Monthly Archives

December 2015

Starting the New Year at a healthy weight!

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As we all look forward to the New Year, and wish everyone a healthy, prosperous New Year.   I myself know that I have eaten my fair share, more then I normally would, all the cookies, and turkey dinners, and then of course the yummy leftovers.  Not to mention the Christmas work parties and invites over to the neighbor’s.

So just like us, our pets get a little overweight, some more than others.  Hey, it’s cold outside, it’s also often too icy to walk.  We still feed them the same amount, not thinking that they are getting less exercise.  I know, I did the same with my dogs, one of my dogs became quite the chunker last year.  So she joined the

We put her on a safe restricted diet, and she would work out on the treadmill 3 times a week.  She did very well on the treadmill and it didn’t take long before she became quite the runner.  She lost weight safely and has a fit trim body now.  Keeping the weight off is the key, and making sure she doesn’t climb up again with her weight.

When you live with your pet and see them every day, you don’t notice the weight gain, it sneaks up.  It happens with us too, believe me…lol.

Obesity is a disease, the good news is that obesity is a treatable disease. It can be a challenge for your pet to lose the weight, but it can be done.  The old saying always pops into my head “It’s best to be cruel sometimes to be kind”.   Some people feel they are being kind giving treats all the time, and that can include people food too.  They think they are being cruel if they don’t give that piece of pizza crust, or chunk of cheese.

So next time they look at you with those sad puppy eyes, tell them that you love them, and because you do, they cannot have that chunk of cheese, but a carrot instead.


Raccoon Rumble

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It was an unseasonably warm December day for Southwestern Ontario. A beautiful afternoon to be outside, and that’s exactly where Charlie and Abby wanted to be. They were in the kitchen, toenails clicking as they circled and shifted, their whining breath fogging the glass of the back door. Jane finished putting away the last of the clean dishes and folded the tea towel over the oven handle.
“Hang on you two. I’m coming,” she said.
She looked out the door, and saw what it was that had the dogs so worked up. Len, the neighbourhood bunny stalker, was on the roof of the shed. He was stretched out in all his orange tabby cat glory, his eyes closed against the warm sun. Jane opened the sliding back door and the dogs took off as if someone had shot a starter’s gun. Len jerked his head in their direction, leaped to the fence and disappeared into the neighbouring yard. Charlie and Abby skid just short of the fence, barking like mad fools.
“They look quite pleased with themselves,” Jane thought as she closed the door and turned back to her dinner preparations.
Minutes later, a fierce noise erupted in the yard.
“Ugh – what are those two up to now?” she wondered.
She quickly realized it was not their usual sound of alarm, like when someone walked by the side gate. This barking was much more intense. Then, a third voice was thrown into the mix; it was high pitched and hissing.
“Oh no – Len!” Jane ran to the back door.
But it wasn’t Len.
It was a raccoon, and there was a lot of blood.

This story is fictional, but based on an incident that played out in Hamilton earlier this month. On December 2, two dogs had a significant altercation with a raccoon that was later confirmed positive for rabies. Five days after this, three more rabies positive raccoons were confirmed in the area. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), distributes wildlife rabies vaccine baits in specific areas, to help protect our wildlife against rabid raccoons that cross the border into Canada. MNRF initiated hand and aerial baiting in the Hamilton area on December 7.
What steps can you take to avoid exposure where you live?
1. avoid contact with potentially rabid wildlife such as skunks, fox, raccoons and bats
2. keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations
Rabies is a fatal disease – please protect yourself and your pets!

Ducks and Chickens, oh my!

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Growing up in a small town in England, we were lucky to have our own ducks and chickens.  We used to keep them at the bottom of the garden.  It was very common for people in our town to have their own ducks and chickens in their backyards.  We had a pond for the ducks, and a shed where we locked them all up for the night.  The chickens used to peck around all day, and the ducks would usually be sunning themselves after a dip in the pond.  They all lived together in harmony, a few feathers were ruffled over food occasionally, but that was all.

The chickens and ducks all had names and had their own personality.   The chickens were the regular brown laying hens and they would lay every morning.  My sister and I would rush down every morning to grab the eggs.  The ducks were Muscovy ducks. They didn’t quack like a regular duck, but they did waddle like a regular duck. They would hiss like a snake and bob their heads back and forth.  The ducks were great sitters and would sit forever if you didn’t remove the eggs.  We had a duck who sat on chicken eggs, and when the eggs hatched they followed her around like she was their mother.

