Welcome to the Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic Blog, where we will share clinic news, information on interesting topics, as well as some of our own personal experiences!
February 8th 2017
We talk about prevention being the best option, but how exactly is it that our pets end up with periodontal disease? Genetics has its role to play as some pets are more prone to periodontal disease than others. For example, when you look at physical conformation of brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds, you will notice that their teeth tend to be crowded, which creates happy environment for plaque and tartar formation. Some pets have more bacteria in their mouth than others which can also lead to increase plaque and tartar formation. All in all, regardless of your pets susceptibility to periodontal disease prevention is always they key!!
Appropriate dental care starts with you at home. You probably brush your teeth 2-3 times daily, but how often do you brush your pet’s teeth? For most people, the answer to that question is probably never, but it is a very important step to maintaining your pet’s oral health.
Nutrition is also a big step in preventing periodontal disease. Appropriate dental diets are a complete and balanced diet that also has components that maintain good oral health. Some dental diets work by mechanical action. Often these diets have a large kibble size that the pet will have to bite into multiple times, creating a similar mechanism to brushing the teeth. Other diets have an enzyme in them that help to prevent the formation of plaque and biofilm. Your veterinary health care team can help you find the most appropriate diet for your pet.
Water additives are also available and work on the premise of preventing the biofilm from the bacteria to form on the teeth. With a decrease in the amount of biofilm comes a decrease in the amount of plaque which means a decrease in the amount of tartar and calculus formation.
Regular veterinary visits are a must! Your veterinarian can pick up on subtle changes in your pet’s mouth and can discuss an appropriate treatment plan. Scheduling regular dental cleanings can help keep your pets mouth in tip top shape and detect any problems when that are in that stage 0 to stage 1 and prevent further periodontal disease from forming.
February 2nd 2017
Have you heard? It is so exciting!! February is Pet Dental Health Month!!! Not that your pets oral health is unimportant all year round, but since it is February we are going to flood you with information on all things dental related. Are you excited? We sure are!
When we talk to you about your pets teeth you might hear that they have stage (insert appropriate number here) periodontal disease, but do you really know what that means? Let’s take a look!
Stage 0 Periodontal Disease- This is really the starting place for periodontal disease. Bacteria that naturally occurs in your pet’s mouth deposit a sticky covering onto your pets teeth, this is called plaque. Within 48 hours of plaque being deposited onto the teeth, it will mix with the minerals in the saliva and start to calcify into tartar and calculus, which it the brown chunks that you see on your pet’s teeth. In Stage 0 Periodontal Disease there is no inflammation of the gums, but there is plaque and small formations of tartar. At this stage your pet requires a thorough cleaning under a general anesthesia.
Stage 1 Periodontal Disease- In Stage 1, you may notice a small amount of redness and swelling along your pets gum line. There will be plaque and tartar noted in the mouth, but no changes to the bone or root structure will be noted on dental radiograph. At this stage your pet requires a thorough cleaning under a general anesthesia.
Stage 2 Periodontal Disease- Upon general observation, stage 2 periodontal disease can look very similar to Stage 1. There will be swelling of the gum tissue, causing a bit of redness along the gum line. Plaque and tartar will be present in the mouth, but may not look any different than that of stage one. Radiographs are really key in differentiating between Stage 1 and Stage 2 periodontal disease. In this stage, radiographs will reveal up to 25% bone loss and the bone will start to demineralize. It is critical at this stage that your pet receives a thorough cleaning under a general anesthesia. Addressing periodontal disease at stage two can prevent further destruction to the bone. Remember that loss of bone leads to loss of support for the teeth and ultimately loss of the tooth itself, so prevention is really the best!
Stage 3 Periodontal Disease- This is the stage where most pet parents will notice that there is a problem with the pet’s mouth. The gums can be quite red and there is generally a high amount of inflammation. In this stage 25-50% bone loss can be noted on radiographs. Your veterinarian will speak with you about the best plan of action to combat this stage of periodontal disease. It is critical that the dental disease be addressed as if it is not treated the disease will progress and can cause concerns throughout the whole body. Sometimes with commitment to appropriate dental care, the teeth that are stage 3 periodontal disease can be saved with a very thorough cleaning, but sometimes they will need to be extracted to prevent them from causing issues with the rest of the teeth in the mouth.
Stage 4 Periodontal Disease- At Stage 4 the disease is quite advanced, there are generally heavy amounts of calculus and tartar throughout the mouth. The gums are often quite red and there is large amounts of inflammation. Radiographs reveal 50% or greater bone loss, there will be loose teeth in the mouth and many times dental abscesses are present. Teeth that are graded at Stage 4 periodontal disease will need to be extracted.
Our 2016 Christmas Hours are as follows:
December 24th - open from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
December 25th & 26th & 27th - we are closed
December 28th, Wednesday, our normal hours will resume for the rest of the week.
January 1st and 2nd 2017 - we are closed
Our normal hours will resume on Tuesday, January 3rd.
If your pet has an emergency while we are closed over the holidays, please contact the Small Animal Clinic at 306-966-7126.
