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.



Food Allergies on Trial (Part Two)

Food Allergies on Trial (Part Two)

In the first part of this blog posted last week, we defined what food allergies are as well how to diagnose them using a food trial. In the second and final part of this blog, we will discuss the types of specialty diets used in food trials, along with a closer look at the diets available and what to expect once a food trial has been completed.

Novel protein diet vs. hydrolyzed protein diet

The menu of restricted ingredients that are allowed to animals during a food trial is often referred to as a novel protein diet. Novel protein diets usually include ingredients such as rabbit, venison, fish, duck, and/or kangaroo – items that are rarely used in commercial pet foods, thus making it unlikely that your pet has been exposed to them in the past. It is important during a pet’s lifetime not to introduce a huge variety of proteins to their diet, as this will limit the diets with new ingredients that can be tried should they ever require a food trial.

In some cases, the doctor may need to rely on a hydrolyzed diet. These diets use proteins such as chicken or soy, however instead of providing an intact protein, the proteins are broken down into significantly smaller components. These smaller components are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction because the immune system no longer recognizes them as the proteins that it previously had an abnormal response to.

In summary, a novel protein is a food or ingredient the animal has not eaten previously, while a hydrolyzed protein has been broken down into smaller components which reduces the body’s reaction to them.

What diets do we carry for food allergies?


Here is a selection of some of the foods we carry that are appropriate for animals with food allergies. There are many more available on our Webstore!

Luckily, there is actually an extensive list of veterinary diets available for pets that suffer from food allergies. However, it is best to work with a doctor in order to find the most appropriate choice for a dog or a cat with food allergies as each case is unique. The options listed below are exclusively available for purchase at veterinary clinics only, as opposed to retail brands that can be obtained from pet or grocery stores. Veterinary diets are ideal and highly recommended over retail brands, which can sometimes contain trace amounts of common allergens. Additionally, veterinary brands are backed by extensive clinical trials and research, while retail brands typically are not.


DRM Dermatological Management Diet

HA Hydrolyzed Diet

Treats: Gentle Snackers


Prescription Diet d/d (duck, salmon or venison formulas available)

Prescription Diet z/d

Treats: Hypo-Treats


Anallergenic Diet

Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein Diet

Hypoallergenic Selected Protein Diet

Sensitivity VR Diet

Vegetarian Diet

Treats: Hydrolyzed Protein Treats


Crocodilia MAINT

Kangaroo DIAG & MAINT

Low-Fat Kangaroo MAINT

Rabbit MAINT

How long does a food trial last?

Generally, we recommend to continuously feed the food trial for a total of 12-16 weeks (3-4 months). Although we typically start to see positive results within the first 4-8 weeks, it can take up to 16 weeks to eliminate the remaining allergens from an animals system.

Remember, it is critical that the animal does not get anything else during this time period! Something to think about would be how many foods beyond their regular meals actually cross your pet’s mouth over the course of an average week. Such items as:

  • Treats

  • Rawhide chews

  • Toys

  • Drive-thru treats (pupaccino, anyone?)

  • Goodies from neighbours/service persons

  • Popcorn

  • Licking of cereal bowls, ice cream bowls, plates, etc.

  • Access to other pets food or stools

  • Pilling treats (pill pockets, cheese, etc.)

  • Supplements (glucosamine, omegas, etc.)

  • Chewable medication

  • Table scraps

  • Garbage

The ingestion of any of these example items while on a food trial could result in the trial failing.

Here is an example of some of the items that could be detrimental to a food trial being performed on a pet with suspected food allergies. There are many items that pet owners might not even think about, such as pill pockets, flavoured toothpastes and previously used toothbrushes that could have remnants left between the bristles, flavoured medications/supplements, and/or toys that may have previously been exposed to allergens.

What happens after a food trial?

Once a food trial has been conducted and the animal has responded favourably with a reduction in the clinical signs of food allergies previously exhibited (ie. itching, licking and/or ear/skin infections), we can slowly start to reintroduce regular foods. By adding in ingredients one at a time over a period of weeks, we can determine which ingredients the dog or cat reacts to.

In conclusion…

When managing a pet that has potential allergies, it can feel like a long process. Whether a food trial is in order, or the doctor recommends other testing, the key thing to remember is that we are doing this to help make our pet feel better. Allergies can be a frustrating and (sometimes) expensive condition to get a handle on, but at the end of the day, our pet will feel much better once they are diagnosed and eating the appropriate diet. The future should hold a lot less itching and licking – and, of course, a lot more cuddles as your dog or cat will be feeling infinitely better!

