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Mitchell Veterinary Services asks, “Do You Know What Zoonoses is?”

By Small Animal No Comments

Zoonoses: animal diseases that can be transmitted to people

Is zoonoses the sinister side of pet ownership? There are countless diseases that humans can contract from their pets and here is a list of some of the more important ones.

Cat scratch fevercatteeth

When a cat’s dagger-like canine tooth punctures another cat’s skin, it pushes bacteria deep into the bite. The bad news? The same thing can happen to people. If you are bitten by a cat, you are at risk for a serious bacterial infection, even if the cat outwardly seems healthy. We recommend flushing the site with soap and water and seeing your physician as soon as possible. In some cases, cat scratches can also transmit bacteria such as Bartonella. Immunocompromised individuals in particular should seek medical attention promptly if bitten or scratched by a cat.


A single flea can hitch a ride into your house on your cat or dog and lay enough eggs in your home to create an infestation. Adult fleas feed on mammals numerous times a day and when they bite, they create itchy swollen spots. They can get their blood meal from your pet or from people. Unfortunately, some fleas carry viruses or other diseases that can make humans sick. Flea prevention is the key to protecting your household. Check out our blog article on fleas.


Giardia (also known as Beaver Fever)

Giardia is a microscopic parasite transmitted by ingestion of a giardia cyst in contaminated water, as well as in an infected pet’s feces. It can cause severe watery or bloody diarrhea in dogs and cats. Some pets may show no symptoms but carry this parasite and spread it via their excrement. Puppies and kittens in particular have an immature immune system and are more prone to giardia infection.

Roundworm and hookworm

Roundworm and hookworm infections occur commonly in pets – especially in puppies and kittens. The eggs from these parasites are passed in animals’ stool and hatch into larvae in the soil. People are at risk of ingesting infective eggs from contaminated environments, or in the case of hookworm, from touching contaminated soil with bare hands or feet. For more detailed information, check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website on hookworm: and our roundworm blog article.


Rabies is a nasty virus that is transmitted from wild or domestic animals through contact with saliva. Once the symptoms of rabies develop, it is nearly always fatal. This disease is preventable through vaccination of cats and dogs, as well as wildlife. Routine vaccination of our cats and dogs protects the public; in time we hope that this virus can be eradicated. Please see our previous blog article on Rabies virus.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to people primarily through wildlife/rodents or dogs’ urine and saliva. For example, if your dog is not vaccinated against this infectious bacterium, it could become sick with it through contact with raccoons and then make its people sick. Illness in people can range from flu-like symptoms to meningitis and liver failure. Please see our previous blog article on Leptospirosis bacteria and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:


According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Salmonella is a bacterium that is often found in the intestines of animals. It can be transmitted to people when they eat food contaminated with animal feces or through contact with infected animals: including livestock, cats and dogs, pocket pets (such as rodents), amphibians, birds and reptiles. Pet foods also have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria – for this reason, it is a good idea to wash your hands after touching animals or their food. Symptoms of Salmonella include vomiting and diarrhea.



The take-home message is that routinely vaccinating and deworming our pets dramatically reduces the risk of humans being exposed to viruses, bacteria and parasites transmitted by animals. Restrict your dog’s and cat’s access to wildlife and standing water outside. Use good hygiene practices when handling a pet’s fecal matter to protect yourself and pick up feces regularly to protect others. Testing a puppy or kitten’s fresh stool sample can detect giardia, roundworm and hookworm eggs. Protect yourself against food poisoning with these tips: Do not put yourself in danger of being bitten or scratched at any time. If you are bitten or scratched and it breaks the skin, it is important to inform your physician.

If you have any questions please give our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services a call.

Microchipping Works

By Small Animal No Comments

Here is a recent heart-warming story of a cat being reunited with its owner 4 years after they became separated. The unlikely reunion was possible thanks to the microchip implant that the cat had:

Microchip implants are a safe, permanent way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A microchip is a tiny device about the size of a grain of rice that is placed just under the loose skin at the back of the pet’s neck.  The placement of the microchip can be done without anesthesia.  When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, a handheld microchip scanner can be used to check for a chip.  If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave.  The veterinary hospital or shelter then calls the microchip company that has a registry, retrieves the pet owner’s contact information and calls the owner.

Here is some additional information on how microchipping works:

We recommend that you use a microchip, along with a collar and ID tag, to identify your pet. However, collars and ID tags are not permanent and can be removed (overnight or for grooming); pets can also lose them.  Even the most responsible pet owners can’t always guarantee their pet won’t get lost.  A leash could break or slip out of your hand, a pet could push through a screen door or window, or a neighbour might accidentally leave a gate open.  With a microchip, your pet will have a much better chance of being identified and returned to you.  Pets without microchips are more likely to end up in shelters and then adopted by another family or even euthanized.

Important tip: if you move to a new address, make sure to contact your microchip company provider to update your phone number on file. This will decrease confusion when trying to reunite the pet with its owner quickly.


Please contact Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic to schedule an appointment to microchip your pet.  Although we hope your pet never becomes lost, we want you to be prepared.

Mitchell Veterinary Services Talks About Heartworm Prevention – Part 2

By Small Animal No Comments

Heartworm prevention is far safer and cost-effective than treating a dog that is ill from a high burden of heartworm. Treatment of heartworm is potentially dangerous and painful for a dog.

Heartworm disease can be prevented by giving your dog a monthly heartworm preventive medication. When used as directed, these medications kill the heartworm larvae and clear infections from the dog’s bloodstream.  Heartworm medications can have other benefits, such as deworming, and preventing or treating fleas.