From our Forest Grove Family to you, Happy Holidays!!
December 1st 2016
Now that we are through the month of November it is time to get serious about thinking about the holidays! There are a few hazards that come along with the holidays and we want to make sure that you are well informed. Check out the poem below for a fun way to remember some of the common problems you might run in to, and come back frequently for updates on how to have a happy and safe holiday season!
November 24th 2016
Has your veterinarian suggested that your pet have a wellness panel? They are checking on many important factors to ensure that the body is working well as a whole, and also as individual organ systems. Lets take a moment to break down some of the common tests included in the wellness panels, and the body systems that they are linked to.....
Complete Blood Count (CBC)- This test is a thorough examination of the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It can indicate how well the body's immune defense system is working and if there is inflammation present in the body. Some diseases that can be screened for with a CBC are anemia (a low red blood cell count), platelet (clotting) problems, immune mediated diseases, infections, and cancer.
Albumin- Albumin is protein that is produced in the liver. Assessing the level of Albumin in the blood can help to detect liver problems, kidney disease, intestinal problems or nutritional problems.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)- Is an enzyme that can indicate if there is cell damage in the liver
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)- Is an enzyme that is present in many tissues, such as liver, bone, intestine and placenta. This test can indicate disorders of the biliary system in the liver and some hormonal diseases.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)- This test measures the amount of nitrogen in your pets blood that comes from the waste product urea. Urea is produced when proteins are broken down in the body. Urea is produced in the liver and passed out of the body in your pets urine. This test is helpful in assessing liver and kidney function.
Creatinine- Creatinine is a waste product that is produced in your pets body from muscle metabolism. It is filtered through the kidneys and expelled in the urine. This test can help to determine how well your pets kidneys are functioning.
Calcium- This is a mineral that is abundant in the body. It can be obtained from food or other dietary supplements. A change from normal may indicate kidney disease, bone disease, pancreatic disease, nutritional disorder, or cancer. Sometimes in cats a change in calcium is idiopathic (meaning there is no known cause). Large fluctuations in calcium levels can cause problems with the heart, kidneys, muscles and neurological system.
Phosphorus- This is a mineral in the body that is essential in the formation of bone and teeth, nerve function and muscle contraction. An abnormal value can indicate kidney disease, liver problems and some bone disorders. It can be altered in diabetic animals and can also indicate nutritional imbalances in pets that are fed raw or all meat diets.
Potassium- This is both an electrolyte and a mineral. It's primary function is to maintain the water/electrolyte balance in the body. It is also important in optimal nerve and muscle function. It can be an indication of some hormonal diseases and acute kidney failure. Low levels may be seen in pets who are drinking more and urinating more frequently, those who have diarrhea or who are not eating well.
Glucose- This is an important energy source that is made and stored in the liver. Cells and organs need glucose to function properly. It is obtained from the foods that your pet eats. Glucose levels can be affected by hormone producing organs and abnormal levels can indicate endocrine disease, such as diabetes mellitus and liver disease, such as a portosystemic shunt (an abnormal connection of blood vessels that cause blood flow around the liver instead of through it)
Globulin- This is a protein found in the fluid portion of your pets blood. It is related to the immune system. Changes in Globulin levels can indicate liver disease, intestinal disease or cancer.
Amylase- This is an enzyme produced by the pancreas and salivary glands. This test is important in assessing kidney disease, pancreatic inflammation and intestinal diseases.
Lipase- This is an enzyme that is produced in the pancreas and released to help your pets intestines breakdown the fat consumed in their diet. Abnormal levels can indicate inflammation in the pancreas.
Bilirubin- This is a byproduct of the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Abnormal levels can be seen in some types of anemia, liver disease and biliary system disorders.
Creatinine Kinase- This is an enzyme found primarily in the brain, skeletal muscles and the heart. Abnormal levels can be indicative of muscle damage or breakdown.
Cholesterol- This is a waxy fat like substance that is found in all cells of the body. It is needed to make hormones, vitamin D and to aid in digestion. Often we use these values as a secondary test for kidney, liver and intestinal diseases. Abnormal levels can also be seen in thyroid deficiency.
Total Protein- This test measures the total amount of protein in the blood. It is used in the diagnosis of a wide variety of diseases including kidney, liver, bone marrow, intestinal as well as other nutritional and metabolic disorders.
T4- Free Thyroxine (or T4) is a test that is used to analyze thyroid function.
Urinalysis- Your veterinarian will often request that a urine sample be submitted along with your pets blood samples to be examined both macroscopically and microscopically. Evaluating the urine along with the blood can provide a more comprehensive look at potential disease processes. It can be an indicator of how well different body systems are functioning and also of lower urinary tract disease. It can also reflect disease in other organs (kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease etc.)
November 16th 2016
Dash is going to be 13 in January! She is a border collie husky cross with huge heart and a personality to match. She is aptly named as it is a very rare occasion that she slowly goes anywhere, she usually dashes here and there and anywhere she decides she should go!
Dash came to live with Lynnsey part way through her first year of veterinary technician school. She was a very spirited young dog who had a bit of a rocky start to life. She was a challenge in training and often Lynnsey had to find different ways to challenge her and teach her to trust and be obedient.
