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.

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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.
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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.

Beautiful but Deadly…

Beautiful but Deadly…

Easter-Lily2-300x188

Lilies

A beautiful flower steeped in history, lilies are most often seen in the spring and celebrated as a symbol of joy, hope and life. But did you know that they are actually extremely dangerous to cats? With Easter just around the corner, we wanted to warn you about this lovely (yet extremely deadly) plant!

Toxicity in Cats

You may have heard that lilies are toxic to cats, but do you really know how toxic?

As little as ingesting 1-2 leaves, drinking the water from a vase or even licking the pollen off their coat can put a cat into acute kidney failure in as little as 24-72 hours with little chance of recovery without prompt, and I mean prompt, medical attention. Signs of poisoning usually occur within 6-12 hours after exposure.

Types of Lilies and Their Affects

The most dangerous lilies are specifically of the genus Lilium (Lilium sp.) or Hemerocallis (Hemerocallis sp.). This includes the tiger lily, Asiatic lily, Japanese lily, stargazer lily, wood lily, Easter lily, daylily, rubrum lily, and Western lily, to name the most common.

Other species of lilies have certain toxicities as well, although not causing acute kidney failure.

Calla, peruvian and peace lilies are  irritating to a cat’s mouth and digestive tract. They can cause drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming and vomiting.

Lily of the valley can affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. These affects can progress to seizures, coma and even death in both dogs and cats.

If your cat is seen or you suspect they have ingested any part of a lily plant, please bring them and the plant to your nearest veterinarian immediately. There is no time to spare. Aggressive IV fluid therapy and supportive care must be initialized as quickly as possible for the best chance of your cat recovering.

With Easter and Mother’s day around the corner we also encourage you to tell your friends and family about these dangers and to dispose of any lilies you may receive in a bouquet or be sure to keep them well out of reach of your cat.

Wishing Everyone a Safe and Happy Easter!

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.

CATS

DOGS

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?

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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.

PURINA VETERINARY DIETS

DRM Dermatological Management Diet

HA Hydrolyzed Diet

Treats: Gentle Snackers

HILLS PRESCRIPTION DIETS

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

Prescription Diet z/d

Treats: Hypo-Treats

ROYAL CANIN DIETS

Anallergenic Diet

Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein Diet

Hypoallergenic Selected Protein Diet

Sensitivity VR Diet

Vegetarian Diet

Treats: Hydrolyzed Protein Treats

RAYNE CLINICAL NUTRITION

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.

Woody

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.

 IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT IF DURING THE TRIAL, THE PET RECEIVES ANY TREAT, SNACK, RAWHIDES, PIG EARS, HUMAN FOOD, FLAVOURED SUPPLEMENTS, ACCESS TO SCRAPS OR GARBAGE, THIS WILL MEAN THAT THE TRIAL HAS FAILED

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?

Power Breeds

Power Breeds

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to selecting a type of dog. Some people prefer large over small, short hair over long hair, wrinkles over a smooth face, curly tails over straight… The list could be endless! And luckily for us, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of different traits and temperaments. What I want to focus on in this blog is the so-called “power breed.”

What is a Power Breed?

When referring to a power breed, I am talking about those breeds that are just that – powerful. They are typically a larger breed of dog, with a lot of defined musculature. These would be your Rottweilers, Presa Canarios, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs, Cane Corsos, etc. These dogs can be extremely loyal and loving, and we have quite a few that come into our clinic that are complete delight – sloppy kisses and all!

Heidi

Heidi is a lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback, and she gives the sloppiest of kisses when she comes into the clinic!

Another noteworthy attribute of many of these power breeds is that their original “jobs” were to be watch/guard dogs, hunters, and in some cases, even fighting dogs. Therefore, certain traits have been selected and emphasized over many, many years of breeding. Characteristics such as an imposing or intimidating appearance, a reservation towards strangers, brute strength and high intelligence have become instinctual within these types of dogs.

Finn

Finn is a sweet, old Doberman Pinscher who is owned by one of our staff members.

Battling Preconceived Notions

A few years ago, my husband and I welcomed a Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue into our home. His name was Troy and he was only the second dog I had ever adopted. I had been a fan of the breed since I first met a group of them about a decade earlier. Unfortunately, I was not in the least bit prepared for the difficulties I encountered when I was out with him. In fact, the thought had not even crossed my mind when we were considering adopting him… To me, he was a sweet soul that had endured a life of neglect and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up and be part of a family. To others, he was large and scary, and he had a big mouth with lots of teeth and a loud bark. I would go for walks with him and people would cross the street so they would not have to go near us. It broke my heart. This was a dog that literally ran away from a 5-pound Maltese in the waiting room of the clinic one day and hid behind me! The realization that he, and other breeds like him, would be met with fear and misunderstanding was a bitter pill for me to swallow, especially after having gotten to know Troy and experiencing first-hand the issues faced by those who have these types of dogs in their lives.

Troy

Troy is our Rhodesian Ridgeback who was scared of 5 pound lap dogs.

Ending the Stigma

Power breeds have had to endure a bad reputation that has been developed within our society and has stuck to them like glue. Their nature has too often been referred to as dangerous or aggressive. And while there is no denying that these dogs do have the potential to do harm, many of them are not deserving of the discrimination that they face.

Stone & Rocky

Stone and Rocky are two goofy Rottweiler patients of ours, it is always a pleasure seeing them.

Luckily, there is a way for lovers of these breeds to help repair the damage that has been done. And that is by showing the world the amazing, goofy, loving side of these dogs. The temperament of a dog can often be contributed to the time and effort their family puts into training them, as well as the boundaries that are set out for them. When one commits to adopting a power breed, they are taking on not only the responsibility of pet ownership, but also the responsibility of meeting the needs of a very special type of dog. It is critical for all dogs to be well socialized from a young age and given strict guidelines on what is proper behaviour. However, this becomes an especially important consideration for prospective pet parents when accepting power breeds into the family.

Kali

This is Kali, a 95-lb Boxer. She is such a joy to see whenever she comes to visit us!

Considerations for Prospective Owners

If you are thinking about adopting a dog, please also look into training and consider going to puppy classes. It is essential to do your research and make sure that you understand exactly what sort of discipline and structure is required for the welfare and happiness of your new family member. Power breeds can be very strong-willed, so it is important to take a step back and evaluate yourself as an owner before taking on the responsibility of accepting these types of breeds into your family. An unprepared or unsuitable owner can result in an out of control pup, which only serves to harm the reputation of these breeds even further.

Indy

Indy (aka Spotty Dog) is Dr. McQueen’s Great Dane rescue.

 

Take your time, do your research and select a breed that is appropriate to your lifestyle. Your future fur baby will thank you for it ten-fold, and the bond you two will develop will last a lifetime!

Thank you for reading,

Kait.