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March marks that time of year we should start paying attention to the temperature outside. Ticks are a concern for every dog in Manitoba and start becoming active once the temperature reaches 5oC for 5-7 days. The most common types of ticks in our province carry diseases which can be transmitted to your dog, including lyme disease. Traditionally thought to be present only outside the city, an increasing number of dogs within city limits are becoming infected. Dogs limited strictly to their back yard and neighbourhood are at risk of picking up these little bloodsuckers.

The McLeod Veterinary Team can help you determine which product would be most appropriate for your furry companion.


Cats are very accustomed to the temperature, smell and comfort of their homes; taking them out of their safe environment can be very stressful. Thankfully, there are ways to help your cat relax and make for a more pleasant visit.

1. Transport your cat in a hard-plastic carrier, with a removable top
Removable tops will make getting your cat into-and out of-the carrier much easier. Undo the screws or latches and remove the top. This eliminates the need to force your cat in and out, which will make you and your cat more relaxed.

2. Keep the carrier in the living room or bedroom
When cats see their carriers as a safe place, they’re much more comfortable during transportation. Follow these tips:

  • Leave the carrier in a comfortable and easily accessible part of the house.
  • Keep a nice blanket or towel in the carrier.
  • Periodically place treats and favourite toys in the carrier.
  • One week prior to travel feed a few meals in the carrier.

3. Spray the blanket within the carrier with Feliway 15 minutes prior to travel.
Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that emulates the natural facial pheromone that cats release to mark their territory as safe and familiar; similar to when they rub their face on an object when they’re happy. When Feliway is sprayed in their carrier they associate it as a happy, comfortable environment.

4. “Start the car”!!!
Your cat is acclimatized to the temperature in your house. During the winter and summer the temperature in your car will be much cooler or warmer. Start your car and let it run for a period of time to ‘warm up’ or ‘cool down’ to a much more comfortable temperature.

5. Buckle up
Cat carriers have a handle-don’t use it. Carry your cat’s carrier by the sides or the bottom to reduce swinging and motion. Cats are sensitive to motion. Being carried in the carrier and the car ride can often be a bumpy ride. Make sure the carrier is level in the car. Placing a rolled towel under one side of the carrier on the car seat may help level things out. Buckle the carrier in to prevent sliding or worse, falling off the seat. Don’t play loud music. Cats may not share your choice of music. Soft, classical music is relaxing for us and for our pets. Consider a soft, calming choice of music during the drive.

6. Drop in for some ‘happy visits’
If your cat shows signs of stress during travel, take your cat for short drives around the block. We often don’t take our cats anywhere other than to the vet. Car rides shouldn’t always end in a nail trim or needle. Reduce the association that a car ride results in a stressful situation, such as a visit to the vet. Even better, bring your cat for a visit…just to visit! A visit to the vet could just involve a neck scratch and a treat, something positive and pleasant for a nice change.

7. Don’t feed your cat prior to a vet visit
If your cat is hungry, we can offer canned food or treats to make the experience more pleasant. If your cat is picky bring some of their own treats or food from home. Cats can be very distracted from thermometers and injections if they’re hungry and eating a yummy snack.

8. Pre-medicating
If your cat suffers from significant stress, call us and we can dispense a prescription medication to reduce your cat’s anxiety prior to veterinary visits. We still recommend all of the above measures to help reduce your cat’s stress in addition to medication.


Visits to the veterinarian are often stressful for pets and their caregivers. At McLeod Veterinary Hospital, we have been working hard to reduce the stress put on our patients and during their visits. Members of our veterinary team have recently completed a Fear Free Certification Program. This program has trained staff in the recognition and reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in patients. You may have noticed a few changes over recent months in our hospital. We have purchased synthetic pheromone diffusers which mimic the natural, happy pheromones of dogs and cats. These diffusers are located in various areas throughout the hospital and work to present a positive environment for our patients. We feed a lot of treats here! Dogs and cats are often food driven. Giving food and treats throughout procedures can effectively reduce fear, stress, and anxiety. Thundershirts are now used commonly in our daily practice. They are applied to patients experiencing stress in the clinic environment. Thundershirts are wrapped around the body focusing on certain pressure points to relieve anxiety. Along with our attempts to ease your pet’s stress, there are a number of ways that you can help as well.

