TICKS! Why do we have to worry about them now?

Ticks can bite from 4 degrees Celsius and above. If spring comes early then ticks may show up earlier than in past years. Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease that are very dangerous for our canine companions.

How to protect our dogs from Tick Borne Diseases?

    1. Reduce tick exposure

   2. Check for, and promptly remove ticks

   3. Use tick preventive medications

   4. Vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease.

Talk to your veterinary team about your dogs lifestyle and therefore risks in our area.  They will be able to provide you with specific details as to the best preventative options in your situation. A great web site for further information about this and other diseases of risk to our pets is www.wormsandgermsblog.com.

Christmas Trees and Pets

Many people have concerns with holiday decorations but most questions are to do with Christmas trees.

  1. plan location - near a plug so no long electrical cords and not in centre area so will not get knocked over.
  2. prepare area - put down plastic bag to catch needles for easy clean up lowering risk of chewing them.
  3. secure the tree - cats climb and dogs run into things - lowers that risk.
  4. hide electric cords to prevent chewing, electrocution, tripping.
  5. no hooks - some pets chew these.
  6. safe ornaments - pets may consider these toys.
  7. ribbons and tinsel can be ingested causing obstructions.
  8. presents - do not put wrapped food under the tree that could be chewed up…especially chocolate!
  9. supervise - many pets will not have issues with trees but some need more supervision than others!

If you have any questions about your holiday decorations, please contact your veterinary team.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar substitute and is extremely toxic to dogs. It does occur naturally but when used commercially the concentration is too high for dogs to handle and can cause a low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and even death.  Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gum, candies, baked goods, cough syrup, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, some peanut-butters and many other products. Signs of Xylitol poisoning may include, weakness, vomiting, depression, tremors, other. Exposure seems to be on the rise due to increased use in products. Please keep these products away your dog and check with your veterinary team if you have any concerns.

Is it too early in the year to start thinking of parasites?

Never!  It may seem like spring will never come but mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and other assorted bugs are on their way.   Speak to your veterinary team about canine and feline heart worm, intestinal parasites and flea risks as well as tick born diseases which have been on the rise in our area over the last several years.  Pets lifestyles are different and a proper control program for one of our furry friends may differ from what another may need. Make sure your are ready for the warmth that is coming and make a proper parasite plan with your veterinarian. 

For more information on this and other animal diseases check out a wonderful web site http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/

What causes cat or dog nasal discharge?

Clear discharge can be normal and be based on exercise and environment but if your animal experiences increased discharge, especially if coloured then an infection is the most likely cause.  This can be bacterial, fungal or viral depending on the situation. Foreign objects (grass, slivers, other) stuck in the nose can create irritation and  infection and allergic disease is also possible. Bloody discharge is usually a traumatic situation but a mass in the nose is also seen on occasion.  Getting a diagnosis may be very simple such as in some infections situations, or very complex in some foreign object situations or masses. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the problem. Any discharge that is different from normal should be assessed.

Winter Weather Tips

Combat the Cold: As the winter weather sets in, don't forget your canine companions may need a little extra attention. Here are some easy tips to combat the cold.

Toenails: Keep an eye on your dog's toenails. When the ground is covered in snow, the surface is less abrasive and will not wear down your dog's toenails as quickly as during warmer months. Check them every two weeks and trim as needed. Frequent trimmings of small portions are better than less frequent, larger clippings.

Salt Residue: If you live where salt is used on the roads, sidewalks and other areas, examine your dog's feet after exposure and wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any salt residue. Salt will dry out your dog's pads and cause cracking.

Snow Build-Up: Snow and ice often build up between dogs' toes. It is helpful to trim any excess fur that is growing on the bottom of your dog's feet. Do not remove hair between the toes, but do remove any hair that is overlapping the pads or that is long and sticking up. This will reduce the amount of snow/ice buildup and will also improve your dog's traction on slick surfaces.

Hypothermia Concerns: Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can result in a drop in body temperature, especially if your dog is wet. Signs of hypothermia may include intense shivering, listlessness, and a rectal temperature below 97degrees Fahrenheit. To treat, wrap your dog in a warm blanket and bring indoors. If wet, rub vigorously with dry towels until your dog is dry. You can also use warm packs (at baby bottle temperature) and place them in your dog's armpits, and on their chest and abdomen. A hair dryer may also be used. As your dog warms make sure water and food are available.

Strains and Sprains: Slipping and sliding on slick surfaces can lead to muscle sprains and strains. If you see your dog slip and then notice him/her favouring a limb, you may want to check for a pulled muscle or similar injury. Palpate the suspect area and keep an eye peeled for any reaction that may indicate an injury. If you identify a strained muscle you can treat it by alternating cold and hot packs for 20 minutes each. Muscle strains take weeks to heal properly so minimize activity during this time.

