Camping with Pets
Tent - check!
Sleeping Bags - check!
Cooler - check!
Kids & Pets - check!
As nice as it would be to pack up the car and hit the road, here are some things to consider before heading out with your furry friends:
Ensure your pet's vaccines are up to date and consider parasite prevention, especially if your pet likes to hunt or eat animal feces. Tick protection is also a good idea if your pets will be hiking with you. Talk to your veterinarian to determine which parasite prevention suits your pets needs best.
Slowly introduce your pet to the campground. Bring their own blankets, food and water bowls and toys to make them more comfortable. Ensure your pet has a clean dry place to sleep and fresh drinking water. Be sure to remove any uneaten food to prevent wildlife visitors!
Also make sure you always have ample water for your pet, they too can become dehydrated just like us, especially if having an active day out in the heat. If hiking, remember to bring a water bottle and bowl for your pet to drink out of. Collapsible and disposable bowls are great for hiking as they take up very little space in a pack. Alternatively, pet water bottles that have a special drinking spout can be purchased so that a bowl is not necessary.
When you can't directly supervise your pet, have them on a leash in a shaded area. If you have a dog that may become aggressive, consider putting up a sign to warn other campers to keep their distance.
One of the most important things when taking your pet to a strange new place is identification. A tattoo or microchip can help a lost pet find its way home. ID tags can be purchased at most pet stores including temporary ones that allow you to write information directly on a paper insert that slides into a protective tag. Make a temporary name tag with your campsite number on it in case your pet explores without you!
Pets can have a fun weekend camping with no injuries or illnesses, especially if you are prepared. Do your research ahead of time to find a veterinary clinic nearby so you can save time if an emergency situation arises.
Remember to keep your pet away from campfires and cook-stoves, and consider a life-jacket for your pet if you are spending time on a boat or near water. Don't forget to have a stocked pet first aid kit on hand just in case!
Collapsible bowls, pet water bottles, pet life-jackets and pet first aid kits can all be ordered through our e-boutique.
Abandoned Baby Rabbits and Hares
On a walk you or your dog may find or encounter some baby rabbits that appear to be abandoned. Many people mean well when they contact professionals after discovering an abandoned nest of wild rabbits or an orphaned baby rabbit alone in an open field. Often they wish to care foster them. The reality is fewer than 10% of orphaned rabbits survive once being fostered, and the care that people attempt to provide can be illegal, unnecessary, and potentially harmful. Baby rabbits are extremely difficult to raise. Just by touching them, humans put them at great risk of potentially deadly intestinal infections due to our normal bacteria. The baby is probably not abandoned. You are most likely seeing a baby who has recently left the nest and is now exploring his surroundings in preparation for living on his own. It is best to leave him to his own abilities, and not disturb him. The best thing you can do is leave the rabbit alone, or put the rabbit back where you found him (at least in the general area). The Mom will come back at night to call and find him. A mother rabbit stays away from her babies when she's not feeding them, so she does not attract predators. She will feed only once or twice a day, and when she returns to feed, she calls to the babies so they can find her. If you find a baby rabbit and he looks perky and active, then you can be confident that mom is caring for him, even if you can't see her and you can let him be. If the rabbit is injured or you can absolutely confirm that the mother is dead and the baby is in desperate need of help, please contact a wildlife rehabilitator or rabbit veterinarian immediately.
Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation
For more information call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573.
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Dana. "Saving Wild Baby Rabbits." Web June 18, 2021. www.bio.miami.edu/hare/wildbabies.pdf.
House Rabbit Society. "Orphaned Baby Bunnies." Web June 18, 2021. rabbit.org/faq-orphaned-baby-bunnies/.
Gardening Dangers for Pets
Spending time outside with your pet can be enjoyable and relaxing. But what happens when your pet's curiosity gets the best of them? They may try to help you plant your new garden or even munch on the new pile of mulch you just had delivered.
Though gardening with your pet can be fun and entertaining, it is important to understand the risks and hazards of the products you are using on your lawn or garden. Your pet could unknowingly be playing in, digging in, or eating something toxic or harmful.
