Free Happy Visits
Happy visits are completely free and low stress appointments. We move at the pets pace and a ton of treats are given. There is no pressure for the pet because there is no expectations, this decreases fear, anxiety, and stress.
Ziggy came in a few days before his vaccine appointment for a happy visit. We did this to hopefully decrease anxiety and fear during his appointment. Ziggy is an anxious boy and he is pretty suspicious of fast movements. A happy visit was the perfect thing for him because it was low stress and the veterinary staff didn’t ask anything of him. His owner came with treats although Ziggy only wanted OUR treats. I put down a yoga mat so the floor was not as slippery. Ziggy went into both of our exam rooms and he decided he liked the cat room better! He even went on the scale so he didn’t have to get weighed on the vaccine day. This allowed Ziggy to go straight into the cat room on the vaccine day. Ziggy needed to get his Bordetella vaccine which goes up his nostril. During the happy visit, I was able to put my finger near his nostril simulating the syringe. He did great!
Happy visits are great for anxious pets because it lets them get comfortable with the surroundings. If the pet is too stressed to even come inside then there are supplements that can help take the edge off. Composure Pro is a chew that helps with anxiety and calming but does not sedate. It works within 30 minutes of giving and the recommended dose can be doubled in times of high anxiety or stress. This is a great supplement that owners can give their cats or dogs for veterinary appointments, car rides, when company is over, or before thunderstorms.
Jasper also came in for a happy visit. His reason was different than Ziggys. Jasper’s owners thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to the staff now as he is a new addition to their family. Jasper is all up to date on his vaccines, dewormer, and he is already neutered so we might not see Jasper for another year until his vaccines are due. That is a long time so it’s good that his owners wanted to bring him in so we could meet him.
Happy visits are completely free and it helps the pet associate our clinic and staff with a positive experience.
Reverse sneezing is a condition where the pet most commonly dogs, rapidly pull air into the nose, unlike a regular sneeze where air is rapidly pushed through the nose. The dog makes a snorting sound and seems to be trying to inhale while sneezing.
To owners, reverse sneezing can sound very alarming. As an owner you may even think your pet is choking, gagging, or that they are not breathing during the episodes. It is not a harmful condition and there are no ill effects.
The exact cause of reverse sneezing is unknown. Any irritation to the nose, sinuses, or back of the throat can cause an episode. Irritants can include nasal mites, secretions, seeds, pollens, grasses, allergies, smoke, odors, masses, elongated soft palate, excitement, eating too quickly or cold air. Reverse sneezing is diagnosed only after ruling out other causes of abnormal breathing and snorting like upper respiratory tract infection, collapsing trachea, nasal tumors or polyps. Once diagnosed this will be a part of your life with your dog moving forward.
Episodes generally last between seconds up to a minute. Reverse sneezing is more common in Beagles, Terriers, Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, Perkingese, Lhasa Apso, and Shih Tzu.
There are a few things that owners can try to do for their pets when they are having an episode. Occasionally, stimulating your pet to swallow can stop the reverse sneezing. This can be done by either massaging the throat, taping on the nose, opening your pets mouth, blow softly in their face, or offering them some food and water. If the reverse sneezing episodes are quite often then various medications may be needed to keep your pet comfortable.
The veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines if it is related to allergies, cough suppressants or a parasitic treatment if there are nasal mites. Most of the time if the cause is unknown there is not much that a veterinary team can do other than rule out more severe causes of the abnormal noise.
Some things to prevent reverse sneezing are minimize fragrances, smoke and aerosols, change furnace filters, use vaporizers in a dry environment, dust and vacuum often, wash bedding often, use a harness rather than a collar, bathe or wipe your pet regularly in allergy season. Owners can also take note of anything that may have led to their pet having an episode and that will hopefully bring up the cause of the reverse sneezing.
Is your dog getting older?
Rosie is my family's blue heeler and she was getting older and definitely showing some signs of age. We first brought her into the Vet because she was limping on one of her back legs. When she was at the clinic the Veterinarian also let us know that her muscles in her back legs had atrophied and weren’t as strong. Rosie would sit on one hip which an owner might think is no big deal, although there is usually a reason for dogs sitting like this.
Rosie’s front end was still very strong and that helped her get around. We started Rosie on a joint supplement called green lipped mussel. These fishy smelling capsules can reduce swelling, inflammation and pain by limiting further cartilage degeneration and support damaged joints. It is a cost effective option with no side effects that did, in fact, help Rosie. With supplements, there is always a trial period that is usually 6-8 weeks before owners can really tell if it is helping.
There are exercises that can be done to help strengthen the muscles in the back legs or all muscles throughout the body. Let us know if you want our take home exercises emailed to you.
