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First Aid for Your Pet

By Small Animal No Comments

Whenever your pet has any medical concerns, you should contact your veterinarian right away. However, in emergency situations it is helpful to know some tips to help your pet before you can get him to the veterinarian.


If your pet is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the area using a cotton pad or gauze. Do not wipe at the area as this can dislodge any clots that have formed. Hold pressure for a couple of minutes before checking to see if the bleeding has stopped.

For larger bleeds, you can apply a bandage using rolled gauze or Vet Wrap. If the bleed is severe and on the limbs, you can apply a tourniquet. In these cases, immediately take your pet to your veterinarian.


Move objects away from your pet that it may harm itself on. Time and film the seizure to inform your veterinarian. Do not handle your pet as you may get bitten. When the seizure has ended, call your veterinarian and keep your pet calm and warm. If the seizure lasts more than two minutes, take your pet to your veterinarian right away.


Flush the burn with tepid water for 5-10 minutes and immediately take your pet to your veterinarian.

Penetrating Object

Do not remove the object. Keep your pet calm and warm and take it directly to your veterinarian.


Take your pet to your veterinarian right away. If you can see the object, you can try to very carefully remove it. Have someone try to keep your pet’s mouth open for you to do this, but keep in mind that your pet (if still conscious) may be panicked and may try to bite.

If you are not able to dislodge the object, you can attempt to perform abdominal thrusts. Learn how with this video:

Poisoning or Swallowing Something They Shouldn’t

Call your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian may instruct you on how to induce vomiting in your pet. However, it is not always safe to do so. Some substances can do more damage if your pet vomits, so make sure to speak with your veterinarian first.

Not Breathing and/or No Heartbeat

This is an emergency. Confirm your pet is not breathing by listening near its nose, or watching its chest. Check in your pet’s mouth to make sure there is nothing obstructing the airway.

Check for a heartbeat by placing your hands on both sides of your pet’s chest around the armpit area or just beside the elbow. Feel for 10-15 seconds. If there is no heartbeat, begin CPR. If a heartbeat is present but your pet is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth breathing, but do not perform chest compressions.

Bring your pet to your veterinarian right away. It is best to call the clinic to let staff know you are on your way so that they may prepare for your arrival.

Learn more about CPR here:


It is a good idea to have a first aid kit dedicated to your pet. Here are some of the things that you should include in your pet’s first aid kit.

First Aid Kit Materials:

Bandage Material and Tools

  • Gauze or cotton pads
  • Bandage material such as Vet Wrap, rolled gauze and bandage tape
  • Scissors


  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions, make sure to have a dose written down from your veterinarian
  • Topical antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (use only as directed by your veterinarian to induce vomiting)
  • Pain medication prescribed by your veterinarian


  • Your veterinarian’s phone number
  • Phone number, address and directions to the closest emergency veterinary hospital
  • Phone number for the Pet Poison Helpline: 1-855-764-7661
  • List of all medications your pet is on, as well as current/previous medical conditions


  • A muzzle
  • Tick remover tool
  • Tweezers
  • Styptic powder for broken nails
  • Sterile saline eye flush
  • Syringes
  • Blanket


In any emergency, always make sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can give you directions as to what to do and how to appropriately use the tools and medications in your first aid kit.

Call our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic with any questions. Your pet’s well-being is our number one priority.

Dog Bite Prevention

By Small Animal No Comments

Most people stay away from a dog that is growling and lunging; however, there are still countless dog bites every year, many of which are described as “unprovoked”.  As a community, we have raised awareness of the risk of rabies after a dog bite and we talk about the importance of socializing your puppy and training it. There is still a gap in educating the public that ALL dogs are at risk for biting people.  For those with a farming background or experience with horses, this is comparable to saying, “I will never stand directly behind a horse, because all horses are at risk for kicking”.  Any breed of dog can bite if it feels threatened, whether it is considered to be a friendly family breed or not and whether it has a history of aggression or not.  This message cannot be repeated enough. 

The next point is that the overwhelming majority of bites are not random but are provoked by a stimulus to the dog.  Children are the most common victims of dog bites and unfortunately, are the most likely to be seriously injured.   Children are often bitten by familiar dogs.  For example, the stimulus could be a fast, erratic motion that makes a dog feel threatened or guarding of a valuable resource, such as a rawhide.

Apart from bite prevention through management (baby gates to separate a dog from a young child) and active supervision, the key is recognizing that the dog is uncomfortable and it needs more space.  Dogs communicate through body language and generally there are subtle cues that precede a bite.  Dogs generally bite as a last resort and only after their threshold of stress/anxiety/fear has been crossed.  Here are some calming signals that a dog may give to show they are uncomfortable with an interaction:

  • Gaze aversion (avoiding eye contact and you can see the whites of their eye)
  • Yawning
  • Lip licking
  • Freezing in place
  • Whining
  • Scratching itself
  • Sniffing the ground excessively

Be your dog’s advocate, if you are in a social situation where your dog is giving these signals in the presence of another person, speak up and ask them not to pet your dog and remove your dog from the situation if appropriate.  Dogs can be overwhelmed in new places, with new people or with children that crawl or try to pet them.  It is important to educate children how to approach dogs and that dogs do not enjoy being kissed and hugged.