  • Pets should come to appointments hungry, owners may bring a favorite treat to be given throughout exam/procedure.
  • Small pets should be placed in a hard sided carrier with a towel/blanket.
  • Carriers should be covered with a light towel/blanket to prevent visualization of other animals, unfamiliar people and surroundings.
  • Pheromone sprays may be used on towels/blankets inside and covering carriers.
  • When travelling to the veterinary hospital, play quiet, calming music, or leave the radio off. Keep the vehicle at a comfortable temperature.
  • When arriving in exam room, allow pets to come out of carriers on their own. If pets will not walk out of carrier, lid may be removed.
  • Owners may allow pets to remain in carrier throughout exam when possible.

For more information on creating a stress free experience for your pet contact the team at McLeod Veterinary Hospital.


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.


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?

Ingredient list:

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.

Guaranteed analysis:

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:

  1. Do you have a Veterinary Nutritionist or some equivalent on staff in your company? Are they available for consultation or questions?
  2. Who formulates your diets and what are their credentials?
  3. Which of your diet(s) is AAFCO feed trial tested? Which of your diets meet AAFCO nutritional requirements?
  4. 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?
  5. What specific quality control measures do you use to assure the consistency and quality of your product line? What safety measures do you use?
  6. Where are your diets produced and manufactured? Can this plant be visited?
  7. Can you provide a complete nutrient analysis of your bestselling canine and feline pet food including digestibility values?
  8. 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:


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

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:

  1. Create a memory box. Consider a few keepsakes that bring back fond memories such as your pet’s collar, favorite toy and pictures.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


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.

Physical Exam:

  • 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.


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.
Contact information:

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


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


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Introducing Feliway Friends

Introducing Feliway Friends, a synthetic pheromone which mimics the calming pheromones released by mother cats while nursing. The natural purpose of this pheromone is to relax the kittens and help bond them to their mother.

Available in a convenient plug-in diffuser, Feliway Friends is a great addition to multi-cat households to reduce tension and aggression. Each diffuser covers a 750 square foot radius and starts working within 24 hours. For best results, your Feliway Friends diffuser should be plugged in where your cats spend most of their time.

For more information on Feliway Friends and other Feliway products, contact the veterinary team at McLeod Veterinary Hospital.


Brushing teeth is not something your pet can do for themselves

Brushing teeth is not something your pet can do for themselves and isn’t manageable for every pet. Regular dental cleanings and oral preventive care is important in managing periodontal disease and keeping your pet healthy.

Dental cleanings start with a visit to your veterinarian. A thorough examination will allow the veterinarian to determine the overall health of your pet and allow a general assessment of their oral care needs. It’s impossible to clean a pet’s mouth thoroughly without the use of general anesthetic. You will then be provided with an estimate for a dental cleaning.

The morning of your pet’s dental cleaning a Veterinary Technician will admit your pet into the hospital and walk you through the proceedings of the day. You will then be required to sign an authorization sheet for all services to be performed.

Your pet will have a brief exam prior to administering medication to prepare them for anesthesia. A veterinary technician will check your pet’s heart, lungs, hydration, mucous membrane color, and temperature. At this point, a sedative/pain relief injection will be given to your pet. This injection will help to calm them and allow lower doses of gas anesthesia to be used throughout the dental procedure. Once the sedation has taken effect, a blood sample is drawn to ensure that your pet’s major organs are functioning well and that there are no health concerns prior to anesthesia.

