Surgical Services

Our veterinarians provide many surgical services at our clinic, ranging from routine to advanced procedures. Because we want to ensure that our patients receive the best possible outcome, we occasionally refer them to specialists (board-certified veterinary surgeons) to perform complex operations when advanced equipment or training will be beneficial. Our veterinary team will take precautions to ensure that your pet receives a safe anesthetic. We perform a physical exam and preanesthetic testing before surgery, monitor your pet during surgery, and provide pain medication during recovery.



The importance of oral health.

At the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara in St. Catharines, Ontario, we believe that proper care of your pet’s teeth and gums is important for maintaining their overall health. There can be significant dental disease present but no outward signs. This is why it is important to include an oral exam yearly as part of your pets wellness check-up. Schedule your pet’s dental exam with our Niagara veterinary hospital today! We can also show you how to brush your cat or dog’s teeth, and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.

To shed some light on dentistry in cats and dogs here are some answers to a few Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some clues that my cat of dog has oral health issues?

These clues may include but are not limited to:

  1. Foul smelling breath (halitosis)
  2. Decreased appetite
  3. Drooling
  4. Poor grooming activity
  5. Low activity level
  6. Chattering teeth
  7. Changes in eating or chewing habits
  8. Pawing at the face
  9. Loose teeth
  10. Behaviour changes

There may be other causes of these signs but a complete physical exam, including an oral assessment, will help to determine the cause of the troubles.

My cat/dog is young. Could he/she need a dental scaling already?

Most cats and dogs have some form of dental disease at just a few years of age. This process generally begins with an accumulation of soft plaque on the teeth and this inflames the gums. Soft plaque can become calcified forming tartar. Gum inflammation, also known as “gingivitis”, is evident if the gums are red, bleeding, and/or if your pet has persistent bad breath. Gingivitis also leads to what is termed “periodontitis” or the inflammation of the tissues around the teeth. Just like us, poor oral health can also affect many other parts of our body. With infection of the teeth or gums, bacteria can enter the blood stream and lodge in the kidneys or on the valves of the heart—thus causing disease in those organs.

My veterinarian suspects my dog/cat has a cavity. What does that mean?

Many cats and dogs suffer from cavities. Cats suffer from unique cavities at or below the gum line, these are called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL—for short). It is best to have your pet checked regularly for cavities and keep uo their dental hygeine.

What happens when my dog or cat undergoes a dental scaling or oral surgery?

This procedure is typically an all-day affair. Your pet will be admitted to the veterinary hospital in the morning, fasted. We begin with another brief physical exam and blood screening tests. The purpose of these tests is to evaluate the dog or cat’s condition and organ function—increasing the safety of the anesthesia. During the surgery, your pet will receive IV fluids and all vitals will be monitored by our Registered Veterinary Technician. Our expert Veterinarian will closely examine the mouth, scale the teeth to remove plaque and tartar and polish your cat’s teeth to smooth out any scratches in the enamel. In conditions of advanced periodontal disease, painful, decaying and broken teeth are extracted. Your pet will then be given an injection for pain relief and an antibiotic course. If there were any extractions, further pain medications will be dispensed. When surgery is complete the dog or cat will remain in our veterinary hospital for the duration of the day to recover (possibly overnight). When it is time for your pet to go home, we will outline what to watch for during the healing process and discuss recommendations to maintain a healthy mouth!

How do I brush my dog/cat’s teeth?

With patience and persistence it is often possible to teach yourself and your pet how to brush his/her teeth.

  • This video, from the Cornell Feline Health Centre, takes you step by step through learning this process. Have a look! 
  • This video found under Helpful Tips for Cats on our website, also demonstrates how to brush your cat’s teeth.

Is there a food that will help my dog/cat’s teeth?

Not only do we believe in the famous quote “You are what you eat,” but we would argue that when it comes to oral health “You are HOW you eat!” Cats and dogs can greatly benefit from eating a prescription dental diet that is certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Prescription dental diets have two key features: their shape and their plaque/tartar fighting ingredients. The shape and structure is very large and of a specific density, which encourages the pets to do plenty of chewing, in turn causing a scrubbing action. This means that as the pet is biting it, the entire tooth surface is scrubbed by the kibble before it breaks. By eating this food cats and dogs are brushing their own teeth! The plaque reducing ingredients make sure that accumulation of plaque and tartar are reduced and that any teeth missed by the scrubbing action are taken care of. Not all dental diets are created equal so be sure to look for the attached logo. Remember to always transition gradually when starting a new food and make sure that a change to dental diet is most appropriate for your pets health – contact your local Veterinarian in Niagara, St Catharines and Welland.