She worked closely with Lynnsey at her first job out of college and was often recruited to help bring cows in from pasture, or keep them from going back out before they were ready! She has been a faithful friend, a fantastic teacher and a fiercely loyal protector. Dash's most favorite thing in the whole world is a tennis ball, although celery and watermelon take a close second!
November 14th 2016
Meet Lucas and Jolene.....
Lucas (left) and Jolene (right) are owned by Dr. Leah Frei.
Lucas turned 15 years old in April, and was adopted as a 7 week old kitten. He has been by Leah’s side through two university degrees and 10 moves! He now spends his days sleeping in a sunny box by the window or begging to stretch out in someone’s lap. He has a bit of a love-hate relationship with his sister, Jolene, but you can often find them snuggled together during the day. Despite being a senior kitty, Lucas’ only health issue is an overactive thyroid which is managed well with medication.
Jolene was adopted from Street Cat Rescue 2 years ago, and is estimated to be about 11 years old. She had an incredibly short fuse when she was first brought home, but she has turned into a loveable little creature that demands attention whenever you come in the door. Jolene is FIV-positive which compromises her immune system and makes her very prone to infection. She has dealt with pneumonia and infected teeth, as well as skin, kidney and eye infections. Fortunately, she is a healthy cat as long as any underlying infections are dealt with. Looking at her, you would never know that she had a medical condition. She is always hungry, steals food off our plates, and loves to sleep on top of a pillow.
November 11th 2016
Meet Sgt. Gander......
Sergeant Gander was a Newfoundland dog who used to live with a family in Gander, Newfoundland under the name Pal. His great size and exuberant attitude caused him to accidentally scratch a child on the face while they were playing. His family made the difficult decision to rehome him and he soon became the regimental mascot for the for the 1st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada.
In December 1941 Gander travelled with the Royal Rifles to the battle of Hong Kong. He is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers by using the cover of night to attack invading troops and scare off any enemies that would try and sneak into the Royal Rifles camp.
On December 19th 1941, shortly after midnight the battle of Lye Mun broke out. Gander fought off Japanese soldiers as he often did attacking anyone who got near the Canadian troops, but perhaps the greatest feat that he performed was to lay down his life to save his injured men. Gander was nearby a group of seven injured Canadian soldiers when a hand grenade was thrown at them. Gander ran in, grabbed the grenade and took off with it to get it away from the soldiers.
Although Sgt. Gander lost his life protecting his men his name lives on and his heroic efforts are remembered. On October 27th 2000 he was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal for Gallantry, which is proudly on display in the Canadian War Museum.
November 10th 2016
Sophie is 15 years and 11 months old! Our office manager Wendy belongs to her, as we all know that we do not own cats, they own us!
She loves to play tag, and she loves to cuddle! It is a guarantee that if you sit down anywhere in her vicinity she will immediately take up residence on your lap!
November 9th 2016
Magnum is a 9 ½ year old poodle. When he was just a 12 week old puppy he got the bright idea that he should eat some carpet, leading him to need a very expensive lifesaving surgery. His breeder was unable to afford the surgery and surrendered him to the veterinary clinic where Jesse was working at the time, relinquishing all ownership rights. He required extensive medical care and one weekend Jesse elected to take him home with her. The rest is history, he had found his furever home!!
He has a favorite toy that he swings around by the tail, love cuddling, hogging the bed and playing with his feline siblings! Check out his post on Facebook to see the video of him playing!
Are you wondering why his name is Magnum? Well since he had a rough start to life, Jesse though he deserved a strong name!!
November 8th 2016
Paco is a 13 year old chihuahua cross belonging to Dr. Sue Tedesco. He loves going for walks in the country, sleeping on really soft blankets, and food.
Paco has had bladder stones removed and had his teeth cleaned several times. He eats a skin-care diet to control his allergies. His eyesight and hearing are no longer what they were, and he was recently diagnosed with moderate heart enlargement.
These health issues have not slowed him down much: he still looks forward to brightening everyone's day, suppertime, peeing in the house and bedtime. He will always be part of the family!
November 7th 2016
Cricket is a 16 ½ year old mixed breed dog belonging to Dr. Liane Bitinsky. Cricket has always felt like a true “Forest Grove” dog as she showed up at the clinic as a stray after being hit by a car on Halloween 2000- just 29 days after the clinic opened its doors!
Liane says, "I always felt that she was the dog that 'chose me'. The next morning when I saw her, she just snuggled into my arms, gazed up at me with the most trusting look. She's been mine ever since."
People always asked "What kind of dog is she? She looks just like a fox!" She had a DNA test done a few years ago as a part of a 'Guess the Breed' fundraiser. It came back as mostly Sheltie/
Collie/Schnauzer/Husky cross with a dash of Weimeraner, Flat-Coated Retriever and Corgi mixed in!!
Cricket suffered a broken pelvis when she was hit by the car, but healed amazingly well. She had an active agility career, retiring at the age of 12, and only now has some arthritic issues that trouble her.