Thank you for reading and we would love to hear about any experiences you have had in managing a pet with food allergies. Please feel free to comment below, or post any pictures you may have.

Food Allergies on Trial (Part One)

Food Allergies on Trial (Part One)

Food allergies and intolerance seem to be a hot topic these days, both in the human- and pet-world. Various buzzwords like grain-free and gluten-free have become part of our daily lives. But what are food allergies, really? And how do we know if our pet has one? Should we really be spending all this money on specialty foods that don’t contain this but do contain that? Well, here is the low-down on food allergies in dogs and cats, straight from the doctors here at Snelgrove Vet Services.

What are food allergies?

Food allergies can range from mild to severe and are identified as an abnormal immune response to certain ingredients found within a food.

What are signs of food allergies?

In both dogs and cats, the most common sign of a food allergy is itching and licking at their skin continuously. An important distinguishing feature of food allergies over seasonal allergies is that food allergies are present year-round, whereas seasonal allergies tend to flare up only at certain times of the year. Another symptom typically seen in dogs with food allergies is frequent ear infections. In some cases, ear infections can be the only sign of a food allergy being present. In other cases, food allergies may present as gastrointestinal upsets (ie. vomiting and/or diarrhea).

What are the most common foods to cause allergies in our pets and how can they be diagnosed?  

Cats and dogs most commonly suffer from food allergies to proteins, but other ingredients can also cause a reaction. In dogs, we typically see allergies to beef, chicken, corn, dairy, egg, soy and wheat. Meanwhile cats commonly react to beef, dairy and fish.


This is Woody, a 6 year old Boston Terrier. He has suffered from food allergies since he was 1 year old.

While serology testing and skin patch tests are available, the most effective way to diagnose a food allergy in a pet is to conduct a food trial.

What are food trials and how are they helpful?

Essentially, a food trial is a restricted diet for a dog or cat that includes ingredients that the animal has not previously been exposed to. Food trials are a very helpful diagnostic tool for several reasons. Once all ingredients that may be causing a food allergy are eliminated, the animal should begin to feel better as the symptoms associated with the allergy resolve. Additionally, the doctor is also able to determine whether the allergy is specifically food related, or if there are perhaps environmental allergies to consider as well. And finally, once symptoms have resolved and regular foods can begin to be re-introduced, it is much easier to determine which is the offending ingredient.


In summary…

This week we have covered food allergies and food trials. Stay tuned for next week’s discussion on types of diets used in food trials and what happens after a food trial has been completed.

Woody 2

Luckily for Woody, his family was able to find an appropriate diet to help his allergies – a low fat kangaroo food!

As always, we would love to hear from our readers and clients alike. Have you ever had a pet that suffered from food allergies? Have you ever conducted a food trial, and, if so, how did it go?

Meet George

Meet George

Dr. McQueen had the pleasure of having to remove quills from her own dogs this weekend.

Porcupine quills plague many pet owners on a regular basis and unfortunately most dogs don’t learn their lesson after being subjected to them. Most dogs assume that the ‘next time’ they’ll get that prickly creature. Of course, we all know how that works out, more quills to be removed!

Porcupine quills are something we very strongly discourage owners from removing themselves. Most quills end up being in the mouth where they get softened by saliva which causes them to break when trying to pull them out. Quills can then actually migrate through the skin layer and cause further problems. Pets really should be sedated and have them removed by your veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Lucky for George, his mom’s a vet and brought him right in to have them removed.

Better luck next time

Breed Spotlight ; Cockapoo

rudy 1

I have an 8-year-old Cock-a-poo named Rudy which I acquired when he was a puppy. A Cock-a-poo is a mixture of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. They are not recognized as a purebred.

Cock-a-poo’s make a great family dog. They have the outgoing, loving personality of the Cocker spaniel and the low shedding qualities of the Poodle. The only down side is that because they do not shed they do require regular grooming every 6-8 weeks.

