title of ACVS Diplomate.

Do I need a surgeon who is board certified?

Advances in animal health care have led to a wider variety of treatment options, including highly specialized surgical procedures. Board-certified surgeons spend at least four years after achieving their veterinary medical degree (DVM) being trained by other board-certified specialists in Surgery, Radiology, Pathology, and Internal Medicine with a strict focus on diagnosing and treating surgical diseases in small animals. This concentrated training in surgery allows the ACVS Veterinary Surgeon to keep current with frequent advances in veterinary medicine. Ask your veterinarian if your pet would benefit from a specialist.

Does a consultation always lead to surgery?

Board-certified surgeons have specialized training in diagnosing and treating challenging soft tissue and orthopedic diseases. During your initial consultation, the veterinary surgeon will review your pet’s clinical history, previous test results and treatments, and the clinical course of your pet’s disease. The surgeon will then perform a thorough physical exam of your pet. Following this review, the surgeon will make recommendations. The recommendation may be to proceed directly with surgery but may also include additional diagnostic tests, medical treatment regimens, animal rehabilitation sessions (physical therapy) or a wait-and-watch approach. Occasionally surgery is not the best immediate or long-term option for your pet based on the comparative risks and expected benefits. Your consultation with the veterinary surgical specialist is the most comprehensive way to make this assessment. Your pet will not proceed to surgery until both you and the surgeon are comfortable with the recommended treatment plan.

How is surgical pain managed?

Our practice philosophy is to minimize distress associated with care and treatment of your pet.  This includes the use of surgical methods designed to maximize the beneficial effect of surgery with the least possible morbidity and invasion of normal tissues. Examples include the use of arthroscopy, laparoscopy, radiograph-guided procedures, alternative materials (such as titanium), and alternative techniques (such as TTA, TPLO, PAUL and PGR procedures, and ALPS fracture fixation).

Even with these lower morbidity methods, some degree of inflammation and discomfort is expected. We treat anticipated surgical pain preemptively by using multi-modal perioperative analgesia. This often includes the use of epidural analgesia and anesthesia as well as specialized local nerve blocks. The epidural injection is done while your pet is under general anesthesia prior to the start of the surgical procedure and aids in the reduction of the required depth of general anesthesia (and associated depth-related anesthetic risks).  In addition, the effect of the epidural injection may reduce post-surgical pain up to 24 hours after the procedure thus limiting pain “wind-up”.

Post-surgical pain and any distress are managed 24 hours per day by doctors in the hospital who are well versed in analgesic and sedative protocols.

At the time of your pet’s discharge from the hospital you will receive post-operative instructions describing signs of pain or discomfort and explaining treatment options, including pain medications and indicated complementary therapies such as icing and massage.

Pain management is complemented by post-operative treatments by our animal rehabilitation service.

What is the typical recovery time for my pet following surgery?

The time expected for your pet to recover from surgery will vary significantly based on the specific disease or injury, the surgery performed, and other potential complicating factors such as pre-existing osteoarthritis or endocrine disorders (e.g. diabetes, Cushing’s disease). These expectations will be specifically discussed at the time of your initial surgical consultation and will be further discussed at the time of patient discharge.

Most perioperative surgical inflammation and its associated swelling, bruising, and discomfort will improve rapidly in the first post-operative week.

Healing from orthopedic procedures may take several weeks, and full return of function may occur over several months depending on the disease or injury, the procedure, and post-surgical rehabilitation.

If at any time your pet does not seem to be recovering at the rate or to the degree expected, please call us or recheck for an evaluation.

What restrictions will be placed on my pet during the recovery period?

Typically surgical incisions will heal in one to two weeks. During this time, you may be instructed to prevent your pet from chewing or licking the incision by using a bandage or a restrictive collar. This is usually the surest way to reduce the risk of post-surgical incision infection or dehiscence (opening of the surgical wound).

Post-surgery confinement of your pet, either in a kennel or in a small room, may be required when your pet is not under your direct supervision.  This confinement may be necessary to allow the appropriate healing of the surgical repair.

Who takes care of my pet overnight following surgery?

In most cases an overnight stay is recommended to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery from anesthesia, to ensure there is adequate pain control as needed, to provide attentive nursing care to the surgery site, and to keep your pet clean and comfortable.  Most patients that require surgery stay overnight and can go home once they are ready the next day. Some surgeries may require a few days of post-operative hospitalization. The surgeon will advise you prior to surgery how long to expect your pet to be hospitalized. While hospitalized, your pet will receive 24-hour care from BBVSH veterinarians and technicians.  There is a veterinarian in the hospital 24/7/365.

Neurology

What is a board-certified veterinary neurologist?

A board-certified veterinary neurologist is a veterinarian who provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for patients with neurological disorders of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. In addition to completing an undergraduate university degree and four years of veterinary school, a board-certified veterinary neurologist has completed an internship and residency in the specialized field of neurology (an additional 4 years of training after becoming a veterinarian). In addition to this extensive training, a board-certified veterinary neurologist must pass two rigorous examinations to achieve board-certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Why should I seek the care of a board-certified neurologist?