Her favorite thing is to spend a lovely day outside, toodling around, snifﬁng all the interesting smells.
November 4th 2016
Top Ten Health Tips For Senior Dogs....
- Make sure that you have established a relationship with your veterinarian and take your dog for a wellness exam every 6 months.
- Become informed about the conditions common to older dogs and the therapies used for them. Be alert to symptoms, bring them to your vet's attention promptly, and be prepared to discuss treatment options.
- Feed your older dog the best food you can afford; consider feeding him two small meals daily rather than one large one.
- Don't overfeed your dog. Obesity will create health problems and shorten his life.
- Consider the use of dietary supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis.
- Give your senior dog adequate exercise, but adjust it to her changing abilities.
- Attend to your dog's dental health. Brush her teeth daily and have them cleaned professionally whenever your vet advises it.
- Have your veterinarian determine the most appropriate vaccination schedule for your senior dog.
- Be diligent in controlling fleas and ticks, and keep your dog and his environment clean.
- Make your senior dog as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to keep him interested, active, happy and comfortable.
November 3rd 2016
The Top Ten Health Tips For Senior Cats.....
- Take your cat to their veterinarian for twice-yearly checkups.
- Become informed about conditions and diseases common to senior cats, be on the lookout for symptoms and, should they arise, inform your cat's veterinarian promptly.
- Feed your cat the best food that you can afford and consider giving him several small meals a day rather than one large one.
- Don't overfeed- obesity causes many health problems and may shorten your cat's life.
- Make sure your cat receives adequate exercise to preserve muscle tone, preserve bone and joint strength and fight obesity.
- Look after your cat's dental health. Have his teeth cleaned professionally when your veterinarian so advises, and ideally brush his teeth daily.
- Have your veterinarian do a risk assessment to determine an appropriate vaccination protocol for your cat.
- Do your utmost to control fleas and makes sure your cat and his environment (bed, play area, etc) are always clean.
- Check your cat's nails weekly and trim them as often as necessary, as senior cats may not use their scratching posts as often as they did when younger.
- Give your cats lots of love and attention and do all that you can to keep them interested, active, happy and comfortable.
November 1st 2016
Do you know how old your pet really is?
November is Senior Health Month and we here at Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic want to celebrate your senior pet with you! Over the next few weeks we will be posting information on different things that could potentially be happening with your pet as they step into their golden years, but we thought we would start off by addressing at what age your pet officially becomes a senior! Check out the chart below to see which life stage your pet is in and make sure to head over to our Facebook page to find more great information on senior pets!
October 20th 2016
You might be a vet tech if.....
Veterinary technicians wear many coats throughout the day. They may be in reception, greeting you and your pet as you walk through the door, they may take you and your pet into an exam room and get you settled in a prepared for your veterinary visit, or they may be working in triage and treatment and you might not directly see the technician that is working with your pet. Here are some of the common jobs that veterinary technicians perform on a regular basis.
Anesthesiologist- When your pet is in clinic for a surgical procedure it is a veterinary technician who is monitoring them throughout the procedure to ensure that they are safe and comfortable while under anesthetic. They have to be able to think on their feet and make adjustments as required to maintain an adequate depth of anesthesia and patient safety throughout each procedure. While the basics of anesthesia are generally all the same, each patient has unique characteristics that can sometimes create challenges with anesthesia. Veterinary Technicians work along with your Veterinarian to develop the safest anesthetic protocol for your pet!
Post operative recovery- While we are on the topic of surgery, once the procedure is finished, it is your Veterinary Technician who stays with your pet through recovery. They sit with them, ensure that they are warm and comfortable, and talk to them to alleviate anxiety as they are coming out of anesthesia. A veterinary technician will monitor your patient through their stay at the hospital and evaluate pain levels and patient comfort and report to the veterinarian as needed to ensure that your pet is comfortable and that any potential pain is well managed while they are recovering from their surgical procedure.
Surgical Sterilization- It is important that surgical instruments and materials are sterile to help prevent infection from a surgical procedure. It is a veterinary technician who prepares the surgical packs, wraps instruments, drapes, gowns and other materials that will be used during your pets surgery and places them through a heat and steam sterilization process in an autoclave. They are also responsible for prepping your pet for their surgical procedure, and cleaning the surgical suite post operatively to prepare it for the next patient.
Phlebotomy- That is a fancy term for blood collection! When your pet comes to the clinic for blood work, it is a Veterinary Technician who will collect the blood sample, place it in the appropriate tubes, ensure that it is labeled correctly and package it for transport to a diagnostic laboratory where the sample will then be tested by another Veterinary Technician and reported back to a Veterinarian for interpretation of the results. Not only are Veterinary Technicians responsible for blood collection, they also collect other samples like urine, feces, skin samples, ear swabs etc.
General Nursing Care- Has your pet had to stay in a veterinary hospital for care during an illness or injury? After your pet is examined by the Veterinarian, their care is passed along to a Veterinary Technician. Your Veterinarian develops a treatment protocol, tells the Veterinary Technician which medications are needed and at what frequency and the Veterinary Technician ensures that the prescribed medications are given. The Veterinary Technician also evaluates your pet frequently throughout their hospital stay and reports any changes back to the Veterinarian. They spend time with your pet, giving cuddles and love where appropriate to help your pet recovery quickly so that they can get back home with you!
