Monthly Archives: March 2015

Digestive Upsets & Bite Wounds

It’s warming up!

The sun is getting warmer, the snow is melting, and birds are beginning to return to the great white north; it’s spring – finally!

This time of year we see some common themes in our appointments with two of the most common ones being digestive upsets and bite wounds.

Now that the snow has melted, all those strange and wonderful things that were covered are being exposed and it takes one second for you dog to gobble one of them up while you’re taking her for a walk. That one second can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, a week of giving medication, and a special tummy-friendly diet. It could even mean surgery to remove something blocking your dog’s intestinal tract. Not a nice beginning to the warm weather.

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For dogs that keep their heads down and their mouths open, we usually recommend using a basket “muzzle” when you go for walks (you can purchase one at our webstore – link above), that way, she can breathe normally but can’t eat anything. If your dog does get into something, give us a call and we will be happy to make some recommendations specific to your situation. It may include coming in right away so we can help your dog get whatever she ate right back up, or simply monitoring at home while providing a bland diet such as boiled rice and chicken.

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Some wild animals are becoming more active now which means your pet may have more encounters with raccoons, skunks, opossums, bats, and others. Number one consideration? Make sure your pet is current with vaccinations. Many mammals carry viruses that can be passed on your pets (and some can be passed on to you!), including distemper, leptospirosis, and of course, rabies. If you aren’t sure if your pet is up-to-date, check with your veterinarian.

Because of the bacteria in animals’ mouths, bite wounds are almost guaranteed to become infected, so clean up all wounds immediately just as you would do for yourself and give your veterinarian a call. If the wound is large or if you’re unable to adequately clean it up, book an appointment to have your clinic take care of it for you. Because cats’ teeth are so narrow, the wounds they cause close up, trapping in bacteria. If your pet is ever bitten by a cat we strongly recommend bringing them in for care and some preventive antibiotics. Don’t wait until the wound becomes infected.

If your cat goes outside we strongly recommend having him microchipped. We get many well-intentioned people calling about or coming in with cats that have shown up in their back yards, believing them to be lost or strays. Without a permanent way to identify these cats, it is impossible to know who the owner is and these little ones frequently become someone else’s pet or are taken to a shelter and put up for adoption. Microchipping is a quick, permanent way to link your cat to you. It can be done during a routine visit and if your pet is current on her health evaluation, you won’t even need to see a vet as one of our great technicians can place it.

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We also recommend putting a bell on your cat’s collar to alert birds that he’s around. Did you know that cats take a huge toll on birds? Scientists estimate that Canada’s 5-10 million house cats kill 100-350 million birds a year. It is mainly the wild roaming cats that do the damage (another excellent reason to spay or neuter your cat so it doesn’t add to the feral population), but pet cats contribute to this carnage as well. Better still, keep your pet indoors if possible. There are several great websites, such as the Indoor Pet Initiative , that can help with making an indoor environment a rich, and satisfying one for your cat.