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UH OH Gotta Run!

Diarrhea, the runs, the squirts, just a few names that we hear.  We are not the only ones plagued by diarrhea, our pets get it too!

We have all been there, the frequent middle of the night wakeup call from our dog needing out.  The lovely presents when you return home, and their sad little faces feeling bad to have left you that present.

Diarrhea is characterized by frequent loose or liquid bowel movements. It can be caused by something as simple as a change in diet or a more serious illness or infection. Diarrhea may be sudden in onset and short in duration. It can also last for weeks to months or occur off and on.

What are some causes of diarrhea?

  • Change in diet
  • Food intolerance
  • Ingestion of garbage or spoiled food
  • Ingestion of poisonous substances or toxic plant material
  • Ingestion of foreign body (for example, toy, rubber band, plastic bag, etc.)
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Internal parasites
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Certain medications
  • Colitis
  • Stress
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis

A single bout of diarrhea is generally not a cause for concern in pets — but if it persists for more than a day, it can lead to dehydration, or it may indicate an underlying health issue and should be checked out by a veterinarian.

Pheochromocytoma, what’s that?

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Pheochromocytoma, what’s that?

Trust Miss Twinny to have a rare form of a tumor!

Miss Twinny came to me as a rescue, she was rescued from a terrible situation and soon became a beloved part of my family.

Everyone that met Miss Twinny fell in love, she had a face only a mother could love.  A squishy little face with snaggly teeth.

Miss Twinny was diagnosed with Pheochromocytoma, a rare adrenal tumor.  She unfortunately passed away just before they were going to do surgery to hopefully remove the tumor so I could have a few more years with my Miss Twinny.

Now looking back there were small signs that I didn’t notice at the time, like all of us we are busy and rushing around in this so called thing called life.   She had been not eating like she used to, I put that down to one of our other dogs at the time was pushy and I had to watch Miss Twinny when it was feeding time.  I put it down to her being scared of the other dog, causing her to be depressed. I also thought back to her drinking more, and more restless, also sleeping more, yes I know seems weird, being restless, and then sleeping more.

It became very obvious on our walk to the dog park two years ago when Miss Twinny kept stopping and her breathing was rapid.  I of course rushed her to work with me and Dr King examined her and we took blood to send off.  The blood work came back with alarming results, which then started the whole prognosis of what was ailing my sweet Miss Twinny.  We booked an ultrasound, and they were able to see the mass.

We then booked a referral appointment with an Internal Medicine Specialist as the surgery she would require is very risky.  I was very hopeful they could save her and I would be picking her up after her surgery and bringing her home to recover.

Here is a little about the tumor Miss Twinny had:

A pheochromocytoma is a tumor of the adrenal gland, which causes the glands to make too much of certain hormones. This can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. These symptoms are intermittent (not present all of the time) because the hormones that cause them are not made all of the time or are made in low amounts.


Pheochromocytomas are rare in dogs. They usually occur in dogs that are older than seven years but can occur in younger dogs as well. Because this tumor affects an endocrine gland that functions to spread hormones, pheochromocytomas commonly spread to organs that are near them and can rapidly metastasize to other areas of the body.


The moral of the blog, is any little thing you notice, like not eating as much, drinking more, ANYTHING, call your Veterinary Clinic and make that appointment.  Do the bloodwork, as without the bloodwork we wouldn’t have known that Miss Twinny was in trouble.

This process was less than a week from the dog park to saying goodbye to my Miss Twinny.


I miss and think of her every day!


Puppy Socialization.

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What is puppy socialization and why it’s so important?

All animals, including dogs, have a special sensitive period at the start of their lives. During this time, they learn to accept things around them so that they are not afraid of them later in life.

Puppy socialization involves meeting and having pleasant encounters with many things. Positive encounters are a must for the puppy to thrive.

Unfortunately a natural response of a fearful dog, if it has no means of escape, is aggression.

Why is socialization so important?