Cleaning and Sanitation- A Veterinary Technicians role is not all playing with puppies and kittens or patient care. They are also responsible for cleaning up messes that might be created by a pet in clinic, cleaning kennels, doing laundry, sweeping, mopping, wiping down exam rooms and other cleaning duties.
Reception Duties- Veterinary Technicians often double as reception staff, especially in smaller practices. The will answer the phone, greet you when you arrive to the clinic, make sure that your file is ready for your appointment with the Veterinarian, and prepare your file to be stored after your visit.
Radiology- Has your pet ever needed a radiograph (x-ray)? It is a Veterinary Technician who suits up in a lead outfit, measures your pet and sets the machine to the appropriate settings for what needs to be on the radiograph. They also will position your pet, take the radiograph, assess it for diagnostic quality and pass it along to the Veterinarian for diagnosis.
Dental Hygienist- When your pet comes in to the veterinary clinic for a dental procedure, it is a Veterinary Technician who takes the dental radiographs for the Veterinarian to evaluate. It is also the Veterinary Technician who cleans and polishes the teeth to remove the plaque and tartar buildup and make those pearly whites shine again!
Surgical Assistant- Often times for larger surgical procedures, the Veterinarian will have a Veterinary Technician scrub in to assist with holding and passing instruments, maintaining sterile surgical field, moving tissues out of the way of the surgical site and much much more. In a critical moment those extra hands that a Veterinary Technician can provide are an invaluable resource!
Triage and Patient Evaluation- It is often a Veterinary Technician who will speak to you initially during an emergent situation. They will evaluate your pet to assess how urgent the situation is and direct you to the appropriate care facility. They also work very closely with the Veterinarian during emergency situations to get the appropriate drugs ready and into the patient as quickly as possible. Veterinary Technicians are also trained in CPR procedures should the unfortunate need ever arise for your pet.
Client Education- Veterinary Technicians are knowledgeable in many different aspects of pet care. They know vaccination protocols, proper nutrition, common diseases, what to watch for when your pet is sick and when you need to see a Veterinarian. Veterinary Technicians will sometimes teach client education classes such as pet weight loss counseling, dog bite prevention, proper socialization and preventing zoonotic disease (disease that can be spread between humans and animals)
Those really are just the tip of the iceberg to the responsibilities of a Veterinary Technician, and there are a lot of areas where a Veterinary Technician may specialize. The job responsibility and possibilities really are endless!
October 17th 2016
A week in the life of a veterinary technician……..
What do you think of when you hear "veterinary technician"? Some people think of a nurse for animals, other people think of someone who plays with puppies and kittens all day long. The truth is Veterinary Technicians are really a jack of all trades when it comes to the veterinary clinic. They are an integral part of the veterinary team and are often the first people that you get to interact with when you walk through the doors of the clinic. It is National Veterinary Technician week and we would love to walk you through a week in the life of our technicians. Keep your eyes posted here for fresh insight as to what it really means to be a Veterinary Technician!!
October 3rd 2016
Animal Health + Human Health + Planet Health = One Health.
Animal health is intrinsically tied to the health of humans and that of the environment. We want to showcase how important it is that we all work together to protect the health of animals, people and the planet wholly and globally. We’re reminding animal owners that ensuring the health of their animals not only protects their animals, but ensures the health of humans and the environment as well. Every step you take to protect the animals in your care contributes to the global health of the population and the planet.
Check out the video below
Ronald McDonald House
Our staff enjoyed an evening of baking cookies at the Ronald McDonald House. We took our baking ingredients with us and all pitched in to bake up a storm. Dozens of Cowboy Cookies, Cinnamon Crescents, Secret Cookies and M&M Cookies! The cookies were then left at Ronald McDonald house for the guests to enjoy.
February 18th, 2015
Well here we are a little better than half way through dental health month and we are so excited that you are taking the first step in being proactive about your pets oral health! As you know, your pets oral health contributes to your pets overall health, and we all love to keep our pets as healthy as we possibly can! Today’s feature is all about brushing teeth! Most of us have tried brushing our pets’ teeth at least once, but if we are honest with ourselves, it was probably a less than pleasant experience, and was not repeated again. Brushing is an important part of your pets’ oral health care routine, and today we would like to share some tips on how to get your pet to love having their teeth brushed!
It is important to remember, as with any type of training, always work within your pets’ comfort zone. Move at the pace that they are comfortable with, in some pets this process can take a few short training session, in others in can take many short training sessions over a long period of time. If you move slowly and stay below the point that your pet feels uncomfortable it will be a relaxing exercise for both of you!
Step one; locate your pets favorite treat, sometimes you can use their favorite canned food delivered from a syringe with the tip cut off, or for the pets that are really food motivated, you can use a portion of their kibble as rewards! You should also secure a soft bristled toothbrush and a tube of pet approved toothpaste. You won’t be starting with the tools right away, but it is important to have everything available as you are going through the training process.
