Breed Spotlight – Feel free to share

For the last while, the staff at Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton has been sharing their Breed Spotlights with breeds that we have had the pleasure of sharing our lives with. Now is the time to share your opinion of different breeds of dogs. We are asking all who read this blog to pitch in and share their Breed Spotlight.

It’s easy, write a story about a dog you have shared your life with and the experiences you had with them and then email it to us at contact@snelgrovevet.com. Don’t forget to attach a picture or two or three.

Even if it’s about a breed we have already written about, we would love to hear your version.

Adopting a Special Needs Pet

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Usually when people consider getting a dog or a cat, they automatically think puppy or kitten. Our logic is usually due to the fact that we feel that they can be trained or raised the way we want them to be. But for many people a special needs pet may be more appropriate. Sometimes we don’t have time in our life to raise and train a puppy, then an elderly pet may be the way to go. We may have a sedentary lifestyle that would be better suited to a quieter pet. We may have lots of time on our hands and would love the challenge of a rambunctious, untrained youngster. Or we may just feel the need to help a pet that no one else wants. Whatever the reason may be, consider a special needs pet.

Special needs pets can be some of the most heart-warming, satisfying pets that we may ever have. Special needs pets come in many shapes and sizes. They end up in animal shelters primarily due to illness, injury or behavior. They can vary from the young, to the elderly and anywhere in between.

There are many older pets just waiting in animal shelters for that special home to live out the rest of their days. Many of these animals have found their way into shelters due to deaths in the family, or other special circumstances. These are pets that are typically house trained, well-behaved and lonely. To have spent most of their life with someone who loved them and then have to go live in a cage, is utterly heart-breaking.

Pets with medical conditions may need some special treatment but many conditions are simple to manage or just take a watchful eye to notice any changes as they occur. Some pets may have had previous illnesses that may never arise again. Others may need daily medications or treatments.

Behavioral issues are typically the hardest to place. Conditions like Separation Anxiety need a special home with extreme patience and a lot of work and diligence. But sometimes, it’s as simple as having a well-fenced yard, or keeping away from young children or even just a little extra attention.

Many times these are pets that have been abused, mistreated, ignored, found at the side of the road and rescued. And now it is their turn to go into a loving household.

Please consider a special needs pet for your next pet. Contact your local animal shelter or rescue to see what pets they may have waiting for that special home. Or, better yet, just ask Dr. McQueen how great special needs pets are. She currently has an adopted elderly Great Dane, Emma (pictured above), a one-eyed cat, Johnnie (pictured above), a 3-legged cat and a rescued Great Dane due to a serious medical condition.

My young again dog, Emma

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So, as most of you know I have always had and loved Great Danes. I love their kind disposition and their gentle nature. They truly are the ‘gentle giants’.  Unfortunately, with the large size comes the short lifespan.

Although this is heartbreaking, I continue to love the breed for all the years of joy that I can have with them. As well as the short life span comes faster aging. For instance, most dogs at 5 years of age are just coming into their prime. However, Danes at 5 are already in their senior years. With this comes the usual health and joint concerns. 

Having had many Danes throughout my life, I can honestly say that I have pretty much tried every nutraceutical out there for joint health. My old girl Emma, she’s eight, has been on Metacam now for 2 years and struggles to get up and about. Actually, most times I go home at lunch, I have to drag her out of bed to go out for a pee!

She has been on a number of supplements, which although I am sure have helped, I did not see any outward signs of change with her arthritis….that is until now!

Sogeval came out with a new product called Tricox about 6 months ago. It is a chewable treat that you give your dogs to aid in the relief of arthritis and to help with the immune reaction found in arthritic joints.  As well as having glucosamine and MSM, it has some new age natural products to aid in cartilage health which are completely safe for your pet.  They claimed that I should be able to decrease Emma’s Metacam dose with this new product.

So of course I had to try it out on Emma.

I will admit that I was not expecting miracles and for the first 6 weeks I did not see any. In around week 7, Emma started initiating play with our other Dane Indy and grabbing squeaky toys and jumping around?!! Now believe me when I say this, I have not seen Emma do this sort of behaviour in the last 5 years!!!! She actually looked happy and I actually looked stunned! LOL!!!

So I started reducing her Metacam daily dose, and over 2 weeks I stopped it completely and have seen no deterioration in her condition. She is still happy and playful! So, YES, I am amazed! And happy! I am so happy that she is feeling well enough to play and that I can actually postpone using anti-inflammatories.

For more information on this new joint supplement, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for reading.

Written by Dr.Suzanne McQueen DVM

Spotty dog “Indy”

Hello, I am Dr. Suzanne McQueen. Owner and practicing veterinarian at Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton. Approximately 10 months ago, my husband and I adopted a one year old merlequin Great Dane. I must say that I have always had Great Danes, well, at least for the last 25 years and so I consider myself a lover.  This dog had bloated (but that’s another topic all together) and his previous owners surrendered him. This required surgical correction which was performed by a great clinic in Burlington and hence we start our story.

When I brought him home, he immediately became great friends with our other 3 dogs and cats. However, it became quite evident that spotty dog, Indy, had some separation issues and anxieties.  If I left the room, even to go to the bathroom, it would be followed by crying and whining and when I opened the door I was left with pools of drool. I literally couldn’t go anywhere in the house without him being my shadow.  Leaving the house was another issue all together. Apart from the constant crying, he would hit the glass in the front door as he stood on his hind legs watching me leave. Ok, so this was getting serious!  The last thing I wanted was for him to go through the glass!! Yikes!

So now, when it comes to separation anxiety there are many ways to treat this condition, both with and without medication.  As well, as you can imagine, there are many different levels of anxiety.  So began my research.  Now I decided to first try to avoid drugs and so I bought  a Thundershirt. Now the Thundershirt, as it sounds, was originally designed for thunderstorm anxieties. It is a snug fitting jacket of sorts, made of jersey material.  It is meant to act like a ‘big hug’ and calm the animal (dog or cat) down and make them feel more secure, similar to swaddling a baby.

This is a photo with Indy wearing his Thundershirt now. He has outgrown it slightly. LOL

This is a photo with Indy wearing his Thundershirt now. He has outgrown it slightly. LOL

My experience with this shirt? It worked very well indeed! Indy became more confident and secure. He no longer got up when I left the room and I could, in fact, go to the bathroom on my own. It was amazing! I left it on him all day, even when I was home, and only removed it at night-time. We used it for about 2 months and then it was no longer necessary. Amazing!

Now, obviously it may not work for everyone, but for my spotty dog it was a life saver!!!

Thundershirts are available on our webstore which is easily accessed by visiting our website at www.snelgrovevet.com and clicking the shop now button.