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Freddie’s Blog

The Importance of Preventive Health

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

The Importance of Preventive Health

Proactive care is the best medicine



Welcome to the June edition of our blog! As we transition into summer, we’re focusing on a topic that’s crucial to the well-being of your beloved pets: Preventive Health. Taking proactive steps in your pet’s health care can lead to a longer, happier life for your pets. This month, we’ll explore various aspects of preventive health and offer tips to keep your pets in top shape.

Key Elements of Preventive Health

Regular Check-Ups

Annual veterinary visits are essential for early detection of potential health issues. During these check-ups, our veterinarians perform thorough physical exams, recommend necessary vaccinations, and discuss any concerns you may have about your pet’s health.


Vaccinations protect your pets from many serious and contagious diseases. We tailor vaccination schedules based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, and risk factors to ensure optimal protection.

Parasite Prevention

Fleas, ticks, and lice are more than just nuisances—they can cause severe health problems. We provide effective preventive treatments to keep these parasites at bay and to ensure your pet remains parasite-free.

Nutrition and Weight Management

A balanced diet is crucial for maintaining your pet’s overall health. Our team can help you choose the right food and develop a feeding plan that meets your pet’s nutritional needs. Monitoring your pet’s weight is also important, as obesity can lead to various health issues.

Dental Care

Oral health is often overlooked but is a vital part of your pet’s preventive care. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can prevent periodontal disease, which can lead to more serious health problems.

Behaviour and Training

Proper training and socialization can prevent many behavioural issues. We can provide resources and recommendations to help you train your pet and address any behavioural concerns.

Bonus Tip!

Pet Health Insurance is the BEST choice for preventive care. Insuring your pet means peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that in an emergency, you have the support you need to do what’s best for them. Injury and illness are stressful on the pet – Pet insurance helps reduce the stress on you.

Colin – Veterinary Summer Student


Special Focus: Summer Safety Tips

As the weather warms up, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your pets safe and healthy:

– Hydration: Always provide fresh water and ensure your pet stays hydrated.

– Heat Protection: Never leave your pet in a parked car and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day.

– Pest Prevention: Summer is peak season for Ticks! Ensure your pet is protected with preventive treatments.

– Safe Travels: If you’re travelling with your pet, make sure they’re comfortable and secure, and bring their health records along.

Nicole (left), Tianna (right), and Scout (middle)  – Veterinary Technicians

Spring is here!

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

This month, we are talking about vaccines, dewormer, and tick prevention.

Dear Steeples Veterinary Clinic Family,

As April unfolds, it brings with it the promise of warmer weather and outdoor adventures with our animals. That is why this month, we’re emphasizing the critical importance of preventative care, focusing on vaccines, deworming, and tick prevention to keep your dogs, cats, and horses healthy and happy.


The Importance of Vaccines:

Vaccines are the cornerstone of preventive healthcare for pets. They protect against a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases, such as rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and more. By vaccinating your dogs, cats, and horses according to recommended schedules, you’re providing them with vital immunity against these illnesses, safeguarding their well-being for years to come.



Regular deworming is essential for pets of all ages. Worm infestations can cause a range of health problems, including gastrointestinal issues, malnutrition, and even organ damage. Puppies and kittens are particularly susceptible to worms, but pets of all ages can be affected. Routine deworming treatments help eliminate intestinal parasites and protect your pets from the harmful effects of infestation.


Tick Prevention:

With the arrival of spring, we also enter tick season. These tiny parasites can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis to our pets, posing a significant health risk. It’s crucial to implement tick prevention measures to keep your dogs, cats, and horses safe. Ask us about our range of tick prevention products, including topical treatments and oral medications designed to repel and kill ticks before they can attach to your pet.


As you enjoy the beauty of springtime with your pets, remember that proactive healthcare is key to ensuring many happy and healthy years together.


