Friday, October 24, 2014

Howl-O-Ween Safety Tips

This Saturday, October 25th, I'll be on the Real Estate show at 8am on CKPM 98.7 FM talking about Halloween safety for pets! Halloween is one my favourite times of year, but there are lots of potential safety hazards.

Of course, I love Halloween candy, but chocolate, as we all know, is not safe for our pets to eat. If your pet accidentally eats chocolate, phone your veterinarian right away, with the amount and type of chocolate, to determine if a toxic dose was ingested.

Fletcher has always loved October
We also need to be cautious with candles, either in Jack-o-Lanterns or around the house. Pets could accidentally start a fire or injure themselves with the flame. Scented candles can also trigger breathing issues in some dogs and cats, so please be careful.

On Halloween night, pets should be confined to a room away from the door, with special toys or treats to keep them occupied. A Kong toy stuffed with their regular food makes a fun way for them to eat dinner. Pets should be brought indoors by 4pm on the 31st, and only taken outside for potty breaks on leash. Dogs and cats may be spooked by noises or scary costumes, and may escape through an open door or even over a fence. Make sure everyone is wearing their collars and ID tags; you can also speak to your veterinarian about permanent identification in the form of a tattoo or microchip.

Fireworks may also frighten pets this time of year. Again, keep your pet confined indoors to a small room and consider playing the radio or tv on a relaxing station to help drown out noise. Some pets may benefit from wearing a Thundershirt. This is a tight t-shirt that provides a calming effect for some animals. Thundershirts are available online and at many pet stores. Our clinic also carries a product called Feliway, which is a happy cat pheromone, that sends a chemical signal to your cat that he or she is safe and secure. This can be used in a room diffuser or as a spray. There is also a version for dogs called Adaptil. Please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian to discuss keeping your pets happy during fireworks, as there are medications we can use for more severe cases. 

Me and Tiki, dressed as Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin
One last note, costumes are only for pets who enjoy them! My own dogs don’t mind being dressed up, but we always make it a positive experience with lots of treats. All of us at Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital wish you and your pets a safe and happy Howl-o-Ween.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Veterinary Chiropractic: All It's Cracked Up To Be?

Some people may have noticed my absence from the clinic this summer. For five weeks straight, I attended the Postgraduate Essentials in Animal Chiropractic Course at Options for Animals in Kansas. At the end, I passed some scary exams in order to become certified with the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association.

On the drive down, I managed to take in some sights, and knock two more states off my list to visit (2 more and I'll have all 50!). Now that I've been back for just over a month, I've had a chance to see some patients specifically for chiropractic treatments, as well as integrate it into my regular appointments. Both my clients and I have been very pleased with the outcome, and my patients seem to be enjoying the treatments.

What's it good for?

Any pain or lameness (limping), including seniors or patients who have had an orthopedic surgery, any chronic health issues, including "weird stuff" like chronic anal gland issues, and patients of all ages in order to promote health and wellness.

Does it hurt?

Many patients find the treatments enjoyable, especially when they realize they feel better! Certain patients may be temporarily painful, and treatment plans altered as needed. Specific adjustments may hurt briefly during the treatment; I warn owners when that might be expected.

Will I hear a cracking sound?

The "crack" or popping sounds (called cavitation) that humans may hear during their chiropractic treatments generally don't happen in animals. If you hear it during your pet's adjustment, it is probably one of my own joints!

Is it safe?

Chiropractic treatments done properly, by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (or Doctor of Chiropractic) who has been trained to do chiropractic adjustments on animals, are very safe. Additional training is necessary, and trained individuals can be certified through either the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA) or American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).

Call to book an appointment at Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital at 604-945-4949.