A look inside New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic

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The New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic has been serving our community since Dr Karl Winkler first opened the doors in 1960. The town of New Hamburg and the clinic have changed a lot in that time but one thing that has remained the same is that the staff of The New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic are the ones that make us so successful. From our friendly front office staff to our tireless Registered Veterinary Technicians to our amazing Veterinarians and all of the people behind the scenes, everyone here at our clinic is dedicated to making sure that you and your animal companions (of all shapes and sizes) get the care that you need. Great caring compassionate people who love animals and want to help you with your problems are the core of our clinic and We couldn’t do what we do with out all of the great people who work here.

If you would like to find out more about the staff of the New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic, why not click on the link below and explore a little further. What does Dr. Mike like to do in his spare time? Who has the most pets of their own at home? Who at the clinic will really get my Chihuahua stories? Its all here on the “About Us” tab of our homepage.

Dogs and Human pain medications

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We often have pets come in to see us that have taken their owner’s medications. Often this occurs by accident; someone drops a pill on the floor or spills a bottle and before they know it the new puppy has devoured the medication thinking it was a tasty treat. We also see well meaning owners who see their poor pet limping after an injury and reach for their own pain medications to help out their best friend in their time of need. Both of these scenarios (and many others) are completely understandable, but can lead to serious injuries to our pets. Why is that? Why shouldn’t we let our pets take our pain medications anyway?

The most common human pain relief drug are the Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Tylenol, Asprin, Advil are all common brand names, but also newer drugs like Mobicox, Aleve and some back pain medications like Robaxin Gold are NSAIDs or contain them with other drugs. All of these medications provide pain relief, bring down swelling and reduce fever- which is good, but also act on other parts of the body using the same mechanism. The most common side effect of these medications is that they decrease blood flow to important ares of the body like the kidneys and the lining of the stomach causing ulcers and in severe cases kidney failure. These and other side effects can been seen in people that take these medications, but what about our pets?

There are many concerns with a dog given NSAIDs meant for a person. Firstly, the drugs are designed for human bodies and are not necessarily tested to be safe for dogs. Although there are NSAIDs available for dogs and cats, they are often not the same ones we reach for. Secondly, our dogs are usually much smaller than we are, so the dosing of drugs that may be appropriate for use in dogs might be 10 or more times higher in people. A single pill might be enough to harm a dog or a cat while people can safely take multiple pills in a day. Thirdly, if a dog has been given an over the counter medication, even a safe drug at the right dose, it can affect the other drugs that we can give to your pet when we do see them. It is always best to seek veterinary advice before giving anything to your pet.

So what can we do to help our friends in need? Firstly- call us before you give anything. The New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic always has a vet on call, so reach out to us if you have concerns. Keep your medications away from your pets- Just like children, they need to be kept safe. Resting and icing injuries are almost always safe, but again, do so at the discretion of your veterinary team. And if you have pain medications for your pets, always read and follow the label directions.

For more information on NSAID toxicity in pets, see the link below.

A new Kitten can bring new problems

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sweet-803125_1280Many animal lovers find themselves in the position of fostering or adopting a new kitten into their household unexpectedly. A stray cat outside, a rescue from a friend or a relative or an adorable adoption from the Humane Society are all common and admirable reasons to bring home a new pet, but what about the animals that you already have at home? There are lots of considerations to keep them safe and happy. Today’s topic is Feline Leukemia Virus ( FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

FeLV and FIV are viral infections that can infect any cat. They affect the cat by suppressing the immune system similar to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in people and once contracted a cat is infected for the rest of their lives. Infection occurs through bodily fluids, most commonly from grooming (FeLV) or from fighting (FIV) with infected cats, but also from breeding. Infected animals show a wide variety of signs but importantly can be infected and spread the disease long before looking sick. Some cats can live for years with these viruses and potentially spread them to other cats simply by licking or playing with them.

There is a simple test which can let us know if a cat has been exposed to these two deadly viruses and with a small amount of blood, your vet can tell you if your new kitten or cat is a risk to any other furry family members. We often see new pets weeks or months after they have been brought home and introduced to the other cats in the house and this can pose risk to everyones. If you are thinking of taking in a new cat, please talk to us about vaccinations, de-worming, fleas, litter boxes, behaviour and of course FIV/FeLV testing (along with any other concerns) before you bring them home. We are happy to help make the introduction of a new cat to the home a smooth one.

Here is a link to information on Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions

The Heat is On

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Every time the hot weather comes around, we have to start to think differently about our pets and how to care for them. Parasites and annual wellness exams with vaccinations are routine reasons that we see pets in the summer months; although preventative care is always in season. But what about some of the health concerns for pets?