Equine Health Focus:

Equine fecal egg counts are a crucial tool in maintaining the health of horses. By examining fecal samples under a microscope, veterinarians can assess the level of the internal parasite burden in a horse’s gastrointestinal tract. This helps determine if deworming treatment is necessary and allows for more targeted and effective parasite control measures. Regular fecal egg counts can prevent overuse of dewormers, reduce risk of drug resistance, and ultimately contribute to the overall wellbeing and performance of horses.

In addition to deworming, it’s crucial to remain vigilant for signs of underlying health conditions in horses. Cushing’s disease, characterized by hormonal imbalances, can manifest in symptoms such as excessive hair growth, muscle wasting, and increased thirst and urination. Our clinic offers testing for Cushing’s disease to ensure early detection and prompt intervention, preserving your horse’s quality of life.

Equine Metabolic Syndrome:

Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is another condition that requires careful monitoring. Horses with EMS may exhibit symptoms such as obesity and laminitis.

Equine metabolic syndrome and Cushing’s can be tested with the same blood panel test. Once we have the results, we can tailor a treatment plan for your horse. Our veterinary team is equipped to assess your horse for signs of EMS and Cushing’s and provide comprehensive management strategies to mitigate its impact on their health and well-being


If you have any questions or concerns about vaccines, deworming, or tick prevention, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Warm Regards,

The Staff of Steeples Veterinary Clinic

February is Pet Dental Health Awareness Month!

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

Hello Pet owners!

February is here, and along with it comes a reminder to prioritize the dental health of our pets.

Approximately 60% of dogs and 50% of cats show signs of dental disease by the age of three. This common health problem often goes unnoticed, but keeping ahead of it is very important to maintain the well-being of our animal companions.

To remind you to take your pets’ dental health seriously, we’re sending out the answers to some common questions.  Please read through to the end for an exciting offer!

  1. Are dental problems the same for people and pets?

Somewhat, with a few differences.  For people, tooth decay (cavities) is a common dental problem. In dogs, tooth decay is quite uncommon. The most common dental problem for dogs and cats is periodontal disease (often called gum disease). People definitely get periodontal disease as well, and it leads to tooth loss and eventually dentures.

Caused by plaque and tartar buildup, which is teaming with bacteria, periodontal disease can destroy the tissues that surround the teeth, eventually causing loose teeth, tooth root abscesses and tooth loss. The bacteria from periodontal disease can also enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other areas of the body, leading to heart, kidney, and liver disease.

Cats can also have painful resorptive lesions on their teeth, and both dogs and cats are prone to cracked or broken teeth.

  1. What causes plaque and tartar to form and how does this cause periodontal disease?

Just like your mouth, your pet’s mouth is home to thousands of bacteria. As these bacteria multiply on the surface of the teeth, they form an invisible layer called plaque (biofilm). While some plaque is removed by your pet’s tongue and chewing habits, some remains.

If allowed to build up over time, plaque thickens and mineralizes with the calcium in saliva to become tartar. Tartar accumulates both above and below the gum line, leading to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), further plaque and tartar accumulation, and eventually serious periodontal disease.

The periodontal ligament is the strong tissue that holds the tooth in the tooth socket. When it’s not healthy because of inflammation and bacterial infection, the tooth becomes loose and painful.

  1. How common is periodontal disease in pets?

According to the Canadian and American Veterinary Medical Associations, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of three, occasionally with signs such as bad breath, difficulty eating or chewing, and/or pawing at the mouth.  On the other hand, your pet may hide any signs of oral discomfort.

  1. How can I know if my pet has gum disease or other dental disease?

There may be bad breath, red gums, bleeding gums, obvious discomfort, or nothing that you can see.  Sometimes you may not notice much because of the unfamiliarity of looking in your dog or cat’s mouth.  This is where veterinary team members are very knowledgeable. We can help assess what’s going on in your pet’s mouth.  Just ask us!

