The Scary Scale

by: Jennifer Oldfield

As an adult when I think scary scale, I think of the number that comes up when I get on!  However to our pets, the scary scale is that horrible thing they have to get on when they come in to the vet.  So why is it the process of getting weighed can be such a challenge for some pets?


A person’s view of the weigh-in area.

In many veterinary hospitals the scale is in a spot where it is against a wall on at least one side.  In our clinic the scale has walls on 2 of the sides.  When we look at it from our perspective that doesn’t seem as though it should be an issue for a dog.  It isn’t right against the walls, it is still fairly open feeling.  There is also the small step up to get on to the scale, which again, doesn’t seem like much to us.  However we need to look at things from a different perspective, from a dog’s perspective.

The first part of the dog’s perspective we need to consider is the visit in general – whether it is the first time or the 100th time your dog has come in, there are many factors that affect how they feel about it;

  • There are the smells (many of which we can’t detect)
  • The potential noises
  • Other animals/people in the waiting area
  • Their experiences from previous visits (if this is a return visit)

Then as they come over to the scale they see;


Your pet’s view of the scale.

  • Walls, preventing their ability to escape
  • A raised surface, that looks much higher from their perspective and appears to be floating
  • When they touch the scale they will feel it go down slightly, which can be scary if they are movement sensitive
  • Plus, if you are uncertain of getting them on the scale they will sense that and feel, if you are concerned, they should be too

So, how can you resolve this and make the scale a quick and easy task at the vet?

The first thing is to take your time.  There is normally no need to rush this process.  If your dog likes treats, we have some available to use, by all means, do!  If they have other treats that are their favourites at home, bring them!  If your dog is too stressed to take a treat, then encourage them on the scale and praise them when they get anywhere near it.  Even if they only have one foot on, let them know “yes, good dog”, this is a step in the right direction.  (pun totally intended).  You can definitely touch them while they are on the scale (without applying any downward pressure).  So pet your pup under the chin, give them a few scratches, let them know they are doing a good job.  Have them stay on the scale for a little bit, give praise and/or cookies then let them off.

A couple things to try your very best NOT to do:

  • Don’t worry about getting them on the scale.  Remember, if you are worried, they will be too.  If they are worried about people in their space, our team member will back off to a point where she can read the weight without being close enough to make your dog concerned.  If they are concerned about getting on in general, let us help, and take your time.
  • Do your very best NOT to use their leash and collar to pull, drag, or lift them on to the scale.  All of these actions will likely make it more stressful and far less enjoyable for your pet.  Plus, dragging them over can get their toes caught under the scale, which will definitely not be fun for them and make them hate the process even more.
  • Don’t panic – if there is another pet in the waiting room that is making getting a weight difficult or if your pet is just too excited when they first come in, let us know.  We can get you into an exam room first and then either weigh them after the excitement has settled down, or at the end of your appointment.

We strongly encourage clients to bring their pet in just for the purpose of getting on the scale, getting a cookie or some love and leaving.  Every time you do this, the scale becomes a fun part of the process of visiting the vet.  This definitely works best with young dogs, however at any age you can work to teach your dog that the scale isn’t scary.  It is just another game in the game of life.

Electra practices getting on and off the scale whenever she comes to visit:



Nutrition Advocates

by: Brianna Redlich

You may have read the title of this post and wondered, what is a Nutrition Advocate?  In our clinic we have two Nutrition Advocates.  We are Registered Veterinary Technologists that have taken extra training in the field of Nutrition.

Lucas and Brianna

Lucas & Brianna

What can a Nutrition Advocate (NA) do for you?

