Echinococcus Multilocularis: What is it and why we should worry?

Echinococcus Multilocularis: What is it and why we should worry?

What is Echinococcus Multilocularis?

Echinococcus multiocularis is an emerging tapeworm here in Ontario. Echinococcus is found across the globe and is especially prevalent in the northern latitudes of Europe, Asia, and North America. Prior to 2012, Echinococcus multilocularis had never been seen in wildlife nor in domestic animals in southern Ontario. Since that time, it has established itself here. It is also now firmly established in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Although the risk is extremely low people need to be made aware of it.

antique antique globe antique shop antique store

Why Should We Be Worried?

Echinococcus multiocularis is a small tapeworm that can cause big problems in humans. People who are infected with this tapeworm do not typically show signs for 5 to 15 years due to their incubation period. It then typically presents itself as a cyst on the lungs or liver, but cysts can develop anywhere. Once the cyst is large enough to cause compression on other parts of the body, that’s when we typically find out we have it.

people in front of macbook pro

Now that we know our wildlife here in Ontario can be infected, we have to think about the possibility of our canine and feline friends being exposed to it, as well as ourselves.

How Can We Protect Ourselves?

Echinococcus multiocularis is typically found in foxes, coyotes, and dogs. Larval stages can be transmitted to people through ingestion of food, water or fecal material contaminated with tapeworm eggs. Follow these easy steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from a potential infection:

  • Do not allow dogs to eat rodents or other wild animals.
  • Avoid contact with foxes, coyotes, stray dogs and other wild animals.
  • Do not encourage wild animals to come close to your home and do not keep them as pets.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling dogs or cats, and before handling food.
  • Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.
  • Deworm your dog regularly.
  • Inform your veterinarian if you notice white rice-type looking segments on your dog’s feces or anus.
Fireworks: Effects on Wildlife, Farm Animals and Pets

Fireworks: Effects on Wildlife, Farm Animals and Pets

Spring has arrived and with summer to come we welcome all the activities and events that go along with it. Unfortunately, one of the things that make our children smile with glee is the same thing that puts animals into flight mode around the world – leaving orphaned young, causing injury to others and sorrow in our hearts. Fireworks are actually of huge concern to animal welfare everywhere.

Horses bolt, ending up on public streets; cows stampede, ever watched a western where they shoot off a gun to get cows to run? Same thing; birds flying into objects, or each other; mothers leaving their young and becoming disoriented when they’ve gone to far; deer darting and becoming impaled on fences, the list goes on and on…

Here are some articles from the news to help put this devastation into perspective;

49 horses injured and 11 killed since 2010: the real cost of fireworks *warning: graphic images*

A dairy farmer in Maryland was forced to put down four of his cows in 2013 after they were injured in a stampede caused by a firework show in a nearby field.

If anyone remembers, it was all over the news,  in 2011 in Arkansas, hundreds of birds fell dead to the ground during New Year’s eve festivities with researchers thinking fireworks were to cause for them to be flying and crashing into each other and objects due to fear. 

Forbes magazine posted this  in December 2017, reaching out to everyone whether on not this should continue and countries and municipalities around the world are reaching out to politicians to put an end to these. 

Let’s also not forget all the injuries to people and possessions caused regularly by fireworks. In 2015, Brampton had a house fire that engulfed two neighbouring houses when they used fireworks in their backyard. Brampton does actually have a by-law that private homes can NOT use fireworks that travel more than 10ft from where they are ignited.

“Permitted Fireworks” are consumer fireworks that do not travel more than three (3) metres (10 feet) from the point of ignition, and may include fireworks such as fountains, wheels, ground spinners, burning school houses, flying ghosts and sparklers. But even these should be used with extreme caution. 

“Prohibited Fireworks” are consumer fireworks that would reasonably be expected to travel or pose a hazard more than three (3) metres (10 feet) from the point of ignition, such as roman candles, flying lanterns, barrages, bombshells, cakes, comets, mines, missiles and skyrockets.

Should we all be thinking twice about the impact these cause to the animals on this planet? Do we really need to showcase these to celebrate a public holiday?

Alternatives should be considered.

The flu, you and your dog

The flu, you and your dog


Canine influenza is typically one of two strains, H3N2 and H3N8.

H3N8 was first identified in the U.S.A. in 2004 and was believed to be a mutation from the equine virus of the same name.

Prior to 2015, H3N2 was thought to be restricted to South Korea, China and Thailand but following an outbreak in Chicago in 2015 was realized to be in the U.S.A as well.

Am I at risk of contracting this?

