Blog

Mobility in Older Dogs

As promised in our previous post on living with geriatric pets, this is a look at modifying the environment for the aging dog and making sure they aren’t in pain. Pets that are in pain don’t get as much exercise as they would otherwise, and as with people are more likely to have other health issues including weight gain, skin problems, urinary tract infections, and muscle wasting. In other words, pain contributes to the overall frailty associated with old age. Pain can also hinder efforts to have a full bowel movement; a painful pet may defecate only enough to relieve the pressure in the colon but not enough to fully empty their bowels. As they sleep, the sphincter relaxes and then when they get up, the abdominal pressure/relaxed sphincter combination can result in fecal incontinence.

Diagnosis

If you’ve noticed a change in behaviour in your dog, is it “something” or … Continue reading

(Un)healthy appetite

As the holiday season approaches, this is a bit of a cautionary tale and a reminder that dogs can be, at times, indiscriminate eaters…and that “dietary indiscretions” can sometimes result in a foreign body that gets lodged in the digestive tract and has to be removed by scoping or by surgery.

In Millan’s case, our adventurous 8-month-old labrador, surgery was required to remove a deflated football from his stomach!

We see him here with the usual “I’ve had the belly surgery haircut” and then further into his recovery, a beautiful picture of him on the beach.

Again, our best wishes for the holidays and reminding you to keep an eye out for our mischevious furry family members!

 

 

 

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Xylitol toxicity in dogs

In our last post about cannabis, a commenter noted that some CBD oil are sweetened by xylitol and that xylitol is toxic to dogs.

Given that astute comment, I thought I would do a brief post on xylitol toxicity in dogs.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener (lower calorie alternative to sugar) that used in gums, oral care and baked products to name a few.

As far as we know, xylitol is only toxic in dogs.  In no other specie does xylitol stimulate an insulin release but, in dogs, it causes a rapid insulin release which can result in profound hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Dogs that eat up to 0.1 mg/kg are at risk for hypoglycemia while higher doses (0.5mg/kg) can develop acute liver failure.   The mechanism for the acute liver failure is unknown.

Signs of low blood sugar can develop within 30 mns or be delayed if the substance ingested … Continue reading

Canada’s Marijuana Laws Have Changed. What Does It Mean For Pets?

Given Canada’s new status as the second country worldwide to legalize recreational use of marijuana, it is important for veterinarians to weigh in on the risks that marijuana can pose to our pet patients.  While the change in legislation may be welcome on the human front, our concern is that people may be more prone to thinking that it is harmless or even beneficial to give marijuana to their pets.

 

The 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center cites a study from Colorado (where marijuana has been legal for medical use since 2005) and describes their increase in case load:

A veterinary study from Colorado published recently by the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care reported a four-fold increase in the number of dogs treated for marijuana intoxication between 2005 and 2010, following the legalization of medical marijuana in that state. Similarly, over the past five years Pet Poison HelplineContinue reading

Caring For An Aging Pet

I have learned a lot from my geriatric animal patients over the years. I’ve had that in my back pocket, and so when it came to looking after my own geriatric girl, Mini, I had the good fortune of having shared experience and knowledge from others in a similar situation of caring for an aging pet.

A first-hand perspective

While I was in the thick of caring for Mini I wanted to share the delights but also the reality of dealing with an aging and sick dog, but I somehow couldn’t do it.  Maybe I felt it would jinx how well she was doing; then, in the last few months when her care was fairly constant (I did not leave her more than 4 hours without someone checking in on her) the worry that I was not making the right decisions for her was almost overwhelming.  After I lost her, … Continue reading

3 Top Holiday Hazards For Your Pets

‘Tis the season to fill your stockings with stories of holiday hazards. Most of us know to keep the chocolates and tinsel away from our pets; these safety tips serve as a friendly reminder and will also help you recognize some of the other things that might land your furry friend in the emergency room over the holidays.

1. People Food

I can tell you from my own experience that a tempting panettone, well wrapped and in a festive cardboard container is no match for a determined little dog (and off to the clinic we went to make her vomit…).

Although they love to eat it, rich “people” food spells trouble for dogs for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is that some dogs don’t tolerate sudden changes in their diets; in addition, pancreatitis in dogs can be triggered by food high in the fat, butter and cream … Continue reading