  1. How can I help prevent plaque and tartar buildup?

By incorporating dental treats and toys into your pet’s routine you may help reduce or delay plaque and tartar buildup. (Be aware: Bones, antlers, and other hard chew toys are not recommended as they can chip or fracture the teeth).  Specially designed treats and toys help to reduce plaque buildup and promote healthy gums. Not only will your pet enjoy the chewing experience, but it will also help keep their teeth clean. Ask one of our team members to show you what we have.
Some pet foods are specifically formulated as dental diets that mechanically and/or chemically help with plaque and tartar control.

Ultimately, daily brushing the teeth is the best defense against tartar buildup. The mechanical action of the brush on the tooth surface and at/under the gumline is particularly effective.  It’s the same reason you brush your teeth.

  1. Can I use human toothpaste?

You should never use human toothpaste to clean your pet’s teeth as it can cause digestive upset if swallowed by pets. Some human toothpastes also contain xylitol that can be deadly for dogs.

Instead, use pet-formulated toothpaste that your veterinarian will carry, or even use just plain water and a soft bristle brush without toothpaste.  We can help teach you how to brush your pet’s teeth.

  1. How is my pet’s dental disease treated or prevented from getting worse?

Ultimately, even with the most rigorous attention to home dental care, most pets will need occasional or regular dental cleanings and possibly tooth extraction because of too-far-gone periodontal disease.

The treatment starts with a Complete Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. A COHAT is performed under general anaesthetic once your pet has been examined by the veterinarian. It includes gingival and periodontal cleaning, full examination of all parts of the mouth, full mouth dental x-rays, and examination by the veterinarian who will make a treatment plan. A veterinary team member will be in communication with you during this process.  Many pets need only a deep gum cleaning, put some could need tooth extraction or other procedures.

We are happy to assess your pet’s oral health, to give recommendations, and to tell you more about the anaesthetic and dental procedures that might be required.


Call or text us at 250-489-3451.

Your friends at Steeples Veterinary Clinic

January 2023 Edition: Welcoming New Puppies and Kittens

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

Dear Steeples Veterinary Clinic Community,

Happy New Year! We hope this newsletter finds you and your pets in good health and high spirits. As we step into a brand new year, our focus for January is on the joys and responsibilities that come with welcoming new puppies and kittens into our homes.

  1. Vaccine Schedule for Puppies and Kittens

One of the first steps in ensuring the well-being of your new pet is following our vaccination schedule. Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations to protect them against common diseases. For puppies, vaccinations typically include protection against parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and more. Kittens, on the other hand, need vaccinations for feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Consult with our experienced veterinarians to create a personalized vaccine plan tailored to your pet’s needs.

  1. Regular Veterinary Care:

Routine veterinary visits are essential for monitoring the growth and development of your new pet. Regular check-ups allow our veterinarians to identify any potential health issues early on, ensuring prompt and effective treatment. Discuss a schedule for wellness exams, dental care, and parasite prevention during your visits.

  1. Tips and Tricks for Welcoming Them Home:

Welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your home is an exciting time, but it comes with its challenges. Here are some tips and tricks to make the transition smoother:

– Create a Safe Space: Set up a cozy and secure area where your new pet can retreat to when they need some quiet time. This helps them feel safe in their new environment.

– Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. Praise and reward your pet when they exhibit desired actions, making the learning process enjoyable for both of you.

– Socialization is Key: Expose your new pet to different people, places, and experiences from an early age. Proper socialization helps prevent behavioral issues and ensures a well-adjusted adult pet.

– Establish a Routine: Pets thrive on routine. Set regular feeding times, play sessions, and walks to provide structure and stability in their lives.


Remember, the Steeples Veterinary Clinic team is here to support you every step of the way on your journey with your new puppy or kitten. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Wishing you and your pets a wonderful start to the new year!

Warm regards,

Steeples Veterinary Clinic

Obesity and Halloween Information

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

Dear Pet Owners,

Welcome to the October edition of the Steeples Veterinary Clinic newsletter! This month, we will be focusing on two important topics: obesity in pets and Halloween safety tips for your pets. Let’s dive right in!

