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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 http://www.chestermerevet.com.

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Sources:
AAHA. NewStat “10 Summer Safety Tips for Clients.” June 27, 2012. Web June 30, 2015. http://www.aaha.org/blog/NewStat/post/2012/06/27/661512/10-summer-safety-tips.aspx

Johnson, Terri CVT. Pets Matter “Prevention is Key to Enjoying the Outdoors with your Pet this Summer.” May 20, 2014. Web June 30, 2015. http://www.aaha.org/blog/petsmatter/post/2014/05/20/990624/Prevention-is-key-to-enjoying-the-outdoors-with-your-pet-this-summer.aspx

Germinder, L. Good News for Pets “Summer Pet Care Tips from AAHA.” June 29, 2011. Web June 30, 2015. http://goodnewsforpets.com/summer-pet-care-tips-from-aaha/

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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 http://www.chestermerevet.com 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.

Pet CPR

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 http://www.chestermerevet.com.

You can also take a course in pet first aid, which covers pet CPR by visiting http://www.prairietrainingservices.ca/pet-first-aid.html.

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Sources:
SPCA of Texas. “Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs.” Web March 2, 2015. http://www.spca.org/document.doc?id=100.

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. http://www.hillspet.ca/newsletters/Canada/Assets/2010/January/Dog/CPR_Can_Save_a_Dogs_Life_Hills_Pet_January_eNewsletter_English.pdf.

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 http://www.chestermerevet.com if you have questions or concerns, or would like to book a dental examination.

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

5 Reasons to Adopt a Pet

Christmas is fast approaching and getting a new pet may be at the top of some Christmas lists. If you have done your research and are certain about adding a new member to your family permanently, please consider adopting a pet. There are many adoption agencies that cover a wide variety of different species, so even if you are looking for something besides a cat or dog, you may still be able to find an adoptable option.

Here are 5 fantastic reasons to adopt:

1. Save a life: millions of adoptable pets are euthanized each year, simply because there are too many and not enough resources to care for them. Adopting a pet saves that pets life, and frees up space for another pet in the shelter.

2. Save money: adoptable pets have a minimal price tag, and often come spayed/neutered, health examined by a veterinarian, micro-chipped or tattooed and with vaccines. Some pets may even come with supplies. Many shelter pets are mixed breeds, which are generally healthier, saving you money on vet bills later in life.

3. Older Pets: November is adopt a senior month. Older pets need homes too, and are wonderful additions to a family. Older pets are usually already house and crate trained and well socialized, and you will not have to go through the highly energetic and sometimes destructive puppy/kitten phase.

4. The right match: Before pets are cleared for adoption, they are put through a variety of tests, both physically and behaviorally. Most shelters will be able to tell you if a pet will do well with other pets, and children. Have a specific breed in mind? Contact your local shelters and ask about being put on a waiting list if that breed comes in. While many shelter pets are mixed breeds, pure breeds come in as well.

5. Break the Cycle: Help end the cycle of overpopulation and animal abuse. Don’t support factory breeding, puppy/kitten mills, or backyard breeders. Tell everyone about your positive experience with pet adoption and hopefully more people will consider adoption!

Another way to help is to become a foster family for shelter animals. Being a foster home allows more animals to be saved from euthanasia, providing them a safe space and care until a suitable home becomes available. If you are interested in becoming a foster home or would like more information, contact the shelter directly.

Here is a list of some Calgary and area animal shelters to check out!
AARCS – Alberta Animal Rescue Crew http://aarcs.ca/
Calgary Humane Society http://www.calgaryhumane.ca/
ARF – Animal Rescue Foundation http://arf.ab.ca/
Pawsitive Match Rescue Foundation http://www.pawsitivematch.org/
Oops-a-Dazy Rescue http://www.oopsadazy.com/
Misty Creek Dog Rescue http://mistycreekdogrescue.com/
Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue http://www.rockymountainanimalrescue.com/
Meow Foundation http://www.meowfoundation.com/
Happy Cat Sanctuary http://www.happycatsanctuary.net/

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at http://www.chestermerevet.com.

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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 http://www.chestermerevet.com.

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Sources:
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.”

5 Ways to Avoid Back to School Anxiety in Pets

When the kids go back to school, pets also notice and feel the effects. It is a transition period for them too, as they have become used to the extra time and attention from their family. The house suddenly becomes empty and quiet again during the day, and this can lead to some pets becoming anxious or depressed.

How can you help ease your pets through the transition?

1) Routines – try to start adjusting the daily routine before school starts. Start following the feeding and exercise routines that they will experience once the kids are back in school.

2) Separation – ease your pet into longer periods of being alone.

3) Special toys – try giving your pet an interactive toy to play with while you are away. Puzzle toys where your pet needs to figure out how to remove toys from within another toy, or treat balls that need to be played with in order to get the treats out, can give bored pets something to do.

4) Physical activity – make sure pets are still receiving regular physical activity. If possible an early morning walk for your dog is ideal and will help your dog to be more relaxed and calm during the day. Play with cats too, using a laser pointer or wand toy.

5) See the Vet – September marks the start of a busy school year ahead, with homework and recreational activities, making time to see the vet can take a back seat. If your pet is coming due for their annual exam or vaccines, book them sooner than later to make sure your pet does not become overdue. Call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-2573 to book an appointment.