Putting mulch over a flowerbed or around trees is a popular gardening trend. While most types of mulch are safe, there is one type that could be lethal to your best friend. Cocoa Mulch is a common mulch that can be purchased from most garden supply stores. Just like the name, it contains an ingredient found in cocoa and chocolate called theobromine. Dogs & cats metabolize theobromine much slower than humans, leading to potential poisoning or even death. If you see your pet chewing the mulch stop them immediately and monitor for early signs of toxicity such as vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and increased urination. If you are worried or see any of these signs contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic right away.
Mulch isn't the only thing to watch out for in your garden. Although cats and dogs may like a tasty treat and give those vegetables or flowers a bite, there are some varieties you should keep them away from. Here are some common things we plant in our gardens that are NOT healthy for your pet:
-onion, garlic, rhubarb.
-sweet pea, tulip, lilies, daffodil, iris, daisy, gladiola, geranium, dahlia, black-eyed susans, peony.
This is a small example of the many plants, veggies and fruits that can be toxic to your pet. If your pet does ingest any of these items, or any other poisonous plant, please call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573.
Here is a short list of common plants that are ok for your pets:
-beets, cucumber, strawberry, buttercup squash.
-blue eyed daisy, Christmas cactus, marigold, moss fern, petunia, rose.
For a comprehensive list of plants, veggies and fruits that are OK for your pet, and a list of those that may be harmful, please visit the ASPCA website http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/.
Also be aware of the fertilizers and pesticides you use. If possible, don't use any in areas where your pets frequent, use pet safe products, or keep your pet away from these areas for at least a few days after application.
If you have any concerns or questions please contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at www.chestermerevet.com.
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Spring has finally sprung! The weather is improving and dogs and cats that have been cooped up all winter are loving the outdoors! Unfortunately, that also means that you are very likely to encounter an "unwanted gift" (fecal matter) on the grass and even on the sidewalk while you take your pets for a walk. This can harbor intestinal parasite eggs that your pet can easily become infected with. A single parasite can produce up to 85,000 eggs per day, which are shed in the stool! Some eggs can survive over a year, are not killed by most chemical disinfectants, and can even survive extreme temperature conditions up to -80 degrees Celsius! This is why it is so important to clean up after your pet!
Rodents and insects that are also out enjoying the nice weather can carry these parasites too, and pass them to your pet. The most common types of parasites are roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. Other parasites not covered by regular deworming products are giardia and coccidia. All of these parasites have shown prevalence in the Chestermere area and have the potential to cause diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, poor fur coat and development, and even death if left untreated. Puppies and kittens are most susceptible.
Your pets may be harboring parasites with no adverse signs, but they are still able to spread them to other pets and humans. Parasites are often invisible to the naked eye and the eggs may require a microscope to be seen. All of these parasites can be detected by a simple fecal test at your veterinarian's office. This test can also detect giardia and coccidia, which are not covered by routine deworming products.
Prevention of intestinal parasites is also important to human health since these parasites are easily transferred from pets to people. Parasites can cause serious irreversible health problems. Roundworm eggs can cause visceral larval migrans, where the tiny worm larvae can migrate through our intestinal wall to other organs where they can grow to large sizes. If they travel behind the eye they can even cause blindness, and children are most at risk! A tapeworm identified in southern Alberta causes symptoms similar to invasive liver cancer!
We have also seen a number of ticks in the Chestermere area, even on pets that have not left their own backyard besides a regular walk in their neighborhood! There are a number of diseases that pets can contract from ticks, including Lyme disease, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis and rocky mountain spotted fever.
Parasite prevention is our best line of defense. Speak with your veterinarian at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573 about which deworming product is best suited to your pet's needs. Also, always clean up after your pet and wash your hands after doing so.
We recommend providing parasite prevention for your pet once a month from spring through fall, approximately May to October. If you have young children or people who are susceptible to picking up disease living at home (such as the elderly or immune compromised individuals), we recommend providing parasite prevention for your pet monthly all year round. Contact us to discuss a parasite prevention protocol for your pet to keep them and your family safe from these parasites!