A veterinary neurologist has specialized training in diseases of central and peripheral nervous system. A veterinary neurologist can provide you and your pet with specialized knowledge, diagnostics, and treatments thereby enhancing your pet’s quality of life and giving you more special moments with your beloved pet. Your pet may benefit from a neurology consult if your animal has experienced any of the following problems:

Paresis/Paralysis (can’t move or feel) or weakness of one or more limbs
  • knuckling, dragging leg(s), abnormal gait
  • monopareseis/monoplegia (one limb), paraparesis/paraplegia (hind limbs), tetraparesis/tetraplegia (all 4 limbs)
  • inability to stand, inability to move 1 or more limb(s)
Balance Disorders
  • lack of balance, head tilt, circling, nausea, falling/rolling, eyes flickering (nystagmus), tremors, uncoordination (ataxia), Horner’s syndrome, exaggerated gait/high stepping (hypermetria)
Vision Disorders
  • blindness, walking into object
Seizures
  • sudden/violent shaking, paddling, dilation of pupils, unresponsive/staring, loss of consciousness, salivating/drooling, stiffness, twitching, involuntary urination/defecation
Pain
  • crying out, holding up limb, low head carriage, tense muscles, decreased/limited mobility, changes in appetite
Other Neurological Signs
  • difficulty swallowing or chewing, decreased facial movement, voice changes, muscle atrophy of the head, collapsing, hearing loss, behavior changes (confusion, pacing, wandering), lock jaw (trismus), dropped jaw.

For what conditions might my primary care veterinarian refer my pet to a neurologist?

  • Arachnoid Cyst
  • Atlantoaxial Joint Instability
  • Brain Tumors
  • Cerebellar Disorders
  • Chiari Malformation
  • Deafness
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis
  • Head Trauma
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Lumbosacral Disease
  • Metabolic Brain Disorders
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Myositis
  • Necrotizing Encephalitis
  • Neuropathies
  • Neurotoxins
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Spinal Trauma
  • Tremor Syndromes
  • Vestibular Disease
  • Wobbler’s Syndrome

Oncology

What is a board-certified veterinary oncologist?

A board-certified veterinary oncologist is a veterinarian who focuses on managing cancer. In addition to completing an undergraduate university degree and four years of veterinary school, a board-certified veterinary oncologist is similar to his/her human-medicine counterpart in that he/she has completed a rotating internship and a residency in the specialized field of oncology (an additional 3-5 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a board-certified veterinary oncologist must conduct a research project and have the results accepted in a peer-reviewed journal as well as pass two rigorous examinations in order to achieve board-certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Why should I seek the care of a board-certified oncologist?

A board-certified oncologist specializes in the treatment of pets with cancer using treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.  Veterinary oncologists have been specially trained to tailor cancer treatment plans for individual pets.  In addition, veterinary oncologists may have access to treatments (such as melanoma vaccine or Tanovea) that are not available veterinarians who are not board-certified.  At BBVSH our oncologists collaborate with our team of complementing specialists including surgeons and diagnostic imaging specialists and have easy access to consult with the team of pathologists at True North Veterinary Diagnostics in the same complex.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell division leading to growth of abnormal tissue. It is believed that cancers arise from both genetic and environmental factors that lead to aberrant growth regulation of a stem cell population, or by the de-differentiation of more mature cell types.

The uncontrolled and often rapid proliferation of cells can lead to either a benign tumor or a malignant tumor (cancer). Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body or invade other tissues, but can sometimes be life threatening as a result of their location (e.g. benign brain tumors). Malignant tumors have the potential to invade other organs, spread to distant locations (metastasize), and become life threatening.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in pet cats and dogs; 50% of dogs and cats over the age of 10 years die of cancer.

How is cancer treated?

As with cancer in humans, cancer in pets may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination thereof. There are many types of cancer and the treatment approach will depend on the type of cancer and whether the cancer has spread. The oncologist will review the treatment options with you and help you decide on the best treatment option for your pet and your family circumstances.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with chemical agents (anti-cancer drugs) designed to kill or slow the growth of cancers. Many of the drugs used to treat cancer are derived from natural substances such as plants, trees, or even bacteria and are often the same drugs used in people.

What is the goal of chemotherapy?

The goal of chemotherapy is to control or eliminate the cancer while still providing the highest quality of life for your pet. Chemotherapy drugs often do not cure cancer but rather control the cancer by killing cells and slowing the progression of the disease.

Will there be side effects of chemotherapy treatment?

Many people have experienced, either in themselves or in family members, the overwhelming side effects of chemotherapy in human cancer treatment. The vast majority of animals treated with chemotherapy do not experience these types of side effects. In veterinary oncology, our philosophy of treatment is different from that used in human medicine. While our oncologists have a very strong emphasis on prolonging life with cancer treatment, maintaining a good quality of life is the most important factor when we treat your pet.

Radiology

What is a board-certified veterinary radiologist?

A board-certified veterinary radiologist is a veterinarian who diagnoses diseases by obtaining and interpreting medical images such as radiographs, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs. In addition to completing an undergraduate university degree and four years of veterinary school, a board-certified veterinary radiologist is similar to his/her human-medicine counterpart in that he/she has completed a residency in the specialized field of radiology (an additional 3-5 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a board-certified veterinary radiologist must pass two rigorous examinations to achieve board certification from the American College of Veterinary Radiology.

What is a radiograph?

A radiograph is commonly referred to as an x-ray.  It is a 2D image which can show structures under the skin such as bones and organs.

What is digital radiography?

Digital radiography is a form of x-ray imaging, where digital x-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. Advantages include time efficiency through bypassing chemical processing and the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images. Compared to conventional radiography, digital radiography is more sensitive and thus uses fewer x-rays (less radiation) to produce an image of similar contrast.

