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:
Keeping your pet's nails trimmed is part of their regular care and grooming. Many pets don't like this task but because it is necessary, we have to get it done. If your pet has a hard time with nail trims, give some of these techniques a try.
Pairing a neutral stimulus (nail trimmers) with an unconditioned stimulus (treats) will eventually produce a conditioned stimulus (nail trimmers) causing a conditioned response (happiness and excitement).
Is a way for pets to consent and let us know they would like to participate. It is taught using positive reinforcement. The pet can ALWAYS leave. Treats are often tossed off the station (yoga mat) throughout sessions to ensure the pet chooses to come back. Tricks are not taught on the mat because the mat is used so the pet associates it with treats. Eventually they will also associate you getting the nail clippers and preforming the task with a good quality treat.
This is a visual guide on where to cut your pet’s nails to help you out.
Here is a great video demonstrating how to make trimming nails a positive experience.
Here are some nail trimming tips.
It may take some time to get your pet conditioned to getting their paws touched and their nails trimmed. Here at the clinic we try our best to use a Fear Free approach and give plenty of treats along the way. We also have started a nail trim reward card, get five nail trims and get the sixth one free!
If you have a cat or dog that gets stressed this is a post you will need to read! I wanted to share these products with pet owners because they are like Pepto-Bismol, everybody should have them in their medicine cabinet. In each feline stress pack there will be a 1/2 cup of Platinum Performance Bio-Sponge, 3 packets of Purina FortiFlora SA, and 2 packets of Purina Hydra Care. In each canine stress pack there will be a 1/2 cup of Platinum Performance Bio-Sponge and 3 packets of Purina FortiFlora SA. We have kept these packages very affordable so owners can have them on hand when needed.
It is good to use Bio-Sponge when your cats or dogs or other animals have diarrhea because it can easily cause dehydration. FortiFlora is a good product to use to prevent diarrhea or vomiting which is seen with gastric upset.
FortiFlora SA Synbiotic Action is a supplement that contains a powerful prebiotic and probiotic combination to support your pet’s GI health, with probiotics to nourish your pet’s gut and prebiotics (psyllium) to support a healthy microbiome. In college we used this product once a day for the first 3 days upon arrival to the clinic for the SPCA cats and dogs. This product can be used during a time of stress where we may see diarrhea or used preemptively for stressful times. It also can be added to food to increase palatability when your pet may not want to eat a meal.
Hydra Care is a nutrient-enriched water that promotes hydration in cats. It contains nutritional osmolytes, which aid in the absorption of water at a cellular level and helps cats get the hydration they need. With an easy-to-feed pouch and an enticing liver flavour, simply pour it in a third bowl and let your cat enjoy! This product also is shown to decrease your cats urine specific gravity which would be high if the urine is concentrated. Concentrated urine can lead to urinary crystals and stone formation. Sometimes when cats are very scared and have been moved to a new household they may not want to eat or drink. Hydra Care has been well liked by the shelter cats that we house.
These products are great to have on hand because you never know when your pet is going to have stress diarrhea or other gastric upset symptoms.
A raw food diet usually includes raw muscle meat, organ meat, and ground bones. It also can contain vegetables, fruits, and some dairy. The most common proteins in cat raw food are chicken, egg, and fish. Although raw diets may seem to resemble a wild diet it may not be suitable for our domestic cats and dogs who often have a much longer life expectancy than their "wild ancestors".
Myths about Raw Diets
1. Many people believe raw chicken, fish and eggs have more protein and higher nutrient content and that the cooking process reduces those nutrients, but this isn’t true
2. Better digestibility is another perceived benefit of raw diets. This has not been proven by any scientific studies, in fact, some cooking processes may even make certain foods more digestible and nutrients more available than they were raw.
3. Claim health benefits such as improved digestion, firmer stool, healthier skin and coats, and nutrition more akin to the “wild diet,” very few of these claims are supported by published research.
When choosing a diet, it’s essential to look for formulas that are complete and balanced. Although commercially prepared raw food diets may be complete and balanced, the raw food prepared at home probably won’t be. If you are considering feeding raw food, we want to make sure your pet is getting all the nutrients they need through both their food and supplements. If not, cats are at a higher risk of developing nutrient deficiencies, like thiamine, which can affect nerve, brain and metabolism function. Nutrient deficiencies in both cats and dogs can also affect bone health and development.
Are Raw Foods Safe?
- Any bones not completely ground up could cause intestinal blockages or even lacerations.