As her aging progressed, we tried a different joint supplement called 4Cyte. It does the same thing as green lipped mussel but in granules. Rosie didn't really enjoy taking the green lipped mussel capsules, but that is just her. There are other dogs on the capsules and they eat them right out of their owners hand like a treat. But she loved the 4cyte!
If your pet has stiff joints or limping after walks, has difficulty getting up from their bed in the morning, or difficulty going up and down stairs or getting in the car, joint supplements are able to help your pet.
Lily’s adoption story
Lily became apart of our family in the fall of 2015. We got her from a rescue society. In accordance to their rules, we had to visit with the foster family before we could adopt her. She was very scared and nervous of people. She would cower away when you went to pet her. She appreciated slow movements and every new experience needed to be looked at in a fear free manner.
Lily does not like loud noises, so when the smoke alarm went off for the first time we lost her in the house for what seemed like hours. She was hiding way back in a closet. As soon as the trimmers come out of the drawer, Lily runs trying to avoid it. The clicking of the nail trimmers increases her fear, anxiety, and stress. Nail trims are a slow process and lots of treats are involved, as well as, praise is given after each nail is trimmed. Lily has gotten much better for nail trims, she is less anxious than when we first started our fear free approach.
We don't know very much about Lily's history other than she was from California and had a litter of puppies by the time that she was 8 months old. She licks her paws when she is nervous to self soothe. Lily has a very caring and nurturing side. She has gained the nick name "Auntie Lily" because she wants to be with the baby goat kids, kittens, and puppies and she is very gentle with children.
Lily had her first seizure in the summer of 2018. We took her to the vet and we were told to keep track of how often and how long her seizures are. To monitor the frequency and duration, we recorded each seizure on the calendar. The vet also said that if her seizures get more frequent and longer than there is medication that can be given to her, but once we start meds she will be on them forever. We did not want to put her on medication yet because she was just over three and half years old. Lily’s seizures eventually did become more frequent, two each month, but her recovery time after a seizure was still the same.
Does your pet have purple teeth?
Pulpitis is inflammation of the tooth pulp. The pulp consists of blood vessels, nerve endings, lymphatics, and connective tissues.
The most common cause of pulpitis is traumatic force to the tooth. These are a few things that will fracture the tooth exposing the pulp cavity.
Antlers and bones are too hard for your pets teeth. If you were to take the item and you hit it against your knee and it hurts you, it will hurt your pet too. Tooth on tooth contact is called attrition and this can wear down the enamel and dentin exposing the pulp. Tennis balls are another culprit that can wear down the teeth. Dogs who chew on rocks are also at risk. These are what I would recommend for alternatives.
Pet owners can look at their cat and dogs teeth and if you see a red or black dot on the tooth shown by the green arrow, your pets pulp is exposed. Once the pulp is exposed it is only a matter of time for bacteria to go into the dot and cause lots of inflammation and potentially infection. That can cause a root abscess which is extremely painful. The inflammation in the pulp chamber increases pressure and restricts blood flow essentially causing the tooth to painfully die. If the core of the tooth is damaged and the tissues are dead it will turn purple which is seen by the red circle and that is a for sure sign of pulpitis.
We would recommend this tooth be removed. There is often an inclination to tell owners to simply “keep an eye on it.” But because these pets are often in pain, a wait-and-see approach won't cut it because we strive to provide high-quality patient care.
February is dental month
Lily came in for a COHAT which is a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment because she had bad breath and started to eat slower than before. We did full mouth X-rays, scaling and polishing for her. She did not need any of her teeth removed thankfully. Some indications that you should book your pet in for a dental are bad breath, tartar, bleeding gums, loose teeth or discoloured ones, difficulty eating and a sore mouth. Dental disease can be very painful for our pets and of course they are going to continue eating because they have to in order to survive. By age three 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease and we are able help keep your pets mouth healthy.
If you book a dental for February, you will receive 10% off your pets dental exam and charting, full mouth X-rays, scaling and polishing. We only have eight available appointments.
Should I neuter?
Pros of neutering your dog
Cons of neutering your dog
An 8yr old male intact dog presented to the clinic with not being able to urinate. On exam it was diagnosed that he had an enlarged prostate. The prostate is a small gland located near the neck of the urinary bladder of male dogs. The urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body) passes through the prostate shortly after leaving the bladder. Because the prostate was enlarged it was kinking off the urethra and that is the reason why this dog could not urinate. This can happen in 80% of non neutered dogs.
Having an enlarged prostate comes with many other problems such as extreme amounts of pain, unable to urinate, dehydration, vomiting, can stop eating, blood in the urine, inflamed urinary tract, infected testicles, and infection in the urinary tract.
To treat this dog, we had to put a urinary catheter in to drain the bladder. The urine had a large amount of blood in it. There were also some urinary stones that looked like sand. We put the ultrasound on the bladder to see the size and also found some of the stones. To get a better idea of the size of stones we took a quick X-ray.
