Notice: Open 7 days a week.
New Friday hours 8:00am-6:00pm, starting July 1st.
(Click to learn more)
How to protect your dog against Lyme disease
Wood ticks have been a nuisance in our area for a very long time; however, the prevalence of Lyme disease is on the rise.
Testing: When we run a heartworm test on your dog, we are also testing for Lyme disease and 2 other tick borne diseases. If you see wood ticks on your dog, annual testing is recommended.
Where ticks are: Wood ticks are most prevalent in un-kept grassy and treed areas. If you take your dog camping, to the cottage, off leash parks or nature walks, please consider protecting your dog against ticks and Lyme disease. Nonetheless, ticks can be found in any grassy area suck as back yards and local parks. Inspect your dog routinely for wood ticks.
When: Ticks are most prevalent during the spring and fall. They become active and looking for blood meals when temperatures reach 7°C. They often hide during hot temperature, such as July and August, but this is weather dependent.
About Lyme: Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that are transmitted by the Deer tick, during attachment. Not all dogs that are exposed to the bacterium will develop the disease or display signs of the disease. Further blood work may be necessary to determine the level of infection. Signs of Lyme disease are lameness, swollen and sore joints, fever and loss of appetite. If your dog becomes infected with this disease and is diagnosed early; the prognosis is very good for a full recovery after a course of antibiotics. If left untreated, some dogs may become very ill and have a very poor prognosis.
Prevention: Nothing is 100% effective at protecting a dog from Lyme disease if they are exposed to an infective wood tick. There are products that are available, however, that will greatly reduce the potential of infection.
A Lyme vaccine is available that blocks the transmission of bacteria that causes the disease. Additionally, there are tick prevention products that will reduce your pet’s tick burden. These products are most affective if started 2 weeks prior to wood tick exposure.
Revolution: A monthly topical (applied to the skin) preparation that kills wood ticks within a 24-48 hour window after they’ve attached and collected a blood meal. This product is also affective against fleas, heartworm and some species of intestinal parasites. For dogs that are exposed to a very high number of wood ticks, it may be necessary to treat every 2 weeks.
Advantix: A monthly topical preparation that repels wood ticks and fleas. This product should be used in addition to a heartworm product. This product is toxic to cats; pets will need to be separated after application.
If you have question or concerns about Lyme disease, please call McLeod Veterinary Hospital at 204-661-3334.
(Click to learn more)
Choosing the right diet for your cat or dog
Finding the right diet for your dog or cat can be an overwhelming experience. If you walk into any pet store you are faced with many aisles of options and all companies claiming to be the best for your pet. Television commercials can also be very persuasive and misleading.
Unfortunately most manufacturing companies aren’t very transparent. They don’t inform consumers of research and development, information on feeding trials, quality control or the quality of the ingredients that goes into their diets. This important information isn’t present on animal food labels, causing a lot of misconceptions and confusion for all pet owners, even veterinarians!
What information is on the label?
The ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. This can be misleading! Chicken contains more than 50% water. Just because it’s listed first, doesn’t mean it’s more nutritious or of better quality. Poultry meal may be lower on the ingredient list of diet, but it may contain more quality protein than a diet that has chicken listed first.
AAFCO (the Association of American Feed Control Officials) sets standards for pet foods in the United States and is also recognized by Canada. These standards offer only a minimum and maximum level of only certain nutrients: protein, fat, fibre and moisture. They do not indicate actual amounts! They also don’t standardize all nutrients, for example: some dog foods may be very high in calcium and can lead to bladder stones or some cat foods may be high in sodium and phosphorus and can be detrimental to a senior cat.
Nutritional adequacy statement:
This information indicates if the diet is nutritionally balanced for certain lifestages. Growing puppies and kittens have different nutritional needs then adult dogs and cats. A diet that is labeled as nutritionally adequate for “all lifestages,” will often contain excessive levels of some nutrients for an adult or senior pet.
Formulation vs feeding trial method:
AAFCO defines 2 methods for pet food to determine the nutritional adequacy of their diets.