If you would like more information, speak with your veterinarian and check out these sites:

Infant bitten in “unprovoked attack” by family dog: What can we learn?





Xylitol Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

By Small Animal No Comments

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener. It is commonly found in gum, mints, food like jelly and pudding, mouth washes, human toothpastes, vitamins, peanut butter, and fish oils etc.

How Does it Affect Dogs and Cats?

When they ingest xylitol, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream which results in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. When the insulin increases that rapidly it cause a profound decrease in the level of blood sugar. The effect that occurs will happen within 10 – 60minutes of ingestion.

Depending on the amount ingested, it can affect them differently. If only a small amount is ingested, it can cause an acute and life-threatening low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. If a larger amount is ingested, it can result in acute liver necrosis and failure.

As little as a stick of gum could be toxic to a small dog. If you suspect any amount of ingestion, call a vet clinic immediately.  Effects of xylitol can be seen as early as 30 minutes after ingestion.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors and/or Seizures
  • Yellow mucous membranes
  • Black-tarry stools
  • Coma
  • Death

How Veterinarians Treat

There is no antidote for xylitol, although symptomatic treatment is necessary and beneficial. If you suspect that your pet has ingested xylitol, call your veterinarian as soon as possible! The veterinarian will work fast and aggressively with treatment. Treatment can include: inducing vomiting, monitoring of blood glucose and liver values, IV fluids, sugar supplementation, and liver protective medication.

Never hesitate to call, our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services and Pauly Veterinary Clinic are here to help.

Tick Season

By Small Animal No Comments

What are Ticks?

  • Ticks are external parasites that feed on blood.
  • They attach by their head and engorge by ingesting blood. Once they are engorged they fall off and lay eggs.

Where do Ticks live?

  • Primarily in grassy fields, low-lying underbrush, near water (including swamps), and urban areas
  • Increasing in population in Perth County
  • Endemic in Point Pelee, Rondeau Provincial Park, Turkey point, Long Point, Prince Edward Point, Thousand Islands, Pinery Provincial Park, Rouge Valley, and Wainfleet Bog Conservation area.

When are Ticks out?

  • They are out as soon as it is 4 C weather, but they peak in early spring and late fall.

Species of Ticks seen in Ontario

  • Deer Tick:
    • This is one of the most common ticks seen in Ontario today.
    • They transmit Lyme Disease to animals (deer, dogs, and cats) and humans
    • There have been a few Lyme positive dogs in Perth County!
  • Brown Dog Tick
    • More common in Eastern Ontario
    • Carries Borrelia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

How do they transmit their diseases?

  • Ticks will bite and transmit bacteria from their saliva.
  • The bacteria in the saliva will infect the host
  • Majority of dogs will not show symptoms, but a few will. The symptoms are:
    • Fever
    • Decreased energy
    • Swollen Lymph nodes
    • Decreased appetite
    • Limping

How are the infections treated?

  • They are treated with an aggressive course of antibiotics
  • Untreated can cause kidney damage


  • Comb through your pets fur if playing in wooded areas
  • Medication from your Veterinarian – from March to December (your animals should be on prevention through this time)


Talk to one of our team members at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic or search our website for more information on ticks and Lyme disease if you have any questions.

January is Walk Your Dog Month

By Small Animal No Comments

Whether you made a resolution to shed extra pounds or you just want to get back into shape, January is the month of resolutions. Let your dog be the motivation you need! January is “Walk Your Dog Month”.

Benefits of Walking your Dog:

Physical and Mental stimulation – Walking lets them explore new and exciting smells, and lets them use all their senses, which is a great mental workout for them as well as a physical workout (for your pet and you).

Teaches Calm Behaviour – Since walking drains their energy they will be calmer at home and hopefully be less destructive.

Incorporate Training – While walking you can incorporate training and leash training. Be sure to bring lots of treats and keep his focus on you. Walking every day teaches him the proper way to walk on a leash without pulling. If your dog struggles with loose leash walking practice in your own back yard first. January is also Train Your Dog Month, so stay tuned for that upcoming blog.

Improves your Relationship – You and your dog may already have a great relationship, but it can be made stronger with daily walking. It is a great bonding experience for you and your canine companion.

Socialization – Walking also will teach your dog important social skills. During the walk, she will encounter other people and animals, which will help her build confidence and not be scared of new experiences/pets. It is especially great for young dogs.