Your pet will receive intravenous (IV) fluids throughout the anesthetic procedure. IV fluids help to maintain hydration, aid in maintaining stable blood pressure, and provide an ideal route for administering medications. IV fluids are introduced just prior to inducing anesthesia and are removed upon recovery.

Your pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and anesthetic depth will be continually monitored throughout the anesthetic procedure.

Once anesthetized, your pet’s oral cavity and all teeth will be examined and probed, and abnormalities will be noted on a dental chart. Each tooth will then be cleaned and polished on all surfaces and below the gum line. This process is not possible without the use of general anesthesia.

When abnormalities are found, x-rays are taken of the affected tooth/teeth to further investigate its appearance below the gum line. Sometimes a tooth may look healthy on the outside but x-rays may reveal extensive damage to the part of the tooth that lies beneath the gums. If x-rays reveal dental disease the tooth may be extracted.

When all the teeth have been cleaned and problems within the mouth have been addressed, your pet will be recovered from the anesthetic. It may take a few hours for your pet to be up and ready to move around. We allow our anesthetic patients to recover for several hours prior to sending them home.

When you return to pick up your pet following a dental cleaning, a veterinary technician will take time to discuss aftercare instructions specific to your pet and their health requirements.

Oral care is a vital component to your pet’s overall health. Your pet relies on you and your veterinarian to establish an oral preventive care regimen specific for their oral health needs. Regular professional dental cleanings and preventive care help your pet live a long, healthy life. Discuss your pet’s oral health needs with the veterinary care team at McLeod Veterinary hospital.


There has been a lot of controversy recently in regards to anesthesia free dental care for pets.

This practice involves scaling, or scraping the plaque and tartar off of a pet’s teeth while they are awake. Many would see this as a great, drug-free alternative to the traditional anesthetic procedure typically performed in veterinary practices.

A veterinarian can get a general idea of immediate oral concerns during a routine physical exam on a cooperative pet. It is impossible however, to provide a thorough examination of your pet’s mouth without general anesthesia. Most pets experience a certain level of discomfort/stress associated with the restraint required to perform an anesthesia free cleaning. For this reason, most pets will not sit still enough to risk placing a sharp dental instrument in their mouth. The bacteria present beneath the gum line results in periodontal disease and are not removable on an awake pet. Anesthesia free cleaning will only allow removal of the plaque and tartar that are visible and serves no benefit to your pet’s health. Bacteria left below the gum line will continue to contribute to bad breath, infection of the gums, and damage to the tooth roots and bone structure.

General anesthesia allows the veterinarian to provide you with a detailed examination of your pet’s teeth and oral cavity. Your pet’s mouth can be properly charted and each tooth individually inspected for problems. Dental radiographs can provide your veterinarian with an image of the extent of disease present beneath the gum line and cannot be done on an awake pet. Your pet’s teeth can then be scaled above and below the gum line on all sides. Polishing all exposed areas of the teeth will provide a nice smooth surface to discourage new bacterial build-up.

The team at McLeod Veterinary Hospital is dedicated to providing your pet with the best care possible. Contact us with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s dental health.


Should I be concerned?

In late December 2017, the first known case of H3N2 canine influenza was identified in Ontario from dogs imported from Asia.

There are two strains of canine influenza virus that have been reported in North America. H3N2 originated in Asia likely from an avian influenza. H3N8 was initially seen in Florida early in the 2000s and came from an equine strain.

Canine influenza is transmitted by direct nose-to-nose contact, from droplet exposure of the virus in the air, and from contact with objects that have been in contact with infected dogs. The highest risk of transmission is from nose-to-nose contact. Dogs without symptoms but that are in the early phases of infection can shed the virus and infect other dogs.

Canine influenza is part of the infections grouped under the umbrella term “canine infectious respiratory disease complex” which also includes “kennel cough”. Symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, nose and eye discharge, a decrease in appetite, and possibly a fever. Most dogs make a full recovery in 2 to 3 weeks. It is rare for these infections to be fatal. Some dogs can develop a bacterial pneumonia, which is more serious. Very young and very old dogs and brachycephalic breeds (such as pugs and bulldogs) are most susceptible to more severe infections.