A lot of these symptoms can be prevented, so the answer to the question "Should I Neuter" is, yes, you should! Contact your vet to discuss what age is the best for your individual pet to book them in for a neuter.
The owner's permission was granted for the use of these photos.
Benefits of the Bond
Human/Animal Bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and other animals that is influenced by behaviours that are essential to the health and well-being of both.
Did you know?
58% of Canadian households report they own at least one dog or cat
The Canadian dog population is at 7.7 million
The Canadian cat population is at 8.1 million
95% of Canadians consider their pets family
Pet owners over the age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets
There are many health benefits of owning a pet. They can increase the opportunity to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Regular walking and playing with your pets can decrease stress, anxiety, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels which improves cardiovascular health. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship. People with pets are more calm and relaxed.
The benefits of pets for older adults is that they can find meaning and joy in their life, they maintain a social network, and it can also boost their vitality. Pets can also help adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by decreasing stress, a source of positive nonverbal communication that leads to decreased aggressive behaviour.
There are also benefits of pets for children. Children who grow up with pets have less risk of allergies and asthma. They learn responsibility, compassion, and empathy. Pets can also ease separation anxiety for the child when the parents aren’t around. Kids who are emotionally attached to their pets are better able to build relationships with other people. Having a pet can also stimulate a child’s imagination and curiosity.
Animals are becoming apart of our lives more than they ever have been and it is really good to know that humans and animals are both benefitting from the interactions of Human/Animal bonding.
I recently got a new kitten, her name is Velvet. She is so cute with her giant eyes!
Before I got Velvet, I had to plan what all she needs and how much it will cost so that I could be prepared. I also thought about medical expenses like vaccines, dewormer, and spaying. Puppies and kittens should be dewormed each month when they get their first round of vaccines and at least twice annually after that. Deworm your pets more often if they are outside, mousing, or have not been dewormed in a while. It is not uncommon for kittens and puppies to have worms passed from their mom.
Velvet is a long haired cat so I knew I needed to get some brushes to discourage matting and I will probably want to give her some preventative hairball treats. I made sure to get her a large litter box that will be one and a half to two times the size she will be full grown. Right now she eats Purina Essential Care Kitten food which is a food and company I trust, and that is really important to me as a pet owner. Velvet will be fully vaccinated and dewormed because it is my obligation to ensure she stays safe and the necessary preventatives be taken.
Velvet is a crazy little kitten. She has learnt that she can climb up the back of the couch. This is something I do not want to encourage. It is important that I keep her nails trimmed and also know how to trim nails. If you don’t know how to trim your pet’s nails let me know, I will help you.
It is important to provide enrichment for Velvet so she doesn’t get destructive when I am at work so I got her a cat tree and plenty of toys. I also want to get her a window seat so then she has her own spot in the house. Did you know that animals feel anxiety when they don’t have a designated spot just for them?
When Velvet is about 6 months old, she will be spayed and will also be switched to the Purina Dental Health food to help reduce plaque and tartar on her teeth. Let’s be honest this is better than trying to brush your cat’s teeth!
There is a lot to think about when getting a new puppy or kitten. It is easy to get wrapped up in the cuteness of a new baby but it is important to remember the great responsibility that you are taking on being a pet parent. A good way to save on some costs is to look on Buy and Sell sites for gently used or free items. It is always good to potentially reuse items that other people don't need anymore but you cannot rely on others to give you everything you will need and there are other expenses like vaccines, deworming, and neutering/spaying to be planned for as well. A kitten or puppy won't cost you as much as a baby but they are still pretty expensive cuties.
Do you have worms?
1. Puppies and kittens need to be dewormed more often than adult animals. We recommend once a month for three consecutive months at the same time as their vaccine series.
2. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Fecal flotations can be done to check for eggs.
3. Some factors that increase exposure are being outdoors, in contact with other cats or dogs, and travelling.
4. Children, the elderly, pregnant woman, cancer patients, diabetics, and anyone else with a suppressed immune system are at greater risk of contracting worms from their pets.
5. Some species can survive in temperatures below -30°C. Intestinal roundworms produce 10,000 eggs every day. These eggs have a thick crust which protects them from the elements.
6. The more common intestinal parasites in Alberta are ascarids (roundworms), tapeworms, and giardia, intestinal protozoa which causes “beaver fever” in humans. 25-75% of cats have roundworms and higher percentage in kittens. Roundworms and tapeworms are infectious to humans as well.
When dogs and cats are heavily infested with internal parasites they may vomit them up or can expel them through feces. Diarrhea may be seen as well. Owners usually remember to deworm their dogs, but cats can sometimes get overlooked. If they are indoor cats they still need to be dewormed.
There are easy steps to take to lower the risk of infection of your pets, your family and yourself:
Join me in learning a few tips about being the best owner that you possibly can be.