Avian Pet Care, Uncategorized

Have Parrot – Will Travel!

Travelling with Parrots is relatively simple – but your & your family need to plan things well in advance.

Desensitization – this situation is simplified if you are going to drive with them in my experience. Typically, parrots travel very, very well-as long as you prepare them and, then yourself. Begin to desensitize them to their traveling “crate” as soon as you can.

Carrier choice – You need to place one or two perches across an appropriately sized plastic cat carrier. A simple “dowel” likely won’t do for proper grip so, finding Dragonwood or other perches through online bird stores that have more of a grip-texture that would be better for your birds. You’ll also need to place a towel in the bottom of the carrier and have extras with you on the road to change out daily. You can also purchase (online) appropriately sized stainless steel water and food bowls that will attach to the doorway of the kennel. I strongly recommend you do not use plastic bowls with birds like this-while you will think they may not destroy them-the moment you leave them unattended in the carrier and look elsewhere/take your eyes off of them- they usually will.

Celltie  is an excellent company who makes carriers that are soft sided, easily secured, very easy to clean, mobile & light to carry. They already have perches in them with appropriate water bowls that come with them as well. However, they are little more expensive-if you do decide to purchase one of these for your bird – Ensure you get the stainless steel mesh and not the plastic mesh! While the latter is cheaper, for the same reasons noted above-stainless steel is better-the birds really have to try hard to get out of them. My Caique made easy work of chewing the plastic mesh once during a 20 minute commute to my practice with her – this was well after she was used to the carrier! Finally, Celltei carriers are also very convenient for travel-I move my birds exclusively in these carriers. Also- the company is very good about the occasional repair from one of my more robust parrots.

If you are traveling the winter or colder months – Celltie also makes fleece covers for the carriers that are absolutely perfect. If you don’t have towels over the carriers or have the ability to towel them-you will need to consider this depending on the length of time your on the road and in keeping with the birds 12 hour light cycle.

Tolerizing your bird to the carrier & travelling – Once you “desensitize” your bird by placing them in the carrier and rewarding them for perching, do some interactive enrichment as well and possibly even some foraging exercises which are “self-rewarding” activity for them to actually play in the carrier and get used to being in an enclosed space. And you increase the time in the carrier over days and weeks until your hundred percent comfortable that they are 100% comfortable in them or as best as they can be. Consider taking your bird on short day-trips for progressively longer times.

You’ll also need to bring bottled water with you and try not to change the brand while you’re traveling. You will also likely need to bring some form of suction cup perch also available online from various distributors so that you can have them perch at points in the hotel room or, more appropriately in the bathroom tub and if needed, you can shower them.

Ensure that you also bring their favorite food and treats but, you must be certain that every night they eat and drink well and try to keep them on their light cycle as much as possible. Of course you can leave some water and food in the carriers while you’re traveling.

Jeff Goodall, DVM

Owner/Medical Director
Sunnyview Animal Care
36 Duke Street, Unit #6
Bedford, Nova Scotia
B4A 2Z5

http://www.sunnyview.vet

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Family Pet Care

Home-Made Jerky Treats

Homemade Jerky Treats

I have no idea where one of our client’s found this recipe – but her dog loved it!

Wash 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken and remove fat.
Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Place in freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This will make chicken easier to slice.
Remove chicken from freezer and slice into long, thin strips.
Place on dehydrator trays so strips are not touching. There should be room for air to circulate between them.
Turn the dehydrator to 160 degrees and let it run for 15 to 20 hours (time varies by machine).

Finished jerky should be dry and brittle with a sort of orange color. If any part of the strip appears soft, shiny or greasy, it’s not done. Chicken must be dried thoroughly to prevent bacterial contamination.

Place in freezer bags and store in refrigerator or freezer.
Feed to delighted dogs.

Remember that treats–and jerky is a treat–should make up no more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily diet.

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Family Pet Care, Parasite Concerns, Uncategorized

March is Tick Awareness Month At Sunnyview

Contrary to past years, Sunnyview Animal Care is recommending ALL our clients consider starting their pets on tick prevention medication earlier in 2016. This is a significant change to our policy from past years, & is due to our review of various journal-reviewed information sources in the past few weeks.

In the past year, the distribution & range of tick populations in Canada appears to be increasing significantly given new data released by both the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) here in Canada and, the Centers for Disease Control(CDC) in the USA.