To be a successful pet, dogs need to get on well with other living creatures as well as coping with a variety of different everyday experiences. Puppies that are well socialized grow up to be friendly and well balanced with everybody and other animals.

Sadly, not all puppies are so lucky.

The most common cause of fear and aggression is lack of socialization.

A puppy does not have to be mistreated to become afraid of people or new experiences.

The time to start is now!

Good socialization is the best way to ensure a friendly, well-adjusted puppy.

More young dogs are euthanized because of behavioural problems than die from diseases we vaccinate against.

How do I socialize my puppy?

Socialization is easy – IT JUST HAS TO BE DONE!

Puppies need to experience as many encounters as possible during their first year of life, particularly during the sensitive period.

With any puppy, the time to start is NOW. Carefully arrange for your puppy to have several new experiences every day, making it positive.

Vaccinations and socialization. The doctor will explain and advise you on integrating the timing of these vaccinations with a good, safe socialization program.

Until your puppy is vaccinated, it should:

  • Not be allowed to mix with unvaccinated dogs.
  • Not be walked in areas where other dogs have been.


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The word even sounds scary, and it can be scary to watch your pet have a seizure.  I live with a dog who has seizures.  Until we could find the right medications and dose she would have seizures about every 3 weeks, and they would be cluster seizures, meaning one after the other up to three at a time.

Touch wood she has been seizure free for over three years.  It’s a distant memory now of witnessing her have a seizure.  It took time and trying different medications and dosages, but we finally got there.

Abby was an owner surrender at the local Animal Emergency Clinic where I work part time.  She was purchased off of Kijiji by a very sweet family.  It was their first dog and they fell instantly in love with her.  Abby is a very sweet loveable dog and everyone that meets her falls in love.  She is a small Shih Tzu and loves children – she will make a bee line to meet kids.

The family had three kids and everything was perfect until they witnessed her having a seizure.  They did not know what was happening.  All they knew, was that their sweet new dog that they had only had for a week, was flopping around on the floor like a fish.  She lost control of her bladder and was frothing at the mouth.  It lasted just over a minute.

They immediately took her to the Emergency Clinic and as they arrived, she had another one in front of the Doctor.  The family loved Abby, but knew that they couldn’t keep her – it scared their small children so much.  They asked that Abby be euthanized.  The Doctor discussed with them their options as Abby was only a year old.  They still did not want to keep her, so I was called to see if I could take Abby.

Abby has been part of my family now for just over 4 years.  We love her, and now that she is on the right medication and dosage, she lives a perfectly normal life.

There are different causes of seizures.  Abby has Idiopathic Epilepsy, meaning basically we don’t know why she has them.   (Pets that seizure can be referred to a Neurologist for an MRI) to see if they can find anything that could explain the seizures.

Living with a dog that has seizures isn’t as daunting as you may think.  Once the medication and dosages are found, your pet can lead a normal life.


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Every time my dog Gryphon poops, he tweets #GryphonWasHere. Now, don’t misunderstand. Gryphon does not carry around a phone and update his status with every bowel movement. He lets the world know the old fashioned way – he expresses his anal sacs.

The anal sacs are two nifty little structures that are located just beyond the anal opening in dogs and cats. If we imagine the anus as the face of a clock, the anal sacs are positioned at 4 and 8 o’clock. They contain fluid that gets released every time feces mosey on down the rectum to the anus, and then out into the great big world beyond. The purpose of this fluid? Simply to mark territory. To tell other dogs and cats, “Listen up, this is my neighbourhood!” (or in Gryphon’s case “Hey everybody, come play with me!”).

Occasionally the anal sacs can become impacted, infected or abscessed. Early signs of trouble can include scooting and/or excessive licking at the hind end. Common causes of anal sac problems include food allergies, seasonal allergies and diarrhea. Some dogs need to have the anal sacs manually expressed on a regular basis to prevent impaction.
Thankfully, most dogs and cats never experience any trouble with their anal sacs, nature’s original form of social media!

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.