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Hot Paws

As well as heat exhaustion, this weather can also be dangerous to your pet’s paws. The pavement outside can get extremely hot in this summer heat. If you went outside without sandals or shoes, you would find that you wouldn’t be able to walk far before burning the bottoms of your feet. Although your dog’s feet are tougher than yours, they can burn on hot pavement, too.

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“Ouch, it’s hot!”

 

Signs of footpad burns:

  • Limping
  • Licking or chewing at feet
  • Pads darker in some areas
  • Blisters or redness on the pad
  • Bleeding or oozing fluid from the pad
  • Missing part of the pad
  • Refusing to walk

 

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An example of happy, healthy footpads.

 

Ways to prevent footpad burns:

  • Walk on the grassy or shaded side of the street
  • Have your dog wear socks or shoes to protect their feet
  • Don’t go for a walk on hot pavement after long periods of swimming (footpads will be softened and become more susceptible to burns)
  • Don’t stop and stand in once place for long on hot pavement
  • Lay down a blanket for your dog to stand on while loading things into your vehicle on a hot summer day
  • Apply protective footpad ointment before walks
  • Go for walks early in the morning and later in the evening if possible

 

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Diesel modelling his Muttluks to protect his footpads on the hot pavement (oops, it looks like we lost one bootie on the way out the door for the photo shoot!).

 

If your dog has burned their footpads, flush the paws with cool water immediately and gently dry the area with a soft towel. Your dog should see their veterinarian to determine if pain medication or antibiotics are needed. Use a bandage, sock or special shoe to keep the paws clean, dry and comfortable until the affected pad areas have healed.

 

If it is too hot for your bare feet out there, it is also too hot for your dog’s paws!

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“How do these shoes look?” -Diesel

 

 

 

Hairball Central

Any cat owner out there knows that there is a point in time where they will get the pleasure of shockingly stepping onto a gooey, slimy and squishy (and usually cold by the time your foot finds it!) hairball on the floor at home. Not only are hairballs unpleasant for owners to clean up, but they can also be harmful to your cat if they aren’t vomited back up. Hairballs moving through the digestive tract can sometimes cause a lack of appetite, lethargy, constipation, diarrhea or even intestinal blockages.

When your cat works on the task of grooming, their loose and dead hair catches on the hooks on their tongue and then gets swallowed. A majority of this hair is able to pass through the digestive tract without issue. Sometimes though, some of the hair remains in the stomach and forms a hairball. In an ideal world, your cat will vomit the hairball on an easy to clean surface in an area that you won’t step on it with your bare feet. In the real world… it doesn’t always go that way!

What can you do to help keep your cat’s hairballs to a minimum?

  1. Groom your cat regularly. The more grooming work you do for them, the less they will have to do themselves. Grooming also allows time for you and your cat to bond.
  2. Feed your cat a diet that promotes healthy skin and hair coats. These diets will minimize the amount of shedding your cat does.
  3. Discourage excessive and compulsive grooming. Cats that are bored may turn to grooming as an activity to pass time. Find some fun toys that your cat will enjoy playing with.
  4. Give an anti-hairball or laxative product to your cat. There are many products available which help promote hairball movement through your cat’s digestive tract. Some cats need to be given these supplements once weekly.
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This extremely long hairball came out of our clinic cat, Celine!

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Celine enjoys relaxing in the blanket baskets while watching us all hard at work.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy

Exciting news! We now offer a variety of regenerative medicine options for your dogs experiencing painful or restricted movement throughout their day-to-day lives. These procedures are still quite new, but have already been showing positive changes and results with our patients who have undergone treatment. Platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritic or otherwise injured joints or to help heal damaged muscle, ligaments, and tendons. It is amazing to see how far veterinary medicine has come.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): A sufficient volume of blood is collected from the patient and the platelet fraction (high in growth factors and molecules to help facilitate reduction of inflammation) is harvested and injected into the affected joint(s). PRP provides pain relief for arthritic joints for as long as 9 months. It is a mildly invasive procedure.

Stem Cell Therapy: Stem cells are harvested from bone marrow or fat tissue of the patient. Stem cells have the ability to repair any type of tissue they introduced into. Stem cells work more efficiently when combined with PRP. Stem cells have the ability to regenerate damaged tendons and ligaments. This therapy can provide pain relief for as long as 11 months. It is a moderately invasive procedure.

One of our staff pets, a 7-year-old spayed female Siberian Husky, underwent PRP injections into her hips today. Her name is Maquita. She has had a history of hind end lameness after exercise. Radiographs revealed she does have arthritis developing in her left and right hip joints. She has had multiple chiropractic and acupuncture treatments in the past, which did help alleviate the pain and inflammation but did not help to facilitate long-term arthritis relief. She also needed to be given an oral anti-inflammatory medication as needed to help control the pain. We are excited to watch the progress of her recovery after her PRP therapy.

Click here for more information about veterinary regenerative medicine.

Maquita recovering uneventfully after undergoing PRP injection therapy into her left and right hip joints.