If you find your pet is having trouble adjusting to the new back to school schedule and starts to present some troubling behaviors due to their anxiety, or you feel they are depressed, speak with your veterinarian about options that can help.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at http://www.chestermerevet.com.

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Source:
Beltran, Aimee. Coastal Virginia Magazine. 5 Tips to Avoid Back to School Pet Blues. Web September 2, 2014. http://www.coastalvirginiamag.com/Paw-Prints/July-August-2013/Five-Tips-to-Avoid-Back-to-School-Pet-Blues/.

Pets that Fear Thunderstorms

Fear of thunderstorms is very common among dogs, and even some cats. While the exact source of the fear can be difficult to pinpoint, it may be one or a combination of storm-associated events including: sound of the wind, rain or thunder, lightning, change in barometric pressure, electrostatic disturbances, smell, or even low-frequency rumbles preceding a storm that humans can’t hear.

The fear can also manifest in different ways including:
Hiding (most common sign in cats)
Urinating/Defecating
Chewing
Panting
Pacing
Trying to escape (digging, jumping through windows or going through walls, running away)
Drooling
Seeking the owner or clinging
Expressing anal glands
Not eating
Not listening to commands
Trembling or shaking
Dilated pupils
Vocalizing (barking or meowing)

Pets that have other behavioral concerns such as separation anxiety, fearful behavior, or aversion to loud noises like fireworks, tend to be more likely to be affected by storms.

There are a number of things that can be done to help lessen these pets level of anxiety and make them more comfortable during a storm. It may take a bit of trial and error to see what works best for a pet.

Behavior Modification

Do not over praise/comfort or punish a pet for showing fear during a storm. Too much praise/comforting encourages and rewards the behavior, and reinforces that the pet should be fearful during a storm. Punishment however, will only act to increase a pets anxiety level. Ideally, show your pet attention in other ways during a storm, such as grooming, or playing. You may choose to provide a favorite treat, toy or activity, only during a storm.

Another method of behavior modification includes desensitization. First you must teach your pet to relax when there is no storm. When they are able to successfully master a “relax” command, obtain a storm recording and see if it is enough to simulate a storm, so your pet is fearful. For some pets a recording (sound) may not be enough to stimulate their fear response. If it is, play it at first quietly, just loud enough so your pet becomes aware of it – their ears may cock up, but not loud enough for them to be fearful, and practice your relax command. Train in short 5-10 min. sessions and work on gradually increasing the volume the recording is played, then work on different rooms of the house as well. When you have worked up to a storm level volume and your pet is still able to relax, you can try leaving the recording on while you leave the house for short periods. Once a pet appears to have lost their fear, a weekly session should be enough to maintain the practice.

Medication
Talk to your veterinarian at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic (403) 272-3573 for medication recommendations that can help with your pets anxiety during a storm. Some medications can be given on the day of an expected storm, while others may need to be taken for the duration of the storm season. Another more natural option that may work for some pets is pheromone therapy. Pheromones such as Dog Appeasing pheromone or Feliway for cats can be purchased in diffuser, spray or collar form, and can help instill a feeling of calm.

Change of Environment

For some pets, simply taking them downstairs is enough to help reduce the sound of the storm and make them feel more comfortable. Others may enjoy a crate set up in an interior bathroom in the house, away from windows, and a blanket put over to help muffle the sound. White noise such as a fan or radio, may also help.

Other
Daily vigorous exercise, and good health and nutrition help all pets to be less irritable and better cope with anxiety.

Projecting a calm and confident attitude yourself, can help your pet feel more at ease and likely to follow your lead.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at http://www.chestermerevet.com.

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Source:
Drs. Foster & Smith. Fear of Thunderstorms, Fireworks, and Noise Phobias. Pet Education.com. Web August 15, 2014. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2174&aid=2545.

How Often Should Your Pet See the Vet?

At Chestermere Veterinary Clinic we recommend annual physical exams when your pet is young and healthy. When pets get into their senior years (which is typically around the age of 7, but can be as early as 5 for giant breeds), we recommend an exam every 6 months. You may be wondering why you should bring your pet to the vet twice as often in their senior years, here are some of the reasons to consider:

– Pets age much more quickly than people do. A person is recommended to see their Doctor for an annual physical exam. You may have heard the rule before that a pet ages approximately 7 years for every year a person ages. Thinking about it this way, even when a pet is getting a physical exam once a year, they are aging approximately 7 years in this time! That would be the equivalent of seeing your Doctor every 7 years instead of yearly!

– As pets become seniors they have an increasing likelihood of developing various health issues (just like people)! These include: Kidney and liver disease, cancer, diabetes, dental disease, arthritis and joint disease and cognitive problems. They will also experience changes in their sight and hearing, energy levels, and metabolism, which may mean they need to eat a different type/amount of food.

– Pets are excellent at hiding pain and signs of illness, and in their senior years rapid changes in health can occur in a very short period of time. Frequent examination allows us to catch the little signs earlier so we can intervene right away to help slow down or prevent progression of disease.

Other times pets should see the vet include:
– when you have any concerns about their health
– when they are due for vaccination and parasite prevention
– when they require a surgical procedure such as spay/neuter or dental
– if they have a health condition or are on long term medication, more frequent monitoring and testing will be required

If you have questions, need more information, or would like to book an appointment, contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or visit us online at www.chestermerevet.com.

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