On September 11, 2017 I came into this odd place that I’ve been to before, not knowing that this was going to be my new home. Suddenly, I was greeted by ladies welcoming me to my “new home” and calling me a “clinic cat.” They didn’t mind that I was 13 years old and in early kidney failure. I quickly explored the hospital and made myself at home. I had no issues adapting to my new space. I quite enjoyed it. Always having my friends around, getting scratches and love (and maybe a few too many treats). I had to learn that this isn’t just my space and that there will be other animals around during working hours, but that’s ok. I understand that other cats and dogs need to see the vet sometimes too.
Every morning my people arrive around 7:15 am. I greet them at my door, talking and giving head nudges. They quickly get my canned food ready with my kidney support/protect supplements mixed in. Then, I get my kibble! I love kibble. I’m 8kg, and I’m told I need to be on a diet, so they can only give me what’s recommended. I could eat more if they allowed me to. Afterwards, I get fresh water and then use the litterbox. My people are good at cleaning that right away. During the day I see quite a bit. Sometimes I’m out front looking out the window or watching cats and dogs arrive for their appointments. If they get too close, I run away. I’d rather watch from a distance.
Other times I’m in the treatment area, either sitting by my bowl waiting for more food, sleeping on my comfy chair or watching the team prepare for surgeries/doing x rays/helping animals that aren’t feeling good. I’m also sometimes found on the Doctor’s chairs in the office (I like to steal their seats). The Doctor’s love me though, so they don’t move me when I take their spot. Around supper time I get a snack of canned food with my kidney support/protect supplements mixed in again. Then, before my people leave for the night, I get more kibble! I’m put in a big room at night with my bed, comfy chair, litterbox and water. I’m told I’m not trusted to be let out overnight because they’re worried I’ll get into the bags of food up front. But to be honest, I probably would!
My life as a clinic cat is always changing and exciting. Everyday I see something different. My people always tell me how much they love me, but I don’t think they understand how much I love them too. They’ve done so much for me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m happy to be with such great people every day.
My name is Charlie, and I love being a clinic cat!
The “toller” originated in Little River Harbour in Yarmouth County and was officially declared the Nova Scotia Provincial dog in 1995. They are a medium-sized breed and the smallest of the retrievers weighing between 30-50 pounds and stand at about 20 inches. They are often mistaken for a mini golden retriever. The toller is highly intelligent and typically has endless amounts of energy.
The toller is very athletic, well muscled, compact, medium boned and powerful. They can be found in various shades of red and typically have at least one white marking at the tip of the tail, feet, chest and blaze although some may have no white at all. Complete with a water-repellent double coat and a dense undercoat this dog loves to swim no matter the temperature of the water. Due to their high energy and intelligence they are happiest when they have a job to do so if not hunting they make excellent agility, obedience, and search and rescue dogs. If they aren’t stimulated, they can become bored and destructive.
While tollers can be very social dogs, socialization has to start from an early age. They are lovely with their family and people they know but can be reserved around strangers. Tollers have an intense prey drive so need to be exposed to as much as possible at a young age, especially to cats. They are a relatively healthy breed with no significant health concerns.
Featured pup is my duck toller “Bonnie Roslyn” which is Gaelic for beautiful little redhead AKA Rozzie. She is a ten year old full of beautiful energy toller. She certainly has her issues with social behaviour and has a massive prey drive, but she is a healthy, happy dog that adores her family.
There are many opinions between indoor and outdoor cats. There are various things to consider on each spectrum.
As a Veterinary Technician, who has owned both indoor and outdoor cats, it is of my opinion that keeping your cats indoors is ideal. Some would argue that cats require the mental and physical stimulation of an outdoor lifestyle, although statistics have shown that an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is dramatically lower in comparison to indoor cats.
Outdoor Cat Risks:
Hunting can increase risk of various bacterial infections, parasite infections as well as put native/protected wildlife populations at risk
Injury/Death as a result of fights, vehicular traffic, wildlife, exposure, disease etc.
Although most cats tolerate an indoor lifestyle very well, they will be at higher risk for obesity/boredom. Consider some of the following recommendations to ensure your cat remains happy and healthy.
Feed the appropriate diet/calories to your cat with controlled feedings
Play with your cat to provide exercise and mental stimulation
Provide scratch posts, perches and places for your kitty to hide
Provide your cat with interactive toys/games or videos for entertainment
Allow your cat to enjoy some fresh air and entertainment sitting on the window sill
If you feel that your cat just cannot tolerate an indoor lifestyle, consider the following to help reduce the risks associated
Keep your cat indoors overnight & during high traffic times
Vaccinate and treat with parasite preventatives
Attach identification with a collar built with a safety release
Have your cat microchipped
Have your cat spayed/neutered to prevent wandering/territorial aggression
The Purfect Balance:
Consider acquiring a harness and supervising any outdoor activity with your cat
Consider providing an enclosed outdoor area in which your cat can climb/sunbathe and get some fresh air!