Step two; find a comfortable location. Sit beside your pet with the treats in one hand and start rubbing around your pets face while feeding treats. Move slowly and only proceed when your pet is comfortable with the handling that you are doing. Gradually build up to being able to lift your pets’ lip.
Step three; when your pet is comfortable with you lifting its lip, run your fingers along the gum line, give your pet a treat after you remove your finger from their mouth. Continue doing this until your pet is comfortable with your running your finger along their gum line.
Step four; introduce the toothbrush and tooth paste If you have been using canned food as a reward, dip the tooth brush in canned food and allow your pet to lick the food off of the brush. If you have been using a hard treat or kibble as a reward, place a small amount of toothpaste on the treat and on the brush. Give your pet the treat, allow them to lick the toothpaste off of the brush, and then follow up with an additional toothpaste loaded treat. When your pet is consistently taking the toothpaste off of the brush, you can start to increase the time between the offering the brush and giving the food reward.
Step five; at this point your pet should be completely comfortable with you handling their mouth, with the brush in their mouth, and with the toothpaste. You can now start moving the brush in slow, gentle circular motions over your pets’ teeth. Start off with brushing one tooth, then offering a treat, then slowly increase to two teeth, three teeth, upper arcade, lower arcade and eventually to brushing one whole side before offering a treat.
That’s all it takes to get your pet used to having their teeth brushed and help them to love the interaction and bonding time that they have with you while you are brushing their teeth. It may seem like a daunting task at first, but be consistent and reward your small successes. Before you know it you will enjoy brushing your pets teeth as much as your pet enjoys having it’s teeth brushed!
January 19th, 2015
Happy New Year!
January is flying by and February is fast approaching.
February is Dental Health Month, where we focus on your family pet's dental health. Our pets require their teeth to be maintained just as our teeth do. As with us, they can experience toothaches, gingivitis, plaque, and bad breath. Our furry friends can hide their discomfort very well.
Call us to make a complimentary appointment with one of our Technicians who will examine your pets mouth. They will advise you as to whether or not your pet would benefit from a dental treatment at this time. You may be able to maintain your pets oral health with some simple home care steps! Brushing their teeth daily would be great, but isn't always possible. No worries! The technicians have many great tools to share with you to improve your pets breath and keep those teeth pearly white!
If the time is right to do a dental procedure, the Technicians will give you a treatment plan. This will outline what to expect on the day of the procedure.
During the month of February, we will be offering a 10% discount on all dental procedures, as well as dental products to help maintain oral health.
As space is limited, call soon!
December 12th, 2014
It's hard to believe that we are 13 days away from Christmas, with this lovely weather that we have been having, it sure does not feel like a typical Saskatchewan December! Many of you are probably in full swing with holiday festivities, baking, decorating the house, getting presents all ready to go, and preparing the house for the arrival of all kinds of guests. Just a few quick reminders as we hurry about this holiday season; many of the foods we eat around the holidays are no good for our pets. Chocolate (particularly bakers chocolate which seems to be used heavily this time of year) is toxic to our furry family members. If you pet ingests chocolate of any kind, please call the clinic immediately, we can advise you on what you need to do next based on the amount of chocolate, the type of chocolate and the size of your dog. Grapes and raisins are also toxic. There is no formula for what dose is toxic for your pet, so it is best to avoid ingestion of this fruit altogether! Onions, apple seeds, avocado pits, turkey bones, candy (particularly the sugar-free kind), and bread dough are also popular this time of year, and can all cause problems for our four-legged friends. For an extensive list of foods that you should not feed your pet, and reasons why you should not feed those foods, feel free to contact us at the clinic! We would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
While you are making your house festive this season, keep in mind that there are decorations that are dangerous around pets. Try to avoid tinsel, fake cotton snow, and ribbons, especially if you have cats, as these objects tend to be very attractive snacks and can cause life threatening intestinal blockages. Keep candles and lights out of reach of children and pets, and do not allow your pet to drink from the water at the base of the Christmas tree.
It is also important to remember that although house guests can be very exciting for us, it can be very overwhelming for our pets. If you have a pet that is particularly shy, make sure that they have a safe place to hang out, and let your guests know that the safe place is off limits for them. No one wants to feel anxious through the holidays, so lets help out our fur babies be comfortable with guests by allowing them to take the time away that they need! If you have questions about an anxious pet, please don't hesitate to contact us!
That's it for today, keep checking back to this page for tips and tricks to keep our pets happy and safe this holiday season!