Maquita recovering nicely after undergoing PRP injection therapy into her left and right hip joints.

Frogwatch

Have you recently been for a walk around the Four Lakes trail in Squamish, B.C.? Have you noticed the “Toad Alley” sign, just before coming to the trail to Edith Lake? This area is a perfect breeding ground for Western Toads. It provides the toads with a perfect wet and forested environment.

Toad Habitat

In this little area, there were hundreds of eggs, tadpoles and toadlets. They camouflage well into the dirt and mud so you really have to stop and focus your eyes – then you notice the whole area is crawling with life!

Adult Western Toads range in colour from pale green to gray, dark brown and even red. They often have pale coloured bellies and a pale stripe down their backs. These toads have gold-flecked eyes and horizontal oval pupils. The males are generally smaller than the females. Western Toad eggs look like small black pearls. The tadpoles hatch from the eggs and are black or dark gray in colour. The tadpoles metamorphose into toadlets that look like miniature adult toads (they are actually kind of cute!). Their diet consists of a variety of insects and invertebrates.

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Look at this large pile of eggs and tadpoles!

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An island full of toad lets! Shall we make a guess on how many are in this one small area?

Western Toads are protected under the B.C. Wildlife Act. It is important to continue researching these toads to identify their breeding sites and assess habitat requirements to protect the species. There are programs set in place to help track the Western Toad population.

For more information, please visit the B.C. Frogwatch Program website. In the meantime, take a little walk around the Four Lakes trail and be on the lookout for toads!

Toadlet in water

Can you spot the toadlet?

Check the Chip

As well as a tag on your pet’s collar with their name and your contact information, it is recommended that your pet also have a microchip. Microchips provide a permanent tamper proof method of identification for your pet. It will not fade over time or become illegible as can occur with a tattoo and it won’t fall off like an ID tag potentially could.

A microchip can be the life saving connection between you and your lost pet. They are implanted between the shoulder blades. They can sometimes migrate down the shoulders or up around the neck area, but all kennel staff, veterinary staff, shelter staff and animal control staff are trained and equipped to scan all areas of animals found.

Microchip Readers

There are many different styles of microchip readers available. Most are able to scan any type of universal microchip.

 

A microchip reader is waved over the animal until the unique microchip number appears on the screen. This unique number can then be searched on a database and the pet’s owner contact information can be found. The lost pet can then be returned safe and sound.

A microchip is no bigger in size than a grain of rice. It is made of a material that will not be rejected by your pet’s body and will not irritate your pet at all. It is implanted below the skin using a large gauge needle. It is a quick process and can be done on your pet while they are awake or while they are having an anesthetic or sedation for surgery or other treatments. It doesn’t hurt much more than having a vaccine administered.

Microchips

Each microchip comes in its own sterile packaging.

To make this microchip blog more exciting, below are some photos of X-rays of animals with microchips implanted. Can you see them?

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Hmm, what is that bright white object above the spine?

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Occasionally, a microchip may migrate down to the shoulder blade area.

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Can you spot the microchip?

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Yay! Another microchipped pet!

Safe Pets = Happy Pets = Safe and Happy Halloween!

Below are a few tips to help keep your furry family members in one piece this Halloween:

1. Trick-or-Treat

Keep your pets from getting into your Halloween candy stash! Both chocolate and candies (including the wrappers!) can be dangerous for your pets to ingest. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures. Candy containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause vomiting, sudden drops in blood sugar, loss of coordination and seizures. Tricks may be for pets, but keep the treats for the humans only.

Jenga Candy

2. Safe and Sound Indoors

It is best to keep your pets inside on Halloween. Firecrackers, excessive traffic and large crowds of people may startle your pets. Avoid the danger of having your pet run away and get lost or hit by a car. Many people still find it entertaining to tease, injure and steal pets on Halloween. Unfortunately, black cats are still the main targets of these pranks. Keep your pets safe and sound inside your home for Halloween.

Jenga Front Door

3. Playing With Fire

Be careful with lit candles around your pets. Should they get too close, they could end up burning themselves or knocking the candles over and causing a fire. Make sure electrical cords for Halloween decorations don’t become toys for your pets. Chewing on them can cause life-threatening electrical shock or start house fires. Your pets may not realize that if they play with fire, they will get burned.

Jenga Cords

4. Check IDs

Before the big night, double and triple check that your pet is wearing their collar with all ID information, just incase they do end up getting spooked and running away. Better yet, having your pet implanted with a microchip provides them with permanent identification that can be scanned at any vet hospital or animal shelter. All pets participating in Halloween activities need to be carrying one or two pieces of valid ID.

Jenga ID

5. Comfy and Cozy

If your pets become very stressed with firecrackers, knocking and doorbell ringing they may need to spend Halloween sedated and sleeping in their beds. Speak with your veterinarian about a safe sedative prescription for your pets.  A comfy and cozy pet is a happy pet.

Jenga Curled UpJenga Sleeping

**A big thank you to “Jenga” from the Squamish SPCA for being a very cooperative model for our Halloween blog photo shoot!

Painful Pets: Don’t You Wish They Could Talk?!