Formulation: This method is less expensive and faster for pet food manufacturers. In essence they have not conducted any feeding trials to research or develop their diets. Formulated diets do not conduct appropriate testing and gives no indication of:
- Excessive amounts of nutrients
- The presence of toxic substances that may exist
- Acceptability by pets
- Nutrient availability (how the food is digested)
Feeding trials: AAFCO has a standardized feeding trial protocol for pet food manufacturers. The food being tested must be the sole source of nutrition during the feeding trials and meet nutritional adequacy. Again this label claim does not guarantee that the food is a great formula. Food manufacturers that have conducted these trials should have more information such as digestibility and nutritional adequacy.
Manufacturer’s name and toll-free phone number:
This can be the most useful information on the bag! There is no way to determine the actual nutrient content or quality of the ingredients by the label…so call and ask the right questions.
So now that we’ve really confused you…what can you do to find the right food for your pet?
AAHA (the American Animal Hospital Association) has created a series of questions for pet owners to ask pet food companies, to help them choose the right diet:
- Do you have a Veterinary Nutritionist or some equivalent on staff in your company? Are they available for consultation or questions?
- Who formulates your diets and what are their credentials?
- Which of your diet(s) is AAFCO feed trial tested? Which of your diets meet AAFCO nutritional requirements?
- What testing do you do beyond AAFCO trials? What kinds of research on your products have been conducted and are the results published in peer reviewed journals?
- What specific quality control measures do you use to assure the consistency and quality of your product line? What safety measures do you use?
- Where are your diets produced and manufactured? Can this plant be visited?
- Can you provide a complete nutrient analysis of your bestselling canine and feline pet food including digestibility values?
- Can you give me the caloric value per can/cup of your diets?
Did you know?
AAFCO establishes nutritional standards, however, does not regulate, test, approve or certify pet foods.
One study showed 90% of home-made pet foods were found to be nutritionally unbalanced and incomplete for pets.
Cooked corn is a highly digestible carbohydrate and contains an essential fatty acid.
68 % of dog food allergies or reactions are caused by beef, dairy or wheat, 25% are caused by lamb, chicken, chicken egg or soy. Corn is not a common cause of food reaction.
The term “by-product” does not indicate an inferior product. It is defined as “something produced in the making of something else”.
Pet food terms:
- Organic: Is legally defined and must meet regulations.
- Natural: Is legally defined and must meet regulations.
- Holistic: Not legally defined and any manufacturer can make unsubstantiated claims.
- Human Grade: Not legally defined and any manufacturer can make unsubstantiated claims.
Diets that have added glucosamine, chondroitin, omega fatty acid, or other nutraceuticals do not have to supplement to a therapeutic level and may have no benefit to our pet.
For more great information on pet nutrition visit: www.petfoodnutrition.com.
(Click to learn more)
What to expect when making the difficult decision of euthanizing your pet
For some pet owners this can be one of the most difficult decisions they ever make. It’s important to speak with your veterinarian, because you are your pet’s voice. Your veterinarian will ask you important questions to determine your pet’s health condition and quality of life. If you have any questions or concerns discuss them with a health care team member. We are here to help guide you in this very trying time.
A euthanasia appointment:
Once the decision for humane euthanasia is made, we will inform you of all the steps in the procedure. We often sedate pets to allow them to relax. An intravenous catheter may be placed in your pet’s front leg after the sedation has taken effect. This allows the veterinarian to administer the euthanasia drug with minimal stress to your pet. The drug that is administered is Pentobarbital, a lethal dose of an anesthetic agent. Your pet will very quickly and comfortably pass once the medication has been given. Family members are invited to be present during this procedure, but by no means is it mandatory, as individual preferences are respected. Some pets are very fortunate to have a large, loving family. Everyone is welcome to be present during the transition.
After the procedure is completed you have the option of cremation or taking your pet home for a burial. This can’t be done within the city of Winnipeg limits; however, some clients may have a farm property or a cottage that was a special place for their pet.