Since they make wonderful family pets and they are in higher demand they are the most likely to be bred by puppy mills looking to make money. It is very important if you looking to get a Cock-a-poo that you meet the dog’s parents and you see the puppies litter mates. Some ‘breeders’ will offer to meet you in a parking lot or bring the puppy to your house – these are not true breeders but usually fronts for puppy mills. Another thing that can happen is there will be a dog broker who has the puppies but not the parents and sells the puppies from another location. Even if the puppy is cute and looks healthy often times they are quite ill – most of them have intestinal parasites, some can be so sick they require hospitalization. It is important that you do not purchase a puppy from this situation because it will encourage the continuation of this process.

I got my Cock-a-poo from someone who relinquished ownership once he became very ill. Rudy presented to Snelgrove Veterinary Services as a very sick puppy who was vomiting and had diarrhea and he was very dehydrated. He needed to be placed on IV fluids and hospitalized in isolation because he was diagnosed with parvovirus. Parvovirus is contagious and can be life threatening. The original owner was devastated since they had just picked up the puppy and had not yet had a chance to form a relationship, they did not want to continue to pay for an ill puppy that had the possibility of dying. Rudy needed to be hospitalized for over a week and at one point we thought we were going to lose him but eventually he pulled through and he is now a healthy, happy 8-year-old dog.

Rudy is excellent with my kids and my other mixed breed dog, Oscar although he does like to be the alpha male. He likes going for walks, swimming and playing with his toys. We are hopeful that we will have many more years with him as
Cock-a-poo’s can live between 14–18 years.

I would definitely recommend this breed as a great family pet.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Jessica Ioannou

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

In support of Animal Health Week, last night we hosted our annual Teddy Bear Clinic. We had a great turn out! Children of all ages had the opportunity to use many of the tools required in veterinary medicine to do a thorough physical exam of their stuffed animal. We would like to thank Dr. Jessica Ioannou and Danielle for doing such a great job with the kids and a big thank you to all the parents that took the time out of their busy schedules to bring the kids in. We hope they had as much fun as we did and hope to see everyone again next year.


Breed Spotlight; Great Dane



Gentle Giant, Apollo of Dogs, German Mastiff, Scooby Doo are all some of the terms used to describe the Great Dane.


They are a large and noble breed of dog that was originally bred to hunt wild boars. Throughout the years, the ferociousness to be able to track wild animals has been bred out of the Great Dane and the Mastiff features have become more refined. This breed typically stands at 30-34” at the shoulders and weigh in between 100-200lbs. They have an athletic muscular body, with a large, narrow head and a long graceful neck. They are sweet, affectionate companions with lap dog tendencies. In fact they see no reason why they can’t hop up on the couch and drape themselves over you!

Great Danes require a fair bit of space in the house just to move around. Due to their size, there is little that is sacred. Anything on the kitchen counters or dining room table are fair game. And let’s not forget their long whip like tail…yes it could clear a coffee table in 30 seconds flat! For those of you that like nice clean walls and floors (and ceilings) this is not likely the breed for you. These guys drool and slobber like the best of them and when they shake their heads…take cover!!!! But despite all this, they are loving, affectionate dogs and they worm their way into your heart in no time at all.

Because of their large size, they have a relatively short life span of 7-9 years. They take up a huge space in your heart for a short amount of time.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Suzanne McQueen


The end of Summer!


Here at Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton, ON. we know that the end of summer is a sad yet exciting time of year. Routine is re-instated, kids go back to school and for our pets it is a time of change.

Many pets can suffer loneliness as September begins. Being left alone for long periods of time takes its toll on their hearts. Gone are the days of playing with the kids, lolling in the sunshine and trips to the cottage to play in the water. This is the time to make the special effort to show them extra love and attention.

Walks in the morning are a great way to spend some quality time with our pets prior to going off to school and work. Yes, it means getting up extra early, but they are worth it.

Some new toys or treat-filled brain toys for dogs and continuous action toys for cats are a great way to help them spend their time. Leaving a radio on low helps make the day not be so quiet.

Making sure when we get home after a long day, to again spend some time with them. Not just rushing in the door and starting dinner or getting ready to head out to sporting practices.

For some cats and dogs, soothing pheromones can really help to keep them calm. Products like Adaptil and Feliway mimic the smell of a mother dog or cat and provide pets with an instant sense of calm. These products come in sprays wipes and even, diffusers. Similar to plug-ins that provide room wide scent.


Feel free to give us a call at Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton, ON. at 905-846-3316  or comment below if you would like to discuss any of these ideas further or have some ideas you would like to share.

These products shown above can be found on our webstore at