Both of these viruses pose no risk to humans at this time and although this virus is not widespread in Canada there have been confirmed cases in Windsor (Essex County) , Orillia (Simcoe – Muskoka) and the Northumberland area this year. We don’t want dog owners to be scared but be aware.

  • If your dog is sick, keep them away from others and vice versa.
  • If your dog shows any combination of these symptoms, coughing, nasal discharge, fever, runny eyes or nose, please take them to your local veterinarian. (It is best to notify them that you are concerned about this. You will then typically be instructed to leave your pet in your vehicle until it is time to be seen by the veterinarian to limit exposure to other patients)
  • Wash your hands well and change your clothes if you believe you may have touched a sick dog to prevent you spreading it to others.

Should I vaccinate my dog(s)?

Although we don’t feel that the majority of our patients require vaccination for Canine Influenza at this time, we do want you to make an informed choice. It is what is referred to as a  ‘lifestyle’ vaccine that makes specific patients more likely to at some point come in contact with this virus.

  • traveling in areas with confirmed cases
  • attending dog shows
  • obedience trials
  • doggy sporting events
  • off-leash dog parks
  • boarding facilities
  • training facilities

Certain dogs may also be at a higher risk.

  • elderly dogs
  • dogs with respiratory or cardiac disease
  • Bulldogs, pugs, pekingnese and other brachycephalic breeds (dogs with ‘pushed-in’ noses)

This vaccine does need a booster vaccination 2-4 weeks after the initial and then it becomes a yearly vaccine. It does also take approximately 2 weeks after the 2nd vaccine before immunity is developed. Please keep that in mind with any upcoming travel plans.

Feel free to contact Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton at 905-846-3316 or your local veterinarian for more information.

Essential oils and why you should be careful using them

Essential oils and why you should be careful using them

Essential oils have become the norm in many households. People use them to reap the benefits for health and well-being. Well, did you know, using these in your household can actually be toxic to your pets?

Essential oils, although having beneficial physical and psychological properties can actually be harmful to your pets and must be used carefully around them. Here are two links from the Pet Poison Helpline, one for cats and one for dogs, which can help you decide if you are using them safely in your home.



The Lowdown on Laser Therapy

The Lowdown on Laser Therapy

You may have heard about Laser Therapy in the past, or maybe not. Either way, let’s take a minute to shed some light (ha-ha) on what exactly laser therapy is, how it can benefit an animal and whether or not your pet is a candidate for it.

What is Laser Therapy?

It all sounds very advanced, but the truth is, laser therapy has actually been around for quite a while for both companion animal and human applications. Here at Snelgrove Vet, we are lucky enough to have a therapeutic laser on-hand for our patients. And it sure comes in handy! We use it all the time for our patients post-operatively – meaning, we treat the incision area after any type of surgery, even our routine surgeries like spays and neuters.

Laser Machine

This is our Companion Laser Therapy® system

“Laser” stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It works by passing a laser beam across your pet’s skin, directly above any area of discomfort. The invisible beam of light passes energy to your pet’s cells, causing them to reproduce faster.

What are the Benefits of Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy can benefit an animal in many ways. When the energy from the laser is passed to the cells within the body and they reproduce faster, it encourages those cells to repair at a quicker pace. This aids in breaking up scar tissue, reducing inflammation and increasing circulation.

A laser therapy session is completely non-invasive and the animal will only feel a bit of heat from the beam of light. It is a pain-free way to help an animal heal faster and it will also reduce the chances of re-injury. If anything, it is a nice, relaxing session that most of our patients enjoy, much like we enjoy a massage.

Who is a Candidate for Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy has a broad range of applications. Beyond the obvious uses for wounds, trauma injuries, bone fractures and breaks, it is also a great way to battle signs of aging in your pet as well. It can help diminish joint stiffness, which allows animals to enjoy all the things they used to – from playing fetch to jumping up on the couch for a snuggle. If you notice your furry family member has been disinterested in playing or going for walks, it may just be the soreness and arthritis that comes with age that could be stopping them.

Truthfully, any animal can be a candidate for laser therapy. From young puppies and kittens recovering from their spays and neuters to older dogs and cats that are perhaps suffering from an injury, or even just plain “old age.”

For more information, please call Snelgrove Vet Services at (905) 846-3316 to book a consultation.


Cat Bites

Did you know that there are hundreds of disease-causing microbes lurking in your cat’s mouth right now?

It’s pretty gross when you sit down and think about it, but really, the same is true for human mouths as well. The difference? Most well-adjusted humans don’t go around biting each other or other animals… the same is not exactly true when it comes to cats!

Biting is one of a cat’s main defenses when they feel threatened.

