What to do with wildlife?


We recently had a Canada Goose brought to us with a broken leg. Unfortunately it had been hit by a car. Thanks to a quick response the goose was brought to us safely. Although it is no ones fault, except for the goose’s maybe for being on the road, these unfortunate incidents happen.

As a veterinary hospital, we are not legally allowed to treat wildlife in any way except to euthanize, if it’s condition warrants,  or stabilize until transportation to a wildlife facility. The Toronto Wildlife Centre is the place to call for most wildlife in need of medical attention for Peel District.

Unfortunately due to the high volume of baby rabbits, squirrels and raccoon’s during the spring and summer months, these animals need to be taken elsewhere. You can locate a wildlife centre at http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca or you can still contact the Toronto Wildlife Centre for advice.IMG_3383

Luckily for us, a staff member was able to transport this goose for us to the wildlife centre. Thanks Danielle, we really appreciate it.

If you find an injured, orphaned or sick animal please contact the Toronto Wildlife Centre directly for advice at 416-631-0662. 

They also have a complete website to help answer many wildlife related questions.

We will be holding a fundraiser garage sale on Saturday June 6th from 8am – 1pm on the front lawn of our property, Snelgrove Veterinary Services, 11526 Hurontario Street, Brampton with a portion of the proceeds going to help the  Toronto Wildlife Centre and the Brampton Animal Shelter in thanks for all they do for our furry and feathered friends.

This may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to read.

We understand that China has a different culture than us.

We understand that they have a real problem with over-population of both dogs and cats.

What we don’t understand is deception. Nor do we think it’s right. Give us the option to choose what we want to purchase!

What we are talking about today is the fur and leather industry. China is the one of the largest fur and leather suppliers in the world but, did you know that much of it is sourced from dogs and cats? That’s right. Dogs and cats. Even faux fur is sometimes real because it’s actually cheaper for them to provide real fur instead of manufacturing synthetic fur, yet they will still label it as “faux-fur.”

Watching these videos and reading these articles will be heart-breaking, but turning a blind eye is worse.

As a clinic, we recently sat down and watched some of these videos together. With tears running down our faces, we forced ourselves not to be naive to the torture these animals endure. It forced us all to go home and look at labels on everything from purses to wallets to the trim on our coats. It made us all stop and think about our future purchases. Many of us have come in to work commenting on how we now walk by certain stores when making a trip to the mall, how our stomachs get queasy just seeing leather gloves on a shelf… It’s made us Stop and Think. And that is all we are asking you to do.


Unfortunately when it comes to leather, there is no way to know what animal it is made from, especially in regards to products produced in China (and perhaps other countries as well).

Here are some articles showing graphic pictures, videos and horrifying statements concerning the Chinese fur and leather industry. Although there may be some honest manufacturers out there, there is no way to distinguish between the good and the bad. While these videos can be gruesome to watch, forcing yourself to do so will help you to fully understand the gravity of these occurrences.

The chinese fur industry

The chinese leather industry

P.E.T.A. has also posted some ways to help you identify real fur from faux fur.

  1. Separate the fur and look at the base. Genuine fur usually protrudes from skin or leather, while faux fur generally has a mesh or threaded backing. If the backing looks like skin (which just makes it doubly gross!), don’t buy it.
  2. Look at the tips of the hairs. Real animal hairs taper to a fine point unless they have been sheared or cut. Faux fur, on the other hand, typically does not taper at the ends. So if the ends of the hairs taper to a fine point, play it safe and leave it on the rack.
  3. Do a burn test (obviously, this one’s only for things you already own). Remove a few hairs and hold them with tweezers over a nonflammable surface. Light them with a match or a lighter and let the smell do the talking. Burning animal hair smells like burning human hair. Faux fur, which is commonly made from acrylic or polyester, smells like melting plastic when burned.

This blog may seem overly controversial for a vet clinic to write, but it comes from the heart and we felt it necessary to share. Everyone has different opinions on what they feel is right or wrong. We have not written this blog today to change your choices, but to make you aware that you have a choice.

Thank you.

Spring 2015

charlie 001 There’s a new product available in Canada this year  which the staff at Snelgrove Vet Services is quite  excited about. With the current influx of ticks in the  Brampton and Caledon area, Nexgard has finally  come to the Canadian market. Approved by Health  Canada to kill Blacklegged ticks (deer ticks),  American Dog ticks and the Lone  star tick. It also kills Brown Dog ticks. These are all known carriers of diseases such as, Lyme disease,  Ehrlichia and Anaplasma.  But, not only does  Nexgard kill ticks, it also kills fleas all month-long.