Also, I only recently became aware study from 2001 which confirms what we saw in the past few months at our Bedford, Nova Scotia veterinary practice – that ticks are now moving & looking for hosts [referred to as “questing”] all months of the year given our mild Nova Scotia winters. In fact, data from 2001 shows that adult Lyme disease bearing tick species will “quest” at temperatures as low as -0.6°C! (Although the accepted general minimum average temperature is 4°C for this behaviour).

“In most parts of Canada, tick activity begins when the snow starts to melt in our early spring & continues until the late fall-the adult Lyme disease bearing ticks (Ixodes scapularis aka. the ‘Deer Tick’) prefer cooler weather and can “quest” at any time through late fall into the spring if conditions are appropriate” CVMA CVJ Vol 57 2016, pg. 254.

Given that our family dogs are more likely to be exposed to ticks than we ourselves are, can also bring ticks into our homes, & that testing for the bacterium causing Lyme disease (Borellia burgdorferi) is detected more readily in dogs then in humans; this puts all veterinarians in a unique position to be involved in both the health & well-being of our pets, with our client’s families, & possibly play a role in helping to increase public awareness & educate our clients about this concern.

To this end, Sunnyview Animal Care will be posting some prevention thoughts for our clients & their friends to consider in the coming days, & emailing our clients directly. With new oral tick prevention products, those clients who have concerns with topical applications used in the prevention of ticks & fleas now have other options that are easily combined with oral deworming medication if needed. These products can be given monthly, or every 3 months.

Submitted with respect from Dr. Jeff Goodall, Sunnyview Animal Care in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Halifax Veterinarian, Lower Sackville Veterinarian, Fall River Veterinarian, using various Veterinary Reviewed Source materials. Further Reference Information Available upon Request.

Related Tags – Ticks, Lyme Disease, Lyme disease prevention, Tick Prevention, Tick Concerns, questing behaviour, veterinary treatment, veterinary information, dog care, pet care

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Family Pet Care

Planning any Late Summer Beach Swimming with your dog?

A great exercise for your dog is swimming, and what a great thing to do with your pet for yourself as well!

Also, swimming is a great way to keep your pet cool this summer too – but as the news has been telling us, in the latter part of August and September the bacteria counts of many of our lakes begin to climb to levels that could make your pet ill.

Plan Ahead – look for website information on the beach you are going to, pack lots of water & a bowl, towels, a long leash or rope, tie out, beach umbrella (if you can), & a life jacket.

Before you take your dog for a swim – check online for local parks & recreation bulletins on the lake you are going to first.  Also, some ocean beaches can get high bacteria counts with our August heat ‘blasts’ – so check them out as well.

Don’t forget to consider a life jacket for your pet – it acts to not only increase their buoyancy, BUT also lets you see them if they get beyond your reach, and if you are ocean beach swimming can save their lives if there is a rip tide.

While your pet is swimming – have fresh water and a bowl nearby to help them slake their thirst without drinking the water, in case the bacteria counts are high.  You will be surprised at how much water your pet will need – so pack extra.

After you get home, it is never a bad idea to rinse off any dog after swimming to reduce the contamination of bacteria – then use a few drops of straight white vinegar in the ears after you clean them too with a good quality ear cleaner. (Don’t forget to clean the ears after any bath too!)

You can always use a 1/2 & 1/2 vinegar water rinse on your pets coat after rinsing them off if they have a history of skin issues – as long as there is no active infection or open wounds, and of course, avoid the eyes and mouth!

Have a great few weeks of summer!

Submitted by Dr. Jeff W. Goodall

Sunnyview Animal Care / http://www.sunnyview.vet

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Family Pet Care

Home Made Jerky Treats

I found this online – source unknown, and a client tried them – they found this recipe worked for their dog! Enjoy!

Wash 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken and remove fat.
Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Place in freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This will make chicken easier to slice.
Remove chicken from freezer and slice into long, thin strips.
Place on dehydrator trays so strips are not touching. There should be room for air to circulate between them.
Turn the dehydrator to 160 degrees and let it run for 15 to 20 hours (time varies by machine).
Finished jerky should be dry and brittle with a sort of orange color. If any part of the strip appears soft, shiny or greasy, it’s not done. Chicken must be dried thoroughly to prevent bacterial contamination.
Place in freezer bags and store in refrigerator or freezer.
Feed to delighted dogs.
Remember that treats–and jerky is a treat–should make up no more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily diet.