Our NAs work in one of two ways;

  1. We work closely with our veterinarians to develop a plan tailored to a pet’s needs.  Either the veterinarian will decide on a diet or they will ask our advice. Once a diet has been selected, based on the pet’s needs we then calculate a feeding guide. Next we explain to the client why the diet was chosen, how to transition, how much to feed and how often. We also do a follow up call 2 to 3 weeks later to see how the pet is doing and to answer any questions the client might have.  We then recommend coming in for weigh-ins following a diet change to monitor the pet’s weight. This helps to ensure the pet is not gaining/losing on a maintenance diet or is losing at a safe rate on a weight loss diet.
  2. The other way we work is when a client comes in seeking information or help in

    Some many choices…which is right for your pet?

    changing to a different diet. When a client comes to us with concerns about their pet’s weight, diet, eating habits, etc we will work with the client to determine the best course of action for the pet. An example is a client is concerned their pet is overweight.  We have a look at the pet and evaluate the body condition score and the overall appearance.  We also ask questions for a nutrition history.  It is very important that the client is honest when answering questions about feeding amounts, number of treats and exercise. We are there to help, not judge.  Once a body condition score and history have been evaluated we will then come up with a few different options.  Some clients decide to try achieving weight loss using the pet’s current diet. We will develop a plan and explain that if they are not seeing results that a prescription diet may be needed.  We do regular weigh-ins to track the pet’s progress and make adjustments as needed. Once the pet is at an ideal weight we will continue to work with the client while switching to a maintenance diet.

Please keep in mind that there are some situations where the Nutrition Advocate will recommend an exam with one of the Veterinarians before proceeding with a diet plan. An example would be a pet that has bad allergies and irritated skin, that may need to be treated both medically and nutritionally.

Not sure if you need to make a diet change? Ask yourself these questions.

  • Is your pet’s coat dull, brittle or do they have flaky skin?
  • Is your pet gassy?
  • Is your pet over or under weight?
  • Is your pet having loose or small hard bowel movements?
  • Is your pet having multiple large bowel movements a day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may want to book a consult with one of our Nutrition Advocates.

Further information:

Nutrition Consultations

FAT CAT vs Skinny Cat

By: Jennifer Oldfield

So you’re thinking, what’s the big deal, right?  I mean many of us carry extra weight, it’s just part of life… isn’t it?  As someone who is by no means a skinny cat, it is a big deal.  There are many side effects to carrying access weight that we don’t tend to think about.  As a human it is hard to shed those access pounds, we have to exert our own self-control, which can be so tough with the onslaught of delicious food choices and a busy, often sedentary life style.

cat-eating-food-in-bowlOur cats on the other hand are at our mercy – we control the food.   We can control how much and when they get to eat.  Unfortunately many of us grew up thinking you just pour food in a bowl, walk away and do it again when the bowl gets low or (God forbid) empty!  If you currently feed your cat this way I want you to do a self-test:

  • Measure how much food you tend to pour in the bowl (is it half a cup, a whole cup, two cups?)
  • Pay attention to how long it takes for the bowl to be empty (half a day, a whole day, several days)
  • Now mark down how many pets eat out of that bowl
  • Calculate who ate how much per day
    • Example: there is 2 cups and it takes a day and a half for the bowl to be empty with one cat eating out of it: approx. 1 and 1/3 cup eaten per day

So how did you fair?  Is there more than one animal eating from the bowl?  Did you realize you have no way of knowing who ate how much?  Often when there is more than one eating from the same dish you tend to have a heavy cat and a slim cat.  It is obvious who is getting more, the question is, is the slim one getting enough?

Did you know on average a cat should eat only 1/2 cup (240-250 calories) PER DAY!  If you have discovered that indeed you either don’t know how much your cat is eating or they are definitely eating too much, don’t fret.  One of our Nutrition Consultants will gladly assist you with transitioning to meal feeding and finding the right amount of food for your particular pet.

Now, let’s look at what the extra food, creating the fat, is doing to the body;Fat Kitty

The red arrows indicate two areas of fat pockets (there is more below the pink arrow, however we aren’t as concerned with that for the purpose of this blog).  Notice the compression on the stomach, intestines and colon (plus the other organs above and beside those are hard to even see).  Also note that the fat pockets will also be pushing into the chest cavity compressing the area available for the heart and lungs.

The pink arrow indicates the colon which has an uphill “S” shape making it so that the body has to work harder to move fecal matter out.  This is part of why overweight cats often have issues with constipation.

Looking at this x-ray it may not seem too bad, but let’s compare to a cat that is at a nice lean weight:

Skinny kitty

Notice how the stomach, intestines and colon are able to spread out in the body cavity.  Plus we can see other organs we couldn’t see on the previous x-ray.   The pink arrow here shows the colon again.  This time you can see that it makes almost a direct straight path out causing no extra work or strain to defecate.