Tips for Walking:

Set a Schedule – Dogs love routine, set a scheduled time everyday when you can go out for a few minutes to walk. This will help you commit to your walks and will make your dog get excited for its daily walks.

Cold Weather Safety – Especially for young puppies, senior dogs, small dogs, and short hair breeds, it is important for them to keep warm on their walks. Jackets or vests are a great way to keep them warm and happy while out for a walk. Remember to protect their paws! Cold temperatures and the salt can be very harsh on their delicate paws. You can get booties or there are also topical gels/wax that can be put on their paws to protect them.

Take the Necessities – Always remember to take treats with you. Giving him treats on his walk will reward him for good behaviour and will keep his focus on you. Bring a water bottle, especially if it is warm out or you are going for a long walk. Keep you and your pet hydrated. The most important of them all, REMEMBER POOP BAGS. Especially in town it is always good to be a responsible pet owner and pick up after your pet.


Mitchell Veterinary Services hopes these tips help you and your pet stick to and enjoy your daily walks.

Related article: 7 ways to turn Walking the Dog into a Workout.

Senior Pets

By Small Animal No Comments

What Does it Mean to be a ‘Senior’ Pet?

In Veterinary medicine a “senior” is commonly used to describe an older pet. Cats and dogs are considered to be senior when they are in the last 25 percent of their life span; depending on species and breed. Most pets at 7 years of age are considered to be senior, where as larger breeds have a shorter life and usually are geriatric by 6 years. If you think of it this way, a 7 year old cat would be 45 in human years. However, a 7 year old dog can range from 44 – 56 in human years, depending on breed and size.


How to Care for Senior Pets.

Generally our aging pets do need to have more frequent vet visits. This is due to older pets changing quickly and developing healthcare problems faster. Ideally an older pet should see the veterinarian every 6 months. Frequently older pets will have changes in appetite, drinking, and urination; all of which a vet examination can be helpful. A lot of owners just accept the fact that they have a senior pet and that its quality of life will decrease; this is not the case for the Mitchell Veterinary team. We want your pet to feel comfortable for as long as possible. For example, if a senior pet has arthritis, it doesn’t mean that he should stop playing and running. It just means that he may need pain meds, needs to lose weight, or to modify exercise to help them return to their playful “puppy” state.

Talk to one of our team members at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic if you have questions about your senior pet.



Feline & Canine Diabetes

By Small Animal No Comments

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is when your pet’s body either cannot produce enough insulin, or its body doesn’t allow it to use insulin properly.


  • Genetics – Diabetes can be genetically predisposed
  • Lifestyle – obesity, poor nutrition, lack of exercise can increase the chance of Diabetes


  • Increase urination and thirst – if your pet is drinking and urinating more than usual, or even having accidents in the house, these signs can be linked to Diabetes or other disorders
  • Increased appetite
  • Vision Problems – pets can develop cataracts from uncontrolled Diabetes which causes blindness.
  • Lack of energy and an increased need to sleep – due to high blood sugar.
  • Urinary Tract Infections – due to the increase in sugar in the urine, there is a greater likelihood that bacteria will grow in your pet’s bladder.


  • The treatment of Diabetes includes regular monitoring of blood glucose, dietary adjustments, insulin given by injection, and keeping an eye on your pet.
  • Frequent vet visits and the costs can add up quickly. This is why we urge you to keep you pet at a healthy body condition and feed a high quality diet.

Give our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic a call if you have any concerns about your pet.

For more information view these other blogs:

Diabetes Mellitus

Pet Obesity

Tips on How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Vet Bills

Toxicity in Animals

By Small Animal No Comments

This article is inspired by a recent 4-H Vet club talk.

It’s the dose that makes the poison and anything can become toxic.  Something seemingly safe like water has a very wide safety margin, but it can be overdosed.  Other drugs have very narrow ranges of safety, such as Digoxin, a heart medication.  Drugs at the appropriate dose have benefits, but if you exceed the appropriate dose, you create toxicity.

You may have noticed “LD50” on household products.  This is the lethal dose, the amount of a toxic agent (as a poison, virus, or radiation) that is sufficient to kill 50 percent of a population of animals.

Different species metabolize drugs differently, mainly because they are divided into different groups based on the way their bodies process food:

  • horses are hindgut fermenters
  • cows, goats and sheep are foregut fermenters
  • cats, dogs and pigs are carnivores and omnivores respectively

Just because the animal kingdom likes to keep vets on their toes, there are also individual differences in toxicity between goats and sheep, as well as between cats and dogs, to name a few.

