Veterinary Services in Victoria BC
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Tips for a Stress-Free Trip to the Vet

cat looking nervousTips for a Stress-Free Trip to the Vet
According to a recent study, cats go to the vet 5 times less often than dogs do, even though there are 10 million more pet cats than dogs nationally. Two-thirds of cat parents admit that they only take their cat to the vet when it’s ill or injured because putting their cat in a carrier or in the car is a significant cause of stress for both the cat and the owner. Therefore, their cats do not receive health exams or preventative care, which could help to catch disease processes early on, or prevent them from beginning in the first place. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your cat’s stress before and during a visit to the vet so that she can receive the important health care that she deserves.

Get your cat accustomed to head-to-tail exams at home. Even though you may not know what you’re looking for, getting your cat used to having her body handled will help significantly next time she is at the vet. Get your cat used to having her ears, legs, feet, face, tail and body touched by gently petting those areas (if your cat will allow) on a regular basis.

Ensure that you have the right size and type of carrier. Cats like to feel safe, but need space to be comfortable. Ensure that your carrier is large enough so that you cat can stand up and turn around, but not so large as to have her feel exposed. Top loading carriers, or those that can be efficiently taken apart, allow for an easier extraction when it’s time for your cat to come out for her exam. It’s preferable to be able to lift the top of the carrier off than to have to awkwardly pull your cat out of the tiny front door.

Help your cat become used to her carrier. Many pet owners know the look of terror that crosses their cat’s face when she sees the ‘crate of doom’ pulled out from the basement, which is usually followed by a lengthy period of hiding under the bed. Help your cat become used to her carrier by having it accessible in the house at all times. Give your cat treats in her carrier, make sure it’s lined with a comfortable towel or bed that smells like home, and perhaps even feed your cat in her carrier. Having your cat become comfortable with the carrier will significantly reduce her stress when it’s time to travel in it. Visit the Indoor Cat Initiative for tips on Free Access Crate Training https://indoorpet.osu.edu//cats/basicneeds/fact.

Help your cat become used to rides in the vehicle. For most cats, the only time they are put in their carrier or in the car is to go to the vet. Try taking your car for short car rides to other locations, or for quick visits to the vet for something easy, like getting weighed, or just to get a few treats. When in the car, make sure the radio volume is down, the windows are rolled up, and the temperature is comfortable for your cat.

Book your vet appointment at a less busy time. Many cats become stressed during long waits at the vet office where they may be surrounded by barking dogs, squawking birds, or excited children. Try booking your cat’s appointment at a time that is likely to be less busy. For example, the first appointment in the morning or right after lunch will generally mean that the vet is running on time and there will be no wait. You may wish to ask the staff if there are times of the day that are less busy than others, when you can expect there to be fewer animals/families in the waiting area.

Find a vet that your cat is comfortable with. Just like human doctors, each veterinarian will be different in how they approach and deal with their patients. Look for a veterinarian that handles your cat calmly and gently, and who your cat seems to feel comfortable with. Did you know that our vets at Royal Oak Pet Clinic have specific training in low-stress handling and examination techniques for cats?

Create a refuge at home. We sometimes forget how heavily our cats rely on their sense of smell for everyday matters. Cats recognize each other by smell, so your cat may be treated like an outsider by her housemates after she returns home because she smells like the vet office. Ensure she has a safe place to rest after coming home where she can avoid conflict until her normal scent returns.

Ask the vet about supplements to help reduce your pet’s anxiety. There are a number of over the counter products available that can be used to reduce your cat’s anxiety during stressful events. Your veterinarian can provide you with a list of safe and recommended products that will help keep your cat feeling calm and reduce her level of stress during her vet visit.

How Important is Identification for Pets?

Did you know that in 2012, only 5% of stray cats and 26% of stray dogs that entered the Canadian shelter system were reunited with their owners? These shockingly low reclamation rates were largely due to a lack of proper identification on these pets. Conversely, 95% of animals with visible identification were successfully reunited with their owners.

Pet identification comes in many different forms, the most common being microchips and collars with tags. Ear tattoos were commonly used last decade, but are less common now. Ideally, each pet should have two forms of identification.

Here are some tips and facts about ID that you may find helpful:

  • Permanent ID is vital. Many missing pets are found without their collars. Some manage to get their collars off, others break or are removed, and some pets escape the house while they’re not wearing them.
  • Microchips are a great way to identify your pet. They cannot be lost or stolen and they never fade. Having a microchip implanted by your vet will allow animal control, veterinarians, and shelters to quickly identify you as the owner of your lost pet.
  • Microchips are most common in cats and dogs but can also be used to identify rabbits, birds, reptiles and farm animals.
  • Visible ID is an important method of identification and should be used in conjunction with permanent ID. Visible ID is the easiest way for a neighbour or passer-by who might find your lost pet, to return him to you quickly.
  • A safety (quick release) collar with tags is an inexpensive way to provide basic information such as your pet’s name and phone number. If your pet has a medical condition, consider providing a medic-alert tag in addition to your basic info.
  • Keep your information up to date. Whether your pet has a microchip, a tattoo, or a collar with tags, making sure that your contact information is current is the best way to ensure that your pet is returned to you as quickly as possible if lost.
  • Every pet should have some form of identification. Whether your pet spends most of its time out on the town with you or lounging at home, every pet should wear ID. The unexpected, including natural disasters, can happen at any time. Even indoor-only cats should have some form of ID; microchips are a great option for them.
  • The BC SPCA’s Pet Registry is open to all pet owners. For a small fee, you can register any form of pet identification (municipal license, microchip, or tattoo) into the centralized database. Learn more about it at www.bcpetregistry.ca.