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Jenkins, E., Gesy, K., Peregrine, A., Schwantje, H. "Newly found tapeworm potentially infective for people and dogs in central BC." Canadian Vet, Volume 8, Number 1. January/February 2013.
4 Easter Dangers to Avoid
Easter is just around the corner! 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: 855-764-7661 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or check out www.petpoisonhelpline.com for more information.
For more information on things that are toxic to pets, contact Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573.
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Pet Poison Helpline. "Easter Pet Poisons" Web March 21, 2021. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/.
Rabies Risk in Canada
Think rabies is a thing of the past or only found in undeveloped countries? Think again! Even in Alberta rabies infections occur. The virus is typically found in wildlife such as bats, skunks, raccoons, coyotes and foxes. These wild animals can come into contact with pets and humans. Rabies may affect all mammals, including human beings. It is the most lethal of all diseases that are transmissible to humans because it is fatal from the moment symptoms appear.
Message from Alberta's Chief Provincial Veterinarian: The Northwest Territories is currently experiencing an outbreak of rabies in foxes around Tuktoyaktuk. Rabies is endemic in arctic foxes in northern Canada and outbreaks occur cyclically. There have been multiple cases of rabies in dogs translocated from northern Canada, including a puppy from Nunavut adopted in Alberta in 2013. Unvaccinated puppies and dogs from NU, NT, and northern QC should be considered at high risk of having rabies. The relatively long and variable incubation period (on average 3 - 12 weeks in dogs) means infected animals can appear entirely healthy at the time of transport. Between 2008 - 2018, an average of 4 - 5 foxes or dogs per year were diagnosed with rabies in this region. These cases threaten human and domestic animal health and have the potential to reintroduce the arctic fox rabies variant into Alberta wildlife.
If you are still considering adopting a dog from Northern Québec, Northwest Territories or Nunavut, take the following precautions:
For a six-month period
• Keep the number of people or animals in contact with your animal to a minimum. If the animal has symptoms, everyone who has had contact with it will have to undergo costly and onerous public health interventions.
• Keep a log containing contact information about the people and animals exposed to your dog during this period. Also note the contact dates.
• Have household pets vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before the new dog arrives.
• Keep your animal on a leash when you take it out and do not let it off the leash unsupervised any place where it can run away. Avoid any contact with people or with other animals during these outings.
• Avoid giving away or selling your animal during this period.
• Inform anyone who attends to your animal (veterinarian, boarding kennel worker, groomer, visitor) about these recommendations.
See a veterinarian immediately and isolate your animal if it shows any signs of the disease, for example:
Rabies is 100% preventable through vaccination. Vaccinating your pets not only protects them, but all of the people they come in contact with. Rabies vaccinations are ineffective for animals that are already infected. Transmission of the virus occurs through the saliva, typically through a bite or possibly a scratch. The virus attacks the central nervous system and brain and can lead to death within days of symptoms becoming apparent. Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. There is no cure. Early symptoms include fever, headache, weakness and discomfort escalating to insomnia, anxiety, confusion, paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hyper salivation, difficulty swallowing and fear of water.
If you or your pet is bitten by an animal, wild or domestic, wash the wounds with soap and water for a minimum of 10 minutes and seek immediate care to assess for potential rabies concerns and treatment. To find out if your pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine, or to book an appointment to have them vaccinated call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573.
Government of Quebec. Rabies in Animals. February 15, 2021. www.quebec.ca/agriculture-environnement-et-ressources-naturelles/sante-animale/maladies-animales/rage-chez-les-animaux/
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rabies. February 15, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.
WHO World Health Organization. Rabies. February 15, 2021. http://www.who.int/rabies/en/.
New Year’s resolutions often center around health and wellness, and that means your pet can take part too! Here are 5 great New Year’s Resolutions for your pet!