Aside from cats, dogs would also have issues with excess fat causing strain on the organs in the body.  For both species fat pushing on the lungs and heart mean that both have to work harder.  Often pets that are overweight have difficulty breathing.  In dogs you notice they pant more.  Think of it is this way: in the heat we often have issues breathing, we find the air heavy on the lungs.  Now imagine not only breathing that heavy air but that your lungs are unable to expand fully.   Breath is more rapid and shallow – you can’t get that nice deep breath.

The good part is that, because as mentioned at the beginning, we control the food, it is easier to work to get your pet to lose weight than it is to do so for ourselves.  There are some fantastic diets available in-clinic that help to increase metabolism of your pet without needing to decrease the amount of food they eat.  There are also other store brands that are reduced in fat and calorie content to help, if not lose weight, at least prevent the further gain of weight.  Plus there are easy ways to increase the activity of your pet to help burn off that access weight.  Yes, even your cat can increase activity at home to loss weight.  See Amaya’s success video.

When deciding to proceed with a weight loss plan, keep in mind loss should be gradual.  Losing weight too quickly for a pet can be detrimental to their health.  Seek guidance from your veterinarian: contact us to make an appointment or to speak to one of our Nutrition Consultants today.


What is That in My Pet’s Ears?

pets scratching

Otodectes cynotis mites, most commonly known as ear mites are a type of mange and are more common in kittens and young cats, but can be found in dogs as well as other animal species.  Happily for us though, ear mites do not affect humans.  Mites are passed from moms to newborns or from pet to pet especially when sleeping and cuddling together, or grooming occurs; most noteably around the ear area.  The most common symptoms you will notice include:

  • shaking the head
  • scratching the ears
  • a coffee ground like debris inside the ears
  • thick red-brown or black crusts around the top external portion of the ear

if the infestation is really bad you may notice

  • your pet is painful when touched in the ear/ear canal areas (along side the base of the ear)
  • some blood within the ear
  • scratch marks and a loss of fur behind the ears
  • crying when scratching

ear mites ear

What can be done?

It is far more common and highly likely for your kitten to have ear mites than to not have them.  Adult cats if recently acquired from a rescue or humane society or found stray may also have ear mites.   Most often this is taken care of and treated on their first ever visit to the vet.   It is much less common for puppies and dogs, often if their ears are bothering them they likely have another type of infection like yeast or bacteria, although they can definitely get ear mites.

The best, quickest and most guaranteed way to get rid of ear mites is to bring your pet in to see your veterinarian.  Often mites can be diagnosed on physical exam, however your veterinarian will likely take a swab of the debris to check under a microscope and confirm the presence of ear mites and assess that no other infection is present.  The ears are then flushed and thoroughly cleaned to remove all the mites and debris.  Your pet will also be treated with a prescription medication to kill any remaining mites and prevent the infestation from recurring.

Be sure to let the vet know if you have other pets at home that spend a lot of time together or sleep in the same place as the pet that has mites.  All those pets at home should also be treated to prevent mites from continuing to pass from one pet to the other.  If the pet at home has a lot of debris in the ears, it is a good idea to bring them in to get their ears flushed as well.  This is not something that should be done at home as you wouldn’t want to accidentally cause damage to the ear drum or ear canal.

Sir Charlie Mouse after his ear cleaning

Sir Charlie Mouse after his ear cleaning

Can you treat at home?

There is an over-the-counter treatment for ear mites, however if there is any uncertainty (especially in dogs) that the ear infection is mites, it is best not to use this medication.  A downside to home treatment is that unless the ears are cleaned and the product is used exactly as directed, including the repetition of the medication a few weeks later, it may not resolve the problem completely, resulting in the same issue for your pet a few weeks down the road as the mites continue to re-infest the ears.  We have also had clients who used the product exactly as directed and it still did not resolve the problem.

The great thing about mites is that they are fairly easy to get rid of and don’t often recur when done with the aid of your veterinarian.  If you have any questions about ear mites, your pet’s potential ear infection or anything else related to your pet’s health please contact your veterinarian.

ear mite

Ear mite seen under a microscope.