They were pets, and we loved them.  They became very tame and we could pick them up and cuddle them.  We had one duck we named Tinkerbell and we were very fond of her.  She was mainly white and had such a sweet way about her.  I remember when she got old and became ill, we brought her into our house and nursed her till she passed.   She would get a warm mash every day, and we had soft blankets for her to rest her tired body.

I have very fond memories of our house and life in Ampthill.  My mum was a single mum raising two wild teenage girls.  The animals grounded us.  We not only had ducks and chickens, we had dogs and ponies too.  We were members of our local pony club and went to shows or events most weekends.

All our dogs came from the local SPCA, mutts, the Heinz 57’s, all great dogs.  We had one dog called Whisp, who came to us as a cruelty case. She had been left locked up in a shed; she was a walking skeleton, starving for not only food, but also for love.

Whisp was an amazing dog.  We fed her up, and she got lots of love. The one thing we could not train out of her was her gluttony.  She would jump on counter tops to steal food.  She once opened our fridge and ate the cooked Christmas turkey but left the stuffing mind you!

I remember all my friends would be going into town and buying all the newest fashions, I once asked my mum why we couldn’t go out and buy all the newest fads.  She turned and asked me if my friends had their own pony, or had all the animals we had.  I then realized that we were truly blessed and that I wouldn’t swap our animals for any new fashion item.

What do you mean, rehab?

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It was late summer on a Friday night. We were gathered in a backyard down the street. The orange glow from the fire pit, and the clink of beer caps tossed onto the table top, softened the edges of a long week.
“What are you up to this weekend?” my neighbour asked.
“I’ve got this rehab course I’m going to tomorrow.” I said.
“Oh …. I see.” Her eyes wide, she looked down at the drink in my hand, and took a half step away from me.
“No, no – not like drug and alcohol rehab. It’s a veterinary rehabilitation course. It’s like physiotherapy.” I said.
She took the half step back towards me, her face relaxed, “Ohhh! OK, what’s that all about?”.
The conversation continued about our own injuries, and how the same principles of physiotherapy apply to injured pets.

The term, physiotherapy, is a protected one; legally veterinarians cannot use it to describe treatment of patients. And so, in the veterinary world, we use the term rehabilitation. When we understand what happens to injured tissues, and take advantage of the body’s natural healing process, the results can be amazing.
Benefits include:
1. increased speed of recovery
2. improved quality of motion
3. increased strength and endurance
4. improved flexibility
5. reduced pain
6. non-invasive
7. minimal complications
8. prevention of future injury

Every patient we see is unique – this requires us to individualize our rehabilitation plans. One of the things that I really love, is that client involvement is crucial. It’s very rewarding for owners to play such a big part in their pet’s recovery and well-being. For more information, check out our, What’s right with Rehabilitation page.

All hands and paws on deck!

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All hands and paws on deck!

It’s all about team work when working in a busy animal hospital.  Yes we all have our positions, but that doesn’t mean we don’t help when needed.   It can be the technicians answering calls, invoicing clients out, to us all trying to hold a fractious cat for a nail trim.

I myself love helping in the back as we call it, the treatment room, where all the action happens.  Animals are my passion, so I feel blessed to be able to work with them every day.  When I am asked to help hold, or hold off a vein while blood is taken, I do so with gusto.

My favorite is helping prep for surgery, from holding off a vein for a catheter to be placed, to holding their mouths open so the technician can incubate. I love watching the hustle and bustle of the team at work.  The flow and coordination is a beautiful thing to see.

I also love to make their beds ready for when surgery is done. I make them like I would a real bed, a soft thick blanket for them to lay on. I put a sheet, a blanket and another soft blanket to cover them. I also fold a towel to make a little pillow.  I roll back the top covers so they can be placed in their little spot and then covered up, all snug as a bug in a rug.

I feel privileged to work in a caring environment.  An environment, where I feel I make a difference every day.  To see a sick patient come in, and to see our team at work, their compassion, empathy and passion is a true gem to behold.  To see that patient go home, feeling so much better, and this is all in a day’s work.  Working with a great team is key, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces fit, and we at Brock Street Animal Hospital fit very well.