April 20, 2015

What is heartworm?
Heartworm disease occurs primarily in dogs, but can occur in cats and other animals. Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis, which, in its adult and reproductive forms, lives in the right side of the heart and the adjacent blood vessels. Its presence in these blood vessels causes cardiovascular weakness, compromised lung capacity and, on occasion, death. When a mosquito draws blood from an infected dog or cat, it consumes microscopic forms of the parasite called microfilariae. Once inside the mosquito, the microfilariae evolve to infective larvae. Later, when the mosquito bites a new victim, the infective larvae are injected and that dog or cat becomes infected. 
What are the signs of a heartworm infection?
Once infected, a pet becomes a "carrier" or reservoir of infection. It takes about six and a half to seven months for the infective larvae to migrate to the heart, mature into adult worms and begin producing new microfilariae inside the circulatory system. Depending on the parasite burden, the adult worms may end up occupying the right chamber of the heart and the pulmonary arteries, while the microscopic microfilariae circulate throughout the bloodstream. A dog or cat may be infected with heartworms and show no clinical signs. If clinical signs occur, the disease is well advanced and more difficult to treat. At first, pets may exhibit a chronic cough and reduced exercise tolerance and, in rare situations in Canada, death.
How often should my pet be tested for heartworm?
In Canada, parasite prevention is dealt with on a case-by-case basis, as your pet’s risk of parasitic disease is taken into consideration. Factors that may influence your veterinarian’s decision to test for heartworm may include your pet’s lifestyle, health status, your geographic location, any household considerations that may be relevant and the proposed preventive therapy. Your veterinarian will advise you on the recommended frequency of testing for your dog. 
How can I protect my pet from heartworm?
Prevention is preferred to treatment. While there is a treatment available, it can be associated with health risks and be costly. Oral and topical medications that are given monthly have been shown to be highly effective in preventing heartworm disease and are available from your veterinarian.  

Lyme Disease

January 14, 2015

What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group that is commonly carried by rodents. Transmission of the bacteria happens when a tick bites an infected rodent and picks up the bacteria. The tick then passes the bacteria along when it bites a human or animal and feeds for as little as 24 hours. Not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
What are the signs of Lyme disease?
Once infected, dogs may experience a stiff walk with an arched back, sensitivity to touch, a fever, lack of appetite, depression, inflammation of the joints and lymph nodes. Signs of Lyme disease usually occur weeks after a tick bite. However, most dogs do not develop clinical signs when infected with Borrelia burgdorferi.
How often should my dog be tested for Lyme disease?
The need for testing will be determined by your dog’s lifestyle and your geographic location. An important discussion with your veterinarian about your dog’s risk factors can help you determine if and when your pet should be tested. Knowing the prevalence of this disease in your area and where you travel with your pet will be important in deciding the course of testing and preventive action you will choose in consultation with your veterinarian.
How can I protect my dog from Lyme disease?
Avoiding tick-infested areas is the best prevention. After walking in areas with long grass, run your hands over your dog’s fur to check for ticks, paying close attention to their ears, head, neck, belly and feet. Effective preventive medications are available from your veterinarian to repel ticks on your pet. New products are now available that are administered less often and that have an increased safety for the pet and the environment. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent. 
How do I remove a tick from my dog or cat?
Using tweezers or a tick removing tool, carefully grasp the ticks head and mouth as close to the skin as possible and gently pull the tick straight out. Do not twist as you pull and try not to squash the tick as you remove it. Save the tick in an empty pill bottle or a doubled zip-lock bag and call your veterinary hospital to find out if they can submit it for identification.
The Latest Update on Lyme Disease in Canada
Ticks populations are on the rise in Canada. In 1990, ticks carrying Lyme disease were only found in Long Island, Lake Erie, southern Ontario. Today, they have been identified in other parts of southern and eastern Ontario, Nova Scotia, southeastern Manitoba and New Brunswick. Ticks carrying Lyme disease are now commonly found in this area.

Obesity Poses Serious Health Hazards to Pets

In Canada's Pet Wellness Report (published in 2011), Canadian veterinarians identified weight control/management as the number one thing a pet owner can do to increase the length of their pet’s life. Pet owners need to understand that there are serious health risks involved for obese pets, in fact, the list of harmful effects of obesity on pets is a long one.

Overweight pets tend to play and exercise less and don't live as long as healthy pets do. Overweight pets have a lower resistance to infection and tend to be less able to fight off infectious diseases. Obese pets also have an increased incidence of arthritis (degenerative joint disease), spinal disc problems and torn knee ligaments than healthy weight pets. Overweight pets also have more problems moving about than their thinner counterparts.

Obesity leads to impaired endurance during exercise, increased fatigue, and high blood pressure. The increased workload on the heart contributes to an increase in heart disease in overweight pets, leading eventually to congestive heart failure.

Complex interplay with insulin metabolism and other metabolic processes due to release of hormonal factors from the fat tissue lead to interference with normal hormonal balance in the pet.

Diagnosis is more difficult in obese pets, because it is more difficult to auscultate or palpate a fat pet, or to get proper samples. Fat pets are at a greater risk during anaesthesia and surgery since they have reduced lung function, decreased liver and kidney function, greater risk of wound infection and require more anaesthetic than healthy weight pets.

The incidence of skin problems is 40 per cent higher in overweight dogs than dogs at optimum body weight. Because of the insulating properties of fat, overweight pets are less able to endure hot weather, and many become more irritable.

Other problems associated with obesity include:

* Diabetes mellitus - pets that are obese have an increased risk and severity of diabetes mellitus.

* Gastrointestinal problems - overweight pets have increased constipation, flatulence and stomach ulcers.

* Increased cancer rate - there is also a higher cancer rate in overweight pets. For example, the incidence of cancer is 50 per cent higher in overweight dogs than in healthy dogs.

* Reduced liver function - due to the accumulation of fat in the liver, the liver's ability to function can be compromised in obese pets.

* High blood pressure - high blood pressure (hypertension) worsens with obesity and hypertension increases the risk of kidney, heart and vascular diseases.

* Impaired hormone release - the release of growth hormone is impaired in overweight pets, as is their reproductive efficiency.

All these effects contribute to a reduced life span and affect the quality of a pet's life. Pets that are healthy and physically fit tend to live longer, are happier and enjoy life more. Talk with your veterinarian to find out how you can keep your pet physically fit and healthy.

Front desk team at the hospital

Exotic Animals

Just like your cat or dog, your exotic animal needs an annual examination to make sure it is in good health.
Even though most of these animals need no vaccination, ferrets are the exception: they should receive regular immunisation against distemper and rabies. 

As part of your annual visit, we will review with you your animal’s living conditions (diet, cage maintenance, dental care, claw length).

Sterilisation is strongly recommended to prevent certain behavioural and medical problems.

As well, our boutique offers the entire line of high-quality Oxbow foods for rabbits and rodents.

Fact or Myth by Purina Animal Health
Malou reviewing digital Xrays.
Dre. Delorme examining a patient.