Preferred and basic cremation services are available. This service is provided by the company Precious Pets, located here in Winnipeg. You can request to have a preferred cremation whereby your pet’s ashes will be returned in an urn of your choosing. Many people prefer to make an appointment to select an urn prior to the euthanasia appointment. Basic cremation is an option where multiple pets are cremated together and their ashes are buried in a common pet burial site at Precious Pets. Witnessing the cremation is also available through special arrangement with Precious Pets. Please see the following link for more information on these unique services and images of urns at http://www.preciouspetcremation.com.
Grieving the loss of your pet
Pets are an integral part of our family and often times are the center of the family’s attention. It’s important not to dismiss your emotions. Some people often experience a lack of support from co-workers, employers or extended family members. “It’s only a cat, get over it,” can be a very devastating remark, but sadly isn’t unusual. We all grieve our loved one’s losses differently, and for some it can take a very long time to deal with the emotional loss. As such, it’s important to find a solid support system; a friend, your immediate family or even one of our staff to offer an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. A good support system will allow people to move through the mourning process and come to terms with the loss.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the loss of a pet and require assistance or support, call 204-988-8804.
For more information on this subject, visit: Pet Loss Support
Pet loss can also be very challenging for children. We have a children’s book available that may be useful for parents to assist their children through this difficult time. “When Friendship Lives Beyond the Stars” is a book written by Dr. Amy Sugar. This book offers great advice for parents on how to answer some difficult questions and a story to assist kids understand and remember their beloved pet.
A few suggestions from the Winnipeg Humane Society to assist people through the mourning process:
- Create a memory box. Consider a few keepsakes that bring back fond memories such as your pet’s collar, favorite toy and pictures.
- Write a letter to your pet. We sometimes struggle with regrets and unanswered questions. Writing a letter may assist you in bringing closure. This letter can be placed in the memory box.
- Host a funeral or celebration of life for your pet. Often the loss of a pet can affect many people. Consider sharing an event with those close to you and your pet, where memories can be shared and reflected upon.
The grieving process is the same whether you lose a pet or a family member. It takes time.
(Click to learn more)
Caring for your Senior Pet
As our pets age, we may notice changes in; weight, appetite, behavior, elimination habits, skin/coat, mobility, eyes and mouth. You may begin to notice these changes in your pet at the age of 7-10 for dogs or 10 and over in cats.
The age will vary between different breeds of dogs and if they suffer from any underlying medical conditions. Having a good relationship with your veterinarian is vital at this point in your pet’s life. We believe in preventive care and like to educate pet owners on nutrition, nutraceutical and medical options to keep their pets healthy.
Your veterinarian can prescribe a diet suitable for your cat or dog, based on their needs. If there are no specific health concerns than Hills Prescription Aging Care formula, G/D may be the right choice for your pet.
Senior Wellness Exams:
We recommend a wellness exam every 6 months for all senior pets. This allows the Veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy and possibly pick up any minor changes in your pet’s health and recommend appropriate treatment. The aging process is quite rapid in our senior pet and closer monitoring is advised to pick up subtle changes in organ health. A comprehensive exam, including a complete blood and chemistry profile and urinalysis, provides us insight into changing health status in our senior pets.
- A Registered Animal Health Technologist will start the appointment and begin the discussion about your pet’s health. Diet, medications, physical activity regime and life style are all important information at this point in your pet’s life.
- The Veterinarian will then perform a thorough physical examination. This will include evaluating different body systems such as: skin and coat, eye, ears, teeth and oral cavity, heart, lungs, muscle tone and joints.
Senior Blood Analysis:
- The Veterinarian will recommend annual blood work at this stage of your pet’s life. Bloodwork will provide us with a detailed picture about how your pet’s internal organs are functioning. Blood work will evaluate your pet’s kidneys, liver and pancreas levels. It will also evaluate red blood cells, white blood cells, electrolytes, blood glucose and other important parameters.
- The Veterinarian may also recommend a urinalysis on your pet. This will evaluate bladder health and kidney function as well.
We offer a discount for our senior wellness package. Call us today to make an appointment if your pet is over 10 years of age.
