All posts by James

External Parasites That Harm Cats

If you own a cat, proper parasite control is important not only for your feline friend’s health, but for your family’s—some of these pests can be transmitted from cats to humans! External parasites live on your cat’s body and feed off of blood or tissue. Below, learn more about external pests and how to keep your cat safe from harm.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny brown-colored parasites that cause skin irritation, allergies, and even more serious problems like anemia in severe cases. To make matters worse, fleas can jump several feet, possibly jumping off of your cat and infesting surfaces, items, and other pets or family members in your home.

If you’ve noticed your cat scratching themselves more than usual, or if there are visible black particles underneath your pet’s fur (these are flea droppings!), make an appointment at the vet’s office. A flea treatment will be prescribed—shampoos, liquids or gels applied to the skin and fur, a flea collar, oral tablets, and other products are available—and your cat will be put on a flea preventative after the infestation is over.

Ticks

Ticks latch on to your cat’s skin and draw out blood, growing larger the longer they remain. They can transmit many dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks can also be brought indoors on your cat and then infest other pets or human family members. Luckily, they’re easily prevented with simple precautions; keep your cat on a high-quality flea-and-tick preventative, and check your cat’s body regularly for ticks if they venture outdoors.

Lice

Lice are another type of external parasite that can hurt your cat, although it’s a far less common problem than flea or tick infestations. These tiny parasites, like fleas, cause skin irritation and can even lead to cases of anemia without treatment. Eradication involves applying shampoos or other topical products that kill off both lice and lice eggs on your cat’s body.

Mites

There are various types of mites, including some that live normally on your cat’s skin and don’t cause any problems. When an infestation occurs, your cat will suffer from irritated skin and possible hair loss. Medications to eradicate mites will need to be given for several weeks if your cat is found to be suffering from an infestation.

To learn more about keeping your cat—and family—safe from parasites, call your vet’s office today!

Meet the AKC’s Newest Breed: The Azawakh

The ‘puparazzi’ are all buzzing about the latest dog news: the AKC has just welcomed another new breed into their ranks. The Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) was formally inducted on January 1, 2019. This brings the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 193, including the 2018 inductees: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vandeen. In this article, a local vet discusses the Azawakh.

History

The Azawakh is actually an ancient breed, having originated in West Africa. They were first bred as guard dogs, companions, and hunters by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, who cherish and love their canine friends. Long-legged and elegant, the Azawakh is a sighthound, hunting by sight rather than scent. In fact, their name means ‘Sighthound of the free people’ in the Tuareg language. Quick and hardy, these fast pooches are renowned at hunting antelope, wild boars, hares, and other game.

Physique

The Azawakh has a unique, elegant appearance. They have long legs and a short, fine coat, which only needs occasional grooming. These lovable pooches come in all colors and color combinations, from black and brown to fawn to brindle. Sometimes, they have a black ‘mask’ on their faces, and/or white markings on their legs, chest, or tails.

Training

Azawakhs are both smart and independent, so proper training is a must. Socialization is also very important. It’s worth noting that they are quite proud, and don’t do well with negative reinforcement. To keep things positive–and keep that tail wagging–focus on rewarding Fido for being good.

Diet

The Azawakh doesn’t have any specific dietary needs, so a good, high-quality dog food will do fine. You do have to be careful not to overfeed Fido, however. These friendly pups do tend to gain weight easily, and are at risk of becoming obese. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes.

Temperament

 

Azawakhs are quite affectionate and lovable, and become very attached to their owners. Though they have a sweet, calm, demeanor, they are quite energetic, and need regular exercise to stay healthy. These dogs make great pets for joggers! However, you may need to urge Fido to keep moving: left alone, your canine buddy will probably opt to just take a nap.

Please feel free to contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great care!

Caring For Your Pet as They Age

While the exact age that your pet is considered “old” can vary depending on species, size, and breed, one thing is for sure: our animal companions need our love and care as they get older! As your pet enters their senior years, there are several things you can do to make sure that they stay happy and healthy.

Frequent Veterinary Visits

One of the best ways to make sure your senior pet stays in good shape is by having them examined at the veterinarian’s office regularly. This way, health concerns can be found early and treated quickly. Plus, your vet can offer tips on continuing to keep your aging pet in good health as time goes on.

Senior Nutrition

Senior pets’ nutritional needs are different than those of younger animals. Older pets might need diets that are easier to digest, and they often benefit from diets with specially formulated nutrient levels or anti-aging properties. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is ready to be given a senior formula, and ask for tips on transitioning your pet from the old diet to the new.