Heat stroke is common concern for pets in the summer. Because pets don’t sweat to cool down and it isn’t always easy for them to tell us when they are too hot, overheating can happen very quickly for a pet left in a hot location. We often tie up our pets or keep them in cars for their own protection, but normally safe locations can become dangerous on hot days. Always think about shade, airflow, water availability and how long a pet will be in a particular location before you leave them. If you wouldn’t be comfortable there, then neither would they.

Signs of heat stroke in pets include panting, lethargy, bright red gums or tongue, dizziness, lethargy or coma. If you think your dog may be affected, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Here is a video showing how a hot car affects NFL football player Tyrann Mathieu

Things that go BANG in the night

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Summer time means fun for us and our pets in the warm weather and holidays; but for many dogs it is also a time for scary events like fireworks and thunderstorms. When these occur, it can be difficult to change your pet’s minds if they have decided they are scared. This is one situation where preparation is very important. Have a plan for dealing with your anxious pet before the storm starts or the holiday comes. For some this is knowing where to put their pets to provide comfort or desensitization, for some it is having anxiety medication on hand, and for others it means starting a behavioural modification program well in advance. For help finding the right solution, have a look at this link from our website or (as always) give us a call.


Illustrated Articles

Lyme Disease in Canada

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Following on from our post last week about ticks, we now look at our largest concern with tick bites- Lyme Disease.

Bites from the Deer tick, also know as black-legged or Ixodes ticks, can transmit the parasite responsible for Lyme disease to humans and dogs. We are always worried about our canine companions on walks in long grasses or wooded areas and protect them with medications such as Revolution and the new Nexguard. We brush them regularly and look for ticks attached to the skin around the collar and behind the ears as well as other areas. about ourselves and our families? If we are walking our dogs in areas where ticks are present, we are at risk as well. Below are two links from the Government of Canada about Lyme disease in people. In 2012 there were 338 confirmed or suspected cases of Lyme disease in people in Canada, up from 144 in 2009. This disease is on the rise and informing yourself will be your best defense.

If you have questions about ticks, Lyme disease or how we can help with preventative care for your furry family members please feel free to contact us.

Parasite of the week- Fleas

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Spring time means warm weather, time outdoors and long walks with our dogs. All the good things that we have been waiting for through the winter months. But here at New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic, we also think about the parasites that are coming out looking for new hosts, and the risks they pose to our pets. Once the night time temperature stops going below freezing, fleas will start showing up. To help understand how flea infestations can occur, here is a great article from PetMD. Pay close attention to the section on pupae as this is the stage that will give rise to the adult fleas that climb on board your pets at this time of year.

Flea bath, fleas sprays and anti- flea medications are all ways to solve this problem for people and pets- let us know if we can help in your pet’s parasite control program. Prevention is the best solution.

My pet doesn’t have worms… does he?

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With spring temperatures, we always see an increase in parasites in our pets. Fleas, Heartworm, Intestinal parasites are all more common in the summer months when pets spend more time outside and other host species such as wildlife, rodents and insects are active. But how do we know if our cats or dogs are really harboring these creatures in or on them? Well, you may see signs like fleas, flea dirt, worms in stool or a sick pet, but in most cases the only way to know is by diagnostic testing at your vet clinic. Most intestinal parasites and Heartworm infections can only be detected by sampling and analysis, so our pets can be sick without us even knowing. Check out this article below for all the details on common roundworm infections in cats and please call us at the New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic if you think that your pet might be at risk of parasite exposure this spring. We are always happy to help keep you pets and your family safe.

Spring has sprung

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The snow is melting, the temperatures are not as freezing cold as they were and our thoughts are turning to green grass and sunny days. The Easter Bunny has come and gone, so summer is just around the corner. Soon our pets will be frolicking in the long grasses and flowers. It is a time to celebrate the end of another winter. But there are others out there celebrating the warm Spring weather with us; Parasites. Here in Southern Ontario, warmer weather means concerns for our pets over Fleas, Ticks, Worms & Mosquitos as well as parasite-bourne illnesses like Lyme disease and Heartworm disease. Whether your pet needs protection or not depends a lot on their lifestyle, and your veterinary health team will be more than happy to discuss risks, testing and treatment with you. In most case protection can be as simple as 1 flavoured tablet each month. Call us and book your pet in for an appointment so we can set your mind at ease and let you get back to enjoying the Springtime with your best friend.

Scary Foods for your Pet

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Halloween is a time that we think of candies and foods that our pets should avoid, but the reality is, these foods can do ghastly things to our little ghouls any time of the year. Here is a list of foods to avoid provided by the ASPCA;