Hydration: Winter humidity levels are often lower than the warmer months, both inside and outside the home. These lower humidity levels will result in your dog losing more fluids during the normal course of activity. Keep clean, fresh water available at all times. Add water to your dog's food and encourage water consumption as much as possible.

Why pick up dog poop?

I have been asked recently about the importance of picking up after our dogs on walks and also have had numerous conversations about the fact that more and more people seem to be not picking up their dogs poop. This is especially evident in the winter and the snow melts we can truly see how much dog poop there is out there! Walking dogs in parks people say things like ‘well as long as it is not on the path!’. Funny thing about this is that other dogs also go off the path and what do they hone in on - other wonderful smells like dog poop!

Picking up poop is firstly a good part of responsible pet ownership. It is also just being a good neighbour whether you are walking in a neighbourhood or using a public space that other people use (park or trail).

Secondly - what can dogs transmit through their stool? Here are the main few:

1. parasites; hook worms and round worms especially.
2. bacteria including Clostridium, Salmonella and Campylobacter and some of the so called superbugs such as MRSP - this is actually becoming more commonly found.

The above are all things that can infect other dogs as well as people. Be proactive. Clean up after your own dog. Be a responsible pet owner and a good neighbor and please remember to wash your hands. 

Winter Risks for Animals

What are winter risks for animals?

1. Hypothermia. If it is too cold for us to stay out for long, remember that animals will get cold as well. Some dogs and cats do great in the winter but all need access to shelter. Ask you veterinarian what would be too cold for your particular animal.
2. Injuries - slipping on the ice or cutting pads/legs on crusty/icy snow is common. Monitor the environment where your animals walk and play.
3. Toxins - exposure to antifreeze is much easier in the winter because we are using it so much. Keep this out of all animals access.
4. Increased ingestion of road salt can cause issues and if walking in high use areas, rinse your pets feet off with warm water when coming inside. Dry well.
5. Do not let animals run across open bodies of water even if thought to be frozen.
6. Weight gain. This may not be an obvious winter risk but more animals gain weight over the winter through inactivity and more treats. Try to keep calories controlled and keep exercise up. This will make your pet happier and healthier.

Enjoy the winter!

Holiday Hours

Following are our hours for the upcoming Christmas break:

December 24: 8am-1pm
December 25: Closed
December 26: Closed
December 27-30: Normal hours
December 31: 8am-3pm
January 1: Closed

If you have a companion animal emergency, please call the Ottawa Carleton Veterinary Emergency Clinic at (613)745-0123

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the doctors and staff of Osgoode Veterinary Services!!

New Veterinary Emergency Clinic Open Soon!

We are very excited to announce the upcoming opening of our sister emergency hospital later this week. 

The Ottawa-Carleton Veterinary Emergency Hospital is a co-operatively owned state-of-the-art after-hours emergency and intensive-care facility. Located at 1155 Lola Street, just off the 417 at Vanier Parkway behind the baseball stadium, it will be an easily accessible clinic for everyone in the region.

There are twenty-six partner clinics, whose goal is to provide the same level of compassionate and personal care that we strive to provide in our own hospitals. Your pet will be treated as one of our own by experienced critical-care doctors and staff, who will be responsible for meticulous continuity of care between the emergency facility and member hospitals.

We will work to make what can often be a stressful visit out-of-hours as uncomplicated and manageable as possible for both you and your pet.

The opening of the hospital will be announced via our answering machine, website, clinic newsletters, and the media, and you will be directed to this hospital in the event of an emergency after hours. Your pet will return to our clinic for ongoing care the next day, should it be required.

If you have any questions about the Ottawa-Carleton Veterinary Emergency Hospital please ask Drs Sparling, Kitchen or Blundell or any of our staff. We are very pleased to be a part of this new venture, and will be very happy to receive feedback from your experiences there.

Health Issues for Indoor Cats

A quote I read recently is that there are more cats kept in western households than any other animal (Dennis Turner)! The belief is that an indoor cat is far safer than an outdoor cat and while contact with viruses is definitely less (but not nil) and injuries are definitely less, indoor cats are still prone to several possible problems. Boredom and obesity are the most common. Interactive toys, play time with owners, other pets in the house and proper balanced nutrition are keys to keeping behaviour problems and weight issues under control. Parasites may be picked up from the soil of potted plants and fleas may still be an issue if rodents are in the house or other pets are going in and out. Fecal examinations for parasites such as roundworms and inspecting our cats skin and coat on a regular basis are important tools to help monitor for these issues. Nail problems may occur more frequently in indoor cats as they are not scratching on as many things as outdoor cats. Various scratching posts being available and trimming nails regularly solves this issue. Hairballs are usually more frequent as well and brushing is the key to success here but certain diets and treats are helpful tools as well. All households are different and cat's personalities are quite varied. Speak with your veterinary care team about what may be risks and benefits for your indoor cat.

