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


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.

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.

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

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.

Avian Pet Care, Exotic Pet Care

On the Loss of an ‘Exotic’ Pet & a Friend…

June 18, 2011 – The worlds of our home, and our practice changed when Baby Benny Arrived from the Bedford Pets Unlimited Store. Baby was a beautiful little ‘Black Headed Caique’ who loved the attention anyone would give her, and returned it in spades. Baby had a ‘saw bill’ from an injury as a chick that required monthly beak trimming which she accepted very well – but she always had the look of ‘Jean Chretien’. But forget ‘dremelling’ her nails or trimming her wings – she had much to say about that! Baby worked so very well as a ‘teaching’ bird from myself and our staff at Sunnyview – there wasn’t much she would not tolerate or, at least accept. Baby was our ‘ADD’ bird, as she rarely could sit still for more then moments, before getting into something, or someone’s hair – body surfing back and forth and squealing (or slightly nipping) at any attempt to get her out of the person’s hair…

The staff of the Bedford Pets Unlimited have always taken excellent care of their birds and, Baby was no exception – which is how we met, as she needed those beak trims so often. For whatever reason, Baby & I got on well, and she would dance (moving side to side so fast as to make you nauseous watching her!) the moment I entered the store for attention. Anyone who enjoyed birds enjoyed Baby – and when the store was kind enough to sell her to me, many would visit her in the practice. A HUGE Thank you to Paige, Krista, and all other staff there for their support. Baby was an impressive ambassador for anyone interested in the care of birds, as she allowed many to pick her up and would talk in her own way to them. It is also because of Baby that I met an excellent mentor in Anna C. & for this, I will be always grateful.

December 11, 2011 – Hunter arrived from an abusive situation, and really only wanted attention from me from the moment she arrived, after being abandoned at another Pets Unlimited Store. Hunter was a mess – no tail feathers, severely trimmed back wings, and she had likely pulled many of her chest feathers – she was so damaged that it was a challenge to figure out her exact subspecies. Whomever had her prior to our relationship had fed her many different junk foods as for the first months of being with us, Hunter would almost ‘attack’ anyone that had pizza, chips, french fries, or ‘Doritos’ – and she was not impressed when she wouldn’t get what she wanted. It was a challenge finding a balanced diet that she would accept, let alone eating healthy fruits and vegetables – but we both learned. Amazingly, she was potty trained from the previous care-givers, and she would perch on my shoulder for hours at a time with no accidents!

After a few months, her feathers started to come in, and she turned into a beautiful ‘Greater Jardine’, and with her feathers came a better ability to balance herself. Like Baby Benny, she would travel back & forth to the practice with me – and either would be upset if they were not brought along. However, Hunter’s ‘claim to fame’ was that she could clearly talk – though we did not know it at the time. When she did speak, it was with the most eire whisper and, only when I was with her alone. It was so un nerving until I figured out where & what was going on – I just never expected it. After she become more comfortable, her talking was regular, she bobbed up and down to get my attention, went to work with me everyday in her carrier (as did Baby) and, never failed to make anyone smile.

Every day, rain or shine, summer or winter (with fleece covers on their ‘Celltie’ carriers) they were in the practice adding to the enjoyment of everyone! I cannot say how often one of them made us smile during those times when things just were not great.

Well, late last November Hunter suddenly turned ill – loosing weight at a precipitous rate and what with the blood work, virus screening, Radiology (‘X-Rays’), fecal testing, and multiple on-line specialist consultations, where she was diagnosed with ‘Wasting Disease’ – she passed in our hands Feb 19th – we were holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

About 7 days ago – while I was away of course – Baby started to slowly become more tired, less interactive, and went off her food somewhat. When I returned, she was dancing side-to-side for me, ate a bit more, and was giving kisses by the truck-load. I palpated her abdomen Tuesday evening thinking that she might be laying an egg – and I felt a tumour. It was just as if once I felt it – she became aware of it. I brought her into the practice yesterday and, as we were X-Raying her – she just stopped – I was holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

Both these wonderful souls were beyond the care abilities of anyone we knew – and we tried to find them! Nothing is worse for any caregiver, owner, partner, or pet owner to know you have done the best for your friend, and there is nothing left to offer them. All we can do is commune with them even more so – thats all that can be done.

I cannot understand how the loss of two creatures that barely would have weighed 450gm together, and lived in spaces less then 3-4 ft square would tear such immense holes in our hearts. Only those people who have the patience to care for exotic pets – reptiles, birds, fish – you name it, can begin to understand.

To all of those clients (daresay friends) who have entrusted your pet (exotic or otherwise) to our care – Thank You. Please know that the team at Sunnyview Animal Care give their all to your pet, and to you. Please also know that when they pass – we have some intimate understanding of the loss you and your family are experiencing, we commiserate with all our clients.

Thank You Baby, Thank You Hunter – we miss you both so very very much. The holes will never fill in completely, and thats the way it should be…

From Dr Jeff Goodall, who shares his sense of personal pet loss & grieving over the loss of any pet, including those pets for whom many do not associate with profound loss, he is a Veterinarian, at Sunnyview Animal Care, Bedford, Nova Scotia, #sunnyviewanimalcare, http://www.Sunnyview-vet.com

Family Pet Care, Parasite Concerns

Lyme Disease, Zoonotic Dog Diseases, & Tick Prevention ‘101’