- Risk of nutrient deficiencies
- More likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. These food-borne pathogens can cause a variety of problems, including diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, the results can be fatal. These bacteria aren’t just a risk for your pets, they also pose a threat to you and your entire family.
Your pets can spread the bacteria from food either by grooming/licking and then interacting with you or through feces. Reduce the spread of bacteria by using gloves when handling the raw food and thoroughly cleaning the prep surfaces.
This link goes over what percentage of each type of food makes up a raw diet.
I personally do not feed my dogs or cats raw food diets because of the risks of nutrient deficiencies and illnesses, but what you feed your pet is ultimately a personal choice. I recommend talking with your Veterinarian and RVT if a raw diet is something you are thinking about implementing or want more information about.
Freya came in to get her DAPP vaccine, which is the core vaccine for dogs, and her Rabies vaccine. Before Dr. Melissa sees Freya, the RVT does an initial exam. This consists of getting a heart rate, a respiratory rate, and a temperature via ear thermometer. This video is representing a Fear Free initial examination. Freya is on the ground during the exam because dogs feel more comfortable on the ground rather than on the exam table. Generally, owners don't allow their dogs on the table at home, so it is very unnatural for them to be placed on ours. You can see in the video that I get Freya to smell the thermometer and stethoscope before I use them. This allows her to see it’s not dangerous and there’s nothing to be afraid of. She is too busy eating the delicious treats that Christie is continuously feeding her! We love giving cats and dogs treats during their visits and we even have hypoallergenic ones.
Because Freya is still small she goes on the exam table with a towel underneath for some traction. We don’t put large or extra large dogs on the table, but medium and small dogs and cats go on the table so the veterinarian can examine and vaccinate the animal easier and more efficiently. Dr. Melissa comes in and does a full physical exam on Freya and if there are no concerns we proceed with the vaccinations. Our clinic has now switched to using a non slip mat instead of the towels because we find the towels are still pretty slippery for the animals. The thing Freya was most upset about during her vaccinations was that I wasn’t able to feed her the treats fast enough!
We try to take a Fear Free approach to all appointments and we currently have three staff members with their Fear Free Certification.
Depending on what surgery your pet received, the Veterinarian might recommend they wear a cone. There are a few different options that I have come across.
The first one is a hard stiff plastic and can come opaque or clear. As a pet owner I would be resistant to use an opaque cone because I do not like the fact the cat or dog can not see what is happening around them. It is unnatural for their peripheral vision to be blocked. Some struggles with the hard plastic cones is that they can break easily and the pet may stumble into things they normally would not have before. A major downfall of hard plastic cones is the pet can have difficulty eating and drinking with it on.
There are clear hard plastic cones that are a bit more Fear Free.
These soft material cones are what we have started using when appropriate. The pet can eat and drink with them on and can see through the window slits.
These inflatable cones are another option. The idea with these ones are that the pet can’t turn their head enough to lick the area. These might be good for incisions on the shoulder or back but are not recommended for foot or leg injuries.
There are other alternatives as well. These shirts can be great for cats or dogs that refuse to eat or drink when they have a cone on. They are a better option then no cone.
This dog got a Fear Free cone from the clinic! Did I mention they can also be washed?
There are many cone options and alternatives. we like to choose which one the pet will tolerate the most.
My family has raised goats for many years. I really enjoyed having goats because I could help out more on the farm. The part I liked the most was when we were having babies.
Intact male over a year old= buck
Intact male under a year old= buckling
Castrated male of any age= wether
Female over a year old= doe
Female under a year old= doeling
Baby goat= kid
Goat giving birth= kidding
Nanny and Billy are not the correct terms to use. Goats can have 1-6 babies! Twins are ideal even for first time kidders. This is because goats have two quadrants to their udder with two teats. It can be nerve racking your first kidding season because there is so much to learn. If owners can have basic knowledge then it will help in the long run.
This is our small ruminant birthing kit at the clinic so then we are prepared for any situation. It is responsible for goat or sheep owners to make a ‘ready to go kit’ as well.