The Importance of Diagnostics Part 3

In Part 1 of our series we discussed the importance of ultrasound; Part 2 was about x-rays; now in our final part of the series,we discuss the importance of lab tests.

by: Dr. Barb Eatock

20161114_125233If your pet is sick, your veterinarian may recommend performing lab tests to help determine the underlying cause of your pet’s symptoms.  These tests can provide a lot of important information to your veterinarian regarding the diagnosis and therefore the appropriate treatment.  Even if all the results come back in the normal range, this helps your veterinarian rule out several potential causes of the symptoms your pet is having and these results can then be used as a baseline to compare to future tests.

The most common laboratory tests for a veterinarian to recommend are bloodwork and a urine sample.  The veterinarian may recommend other tests such as an examination of a stool sample; depending on specific symptoms.  Bloodwork may include a complete bloodcount, chemistry or additional tests.  The complete blood can help determine whether your pet is anemic, has an inflammatory response and whether he or she has enough platelets to aid with blood clotting.  The chemistry shows whether your pet has liver, kidney, or pancreatic disease, checks protein and electrolyte (sodium, potassium, and chloride) levels, and checks blood sugar and calcium levels.  The blood count and chemistry can also be used to determine if patients are a good candidate for an anesthetic procedure.  Urine samples also provide important information such as infection, blood  (which may indicate bladder stones or other problems), sugar in the urine (which may indicate diabetes), and how concentrated the urine is (which can help determine whether the kidneys are functioning properly).


Additional tests which may be recommended depending on species, age and symprotms, include thyroid tests and tests for certain viruses such as parvo, feline leukemia, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).  Most tests can be performed in clinic with same day results; tests that need to be sent away will generally have results back within a few days.

img_3664Lab tests are a very important tool for your veterinarian.  They provide essential information to allow for a precise diagnosis, which allows your veterinarian to provide specific treatment, which can help save time, money, and prevent the needless suffering of your pet.




The Importance of Diagnostics: Part 2

In our first blog post on Diagnostics we featured the benefits of Ultrasound.  Next up X-rays!

by: Dr. Tracy Fisher

Radiographs, or X-rays as they are more commonly known, have been around for a
long time, since 1895 in fact, but they remain an invaluable tool in diagnosing a wide
variety of conditions. Our clinic offers high quality digital radiology for the body as well
as digital dental radiology.

Wascana Turtle Project.July.1-2-Jul-2016

A turtle with 20 eggs!

Radiographs are used to diagnose many diseases and conditions from heart disease
and pneumonia, to gastro-intestinal foreign bodies (otherwise known as, my pet ate
what?????), kidney and bladder stones, some kinds of cancer, broken bones and
dislocated joints, arthritis, and to get an accurate count of how many puppies a pregnant
dog (or other animal) is going to have. Radiographs and ultrasound are often used together, especially when imaging the abdomen as they provide different types of images that compliment one another and allow us to get a much better idea of what the problem
may be.

Radiographs do use a type of radiation to create an image but the dose used to take a
series of diagnostic images is not significant to your pet. The radiation dose can be
harmful to humans who are repeatedly exposed and to pregnant women. For this
reason our staff wear lead aprons, along with other protective gear and measure their radiation exposure to minimize their individual exposure amounts. This is also why we ask owners to wait outside the room when their pet is having radiographs taken.

Oldfield, Jennifer.Magnum.1-27-May-2014

Radiograph checking hip placement

Sometimes we will sedate a pet in order to take radiographs, this is most common when the positioning may be awkward or painful for the pet such as an animal with a broken bone, painful shoulder or hip x-rays in an excited dog. We will recommend sedation in any pet when we feel it will be too stressful or painful to restrain them for the radiographs.


Dental radiographs are used when we clean and examine your pets teeth under a general anesthetic. They are very useful in determining which teeth need to be extracted and which teeth are healthy. Many patients, especially cats, have disease in the roots of their teeth that cannot be seen by looking in the mouth or probing the tooth.  Radiographs let us identify these teeth and remove them, saving your pet another procedure a few months down the road when the problem comes to the surface.


The Importance of Diagnostics: Part 1

Diagnostics are the tests doctors are able to perform, that allow them to find out what is going on with your pet when they aren’t well.   Sometimes a diagnositc may be performed that comes back normal, and although we understand this can be frustrating for our clients, this information is actually extremely useful for the veterinarian.    It helps eliminate possible diagnoses and helps them to determine what is more likely to be the problem.