BBVSH uses digital radiography and has 2 digital radiography suites to cut down on wait times.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a non-invasive, non-painful diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to image the internal architecture of many organs. Sound waves are directed by a probe and are reflected back to the probe by tissue. Ultrasound is effective in finding abnormalities in tissues, because diseased and inflamed tissue often reflect sound waves differently from the healthy surrounding tissues or normal tissues. Normally, ultrasound will be performed on your pet in conjunction with other diagnostic procedures (e.g. blood work, radiographs, biopsies etc). Ultrasound by itself may not be definitive.

BBVSH has two ultrasound machines: one machine is dedicated to the emergency critical care service to help immediately diagnose life-threatening problems (this portable machine can be used “bedside” to avoid moving uncomfortable or critical patients); the second machine is used for in-depth diagnoses and specialized probes for both large and small animals as well as abdominal and cardiac probes are available.

What can be seen with ultrasound?

Ultrasound is very sensitive to changes within abdominal organs and allows precise measurement of heart chamber size and cardiac function. Sonographic changes within abdominal organs are not specific; many disease processes can have a similar appearance on ultrasound examination. Often it is necessary to obtain a needle sample or guided biopsy to determine the exact nature of the changes observed during an ultrasound examination. In general, ultrasound and radiographs (i.e. x-rays) are complementary. In fact, during ultrasound appointments we may request that you allow us to take radiographs if they have not already been done by your family veterinarian. Abdominal radiographs locate region(s) of change within the abdominal cavity and define changes in size, shape or density (e.g. regions of mineralization or gas production). Chest radiographs allow assessment of fluid build-up or abnormal tissue within the lungs and changes in the size and shape of the heart. As ultrasound cannot penetrate air filled structures or regions surrounded by air (i.e. the lungs), radiographs are a starting point to evaluate for heart failure or suspected masses within the chest.

What is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses a powerful magnet and radiowaves to produce detailed images of the body’s organs and structures, without the use of X-rays or other radiation.

A computer converts signals from the MRI scan into cross-sectional images of the part of the body that has been scanned. Many images are obtained and each image is a slice of the body area scanned. The images produced by MRI can be compared to a sliced loaf of bread. Just as you can lift each individual slice from the loaf and see both the slice and the inside of the bread, so too the image “slices” produced by the MRI show the details of the inside of the body.

MRI’s are often used to diagnose problems that occur in the brain, spinal cord, and joints.

BBVSH has a human hospital grade 1.5T MRI, which unlike low field magnet (0.3T) veterinary machines, can produce images relatively quickly and provides for better diagnostic quality.

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan provides 3D images of bone, soft tissues and blood vessels. Unlike standard radiographs, CT images are 3-dimensional meaning that internal structures do not overlap thereby making diagnoses easier.
CT scans are a painless and non-invasive way to obtain diagnostic images. CT scans, especially those done with 64-slice CT scanners, are extremely fast, and in most cases can be done under sedation only.

BBVSH has a 64-slice CT scanner with an automated contrast injector.  A 64-slice CT scanner is 4 times faster than a 16-slice scanner which can be helpful when scanning critical patients some of whom may not even require sedation.

What are CT scans used for?

CT scans may be used for:

  • Diagnosing diseases such as orthopedic disorders; head and neck and spinal cord conditions such as seizures, paralysis, and nasal discharge; and for evaluation of internal organs
  • Detecting internal injuries, internal bleeding, and foreign bodies
  • Diagnosing, staging, and monitoring cancer
  • Guiding procedures such as biopsies and surgeries

Internal Medicine

What is a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist?

A board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist, commonly called an internist, is a veterinarian who focuses on diagnosing and treating the body’s internal systems. In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, a board-certified veterinary internist is similar to his/her human-medicine counterpart in that he/she has completed an internship and residency in the specialized field of internal medicine (an additional 3-5 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a board-certified veterinary internist must pass two rigorous examinations to achieve board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Why should I seek the care of a board-certified internist?

Your veterinarian may refer you to an internist if a diagnosis is proving elusive or therapy is not proving effective; due to his or her expertise in internal medicine, the internist may be able to obtain a diagnosis or adjust treatment plans to get your animal back to health.

In some cases, when the diagnosis is known, an internist may confirm the diagnosis and treatment, providing peace of mind.

For what conditions might my family veterinarian refer my pet to an internist?

  • Anemia or other bleeding disorders
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Complicated pancreatic disease
  • Coughing & other breathing problems
  • Endocrine disease (adrenal tumors, complicated diabetes, thyroid disorders)
  • Infectious disease
  • Kidney or bladder disease
  • Liver inflammation
  • Unexplained weight loss

What is endoscopy?

Endoscopy means looking inside and typically refers to looking inside the body for medical reasons using an endoscope, an instrument that allows the examination of the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike most other medical imaging devices, endoscopes are inserted directly into the hollow organ or cavity. An internist specializes in using an endoscope to visualize the inside of the nose, the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, and intestines), the trachea and bronchus (breathing tubes), and the urethra and bladder.

An endoscope sometimes can be used to retrieve foreign objects from the stomach, thereby avoiding an invasive surgery.

Specialty Appointments

Surgery Appointments

How do I make a Surgery appointment?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital strongly encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their regular veterinarian whenever possible. This ensures the proper transfer of medical information, is beneficial to the animal and the specialty veterinarian, and will help your companion receive the appropriate care.