Obesity in Pets

Obesity is a growing concern among our pets. Just like humans, excess weight can lead to a variety of health issues in pets, including diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Here are a few tips to help you keep your pets at a healthy weight:

– Portion Control: Measure your pet’s food and follow the recommended feeding guidelines provided by your veterinarian. Avoid free-feeding and limit treats to prevent overeating.

– Regular Exercise: Engage your pet in regular physical activities such as walks, playtime, and interactive toys. Consult your veterinarian for exercise recommendations based on your pet’s age, breed, and health condition.

– Healthy Treats: Opt for low-calorie treats or use small portions of your pet’s regular food as rewards during training sessions.

– Weight Monitoring: Regularly weigh your pet and track their progress. If you notice any significant weight gain or loss, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Remember, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for your pet’s overall well-being. If you have concerns about your pet’s weight, don’t hesitate to reach out to our clinic for personalized advice.


Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

As Halloween approaches, it’s important to keep your pets safe and stress-free during this festive time. Here are some tips to ensure a happy and safe Halloween for your furry friends:

– Costume Considerations: If you decide to dress up your pet, make sure the costume is comfortable, doesn’t restrict movement, and doesn’t have any small parts that could be chewed or swallowed.

– Candy Caution: Keep Halloween candies and chocolates out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be toxic to pets. Xylitol, a common sweetener in candies, can also be dangerous.

– Decorations and Candles: Keep decorations, lit candles, and jack-o’-lanterns away from your pets. Curious pets may knock them over, causing burns or other injuries.

– Trick-or-Treating: If you’re taking your pet trick-or-treating, make sure they are comfortable with crowds and noise. Keep them on a leash and ensure they have proper identification in case they get lost.

– Safe Haven: Create a quiet and secure space for your pet during Halloween parties or fireworks. Provide them with a cozy bed, toys, and familiar scents to help reduce anxiety.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your pets have a safe and enjoyable Halloween experience.

That’s it for this month’s newsletter! We hope you found the information on obesity and Halloween safety helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our clinic. Wishing you and your family a spooktacular October!

Best regards,

The Team at Steeples Veterinary Clinic

The Importance of Regular Veterinary Visits

By Freddie's Blog12 Comments

You’ve heard it many times – your pet should see a veterinarian at least once a year for a preventive health visit or an annual wellness exam. But what if you don’t think there’s anything wrong? Why is this necessary? Is it really necessary?


Say Yes to the Preventive Health Care Visit!

You might not realize how important this regular physical check-up is to your pet’s health. The veterinarians commonly find signs of disease, and when found early, something can be done:  more diagnostic tests might be needed and then medical treatment or surgery can be done in a timely fashion.

A long and healthy life. That’s what we all want and that’s why the preventive health exam is one of the best things you can do for your pet!


As veterinarians we want to help animals, to care for animals, and to make them better. Every day we see pets that have diseases or conditions that could have been prevented – either altogether, or at least prevented from being so debilitating.

cat 2

Pets age more quickly than people do. They have a faster metabolic rate, faster heart rates and shorter life spans, so physiology and pathology go a little quicker as well.  Many people have a physical check-up once a year by their own doctor or they get screening blood tests, ECGs, ultrasounds, and other tests.  Many conditions can be detected early and dealt with.  If you would be checked yourself once a year, shouldn’t your pet, who is growing, aging, changing so much faster at least have a health check-up that often?

Pets can’t tell us in so many words if something “just isn’t right”. They may limp, they may groan, then may refuse to eat, but by this time there is something really wrong.  You may think you’ll know if your pet is sick, but many pets, especially cats, hide their feelings and hide any signs of anything being abnormal.  As veterinarians we are trained to examine, to listen, to touch, to smell, to feel and to look for problems. What cannot be detected with a physical exam may be picked up with blood tests, x-rays, or ultrasound.  All these procedures can become very valuable in detecting a problem early on so that treatment can be started early on as well.