Pretty cool, right?

We thought so. But what’s really cool about Nexgard? For people or pets who don’t like topical flea and tick killers, its an oral beef-flavoured chew. And yes, it’s beef ‘flavoured’, so for those pets that may have a beef allergy, Nexgard is still safe to give. Given monthly it is proven to keep killing both fleas and ticks for the full 30 days.

Nexgard is also safe to use if you have cats in the house and is approved for dogs as young as 8 weeks of age.

The best thing about Nexgard, now we have choices. In a market dominated by topical products, it’s nice to have another option. Ask your vet what flea and tick prevention you should use on your pets this year.

Thanks for reading.


Redirected Aggression in Dogs

Great article explaining ‘Redirected aggression’ and why it happens.

Wilde About Dogs

husky attacksAs any police officer can tell you, domestic violence calls can be tricky. The officer arrives at the home where a couple’s heated argument has progressed to violence. But although the two have been screaming at and even hitting each other, when the officer arrives, a strange phenomenon occurs. The target of the violence suddenly shifts to the officer.

Now consider two dogs who are fighting in the home. What started out as a skirmish has escalated to the point that the owner feels the need to step in. She approaches and tries to grab one of the dogs by the collar. The dog whips around and bites her on the arm. What’s going on here?

Both scenarios are examples of redirected aggression. Emotional arousal becomes so intense that it needs a release, and the target shifts from the original opponent to the source of interference. That’s one reason so many…

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Nicotine Intoxication: A Danger for Pets of Smokers

Fur the Love of Pets

Nicotine Poisoning Photo: Petzine.org

This week, March 15-21, 2015, is National Poison Prevention Week. I am using this week’s blog to alert dog owners of a new toxin found in our homes – nicotine. Nicotine has been around a long time, but the new nicotine substitutes, designed to help people stop smoking, are poisoning dogs. A recent article in the press highlights the dangers of nicotine from e-cigarettes.

Sources of Nicotine
If you smoke around your pet, she will develop an increased concentration of nicotine in their blood stream, but the increases will not reach toxic levels. Ingestion of an e-cigarette or the super concentrated nicotine liquid used to refill the e-cigarette can cause serious and even fatal toxicity. Due to their indiscriminate eating behavior, dogs may help themselves to nicotine-containing gum or candies from your bag or backpack. Another source of nicotine toxicity is discarded nicotine patches snatched from the…

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The Smelly Truth

My dog produces so much gas!  It is really a problem when we have guests over. Why does she pass so much gas?  Is she sick?

dogs-flatus-and-nutritionIt is appropriate first to define terms. “Flatulence” is the formation of excess gas in the stomach or intestines. Excessive flatulence may result in belching or the expulsion of gas through the anus, called “flatus.”  Flatulence can also cause “grumbling” sounds in the GI system that can sometimes be heard across the room. These sounds are called “borborygmus.”  Belching, borborygmus, and flatus can occur normally in dogs, but if they become excessive, there may be an underlying issue requiring medical attention. If these signs develop along with weight loss or diarrhea, it is quite likely that something serious is happening in the GI system, and this warrants a visit with your veterinarian.

My dog does not have diarrhea and is acting perfectly normal. What could be causing her excessive gas?

Some gastrointestinal gas is normal. The three sources of GI gas are:

Swallowed air

Gas production inside the GI tract

Diffusion of gas from the bloodstream into the GI tract

The amount of flatus varies greatly among individuals – both among dogs and among humans. Swallowed air most likely makes the largest contribution to flatulence and flatus. Exercise and eating too fast can increase air swallowing. Swallowed air can exit the body as flatus within 2 hours. Colon bacteria ferment carbohydrates and certain fibers. Both soluble and insoluble fiber in dog food is fermented by colonic bacteria, contributing to flatus. Soybean meal is often used as a protein source in dog food and may contribute to flatulence depending on the amount in the food on a dry matter (DM) basis.

Most flatus is composed of odorless gases. The odor comes from sulfur-containing gases like hydrogen sulfide.

Is there any way for me to reduce the amount of gas my dog passes?

There are several effective ways to reduce excessive flatulence and subsequent flatus.

A highly digestible food – specifically the carbohydrate and protein components – reduces the residues available for fermentation by colonic bacteria.

