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Ticks and Lyme Disease

Published by in External Parasites ·
Tags: DogTicks

What are ticks?
Ticks are a type of ectoparasite, meaning it is a type of parasite that lives on the outside of their host. While ticks will live on the outside of an animal, ticks bury their mouthparts into the skin, and produce a sticky, glue-like substance that allows them to attach to their host. Once latched on, the tick feeds on the blood of the host. There are various health risks associated with the tick. In very rare situations if your pet is afflicted with ticks, the parasites may consume enough blood to cause a deficiency known as anemia. Certain female ticks can also produce a toxin while they feed that causes paralysis, although this risk is also quite rare. As many pet owners know, the biggest concern associated with ticks is their transference of diseases, most commonly Lyme disease. Another example of a tick-transferred disease is Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Where are ticks found?
Ticks are most commonly found in woodland or grassy areas. The prevalence and types of ticks your pet may be exposed to can vary geographically. In Ontario, the most commonly found tick is the blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. Deer ticks are known to carry Lyme disease, although not all ticks are carriers of the disease. Ticks are most active in spring and summer months, but can be found at any time of year when the temperature is above freezing.
What is Lyme disease?
As mentioned, the most commonly associated disease with ticks is Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease will typically only begin to develop several weeks after your pet has been bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms include fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, stiffness or joint pain and fever. In order to try and be proactive with treatment, it is recommended that you have your pet tested for Lyme disease after they are bitten by a tick. This test will need to be repeated approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the tick bite, as this is the time period Lyme disease will actually be detectable.

How can I protect my pet from Lyme disease and ticks?
While Lyme disease is a treatable ailment, it is best to prevent and protect your pet from tick-borne diseases. Preventative treatment can come in various forms, including topical and chewable. Your veterinarian can explain the difference between treatments, and recommend which one is right for you and your pet. Topical treatment typically will kill all major species of ticks through contact, prior to biting. Chewable treatments typically will kill the tick upon biting into the skin.
If you notice a tick on your pet, it may be difficult to remove the parasite, as ticks do an excellent job latching onto their host. It is recommended to take your pet to your veterinarian that they can remove the tick safely. Some experienced dog owner may remove the tick with a pair of tweezers, and pull upwards, slowly when pulling the parasite out. If you like, you may choose to keep the tick, so that you can bring it to your veterinarian to examine. To do so safely, place the tick in a container of alcohol to kill it. You may notice the area around the tick bite is red and appears irritated, this is normal. Keep an eye on your pet to monitor that the area of the bite heals, and also monitor for symptoms of Lyme disease. It is recommended to speak with your veterinarian if you find a tick on your pet, so that you and your veterinarian can appropriately plan and treat following the parasitic invasion.

Common spots on your pet where ticks latch

Dog Ticks


Tips for Pet Pilling

Published by in Pilling a Pet ·
Tags: PillingDog
Tips for Administering Pet Medication
Pilling dog
Our furry friend just don’t understand that the medications we are trying to give them is to help them feel better! It can be quite the challenge to get your feisty feline to swallow a pill, or wrestle a rambunctious canine to administer ear medication. The experience can be tricky and exhausting for both you and your pet and may potentially prevent you from giving them the medication they need. Here are a few recommendations to consider to make the experience more pleasant, and less challenging.

Administering Pills
The easiest way to give your pet their pill, is to sneak it into some food. Make sure to confirm with your veterinarian that the medication can be administered with food, as some medications may require it be given on an empty stomach.  You may try hiding it in their meal, or hide it in a favourite treat of their’s, such as a spoonful of peanut butter, or wrapped in a piece of cheese. Alternatively, you can purchase “Pill Pockets” at your veterinarian’s office, or at select pet stores. Pill Pockets are cat or dog treats designed specifically to envelope a pill. Often times administering a pill in a treat or in their meal is more successful with dogs. Particularly, this tactic works best with dogs who “wolf” down treats or food. Pets that carefully or slowly chew treats or food may detect the pill and spit it out.
Pill devices are another way to help successful administer pills to your pet. This can be an alternative to you have to stick your fingers in your pet’s mouth, which can lead to accidental (or even not so accidental) bites. At one end of the device, you place the pill securely. At the other end of the device will be a push mechanism that releases the pill. Place the end of the device with the pill in it in the back of your pet’s mouth and push the mechanism to release. In a quick manner, grasp the muzzle of your pet and ensure their jaw remains closed, to avoid them regurgitating the pill. Gentle stroke your pet’s throat in a downward motion, to promote the act of swallowing. Pill devices can be purchased at your veterinarian’s office.
If you are able to, pills can be administered by hand with these simple steps;
· Hold the pill between your index finger and thumb
· Tilt the pet’s head back, and lift the upper jaw
· Do not put your fingers directly on your pet's teeth
· Place or drop the pill down the center of your pet’s tongue
· Quickly close the jaw, and rub your pet’s throat in a downward motion
Having someone to hold your pet, or even hold their jaw open for you while you administer the pill can make the process easier. You can also try squirting a small amount of water (i.e.: from a syringe) into their mouth after administering the pill, to encourage them to swallow.