An annual physical exam allows the veterinarian to assess how things are going at different stages of your dog or cat’s life.  The doctor will discuss concerns and answer any questions you may have about diet, exercise, dental care, behavioural problems, and vaccinations.

The doctor will check vital signs: the temperature, pulse or heart rate, and respiratory rate. These should all be normal.

Then the doctor will check all the parts of the body.

The nose: Looking for abnormal discharge or swelling.

The eyes:  Looking into the eyes and around them for internal eye problems, discharges, abnormal colour, redness, and lumps on the lids.

The mouth: (this is a big one!) The doctor looks inside at the tongue and roof of the mouth, but most importantly at the gums and teeth.  Do you know that 85% of pets have some form of dental disease? Gingivitis, periodontitis, broken teeth, BAD breath. I see this all the time. Sometimes you may not have even thought to look into your dog’s mouth to see what’s going on in there.

The ears: Itchy, smelly, red? Painful or causing head shaking?  Ear infections are also pretty common.


The lymph nodes: there are many of these all over the body. Some at the neck, shoulders and hind legs are palpated.

No, it’s not a massage!  Even though sometimes it seems your dog is just getting a good rub down, a big part of the physical exam includes palpation. This just means feeling for lumps, swellings, pain, hard areas that shouldn’t be hard and soft areas that shouldn’t be soft.  The sense of touch is very important. It’s a real hands-on exam!

The abdomen, chest and muscles will also be palpated, checking for abnormal masses or pain.

The heart: The doctor will listen to the dog or cat’s heart with a stethoscope. They are listening for the rate (not too fast, not too slow), and for rhythm or abnormal sounds, like a heart murmur, for instance.

The lungs: Using the stethoscope as well, the vet is listening for congestion and abnormal sounds.

The coat, skin, overall body condition are assessed. We want a shiny coat and not flaky, dry, itchy skin. We don’t want any parasites!  And of course we don’t want to be too, ahem … fat and not too thin either.

The back, legs, and tail: The veterinarian is checking for pain, swelling, lumps, signs of arthritis, and any abnormalities in movement.



The veterinarian will recommend vaccinations based on your pet’s age, species, lifestyle, and what sort of diseases exist around this area. Every year we see pet’s with diseases that could have been prevented by proper vaccinations.



There are many things you can dog between veterinary visits based on the findings of the exam and the recommendations of the doctor.

Good nutrition, staying at a healthy weight, dental home care, exercise and massage, grooming tips, pain management, and medications as needed are all evaluated, prescribed, and recommended for your particular dog or very particular cat!

In veterinary college we were taught about “fire engine” medicine, which is when you deal with emergencies and serious conditions. You put out fires.  Necessary, yes definitely, but very unfortunate if those fires could have been prevented.

We were also taught about preventive medicine. It would be so much better for your cat or dog and you if a disease was prevented before it was a three-alarm fire.

Look at it this way:  wouldn’t it be better to purchase a smoke detector or carbon-monoxide detector rather than deal with a house fire or worse?

And we all know the old saying, “An ounce of prevention…”


Vaccines and Vaccinations

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments


If you’re getting a new puppy or kitten this spring, you need to plan on vaccinating your pet. If you want to brush up on what this means and what it’s all about, you’ve come to the right place!


What’s all the fuss about?
There’s another world out there living with us that we cannot see, but we can see the effects of its existence. This is the micro world of bacteria and viruses – the tiniest of organisms that can only be seen with a microscope and, in the case of viruses, only a very powerful one at that.
All organisms want to live, to survive, and to reproduce. Many so-called “bad” bacteria and viruses survive best in living tissue. Different families of these tiny bugs prefer to live in certain species of animals and invade certain areas of the body. Well, as you know, your pet’s body is also trying to survive and thrive. Fortunately it has been provided with its very own security back up response team – the immune system.


