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Mitchell Veterinary Services Takes a Look at Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs

By Small Animal

During this time of year, the weather we are experiencing in Perth County is cold and wet. We are seeing a lot of dogs coming into Mitchell Veterinary Services with ear problems. 

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The floppy part of the ear is known as the “pinna”.  We can examine the external ear during the physical exam and we use an otoscope to look into the L-shaped canals to observe the ear drum.  Like humans, dogs have glands in their ears that produce ear wax.  

Any breed of dog may develop ear infections if there is an underlying cause such as allergies or foreign items in the ear canal which include parasitic ear mites, fur, plant fragments or masses.  Ear canals can easily swell shut if inflamed and trap this material. 

If dogs have ear infections that are left untreated, they can undergo complications.  Infection can burst the ear drum and spread to the middle ear, causing symptoms such as hearing loss and nerve damage.  If an ear canal has a long-standing infection, the canal will become scarred and permanently shut and may need to be opened or removed surgically to clear the severe infection.

Predisposing Factors for Ear Infections:

1) Shape –  Pendulous ears create a warm, dark and moist environment, which is a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria that may normally be found on the skin in small numbers.

2) Water – Water in the ears from swimming or bathing adds moisture to ears, once again creating the ideal habitat for bad things to grow 

3) Trauma – Aggressively cleaning with cotton swabs or plucking ear hair from the canals can injure the skin, allowing an entry point for invaders

4) Environment – Seasonal allergies and food allergies result in a dog with compromised skin that is itchy, weak, inflamed and more vulnerable to invaders.

 Dogs’ ears may be at risk for getting a blood blister, also known as an “aural hematoma”, if their ears are allowed to flap vigorously.  This flapping creates trauma to the delicate blood vessels in the ear, causing them to burst and fill the space between the skin and cartilage with blood.  Two scenarios where this could occur is if a dog rides in the car with their head out of the window or if they have irritated ears from an infection or allergies and shake their head excessively.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

We recommend cleaning out dogs’ ears once a week to once a month, depending on your dogs’ specific needs.  For example, dogs that swim benefit from having their ears cleaned right after they come out of the water.  An ear cleaner formulated for dogs helps to break up wax and dry out the ear.  Please keep in mind that not every cleaning agent is right for all dogs.  The goal of keeping your dog’s ears clean is to prevent inflammation (redness, warmth and irritation – scratching and head shaking).  Place ear cleaner into the ear and then massage the lower part of the ear canal. 

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 The best way to treat ear infection is for a veterinarian to perform an examination and study material swabbed from the ear under a microscope to determine the type of organisms causing the infection and treat accordingly.  A medicated product that treated a dog’s infection in the past may not be appropriate for a current infection.  Chronic ear infections typically have a predisposing factor or underlying cause and managing these will be the best way to minimize the ear inflammation in the long run.  Contact Mitchell Veterinary Services if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s ears.

 

 

 

 

 

Mitchell Veterinary Services Shares Tips on How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Vet Bills

By Small Animal

If we could tell you how to help your pets live longer and healthier lives, and at the same time save you thousands of dollars on vet bills, would you be interested? Well, we won’t keep this a secret, here is how.

Fight Pet Obesity!

A survey done in 2012 has shown that over 55% of dogs and cats in the U.S are overweight or obese. This is an all time high! While the results of a similar study in 2013 are not out yet, odds are this number has risen even higher!

Why does it matter if my pet is a little overweight?

Being overweight has shown to increase risks for:

  • ·  Type 2 Diabetes
  • ·  Osteoarthritis and other orthopedic conditions such as torn ligaments
  • ·  High blood pressure with heart and respiratory disease
  • ·  Increased anesthetic complications
  • ·  Cancer

All of the above conditions can require frequent veterinary care, diagnostic testing, and medications. That can all add up to be quite costly. More importantly, being overweight has been shown to decrease life expectancy of up to 2.5 years!

Let’s look at the difference in annual veterinary costs for a healthy dog or cat with a healthy weight vs. a dog or cat with conditions that could be prevented by preventing obesity – Diabetes and Osteoarthritis.