Once your veterinarian has sent a referral, we will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours of your veterinarian sending a referral, please contact a client care representative at 604-514-8383.

If you need guidance, are unable to obtain a referral, or do not have a veterinarian, please contact a Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital client care representative at 604-514-8383.

When are Surgery appointments available?

Surgery appointments are available 7 days per week. Please contact the surgery service at 604-514-8383 if you have questions about an appointment with one of the surgeons.

In case of an emergency: Should your pet become more ill or require immediate intervention before your appointment, please contact our hospital and we can see you on an emergency basis through the emergency service.

 

Initial (first) surgery consultation:

What is the cost of an appointment?

The initial consult fee is $180.00 plus tax. Once your pet has been examined and you have had a discussion with the Surgeon regarding diagnostic and treatment options, you will be presented with an itemized treatment plan for the options presented to you. You may accept or decline any option.

What should I bring to my initial surgery appointment?

Please bring your pet and any current medications. Your family veterinarian should have provided records prior to your visit. However, it is a good idea to bring an extra copy of your pet’s records just in case.

Please bring any radiographs (x-rays) that have been performed. It is acceptable for your family veterinarian to send digital x-rays/radiographs prior to your visit. If your primary care veterinarian sends the radiographs electronically, please call the day before the appointment to ensure we have received the files.

How long is the appointment?

Your initial appointment may take up to an hour.  However, please prepare to spend 1-3 hours at the hospital, as additional tests and possible sedation (and time for recovery) may be required.  We respect your time and will do our best to complete the consultation in a timely manner.  Please be aware that the surgeons may occasionally be delayed due to emergency cases.  If you do have time restrictions, please make us aware so that we can accommodate your schedule. We are often able to perform procedures such as biopsies, x-rays and surgeries the same day as your appointment, in which case you may be leaving your pet with us for a day procedure or overnight for a surgery.  If you are travelling from a long distance, please make us aware at the time you make your appointment so that we may do our best to accommodate same-day diagnostics or procedures.

Does my pet need to be fasted for surgery appointments?

Please do not feed your pet after midnight the night before your appointment; it is ok to give your pet water up until the appointment. Please call for instructions if your pet is diabetic, younger than 4 months, or less than 4kg (10 pounds).

Should I bring my pet’s medications?

Please bring to your appointment any medication(s) that your pet is currently taking. When making your pet’s appointment, check whether or not to give any medication that is due the morning of the appointment.

My pet is on a special diet; should I bring the food?

Meals are included in your pet’s hospitalization. However, if your pet requires a special diet, please bring enough for at least two meals. Due to the risk of serious infections, hospital policy requires that you do not bring any raw food.

What should I expect during my initial surgery appointment?

When you arrive for your appointment, please check in with Reception. The receptionist will then advise the surgery service that you have arrived. To start the appointment, an assistant or technician will bring you into an exam room with your pet, complete a history form, and perform a check of all your pet’s vital signs (such as heart rate, temperature, etc.). The surgeon will review the information, discuss your pet’s condition with you, and examine your pet. Once this is complete, the surgeon will go over the diagnosis, any further testing that may be required to reach a diagnosis, and treatment options. Each option will be thoroughly explained so that you can make an informed choice for your pet.

Treatment plan estimate and deposit:

A treatment plan will be prepared for you based on your pet’s specific needs. The treatment estimate will be explained and authorized by you prior to surgery and/or hospitalization. You may accept or decline any diagnostic or treatment options.  A deposit of 75% of your estimate is due at the time of surgery; the remainder of the invoice must be paid at the time of discharge.

Overnight or home the same day:

Most patients that require surgery stay overnight and can go home once they are ready the next day.  Some surgeries may require a few days of post-operative hospitalization.  The surgeon will advise you prior to surgery how long to expect your pet to be hospitalized.  While hospitalized your pet will receive 24-hour care from the Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital veterinarians.  Visits the day of surgery are discouraged (except in the most critical patients) as the stimulation of a visit may result in the need to give additional sedation.  The surgeon will call you to give an update following surgery and you are welcome to call in to the hospital overnight for an update if you wish.  For patients staying more than one night in the hospital, you are welcome to arrange a time to visit.  You will be able to relax, read a book, and visit in our comfortable quiet room.  We ask that you call to arrange your visit in advance to avoid busy times.

Primary care veterinarian updates:

So that your family veterinarian will be kept up to date regarding your pet’s condition and care, we will provide your vet with a summary of your pet’s visit including copies of medical records and tests performed.

Suture/Staple removal appointments:

What should I expect for my suture/staple appointment?

Suture removal schedule:

After surgery, most patients require suture/staple removal 10-14 days after surgery. The timing will be discussed during your consult and will be confirmed at the time you take your pet home (discharge).  If possible, please make your suture removal recheck appointment with Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital as the surgeon would like to evaluate your pet’s progress and ensure healing is progressing as expected.  Many procedures will receive additional follow-up instructions at the suture removal recheck.  If you are unable to see us within the specified time frame for suture removal, please arrange to have the sutures/staples removed by your family veterinarian.  If you choose to do this, please call us with an update and to determine if you should schedule an additional appointment for the surgeon’s evaluation and further instructions.

Length of the suture/staple removal appointment:

Your pet’s suture appointment will take approximately 30 minutes, as the surgeon will need to briefly examine your pet’s progress.