Administering Liquid Oral Medication
Similar to administering pills, a great method for administering liquid oral medication is to place it on their food. It is important to confirm with your veterinarian first though if this ok for the specific medication your pet has. Otherwise, liquid oral medication can be administer directly into your pet’s mouth. The process is the same as if it were a pill, however, you do not need to tilt your pet’s head back, as this can actually risk your pet choking.
Whatever medication you are administering, make sure to reward your pet afterwards! It is important to note that while this is a stressful experience for you, it is also stressful and confusing for them. Providing a reward afterwards lets your pet know that their cooperation is a good behaviour, and that you mean no harm to them.

Do Not Share Medications
Although it can be tempting to identify cost saving strategies with medications, like using human medications or using a veterinary prescribed medication with various pets, this poses huge risks to your pet’s health. Dosage amounts vary greatly depending on the size of your pet, and depending on species. Additionally, certain human medications are highly toxic for pets, and can potentially be fatal. While over the counter painkillers may be harmless and low risk to you and I, for our pets they can cause liver failure, kidney failure, and ulcers in the digestive system. Always ask your veterinarian first before giving any medication they have not prescribed for your pet.
Some Other Helpful Notes
· Watch out for Side Effects; Before beginning a new medication for your pet, make sure you are aware of the side effects that may be common. Discuss with your veterinarian what side effects may be normal to see, and which side effects may indicate any serious adverse reactions. If you are ever unsure that the side effects you are seeing are a sign of a serious problem, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian and ask.
· Use the Entire Prescription;  Often times you may notice you pet has recovered well before the prescription has ended; this is excellent! However, it is important to use up the full prescription, and to continue on the course of treatment until your veterinarian has indicated it is ok to stop. If your pet does not receive the full course of treatment, the symptoms may return, and treatment will have to begin again.
· Follow Instructions Carefully; Medications often come with instructions such as whether they have to be given with food or water, at certain interval times or how they are to be stored. It is important to follow these instructions, so that the medication can work as effectively as possible. If you are ever unsure or have questions regarding the instructions, consult with your veterinarian.
· Administering Medication Can be Easier with Help; Here we have discussed how to administer oral medications, but no matter what kind of medication it is you are giving your pet, doing it on your own can be tough. Sometimes it helps if you are able to have a friend or family member restrain your pet while you administer the medication. Your veterinarian can provide further instruction or demonstrate the best way to restrain your pet, depending on the medication type you are administering
· Act Relaxed and Normal; A bittersweet quality pets have is their keen sense of our emotions. If you approach your pet stressed or nervous, they will react to this, making medication administration more challenging. Try to approach medication administration as relaxed as possible, to help ease your pet during the process.
We understand that administering medications can be tough and stressful. If you have questions or concerns regarding medication and your pet, call our veterinary clinic in Newmarket Aurora area at 905-898-1010. Our vet in Newmarket is happy to help you and answer your question.


Tips for Pet Training

Published by in Pet Training ·
Tags: DogTraining
Pet Training Tips
Dog Training
Training your pet can be frustrating, but it is important for your pet, and can be very rewarding! Basic training will help your pet learn what is expected of them, and can improve their bond with you.  We have put together some tips to help you and your pet succeed.

Language Barrier
Keep in mind that animals are not born understanding human language.  They’re pretty good at association though, and if you always take them outside after clipping on the leash, they will learn that the leash means a trip outside.  The same process works with words.  They will learn to associate a particular word with an expected action.  It just takes time.

Short and Sweet
Keep training sessions short.  Especially at a young age, your pet will have a short attention span and can get bored and frustrated.  It’s better to have a few short sessions than one long one.  It will help to keep things fun, and keep it from seeming like a chore.  Five to ten minutes is plenty.

