Chestermere Veterinary Clinic Blog



10 Summer Pet Care Tips

By following some summer pet safety tips, you can ensure to enjoy those hot summer days with your family and pets!

1. Never leave your pet in the car – even on a cooler day with the windows rolled down, the temperature inside the car can rise and become too hot for a pet in a matter of minutes.

2. Always have fresh drinking water available – bring a bottle of water and a dish or cup for your pet to drink out of. Offer water to your pet frequently.

3. Watch out for sunburn – pets can get sunburn too, especially on areas of their body with less fur such as tips of the ears and nose. It’s best to try to limit your pets sun exposure between the hours of 10 am – 4 pm. If you do need to go out, try to stick to shady areas, or rub a little sunblock into those unprotected bits!

4. Watch out for heat stroke – especially in elderly, young, overweight or sick pets, or short-nosed breeds such as bulldogs and boxers. Signs of heat stroke include: panting, staring, anxious expression, warm dry skin, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, or collapse. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, so contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has signs.

5. ID – make sure your pets identification (ID) is updated. Have your pet wear a collar with an ID tag with a current address or phone number. They could also have a microchip or tattoo. It is especially important if you are traveling or camping or hiking with your pet.

6. Parasite Prevention – Talk to your veterinarian about getting some parasite prevention products to keep your pets safe from parasites like tape worms, heart worm, and ticks.

7. Wasp or Bee stings – Contact your veterinarian if you see vomiting, itching, hives, swelling or diarrhea following a wasp or bee sting.

8. Clean up your picnic areas – keep you pet from getting into picnic leftovers which can create gastrointestinal distress or create a foreign body if something like a bone gets stuck in your pets stomach or intestines.

9. Vaccines – Get your pet up to date on their vaccines, this will not only keep them safe while meeting other dogs on walks or at the park, but may be required by a kennel if you plan to have them boarded while you go on vacation.

10. Fireworks & Thunderstorms – Loud noises can be frightening for your pet. Try to find a safe confined space your pet can be during these events. Some pets have broken through glass windows trying to escape such noise. Try some white noise, like a radio or TV. Stroke your pet gently and speak low. Try to reassure them that they are safe. If your pet is very bothered, speak with your veterinarian about whether anti-anxiety medication may be a good choice for your pet.

For more information or to book an appointment, contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or visit us at

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AAHA. NewStat “10 Summer Safety Tips for Clients.” June 27, 2012. Web June 30, 2015.

Johnson, Terri CVT. Pets Matter “Prevention is Key to Enjoying the Outdoors with your Pet this Summer.” May 20, 2014. Web June 30, 2015.

Germinder, L. Good News for Pets “Summer Pet Care Tips from AAHA.” June 29, 2011. Web June 30, 2015.


Meet Your Veterinarians!

At Chestermere Veterinary Clinic we are always accepting new patients and look forward to meeting you and your cats and dogs. We also welcome you to take a tour of our clinic, just ask!

We love getting to know our clients and being involved in the community. We support Chestermere’s Listening Tails program, and frequently present to children at schools. Look for us at Chestermere’s community events such as the Mind Body & Spirit Expo, Pet Fest, the Country Fair, Bark for Life (Canadian Cancer Society) and fall parade. We have also put on a clinic open house and pictures with Santa in the winter!

Like our Facebook page or check our website for updates on our next community event!

Now let’s get to know your veterinarian a little bit better!

Dr. Gabby Rotaru believes she has the best job in the world: if you think about it, what other job fills your heart with so much joy that it really brings tears to your eyes, makes you laugh and wonder, discover and create, is never boring and so uplifting? And in what other job can you feel that you truly make lives better (pets and owners alike) and learn every day from each and every pet you meet? There is this invisible bond that forms between you and all animal lovers that come through the door: owners and pets are a second family to her, they get to know each other, trust and respect each other and for this she is so grateful!

Dr. Gabby moved to Canada in 2001 with two cats and two dogs. She feels it was definitely one of the best decisions she ever made! She graduated in 1997 in Romania, Europe and has worked in the small animal field ever since.

Dr. Gabby truly enjoys the combination of internal medicine, surgery, dentistry, radiology and laboratory, which make her job so interesting. She also enjoys educating people how to prevent disease in their pets, this is where the true challenge is! Working emergencies for about 5 years before becoming the practice owner at Chestermere made her realize that some things can be prevented and it is up to us to help our pets stay out of trouble and stay healthy!