Cost of suture/staple removal:

There is no charge for your pet’s suture/staple removal visit.  There will however be an additional charge if there is a need for medications, sedation, additional tests, and bandage changes.

During your recheck examination:

What should I expect at a recheck appointment?

Recheck schedule:

After your pet’s first consultation or surgery, follow-up appointments may be required. When your pet is discharged, we will provide you with a schedule of when to return for recheck appointments.

Fasting for rechecks:

Please do not feed your pet after midnight the night before your appointment; it is ok to give your pet water up until the appointment. Please call for instructions if your pet is diabetic, younger than 4 months, or less than 4kg (10 pounds).

Length of a recheck appointment:

Your recheck appointment will last approximately 45-60 minutes, but please prepare to spend at least 1 hour at the hospital.  Patients that require sedation may take longer to accommodate time to recover from sedation before leaving.  We respect your time and will do our best to complete the consultation in a timely manner.  Please be aware that the surgeons may occasionally be delayed due to emergency cases.  If you do have time restrictions, please make us aware so that we can accommodate your schedule.

How the recheck appointment works:

When you arrive for your appointment, please check in with Reception. To start the appointment, an assistant or technician will bring you into an exam room with your pet, complete a history form, and perform a check of all your pet’s vital signs (such as heart rate, temperature, etc.). The surgeon will review the information, examine your pet, and discuss your pet’s progress with you.

Cost of rechecks:

Most routine recheck examinations and recheck radiographs are included in the cost of the surgery.  If additional treatments such as bandages, medications, or sedation are required, there will be an additional charge.

Neurology Appointments

How do I make a Neurology appointment?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital strongly encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their regular veterinarian whenever possible. This ensures the proper transfer of medical information, is beneficial to the animal and the specialty veterinarian, and will help your companion receive the appropriate care.

Once your veterinarian has sent a referral, we will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours of your veterinarian sending a referral, please contact a client care representative at 604-514-8383.

If you need guidance, are unable to obtain a referral, or do not have a veterinarian, please contact a Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital client care representative at 604-514-8383.

When are neurology appointments available?

Dr. Peter Gordon is currently accepting new patients.  Neurology appointments are scheduled on weekdays. Please contact the neurology service at 604-514-8383 if you have questions about an appointment with Dr. Gordon.

In case of an emergency: Should your pet become more ill or require immediate intervention before your appointment, please contact our hospital and we can see you on an emergency basis through the emergency service.

 

What is the cost of a Neurology appointment?

The initial consult fee is $265.00 plus tax. Once your pet has been examined and you have had a discussion with the Neurologist regarding diagnostic and treatment options, you will be presented with an itemized treatment plan for the options presented to you. You may accept or decline any option.

What should I bring to my initial neurology appointment?

Please bring your pet and any current medications. Your family veterinarian should have provided records prior to your visit. However, it is a good idea to bring an extra copy of your pet’s records just in case. Please bring any x-rays/radiographs that have been performed. It is acceptable for your family veterinarian to send digital x-rays/radiographs prior to your visit.

How long is the appointment?

The initial consult may last up to one hour. We are often able to perform diagnostic procedures, treatments and surgeries on the same day as your initial appointment, in which case you may be leaving your pet with us for several hours or for the day. If your pet requires surgery, he or she will stay overnight at least one night and maybe more depending on the expected recovery time. We are open 24-hours per day, so animals may be picked up in the evening if necessary.

Recheck appointments may last up to a half an hour (or more if any procedures are required).

Does my pet need to be fasted for neurology appointments?

Please do not feed your pet after midnight the night before your appointment; it is ok to give your pet water up until the appointment. Please call for instructions if your pet is diabetic, younger than 4 months, or less than 4kg (10 pounds).

Should I give my pet his or her medications?

If your pet is on any medication, please withhold the medication(s) the morning of the consult with the exception of any anti-seizure medications. Please bring all medications to the appointment with you for evaluation.

What should I expect during my initial neurology appointment?

Initial neurology appointments may take up to an hour or more. When you arrive for your appointment, please check in with Reception. The receptionist will advise the neurology service that you have arrived.

An neurology assistant or technician will bring you into an exam room with your pet, complete a history form, and perform a check of your pet’s vital signs (such as heart rate, temperature, etc). The neurologist will then review the information and examine your pet. Once this is complete, the neurologist will go over the diagnosis (or any further testing that may be required to reach a diagnosis) and treatment options. Each option will be thoroughly explained so that you can make an informed choice for your pet.

A treatment plan will be prepared for you based on your pet’s specific needs. A treatment plan will be explained and authorized by you prior to diagnostics or treatment.

We are often able to perform diagnostic procedures and treatments on the same day as your initial appointment, in which case you may be leaving your pet with us for several hours or for the day. Unless your pet requires surgery, it is unlikely that he or she will stay overnight. We are open 24-hours per day, so animals may be picked up in the evening if necessary.

 

Oncology Appointments

How do I make an Oncology appointment?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital strongly encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their regular veterinarian whenever possible. This ensures the proper transfer of medical information, is beneficial to the animal and the specialty veterinarian, and will help your companion receive the appropriate care.

Once your veterinarian has sent a referral, we will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours of your veterinarian sending a referral, please contact a client care representative at 604-514-8383.

If you need guidance, are unable to obtain a referral, or do not have a veterinarian, please contact a Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital client care representative at 604-514-8383.

When are oncology appointments available?

Oncology appointments are generally available Monday through Friday in Langley.

