Preventive measures (COVID-19)

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Because our pets are such integral parts of our families, it is important to recognize some signs of pain that they may be experiencing.

In certain cases, the animal’s quality of life can be affected in a gradual and insidious way, such as with dental issues or arthritis in older animals.

It’s not always easy to identify the signs of animal pain. Some animals, like cats, show little to no signs of pain. Animals are incredibly adaptable and can easily hide their symptoms.

 

Here are some clues that your companion could present if they are in pain:

  • Decreasing activity levels;
  • Apathy following some physical effort;
  • Hesitation to jump on a surface (cat), or to go up or down stairs;
  • Difficulty getting up or settling down;
  • Decrease or cessation of grooming;
  • Excessive licking or chewing of a part of his body;
  • Decreased to no appetite;
  • Behavioural changes (less tolerant of handling, hiding, routine changes, irritability);
  • Increased sleep periods;
  • Visible nictitating (3rd eyelid);
  • Difficulty finding a comfortable position or frequent changes in position;
  • Increased vocalizations.

In small mammals, a slowing down or stopping of the digestive transit can also be observed. In birds, a swollen plumage and lowered wings may be noticed. For cats, the positioning of their eyes, head, whiskers and ears is a useful way to determine their condition. Their facial expression can tell us a lot! In dogs, their posture can tell us more: they will have a round back, low ears and low tail.

Keep in mind that some medications may not be appropriate for your pet’s problem and may actually make it worse. In addition, several human medications are toxic to our pets. Therefore, before starting any treatment, check with our team!

 

Danielle Castilloux, Hôpital Vétérinaire de l'Ormière

Vaccine Reactions

Vaccination is the best way to protect your pet from infectious diseases. The principle of vaccination is to administer to the animal a small dose of disease-causing organisms (viruses or bacteria) that have been either "killed" or modified. This will cause a specific reaction of the immune system, which will develop cells with a memory of the diseases against which the animal has been vaccinated.  Consequently, if the animal comes into contact with one of these diseases later on, the immune system will be ready and able to fight the disease quickly and effectively. It is common for a booster vaccination to be necessary to maintain good immune memory.

Although most animals will tolerate the vaccination perfectly well, some may experience a change in their general condition. Fatigue, decreased appetite, low-grade fever or mild pain at the vaccination site may be observed. These symptoms are normal and can be relieved with cuddling and affection. However, if these symptoms persist 48 hours after vaccination, please contact your veterinarian.

Allergic reactions may sometimes occur. This type of reaction usually occurs within 6 hours of vaccination. Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, itching (especially on the face), facial swelling and redness, diarrhea and, rarely, difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Allergic reactions must be treated with medication and fortunately, response to treatment is quick and effective in the vast majority of cases.  Your veterinarian will prescribe the best treatment to cure your pet.

If your pet has had a previous allergic reaction in the past, your veterinarian will discuss with you the advisability of continuing the vaccination. A decision may be made to discontinue all or part of the vaccines. Sometimes the vaccination is continued, but medication must be given in the days leading up to the vaccination.

By vaccinating your pet, you are protecting them from serious and sometimes fatal diseases. You can rest assured that vaccination is a wise decision!

 

Kennel Cough

What is kennel cough?

Kennel cough in dogs is very similar to the common cold in humans; it’s an infection of the upper respiratory tract. The main symptom is a dry, hacking cough that produces phlegm. This disease is highly contagious between dogs.

What does kennel cough sound like? It is very similar to the sound your dog makes when he is coughing and about to throw up. The cough is also very common and can be almost constant in severe cases. Your dog may also have extra secretions in the nose or eyes, or sneeze more often. Most dogs live quite well with kennel cough and would maintain their usual activities and appetite throughout their recovery.

Kennel cough can be caused by several types of viruses and bacteria. The most common cause is the Bordetella bronchiseptica strain of bacteria. However, kennel cough can be caused by other microorganisms, and your dog is more likely to be infected by the bacteria when his immune system is weakened by an existing viral infection.

Kennel cough has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days, during which time the dog will not show any obvious symptoms but will still be contagious and can spread it to other dogs. Once symptoms begin, kennel cough usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks, although some dogs with medical conditions or older dogs may take up to 6 weeks to recover. There are rare cases where kennel cough can develop into pneumonia, which can be very serious.

 

How did my dog catch kennel cough?  