Preventative Care

Just because your pet has gotten older doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t need preventative care! Vaccinations and pest-control medications are just as important now as they ever have been—since older pets’ immune systems tend to be weaker than those of younger pets, a serious disease or a pest infestation can sideline your aging pet’s health before you know it. Consult your vet right away if your pet needs vaccinations or parasite control medicines.

Appropriate Exercise

Exercise is important for your pet’s health throughout life, but it’s especially critical in the senior years. Light exercise helps your pet’s entire body remain more mobile, and it helps keep muscle mass at appropriate levels and also avoids dangerous obesity. Ask your veterinarian what kind of exercise will keep your pet’s body in great shape without over-exerting them.

Mental Stimulation

Keeping your pet stimulated mentally is another key step for maintaining good health in the senior years. Many older companions begin to suffer from cognitive dysfunction—think of it as your pet’s version of Alzheimer’s disease—and mental stimulation can help to avoid it for as long as possible. Play with your pet regularly, and try puzzle toys to give the mind a good workout.

For more tips, contact your vet’s office. We’re here to help!

Cinco De Meow

Did you know there’s a cute kitty holiday coming up? You may know of May 5th as Cinco de Mayo. The official holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory over Napoleon during the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. However, for our feline friends, it’s now also Cinco de Meow! Every year, we’re seeing more and more animal shelters and charities celebrate the day by offering adoption events. It’s always a good time to help and/or adopt kitties in need. We love seeing cats go to great homes, so we are more than happy to support this great cause. Read on as a local vet discusses this new holiday.

How To Help

There are far too many kitties in shelters, who desperately need good homes. If you are ready to adopt a new cat, this is a great time to do that! Just make sure that you are ready to commit to caring for Fluffy for her entire life. Adopting a pet is a serious, long-term commitment!

Other Ways To Help

Even if you aren’t quite ready to adopt a kitty just yet, you can still help other pets in need. Donations of money or supplies are always welcome. If you are willing to make a bigger commitment, you may want to consider fostering. This isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great way to help our feline pals. Ask your local shelter or animal charity for more information. You can also just share posts about kitties that need good homes. Every little bit helps!

Purrito

While this is a great time to help cats that need homes, there’s no reason you can’t spoil your own feline buddy a bit. Give Fluffy some fish tacos by offering her some plain whitefish with a little spinach and some cilantro. (Your cat probably won’t mind if you skip the actual tacos.) You can also turn your furball into a purrito by making her a little kitty tunnel out of a paper grocery bag. Or, get her a cute pet tent. Your feline buddy will also be pleased with toys, treats, kitty furniture, and, of course, attention. Take time to play with your furry friend, and let her snooze on your lap if she wants!

Please contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care.

The Building Blocks of Your Pet’s Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a must for any healthy pet. Modern pet foods are specially formulated to give great nutrition to your companion, and there are plenty of options out there. In the end, though, your pet’s nutrition comes down to the basic building blocks—you’ll find that the nutrients that your pet needs are many of the same ones that you do! Let’s take a closer look at the building blocks of your pet’s nutrition.

Protein

Protein is essential for building all of your pet’s bodily tissues. That’s why diets made for young pets—puppy and kitten formulas—are typically very high in protein; it promotes healthy tissue and muscle development as a young pet grows. A high-protein diet might also be appropriate for a pregnant dog or cat, as they need extra protein to safely deliver their litter.

Carbohydrates

Your pet’s body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar that provides energy. Carbs are the “fuel” for the body’s cells—they’re what keeps your animal friend going! Foods like rice and potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and are therefore included in pet food formulas often.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is also key for a pet’s good health. Insoluble fiber works to regulate glucose levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your pet’s bloodstream. Fiber also helps your pet to feel full—it’s no accident that many weight-loss diets for pets are high in fiber!

Fats

Just like humans, pets need proper fats to stay healthy. It’s another important component for providing your pet with energy. The fat that your pet’s system doesn’t use for physical activity will be stored in the body to be used as a reserve.

High-energy pets will need more fat in the diet to retain high activity levels. A working ranch dog, for instance, needs more fat in their diet than an aging housecat does. Ask your veterinarian if your pet’s fat levels are appropriate for their needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

Of course, your pet also needs essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients, for proper nutrition throughout life. High-quality pet foods are made with just the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep your pet healthy for a lifetime.

Want to know more about your pet’s nutrition? Need a recommendation on a great diet choice? Call us today to learn more.