Remember that your cat should be examined by a Veterinarian at least once a year regardless of its indoor/outdoor status. Your Veterinarian can help you make decisions on diet, environmental enrichment, behaviour etc. and ensure your cat is receiving adequate vaccinations and parasite prevention relative to their risk assessment.
The last time you took your dog or cat to the Veterinarian, he or she may have told you your pet needed a “dental.” I think that word leads our clients to believe that a dental is a simple procedure, that they can take it or leave it. There is much more to the entire process than these two syllables would have you think.
The proper term is a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment, or COHAT. The process starts during your pet’s physical exam, but can only be done correctly under full general anesthesia. Both dogs and cats need their teeth checked every year, and will likely need cleaning and a thorough exam more than once in their lifetime.
A COHAT is day surgery, meaning your pet is dropped off in the morning and picked up later that afternoon or evening. Once under anesthetic, every side of every tooth is examined. Every surface of the tooth is scaled to remove plaque and tartar, even the far side of the very back teeth. These would be impossible to reach without the patient being completely unconscious. We have to be able to open the mouth wide to reach the very back. In the end, the tooth enamel is polished, just like a dental hygienist does for people. While scaling cleans the teeth, it also leaves microscopic scratches that are a great place for new bacteria to live. Polishing smooths out these scratches, so there is no place for bacteria to set up shop.
The Veterinarian or Technician also measures the “pocket depth” of each tooth; how far a specialized probe will fit down the space between the tooth and the gum around it. All animals have a standard pocket depth, but the more diseased the teeth and gums, the more profound this pocket becomes – and the more space for bacteria to grow. This area is also carefully cleaned, as the dental disease starts below the gum line. Knocking the hard lumps of tartar off the visible part of the tooth may make it look clean, but it is vital to clean the gum line.
Radiographs (x-rays) are an essential part of any COHAT. Radiographs show us what is going on in the tooth roots and the jaw bone. A tooth may look okay above the gum line, but radiographs show us where the jaw bone is no longer holding the tooth firmly in place. These teeth need to be extracted.
Looking at the roots is very important for cats that develop stomatitis, a condition in which their body absorbs their teeth. This can be seen on a radiograph where the roots of the teeth are disappearing into the jaw bone. It is a very painful condition, and the tooth is usually removed, solving the problem for that tooth. In some cases, the roots are fully absorbed, and all the Veterinarian can do is cut off the crown of the tooth and sew the gum up over the roots to let the body continue to absorb them.
Radiographs are also used after a tooth has been removed, to make sure all of the roots are gone. Rotten teeth can break while they are being extracted. Very large teeth need to be cut into two or three pieces to be removed. We then take a radiograph to make sure there are no bits left in the gums.
You can see why it is essential for your pet to be under anesthetic for a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. They need to be still, and their mouth completely relaxed so we can reach all the way into the back of their mouth to get every part of every tooth. To take radiographs, a small probe is put in their mouth near the tooth, and they cannot be chewing on this probe. The anesthesia makes the whole process more comfortable for a cat or dog. Even if you go to the dentist regularly, you know it is uncomfortable to have your teeth scraped and to have them cleaned under the gums. Imagine a dog who has never brushed his teeth in 10 years – those gums would be pretty sore. The anesthesia includes pain control and keeps the patient comfortable for the entire procedure.
General anesthesia is also necessary for dental extractions. Rotten or broken teeth need to be removed, and this cannot be done on a dog or cat that is awake. Teeth can be challenging to extract, even when they need to come out, and the gums have to be sewn shut afterwards.
The American Veterinary Dental College has some great information about dental procedures and photos showing the stages of the dental disease in pets. If your pet’s mouth looks like any of their photos, they are in need of a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment.
Did you know that your pet can get the winter blues just like you? You know what I’m talking about. The depression from fewer hours of sunlight and outdoor time, the possible weight gain from curling up with one too many hot chocolates and the lack of social interaction because going outside can take a lot of work. All of these can be the same for our pets.
It’s not as easy for outdoor cats to go out in the winter for multiple reasons, the most important one being cold. They are not built to withstand freezing temperatures so their time outside should be limited. Two other reasons they would be unhappy out is, high volumes of snow can hinder their ability to get around and less “prey” to chase and follow for entertainment. Outdoor cats that are confined inside for long periods of time can become bored and depressed. You should keep many toys around, and you must play with them to get them to engage.
A treat ball could be something they would enjoy, so they are getting a reward while they’re playing. You can also use these to feed them their meals, and it keeps them active, so they’re not putting on weight from being less active.
For dogs who are used to going hiking, swimming and for long walks the winter can be harsh if they don’t have an owner who enjoys those things all year round. Walks become shorter, hiking only happens if there isn’t a lot of snow or ice around and swimming has become skidding on ice wondering where their precious water went! Engaging with your dog inside will be very important. Puzzle games are the best for these situations as they exercise the mind and mental exhaustion is just as important as physical exhaustion. When it’s safe, having dogs outside with you while you’re shovelling can be lots of fun as they tend to enjoy chasing the snow you’re throwing. Going on walks shouldn’t stop in the winter, but taking precautions to ensure yours and your dog’s warmth is essential. If you’re bundling up in a jacket, hat, mitts and scarf, chances are your dog should at least have a coat on.