Changing the carbohydrate source in the dog’s food may modify flatus production. Food using rice as the carbohydrate source may generate less flatulence than foods relying on wheat or corn.  Changing the dietary protein source for a dog with excessive flatus may also help. DM protein content should not exceed 30%, and soy protein should be avoided for dogs with objectionable flatus.

Fiber may play a significant role in producing excessive flatulence and flatus in some dogs. Soluble fibers like fruit pectins are easily fermented by GI bacteria and can make a significant contribution to excessive flatulence and flatus. Mixed soluble and insoluble fibers can also contribute to flatus in some dogs. It may be best to limit fiber to 5% DM or less.

One example of searching for a nutrient profile to reduce excessive flatulence and objectionable flatus is to move from a dry dog food that contains corn, chicken, and soybean meal to one that contains lamb, rice, and barley. Vegetarian dog foods may be problematic because of the likelihood that they contain sulfur-containing vegetables and legumes.

What steps should I take to change my dog’s food in order to reduce her flatus?

It is always appropriate to work with your veterinarian to determine the best nutritional steps to take with your individual dog. Step one is to gather the labels of all the foods and treats you are using in order to look for any specific ingredients that may contribute to the problem. Specific ingredients to avoid include:

  • Soy fiber
  • Soybean hulls
  • Pea fiber
  • Psyllium
  • Pectin
  • Bran
  • Beet pulp
  • Fruits
  • High fructose corn syrup

If the major ingredients are potentially contributors, look for a nutrient profile that avoids the “bad actors.”  Your veterinarian can help with the calculations to determine the DM levels of various nutrients. There are several therapeutic nutritional formulations currently available to support optimal GI health and to address adverse food reactions. One of these nutrient profiles may be the best one to eliminate excessive GI gas in your dog. It may be necessary to try a couple of different things in order to find the “best fit” for a specific dog with objectionable flatus.

The way your dog eats is also important. Multiple small feedings instead of one or two feedings per day may reduce flatulence by improving digestibility and reducing the food residue available for fermentation by colonic bacteria. Decreasing the speed of eating will decrease the amount of swallowed air. Interactive food toys, raised food dishes, a “food puzzle” dish, and decreasing perceived food competition by feeding household dogs in separate areas may all contribute to decreasing flatulence and flatus. Walking a dog outside within 30 minutes of feeding encourages defecation and may thus dissipate excess intestinal gas.

Finally, it is important to remember that intestinal gas production is a normal body process. Excessive flatulence and subsequent flatus, if accompanied by weight loss or diarrhea, may indicate underlying metabolic disease and should be more aggressively investigated. If there is no evidence of systemic disease, it is reasonable to presume that excessive canine flatus can be controlled nutritionally.

More articles related to this and other common problems can be found on the Pet Health page of our website.

Should I get a second cat?

I want to get a cat, but someone told me I should get two together. Is this true?

Cats were once considered to be solitary creatures. Although there may be individual differences, we now know that they are in fact social animals who benefit from interaction with their own and other species. As a result of this knowledge there has been a move to promote ownership of more than one cat, and in particular to encourage owners to take on two cats at the same time. This can be beneficial as the cats play together and provide each other with both physical and mental stimulation. However, it is important to have an understanding of feline society if you are to take on two or more cats successfully.

If I am going to adopt two kittens at the same time, should I get them from the same litter?

Basically cats are family-oriented creatures that commonly live with their relatives. They are not very tolerant of outsiders and are less likely to cohabit harmoniously with a cat that they are not related to. For this reason, the best combination of cats is actually littermates and if you are taking on more than one kitten it is certainly better to consider taking on two from the same litter. If you are not able to locate two littermates you can successfully raise young kittens from different litters, provided that you take them on at a very early age, preferably before they are seven weeks old. Adopting two slightly older kittens may work out, but the general rule is that the younger the kittens are when brought together, the more easily they will accept each other as part of their social group.

“Differences in personality can have a profound effect on how two cats may get along.”

If I already have a single cat, should I consider getting another cat to keep it company?

If your cat is an adult and is established within your home as the only cat, then you should think carefully about introducing another feline. With time it should be possible to introduce a new cat into an existing household, but this may take a great deal of time and very gradual introduction. The majority of cats are hostile to other unrelated felines, and there is certainly no guarantee that your cat will thank you for its new playmate. However, some cats, if they have been sufficiently socialized to other cats or are particularly sociable (genetically), do benefit enormously from feline company. Therefore, the decision has to be made on a case-by-case basis. If your cat has been seen in the company of other cats without excessive fear or aggression, it may be possible to integrate a new cat into the household. However, if your cat shows hostility to other cats, or hisses, growls, or marks territory if they enter your yard or garden, then obtaining another cat would not be advisable!