November 14th, 2014
Have you been keeping up with the adventures of Jolene and Lucas? From reading those posts, we can clearly see that cats can be trained, in this case to accept a new family member, in some other cases to sit, come when called, walk nicely on a harness and all sorts of other fun tricks! Cats can even learn to love coming in to the veterinary clinic! While cats of any age can be trained, we know that it is easier to train a young cat who has not yet had a chance to develop negative associations with their surroundings. On that note we would love to let you know about our new Kitten Kindergarten Classes! Kitten Kindergarten is a wonderful way to help your kitty become the well mannered adult cat that everyone loves! Currently we have classes starting November 19th 2014 and would love to get you enrolled! Our Kitten Kindergarten class is for kittens from 8-20 weeks of age (2-5 months) and will run the evenings of November 19th, December 3rd, and December 17th. For further details please give us a call (306)955-6111 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Do you have an older cat that you feel would benefit from some training as well? We would love to set you up with a technician appointment where we can work with you and your kitty in a one on one environment to help to condition them to accept handling for vet visits, learning to tolerate new people and teach you how to teach them all sorts of fun tricks as well!
October 23rd, 2014
November is Senior Health Month! We are excited to tell you about our new year-round approach to Senior Wellness. Did you know that dogs older than 7 years and cats older than 9 years are considered seniors? Pets age more quickly than their human counterparts, and are experts at hiding their illness. Often they can be quite sick before they show us signs that they are ill. Earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment. This will lead to a longer and healthier life with their human companions.
We hope to assist you in preventative care for your senior pets by introducing a Senior Wellness Package. It includes a full nose-to-tail examination to help pinpoint any problem areas and a consultation about any health or behavioral concerns you may have. We will perform routine screening blood work, blood pressure, as well as intraocular pressure for our feline patients to look for treatable problems that frequently arise in our older pets. Some common issues that may occur in your senior pet are dental disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, and glaucoma. These are all treatable conditions, particularly if detected early.
In order to celebrate your golden oldies, we are offering a discount on this package year round! We recommend examinations twice yearly in older pets to help find hidden illness. Please call us at 306-955-6111 or email email@example.com for further details.
Are you curious about how old your pet is in "human years"? Check out the chart below?
October 20th, 2014
What an amazing difference a couple of days can make! We tried Jolene and Lucas free-roaming together while supervised in the evenings. There was some chasing and swatting at first, but now it has developed into play behavior. Jolene will look back at Lucas before she starts to run and they will romp up and down the hallway together. We placed a bandana around Jolene's neck that has been sprayed with Feliway, and we feel that that has made an immense difference in their interactions. I tried the bandana off yesterday, and within minutes there was a bit of swatting and growling. The two cats were even caught sleeping on the bed in the afternoon sun, albeit a couple feet apart. Lucas even approached Jolene when she was sleeping and gave her a few licks!
We are still separating them when we are not home and using the Feliway bandana, but I feel even that may not be necessary in the next week.
So we would like to welcome Jolene to the family officially! We will submit her adoption paperwork tomorrow!
October 16th, 2014
We have had a breakthrough on the cat introduction front! In the evenings we started putting Jolene in a large dog crate so that Lucas can approach her on his own terms. Quiet and calm behavior was rewarded with kibble. Then we graduated to having Jolene on a leash/harness and Lucas free-roaming. There were a few hissing events, but it hasn't escalated into actual fighting. They have even sat within inches of each other while they patiently wait for treats!
They are still separated completely at night and when we are not home to supervise, but it is looking very promising. Lucas has been more interested in toys since Jolene arrived, and has been racing around the house like a younger cat.
Jolene is blossoming now that she can spend more time with the people in the house. She isn't really a lap cat, but really loves attention on her terms.
October 12th, 2014
Here is an update on Jolene, Dr. Frei's new kitty! Since coming home she has not been sleeping much, only about 6 hours a day. I am not sure at this point if this is normal for her or just part of the adjustment phase. Did you know that cats sleep 16 hours per day on average, and often up to 20 hours if they are very old or very young?
Jolene spends most of her awake time meowing at this point. She does not understand that she cannot have free-access to the entire house at this point. The adjustment to Lucas is slow but encouraging. We have been leaving the door between the two cats open a couple of inches when we are home and giving kibble when they approach the door and are calm. They have managed to get within 2 feet before the hissing starts up from Lucas. He is frightened by her more than anything.
Jolene is currently having some issues with redirected aggression. She can become very focused on Lucas; her tail will flick, her ears will go back and she will start growling. Fortunately, she is very food motivated, so can easily be distracted by food. If I try to touch her or pick her up in that state, though, she will swat and try and bite me. She doesn't have any teeth, so she winds up gumming me instead. In order to facilitate her adjustment to our house and the other cat, we have started her on the same supplement as Lucas (Zylkene) for the calming and anti-anxiety effect.
October 8th, 2014
Meet Jolene, the newest kitty to the Frei household! She is about 9 years old and was rescued off the streets by SCAT in April. She has a HUGE purr-sonality; her motor is constantly rumbling, she loves head butts, and is a big fan of meal-time.
So far the introduction between Jolene and the other cat, Lucas, has been going well. Jolene has her own room with a solid door, and access to all her basic needs (litter box, water dish, scratching post, places to rest). For the first several days we planned to have no visual access between the cats. Once or twice a day I sprayed Feliway around the entrance to the room as well as in both cats normal resting places. We have exchanged blankets between the cats so that they can become familiar with each others' scent.