1. Diet – The food you feed your pet is one of the most important ways you can impact your pet’s health every single day. Find a good quality diet, ask your veterinary team for help with this one! They can help you find a diet that is optimal for your pets life stage, activity level and medical concerns. The team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic receives ongoing education in the area of pet nutrition, so you can count on them to be up to date with the latest studies and information about what is best to feed your pet. Don’t forget to get out that measuring cup as well to make sure you aren’t over/under feeding your pet!
2. Exercise – Get your pet active, whether it be outdoors for a walk or romp at the off leash park, or playing with your cat with a laser pointer or feather toy at home. Physical exercise should be incorporated into your pets daily routine, but don’t forget about the mental exercise as well! A puzzle treat toy, hide and seek, a card board box fort, and even teaching your pet new tricks all help exercise their minds.
3. Grooming – Brush your pet often, both fur and teeth! Daily is recommended. Not only will brushing help remove dirt and matting from the fur, and plaque from the teeth, but will also promote healthier skin, teeth and gums. Grooming also allows you to spend some time giving your pet physical attention and can strengthen your bond and soothe/relax your pet.
4. Visit the vet – Make sure your pet is seen regularly by their veterinarian, at least for an annual exam until they are senior age, when it is recommended they are seen every 6 months. Just like people are recommended to see their doctors at least annually, pets are too! Why come more often as pets get older? Pets age much more quickly than people do, you may have have heard the old rule of a dog aging 7 years for every human year, while this is not entirely accurate as larger breed dogs age faster, keep it in mind. Imagine only seeing your doctor every 7 years and all of the things that could be missed out on in that time frame! Examining pets regularly, and performing blood work screens allows us to catch problems early on, so we can intervene and maintain a pets health and quality of life much more easily than catching a problem that has been going on for quite some time. Keeping your pets up to date on their vaccines is another way to help prevent them from contracting serious diseases.
5. Update Pet ID Info – It is so important to make sure your pet has up to date information should they become lost. Dogs should wear collars with tags, at least with a tag that has your current phone number, but rabies tags and city license tags can also be helpful. If you have moved or changed phone numbers since having your pets microchip or tattoo done, make sure you call the clinic you had it done at to let them know so they can update the information. Cats may also wear collars and tags, but make sure cats only wear break away collars as they are much more likely to become snagged and if they do the collar will safely break away from their neck.
If you have any questions call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-3573. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Chestermere’s Listening Tails Program
In partnership with the Chestermere Library, the Community Therapy Dogs Society introduced a free program called "Listening Tails" in 2014. The program uses therapy dogs as a reading buddy for children to read out-loud to, helping improve their confidence. Dogs are non-judgmental and help create a relaxing environment for children to read in. The dogs are always on leash and accompanied by their handler who plays a fairly passive role during the reading sessions. If a child struggles with a particular word, rather than the handler correcting the child, the handler suggests that the dog thinks the word is pronounced this way, thereby maintaining the bond between child and dog.
For more information on the program or visit:
Chestermere Veterinary Clinic provides a thorough medical exam to each of the prospective therapy dogs prior to their acceptance in the program.
Lost & Found: What to Do if You Lose Your Pet
It is a dreaded thought that every pet owner has. What if I lose my pet? Unfortunately, even with the best care and preventive measures in place, a pet can still become lost.
So what should you do?
For starters, prevention is key!
The easiest and first thing you should do is purchase a collar and tag for your pet that has your phone number on it. If you change your number, don’t forget to update the tag! Your pet should wear this at all times. Cats can wear collars too, but make sure you purchase a break away collar for your cat, since they are more likely to snag themselves being the slinky little creatures they are! If the sound of tags clinking bothers you, there are small tag bags that most pet stores sell to cover the tags, protect them from fading, and will silence the clinking sound.
Have your pet micro chipped. Come and see us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic to have your pet micro chipped, we can do this in a few short minutes without your pet needing to undergo any anesthetic or sedation.
Have your pet spayed or neutered (we recommend soon after they have turned 6 months old) to help inhibit their need to roam, also have them tattooed at the time of their surgery. A tattoo does not compare to the reliability of a micro chip for identification because they can fade or become difficult to read, however they are an excellent visual indicator that the pet does belong to someone and is not a stray (while a person cannot tell whether a pet has a micro chip unless they are scanned for one).