Chemotherapy (and some initial oncology appointments) are available at the Vancouver satellite clinic on Wednesdays.

In case of an emergency: Should your pet become more ill or require immediate intervention before your appointment, please contact our hospital and we can see you on an emergency basis through the emergency service.

 

What is the cost of an Oncology appointment?

The initial consult fee is $265.00 plus tax. Once your pet has been examined and you have had a discussion with the Oncologist regarding diagnostic and treatment options, you will be presented with an itemized treatment plan for the options presented to you. You may accept or decline any option.

What should I bring to my initial oncology appointment?

Please bring your pet and any current medications. Your family veterinarian should have provided records prior to your visit. However, it is a good idea to bring an extra copy of your pet’s records just in case. Please bring any x-rays/radiographs that have been performed. It is acceptable for your family veterinarian to send digital x-rays/radiographs prior to your visit.

Does my pet need to be fasted for the initial oncology and recheck oncology appointments?

In case further diagnostics are elected, please do not feed your pet after midnight; it is ok to give your pet water up until the appointment.  Please call for further instructions if your pet is diabetic, is a puppy less than 16 weeks or weighs less than 4kgs.

Does my pet need to be fasted for chemotherapy appointments?

Your pet does not need to be fasted for chemotherapy appointments unless specifically instructed.

What should I expect during my initial oncology appointment?

Initial oncology appointments may last up to an hour. When you arrive for your appointment, please check in with Reception. The receptionist will advise the oncology service that you have arrived.

An oncology assistant or technician will bring you into an exam room with your pet, complete a history form, and perform a check of your pet’s vital signs (such as heart rate, temperature, etc). The oncologist will then review the information and examine your pet. Once this is complete, the oncologist will go over the diagnosis (or any further testing that may be required to reach a diagnosis) and treatment options. Each option will be thoroughly explained so that you can make an informed choice for your pet.

A treatment plan will be prepared for you based on your pet’s specific needs. A treatment estimate will be explained and authorized by you prior to diagnostics or treatment.

We are often able to perform diagnostic procedures (such as biopsies, radiographs and ultrasounds) and treatments (such as chemotherapy) on the same day as your initial appointment, in which case you may be leaving your pet with us for several hours or for the day. Unless your pet requires surgery, it is unlikely that he or she will stay overnight. We are open 24-hours per day, so animals may be picked up in the evening if necessary.

What should I expect during my recheck oncology appointment?

Recheck appointments are often used to check the status of your pet’s overall health and to determine the status of the cancer. We often perform diagnostics such as blood work, recheck radiographs and recheck ultrasounds. In most cases, these procedures will be performed the same day as the recheck appointment, in which case your pet may need to stay one to four hours. Based on the results of these tests, we may recommend additional treatment or just additional follow-up visits.

What should I expect during a scheduled chemotherapy appointment?

Once chemotherapy has been selected as the appropriate treatment option, a chemotherapy protocol will be chosen which will lay out a drug regimen to be used for your pet. We will follow this protocol at each appointment. Sometimes protocols need to be modified or changed. We will inform you prior to any protocol changes.

Chemotherapy appointments may be made for a scheduled time. At the time of your appointment, you will be asked to fill out a form which will let us know how your pet is feeling, what, if any, medications need to be refilled, and if you have any questions or concerns.

Your pet will then be taken to the treatment area for a physical exam and required diagnostic tests such as blood work. If you have questions or concerns, the oncologist will talk to you after the diagnostic tests, but before treatment. Otherwise, the oncologist will administer chemotherapy as per the protocol or discuss with you any protocol changes that need to be made. Written discharge instructions will be provided and if you have any questions, you can discuss them with your oncologist.

What should I expect during a drop-off chemotherapy appointment?

Once chemotherapy has been selected as the appropriate treatment option, a chemotherapy protocol will be chosen which will lay out a drug regimen to be used for your pet. We will follow this protocol at each appointment. Sometimes protocols need to be modified or changed. We will inform you prior to any protocol changes.

Chemotherapy appointments can be scheduled as drop off appointments on the days that the oncology service is available. Drop-offs must generally be scheduled prior to 1pm. Pets that are dropped off before 9:30am are usually done by 1:30 and pets droppped off by 1pm are usually done by 5pm, but please call the Oncology service prior o pick-up to ensure that your pet’s treatment is complete. For drop-off appointments, you may drop off as early in the morning as you like (we are open 24-hours per day) and pick up in the afternoon or evening. If you drop off before 9am or pick-up after 4:30pm, please come to the main entrance (which faces the Costco gas-bar) rather than the oncology entrance. Please be sure to let us know your estimated pick-up time.

At the time of drop off you will be asked to fill out a drop-off form which will let us know how to reach you, how your pet is feeling, what, if any, medications need to be refilled, and if you have any questions or concerns.

During the day, the oncologist will examine your pet, perform any required diagnostic tests such as blood work, and administer chemotherapy as per the protocol, or contact you if protocol changes need to be made. Written discharge instructions will be provided and if you have any questions, you can discuss them with your oncologist at the time of pick-up (if the oncologist is available) or by phone.

Can I be with my pet during chemotherapy?

For your safety, we cannot allow you to be present during treatment. In most cases, the treatment is quick, your pet will be without you only for a short period of time, and patients usually handle their treatments very well.

How do I care for my pet once I am home?