There have currently been no reports of canine influenza in Manitoba. Families with dogs exhibiting symptoms similar to those of canine influenza should contact their veterinarian.


Cat owners, beware!

Recently there have been several websites discussing the risk of essential oils in cats.

Essential oils should never be applied directly to a cat’s skin or in a location where they can be ingested. Particular types of essential oils that are known to be toxic to cats include: oils of wintergreen, sweet birch, citrus, pine, Ylang Ylang, peppermint, cinnamon, pennyroyal, clove, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil.

Cats with exposure to these oils may drool, vomit, have tremors, breathing difficulties, liver failure, and a decrease in heart rate and body temperature.

If essential oils are used in a diffuser, they may be irritating to the airways of cats, particularly if the cat has allergies, asthma, or respiratory infections. Cats in close proximity to diffusers can get micro droplets of essential oil on their coat which may be ingested during grooming or absorbed through the skin.


Things to do to ensure your pet stays healthy this summer.

Mosquitoes and wood ticks will be back soon! This means that heartworm and Lyme testing is in full swing. Luckily, a simple blood test run in hospital can determine if your dog has been infected with either of these diseases. Your dog relies on you to provide them with the necessary tools to prevent and monitor for heartworm and Lyme disease. At McLeod Veterinary Hospital we can help you choose the product best suited for your furry friend. Contact your pet’s health care team today to discuss prevention and schedule heartworm and Lyme disease testing.

Heartworm disease is an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes. Infected animals may not immediately show any clinical signs but, as the burden of adult worms becomes more severe, the signs become apparent. Symptoms include exercise intolerance, weight loss, coughing, fainting, progressing to congestive heart failure and eventually death, if left untreated.

Lyme disease is on the rise in Manitoba. Lyme disease is an infectious disease spread by ticks. The symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, lameness, joint pain and swelling, and kidney damage. Lyme disease may eventually result in death if left untreated.

In 2017 McLeod Veterinary Hospital ran 527 blood tests for heartworm and tick-borne diseases. Of these tests, 2 were heartworm positive and 15 were positive for tick-borne diseases (9 Lyme positives).


Nexgard Spectra combines heartworm, flea, and tick protection in a convenient once-monthly beef flavored chew. These tasty chews are easily administered and safe for dogs with beef allergies as they contain no meat.

Nexgard Spectra is indicated for the treatment and control of internal parasites such as; hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and lungworm, as well as the prevention of heartworm disease.

Nexgard Spectra also provides rapid treatment of adult fleas and control of future infestations.

Treatment with Nexgard Spectra can begin at any time of year and can safely be given without food, at any time of day. Treatment can start as early as 8 weeks of age and has been proven safe for various breeds of dogs.

Contact McLeod Veterinary Hospital today for more information about heartworm, flea, and tick prevention for your canine friend.


As of May 2019, the act of declawing cats has officially been banned.

As of May 2019, the act of declawing cats has officially been banned in the province of Manitoba. Manitoba is the sixth Canadian province to have banned declawing in recent years.

Declawing involves the surgical removal/amputation of the front nails at the first joint of the toe. The act of declawing has been performed primarily to prevent damage to household furniture due to marking behaviours, as well as preventing scratching of humans and clothing.

Some alternatives to declawing may include frequent nail trims, plastic nail caps, and scratching posts. Some cats may prefer one type of scratching post over another and may require time and multiple options to learn appropriate scratching around the household.

For more information on deterring cat scratching in your home, contact your veterinary team at McLeod Veterinary Hospital.


Be Aware of the Signs.

Kennel cough is a highly contagious canine infectious respiratory disease characterized by a dry hacking cough. The virus is aerosolized into the surrounding environment each time an infected dog coughs, resulting in wide spread contamination. Dogs frequenting boarding kennels, obedience classes, off-leash parks, daycares, grooming salons, and any facility with heavy canine traffic flow are often amongst those infected.