(Click to learn more)
Wildlife in the Back Yard
Spring is a time of year we look forward to the songs of the birds. It’s not unusual for us to come across bunny nests and young birds learning to fly. When young orphaned wildlife animals are brought into the hospital we always reach out to Wildlife Haven to guide us or to pick up the orphaned animal so they can properly care for them.
The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre is located in Ile des Chenes.
Did you know that baby rabbits are left unattended most of their development?
It’s very important to know normal wildlife behavior, to ensure that young wildlife animals have the best chance for survival.
Here are a few examples of common wildlife situations:
- Finding a nest with baby rabbits:
It’s very common for rabbits to create nests in the middle of the lawn; in shallow depressions. Mother rabbits only feed their babies very briefly twice a day at dawn and dusk. This is to protect the babies from predators. Do NOT handle baby rabbits. Should you expect that the mother rabbit has been injured and is not caring for the babies, contact the Wildlife Haven for further instructions.
- Finding a fledgling (juvenile bird) on the ground:
During a bird’s development they must learn how to fly. During this stage they may spend a few days on the ground. These birds will have full feathers, but will have short tail feathers. Parent birds will continue to care for these birds while they learn to fly.
- Finding a bird that hit the window:
Place the bird in a small cardboard box, such as a shoe box. Line the bottom of the box with a paper towel or non-fraying towel. Do not offer any food or water. Ensure there are a few breathing holes in the box. Leave the box in a dark, quite area for a couple of hours. Then remove the lid outside. Should the bird not fly away; contact the Wildlife Haven for further instructions.
Should you encounter a young orphaned wildlife animal or an injured animal; take appropriate measures to ensure not to inflict more trauma. Refer to the Wildlife Haven website for tips on how to identify an animal in need in care.
Wildlife animals that have been bit by a cat, require immediate medical attention.
A few tips on handling wildlife (provided by Wildlife Haven website):
- Don’t feed milk or formulas
- Don’t pet injured or orphaned animals
- Don’t feed any food (unless advised by Wildlife Haven)
- If transporting an injured or orphaned animal; don’t travel with your own pets
(Click to learn more)
Preanesthetic blood screening
Preanesthetic blood screening is a simple way to determine the health of your pet’s major organs prior to anesthesia. Preanesthetic screening gives you peace of mind and a chance at early intervention when diseases are detected in their beginning stages.
The following are examples of the vital organs which may be included in preanesthetic blood screening.Preanesthetic blood screening for cats
Preanesthetic blood screening for dogs
(Click to learn more)
Have you ever wondered what you would do if your pet ever became lost? There are steps that you can take to increase the chance that your pet is returned to you.
- Contact your local pet shelters, animal services agency, and the humane society. Provide them with a detailed description of your pet, the area they were last seen, and any distinguishing markings they may have. This will give you the opportunity to provide current contact information in the event that it differs from the information on your pet’s identification tags.
- Visit the websites Winnipeg Lost Dog Alert, Winnipeg Lost Cat Alert, and Facebook. These are excellent tools to help find your lost friend. Getting your pet’s photo and information out in the community will keep the public on the lookout.
- Make large, colorful, eye-catching signs and put them up in areas surrounding where your pet was last seen. Adding a photo to the signs will allow people to identify color patterns or markings specific to your pet. Ask local veterinary hospitals and shelters if you can post your sign in their office.
If your pet normally wears a collar, be sure their identification tags are always on it. Rabies tags, microchip tags, and license tags are great ways to help your pet find their way home.
Tattoos are usually one of the first things people will search for on a lost animal. Tattoos are usually given at the time of spay or neuter and are located on the inner hairless surface of the ear. They do however tend to fade and become more difficult to read over time.
Microchips are rice-sized transponders implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades and are easily scanned using a special microchip scanner. Microchips provide a permanent form of identification, and are a great back-up in the event that your pet’s collar and tags fall off. As with all identification, your address and contact information must always be kept current to provide the best chance for a safe return.
Never give up hope. There have been animals lost for months that have been reunited with their pets.