Eliminate Distractions
Find a quiet area.  At least at first, avoid having other people or pets, toys and other distractions in your training space.  It will help your pet to focus on you and on the task at hand.  Once your pet has a solid grasp on something, you can introduce distraction as a training tool.  Eventually you will want to work with your pet in different places, so they understand that they have to listen everywhere, not just in the training area.  At the beginning, however avoid distractions as much as possible and teach new skills in a quiet area.

Listen to Your Pet
If  your pet is hungry, tired, or seems distracted or disinterested, it may be best to postpone the training session for later. If your pet can’t concentrate, it will be frustrating for you and them.  If your pet loses interest during a session, don’t force them to continue.  Always try to end on a good note though – go back to something simple that your pet already knows.

Repetition and Consistency
Your pet can’t learn a new skill in one session.  Be prepared to repeat a lesson many times before your pet catches on.  At the same time, don’t drill them.  If they don’t seem to be catching on, move on to something else and come back to the first thing later.  It will also help your pet learn faster if you are consistent in how you ask: pick a word, and stick to that word.  If you’re teaching “down”, for instance, always use “down”.  Throwing in “lie down” can cause confusion.  If you want to use “lie down”, start with that and stick to it.

Pick something tasty and reserve it for training.  Something smelly (at least to your pet) can be helpful too.  It will help your pet figure out when they’ve done something right, and give them something to work for.  Use small pieces.  It will interfere with the session if your pet has to stop and break down the treat into manageable pieces before eating it.  Not to mention, the bigger the treat the faster your pet will fill up and lose interest in dinner!

Begin at the Beginning
Start with the basics.  Teaching your pet tricks is fun, but the ‘boring’ stuff is a critical foundation.  The first thing is to teach “sit”.  It’s simple, straightforward, and more important than you might think.  This is where the smell of a treat comes in handy.  Hold the treat in your closed hand, and put it near your pet’s nose.  Lift it up and back over your pet’s head.  They should follow it, and will usually sit when the treat gets too far back – they can tip their heads farther back when sitting than they can when standing.  You can also push down gently on the hind end to encourage them to sit if they are backing up instead or don’t seem to be getting the idea.  Repeat this a couple of times before adding the command.  Repeating a command over and over without a result won’t help your pet learn.  They need to know that the command is “sit” – not “sit, sit, sit, sit, sit…..”.  Why is “sit” so important?  If your puppy has their bum on the floor, they can’t jump on people who come in the door.  Not so great with “come”?  Use “sit” to stop your pet from going somewhere you don’t want them to go.  Then call them back or go get them.  Other important commands are “come”, “stay”, and “leave it”.

Have Fun!

Boredom is the enemy of learning.  And most importantly, enjoy your time with your pet!

If you are looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket, call us at 905-898-1010.


New Pet Vaccines

Published by in Pet Vaccines ·
Tags: DogcatVaccines
What Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
Pet vaccination
Vaccinating you pet can seem like a worrisome choice. Common concerns often surround vaccine reactions, and if the benefits outweigh the risks. While some vaccines may be appropriate to opt of for your pet, there are a few that are critically important to your pet's health and enforcing effective disease prevention.
What do Vaccines do?
Vaccines contain a modified live attenuated or killed form of bacteria or virus to stimulate the animal's immune system response. That way, when your pet is later exposed to that specific virus or bacteria, the immune system with quickly and effectively respond to eradicate the disease-causing agent.
This modified form of the bacteria or virus is specially formulated for the purpose of vaccination so that it cannot actually manifest into a disease, and only creates an immune response.
Vaccines therefore are an essential tool used to prevent very serious, life threatening diseases in your pet. Not only does it provide reassurance that your pet has increased likelihood of remaining happy and healthy, but the cost of a vaccine is significantly less than the costs associated with disease treatment.
Similar to human vaccination, another key benefit of vaccinating your pet is that it helps keep other animals safe. Animals that are too young to receive vaccines or have specific health conditions that prohibit them to be vaccinated are susceptible populations that benefit from "herd immunity", meaning that the spread of disease is significantly reduced due to the high populations of vaccinated animals.
Why does my pet need to receive booster vaccinations?
Over time, the effectiveness of the vaccine gradually declines, diminishing the protection your pet has against the specified disease. Boosters are necessary to maintain effective immune responses from your pet against the virus or bacteria.
What Vaccines Does My Pet Need?
 The vaccines your pet will need varies depending on the species, as the vaccines are designed to protect against the disease that are the most serious and most likely to be an exposure risk.
Vaccines are categorized into two different groups: core vaccines and non-core vaccines. Core vaccines are necessary vaccinations against diseases that are most likely to affect your pet. Non-core vaccines are optional, and are recommended based on the associated risk factors your pet may have. You can discuss with your veterinarian the appropriateness of your pet receiving any non-core vaccines.
Core Vaccines for Cats include:
•\tFeline Rhinotracheitis (Herpesvirus Type I)\t
•\tFeline Calicivirus
•\tPanleukopenia (Distemper)