Healthy 8 year old dog or catOverweight Diabetic CatOverweight 50lb Dog with osteoarthritis
Annual exam and vaccines$135Annual exam and vaccines $135Annual exam and vaccines $135
Parasite testing and control  $150Parasite control and testing  $150Parasite testing and control $150
Preventive Detection Bloodwork $150Urinalysis $75X-rays $210
  Bloodwork/blood glucose monitoring $400Bloodwork monitoring $320
  Progress exams $110Progress exams $110
  Insulin and syringes $700Pain control medications$750
  Other complications (urinary tract infections, emergency treatment, etc.) $200-$400  
Total per year:$435 $1570-$1970 $1675

*Please note that these numbers are rough estimates. Each pet is different and may require different courses of treatment or diagnostics.

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

The best way to do this would be to see our veterinary team in Mitchell or Milverton for an evaluation. It can sometimes be difficult for owners to tell if their pet is overweight. In fact, 45% of pet owners assessed their pets as having a normal body condition when the veterinarian assessed them to be overweight.  Our veterinary team will evaluate your dog or cat’s body condition score (BCS). Your pet’s ribs should be easily felt, like feeling your knuckles on the back of your hand when you hold it flat. Your pet should also have an abdomen that tucks up when viewed from the side, and tucks inwards just in front of the pelvis when viewed from above.

What can I do?

1)  Determine if your pet is overweight.

  • ·  The first step to fixing any problem is admitting there is one! The veterinarian will evaluate your pet’s BCS at its annual health exam. However, if your pet isn’t due for its checkup anytime soon, feel free to contact us to set up a time to have a member of our veterinary team do a weigh -in and evaluation of your pet!

2)  Set a goal.

  • ·  Your veterinary team member will tell you how much your pet should ideally weigh. This should be the weight loss goal. Goals are important to achieving weight loss, as they keep you motivated by having a number to strive for. This is also important for monitoring progress.

3)  Make a plan.

  • ·  Measure the amount of food. With your pet’s ideal weight in mind, your veterinary team will be able to provide you with diet recommendations and amounts to feed your pet to achieve weight loss. It will be very important to measure the food with a measuring cup so you know exactly how much your pet is getting!
  • ·  Feed a weight loss diet. Cutting back on calories is important, however, you don’t want to lose all the nutrition along with those calories. Diets specifically formulated for weight loss pack more nutrition into fewer calories. Each pet is different, so your veterinary team is a valuable resource for discussing what diet options are best.
  • ·  Avoid feeding human foods. While low calorie snacks such as vegetables are great for pets while they are on diets, avoid feeding all other types of human foods. Did you know that a 20 lb dog eating one hot dog is equivalent to a 5’4” person eating three hamburgers? What may not seem like a lot adds up quickly for our furry friends!
  • ·  Feed using treat dispensing toys. This will help make your pet slow down while eating and also act as environmental enrichment. For cats, this could also mean some exercise as they chase the toy around.
  • ·  Do monthly or bi-weekly weigh-ins. This is the key to weight loss success! Our veterinary team can monitor the progress and adjust the caloric intake as needed. Your dog can safely lose 1-2% of their body weight per week, while your cat can safely lose up to 1% of their body weight per week. 
  • ·  Exercise for weight loss. Walk at a faster than usual pace so that your dog isn’t stopping and sniffing that often. If you aren’t walking at a quick enough pace to get your heart rate going and break a sweat, odds are your dog isn’t either. For cats, try to play with them more often with laser pointers or other toys they need to chase.

There are many good reasons to help your pet lose weight and you will be amazed by how much better they will feel! If you want to get started and help your pet live a longer, healthier and happier life, contact Mitchell Veterinary Services today! We are here to help and love being a part of weight loss success stories!

 

Farm Dog Hazards as Seen by Mitchell Vet Services

By Uncategorized

 Many of our clients’ dogs spend a lot of time on the farm.  These wonderful and hard-working dogs rarely leave the property and provide companionship year-round.  Here are some common yet potentially fatal hazards that farm dog owners should be aware of:

 Poisons

1) Eating rat poison causes blood to stop clotting and the dog can die from blood loss. 