Because of this, we actually take cat bites very seriously within the veterinary community. Due to the narrow size and pointed shape of a cat’s canine teeth, they are able to penetrate skin very deeply, but leave only a small wound on the surface. When a cat bites, the bacteria on their fangs can be driven deep down into the tissue, but the wound can heal rather quickly. This traps the bacteria beneath the surface of the skin. If left untreated, this bacteria can easily turn into a dangerous infection within 24-48 hours.

If you or your pet are unlucky enough to experience a bite from a cat, you should immediately wash the area under running water. Avoid using any harsh disinfectant that could damage surrounding tissue and/or delay healing. Apply direct pressure to the area to stop any bleeding and see a doctor or veterinarian as soon as possible.

It is a rule within our clinic here at Snelgrove Vet, that any staff suffering from a cat bite wound go directly to a walk-in clinic in order to received appropriate treatment. This often means a round of antibiotics to fight infection. The feline patients we see here are up to date on their vaccines, so typically the doctor is not concerned about the potential for viral disease. However, if someone is bitten by a cat that is unknown to them or possibly feral, a doctor may recommend a rabies vaccine depending on the severity of the bite wound.

If you see a stray cat, it is best to call animal services if you want to help it. A stray or feral cat can be skittish and may lash out at an attempt to help them. Your intentions to aid an animal in distress may be sincere, but it is best to leave handling an unknown animal to the professionals, lest you risk a bite from those bacteria-laced mouths!

Why does my pet’s back end smell so bad?


Have you ever noticed a really disgusting or odd smell coming from your cat or dogs hind end? Or your pet has been licking back there excessively? They may be releasing or having problems with their anal glands.

What are anal glands?

Anal glands are exactly what their name implies – they are glands that sit at the side of the anus. Their scent works as a territorial marker and normally a small amount is released when an animal defecates – this is why dogs like to smell one another’s feces. Animals can also have spontaneous release of their anal glands – this usually occurs during a time of fear, stress or excitement or with cats, during grooming or extreme happiness.

These glands are perfectly normal and it’s normal for your pet to express them occasionally. The problem is though, that some pets don’t express them naturally and this can cause problems.

What happens if my pet doesn’t express them naturally?

This is actually a quite common occurrence. Anal glands can become impacted if your pet doesn’t express them naturally.  This is why during veterinary exams they are checked and why groomers express them manually at the time of a bath. If they are not released, they can become inflamed, which in turn, causes the anal gland secretions to thicken. This will then cause the sacs to become overly full and painful. Your pet will typically scoot or drag their hind end on the floor, excessively lick at their back end or growl when they are touched back there. The thickened material makes a great home for bacterial overgrowth and can rapidly lead to abscesses. These abscesses appear as red, painful, hot swellings on the side of the anus affected. They can also rupture on their own and pus and blood will drain from them. Treatment can vary from antibiotic and pain medication to flushing the anal glands. For some dogs, anal gland impactions can be a chronic problems, and in severe cases surgical removal may be indicated.


For dogs with chronic anal gland problems, Glandex chews can be considered to try as a prevention. Glandex is formulated to encourage anal gland health by helping to create firm, bulky stools that express the anal glands and also contains natural anti-inflammatories and probiotics to encourage a healthy gastrointestinal system. Glandex is available at our office in Brampton and on our webstore at


Unfortunately cancer of the anal gland can occur as well. These tumors often grow very rapidly and are malignant meaning that they will spread to other areas of the body. Since these tumors grow inwards, they are often not noticed until they are large enough to cause difficulties passing feces. Any animal that is straining to defecate, should be examined by a veterinarian

Feel free to let me know about any other topics you would like me to write about,                                   Dr. Dallas


Honk Honk, Hack

For the past month, we have been seeing a larger than normal amount of Kennel Cough cases.

Kennel cough, also known as Infectious tracheobronchitis, is a contagious and infectious condition of the trachea (“windpipe”) and bronchial tubes where the major clinical sign is coughing. Similar to the human flu virus, this can be caused by many different viruses and bacteria.

Kennel cough is considered to be very contagious and most commonly spread by sniffing other dogs, playing with contagious dog or sharing water dishes.

Clinical signs are often described as a goose honk, hacking dry cough and owner often describe that it sounds like there is something stuck in their throat that they are trying to bring up. In most cases, when the throat is rubbed or palpated, a cough can be elicited. Clinical signs, however, can vary from very mild to very severe, but most infections resolve within one to three weeks. Most commonly, Kennel Cough is treated with cough suppressants  and antibiotics.

Annual vaccinations are highly recommended and while it does not prevent the infection, it reduces the severity of the clinical signs that are seen.

If you suspect your dog has Kennel Cough, a veterinary exam is recommended to prescribe the appropriate medications and to rule out other causes such as, heart disease or pneumonia that can present with similar clinical signs.