Non-Core Vaccines for Cats include:
•\tFeline Leukemia
•\tBordetella (Kennel Cough)
•\tFeline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

Core Vaccines for Dogs include:
•\tCanine Distemper
•\tCanine hepatitis Adenovirus-2

Non-Core Vaccines for Dogs include:
\t•\tParainfluenza (Canine Influenza)
•\tLyme Disease
•\tBordetella (Kennel Cough)
•\tCorona Virus
*Rabies vaccines are required by law

Typically, your dog will receive vaccination for Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parviovirus in one vaccine, which is often referred to as the DHPP or DA2PP vaccine. Sometimes it does not include Parainfluenza as seen in three-year distemper vaccine, referred as the DHP or DA2P.
Similarly, cats will receive vaccination for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia in one vaccine, referred commonly as FVRCP or FRCP.

Are Vaccines Safe?
Yes. For most healthy dogs and cats the risk of a bad reaction to vaccination is very rare. The risks associated with vaccinating are minute compared to the health risks associated with contracting the disease. You can discuss with your veterinarian if your pet is at an increased risk for a negative reaction, things to consider include age, vaccine history or allergies.
For some puppies, kittens, or small breeds, you veterinarian may recommend spreading out vaccines over a specified period, to avoid a negative reaction. If you are electing to perform several non-core vaccines, this might also be another reason your veterinarian may recommend spacing out the administering of vaccines.
If your pet is unwell or in the midst of a course of treatment, your veterinarian will likely suggest to delay vaccinating. This is because their immune system is compromised at the time, fighting off a different virus or bacteria, and may not be adequately able to perform accordingly to the administering of the vaccine.
There are some mild side effects that may occur in the following days, but should only last a day or two. Common mild side effects include;
•\tMild fever
•\tReduced appetite
•\tCoughing and sneezing
•\tPain around the injection site (you may also notice slight redness and swelling around the area)
You should call your veterinarian immediately if you notice your pet has the following reactions;
•\tTrouble breathing
•\tSevere coughing
•\tSwelling around face, eyes, or nose
Overall, vaccines are an important part of keeping your furry loved one happy and healthy. If you have any further concerns or questions regarding vaccinations please give us a call and our vet in Newmarket is happy to discuss this further!
If you are looking for a veterinary clinic in Newmarket Aurora area please give us a call at 905-898-1010 and we would be happy to book an appointment for you and your pet!


Dog Allergies

Published by in Pet Allergies ·
Tags: DogAllergiesfleafoodallergyatopysneezingwheezingscratchingitchingbreathingproblems
Allergies in Dogs
Food Allergy
Did you know that animals suffer from allergies, just like humans? And just like with us, the cases of allergies in pets appears to be increasing in recent years. Some pets, like people, will just experience sneezing, wheezing, or other breathing problems which can develop into serious respiratory difficulties. The most common primary symptom of allergies in pets is scratching and itching. There are different categories for dog allergies: flea allergy dermatitis, atopy, and food allergies. Some pets may suffer from more than one kind of allergy.

What are the symptoms of food allergies?
Your dog may be allergic to one or more ingredients in his food. The most common food allergies for dogs are beef and milk products, cereals (wheat, corn, soya), chicken, and eggs. Although the exact cause of food allergies are not known, it could be that a change in the animal’s immune system is causing certain ingredients to be perceived as “foreign” and therefore the body protects itself.
The most common symptoms of food allergies are licking, itching, and chewing on different parts of the body. Ear infections and other skin problems can also occur in conjunction with food hypersensitivity. Some pets will develop diarrhea and other digestive problems. Symptoms can appear at any age, regardless of whether it is a new food, or they have been eating it for years. Allergies can develop over time.