In this series we will provide a bit of information on the diagnostics we are able to perform right here at Albert North Veterinary Clinic.


by: Dr. Jo-Ann Liebe*

Ultrasound is one  of the diagnostic tests we offer in clinic.  Ultrasound is best used for the evauation of soft tissues like internal organs, the heart, and sometimes masses, tendons, and muscles; in certain species.  Ultrasound does not do well with air or bone because the sound does not travel well through these media and the results are a poor signal.

Ultrasound can give important information about the prescence of fluid in the abdomen, masses (to help determine which organ may be affected and even to biopsy without full anesthetic or expensive and invasive surgery), pregnancy diagnosis and assessment of fetal viability and health, finding bladder stones (some of which are not visable on x-ray), and overall organ health.

Our clinic was the first in Regina to offer this valuable service and over the years we have continued to upgrade our equipment to continually improve image quality for the best evauation possible.

Diagnostic us small

Gizmo, a 14 year old domestic shorthair being ultrasounded to check his pancreatic health. His liver, stomach, kidneys, spleen, bladder and intestines were also evaluated

*Dr. Jo-Ann Liebe is highly trained in ultrasound evaluation and is one of only a small few in the Regina area who can perform a comprehensive diagnostic ultrasound.  We are pleased to work with other veterinarians to be able to provide this valuable service to their patients through a referral.




Not all KONG Toys are Created Equal

KONG toys are fantastic toys for your dog.  They are wonderful for retreiving and playing with, they are great for dogs that like to chew, and they are super fantastic to stuff for keeping dogs busy on days when it is harder to get out with them (like snowy or rainy days) or when life just gets in the way of a good round of exercise and play.  However did you know not all KONG toys are created equal?  There are an assortment of colours in the KONG family in which each are designed with a specific type or age of dog in mind.
kong pupTypes of KONGS
  • Pale pink or pale blue are for your puppy.
  • Purple ones are designed for your senior dog.

Both of these KONGS are a bit softer with more flex behind them, to
be gentle on young or aging mouths.

  • Red are the classic original KONG for the general chewer.  The are definitely tougher kongsthan the puppy or senior dog kongs but are designed with the average dog in mind.
  • Black are called extreme and are a tougher strength rubber designed for a more intense chewer.  These KONGS aren’t indestructible but definitely more heavy duty then the classic.
  • Blue KONGS are generally veterinary exclusive and are designed for most levels of chewer.
The Special Feature of the Blue KONG

IMG_2334 The puppy, senior, classic and extreme kongs if ingested will not show up on xray – HOWEVER the blue veterinary exclusive are designed specially to be radio-opaque, meaning that if ingested the pieces will be visible upon xray.  This is  wonderful news from our perspective and we now have a selection of all available sizes in clinic.  For more information on the benefits of the KONG, come on in, we would love to assist you!

Additional Sources:

KONG Toy User Guide

KONG Recipes

dog kong

taken from the KONG Company website



Tick Time

by: Brianna Redlich

The snow has melted, the sun is shining and the ticks are questing! Unfortunately it is getting to be that time of year when the little vampires that hide in the grass start to appear.

What is a Tick?

Besides icky, ticks are a tiny, eight legged parasite with a small head and a large body. Ticks have 3 life stages. They hatch from an egg into a 6 legged larva, molt into an eight legged nymph, then molt again into an adult. After the larva and nymph stages take a blood meal they then molt into the next stage. After mated, adult females take a blood meal them drop off into the environment to lay eggs. The ticks we find in Saskatchewan are mainly found in tall grass and shrubs. There they stand on blades of grass waving their arms (questing) in hopes of getting picked up. Ticks can become active once the temperature is above 4 degrees Celsius.

ticks 1

Which Ticks Are Found in Saskatchewan?

The 2 main kinds of ticks we see in Saskatchewan are the Rocky Mountain Wood tick (demacentor andersoni) and American Dog tick (dermacentor variabilis). Ticks are migrating and expanding their territory. The Deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) that carries Lyme disease is starting to make its way into Saskatchewan.