Dogs can catch kennel cough anytime they are exposed to viruses or bacteria. However, because of its highly contagious nature, it is especially prevalent in kennels, which is why it is commonly called kennel cough.

Kennel cough is airborne, just like the human cold. When an infected dog coughs, droplets containing the bacteria or virus are dispersed into the air and spread to other animals nearby. The disease can also be spread by sharing toys, bowls or other objects with an infected dog. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to keep your dog quarantined if you think that he’s showing signs of kennel cough.

 

What should I do if my dog has kennel cough symptoms?

In most cases, kennel cough gets better with time, just like the common cold! No specific treatment is needed. You can take steps to make your dog more comfortable, such as removing his collar and using a humidifier to relieve the cough. The cough is usually more of an annoyance to the family than the dog itself.

Her are a few guidelines:

  • If your dog is in good overall condition and eating well, treatments are often not necessary. Before taking your dog to your veterinarian, assess the severity of his symptoms and contact the clinic if required. Your veterinarian will decide if your dog needs to be examined or not.
  • If your dog shows signs of breathing difficulties, is not eating normally, is elderly or immunosuppressed, a visit to the veterinarian may be necessary. Chest X-rays are often recommended, and an antibiotic may be prescribed.
  • Your dog should be considered contagious for 2 weeks after the end of symptoms. He should not go to dog parks or dog daycare centres during that time.

 

Preventing kennel cough

Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations. If your dog is not properly vaccinated or if you are unsure, contact your veterinarian today.

 

Vaccine prevention remains your best choice!  

 

 

 

Does Your Pet Suffer from Itching?

Your pet scratches, chews and licks himself all the time? Canine and feline itching is often a symptom of an allergy. But an allergy to what? That is the question… If you notice signs of intense itching, better consult your veterinarian, and read below.

There are four major causes of possible allergies in dogs and cats. Indeed, there are allergies to flea bites, atopic dermatitis (including seasonal allergies), food allergies, and contact allergy (skin reaction following contact, with a chemical product, for example). All these causes lead to several symptoms, one of which is common to them; i.e. pruritus.

In dogs, itching results in scratching, licking and excessive biting, most often directed at the ears, face, paws, stomach and perineum. In cats, excessive grooming is mainly noticed on the face, belly and groin. Unfortunately, this excessive scratching will, in most cases, lead to self-inflicted traumatic skin damage. Thus, we can observe areas of hair loss, redness, scabs, red and oozing raised patches, ulcers, etc.

When the animal creates lesions due to excessive scratching, the skin becomes more fragile and therefore more susceptible to secondary bacterial and fungal infections. It is possible that your veterinarian administers antibiotics or antifungals to your animal to cure these infections before attacking the cause of the allergies.

 

The diagnostic

Only a veterinarian is able to make an accurate diagnosis about excessive itching.

There are three types of allergies:

  • Food allergies: this allergy occurs when the animal’s immune system reacts to a specific ingredient. Your pet may develop a food allergy overnight, no matter if you’ve given him the same food for a long time. You can see that the animal is scratching excessively, especially around the ears and legs.
  • Dermatitis: it only takes one flea bite to trigger allergy dermatitis (FAD). Your pet does not need to be infested with fleas to suffer from extreme itching in the back, legs, belly, and tail. To make a diagnosis, the veterinarian checks for fleas or flea feces, redness, sores or skin infections.
  • Atopy: Just like humans, your pet may be allergic to pollen, dust mites, dust and mould. Atopy may be seasonal or annual; it causes itching in the head, stomach, elbows and on the legs.

The ultimate test to diagnose atopic dermatitis is a skin allergy test or allergy intradermal test (TAID); this test being carried out by a veterinarian who specializes in dermatology. A small patch of hair is shaved from your pet's side and a very small amount of an allergen-containing solution is injected. In total, about 50 allergens are injected. These allergens are selected based on their presence in the geographic region where you live. Afterwards, each injection site is analyzed 15 to 30 minutes later to determine which allergen(s) reacted on your animal. If the reaction is positive, then swelling will be present at the injection site.

The skin allergy test is generally carried out at least around 2 ½-3 years of age in order to allow the animal to develop all of its allergies. Indeed, an animal allergic to only a few allergens at around 1 year old may become allergic to a range of others a few years later. This saves us from repeating the test, which can be quite expensive! It is also best to perform this test in the fall or winter so that environmental allergens such as pollen do not interfere with the test.