Your pet’s activities do not need to be changed on the day of treatment or any subsequent days. The goal of therapy is to ensure that your pet can carry on with his or her normal life for as long as possible.

You will be given written discharge instructions after each appointment that will let you know if medications need to be administered, when your follow-up appointment should be, and if there are any other post-treatment instructions. You will also be provided with a chemotherapy handout, which discusses chemotherapy safety and what steps to take if side effects do occur.

Radiology and Outpatient Ultrasound Appointments

How do I make an outpatient ultrasound appointment?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital strongly encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their regular veterinarian whenever possible. This ensures the proper transfer of medical information, is beneficial to the animal and the specialty veterinarian, and will help your companion receive the appropriate care.

Once your veterinarian has sent a referral, we will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours of your veterinarian sending a referral, please contact a client care representative at 604-514-8383.

If you need guidance, are unable to obtain a referral, or do not have a veterinarian, please contact a Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital client care representative at 604-514-8383.

When are outpatient ultrasound appointments available?

Outpatient ultrasound appointments are generally available during specialty hours (Monday-Friday). If your veterinarian thinks your pet needs an emergency ultrasound, your pet may come in through the emergency service and imaging will be prioritized as needed.

In case of an emergency: Should your pet become more ill or require immediate intervention before your appointment, please contact our hospital and we can see you on an emergency basis through the emergency service.

What is the cost of an outpatient ultrasound appointment?

The cost of an outpatient ultrasound is quite variable and depends on what type of ultrasound is needed, whether sedation is needed, and whether additional procedures such as aspirates or biopsies need to be performed. When you arrive at the hospital, a BBVSH veterinarian will discuss with you the procedures that your veterinarian has requested, the risks of the procedures, and the costs.  You will be provided with an itemized treatment plan and you can accept or decline any option.

Are there special instructions for my pet prior to the appointment?

For all ultrasound appointments, please do not feed your pet after midnight the night before the appointment; it is ok to give your pet water up until the appointment.  Please call for further instructions if your pet is diabetic, is a puppy less than 16 weeks or weighs less than 4kgs.

For all abdominal ultrasounds, it is essential that the patient not eat for at least twelve hours prior to the procedure.  Gas is the enemy of ultrasound. It makes the sound waves bounce back, obscuring the picture. Fasting your pet helps us see into the GI tract better, producing less gas and improving the amount of information we can get from the study. In addition, the patient needs to arrive with urine in the bladder to allow complete assessment of the bladder.

What should I expect at the ultrasound appointment?

When you arrive for your appointment, please check in with the receptionist. The receptionist will let the radiology service know that you have arrived. A BBVSH veterinarian will then meet with you will discuss with you the procedures that your veterinarian has requested.  The BBVSH veterinarian will explain the risks and benefits of the procedures. If you wish to proceed with the recommendations, an estimate for these services will be provided, and a consent form for the procedures will be provided for you to sign prior to the ultrasound.  You may accept or decline the recommendations.

How long will the ultrasound take?

Outpatient ultrasound patients are admitted to the hospital for the day and will have their procedure performed sometime during the day. The time of the ultrasound depends on the schedule of the ultrasonographer, the number of outpatient cases, the number of in-patient cases, and the severity of the clinical condition of the patients requiring ultrasound.  We will call you when your pet’s ultrasound is completed and they are ready for pick-up.

The ultrasound procedure itself routinely takes 30-90 minutes; however, this is dependent on the type of ultrasound examination required and whether additional procedures are required.

What patient preparation is required at the hospital?

  • Blood work-Occasionally, blood work may be required before sedation or sampling.  If your vet has not performed blood work, this may need to be done at BBVSH.
  • Shaving-The patient will need to have the hair shaved in the area that is being images by ultrasound because hair traps air and hinders the transmission of sound waves into the chest or abdomen.

Will my pet need sedation?

Some ultrasound examinations require no sedation or anesthesia; however, you will be asked to pre-authorize the use of sedation if required. Sometimes, a pet is nervous and sedation will help them feel more comfortable, decrease wiggling, stress or panting. Sedation also may be required if your animal needs an aspirate or biopsy.

How will I know if my pet needs additional procedures such as aspirates or biopsies?

Your family veterinarian may request that additional procedures such as aspirates or biopsies be performed if indicated by findings on the initial ultrasound. When you arrive at the hospital, a BBVSH veterinarian will let you know if your family veterinarian has requested aspirates or biopsies if there are abnormalities on the ultrasound.  The BBVSH veterinarian will explain the risks and benefits of the procedures prior to the ultrasound. If you wish to proceed with the recommendations, a consent form for the procedures will be provided for you to sign and the procedures will be performed if indicated based on the ultrasound.

When will I know the results?

BBVSH will report the findings to your family veterinarian who will discuss all results with you. A written report will be sent to your veterinarian within 24 hours of the procedure. After the ultrasound, please contact your family veterinarian for these results and any follow-up treatment.

How will I get the results of aspirates or biopsies?

If ultrasound guided aspirates or biopsies are performed, those samples are sent to the lab. The lab results will take a few days and will be sent directly to your veterinarian. Please contact your family veterinarian for these results and any follow-up treatment.

Unstable Patients-Occasionally, a pet’s disease process may worsen very quickly and sometimes a pet can become unstable between the time an ultrasound is requested and the time the pet is brought to BBVSH.  If your pet arrives in an unstable condition or has a life-threatening problem detected at the time of ultrasound, in consultation with your family veterinarian, we may recommend admission to the hospital.