In her spare time she loves going biking and hiking with her dog Moxie, or cuddling on the sofa with her two cats Ziggy and Felix. Yoga, gardening and feng shui are other ways Dr. Gabby uses to relax and appreciate all the blessings in her life.

Call us to book your pets next appointment at 403-272-3573.


CPR can be used on pets that have no pulse or have stopped breathing. Just like with human CPR, pet CPR involves chest compressions and mouth to nose breathing (instead of mouth to mouth). You may be able to save your pets life, so print out these instructions and stick them on the fridge or with your first aid supplies, in case of emergency! Remember, CPR even in the hands of professionals, does not always revive an individual.

The steps of pet CPR:

If you find your pet with no pulse or not breathing, always place a call for help or have someone else call for help while you begin CPR. Call your veterinarian at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573. Have your veterinarians number with your other emergency numbers listed near a phone in your home.

Remember your ABC’s, Airway, Breathing and Circulation.

First ensure your pet has an open airway. Try to see if there is an obstruction in your pets mouth, be very careful as pets may try to bite in reflex. Hold the upper jaw with one hand and push down on the lower jaw with the other hand. If you can see an object, try to remove it. If you cannot remove the object and have a small dog or a cat, hold them with their face toward the ground and your arms around their lower abdomen and gently sway them. If the object is still stuck, lay them on a hard surface on their side, with one hand stabilizing their back, use your other hand to press in and up under the center of the rib cage in a thrusting motion (essentially performing the heimlich maneuver). For a large dog you will likely need to use both hands to press with. You can also stand or kneel behind a large pet and wrap your arms around them to perform the maneuver.

If your pet is not breathing, but still has a pulse, you can begin mouth to nose breathing. For large pets, hold the muzzle closed and seal your mouth over their nose. For small pets, form a seal with your mouth over their mouth and nose at the same time. Be careful to not blow too much air into your pet, especially with a small pet, you may cause lung damage if you over inflate. Watch their chest rise to ensure you are getting air in. Give 4-5 quick breaths then check for breathing. Pets should receive around 20 – 30 breaths a minute.

Check for a heartbeat or circulation. At your pets next physical exam with a veterinarian, ask to be shown how to check your pet for a pulse. It is a good time to practice while your pet is healthy and active. It is typically checked on the femoral artery, in the inner rear leg about half way from the body to the knee. If there is no pulse begin chest compressions. Place the pet on a hard surface lying on their right side. For small pets you will squeeze the chest with both hands, by placing one hand over the ribs where the pets elbows would touch the chest if they were standing, and the other beneath the right chest wall. Perform 5 compressions to 1 breath. For medium to large pets, compress with both hands cupped over the ribs where the pets elbows would touch the chest if they were standing, ensure your arms are straight, elbows locked, and that your body is squarely over your hands. Again, compress at a rate of 5 compressions to 1 breath.

We hope you never have to use CPR on your pet, but it is a good skill to know how just in case! For more information on pet CPR, or for help finding your pets pulse, contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or visit us at

You can also take a course in pet first aid, which covers pet CPR by visiting

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SPCA of Texas. “Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs.” Web March 2, 2015.

Hill’s Pet Tales Monthly Newsletter. “CPR Can Save a Dog’s Life – Information from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.” January 2010. Web March 2, 2015.

5 Ways Pets Help Kids & Families

1. Learning – Studies have shown that children can learn in a relaxed fashion when in the presence of a pet. Since pets are non-judgmental, children feel safe exploring and trying new things, rather than fearing they will be critiqued if they make a mistake. Chestermere’s Listening Tails program operates on this finding, a program designed to improve children’s reading skills and confidence by having them practice reading out loud to dogs. For more information on the program visit

2. Comfort – After a difficult day, sometimes there is nothing better than returning home to a wagging tail or a purring cat to curl up with. Pets often instinctively sense when we need some extra comforting, and it can be a relief to just snuggle up with a pet who isn’t going to ask you a lot of questions. The act of petting has even been shown to foster a sense of relaxation, inducing stress relief and even reducing blood pressure.