Kittenproofing

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Congratulations! Your tiny ball of fur is sure to keep you smiling over the next several months. She’ll also keep you on your toes! Baby cats are impossibly cute, but they sure do have a knack for mischief. In order to keep little Fluffy safe, you’ll need to do some petproofing. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet discusses kittenproofing in this article.

Small or Sharp Objects

Our feline pals have an almost uncanny knack for getting into trouble. If there’s one thing in the room that would be dangerous for little Fluffy to play with, chances are, that’s what she’ll go for. Small and sharp items are both high on the list of hazards, because of the potential for choking, strangling, or injuries. Keep things like beads, tacks, safety pins, jewelry, and other hazardous items well out of paws’ reach.

Appliances

Kittens love to explore, and will hop into pretty much anything they can fit into. This can be a dangerous habit! Dryers, stoves, and even toilets can all be deadly to a furry little explorer. Keep major appliances closed when you aren’t using them, and keep a close eye on your pet.

Kitten-Sized Holes

When little Fluffy is fully grown, you probably won’t have to worry about her getting stuck beneath an armoire or trapped behind a kitchen counter. However, when your tiny feline is a baby, she’ll be able to fit into some very small openings. Seal off empty spaces beneath and behind your furniture and cupboards. Also, make sure your windows close tightly. Your furball could also climb under a recliner, curl up under a blanket, or take a nap tucked behind a couch cushion. This can be quite dangerous! Keep a close eye on your kitten, and take care not to accidentally sit or step on her.

Toxins

Kittens are very curious, and are very interested in figuring out what they can and can’t eat and play with. Unfortunately, they don’t really know what is and isn’t safe for them. Cats can get very sick from eating something they shouldn’t! Remove or secure household chemicals, automotive products, lawn/garden products, medicines, and toxic plants. Wires, cords, and threads are also hazardous to frisky little furballs. Cat toys with strings can be dangerous as well. Store these things securely!

Please contact us, your Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Caring for a Pregnant Cat

Is your kitty pregnant? Whether Fluffy got out one night and came home with something to show for it, is a pregnant foster or stray you’ve been caring for, or was bred intentionally, your feline pal will need some extra TLC in the coming weeks. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet discusses caring for pregnant cats below.

Food

Proper nutrition is important for all kitties, but it’s absolutely crucial for pregnant ones. Your furry buddy will need extra calories, as she’s eating for herself and her litter of furballs. Kitten food is often a good choice, as it has additional nutrients. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Handling

It is safe to pet Fluffy. However, you will want to avoid touching her belly, as it will be quite sensitive. If you have to pick your pet up, take care not to hold her by the stomach.

Birthing Box

Cats are usually in gestation for 58 – 67 days. As your kitty gets closer to delivery, you’ll need to give her a safe place to give birth. A big box is fine. You can also use a storage tote with one side cut out. Just make sure there are no sharp edges. Add clean, soft blankets or towels. You’ll want to choose ones you don’t really care about, of course. Put the box in a spot that offers your furball some peace and quiet, and show it to her. Don’t be surprise if Fluffy ignores it. If she chooses to give birth somewhere else, just move the kittens into the box after they’re born. Mama will follow!

Delivery

Most of the time, kitties can give birth on their own. However, you should monitor Fluffy, and watch for signs that something is wrong. If your pet takes more than two hours between kittens, if a kitten seems to be ‘stuck’ for more than a minute or two, or if your cat has contractions for more than 15 minutes without giving birth, contact your vet. Foul-smelling discharge is also a sign of trouble. We also recommend having your vet examine your feline buddy after the birth. Once the kittens have been born, the warning signs will change. Vomiting, diarrhea, and/or tremors are red flags at this stage. Call your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

Please contact us, your Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Signs of Aging in Dogs

Is your dog aged six or older? If so, Fido may be near—or already in—his golden years. Dogs don’t all age at the same rate, however. Your pet’s breed will play a huge role in how and when he ages. Large dogs, like Great Danes, are generally considered seniors by age six. Smaller pooches, however, aren’t considered seniors until they are about ten. No matter what type of pup you have, it’s important to watch for signs of aging. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet lists some of them below.

Confusion

Older dogs often get confused or forgetful. Fido may forget where his doggy bed is, or get ‘lost’ in the hall. He may also act disoriented and/or pace a lot. Or he just may not seem like himself. This type of behavior is often normal, but can sometimes be indicative of a specific medical issue, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or, in other words, doggy dementia.

Lower Activity

As Fido ages, he will slowly lose interest in his toys, and spend more and more time napping. He may also become stiff and sore, and have trouble getting around, especially if he develops arthritis or hip dysplasia. Ramps or stairs can help dogs stay mobile, while supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may help with bone/joint trouble.