“It is not uncommon for the remaining individual to show classic signs of feline grief.”

Keep in mind that relationships in cats are usually between pairs of cats. Just because your cat liked one cat, it may not mean that he will accept another. Some cats are naturally easy-going and friendly; others are timid and shy; still others are very assertive and active. Those differences in personality can have a profound effect on how two cats may get along. An easy-going cat may accept most other cats, while a timid and shy cat may be reluctant to accept another cat, depending on the new cat’s personality. An active and assertive cat may overwhelm quieter and more timid cats, making introductions difficult. Although, at first the existing housecat(s) may have a problem with the new addition to the household, in some homes the existing cat may try to initiate play while the new cat is the one that exhibits the most aggression. Attempting to match personality types may be useful when seeking out another companion for your cat.

My cat was raised with its littermate from an early age but has now been left on its own, due to the death of its sibling. Should I get another cat as a replacement companion?

The bond between feline littermates is very special and when one of a pair dies before the other it is not uncommon for the remaining individual to show classic signs of feline grief. These include behaviors such as vocalization and searching for the missing sibling, as well as changes in basic behaviors such as feeding and seeking social interaction with owners. This grieving process is quite variable in its duration, but it is not uncommon for it to last for months. While it is in progress, it is generally not advisable to take on another cat. Indeed, hostility toward another cat that is introduced when the resident cat is fearful, anxious, depressed or in ill health can be very intense and the likelihood of ultimate integration between the cats is very slim. Once the grieving process has passed and the cat has come to terms with the loss of its sibling, it may be possible to integrate a new housemate. But, you need to realize that any bond that is established between your cat and a newcomer will never be as strong as the one that existed between the original littermates. In fact, even if your cat has had a very close relationship to a previous cat, a new cat may not be welcomed into the household.

I have decided to adopt another cat. I would like to know what age and what sex might be most acceptable to my resident adult cat?

Although it is generally accepted that related cats make the most compatible housemates, there is a distinct lack of information about the relative compatibility of unrelated cats. Therefore, it is difficult to give guidance. One piece of research carried out in Switzerland showed that adult cats are more likely to accept the introduction of a younger individual than one of the same age or older. Therefore, it would probably be sensible to think about a kitten or a young adult for the new addition to your family. If you do need to take on an adult cat, the same research suggested that an adult of the opposite sex was more likely to be accepted and that, in cases of same-sex pairs, two males were slightly more likely to be compatible than two females.

I have just adopted a second cat, and I want to maximize the chance of successful integration. What should I do?

Cats are territorial animals and when you are introducing a second feline you need to remember that they need to establish their own space within the home. It might be best therefore to provide the new cat with a separate housing area and slowly integrate the cats during times when they are likely to be occupied, distracted or enjoying themselves (such as feeding, play, or treat times). Until they develop some degree of familiarity, introductions are unlikely to be successful. When the cats are brought together, key resources such as food, litter boxes, shelter and social interaction need to be available in sufficient amounts to ensure that there is no unnecessary conflict. It is sensible to space these resources around the home to minimize the need to share them directly.

“Add furniture, shelving, and aerobic centers that allow cats to make use of vertical as well as horizontal space.”

Increasing the amount of available space within the home can be achieved by making use of three-dimensional features of the house by adding furniture, shelving, and aerobic centers that allow cats to make use of vertical as well as horizontal space. If problems arise, an extended period of separation followed by a very gradual re-introduction, perhaps accompanied by the use of pheromones and/or drugs, might need to be considered.

Further advice is contained in Aggression – Treating Inter-cat Aggression in the Home and Introducing New Cats on our Pet Health page of our website.

Is it cruel to keep a cat as a single pet?

Although cats are social creatures, they are ultimately solitary survivors. As a result, we assume they have no fundamental need for social company. This means that cats can live alone perfectly happily, provided that they have sufficient supply of safe territory, food, shelter and affection from their owners. This does not mean that they would not benefit from the presence of another cat, especially a littermate or other relative, but it does mean that cats who are used to living alone are not likely to be suffering as a result.

Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB & Gary Landsberg, DVM, DACVB, DECAWBM
© Copyright 2012 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.