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Family Pet Care, Uncategorized

Holiday Tips for Both Cats & Dogs – Please Share with Friends!

 

My Pet Ate It, Now What?

The holidays are fun, even for pets, but the season brings added danger for animal companions. Learn to recognize and manage holiday hazards to keep your pet safe during the festivities.

  • Tinsel
  • Tinsel is attractive, especially to cats. Tinsel is not toxic but consuming tinsel can cause serious harm to your pet’s digestive system. The long, tough strands can actually cut through the intestine and cause peritonitis.
  • Ornaments
  • Pets love to play with bright, colorful ornaments, but may end up breaking or even chewing and swallowing these fragile decorations. Sharp, broken pieces can lacerate the animal’s mouth, throat, and digestive tract. Larger pieces can cause an obstruction and emergency surgery may be needed.
  • Christmas Trees
  • Cats love to climb trees, especially when the tree is indoors and loaded with ornaments and other decorations that look a lot like cat toys. A climbing cat can pull a fully decorated Christmas tree crashing to the ground, potentially injuring the animal. Tree water may contain dangerous fertilizers and stagnant tree water may contain unhealthy bacteria.
  • Mistletoe and Holly
  • Consuming holly may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Eating mistletoe can result in stomach upset and even heart problems. A cat may suffer kidney failure after ingesting some types of lilies.
  • Chocolate
  • A dog or cat that eats chocolate may experience vomiting and diarrhea, panting, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and, in severe cases, even death.  The darker the chocolate, the more toxic compounds it contains.
  • Turkey Meat and Bones
  • Dogs and cats love turkey but this holiday fare may be dangerous to their health. The immediate pet hazard associated with turkey are the tiny bones that, if swallowed, may cause painful constipation or even splinter to perforate the stomach; both conditions require immediate veterinary attention.
  • Feeding rich and fatty food like that served at holiday parties can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even inflammation of the pancreas. Raw or undercooked turkey can contain Salmonella,  E. coli, or Campylobacter bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
  • Sage
  • The herb sage contains essential oils and resins that add flavor to turkey and other holiday foods but this herb can cause an upset stomach and even nervous system problems in pets – especially cats.
  • Dough
  • Consuming raw bread dough is dangerous for pets, as heat from the animal’s body causes the dough to rise inside its stomach. The pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating.
  • Any pet encountering these holiday hazards may need immediate veterinary care for a complete examination, blood tests, x-rays, medications, and even surgery. Make this holiday season merry for everyone, including your pets, by keeping pets safe from these potential holiday hazards.
  • Sources:
  • ASPCA, “Holiday Safety Tips.” 2014.
  • Pet Poison HelpLine, “Winter Holiday Pet Poison Tips.” 2014
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Uncategorized

Reducing Storm, Fireworks, and Other Anxieties in Your Dog

This article is primarily directed at the reduction of anxiety for dogs however, there is a similar approach for your cat as well! Please look for my cat anxietal blog entry elsewhere in our website!  Most of the references in this blog pertain to veterinary services in Halifax, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville and the Halifax regional municipality in general.

Typically, anxieties worsen over time, so you need to have some plan in place two months ahead of fireworks season or, the season for thunderstorms.  Also, before you book an appointment your veterinarian, it is a great idea to contact the obedience or behavior trainer that you took your puppy to for his or her basic life skills training. If you did not do this with your puppy-I can’t stress enough the bonuses for everyone in your family from taking these courses!  While attending behavior training classes may seem somewhat of a “chore”, these classes will remarkably improves the bond with your pet. Many of our clients who attend puppy skills training while the puppy is still 6 to 8 months of age.   However, about 30% of our clients will go when the dog is somewhat older and are amazed at the results. Specifically for this blog, a refresher course focused on methods to improve your dogs “self-confidence” can go a long way to reducing anxietal behaviors. This training basically helps your dog understand what’s accepted behavior from them, what’s expected of them in general, and of course what they can expect from you.

Some considerations for lessening anxietal behaviour(s) during thunderstorms or if you can anticipate fireworks celebrations or other anxiety-causing situations for your dog;

1 – Consider creating a safe & secure environment for your dog might be an area that is his or her “favorite” area to lie down at any time. It may be a good idea to try and pre-train your pet to go and settle on a mat, bed, couch or similar location as this strategy can help to increase calming behaviours.