The immune system is made up of many workers and soldiers, but the ones most pertinent to our story are the cells that produce antibodies, the lymphocytes. These are tiny white blood cells that live in the blood stream and the tissues. Their job is to survey their surroundings and look for foreigners – those bacterial and viral invaders. Once they meet someone who doesn’t belong, they start to form very specific weapons against them called antibodies. These antibodies work to kill, slow, debilitate and hopefully just give the bad bug the boot out of the animal’s body.

The body needs to be exposed to bacteria and viruses in order to make its own antibodies, or it needs to be given the antibodies through another route.


When a baby kitten or puppy is born, its immune system is not yet mature; the baby is wide open for infection. Fortunately, the mother produces a first milk, colostrum, which is rich in antibodies. The antibodies from the mom will be passed on to the baby through the baby’s intestines during the first 24-48 hours of life. This protection shared from mom to baby lasts for only a period of time, however, and how long that is varies between individual puppies or kittens. We DO know that by 14-20 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the baby must be able to continue on its own immune system.

In the meantime, since we don’t know how the mother’s antibodies are doing, we give inactivated vaccines to puppies and kittens at about every 3-4 week intervals in order to give some early protection before their own immunity is really strong.

What are vaccines and why are they needed?
Vaccines can be thought of as little tiny bits of the bacteria or viruses that have been inactivated (killed or modified live), meaning they can’t cause the disease, but they resemble the bug enough to trigger the immune system. The immune system recognizes something foreign and makes its weapons against it. In this way, if it were ever to now come in contact with the real live, fighting bacteria or virus, it’s already prepared and can swiftly conquer the enemy before any signs of illness are even detected.


Common diseases that we see in puppies in kittens in this area are caused by viruses and bacteria and therefore we want to vaccinate them in order to prevent disease. This helps not only your pup or kitten, but also helps to decrease the spread of the disease in the general population.

Common core diseases in dogs:
• Parvoviral enteritis – otherwise known as “Parvo” – caused by canine parvovirus
• Canine distemper – caused by Canine Distemper Virus
• Some types of pneumonia and respiratory disease – caused by Canine Adenovirus Type 2 and/or Parainfluenza virus
• Canine infectious tracheobronchitis – caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria

In cats, common core diseases in our area are:
• Feline Upper Respiratory Disease – caused by Feline Herpes Virus (Rhinotracheitis) or Calici virus
• Feline Panleukopenia – Caused by Feline Panleukopenia virus (which is related to canine parvovirus, but not the same)
We recommend puppyhood and kitten hood vaccinations against the above viruses and bacteria. This means regular visits to your veterinarian during the first few months of life.

Ideally puppies and kittens should be vaccinated against the above infections at age 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks.
VERY IMPORTANT: It’s just not enough to vaccinate your pet once at 6 weeks of age. That would be like playing Russian roulette. In fact, the most important vaccine a kitten or puppy can have is at 15-16 weeks of age, when his or her immune system is mature enough to produce its own antibodies. Multiple vaccines during the first 2 to 4 months of age are the best way to help prevent disease.

There is also Rabies – caused by the Rabies virus – which, while not common in our area, is a serious disease with human implications and can be completely prevented with the vaccine.

We vaccinate against these diseases because many of them are very serious and even fatal. They may require aggressive hospital treatment and may have lifelong effects if the pet survives.
We want to help you help your puppy or kitten to have the best fighting chance against them.

Vaccinations are the way to go.
Make the appointment with your veterinarian and ask more questions about how vaccines can prevent disease in your kitten or puppy this spring!


You are what you eat…

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

Every day we provide food for our pets. They depend on us for this basic need. They don’t have to make the decision of what to cook tonight after work; they’re not tempted at the grocery store or the weekend party to make the not-so-healthy-food choice. We decide for them and they eat. What a great opportunity we have to give them good health by controlling what they eat!

There are a lot of pet foods available in all shapes and sizes and blends and types.  Many of them are very good but some aren’t so good, depending on many factors.  We all know that we could survive by eating junk food day after day, but would our health be optimal?  As humans, we thrive on certain amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates (macronutrients), certain amounts of fiber, and then enough vitamins and minerals (micronutrients).  The same is true for cats and dogs.