How do you diagnose food allergies?
The best effective way to diagnose a food allergy is to put your pet on a “hypoallergenic” or “exclusion” diet for a minimum of 8-12 weeks. This diet will include ingredients that the animal has not been exposed to before. Because it is often the source of protein that causes the allergic reaction, “exclusion” diets will contain a protein not normally found in regular pet food, such as venison, fish, or duck. You can also prepare home-cooked hypoallergenic meals for your pet. Also consult our veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet.
If your pet has a food allergy, you should notice a significant improvement on their symptoms after the 8-12 week period, unless your pet is also allergic to an ingredient in the new food. To identify all food allergens, it is best to add a single protein for 1-2 weeks at a time, and monitor the condition. You may be able to identify an allergy by how they respond to a new food. Also consult with our veterinarian to get clear instruction on the procedure to follow.
How to treat food allergies
The best way to treat this kind of allergy is to completely avoid the causes of flare ups. Usually, these allergies can be controlled by carefully monitoring his or her diet. In rare, severe cases, your vet may also prescribe an antihistamine and steroids.

What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis?
Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a skin condition caused by an allergy to flea saliva. A single bite can trigger intense itching. Because of this, FAD is sometimes called “flea bite hypersensivity”. Dogs with this condition chew and bite their backs, legs, tails, and stomach, leading to hot spots and localized skin infections. You may find some fleas and flea dirt (flea feces that looks like black flakes) on your pet, but animals with FAD often have very few fleas because of their constant chewing and licking.

How is flea allergy dermatitis diagnosed?
Your vet will look for the usual signs, such as the presence of fleas, scratching, and sores. There is also an intradermal, or skin test, that can be performed. FAD symptoms can sometimes resemble that of other conditions, such as parasites, infections, and other allergies.

How is flea allergy dermatitis treated?
The best way to treat this allergy is to prevent fleas from biting your pet. The flea cycle can be difficult to break, because you need to treat not only your pet, but their environment, including your house and possibly your yard. Various insecticides and insect growth regulators are available. Your veterinarian can recommend the best product to use for your pet. Daily vacuuming and regular washing of animal bedding will also help reduce the overall flea population.
Sometimes, because of the severity of the itching, your pet may actually cause harm to itself, leading to infection. In these situations, your vet may prescribe steroids, antihistamines, and essential fatty acides to help reduce the irritation. There are also anti-itching shampoos and conditions, and warm baths may help soothe their skin.
**Please note: Some products, such as flea shampoo and some flea treatments cannot be given to young animals. If you have a puppy, kitten, or an immune
There is no cure for FAD. The only thing that can be done is maintaining a good prevention routine to keep on guard from future infestations.

Seasonal Allergy
What is atopy, and what are the symptoms?
Atopy, also known as environmental allergy, is an allergic reaction to airborne substances, including pollen, dust mites, moulds, etc. This allergy will depend on your both your pet’s genetic susceptibility, and how often they are exposed to the allergen. Although more common in dogs, cats have been known to suffer from Atopy. Among the most common canine breeds to suffer from this condition are Retrievers, Shar-Pei, Setters, Terriers, and Dalmatians.
The most common symptom of atopy is itching, usually around the face, feet, chest, and belly. The allergen affecting your pet may be seasonally (such as pollen) or year round (such as dander, dust mites, and mould). “Hot spots” can also develop, and frequent scratching can lead to other skin and ear infections. Hair loss is also common. Symptoms are usually first noticed between the ages of 1-3, but signs of an allergy may be seen from 4 months to 7 years of age.

How will my vet diagnose Atopy?
The diagnosis for this condition is elimination of other possible causes. Other causes of itching, such as fleas, mites, bacterial and yeast infections, and food allergies must be ruled out. Your veterinarian will request a detailed history of your pet’s itching problems. Skin or serum testing can be done to try to pinpoint the exact cause of an allergy.

How is Atopy treated?
Although atopy is a life-long condition with no known cure, There are numerous therapies for canine atopy  that you can help manage the problem for your pet.
  1. Anti-itch therapy, including medicated shampoos and conditioners, as well as the use of drugs
  2. Removal of the source of the allergy from your pet’s environment, as much as possible
  3. Hyposensitization therapy (Allergen-specific immunotherapy) is a long term therapy that directly addresses the patient’s hypersensitivities, a series of injections that will help your pet gradually adjust to the allergen. (Effectiveness of this treatment varies, but usually provides at least some relief for around 75% of animals with atopy
  4. For relatively mild atopy, such as occasional itching due to a seasonal allergy to pollen, you can use an Elizabethan collar (e-collar), socks, or t-shirts to help reduce the irritation but preventing your pet from further aggravating by biting or scratching the location.
  5. There are non-specific, symptomatic treatments, such as antihistamines and corticosteroids

If your pet has one or more of the allergy symptoms contact your veterinarian or call our pet clinic in Newmarket Aurora area at 905-898-1010

Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital - 107-525 Brooker Ridge, Newmarket, ON - T: 905-898-1010
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