2- However, if your dog finds a hiding place as a storm is coming or during a storm, don’t acknowledge this behaviour either way-that means not discouraging or encouraging the behaviour.

3- Playing music may assist in reducing his anxiety however, I think it’s more likely that having a circulating fan blowing on the area this is their’ favorite’ may also assist in adding “white noise” and lessen your dog’s anxiety, by masking some of the more subtle storm sounds.

4- Encouragement or praise may actually not be helpful as your pet could interpret them as reward for the behaviour.

5- I like to hear of clients playing with their pet during the prelude to any storm or stressful situation. Engaging in games or even practicing some basic obedience exercises can actually distract many pets, especially playing with familiar toys.

‘ThunderShirt’ Use

These are close-fitting ‘coats’ that are adjustable with Velcro fittings but, I would recommend that you take your pet to either ‘PetSmart’, ‘Pet Value’ or Pets Unlimited to have it fitted correctly.  They are slightly adjustable as well to allow you to fit it slightly tighter or looser as the need arises.

 

Pheromone Use

‘Adaptil’, a pheromone product that is thought to lessen anxieties overall as the pheromone mimics those pheromones given off by nursing mother dogs.   I’m trying this with my own dog currently, and it comes in 3 basic forms; a spray, a collar, & a plug-in diffuser. I’m currently using the spray and the diffuser at home.

Initially you need to buy a diffuser for the “Adaptil” start and, then it’s about $30 a month thereafter; while the spray is $ 58 but it is challenging to tell you how long it would last, as would depend on how frequently you used it however, they recommend 8 individual “pumps” per treatment session.  Typically the caller is used for puppies adjusting to their new home, and lasts about a month. One of my technicians is found this very helpful for her puppy!

We use the Adaptil diffuser in the clinic and each one covers 600 to 800 ft.². We also use the feline version “Feliway” for our cats as we are also a “Certified Cat Friendly” clinic by the American Association of feline practitioners – as cats can have anxieties too!

Additional Treatment Modalities & Medications

                  There is a calming food from the company “Medi Cal” in Canada – “Calm” is its name.  In our practice, we have had some profoundly great effects using only this diet. Our only client feedback that is negative is because the size of the bag is quite small.  This diet combines 3 natural additives that are known to reduce anxiety.  These are Tryptophan, Nicotinamide, and a milk protein hydrolyzate – See more at: http://www.royalcanin.ca/index.php/Veterinary-Products/Canine-Nutrition/Veterinary-Therapeutic-Formulas/Calm-Dry.

                  I have had some clients obtain the above three ingredients separately from health food stores but at this time, I’m unaware if this is available on our part of the country.

During thunderstorm/firework season drug therapy can be helpful as an addition to the above ideas. No medications are approved for use specifically for storm reactions, but two are approved for the treatment of anxiety-related conditions; Clomicalm® and Reconcile®. Please ask your veterinarian to look into the cost for these medications for your pet as the dose is weight related.  Either of these medications take 2 to 4 weeks for full effect.

Depending on your pet’s response to one of these medications, you may not need any additional therapy or, can add in other medications such as ‘acepromazine’ (sedative/tranquilizer) or  ‘alprazolam’ which is a family member of the valium group however, it has very little sedative effects and no addictive qualities.   The really great news about these two medications in combination is that, once we see the desired effect, and it is consistent for the first 3 months of storm season, we can begin to reduce the dose by 25% (one quarter), every 3 weeks to the lowest effective dose, while watching for a return of any anxiety indicators such as pacing, whining, loss of appetite.

There could be the consideration of the use of Clonidine with Trazodone for anxiety-based behaviour disorders in dogs. However this combination needs to be discussed at length with your veterinarian and preferably should be started about a month or six weeks before any ‘season’ of fireworks are anxietal issues.

If your pet begins to worsen during the dose reduction period, you can always increase it to the last effective dose as well. Again, any dose changes need to be discussed with your veterinarian at length so that both of you know what is going on!

Generally your veterinarian should be able to counsel you by phone or e-mail once you have attended the initial consultation with your pet. And don’t be surprised if it takes some time for some tailoring of the doses of medication combined with the Thundershirt or pheromone use, or for other behavior techniques to have the desired effects.

Submitted by Dr. Jeff Goodall, Veterinarian/owner of Sunnyview Animal Care, and you’re Halifax Regional Municipality dog, cat, and exotic pet veterinarian.

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