What Diseases Can Ticks Carry?

The American Dog tick and Wood tick can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Rickettsia rickettsia). It usually appears suddenly with severe illness lasting 2 weeks. The symptoms of the disease are vague, but can include fever, joint/muscle pain, depression and anorexia. Only about 5% of ticks in a given area are infected and need to feed for 5 to 20 hours. The infectious organism is passed through the salivary excretions.

Deer ticks are the ones that carry Lyme disease. Ticks become infected with the organism when the larva and nymph stages feed on infected mice. The tick is then able to pass on the organism to the next host. It needs to feed for 24 to 48 hours before the organism can be passed to the host through the tick’s salivary gland. This type of tick feeds mainly on deer and are starting to make an appearance in Saskatchewan (SK). There have been a few sporadic cases of Lyme in SK, but most are from dogs that have travelled to a place where Lyme is more common. Acute symptoms of Lyme include fever, lameness, swollen joints, lethargy and depression.

ticks 2

When Are Ticks Out?

Most of the time we notice a large bloom of ticks in spring to early summer. What you may not know it that ticks can be active from early spring to late fall. Below is a chart showing at what time different ticks and life stages are active.


American Dog Tick Mountain Wood Tick Deer Tick
Larvae Active April to September.

Feed on midsize animals.

Active March to October.

Prefer to feed on rodents.

Active July to September.

Preferred host is the white foot mouse. They molt and re-emerge in the spring as a nymph.

Nymph Active May to July.

Feed on midsize animals.

Active March to October. Larvae and nymph stages rarely attach to humans and pets. Active May to August. Commonly found in moist wooded areas.
Adult Active April to early August.

Feed on medium size animals, humans and pets.

Most common late spring/early summer. Activity goes down during the hot, dry months. Active October to May as long as the temp. is above freezing. Females feed, hibernate, and then lay eggs in mid to late May.
Misc. Info Adults can go 600 days without a blood meal. Found in deciduous forests where deer can be found.

Can cause Lyme Disease.


How to Remove a Tick

If you or your pet are unfortunate enough to have one of these attached to you it is tickimportant to remove it as soon as possible. Here is a step by step guide on how to best remove a tick from your pet or yourself.

  • First of all DO NOT apply anything to the tick such as alcohol or Vaseline before removing it. Also DO NOT try to burn it off with a lighter or a hot needle. Doing these will cause the tick to inject germs into the wound. Essentially you are causing the tick to vomit into your skin. Gross!
  • Use a pair or tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with firm steady pressure. Do not jerk, yank or twist the tick. If the tick doesn’t come off easily, see your local vet to make sure it’s not a lump or something else.
  • After removing the tick you can wash the area with an antiseptic.
  • Contact your vet if you notice any signs of infection such as swelling and redness at the site the tick was attached.


How to Protect Your Pet

There are different products you can use to help protect your dog from ticks. There is a new topical* for cats that will be available this year. Luckily in the mean time if your cat is able to groom itself they usually lick most of the ticks off. There are 2 products that I would like to discuss and both are available at your veterinary clinic. One is a topical liquid that is applied to the skin and the other is a chewable tablet.

advantix                Advantix is a small tube of liquid that is applied to the skin and acts as a repellent for ticks and mosiquitos*. The liquid spreads across the body through the natural oils on the skin. When a tick comes into contact with the dog it absorbs the medication through their feet. This is painful for the tick and will cause them to drop off. Ticks that are still alive when they drop off will not reattach and will die within 1 to 12 hours. It is recommended to check your dog for ticks before application because ticks that are already feeding may not come into contact with the drug. Some dogs may have a reaction called paresthesia which can be described as a pins and needle sensation. This can occur within 1 to 2 hours after application. If this happens owners can put 3 drops of vitmain E on the spot of application. If that dosen’t solve the problem than you should bath your dog with Dawn soap. This product is toxic to cats so please do not apply it to them. If you do have cats at home they need to be separated from the dog for 12 hours. Lastly if your dog enjoys swimming or gets regular baths it may decrease the efficacy of the drug, so it may have to be applied every 3 weeks.*

Bravecto is a new product that is a chewable tablet that you bravectogive once and it lasts for 3 months. The tablet is flavored and most dogs take it as a treat. The drug stays in the blood stream, so the tick does need to take a blood meal before it dies. A feeding tick is a dead tick. The rare dog will vomit after being given Bravecto. Seeing how this medication is not on the skin you do not have to separate cats from the dog and the efficacy doesn’t decrease with bathing or swimming.