Do you have a painful pet? Although they can’t talk to us, our pets have other ways of letting us know that something is bothering them. Below are some things you can look at to help recognize sigs of pain in your pets:

Look at your pet’s posture. Do they prefer to lying to sitting or standing? Are they sitting or resting in an abnormal position? Are they shifting frequently while resting?

Check in with your pet’s “talking” habits. Are they crying and whining? Are they quiet when they would normally be happy and barking?

Watch your pet walk. Are they limping? Are they stiff or slow to get going (especially after resting)? Do they have trouble getting up after laying or sitting down? Are they lagging behind on walks? Do they tire a lot faster than usual on walks?

Watch your pet’s breathing. Are they panting excessively? Does each breath come mostly from the pet’s chest or abdomen?

Analyze your pet’s activity level. Are they no longer able to do the things they used to do? Are they reluctant to go for walks or climb stairs? Are they restless? Do they shiver or shake out of nowhere?

Monitor your pet’s responsiveness. Do they cry or bite when you try and handle them? Do they keep themselves withdrawn from situations?

Watch your pet’s eating habits. Has their appetite decreased? Do they not want to eat at all? Do they eat their meal slower than they used to?

Keep an eye on your pet’s grooming habits. Do they look unkempt? Are they licking or chewing excessively in one area?

There are many things we can do to help control or eliminate pain in your pet. After consulting with your veterinarian, they may recommend some anti-inflammatory medication and rest for your pet or they may even request x-rays to further see what is going on inside your pet. Chiropractic medicine and acupuncture are also very common (and extremely helpful!) to have done for your pets.

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“Eli” patiently waiting with his acupuncture needles in place. He currently has treatments to help improve the flow of his liver and kidneys, to improve his bladder tone and also to help with his arthritis.

 

Ears: A Five Star Breeding Environment For Bacteria

Not to bore you with a long-winded, scientific write up about ears but here is a quick animal biology class review leading up to some simple ear cleaning instructions: Dog and cat ears have 3 major parts: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear.  Cats don’t seem to have nearly as many ear infection issues as dogs do. Dogs with large, floppy ears commonly have issues with ear infections. Some dog breeds have excess hair growth in and around the ear canals. Floppy ears and excess hair growth can lead to poor air circulation and buildup of moisture and wax, which creates a favorable breeding environment for bacteria. Dogs that spend a lot of time in the water are prone to developing ear infections. Dogs or cats with skin allergies may also have ear problems as part of the allergic reaction. Signs of an ear infection may include: redness, swelling, discharge, odor, excessive head shaking, excessive scratching or rubbing of ears.

The outer ear consists of the earflap (also called the pinna). The pinna funnels sound into the ear canal. Many dogs have ears that are folded over and cats have ears that sit upright. Unlike humans that have a very short ear canal, dogs have a long, narrow ear canal that makes almost a 90-degree bend as it travels to the deeper parts of the ear.

The outer ear canal is separated from the middle ear by a thin membrane called the eardrum (or tympanic membrane). The eardrum is very fragile and can be damaged if an ear infection is present. The middle ear consists of 3 small bones, an air filled cavity called the bulla and a thin tube leading from the bulla to the back of the mouth.

The inner ear connects to the brain and contains nerves and aids in balance and hearing. Image

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Mischa modelling her canine earflap (pinna).

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A little peek inside Mischa’s ear canal. Waxy debris will sometimes buildup in the skin folds inside the ear.

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Stella showing off her pointy feline earflap (pinna).

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A little peek into Stella’s ear canal.

How To Clean Your Pet’s Ears

  1. Squeeze a moderate amount of ear cleansing solution into the ear canal.
  2. Massage at the base of the ear to distribute the ear cleansing solution throughout the ear canal (you can be quite rough at this point to loosen up all the waxy buildup and debris inside the ear). You will hear a “squishing” noise as you massage. Your pet will enjoy this part!
  3. Let your pet shake their head. Be sure to move your face back or else you may get some ear debris shaken into your mouth or eyes!
  4. Use cotton, Q-tips, tissues or gauze to wipe away any debris or waxy buildup from the inside of the earflap. To reach down into the ear canal it is best to put a tissue or gauze around your finger and then gently insert it into the ear canal. Your finger will not be small enough to reach down to the tympanic membrane (or eardrum). A Q-tip can gently be used to wipe the folds of the ear.
  5. Allow your pet to shake their head again.
  6. Reward them with a treat!

 How To Administer Ear Medication Into Your Pet’s Ears

  1. Make sure your pet’s ears are clean and dry before instilling the medication so that is can penetrate into the skin instead of being stopped and absorbed by debris or waxy buildup.
  2. Pull back the earflap and gently insert the tip of the bottle or tube into the ear canal. Be careful with your cat’s ears – do not insert the bottle far into the ear canal.
  3. Squeeze the recommended amount of medication into the ear canal. You may need to hold your pet’s head still so they do not shake the medication out right away.
  4. Gently massage at the base of the ear in order to distribute the medication throughout the ear canal.

 

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