Treatment

Itching caused by allergy can be treated in several ways:

  • antihistamines;
  • cortisone;
  • pest control;
  • specialized shampoo;
  • immunotherapy.

However, be aware that nutrition can play a major role in controlling allergies. Some dog food formulas specifically designed to protect healthy skin may be effective against itching. Acting as a skin barrier, these therapeutic nutrient formulas prevent the penetration of allergens in the dog's body and promotes optimum hydration, which considerably reduces itching.

The only treatment that will allow your animal to recover from its allergies is hyposensitization or immunotherapy. On the other hand, to have access to this treatment, it is necessary to perform the skin allergy test beforehand. Subsequently, once the allergens have been isolated, a solution is made and then periodically injected into your pet. Generally, this treatment is effective in 75% of animals and it takes a period of 3 to 12 months before the itching subsides. The injections should be continued for life, but once the itching is well controlled, the intervals between injections may increase.

As previously mentioned, the skin allergy test is relatively expensive. Thus, it is sometimes possible to control allergies with alternative solutions before having the famous skin test performed. In animals whose signs of allergies are seasonal and mild, a symptomatic treatment can be attempted before moving onto the allergy test, with the agreement of the owner. Indeed, some medications such as cortisone, essential fatty acids and antihistamines are effective in controlling symptoms, but it is important to mention that these do not cure allergies! Some of these drugs, especially cortisone, can lead to side effects if administered over a long period. It is therefore very important to weigh the pros and cons before choosing this option.

 

Advice

You can help your veterinarian to determine the causes of your pet’s itching by noting your observations:

  • Is the itching regular or occasional? When does it occur?
  • Which dog food do you use? Do you give him treats?
  • Have you moved recently?
  • Do you have new furniture?
  • Have you used new household cleaning products?
  • Do you have a new pet?

 

 

 

 

Parasite Prevention

Your pet is at risk of being infected with various parasites such as ticks, heartworms, intestinal worms, fleas, lice and mites. Our veterinarians will be able to establish a safe and effective parasite prevention protocol adapted to your animal’s needs.

What is heartworm?

Unfortunately, heartworms are as disgusting as their name suggests – long worms that live in your dog's heart! The disease caused by heartworm, called dirofilariasis, can be fatal. Fortunately, it is easy to prevent.

How do animals become infected with heartworm?

Mosquitoes transmit the parasite by injecting heartworm larvae into the animal's skin. The larvae develop in the tissues and migrate to the heart, where they reach the adult stage. The adults live in the heart and the large blood vessels around the heart. They reproduce and release larvae into the bloodstream. These larvae are then ingested by a mosquito and transmitted to another animal.

What are the signs of heartworm infection?

Due to the stress exerted on the heart by adult worms, infected animals often show clinical signs of heart disease or heart failure, such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal volume segmentation

How do veterinarians diagnose heartworm infection?

  • Blood test to check for adult heartworms or larvae
  • Cardiac X-ray or ultrasound

Can heartworm infection be treated?

Heartworm infection can be treated, but this treatment carries risks and its outcome is not guaranteed. Your dog will need to receive a series of arsenic injections and possibly even undergo surgery to remove the adult worms present in his heart. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

When should I start administering preventive treatment to my animal?

Start preventive treatment against heartworm in the first months of life. There is a wide range of products available in the form of tablets, chewable cubes and solutions to apply to the skin. Your veterinarian will recommend the best product for your pet.

 

Spaying and Neutering of Cats: is it Necessary?

A cat reaches sexual maturity around the age of 5 to 8 months. Therefore, this means that they can start reproducing from a young age. Most of us have no desire to do cat breeding and we certainly do not want to add to the burden that stray cats can cause. Spaying a cat - castration in the male (removal of the testicles) and sterilization of the female (removing the ovaries and uterus) - not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but also limits the associated undesirable behaviors associated with sexual maturity and even reduces the risk of certain diseases.

Here are the 3 main reasons for sterilizing a female cat:

Health risks: Female cats that are not neutered are more likely to suffer from pyometra (infection of the uterus) later in life, and develop breast tumors. Female cats suffering from infectious diseases can pass them on to their kittens.

Population control: It is important to sterilize a cat before she can have kittens. This surgery is very fast depending on the cat’s breed, her birth month and her individual development. The first estrus season usually occurs approximately at six months, but can happen earlier. Female cats can have up to three litters per year if not sterilized.