For more information about these products and others please contact your veterinarian.

Have fun in the sun and remember to stay safe out there.

UPDATE (April 7, 2016): Changes were made to the information for Advantix after a recent seminar with our Bayer Rep.

*UPDATE (April 10, 2017): Information was added for Advantix and there is a new topical treatment coming for cats – Bravecto Feline.

Additional Resources:


Dental Quiz Answers

During the month of February our technologist Meghan put together a Dental Quiz for our clients.  They could answer and turn in their quiz for a chance to win a dental care gift pack.  It wasn’t about getting the answers right or wrong, it was about getting our clients to actively think about dental care in their pets.  Often this is an area of animal health care that is over looked and yet can greatly affect the health, length, and quality of your pet’s life. pup teeth

Below are the questions with the answers and a brief blurb on each.

  1. What percentage of pets over the age of 3 have dental disease? 


By age 3 your pet has gone 1,095 days without brushing his teeth and even if your pet does chew his food and even if it is a dental specific diet it isn’t going to provide the same exact action as brushing with clean water and toothpaste (think of you eating a carrot).

  1. What is an early sign of dental disease that owners may overlook? 

Bad Breath

Bad breath is a sign that the mouth has a build up of bacteria in it.

       3. True or False: Dental disease causes pain.  


As bacteria builds up in the mouth and eventually plaque then tartar forms on the teeth and gums bleed and separate the decay moves under the gums.  All of this leads to the decay of teeth making the mouth very sore.  Until a dental surgery is performed and the teeth can be cleaned above and below the gums as well as removing any unhealthy teeth the pain will not go away.

  1. dental-brush-paste-kitWhich is the “gold standard” of home dental care? 

Brush daily

Although feeding a dental diet, offering dental chews and using an oral rinse are all helpful in dental care, the absolute best thing you can do for your pets oral health is to brush daily!

  1. Which can be brushed off? 


Plaque is the first build up of debris on the teeth.  Tartar is the mineralization of that debris and cannot be removed with regular brushing.

       6. How long does it take plaque to mineralize to tartar?

24 – 36 hrs   

This is the reason why brushing daily is the key to keeping teeth healthy.

        7. True or False: Hand scaling teeth on an awake patient is best.


Scaling teeth creates tiny microscopic grooves in the surface of the teeth.  Without polishing after scaling the grooves remain, leaving the perfect place for food and debris to continue to build up and eat away at the teeth.  Pets need to be under a general anesthetic so that scaling and cleaning of all the teeth can be done thoroughly and completely, then teeth can be polished to remove the tiny grooves created by scaling.Dent

        8. How often should a dental cleaning be performed on pets?    

Depends on the individual animal.

Some pets require regular annual cleaning, while others can go years before needing a cleaning.  Genetics plays a very large role in the health of teeth and even when the owner does everything right including brushing daily, a dental may need to be performed on a regular basis.

           9. Order the following stages of dental disease from best (0) to worst (4)DDD_dog_gum_disease

__0__ Clean, healthy teeth

__1__ Plaque accumulation

__2__ Gum inflammation (gingivitis)

__3__ Tartar build-up

__4__ Gum separation (periodontitis)

Plaque accumulation and gingivitis can occur almost simaltaneously, so if you couldn’t decide which of these two went first you are essentially correct either way.

         10. True or False: Dental disease can lead to heart and kidney disease.


The bacteria in the mouth that causes dental disease spreads throughout the body leading over time to heart and kidney disease.

The Results Are In…

So how did you do?  Did you learn something new?  We sure hope so!

Just like dental care is important for you, so is it for your pet.  The best you can do is work together with your veterinary team to determine what you can do to keep your pet’s oral health at its best, ultimately leading to a longer, healthier, happier life!

Jack Russell Terrier Snarling

Jack Russell Terrier Snarling — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Want more information on dental care and what is involved in a dental cleaning for your pet?  See the dental section of our website!