Make sure what you feed your cat or dog has been properly formulated and well-balanced for them.  Cats and dogs are not small people.  They need different nutrition than you and I do.

Cats are carnivores – they need meat.   They need a higher protein and lower carbohydrate diet than dogs.  They need the amino acid, taurine, to be provided in the diet.  Cats will do better, especially with age, if they eat a wet food or a combination of wet and dry.

Dog are omnivores – plants and meat. They still need a good balance of macro and micronutrients – one that is formulated for dogs.    It’s very important that young, growing, large breed dogs are not fed a diet too high in calories – as it would promote rapid weight gain and rapid growth, ultimately leading to joint and bone problems.

Some breeds of dogs would benefit from a lower fat diet. Others, depending on the activity level, size, and environment would do better with lower or higher caloric intake from carbohydrates.



Food is medicine.  Many specially formulated veterinary diets are made to be an important part of the treatment of certain diseases and conditions – diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, skin disease, and pancreatitis. Your veterinarian will often prescribe food as part of the treatment plan.

Pet foods that are made by a reputable company have been formulated after rigorous research and testing and safety checks.  These days knowing what’s in your pet’s food is more important than ever.

Talk to your veterinarian or one of the knowledgeable staff about nutrition.  We can help you choose food and choose wisely.

Senior Pets

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

We’re celebrating senior pets in November.

Our senior pets are special. They are experienced, devoted, and well grooved in – they know you and you know them. You feel as if they’ve always been there. You know what each other is thinking and it’s a comfortable relationship. The senior years can be a fine time of life!

There can be changes in the senior years that are common but sometimes overlooked. Some of these changes are normal and predictable, others are warning signs and should not be ignored.  It’s been said many times that “old age is not a disease”, but it certainly is a time of life when many diseases make an appearance.

What are some expected Senior Cat and Dog issues?

Changes in senses: changes in vision, hearing and taste. Sometimes these cannot be fixed, but sometimes they are a sign to go looking for an issue that can be treated.


Behaviour: Your old dog or old cat may become mellow, which is often a welcome change. But what if he or she is grumpy, forgetful, fearful, and experiencing an increase in anxiety and phobias? Talk to the veterinarian about behaviour issues, as many of these are related to anxiety and can be controlled very well with supplements or medications.

Health issues: Kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, dental health issues, pancreas and thyroid gland issues. Cancer, unfortunately, is common in our senior pets. Your veterinary team is your friend.  Take your senior pet in for check-ups every 6 months.


Diet: Many cats and dogs become less active and have a decreasing metabolism, so they will tend to put on weight. Others will have problems that prevent the food from being utilized properly and will lose weight. The veterinary team can show you diets and supplements that are tailor made for seniors and for the nutritional or caloric problems your senior may be having.

Comfort: Arthritis pain and pain from muscle tone loss are way more common in cats and dogs than we realize. Yes, talk to your vet about recognizing pain and then about managing it with medications or supplements.

Provide soft padded beds for tired old bones to sleep on.  Provide warm clothing for your skinnier friend who has trouble maintaining body heat. A make-shift or permanent ramp for getting up onto the couch or into the vehicle will make getting around so much easier. A low-sided litter box that is on the main living level will make a senior cat much happier.


We can’t slow down the hands of time and we can’t lengthen the too-short life-span of our pets, but we CAN make the most of the time they have with us, and we should always try to make it the best time.

Let’s Make Senior Years Great Years!

Obesity in Pets

By Freddie's BlogNo Comments

“Is my cat fat? Or is he just fluffy?”  “My dog is not fat, it’s her big-boned breed!” “My pet LOVES his treats and he would suffer greatly if I stopped giving them”.  “She’s so fat and cute!”