3. Nurturing – Pets provide children with an opportunity to practice caring for something other than themselves, helping to plant the seeds of parenting skills for when they are adults. Learning to feed, walk, brush fur and teeth, encourages responsibility. Nurturing animals is especially helpful for boys, as they tend to have less practice than girls using their nurturing skills. Girls are encouraged to play house, play with dolls, and become babysitters more often than boys do.

4. Health – Studies have shown that having pets reduces a child’s risk of developing certain allergies and asthma. Particularly during the first year of life, exposure to pets helps a child’s immune system to develop protection against allergies.

Pets can also encourage the family to be more active, whether taking the dog for a walk, hike, or playing fetch.

5. Bonding – Have you ever taken your dog out for a walk only to be approached my someone wanting to pet your dog or ask questions about him? Pets are great social magnets, and allow us to bond with other people that have pets and make new friends.

Having a pet also encourages family bonding. Even picking out a pet in the first place, is something that can bring a family together, and even involve children in making a large decision with the family. Many people consider the pet as part of the family, and every family member enjoys being involved in the care for the pet. Everything from going on family walks, to buying Christmas presents for the pet!

Make sure your pet is healthy by visiting Chestermere Veterinary Clinic for their wellness examination and vaccinations or any time you have concerns, call us at 403-272-3573, or visit

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Strickland, Bill. “The Benefits of Pets.” Parents Magazine. Web February 16, 2015.

5 Steps to Brushing Your Pets Teeth

1. Get your pet comfortable with you handling their mouth: Gently handle your pets mouth for a few seconds frequently. Try to do it when they are relaxed, and always make it a positive experience. Offer them a treat or a favorite toy after you are done.

2. Use pet toothpaste: Human toothpaste should not be used on pets as it is not meant to be swallowed. Pet toothpastes often are flavored with things your pet may find very tasty, and this may help your pet accept brushing more readily. Chestermere Veterinary Clinic can provide you with a free pet toothpaste sample to try. Start by using a small amount of paste on your finger and rub it on your pets teeth and gums. Try to work through the entire mouth.

3. Use a toothbrush: Once your pet is comfortable with you handling their mouth and enjoys the pet toothpaste you have chosen, introduce a toothbrush. Ask the team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic for a free toothbrush for your pet. The toothbrush should be size appropriate. Wet the bristles and apply some toothpaste to the brush, try to push the toothpaste into the bristles so it doesn’t come off in one globule as soon as you begin brushing your pets teeth. Gently brush, starting off by focusing on the fang like canine teeth.

4. Brushing: When your pet becomes comfortable with this, you can begin to brush more teeth and gradually increase the amount of time spent brushing and pressure you use. You do not need to brush the inside surfaces because most of the tartar accumulation occurs on the outside surface. When brushing the front teeth, lift the upper lip and use an up and down motion.

5. Frequency
Your time and commitment to brushing regularly can result in a vast improvement in your pets dental health. It can enhance their quality of life and deepen the bond that you share. Ideally, brush your pets teeth once a day!

Ask the team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic for food and treat recommendations to help support your pets dental health! Call us at 403-272-3573, or visit if you have questions or concerns, or would like to book a dental examination.

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“Simple Steps to Easier Brushing” Hand-out by Medi-Cal Royal Canin.

Coconut Oil for Pets

Coconut oil is very popular these days and has been attributed to many healthy uses for humans. A quick internet search will also bring up dozens of purported healthy uses in pets, but unfortunately there is not a lot of scientific evidence to support these claims.

What we do know, is that coconut oil, like most oils, is a saturated fat. Feeding a saturated fat to a pet can be dangerous, especially to those that are sensitive to fat, having conditions like pancreatitis. Others may experience gastrointestinal issues from consuming coconut oil. Consuming a saturated fat can also lead to excess weight gain if a pet is fed too much, and their regular diet is not reduced to account for the extra calories being consumed from the oil.

The most successful use of coconut oil that has been reported by veterinary professionals appears to be for topical use for skin allergies or yeast. Coconut oil does have anti-fungal properties, explaining why it may be successful in helping to treat yeast infections. Coconut oil also helps to safely increase hydration of dry skin, and can aid in faster wound healing. This topical use of coconut oil has not been thoroughly scientifically studied in pets, so consult your veterinarian to see if they feel a trial may be successful for your pet’s particular condition, and the best way to apply.