Incontinence

Incontinence is not uncommon in older pups. (Never yell at your furry buddy for this: often dogs are very embarrassed by this issue.) If notice an increase in Fido’s urination, or if your pooch is straining to go, call your vet: these things may indicate kidney problems or UTIs.

Vision/Hearing Loss

Just like people, senior dogs sometimes have trouble with their ears and eyes. Fido may bump into things, for instance. Or, he may not hear you when you call him.

Other Issues

Some signs of aging are a bit more subtle. Dental problems, for example, are not unusual. These are often marked by bad breath, bleeding gums, and/or tartar build up. You may also notice skin issues, such as lumps and bumps, dry skin, or bald spots. Changes in weight are also quite common. If you see any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately. Medicine, treatment, and/or dietary changes may help manage your beloved pet’s medical issues, and help keep him comfortable.

Please contact us, your Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Teaching Your Puppy His Name

If you’ve recently adopted a puppy or plan on getting one soon, one of the first orders of business will be teaching young Fido his name. It’s the foundation of your relationship and the starting point for all other training. Use the following tips to successfully teach your puppy his name:

Choosing a Name

First, set yourself up for success by choosing a great name for your pup. Try to pick a name with two or more syllables, rather than a single-syllable name; it’s easier for your puppy to distinguish and understand, and it won’t sound like any single-syllable commands such as “sit,” “stay,” or “down.”

Another naming tip: don’t use nicknames (“Bud” instead of “Buddy”, for example) when training your puppy, as this could confuse him. Consistency is key!

Training

Begin by simply saying your puppy’s name. Speak clearly and firmly, but use a pleasant tone of voice throughout the whole process. When your puppy looks at you, reward him with a treat. Allow your puppy to look away, then repeat the above process. Offer a treat as soon as he looks—this is reinforcing the notion that looking at you upon hearing his name results in a reward.

Repeat this process a few times, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want your puppy to lose interest and make things harder on yourself. Try breaking up name-training into a few short sessions per day, and try training in different rooms of the home so that your puppy doesn’t start to associate his name with one particular area. It won’t be long before your puppy has learned his name successfully!

Avoiding Negative Reinforcement

Many puppy owners make the mistake of accidentally providing negative reinforcement. This might occur, for example, when your puppy has an accident in your home. Your instinct is probably to yell “Fido, no!” or “Bad dog, Fido!” but this could backfire. It’s associating your puppy’s name with a negative scenario, which could lead to behavior and training problems in the future. When your puppy misbehaves, leave his name out of your reprimand. Simply say “No!” in a firm, authoritative voice without adding your pup’s name.

Do you need help with your puppy’s training or behavior? Does your pet need his initial veterinary examination or vaccinations? We’re here to help with all of your puppy’s care needs. Set up an appointment here at the clinic today.

5 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Has your dog or cat been fixed yet? If not, we strongly recommend that you see to this right away. Although spay/neuter surgery should ideally be performed before your pet reaches sexual maturity, it can safely be done on adult pets as well. Making sure your furry pal has been spayed or neutered is very important! Read on as a local veterinarian lists some reasons to get your four-legged buddy fixed.

Better Behavior

Good petiquette is one of the biggest benefits to spaying or neutering your furry friend. Dogs and cats that have been fixed are typically much calmer—and therefore better behaved—than those who are intact. They’re also less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors, such as mounting and marking their territory by spraying.

Safety

Safety is another concern with intact pets. They often try to escape so they can go looking for love. This puts Fido and Fluffy at greater risk of being lost or seriously injured!

Support Animal Welfare

Pet overpopulation is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons that there are so many homeless pets out there. A single pair of cats can have 11,606,077 descendants in just nine years! We know, kittens and puppies are adorable, but there are already far too many wonderful dogs and cats in need of loving homes. Also, even if you do find great homes for your four-legged friend’s babies, there’s really no way to guarantee that their own offspring will fare so well. Making sure your pet doesn’t contribute to pet overpopulation is a great way to support good animal welfare!

Health Benefits

Did you know that spaying and neutering can prevent certain health issues? Getting your female dog or cat spayed will reduce the risk of her developing uterine infections and breast tumors, which are often malignant. Neutering male pets protects them from certain prostate problems and testicular cancer. Ask your vet for more information.

Spare Yourself The Sound Of Kitty Caterwauling

Have you ever heard the “love songs” of an amorous kitty looking for a mate? If so, you probably will agree that being spared Fluffy’s singing is reason enough to get your furball fixed!

Are you ready to make an appointment for your pet? Contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We offer excellent veterinary care.