There can be many different positions that the kid(s) can be in. Most of the time owners should not need to assist with the labour. It should take 30-45 minutes of active pushing for the doe to deliver her first kid. Usually once the first kid is out it will take less time to deliver the others. First time kidders may take longer. If there is no kid after 45 minutes then you will need to wash your hands really well, put on some OB gloves (the ones that go up to your shoulders) and put regular latex gloves over top. We put them on in this order to form the shape of your hand and to get some grip. OB gloves are also one size fits no one! After that you want to put lots of lube on your hand and reach in gently. It takes practice to recognize kidding positions. Ideally the kid should present with its front feet stretched out in front with its head in between (like Superman). I recommend feeling for legs first, gently pull a leg out and hold it with your non dominant hand. With your free hand, feel up the leg and try to determine if you feel a shoulder or neck or if it’s the hind end. If it is a front leg the bottom part of the hoof will be facing the ground and it will be facing the sky if it is a back leg. When the hind end presents first it is important to find legs before pulling. Once you have found two back legs and you are confident that they belong to the closest kid you want to gently pull in a downward motion as the doe pushes. The issue that arises with hind end or breech births is that the umbilical cord can break off from the fetus while the kid’s head is still inside leading to distress.
If at any point during the labour you feel too overwhelmed be sure to call the Vet.
Pet obesity is a chronic disease with serious consequences like diabetes, fatty liver syndrome, skin disease, urinary tract disease, and arthritis. We say it is a chronic disease because it is something the owners and pets live with. Owners must be aware that their pets are prone to obesity and could be again if changes are not made. Scottie has been dealing with weight issues for a few years now.
Scottie’s owner brought him to the clinic in August 2020. At that time, I talked to her about the importance of weight loss for Scottie and his friend Charlie (after all, it is always better to have a work out partner!). Scottie started his weight loss journey weighing in at fifteen pounds while a Chihuahua’s ideal weight should be closer to 9lbs. The end goal is not just to get down to an ideal weight but to look and feel better.
There are a few things that I take into consideration when I make a weight loss program for a pet. Each animal and household is different, so it is best to learn about the owners and pets daily schedule and lifestyle. To be successful, I need to make a program that is suitable and easy for the owner. Body condition scoring can be easily taught to owners to be able to track their pets progress at home.
Body conditioning is based on a scale from one to five. One being underweight, three being ideal, over three bring overweight, and five being obese. This scale can also go from one to nine and five is ideal. The areas we look for to decide the scoring is the amount of fat coverage over the ribs and a distinct waistline.
Scottie came back to the clinic for weight check-ins periodically and I would address the owner’s concerns or worries as well. I check in on my weight loss program patients weekly for the first few weeks and then monthly after that. This personal interaction can help with success because it can be very frustrating for the owner. To get Scottie to his goal, his owner took him and his work out partner on walks, gave vegetables as treats, and stuck to the diet plan. Will Power is what got Scottie’s owner through the journey.
Scottie came in to the clinic at the end of March and he weighed nine pounds. Scottie lost six pounds total and that is a huge success for a small breed dog! It took a lot of work and perseverance from Scottie’s owner.
Scottie now has a defined waistline and is a perfect 3/5 for body condition score. He is also more active and loves running around with the other dogs at home. His hair coat is also very shiny so I know that is a good indication of health.
Treat dispensing toys are great for extra enrichment for cats and dogs. The pictured toys are filled with frozen, mashed banana, dog food, and then sealed with peanut butter. Our dogs love them!
The great thing about these treat toys is they can be filled with many different things like spray cheese, frozen vegetables, and liver paste, just to mention a few. Some pet owners will bring their own treat dispensing toys to their appointment for vaccines or nail trims. This is a great way to distract the animal for the procedures being done.
Apple Pie Toy Filling Recipe
• 1 apple (cored and diced)
• Cornstarch to thicken
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/3 cup apple juice
Combine ingredients and heat in microwave or on stove top until liquid is gone. Then stuff the toy.
If your pet is overweight you can put their regular kibble in a treat ball to encourage more activity to get the food out. There are also treat mazes and puzzles to occupy your cat or dog.
These enrichment toys are great for dogs that are kennelled or when you’re not around. This is helpful for preventing or dealing with separation anxiety.
Any other year, owners would be able to be with their pets when they come in to the veterinary clinic but Covid has changed that. I realize it might be hard to not be there when your puppy or kitten gets their first vaccines, although I want to assure you that our staff is taking excellent care of your pets. Our clinic has a good understanding of Fear Free and we use that knowledge to make your pet feel comfortable even when their owner is not present.
When your pet comes in we offer many treats and have a variety for them to choose from. We even have treats for dogs with allergies!
We put a towel on our exam table to make the surface less slippery for your pet. If your cat comes in a carrier that is top loading or the top easily comes off we can even do a full physical examination with them laying in the bottom of their carrier where they feel less nervous. We give lots of pets and belly rubs as well.
It is important to us to make sure your pet is treated like part of the family because we know they are an important part of yours.
Join me in learning a few tips about being the best owner that you possibly can be.