Keep Your Pets Safe During the Canada Day Long Weekend

Dog sitting in a travel bagIt’s Canada’s 150th birthday and there are many fun activities planned all around the country. No matter where you are celebrating, make sure your pets stay safe. Here are some tips to help ensure your pets enjoy the holiday as much as you do.

  • It’s going to be a gorgeous, sunny weekend. Whether your pets are with you or are staying at home, make sure they have plenty of water to drink and a shady spot to stay cool.
  • If you are leaving your pets home alone, it’s a good idea to make sure they are safe in the house or in a secure dog run. Some pets may become spooked by unfamiliar sounds and could escape the yard.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing identification and that your contact information is current. Safety collars with tags, ear tattoos, and microchips are all good options. A combination of visible ID (tattoo or collar/tags) and a microchip is best.
  • If you are taking your pets with you, do not leave them unattended in your vehicle. Temperatures in a vehicle can rise to deadly levels very quickly, even with the windows cracked.
  • BBQ’s and parties can be lots of fun, but can cause havoc on a pet’s stomach. Keep party food and alcohol out of your pet’s reach and ask your guests not to give them treats (unless dog-safe treats are provided by you.)
  • Whether fireworks are expected near-by or you are having a get-together, loud noises can cause stress and anxiety for pets. Make sure your pets have a safe, quiet area or den to retreat to should they get scared. This can be especially helpful for pets being left alone while you are out watching fireworks.
  • Plan ahead. If your pet suffers from anxiety, ask your veterinarian about options that may help reduce your dog’s stress.
    _______________________________________________________________
    Dr. Angie Chambers Phone: 250-727-0003
    Royal Oak Pet Clinic
    101-4478 West Saanich Rd
    Victoria BC V8Z 3E9

Vote for your favorite rescue group

In honor of the wonderful work that our local rescue groups do in our community, we want to do something to give back. Fleas can be a real nuisance for our four-legged friends, so we will be providing a complimentary box of Advantage II flea treatment to a deserving rescue group, but we need your help!

Like and comment on this post (on our facebook page) to let us know who you think should win. The rescue group with the largest number of votes by 10pm on May 31st will win a 6 month supply of Advantage II for either one cat or one dog.

rescue contentsWAIT… there’s more! We want to thank you for participating, so everyone who votes for their favorite rescue will be entered into a draw to win a box of Advantage II for their own pet!

The fine print… Each person can only vote once; any additional votes will not be counted. Each winner will receive a 6 month supply of Advantage II for one cat or one dog. Winners must be able to pick up their prize in-person at Royal Oak Pet Clinic during business hours. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash value (valued between $75 – $115 depending on the species and size of the pet). Thank you for voting!

Groomers doing dental cleaning

  • Posted On November 25, 2015
  • Categorized In Standard
  • Written By

dog teeth cleaning/dentalI have talked to many of my clients about the concerns I have about groomers doing dental cleaning. Dr. Mulley makes many good points in her discussion on this controversial issue. I would like to add that patients undergoing dental work should be on antibiotics before and after the procedure to protect their internal organs from bacterial showering. In addition, during a general anaesthesia, the tube going in to the airway that delivers air and anaesthetic gas to our patient also protects them from aspirating any of the calculus and bacteria being scraped off the teeth. Please trust your veterinarian to have the advanced training and skill necessary to examine, evaluate, diagnose and treat dental issues in your pet.

See the full story here:

 

Evidence-based nutrition: raw diets

  • Posted On November 25, 2015
  • Categorized In Standard
  • Written By

raw food in dog bowlI would encourage clients considering or already feeding a raw food diet to carefully review the literature on this trend. The studies that are based on verifiable science do not show a positive benefit to feeding raw. In addition, there are significant risks of infectious disease to the people in close contact to a dog or cat fed raw foods. We all want to do the best for our pets when it comes to their nutrition. Please don’t hesitate to contact the clinic if you have questions about your pets diet.

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Monkey the Cat Hunts for Dinner

So instead of feeding my cat, I hide these balls around the house…

This all started after I read an explanation of why cats go about repeatedly exploring the same areas: it’s partly to establish and survey their territory, but they’re also practicing ‘mobile’ hunting: moving about, being curious, and poking their noses around in the hopes of upsetting potential prey and finding a meal.

So what if my cat, while out on patrol, actually found its prey? Surely this would bring him one step closer towards a more fulfilled and self-actualized indoor kitty existence. Read the rest of the story here.