Coconut oil is also considered a very safe cooking oil as it has a high smoke point and does not degrade like other oils may do when cooked. So for those pets on specific home-made diets, coconut oil may replace your other cooking oil.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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D O Ogbolu, A A Oni, O A Daini & A P Oloko. J Med Food. June 2007; 10(2): 384-7. “In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria.”

Anna Liza C Agero & Vermén M Verallo-Rowell. Dermatitis. September 2004; 15(3): 109-16. “A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.”

K G Nevin & T Rajamohan. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. January 2010; 23(6): 290-7. “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.”

8 Surprising Things a Dog Can Smell

We all know dogs have an amazing sense of smell, but did you know a dog can smell:

1. Bacteria: Dogs have been used since 1970 to sniff out bacteria diseased bee colonies, to help prevent the spread of infection. The work that would take a human 2 days, is accomplished by the dog in 45 minutes!

2. DVDs: Dogs can smell polycarbonate in DVDs and are being used to make counterfeit DVD busts.

3. Diabetes: Dogs are able to predict dangerous blood sugar levels and if trained can alert their owner and even fetch an insulin kit.

4. Seizures: Seizure alert dogs can detect a faint change in scent and behavior and can warn their owner approximately 30 – 45 sec. prior to a seizure, giving the owner time to get into a safe position for the seizure.

5. Whale Poop: Scientists need to analyze a whales fecal matter to determine its health, but whale poop sinks within a half hour of exiting the whale. Dogs have been trained to smell the poop from over a mile away.

6. Bed Bugs: Dogs trained to sniff out bed bugs can be hired and are reported to have an accuracy as high as 96%.

7. Cancer: In breast and lung cancer, waste products of the tumors are exhaled in the breath of the patient. Dogs have been trained to smell these waste products by sniffing a patient’s breath.

8. Ovulation in Cows: Artificial insemination in cows is an expensive business. Dogs are being used to help cut some loses by letting farmers know when a cow is in heat and thus the best time for an insemination to be successful.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Wears, Adam. List Verse. 10 Unexpected Things That Dogs Can Smell. January 17, 2013. Web October 3, 2014.

Hoyt, Alia. How Stuff Works. Can a Dog Really Predict an Epileptic Seizure? May 5, 2008. . Web October 3, 2014.

Physiotherapy for Dogs, an Underwater Treadmill Testimonial

Many of us know the numerous benefits of physiotherapy for people, but did you know dogs can also receive physiotherapy? Physiotherapy is not only used to rehabilitate injury, but also helps to improve fitness, and physical function.

We are very lucky to have a centre in Calgary dedicated to fitness and physical rehabilitation for our canine friends: The Canine Fitness Centre, (403) 204-0823, located in SE Calgary.

Services at The Canine Fitness Centre include:
Physical Rehabilitation
Hydrotherapy: underwater treadmill, supervised by a retired animal health researcher with training in canine rehabilitation and hydrotherapy.
Physical Therapeutics: ultrasound, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, magnetic field therapy, exercise therapy, manual therapy, acupuncture, splinting & assistive devices.
Fitness & Conditioning: Fitness evaluations & Well-Puppy check ups.

All of the rehabilitation therapists at the Calgary Canine Fitness Centre have a degree in physical therapy.

Dogs that benefit from physical rehabilitation and fitness include:

Senior Dogs: As your pet ages, you may feel scared, helpless and hopeless about some of the changes you see occurring. Physical therapy can help you to improve the physical functioning and quality of life of your dog and empower you to be a part of that process!

Post-operative: After surgery you may stress about getting your dog back to normal, pain-free activities. You may feel scared, worried and hesitant about how to care for your dog. Physical therapy can help you to learn about the operation, proper after-care, set goals for recovery, and teach you how to help rehab your dog back to optimal function!

Sporting Dogs: Sporting dogs often struggle with a specific injury or just a minor, but annoying performance problem. Physical therapy can help return your dog to maximum function as quickly as possible, with adjustments to the spine & joints, therapy for the muscles & tendons, and instruction in appropriate exercises to regain function!

Lame Dogs: Physical therapy can help to figure out the cause of the lameness problem, come up with a treatment plan, and involve you in the treatment process.