We hope this answers some of your questions but, as always, we are here to help. Call our expert veterinary staff with your questions.

For more information on Feline and Canine Dentistry search “Dental” on our Educational Articles page.


So it’s time to spay or neuter your pet…


If you’re looking for a dog and cat vet in St. Catharines, Welland or Niagara – you’ve come to the right place!

Read the article below about spaying and neutering, written by your local expert veterinary hospital serving St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara! At the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara in St. Catharines, Ontario we believe there are many benefits to spaying or neutering your pet. We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision but, as always, our expert veterinary medical and surgical team are here to answer all of your questions.

Let’s start with some definitions and what to expect:

“Spay” or “Spaying” refers to surgery performed on a female cat or female dog and is another word for OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY. This procedure involves abdominal surgery where both ovaries and the uterus are removed. There will be an abdominal incision with sutures. The skin sutures will either be dissolvable or will need to be removed when the incision has healed. At our Niagara veterinary hospital, your pet will return to us for a visit approximately one week after her surgery to check the incision and remove the stitches if necessary. More Information About Spaying Your Cat! “Neuter” or “Neutering” refers to surgery performed on a male cat or male dog and is another word for “ORCHIDECTOMY”. This procedure involves an incision into the scrotal sac. The testicles and spermatic cords are surgically removed. Typically, because the incisions are so tiny, they are not sutured but rather, left open to drain. This drainage is minimal but important for healing. Your boy will return to our St. Catharines veterinary hospital approximately one week later to check his incisions. More Information About Neutering Your Cat!

Questions for Our Niagara Veterinarians?

We love to help you learn. Every question is important! If you are struggling with the decision to spay or neuter your cat, please call our veterinary hospital in St. Catharines, Ontario at 905.687.1805 and we can discuss your concerns. When should I spay or neuter my pet?

  • Typically this surgery is performed in a veterinary hospital around 6 months of age. In shelter situations, it may be done as early as 8 weeks of age as their goal is to enable early adoption. At the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara we prefer the kitten weighs approximately 4 ½ to 5 pounds, assuring as low a risk as possible for the anesthesia.

Why should I spay my dog/cat?

  • Most people are aware that spaying will decrease overpopulation. There are also important medical reasons for spaying your pet. It has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of developing MAMMARY CANCER later in life by spaying your pet when she is young. By removing the source of a hormone called estrogen before the first heat, the risk of this breast cancer is virtually eliminated. If your pet has already experienced a heat there is still good reason to spay early—each successive heat will continue to increase her mammary cancer risk—so it is never too late.
  • With every heat there is also the risk of developing a life threatening uterus infection called PYOMETRA. This condition requires prompt spaying. Often the cat or dog is very sick. The uterus, which is full of pus, is very fragile and there is a risk of rupture or tearing of the uterus during surgery. The pet is also at risk for the uterine bacteria to entire the bloodstream causing a systemic infection.

Why should I neuter my pet?

  • Dogs and Cats that are not neutered will mark their territory by spraying urine. This natural instinct is driven by hormones and significantly increases after the age of 6 months. They will also want to roam and can become more inclined to fight.
  • Neutering significantly decreases and often eliminates these instinctive behaviours—increasing your pet’s safety and chances at a long and healthy life.

Will my pet gain weight?

  • After spaying or neutering it is normal for your pet’s metabolism to slow down. To prevent weight gain, a small adjustment in the amount and type of food you are feeding is all that is needed to prevent weight gain. Our veterinary team at the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara in St. Catharines are Certified Nutritional Counsellors. During your recheck appointment we will guide you through this important nutritional transition.

A word about the COST of Spaying or Neutering your Pet…

We understand at the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara that asking the cost of a procedure is only natural—especially in today’s economy. We take our responsibility of educating our clients seriously. With this in mind, we would encourage you to consider this…”Not All Spays and Neuters are Considered Equal”.

“At Our Veterinary Hospital In St. Catharines, Ontario – Your Pet’s Health is Our Primary Concern”

At the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara, your pet’s health is our primary concern. At our Niagara veterinary hospital all of our patients receive a full physical exam by a veterinarian and pre-anesthetic blood testing prior to their surgery. IV fluid therapy, balanced anesthesia and a pain management plan based on current protocols will minimize your dog or cat’s risk and maximize their comfort during the surgery and the post-operative period. For added safety and comfort your pet’s body temperature will be monitored and maintained on a specially designed warming surgical table. Our patients are monitored by a Registered Veterinary Technician ( every step of the way. The surgery will be performed in a dedicated surgical suite with the utmost attention to sterility. Following surgery you will be given complete discharge instructions and we will answer any questions you may have in a personalized appointment. We know this can be a worrisome time for our families. We are here to help. For more information on the questions to ask when choosing a veterinarian to spay or neuter your pet please contact our veterinary hospital serving Niagara, Welland & St. Catharines! 905-687-1805

Not all spays & neuters are created equal!


