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.


Keep your Pets Egg-stra Safe : 4 Easter Dangers to Avoid

While you are enjoying Easter this weekend with your family, please remember to keep these popular Easter items away from your pets:

1) Easter Lilies – Highly toxic to cats (yet only causing minor gastrointestinal upset in dogs), all parts of the Easter Lily are toxic; leaves, stem and even pollen. As little as 1 leaf or a small amount of pollen is enough to cause serious problems including kidney failure or death. Symptoms begin around 6 – 12 hours after ingestion and include: vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, dehydration, disorientation, staggering and seizures. There is no antidote so immediate treatment by a veterinarian is absolutely necessary. Other toxic Lilies include: Tiger Lilies, Asiatic Lilies, and Day Lilies.

2) Easter Grass – The stringy paper or plastic grass that often lines Easter baskets can create an obstruction in a pets intestines if ingested, and can potentially be a choking hazard. The grass tends to be particularly inviting to cats to play with. If an obstruction were to occur, a pet would likely require an expensive foreign body abdominal surgery. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, abdominal pain, and straining to defecate or constipation.

3) Chocolate – The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. For small pets the effects can be even stronger. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity from ingestion include: hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, increased body temperature, seizures and collapsing. Chocolate toxicity can be fatal, so always call your veterinarian to check, even if you think your pet is fine.

4) Candy sweetened with Xylitol – A natural sugar free sweetener, most commonly found in chewing gum, but also found in some candies, mints, jello or pudding. Symptoms of toxicity from ingestion include: weakness, lethargy, collapsing, vomiting, tremoring, seizures, jaundice, malaise, black-tarry stool, and coma. Xylitol toxicity can be fatal, so seek veterinary care if you think your pet has ingested something containing xylitol.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the pet poison helpline: 1-800-213-6680 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or check out for more information.

For more information on things that are toxic to pets, contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573 or visit us at

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Pet Poison Helpline. “Easter Pet Poisons” Web April 4, 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.

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

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Beltran, Aimee. Coastal Virginia Magazine. 5 Tips to Avoid Back to School Pet Blues. Web September 2, 2014.

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