Evy and the Case of the Over-Active Thyroid



Just 2 short years ago in February, I brought my cat Evy to Snelgrove Veterinary Services to have Soft Paws put on her nails (she can be grouchy and I didn’t want to declaw her). This was a completely routine visit until the technician came up to see me and said she felt a lump in Evy’s throat. I scheduled an appointment with a doctor who recommended we run some blood tests. Upon receiving the blood results, I was told her thyroid level was very high.

The normal range for a cat’s thyroid is 10-60 nmol/l and Evy’s thyroid measured 90 nmol/l. The diagnosis – Hyperthyroidism.

Evy’s (and my) choices were; daily medications for life, surgery or radioactive iodine therapy.  Radioactive Iodine, also known as I-131, is a radioactive isotope of iodine used to attack & destroy abnormal thyroid tissue.   I opted for this treatment as the odds of curing, not just regulating this condition, were much better. It wasn’t as invasive as surgery and there were no known side effects. There are not many specialists available to administer this treatment and although there is a clinic in Toronto, they could not accommodate Evy. A flood had put them behind in treatments.

In the meantime, we put her on Tapazole, a medication to help regulate the thyroid.  This did not go well. Not only was I getting frustrated fighting to give Evy a pill every day, she began vomiting and had to be taken off the medication. The doctor then recommended a special food that can help regulate a cat’s thyroid but Evy was such a picky eater, she wouldn’t touch it.   

In March, one month after diagnosis, we found a clinic in London, Thames Valley Veterinary, that had immediate availability for radio-iodine therapy.  They had us re-test the thyroid level, at Snelgrove Vet in Brampton, prior to going and Evy’s level was 192.3 nmol/l!  My poor girl!  I was so shocked by the number and felt so bad for her.

We arrived in London on a Saturday morning in April and we were checked in. Upon seeing the doctor, we were told, because of her extremely high thyroid level, she would require a full week’s worth of treatment. Another lady was there at the same time, and her cat’s number was only in the 90’s.  She was able to pick up her cat in 4 days!!!

Evy survived the week and Jane, a wonderful staff member from Thames, stayed in constant contact via email with me.  She was very patient and answered any questions I had, no matter how small or insignificant they seemed.  She even brought out the soft side in Evy. Evy constantly sought out Jane’s affection during her stay. Jane stayed in contact over the next year, checking in on Evy and reminding me when to re-check Evy’s T4 levels.

This year Evy’s numbers started to climb again (only 2-4% of cats require a 2nd treatment), and we were sent back to Thames for a no-charge “booster” of the I-131.  Despite her grumpiness, she settled right in once again.  The staff was amazing with her and Thames has stayed in constant contact since. It has been wonderful to deal with them, and I, personally, would happily recommend them and the radioactive iodine therapy.

Evy has not required any oral medications since before her radio-iodine therapy 2 years ago.

If your cat is hyperthyroid, I strongly recommend you talk to a veterinarian and discuss the option of radio-iodine therapy.   It is not as expensive as you would think and was much easier on Evy and I.

Today, she’s as happy as she’ll ever be given her grumpy demeanor, and well taken care of. 

Thanks for reading,



One bite, it’s all it takes!

Ticks and mosquitoes

Spring has typically always been the time of year that we talk to our clients about the importance of putting their pets on a heartworm prevention. One bite from an infected mosquito is all it takes to transmit these tiny, microscopic parasites that can grow up to 12 inches long!

Now the issue is, we know that not only do mosquitoes transmit heartworm to pets, but, we also have ticks in Brampton. They can transmit Lyme disease, Erlichiosis [ur-lik-ee-oh-sis] , Anaplasmosis [an-uh-plaz-moh-sis] and Babesiosis [bab-bee-z-oh-sis].

So, the big question is, what can we do about it?

Well, lets face facts, these little bugs are not going away.

So, how do we prevent our pet from getting these diseases/parasites?

Testing, due diligence and prevention. Testing can tell us if your pet has already been exposed. We can then, if necessary, start appropriate treatment regiments. Hopefully prior to any permanent damage being done. Due diligence, check your pet head to tail for any small lumps which may be an attached tick. Prevention, there are many products available that help prevent our pets from getting bitten by these dangerous bugs. Just give your veterinarian a call and they can go over all options with you.

Remember to also keep yourself safe. Although mosquitoes don’t infect humans with heartworm, ticks can transmit all of these diseases to us as well. Check yourself for ticks as well. If you suspect you have been bitten by a tick or see a tick attached to yourself, contact your health care provider immediately.

For more information, click on the links below;


As always, thanks for reading:)

The staff at Snelgrove Veterinary Services