Looking for cat or dog spaying or neutering in St. Catharines, Ontario?

Check out the article below; written by your local veterinarian serving St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara. At the Dog & Cat Clinic of Niagara, in St. Catharines, Ontario we understand that cost can be a factor in choosing your veterinarian but, we believe it should not be the only factor. Low cost spay/neuter clinics are becoming very popular. In order for this style of clinic to function, they need to be fast and see a lot of patients. It is difficult to meet all standards of care that you might expect and wish for your cat or dog under these circumstances. Ask questions and be sure to make an informed choice—know what you are paying for!

“Low cost spay/neuter clinics are becoming very popular. In order for this style of clinic to function, they need to be fast and see lots of patients…Thus it’s difficult to meet all standards of care… Ask Questions!”

Questions to Consider when Choosing a Veterinarian to Spay or Neuter your Cat or Dog in Welland, Niagara & St. Catharines:

  1. Will my pet receive a full physical exam by a Veterinarian before undergoing anesthesia and surgery? A physical exam is important to detect subtle changes like fever; signs of upper respiratory infections, abnormal heart sounds, etc., that may affect anesthetic and surgical risks and recovery.
  2. Will my pet have pre-anesthetic blood work done before surgery? Pre-anesthetic blood work can detect hidden problems like anemia, liver or kidney disease that might affect the way your cat or dog handles anesthesia, surgery, or recovery.
  3. Will my pet receive intravenous (IV) fluids while under anesthesia? IV fluids are very important for protecting vital organs by preventing dehydration and sustaining a safe blood pressure while under anesthesia. The fluids help to flush the body of anesthetics so that your pet will recover faster. The IV line allows immediate access to a vein in the event of a rare but critical anesthetic emergency.
  4. Will my pet be cared for by a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) while under anesthesia? An RVT ( must attend a certified college and write standardized exams before entering into practice. Among other things, an RVT is trained to monitor your pet’s anesthesia at all times from sedation to recovery to ensure the safety of your cat or dog.
  5. How will my pet be monitored during the procedure? Instruments such as blood pressure monitors and EKG machines aid RVTs and Veterinarians in detecting changes in an animal’s vital signs early and allow them to make adjustments as needed to ensure a safe smooth anesthesia.
  6. Will my pet receive a balanced anesthesia, be intubated and breathe 100% oxygen while under anesthesia? Everyone knows the riskiest part of surgery is the anesthesia. The objectives of balanced anesthesia are to calm the patient, minimize pain, and reduce potential for adverse effects. Intubation (placement of an airway tube) protects the patient’s airway in the event vomiting should occur from the anesthesia. It also allows immediate access to the airway in the event of an emergency.
  7. Will my pet receive pain medication? Surgery is painful. Pain medications are most effective when given before the surgery begins. Proper pain management during the post-operative time is essential for patient comfort and a speedy recovery.
  8. Will my pet’s body temperature be monitored and maintained in a safe manner during anesthesia and recovery? Cats and dogs start to lose heat from their body just as soon as they are sedated. The smaller the cat or dog, the faster this occurs. Hypothermia (low body temperature) increases anesthetic risk and slows recovery.
  9. Will the surgery be done in a surgical suite using a sterilized surgical instrument pack and sterile drape? Sterility is very important during surgery. Having a dedicated room with dedicated equipment minimizes the risk of postoperative infection. It is also important for the Veterinary Surgeon to scrub, wear a sterile cap, surgical gown, gloves and mask. The monitoring RVT should also wear a sterile cap and mask.
  10. Are follow-up appointments included in the cost of the surgery? Will you be able to see the Veterinarian or the Registered Veterinary Technician at your pet’s suture removal/recheck appointment? This can be an important opportunity to ask questions about the general health care of your pet.

Soft Tissue Surgery


We perform many types of soft tissue surgeries at our clinic. Soft tissue surgeries are those that are not associated with bone. These surgeries can provide many benefits to pets.

Probably the most common soft tissue surgery performed on pets is the removal of masses, or lumps. Most of these masses, once removed and tested, are found to be benign (nonharmful); however, occasionally they are more serious. Early removal and accurate diagnosis of a lump is necessary to improve the outcome in your pet if the mass is cancerous.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how soft tissue surgery might be able to help your pet.