Internal Medicine Appointments

How do I make an internal medicine appointment?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital strongly encourages animal owners to obtain a referral from their regular veterinarian whenever possible. This ensures the proper transfer of medical information, is beneficial to the animal and the specialty veterinarian, and will help your companion receive the appropriate care.

Once your veterinarian has sent a referral, we will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours of your veterinarian sending a referral, please contact a client care representative at 604-514-8383.

If you need guidance, are unable to obtain a referral, or do not have a veterinarian, please contact a Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital client care representative at 604-514-8383.

When are internal medicine appointments available?

Initial (first) internal medicine appointments are currently being made on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the internal medicine service at 604-514-8383 if you have questions about an internal medicine appointment.

Recheck appointments for existing patients are available at least one day per week.

In case of an emergency: Should your pet become more ill or require immediate intervention before your appointment, please contact our hospital and we can see you on an emergency basis through the emergency service.

 

 

What is the cost of an internal medicine appointment?

The initial consult fee is $265.00 plus tax. Once your pet has been examined and you have had a discussion with the Internist regarding diagnostic and treatment options, you will be presented with an itemized treatment plan for the options presented to you. You may accept or decline any option.

What should I bring to my initial internal medicine appointment?

Please bring your pet and any current medications. Your family veterinarian should have provided records prior to your visit. However, it is a good idea to bring an extra copy of your pet’s records just in case. Please bring any x-rays/radiographs that have been performed. It is acceptable for your family veterinarian to send digital x-rays/radiographs prior to your visit.

How long is the appointment?

The initial consult may last up to 1 ½ hours. We are often able to perform diagnostic procedures, treatments and surgeries on the same day as your initial appointment, in which case you may be leaving your pet with us for several hours or for the day. We are open 24-hours per day, so animals may be picked up in the evening if necessary.

Recheck appointments may last up to an hour (or more if any procedures are required).

Does my pet need to be fasted for internal medicine appointments?

Please do not feed your pet after midnight the night before your appointment; it is ok to give your pet water up until the appointment. Please call for instructions if your pet is diabetic, younger than 4 months, or less than 4kg (10 pounds).

What should I expect during my initial internal medicine appointment?

When you arrive for your appointment, please check in with Reception. The receptionist will advise the internal medicine service that you have arrived.

An internal medicine assistant or technician will bring you into an exam room with your pet, complete a history form, and perform a check of your pet’s vital signs (such as heart rate, temperature, etc). The internist will then review the information and examine your pet. Once this is complete, the internist will go over the diagnosis (or any further testing that may be required to reach a diagnosis) and treatment options. Depending on your animal’s condition, diagnostic testing or treatments may include:

  • Advanced laboratory testing of various tissue and blood samples;
  • Diagnostic imaging – ultrasound, radiography (x-rays), CT scans, MRIs;
  • Biopsies of masses, internal organs, or bone marrow;
  • Endoscopy – bronchoscopy (lungs), cystoscopy (bladder & urethra); colonoscopy (colon & small bowel), gastroduodenoscopy (stomach & upper intestines), rhinoscopy (nasal cavity), laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery for biopsies of internal organs);
  • Feeding tube placement;
  • Nutritional consults.

Each option will be thoroughly explained so that you can make an informed choice for your pet.

A treatment plan will be prepared for you based on your pet’s specific needs. A treatment estimate will be explained and authorized by you prior to diagnostics or treatment.

We are often able to perform diagnostic procedures and treatments on the same day as your initial appointment, in which case you may be leaving your pet with us for several hours or for the day. We are open 24-hours per day, so animals may be picked up in the evening if necessary.

Hospitalization

Hospitalization

What happens if my pet has to be admitted to the hospital?

You will be presented with an estimate, which includes a consent form allowing us to treat your pet. We require you to leave a deposit of 75% of the estimated cost at the time your pet is admitted into the hospital. If your pet is admitted to the hospital, we will call you with an update each day.

Who takes care of my pet overnight and on the weekends?

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital (BBVSH) staff consisting of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants occupies the hospital facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

What is the visitation policy?

You are welcome to visit your pet in the hospital. To improve your comfort and reduce disruption to hospital functioning, stable patients will be brought to a consultation room for visits. Critically ill patients occasionally may not be able to be moved to a visit room, in which case, short visits in the ICU may be arranged at the discretion of the attending veterinarian.

We understand your desire to spend time with your sick pet. Please help us to accommodate your visit and that of other clients, as well as the care of other hospitalized and emergency patients. To determine a good time for a visit based on your pet’s treatments and visit room availability, we request that you prearrange your visit by telephone before your arrival.

What happens when it is time for my pet to be discharged from the hospital?

Written discharge instructions usually will be provided at the time of your pet’s pick-up. We recommend that you make arrangements with your doctor or specialty service liaison to arrange the best time for pick-up based on your schedule, the doctor’s availability, and your pet’s treatments.

You may arrange to pick up your pet before or after specialty hours, but your pet’s specialty veterinarian may not be available. We ask that you notify us if you are unable to arrive at your arranged discharge time so that we can ensure your pet will be ready. Payment of your balance is due at the time of your pet’s hospital discharge.

WE’RE OPEN DURING COVID-19

We are limiting access to our building as explained on our COVID-19 page. If you plan on visiting our hospital in Langley for emergencies or scheduled appointments, please read service details on our COVID-19 page.

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