2) Anti-freeze from a car is a sweet liquid that can cause fatal kidney failure if ingested. 

3) The slow-release coccidiostat bolus is a product intended for the stomach of dairy cows – if a dog chews on this plastic device, it could receive a lethal dose of drug that will paralyze them.

 Vehicles

We at Mitchell Vet Services don’t recommend that you let your dog ride in the bed of your truck or on four-wheelers.  We have seen trauma, including broken bones, as a result of dogs falling out or jumping out of a moving vehicle.  Farm dogs are also at a higher risk of being hit by a car, especially if they are free-roaming.  Male dogs are sexually mature by 6 months of age and desperately want to find a mate.  Spaying and neutering can discourage your dog from roaming behaviour.  Consider a fencing system or kennel to keep your dog away from the road as well.

 Extreme weather

Farm dogs need access to shelter from extreme weather.  Hypothermia can occur in very cold or windy temperatures and these pets may require heating pads or heating lamps.  On the other extreme, in the summer with hot weather, farm dogs with thick coats may need to be groomed to prevent heat stroke.  Having a small kid pool with cool water would allow your pet to jump in to cool down as well.

Diseases

Rabies, Distemper and Leptospirosis are higher risk diseases for farm dogs as they are exposed to wildlife.  Proper vaccinations can provide protection from these diseases.

 Farm dogs deserve the best care we can give them. Prevent potential hazards so they can enjoy farm life and all the fun that comes with it!

 

 

Some Fun Facts about Animal Genetics offered by Mitchell Veterinary Services

By Uncategorized

 

1)    Are tortoiseshell cats always female?

 Yes.  Tortoiseshell and calico cats are the result of a sex-linked gene and require two X chromosomes to appear. Generally, these colour patterns will only be seen in females.  Very rarely, these colour patterns may be seen in male cats, but these males are genetically abnormal and are almost always infertile.

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2)     Are white cats always deaf?

No.  Some white cats are deaf and some are not.  When a white cat has blue eyes, it’s more likely to be deaf than a white cat with gold or green eyes.  Deaf cats make perfectly good house pets, although they should not be allowed outside because they can’t hear cars coming.

 

Daphne has green eyes, so she can hear, but like many cats, sometimes chooses not too!

3)  Siamese cats, Himalayans and Ragdolls (cats with “points”), are born white and gradually darken with age.  A young pointed cat will have a much lighter body colour than an older pointed cat.

 KateHickmott Meisha 6154mei013013

4)   Dalmatians are also born white and gradually develop dark spots with age. 

5)   What is a free-martin?

A free-martin is a female calf that grew in the uterus with a male twin.  The twins exchange genetic material with each other through their placentas.  As a result, the female calf has some male cells.  She will look normal on the outside, but her internal reproductive organs are altered and she is infertile.  This phenomenon also occurs sometimes in other mammals, including sheep, goats and pigs.

 

Mitchell Veterinary Services Provides Stress Reducing Tips for Travelling with Your Cat

By Uncategorized

Transporting cats can often be a stressful event for both you and your cat.  Here at Mitchell Veterinary Services, we can offer some tips for reducing your cat’s stress and create a pleasant visit for you and your cat.

The first tip is to understand your cat’s behaviour.  Cats need time to scope out new situations, people, carriers, and their surroundings.  Stay calm and move slowly while they are becoming familiar with new things.  Use tasty treats, petting and play to encourage your cat to come near the carrier.  Place familiar soft bedding in the carrier prior to the veterinary visit so your cat can sleep there in the quietness of its own home. 

To make your cat’s trip pleasant and safe, use a carrier.  Put the carrier in a small room with few hiding places and then bring the cat into the room and close the door.  Hard-sided carriers that open from the top are best because the top half can be removed.  You can offer treats or toys to entice your cat to walk into the carrier or your cat can be simply cradled and lowered into the carrier.

Some cats get anxious for the car ride.  A blanket placed over the carrier for privacy can help with the adventure.  The carrier should be secured with a seat belt.  In the rare case that the previous tips have not been successful then contact your Mitchell Veterinary Services Team and we can continue to help you create at pleasant experience for you and your cat.