We have listed some of these toxins in previous articles, but here are some examples on farm and in the home:

  • Human medications
    • Tylenol is fatal to cats
  • Table food
  • Certain plant species
    • Lilies – cats only
  • Heavy metals
    • lead, copper, zinc and mercury
    • These can be mixed accidentally into livestock feed or be present in contaminated water
  • Household chemicals
    • Anti-freeze
    • Rat poison
  • Fungus
    • For example, moldy corn has additive toxins when mixed in a pig’s feed

The list above contains items that can lead to toxicity by ingestion, but there is also a potential for toxicity from topical exposure, as well as inhalation.  Insecticides applied to lawns can be absorbed through the skin or respiratory tract.  Household cleaners can be hazardous to pets if they are exposed through direct contact on their paws or through inhalation of the fumes.

As mentioned above, even veterinary medications can be toxic if they are applied incorrectly or at the wrong dose.  A common incident involves applying topical flea and tick products, which are insecticides, on a cat instead of a dog as prescribed.  Coccidiostats are a medication intended for cows and small ruminants, but if a dog eats it, it could be fatal.

The take-home message is that it is very important to read drug labels carefully and follow the instructions to the letter.  If an animal is exposed to a possible toxin, it is best to call a vet ASAP and reference Pet Poison Helpline .

Talk to one of our team members at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic if you have any questions or concerns.




Keeping Your Pet Cool with Indoor Games

By Small Animal No Comments

Here are some suggestions that Dr. Justine has explored with her own pets:

Play a game of “find it” – hide a favourite toy or treat somewhere in the house and ask your pet to find it

– If this sounds too hard, let you pet watch you hide a large toy somewhere very easy, like under a blanket or in a low cardboard box.

– If this sounds too easy, you can start hiding it on vertical surfaces (like scratching posts or book shelves) for cats or on different floors in the home or the yard.

– Make sure to lavish your pet with praise when he is successful; if you’re using a toy, play with your pet once he find it, or reward him with something delicious.

Play a foraging game – this allows your pet to fulfill its instinct to find its own food by using its nose.  This game can be very satisfying for your pet mentally and helps to tire her out.

a) Use a “snuffle mat”, which is basically a rug with lots of hiding spots to place kibble or treats

– You can buy one or make one using DIY videos on YouTube.

b) Throw kibble (or place pieces strategically) on the floor or on the lawn.

c) There are also commercial puzzle games on the market, with compartments to hide food.

– Kong brand offers lots of food toy options, as does Nina Ottosson  .

Clicker Training

This is an animal training method that involves marking desirable behaviours and rewarding them (with a click sound, followed by a treat).
Over time, you can use this technique to teach your pet to do a variety of tricks, from asking your cat to sit to asking your dog to dance. It seems that the sky’s the limit!



Canine Conditioning

– Stretching and improving flexibility is important for all ages of dogs to limit risk of injury.

– Check out these 5 basic exercises essential to building core strength

– If you are going to explore using fitness equipment, such as FitPaws, please seek the guidance of a Canine Rehab professional.

Online Courses and Videos

In this age of the internet, courses that teach pet owners are available online, whether you are looking for obedience or dog sports:
Here are some tricks that you can teach your dog:
If all else fails and it’s a really hot day, maybe just consider freezing a large ice cube for your pet to lick and play with.


So, from Mitchell Veterinary Services, have fun staying cool with your furry pals!



Mitchell Veterinary Services Talks About Play Habits of Cats

By Small Animal No Comments

Cats in the wild are both predator and prey species. They rest a lot in hiding spots or elevated places between hunting for multiple mouse-sized meals throughout the day and night.  Domestic cats still have these traits; indoor cats need to hunt and have an enriched environment.  The good news is you don’t have to let your cat outside to meet these needs.

  • Cats like new toys – they are attracted to novelty
    • Plan on rotating your kitty’s toys
      • 3 toys per cat per day
    • They normally play for 1-5 minutes at a time (they are sprinters, not endurance athletes)
  • Hide kibble around the house or in containers for the cat to work out like a puzzle
    • Egg carton containers and food-dispensing balls are great for this purpose
  • Put a string under a piece of tissue paper or towel and pull string out or cut holes in a box and put a ball inside
  • Clicker training
    • This is a training tool that involves pairing an action that you teach your pet to do (like sitting on command) with the sound of a click, which is followed by a treat
    • Your pet learns that the click means that a reward is coming J
    • YouTube has lots of excellent examples of clicker training for cats
  • Most cats really like elevated heights
    • This allows them to feel safe when there is commotion in their home
    • You can have options that are as simple as a ledge with window access or a DYI “catio” (outdoor cat enclosure)
  • It is also really important for your cats to have a room or area that they can retreat to if they are overwhelmed or need some undisturbed alone time

We all have busy schedules, but just a few minutes of daily play routine can mean a world of difference to have a well-adjusted cat that tolerates change in the home (such as a new pet or newborn). Behavioural problems can sometimes be avoided or managed by providing your cat with outlets to act on its instincts.

Here is a website with a checklist of tools that you can easily incorporate into your cat’s home:

Happy (toy) hunting!