Avoid Easter Pet Poisonings

Easter is a time to rejoice and relax. Keep chocolate, and leftovers away from pets so  vomiting, diarrhea and worse does not disrupt your holidays.

Also special reminder about the toxic nature of Lillies which are often purchased at this time of year. http://barfblog.com/2014/04/fda-says-keep-lilies-away-from-your-cats/

Nutrition Course Highlights

Instead of enjoying a touch of spring on Sunday, myself and 200 other veterinarians were at a feline nutrition course for 7 hours.

Important things that we learned or were refreshed were.

Allergies develop in susceptible patients and can not be given to a patient by grains, gluten, or any other ingredient in a pet food.  However in predisposed individuals allergies can develop to any ingredient.

Feed all pets as individuals. The chances of a pet living its entire life on the same food and the same amount is very slim.

When ever possible cats should be fed in a manner that makes them work for their meals. Either hide and seek the food, play chase the food, work the food out of feeding puzzles or toys designed to increase the work associated with getting calories as well as providing mental and environmental enrichment.

Within 48 hours of spaying or neutering; appetite will increase and caloric needs will be reduced. Failure to prepare and adjust for this dramatic change is the leading cause of excessive weight gain between 6 and 16 months of age.

Evaluating a food  and pet food company; Call them and ask. Do you have a nutritionist? If I have a question can I talk to the nutritionist?   Where do you source your ingredients? Is your food tested by feeding trials or is it just formulated to meet requirements? What is the digestibility of the protein(s) and carbohydrates? What is the phosphorus percentage on a dry matter basis? Products and companies that cannot provide concrete answers to these questions should be avoided.

More information is available at http://wsava.org/nutrition-toolkit and there is a special area for pet owners down the page.


Opinion on pet foods

Opinions on pet foods can be provided from many sources. Magazines, pet store employees, general posters on the internet, company pages on the internet, self professed experts on the internet, veterinarians, specially trained nutritionists and veterinarians with special advanced  training leading to certification as a specialist in veterinary nutrition. The further you move along this list the more knowledgeable the individual is regarding  nutrition.  When I need advice for a difficult nutritional case, I consult with a board certified veterinary  nutritionist. That way the distractions of unscientific opinions are removed and we can talk about the real nutrition issues and how best to manage them.

There is a website that purports to be able to tell you the quality of a pet food based on it’s label. In fact they will tell you if it is better than another food or not based on the label. (BTW This is not possible based on knowledge shared by those at the end of the list listed above.) I had questions about a food that makes some dramatic health claims. I could not get an answer about these claims from the internet as the company that makes it does not have a website. So I went to the store to see if there was a website or 1-800 number on the packaging. (There was not)  Also reading the label indicated that the food was formulated to meet AAFCO guidelines. This means the company did not test the quality of the food by feeding it. They rely on the recipe to be good enough quality control. ( It is not) . If there are no feeding trials then there is no data as to the quality of the urine produced while on this diet and the digestibility of the food.  These are two big strikes against this product. Either one would stop me from feeding it to the pets I am responsible for. Unfortunately this food is highly endorsed as good by that website referred to above. Whereas several diets I have a high respect for are not endorsed.

We are happy to advise our clients on the suitability of their selected diet for their pet(s).  Not all diets can do all things for all pets. There is no one perfect diet for all pets and they all should be fed as individuals.


Rabies news 2013

Ontario and Manitoba tied with 28 cases reported each. (BTW not all Rabies cases do end up reported)

In Ontario Bats were the most often reported species and in Manitoba , Skunks led the list.

Other species with reported Rabies in Canada were:   Dog, Cat, Horse, Fox, Raccoon

Source CFIA,  100 total cases across the country.

Rabies vaccine is a safe effective prevention for this ever present disease especially when in Ontario we are seeing more Bat Rabies than before.

My pet looks normal, Why blood test?

My pet looks normal, Why blood test?

Pet animals are genetically programmed to hide illness. It is not unusual for them to hide chronic or slowly progressive diseases from their owners. Blood testing helps uncover secret health problems.

A study in Ontario showed out of about 300 cats, 65 % had a hidden abnormality (abnormalities) of importance to the patient. Of 1200 dogs, 41% had a hidden health issues benefiting from attention.

Even when blood tests are normal , there is benefit in knowing and there is benefit in knowing your pet’s baselines.  Future changes from baseline are often significant!