The signs of kennel cough typically occur within 2-14 days after exposure. Kennel cough infections can range from mild and brief, to more serious and complicated. Immunocompromised dogs, such as puppies, geriatrics, and debilitated pets are especially vulnerable to serious infections.

Uncomplicated cases of kennel cough can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks and are characterized by a mild dry, hacking cough and no other symptoms. These dogs are usually otherwise active, continue about their regular daily routines, and do not require medication to recover. Affected dogs can however, continue to shed the virus for multiple weeks following infection therefore it is recommended they be kept away from other dogs during this time.

Complicated or more serious cases can last much longer and may result in a productive cough (producing greenish phlegm), lethargy, inappetence, and respiratory complications. These cases require medication and close monitoring and can take weeks to resolve.

There is a vaccination available for the prevention of kennel cough. Bordetella is an annual vaccination which can be given as early as 8 weeks of age. Bordetella is given orally and tolerated well by the vast majority of dogs.

For questions regarding your dog and preventing kennel cough, contact your veterinary care team at McLeod Veterinary Hospital.


Pumpkins, Apples, and Sweet Potatoes, Oh My! Adding fiber to your pet’s diet.

Has your veterinarian recommended adding canned pumpkin to your pet’s food? Insoluble fiber, cellulose, found in pumpkins is indigestible and can provide many benefits for our pets. Cellulose helps to create bulk by absorbing fluid and encouraging movement of food through the intestinal tract. The bulk produced may help create a feeling of satiety which may, in turn, aid in weight loss in certain cases. This is why veterinarians will sometimes recommend adding pumpkin to a pet’s diet when they suffer from soft stool.

Apples and sweet potatoes have a similar fiber content and may be a tasty alternative for pets who don’t enjoy the taste of pumpkin. Apples have a higher natural sugar content than pumpkins which may make them a more desirable additive for some pets. The added sugar can however make apples a poor choice for pets with certain medical conditions. Sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamins but also a higher calorie snack for pets struggling with weight problems.

It can be enjoyable to share these special treats with your furry friend but always be sure to consult your veterinarian before trying something new.

Contact your veterinary team at McLeod Veterinary Hospital for more information about adding fiber to your pet’s diet.


Accidental Ingestation By Our Pets

With the legalization of cannabis, care must be taken to eliminate accidental ingestion and potential toxicity in pets. Signs of ingestion may include; lethargy, disorientation/loss of coordination, dilated pupils, increased vocalization, respiratory depression, and a drop in body temperature. In severe cases, tremors, seizures, and coma may result. Cannabis should always be stored out of reach of pets. Notify your veterinarian if there is the possibility your pet ingested any form of cannabis so they can be treated appropriately.

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is becoming a hot topic of conversation in veterinary medicine. While these products may prove to have valuable therapeutic benefits, there currently is not enough scientific research to support safety, dosing recommendations, or treatment protocols in pets.


Protect Your Pet

The return of pesky mosquitoes and wood ticks means the time has come to have your dog’s blood tested for heartworm and tick-borne diseases.

Diagnosis of heartworm and tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, has become much easier in recent years and requires only a small blood sample from your canine friend. Samples are run in hospital on a daily basis and results are quickly available.

Frequency of testing can vary depending on lifestyle. Dogs with little to no exposure to wood ticks receiving regular monthly heartworm prevention should be tested at least every second year. Dogs with heavy exposure to wood ticks would benefit greatly from yearly testing to ensure that they’re clear of tick-borne infections.

Thankfully, prevention and protection against these deadly diseases are available in various forms. Your veterinary team would be happy to assist you in choosing an appropriate preventative medication to suit your dog’s individual lifestyle.

Contact our veterinary team to schedule your dog’s blood test and discuss prevention options today.