Nuisance control: Female cats will call out and will be more receptive to male cats (by catcalling, or meowing and yowling excessively) when they come into heat. This will occur approximately every three weeks for sexually active periods of the year if they do not get pregnant. The more unsterilized female cats are present in a geographic area, the more they attract uncastrated males, causing more fights and catcalling.

Here are the top 3 reasons for castrating a male cat:

Health risks: Uncastrated males tend to fight more with other cats and are much more likely to spread diseases such as FIV and FeLV to other cats. They are also more likely to sustain injuries from their fights such as abscesses. Because they roam over a large area, they are also more at risk of being victims of road traffic accidents.

Problematic behaviors: Uncastrated male cats wander away from the house and could potentially not return. They can also mark their territory inside the house with urine and can be aggressive towards their owners. It is therefore desirable to neuter kittens early enough so that the above problems are avoided.

Nuisance control: Uncastrated cats may wander over a larger geographical area and mark it with urine. Uncastrated cats are much more likely to fight, which causes noise disturbances.

In addition to helping prevent diseases and infections that can be fatal, neutering increases the potential quality of life of your furry friend.

 

 

 

Eight Reasons To Vaccinate Your Pet

We do not always see the need to have our animals vaccinated, especially if they don’t leave the house. On the other hand, the last two years have shown us that pandemics can occur at any time, and that the only possible immunity is through vaccination. Well, here are 8 reasons that will convince you of the need for vaccination for your beloved pets.

  1. Your pet can transmit diseases to you.

You could catch certain diseases, parasites or infections through your pet – these are called zoonoses. A bite, scratch or contact with the skin, mucous membranes, saliva, or feces from your four-legged companion are considered methods of transmission.

  1. Your animal could escape.

No one wants that, but your little protégé may have a sudden urge to explore nature and escape the moment you open the door. An unfortunate contact could cause him to contract a virus.

  1. You carry diseases with you. 

Even if your companion always stays at home or hardly goes out, you could bring in diseases that are not contractible by humans. Did you walk through a place where a contaminated mammal could have gone before you? Your soles could harbour bacteria. Have you touched an object that has been in contact with another animal? Same thing! It's better not to take risks to keep your pet healthy for a long time!

  1. Uncontrollable elements:

Are you planning to visit the groomer with your pet? Are you leaving for a week and your pet needs to be sent to a kennel? You should be aware that some diseases, such as kennel cough and feline rhinotracheitis, can be transmitted by things you cannot control. These can end up in the air that your dog or cat will breathe and so then will start the symptoms.

  1. You will prevent the worst.

It’s best not to take the risk that your pet, a member of your family, or yourself get sick. Since some diseases can be fatal, we prefer to do prevention rather than treat for an important medical condition that could have been avoided.

  1. Prevention versus medical care:

It’s a question of costs. You thought you’d save a few dollars this year by not vaccinating your pet? If he should unfortunately catch a virus or a disease, for lack of not having received his vaccines, know that the cost of care would easily exceed that of the vaccines you wanted to avoid in the first place... In addition to causing unnecessary inconvenience and pain to your furry companion.

  1. Ah, travelling…

Would you like to go abroad with your faithful companion? Many countries ask that your dog or cat’s vaccination be up to date in order to avoid spreading diseases across borders. No vaccines, no holidays. Do you plan to put your pet in a kennel while you travel? Most kennels will require the up-to-date vaccination of your darling pet.

  1. You will help eradicate certain diseases.

Humans managed to eradicate smallpox in 1981 through vaccination. We find the same concept in animals! Panleucopenia (typhus), and FeLV infection were widespread in felines a few decades ago. Fortunately, now, thanks to vaccination campaigns, cats are less and less affected by these diseases, which are becoming increasingly rare in clinics.

 

 

General and Preventive Medicine

Our teams provide annual check-ups, vaccine reminders and personalized preventive advice. Discover our general and preventive medicine services for your companions!

  • Annual health checkup
  • Vaccination program
  • Deworming program
  • Parasitic prevention program
  • Microchip installation
  • Care program adapted for aging-related health issues

We believe that prevention is the best way to promote the good health of our patients. Our veterinarians will always offer you the best advice to keep your pet healthy with you for a long time to come!

Don't hesitate to ask them for advice, they are there to advise you and ensure that your companion will be healthy and by your side for as long as possible!