There are many options of coats for dogs, and most pet stores allow dogs inside so you can check measurements to see if they fit works, or if you’re an online shopper there are sizing charts you can use to determine what would work best. Booties are also options. The salt and ice on the roads can hurt your pups feet so keeping them protected and warm will make their walk more enjoyable. Again, sizing is critical, so pay attention to how they fit your dog and if they’re sliding off.
Bottom line, some people LOVE winter, and some do not. Some pets LOVE winter, and some do not. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s still important to keep active and remember that our pets need activity in their lives and if in the warmer months they’re outside all the time, you need to do your best to keep them as active as possible when outside is not so pet-friendly.
Carriers: There are many types of carriers. The best ones for your cat are a soft carrier that has multiple openings on both the sides and the top, or a hard carrier must that can be taken apart if needed. Both should be large enough to provide a comfortable space for your cat.
Safety:The best place to place your cat’s carrier when you’re in the car is on the floor of the vehicle behind the driver or passenger seat. If this is not an option, you can simply buckle the carrier in one of the seats in the back of the car.
Preparation: Always have a blanket or towel inside the carrier to make it comfortable and cozy, especially in the colder months. If you have Feliway spray, you can spray this around your cat 15 minutes before leaving, and apply several pumps to the carrier and blanket. This spray is a “Happy Pheromone” which helps ease anxious or scared cats. You can buy this at your local Veterinary clinic and or pet supply store. It is best to not bring the carrier out too close to your travel time; this is stressful. You want the carrier to be a safe environment, and not have it relate to vet visits or car rides. This is why it is important to keep the carrier out for a few days beforehand.
Solutions: You can place the carrier around in areas of your home where your cat tends to spend a lot of time. Add treats or food to the carrier to get them more familiar with it. This can take some time so be patient with the process. Who knows, this could be your cat’s favourite place to hang out!
Stress-free Veterinary Visit: Upon arrival, you can always walk into the clinic without your cat at first and check to see if a room is available. This will help with the visit process by avoiding a waiting room with potential barking dogs or a busy environment that may scare your cat. Once in the exam room open/unzip the door(s) and wait for your cat to walk out on his or her own, try not to force them. Make sure when carrying the carrier you hold it against yourself and not by the handle. This will keep it more secure, and there will be no chance of it swinging or bumping into anything.
Step 1: Get Comfortable
-Set expectations that getting used to brushing might take several sessions, so rewards your pet through the training process and remember to keep it positive and be patient.
-Practice lifting their lip to see their teeth and reward with praise.
Step 2: Try Toothpaste
-You can wrap your index finger in gauze or use a finger toothbrush.
-After your cat is comfortable, lift her lip and gently rub the pet toothpaste over her teeth and gums.
Step 3: Toothbrush Time
-Introduce the toothbrush provided by your veterinarian
-if desired, place a small amount of pet toothpaste on the brush and gently start brushing.
Hint: pet toothpaste, chicken broth and tuna juice can make it more comfortable for your cat.
Step 4: Brushing Success
–Brush teeth and gums gently and finish with the bottom front teeth
-Focus on the outside of the teeth-the surface facing the cheek is most prone to plaque and tartar buildup.
-When finished, offer her praise and plenty of love. Let your cat know what a great pet she is and make brushing a positive experience.
Many foods (or of any kind) can be either highly toxic or risk-damaging to your pet’s digestive tract or other organs. During the holidays, please be mindful of some of the following things that may be passing through your home more frequently than normal! If you believe your pet may have ingested any of these foods, please contact your Veterinarian right away.
Excessive highly fatty foods
Flowers/plants: Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and lilies can be highly toxic to your pet. Keep plants well out of reach.
Christmas trees: Cats will often feel particularly inclined to investigate Christmas trees. Ensure your tree is well anchored and that the water pan is securely covered. It is also wise to ensure ornaments are securely fastened to the tree out of reach of your pet.
Tinsel/Ribbon: These types of décor can create emergency digestive related issues. Tinsel and ribbon, in particular, are at risk of getting caught up in your pet’s digestive tract.
Loose wires: Ensure that loose wires are taped down or well covered to prevent any accidental electrocutions.
Candles: Ensure that someone is always supervising while candles are lit. It doesn’t take much for an excited pet to knock over a nearby candle and possibly injure them, or cause a fire!
Ensure your pet is up to date on any identification/tags in the event that your pet accidentally slips out of the home when guests are visiting.
Ensure your pet has been introduced to guests and little ones are taught how to interact with pets appropriately.
Give your pet a place to de-stress.
We hope that everyone enjoys their holiday, and we look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year!