One of our clients and her dog, had such a great experience with the Canine Fitness Centre she wanted to share his story:
“Cody the Cowboy is almost 12.5 years old. He is a yellow Labrador Retriever who was diagnosed with a neurological disorder in his back end which made walking without dragging his back feet very difficult. During his walks he would drag and scrape one of his back paws along the pavement causing it to bleed.

It was suggested by Cody’s neurologist at the C.A.R.E. Centre that Cody go for underwater treadmill therapy. At first, I didn’t really think this would make any difference and kept putting it off until finally I was willing to give it a try. Cody has been going for underwater treadmill therapy every week for the past three months. A month or so later, when we were out for his daily four-block walk and I noticed with complete disbelief that he was actually lifting his hind feet when he walked and was not scraping the sides of his feet anymore!

The underwater treadmill has improved Cody’s muscle tone and strengthened his legs to the point that his back legs no longer give out under him. He has gained back his confidence, feels great joy, and now thinks he can leap over buildings! Cody’s condition cannot be cured, but because of the benefits of the underwater treadmill it will quite possibly add more years to, and greatly enhance his quality of life. I can’t begin to thank and praise enough, the work of the people who have cared for Cody at Canine Fitness Centre.”

If you are experiencing any problems with your dog and would like further investigation, please contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or We can also send referrals for dogs we have examined to the Canine Fitness Centre for further evaluation.

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Dogs & Children: Creating a Happy Healthy Bond

Dogs offer many opportunities to enrich a child’s life. They can help to teach them about empathy and responsibility by caring for something other than themselves, and can even help to improve self-esteem by being a never judging friend. However, it is up to the parents to ensure that the relationship between a child and a dog is a positive and safe one.

If you are thinking about getting a new dog to join your family, there are many things to consider. Firstly the age of the pet. Puppies can be a wonderful addition, but remember puppies require extra time, patience, training and supervision. Puppies may be more easily injured than older dogs. Puppies also play rough, and will bite with their sharp little teeth, something that will require extra training and supervision on your part.

Older dogs do not require quite the same level of supervision and attention. With an older dog, you may also have the opportunity to find one that has previously lived and done well with children. The Calgary Humane Society recommends that if you have a child under the age of 6, to adopt a dog that is at least 2 years old.

Another choice is the breed you will bring home. Smaller breed dogs may not be able to handle as much noise and handling as a large breed dog. Protective breeds such as chow chows, may also not be an ideal fit with children. While herding breeds may instinctively chase and nip at children.

Regardless of the age or breed, all dogs need to be taught how to behave with children.

It is not a realistic expectation for a child to be the sole caregiver for a dog, so make sure you are ready and willing to be the caregiver.

Dogs and small children should never be left alone.

How to teach your child to interact with the dog:

To hold a small dog, have your child sit, this will help prevent a fall if the dog tries to get away, and may help the dog feel safer.

For a large dog, sit on the floor and have your child sit with you, the dog can then approach you.

Have your child offer a chew toy if the puppy begins nipping or biting, providing the dog something acceptable to chew on.

Children like to hug dogs around the neck, which may frighten dogs and cause a defensive reaction. Instead teach them to scratch the dog under the chin. Also teach them not to stare directly into the dogs eyes.

When giving treats, have your child place the treat in their open palm, this will help prevent nipping of the fingers.

Always supervise play! Children by nature play loudly, and run around quickly which can be very enticing to a dog to start a chase. Try to teach your child to play quietly around the dog, but also train your dog and have them master a strong “leave it” command, for times when the play gets too rough. Try not to punish your dog around the child, as it can lead to a negative association with your child, making the dog think that he is always punished around the child, which can lead to defensive behavior.

You must also teach your dog which toys are his, and put things he shouldn’t have out of his reach. When catching them chewing on something they shouldn’t be, interrupt with a loud sound, switch the item for an appropriate toy, and praise them when they take it. Dogs also need to learn it is not acceptable to guard their food, and children should also be taught to respect the dogs space.

If your dog is growling or nipping at your child, seek the help of a professional dog trainer right away.

If you have further questions contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or visit us online at

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Information taken from the Calgary Humane Society Article “Children and Dogs: Important Information for Parents.” 2008. November 15, 2013.

For more articles on pet behavior from the Calgary Humane Society, visit:

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