It was such a lovely day on Sunday, that I took Jolene out in the yard on a leash to enjoy the remaining summer sun. She walked around the garden a bit, and rolled around in the fallen leaves. Lucas unfortunately caught a glimpse of her in the yard through the screen door and was hissing at her until I whisked her back inside. He has also actively been avoiding going near Jolene's door and is content to eat, sleep, and play on the other side of the house.
We have a sliding door that can cordon off the hallway to Jolene's room, so we let her run around in the bigger space today. I opened the door about an inch so that the other cat could see and hear her, without any physical contact possible. I rewarded Lucas with treats and affection when ever he came close to the door. When he got about 2 feet away, he started hissing and wouldn't stop until I called him away from the door. Despite voicing his discomfort with the situation, however, he still remained relatively calm. I feel that we are having excellent progress so far, although Lucas remains skeptical.
October 3rd, 2014
As some of you may already know, my eldest cat, Levi, passed away on September 12th. His illness was very sudden, although as a veterinarian, I know that the process started many weeks before he ever showed signs of being sick. Levi was one in a million; a consummate snuggler, he had been by my side through my entire university career, 3 cities, and 9 moves. He excelled at head butts, cuddling, purring, and stealing “people food” (his favorite was tomato). Fourteen years ago he walked into a friend's house when they opened the door, and he had been my constant companion ever since. He was a young adult when I met him, so when he passed he was elderly, at least 17 years old. He was truly a veterinarian's pet; he had all of his teeth extracted over the years (except a few incisors), and in his later years struggled with IBD, osteoarthritis, and constipation. He was a fabulous cat, and he brought an incredible amount of joy to our lives.
But this isn't going to be a story about Levi. This is going to be about opening up our hearts and household to a new companion. Although we still have one cat, Lucas, the house has felt incredibly lonely over the last 3 weeks. Levi was so cuddly, so this has been the first time in 14 years where I can sit down and NOT have a cat in my lap. I realized that we needed to consider adding another cat into our home.
Lucas is an anxious and territorial cat. If he smells that there has been a visitor in the yard, he will start growling, hissing, and high-tail it back into the house (trailing his leash behind him). When the other household cats came home after a clinic visit, there was always a period of adjustment where Lucas would follow the offending cat around the house and hiss.
In the past we have fostered cats and kittens for the Edmonton SPCA and he was the only cat out of the three that had negative interactions with the new cats and had to be kept separate. That being said, we did it all wrong! Throwing a new cat into the mix without a slow introduction is a recipe for disaster, especially with a kitty like Lucas. So in order to have the best possible chance of integrating a new companion into our household, we had to have a plan!
Step 1 - Ensure everyone is healthy and free of contagious disease. Lucas is FeLV/FIV negative and we needed to make sure the new kitty was as well. All the cats at Street Cat Rescue have been tested, and we needed to select one that was negative for both these viral diseases. We also needed to make sure both cats were up to date on vaccinations and deworming. Click the links for more information about FeLV, FIV, and Street Cat Rescue.
Step 2 - Prepare your home for the new comer. The new kitty needs a room to themselves with a solid door so that the cats cannot see each other. They should have their own litter, water, food bowl, scratching post and sleeping places. Ensure that the room is "cat-proof", with no access to hazards or toxic plants. Spray Feliway in the carrier, and around the new room. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that lets kitties know the area is safe and secure. Nothing to worry about, here!
Step 3 - Prepare the existing cat(s) for the new arrival. I started out by rubbing down the new cat with a towel and placing it in a room of the house where Lucas often frequents. I sprayed Feliway in all of Lucas' favorite places, as well as on the door and carpet at the entrance of the new kitty's room. I also started Lucas on Zylkene which is a milk-based supplement that has anti-anxiety properties.
Step 4 - Have reasonable expectations! Do not bring another pet home with the idea this it will be your existing pet's new best friend. I decided to adopt another kitty for ME. I don't expect the cats to ever cuddle together or groom each other. If that happens, wonderful, but my main goal is to have them tolerate each other. The occasional spat is to be expected, but both cats need to feel content and secure in their living environment the vast majority of the time.
Although I would love for Lucas to bond with the new kitty. It is unreasonable to expect him to form a close friendship, like the one he had with Cleo (below).
I can expect to have the cats coexist, however, because they both deserve to feel safe in their home. Occasional disagreements will happen, but constant fighting is not acceptable. Fortunately, there are numerous things we can do to encourage healthy interaction and prevent negative experiences!
Step 5 - Select the new kitty! I am a huge proponent of adoption. There are hundreds of wonderful cats and kittens in Saskatoon looking for their forever home. Adult cats are wonderful because you already know what their personality is like. And older cats have a much harder time finding a home, so you would be saving a life! We were looking for an older, special needs cat. I thought a female would be best, because Lucas previously had better interactions with female cats. I also wanted a kitty that loves attention, does well with other cats, and has a big personality!
Step 6 - Go slow - this is not a race! I expect the introduction process to take weeks if not months. The cats will be kept completely separate initially. They will be exposed to each others' scent before they ever make visual contact. If there is a negative interaction, we will take a step back and take things more slowly. I look forward to sharing the experience with you!