Are pets sensitive to the heat?

Every year veterinary clinics deal with heat stroke cases that are usually avoidable.  A basic comment is that if it is too warm for you it is too warm for your pet.

Tips to help:

1) always allow access to water for drinking.
2) if animals need to be outside, make sure they have shade available
3) keep indoors in very hot weather if at all possible
4) do not leave animals in vehicles unattended for ANY length of time
5) if have to be outside, cool down by using hose or buckets of water or take for a swim.
6) exercise early in the morning or evening when it is cooler outside.

Enjoy the summer and be safe!

 

 

Pet Food Recall

Recently there has been a large  pet food recall from Diamond Pet Foods (diamondpet.com).  This company manufactures many brands of pet foods sold in most retail stores. If your are feeding a diet sold anywhere other than a veterinary clinic I urge you to go to the above web site and verify if your diet is on the recall list.  Food safety is in the forefront these days in both human and animal health.  When purchasing a diet for your pet, discuss nutritional needs and benefits with either a certified canine or feline nutritionist or your veterinary team. These individuals have been trained in pet nutrition and have access to specialists in the industry.  They can guide you through the marketing quagmire and make sure you understand the information on pet food labels (which is often unclear) and discuss the safety implications of certain choices.  Once you have done your research with your pet care team, make sure your food company has proper safety protocols in place that are followed stringently. Some companies are excellent and readily share information with veterinary clinics. Also, make sure your food company is transparent about their nutritional information.  Why purchase a product from a company that is not willing to share information with you so that you are able to make an informed choice?

Travel Tips for Pets with Car Sickness

Summer travel time brings more car sickness questions. Here are a few tips to help:

Avoid feeding a few hours prior to travel.
Get animals used to car travel with short trips prior to long ones.
Frequent stops for bathroom, water and exercise breaks.
Car harnesses or crates create more comforting environments for many pets.
Less stress is best.
For certain pets, anti-nausea or anti-anxiety products may be necessary.

Talk to your veterinary team for specific tips to help your pet overcome either travel anxiety or travel nausea issues.

Dental X-rays for Animals?

This allows analysis of teeth roots which allows a decision to be made if the tooth requires extraction or not, was an extraction completely successful or is further surgery needed.  Extractions are traumatic and if a tooth is healthy, should not be done. The only way to know for certain is with dental films (just like human dentistry). Ask your veterinary team about dental x-rays whenever your pet is undergoing a dentistry or anesthesia.  This is a wonderful, low cost diagnostic tool that hopefully will lower anesthetic time, unnecessary surgery or allow a missed infection to be found.  

Christmas Hours

This holiday season, we will be closed the following days: December 24, 25, 26, 31 and January 1. All other hours are as usual. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Winter Safety for Pets

Winter is once again approaching.  As the environment changes so do risks for our animals. Frostbite is seen every year in most vet clinics.  If animals are outdoor animals then proper shelter and warmth should be provided. Cleaning snow, salt and sand from out pets feet will help prevent irritation.  Neighborhood cats and wildlife love to climb into a parked car engine due to its warmth. Bang on the hood before starting your car to wake any sleeping critter. Antifreeze is very toxic and spills should be cleaned up right away.  Exercise for out pets is still very important but being careful in icy areas can prevent some injuries from ruining an otherwise wonderful winter walk.  For more information, contact your veterinary care team.

The holidays are also around the corner. Common injuries occur with some pets and Christmas trees or decorations.  Ingestion of wrapping material, new toys, getting into the garbage for good tasting things and access to chocolate can all be concerning.  Make your house a happy and safe holiday environment for you and your pet.  

Why Does My Pet's Breath Smell?

Eating feces, cleaning anal glands, disease issue such as kidney disease can all potentially cause bad breath but the number one reason is dental disease.  Often veterinarians are presented with a case of what is believed to be a skin problem but in reality is a dental issue and since the animal is cleaning themselves they are spreading this smell over their coat.  Have your pets teeth checked yearly during their annual exam.  Certain animals may require a dental exam at 6 month intervals to monitor progression properly.  Prevention is the most important thing we as pet owners can do.  Talk to your veterinary care team about prevention options for your specific pet.

Closed Labour Day

In order to allow our staff to spend more time with their families and catch some of the fading days of summer, we will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2011 for Labour Day.

If you have a companion animal emergency, please call either Alta Vista Animal Hospital (613) 731-6851 or Ottawa Veterinary Hospital (613) 729-6139.

Happy Labour Day!


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