Pet owners beware

Blastomyces spp. is found in the Midwestern US and around the Great Lakes in Canada (including the Kenora region). It is a fungus that lives in the soil and in decaying wood. Blasto will thrive in areas that are moist and removed from sunlight; such as riverbanks, swamps, and near lakes.

Dogs will contract blasto by inhaling airborne fungal spores after contaminated soil is disturbed. This can be achieved through digging or an act as simple as following a scent trail. If pets have wounds on their body, the fungus can also enter through the skin.

Blasto will most commonly manifest itself in the lungs, eyes, or skin. In severe infections the fungus can spread to other areas of the body. There are a few diagnostic tests for blast that can be performed. Most commonly veterinarians will require a urine test which will identify if a blasto antigen is present. Chest radiographs and microscopic analysis of material coming from skin sore can also be performed. Once diagnosed, the fungal infection can be treated with antifungal medication, such as itraconozole. Depending on where the fungus has manifested, your dog may also require antibiotics to combat secondary infections. Dogs should be treated for a month after symptoms have regressed, so treatment can be lengthy.

Symptoms of blastomycosis are: fever, loss of appetite/weight loss, coughing/difficulty breathing, eye discharge and redness, difficulty breathing and skin lesions (often filled with pus). Diagnosis may be difficult as it may be mistaken for other problems or disease processes. Be sure to notify your veterinarian of any traveling you do with your pet within infected areas.

Though blasto can infect both pets and people it is not considered zoonotic (transferable between animals and people).


How to know when to call your veterinerian

Pet owners often hesitate before calling their veterinarian or put off making an appointment when they are unsure of the seriousness of the situation. Here are a few examples of situations which are considered emergencies and should be seen right away.

Difficulty passing urine or inability to urinate is a potentially life threatening problem and getting your animal to a veterinarian is of extreme importance. Urinary obstruction tends to occur most frequently in male cats as they have a naturally long and narrow urethra which obstructs easily. Animals with urinary obstructions may pass small amounts of bloody urine or no urine at all. It is easy to confuse constipation concerns with urinary issues in cats.

Any type of injury to the eye, no matter how small, can quickly become a serious problem. If your animal is blinking more than normal or squinting excessively, rubbing or pawing at its eye, the eye appears

red or has an abnormal discharge, making an appointment to see your veterinarian as soon as possible could be a sight-saving decision.

Physical trauma, like a fight with another animal or being hit by a vehicle may seem like obvious emergencies but what if your animal appears to be free of visible injury? The immediate effects of internal injuries can be masked by adrenalin, so although your pet may seem fine, it can take up to 48 hours for signs of injury to appear. In the event of physical trauma, a visit to your veterinarian can help determine if there is more injury than meets the eye.


Keeping your pet comfortable when dealing with this disease

Both dogs and cats are susceptible to arthritis. Doctors also refer to this condition as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Arthritis is non-reversible and continues to get worse with time. Here are a few things you should know to help your animal companion.

Symptoms between dogs and cats may vary. Dogs will often exhibit lameness and stiffness. It may happen occasionally, get worse over time or be a constant issue. With cats a common concern from owners is that they are less active, hiding more, decreased grooming, or have trouble getting into the litterbox. On examination a veterinarian may elicit a pain response from the patient, identify swelling of a particular joint or decreased range of motion.

After a veterinarian examines your pet, x-rays of the joints affected can be taken. The radiographs allow the doctor to visualize changes to the bones in the affected area. A CT scan may be recommended to obtain better detail.

Since arthritis is a disease process that cannot be reversed, treatment is aimed at making our furry friends as comfortable as possible. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for arthritic patients. If a pet is overweight there is more stress on the joints and muscles.

There are many types of oral supplements and medications that can support the joints of your animal companion. Joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may help protect the joint cartilage. Omega-3 fatty acids are used to reduce inflammation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication will reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. If pets have many joints affected by arthritis then additional pain medication can be prescribed by your veterinarian.