Teach your pets to sit and stay at open doors and wait for your permission to leave. This way you will be less likely to have a pet bolt out an open door at the first opportunity.
Regularly check window & door screens in the summer to make sure they are secure if you have your windows open. Also check the fence in your yard for possible holes or weaknesses your pet may be able to escape through.
You may have done everything right and still have a lost pet on your hands, what now?
Start looking for your missing pet as soon as you notice they are missing. The sooner you start searching, the closer to home they are likely to be. Bring along a noisy toy you know they like or some special treats. Call their name loudly and be sure to check all their favorite places and regular walking paths. If looking for a cat, a flashlight can be handy to bring along as well, often times cats will be very close by, under a deck or porch. Leave some food out on the front step to help entice them to come back as well.
Print posters with a recent photo of your pet, where you last saw them, when they went missing, and your contact information. Other information such as whether your pet was wearing a collar and has a tattoo or micro chip can also be helpful. Post these where ever you can! Call your local veterinary clinics (Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573), Calgary Humane Society (403-723-6025) and bylaw officer (Chestermere bylaw 403-207-7058) to report your pet missing. Use social media as well, by posting pictures on facebook in high traffic groups from your local area, such as Chestermere Veterinary Clinic’s facebook page. You can e-mail your poster to us at email@example.com so we can post it at the clinic.
You can also visit the website http://www.petlynx.net to report your pet missing. Any recent found reports that match yours will instantly be sent to you for review.
Don’t give up! We once recovered a cat that had been missing from the owners for 3 years! They went on to have a happy reunion!
What should you do if you find a lost pet?
If the pet is wearing a collar with a phone number, call that number first. If there is no collar, then just as above, call your local veterinary clinics, Calgary Humane Society and bylaw officer to report the pet. Bring the pet in to a veterinary clinic to be checked for a tattoo and microchip. If you are unable to hold on to the pet until the owner is found, you will need to bring the pet to the Calgary Humane Society. The Chestermere bylaw officer can also take dogs.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact us at the Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, http://www.chestermerevet.com.
Raw food diets, also termed the BARF diet (biologically appropriate raw food or bone and raw food) have been hailed as the cure for many health problems ailing our cat and dog friends. Unfortunately, these claims are largely based in theory and opinion, and have little scientific proof to back them up. The actual scientific studies do show however, that there are several concerns to consider if you plan to feed a raw diet.
A study comparing home made diets to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards found 86% deficient in at least 1 nutrient, 55% deficient in protein, and 77% deficient in taurine – an essential amino acid for cats.
Contaminated Raw Food
One study reported Salmonella in 45% – 66% of tested raw meat samples. A larger Canadian study found Salmonella in 22% of commercial frozen diets.
A study following dogs that ingested Salmonella contaminated meat found that these dogs shed Salmonella in their feces for up to 11 days after ingestion. This contaminated feces can infect other pets or people that come into contact with it. Infected food bowls and cutting boards etc. can also transmit Salmonella to other pets and people.
Most at risk are children, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals. However, people and pets can become infected and become very ill from raw food pathogens like Salmonella. In some cases, infection can even be fatal.
So if you choose to feed raw, make sure you know the risks, and always practice strict hygiene with the raw food by:
-Washing hands after handling raw meat
-Storing raw meat so it does not come in contact with other food items
-Disinfecting all items that contact the raw food
-Having designated cutting boards just for the raw meat
-Not thawing raw meat at room temperature or allowing it to sit in food bowls – it should be eaten right away
-Cleaning and disinfecting food and water bowls right after feeding
-High risk individuals should not handle the food or food bowls
-Promptly cleaning up feces and washing hands afterwards
If you have any further questions about raw diets, please contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at http://www.chestermerevet.com.
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Burns, Kara, M. “Alternative and raw food diets: caution advised.” Canadian Vet, Volume 8, Number 1. January/February 2013.