As a veterinarian, I see fat pets every day.  Sometimes it’s hard to let people know.  Some people don’t want to hear the word “fat” or “obese”. If my priority is the health of your pet, then I am obliged to let you know.

I can try to say it in the kindest way possible, but it’s time to face the hard truth.  Our pets are too fat.  Recent studies suggest that up to 35 percent of dogs and cats in this country are just plain obese.

What’s wrong with being fat anyway?

  • Obesity in dogs and cats is linked with arthritis and other painful joint problems.
  • Obesity can lead to restrictive breathing disorders.  It’s hard to breathe with a big layer of fat compressing around your lungs.
  • Obesity in cats can lead to diabetes mellitus and a severe liver condition called hepatic lipidosis.
  • Fat pets have an increased surgical and anaesthetic risk.
  • Fat pets have a decreased life span.

Do you need any other reasons?

How did this happen?

As people become more sedentary in society in general, so do their pets. Animals, just like people, need to take in fewer calories than they burn off, or weight gain happens. Exercise is key to weight loss and weight control.

Some breeds have a genetic tendency toward obesity. This kind of obesity management takes special dedication and hard work.

Most pet food packages recommend feeding too much. We need to treat our cats and dogs as individuals, because one size does not fit all!

It’s so hard to say no to those big, sad eyes.  We’ve created a habit with treats and over-feeding, and habits are hard to break.

“But she’s really hungry!” Sometimes it’s very difficult for you as a pet owner to accept that your dog or cat isn’t suffering from hunger when they beg for food.

We believe that loving our pets means feeding them or giving them a yummy high calorie treat. A greater expression of love would be to just pet them and give verbal praise, or to go for a walk or have play time for an hour.

Neutering or spaying your cat or dog can decrease his or her metabolism by up to 40%.  You need to be aware of this and adjust calorie intake and exercise levels accordingly.

What’s the answer?

I think we’ve all heard it before many times for ourselves and the same goes for pets:  A careful diet and enough exercise. Burn off more than you take in.  Make it a habit and a lifestyle.  Sorry for the boring repetition, but it’s true!

Understand body condition score. I sometimes think our society has come to accept too fat as the norm and the lean, ideal body weight as too “skinny”, “you can feel his ribs – that’s not right”.

To evaluate your pet, feel for a small amount of padding over the ribs. It should be possible to feel the ribs and there should be a small tuck in the belly where the hind legs meet the body. Sometimes it is hard to recognize that your pet is overweight as the weight gain has come on gradually or it is hard to actually accept that your pet is more than just a little chubby and is now fully obese.

Start with good health. Book your pet in for a veterinary check up and make sure there isn’t a health issue to blame for weight gain or reluctance to exercise.

Make exercise a habit.  Pets love this. Dogs need to go for walks and runs.  Cats love to play and chase toys.  There are many programs and interactive toys available. Be creative and let exercise become a part of your pet’s day.

Feed meals at set times. Take control over what your cat or dog eats.

Feed puppies three times a day and adults two times a day; cats can graze, but make sure you know how much they’re eating each day: set out a daily amount and that’s it.

Be aware of what is being eaten and how much.

Weigh-in regularly: this can be motivating, and it also allows you to make sure the weight loss is not too fast.  Pets should lose no more than 2% of their body weight per week.

Chose the right diet.

  • Talk to your veterinarian!   Therapeutic diets are carefully designed to work toward weight loss in a controlled manner, and not just to prevent wt. gain. Some of these foods are specifically engineered for that cat or dog who thinks she’s starving all day long – the diet provides a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
  • Talk to the support staff at your veterinary hospital about a weight loss program available that provides coaching and help.
  • There are low calorie treats available, and you can also offer limited amounts of watery vegetables like celery, cucumbers, and lettuce. Be careful of many treats off the table as they are full of carbohydrates and fat.  Remember that ALL treats add up and contribute to the daily caloric intake.

I know it’s hard.  I know it’s not fun.  But don’t give in to discouragement.  Your pet can reach a healthy weight!