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, physical therapy, rehabilitation and laser therapy can benefit your pet. Have a discussion with you veterinarian about which combination of supportive care is most appropriate for your furry friend.


Stress free tips for your new puppy

During your puppy’s first few months of life, you want them to be exposed to many new things in a safe and stress-free way.

At home let your puppy explore as many new sounds and objects as possible. Leave a variety of things around your house for your puppy to investigate such as:

  • Baby stroller/bouncer
  • Various sizes of balls
  • Children’s tent
  • An umbrella
  • Toys with different squeakers
  • Various types of dog toys

To get your puppy familiar with household sounds run the vacuum and hairdryer. Start off with your puppy in a different room and slowly move close so as not to startle them at first. If available you can pop bubble wrap for something different.

Getting your new dog comfortable with other dogs is also important. When your puppy is fully vaccinated, puppy classes or doggy daycare are great ways to socialize them. Prior to this invite family and friends with vaccinated dogs to your house with their pet. This allows you to expose your pup to other dogs you know are healthy.

With your friends and family’s permission, bring your new puppy when you go to visit. This will give your pup a chance to explore a home with new smells and surroundings.

Having a dog’s nails trimmed can be one of the most stressful times for them. Starting to get your new puppy prepared for this is important. Handling you puppy’s feet is a great way to start. This will get the pup used to someone touching their toes. The sound of nail trimmers can be a source of fear for them as well. If you have a pair of nail trimmers at home, walk around the house clicking them. Also using them on dry pasta (linguini works nicely) can get them acclimated to the noise. You can also leave the nails trimmers lying around the house.

Playing with your new family member is exciting, but be sure they are given the time and space they need to rest. Ensure your puppy has a place they know they can go to relax and have some down time.


An alternative to traditional cremation

Peaceful Pasture Pet Cremation is an eco-friendly alternative to flame cremation for our animal companions. Traditional flame cremation uses a lot of energy and releases harmful emissions into the air. Peaceful Pasture uses a technique called Aquamation. Aquamation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, uses gentle water flow, warm water temperatures and alkalinity to breakdown tissue. As a result, 90% less energy is used and no harmful emissions are made. Pet owners will also receive 20% more remains from their pet. Private and shared Aquamation options are available. All remains from shared Aquamation are spread on a meadow at the facility. For private Aquamation, the pet is placed in an isolated chamber with metal tag to identify them. Biodegradable urns are included with private Aquamation with the option of traditional or heart shape. Other urn options are available upon request.

For more information please visit their website at


Tips on avoiding this common mishap

I’m not sure where the expression the Dog Days of Summer comes from, but ironically dogs don’t handle the extreme heat very well at all. Dogs do not have a great ability to regulate their internal body temperature, as they can only pant and perspire from their feet. As a result, we must manage their exposure as much as possible to prevent heatstroke.

Factors such as age, obesity, breed, and underlying illness can increase a dog’s susceptibility to heatstroke. Short-nosed dogs, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston terriers or Shih Tzu’s are also at a higher risk.

We recommend exercising your pet during the early or late hours of the day when temperatures are at their lowest. If out camping or at the cabin with your dog, always ensure that your pet has encouraged times of rest in shady areas and fresh cool water is always available. You may even need to cool your pet during those real hot days; consider a kids swimming pool, a dip in the lake or even some cold wet towels to bring down their temperature.

Pets should never be left in vehicles during the summer months as they get extremely hot (even during our cooler days) in a very short period of time. Sadly, pets die every year from hyperthermia because of being left in a car.

Should you notice that your pet is hot, panting excessively, drooling, lethargic, and/or unsteady after being outside in the heat; seek immediate veterinary care. During transportation you should begin cooling your pet with cool wet towels, placed only under their belly. Do not force your pet to drink water as they could choke.

Always keep yourself and your pets cool during our hot summer months.