Monthly heartworm products are available in both topical and oral form. The product that would best suit your individual dog is based on their lifestyle, as well as other factors can be discussed with your veterinarian.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pets heartworm medication talk to one of our team members at Mitchell Veterinary Services or Pauly Veterinary Clinic


If you missed part 1 of this blog here is the link:

Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Heartworm – Part 1


Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Heartworm – Part 1

By Small Animal No Comments

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and lungs of a dog.  Heartworm is transmitted to dogs though the bite of a single mosquito that is infected with heartworm larvae.  The heartworm larvae slowly grow in the heart to become adult worms.  Adult heartworms prevent the regular flow of blood through the heart, which can lead to congestive heart failure and death.


Photo source:

How do you know if your dog has heartworm?

In the early stages of heartworm disease, a dog will have no symptoms.  As the worms mature, a dog may develop signs of heart disease, such as a cough, exercise intolerance or weight loss.  By the time a dog shows symptoms associated with heartworm disease, they are generally in the advanced stage of disease.

We recommend yearly screening for heartworm in the form of a blood sample. The test can be performed by a Registered Veterinary Technician in the clinic.  That same sample is also used to screen for tick-borne diseases, which are becoming increasingly prevalent in Ontario (there have been Lyme positive tests in Perth and Huron County). We generally recommend that a heartworm test be done in the spring.

Here is a map of Ontario that shows the location and number of dogs that have tested positive for heartworm since the beginning of 2017: .  If you travel with your canine or adopt a dog from the States, keep in mind that the incidence of heartworm is greater in the warmer climates, where the temperature supports mosquitoes year-round.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our heartworm blog next week.

Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Potential Easter Toxins

By Small Animal

Easter is on its way and along with it comes lots of Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and family dinners.  Unfortunately with this celebration, Mitchell Veterinary Services sees many pets exposed to some unforeseen potential hazards.

Chocolate ingestion is poisonous for both dogs and cats.  Products that contain darker, less sweet chocolate such as Baker’s chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate are the most likely to cause symptoms, as they contain higher doses of theobromine and caffeine.  Signs of chocolate toxicity include hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, an increased heart rate, heart arrhythmias, tremors, seizures, coma and death.  Even with lighter chocolates such as milk chocolate or chocolate-covered candies, the fat and sugar content are a risk of causing upset stomachs or inflammation of the pancreas.  The effects of chocolate take several days to leave a dog’s system – for this reason, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian as soon as you find out that your pet has eaten chocolate.  At that time we can formulate a medical plan, based on the dog’s body weight and type and volume of chocolate consumed.

Turkey bones are dangerous!  If your dog or cat swallows chicken or turkey bones, the bones may fragment into sharp pieces that could potentially injure its gut.  It is not recommended to make your pet vomit if it has ingested bones, because the shards could potentially create further damage to its esophagus on the way back up.  Large bones, such as a ham bone, risk becoming obstructed in the gut.  A pet should be seen by a veterinarian if they stop eating for 24 hours, or have vomiting or diarrhea.

Easter lilies are fatal to cats.  Even drinking the water from a vase containing this flower can quickly cause severe kidney failure.  All true lilies, including the day lily, are highly toxic to our feline friends.  If you see that your cat has ingested any part of a lily, it will require emergency therapy, including hospitalization and IV fluids, as soon as possible.

With spring approaching, another plant to watch for is lily of the valley. This plant can cause life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms when eaten by dogs or cats.  Tulip and hyacinth bulbs are also toxic when chewed.  Bulb ingestion can cause excessive drooling, vomiting or diarrhea.  If a large number of bulbs are consumed, signs become more severe – a dog may experience an increased heart rate and difficulty breathing.

Our staff at Mitchell Veterinary Services & Pauly Veterinary Clinic wishes you and your family a happy and safe Easter!

Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Lyme – Part # 3

By Small Animal No Comments

Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in dogs according to surveillance in Ontario.

Deer ticks may be carriers of Lyme bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi in our geographic area.  A carrier tick bites a human or dog and transmits Lyme bacteria through its saliva.  Symptoms of Lyme disease in a person are different from those in dogs.  Dogs do not get a bull’s eye rash the way that people do.

A dog’s exposure to Lyme can be tested with a blood test. A cat’s exposure for Lyme is not screened, since cats do not get a clinical form of the disease.

The majority of dogs that are exposed to Lyme bacteria do not develop symptoms, but a small number of dogs become ill and require treatment. In early stages (4-6 weeks after a bite) symptoms can include fever, decreased energy, swollen lymph nodes, decrease of appetite and limping.  Dogs that get sick generally respond to a course of antibiotics – after treatment, they continue to harbor the infection without feeling ill.  One possible long-term consequence of being infected with Lyme is glomerular kidney disease.  In certain dogs, the production of antibodies to Lyme infection causes immune complexes to be deposited in the kidneys, leading to kidney damage over time.  It has been recommended that Lyme positive dogs be regularly screened for significant protein loss in their urine.

For dogs traveling to a high risk region for Lyme disease, there is a Lyme vaccine available. The purpose of the vaccine is to prevent infection in dogs vaccinated before any exposure to Lyme bacteria.  At Mitchell Veterinary Services, we strongly recommend using tick prevention, even for dogs that are vaccinated.

Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Poison Prevention Week

By Small Animal No Comments

March 19th -26th is pet poison prevention week, so we are discussing the most common toxins available in your home, and how to keep your pets safe.

Human Over the Counter Medications

Over the counter medications consistently rank at the top of the ASPCA’s list of most commonly ingested toxins by pets. While these medications may be safe for humans to take without a prescription, they can be deadly in animals. For example, cats cannot tolerate any amount of acetaminophen (Tylenol), as it is highly toxic for them because their liver is not able to process it. Other medications, like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) have very narrow safety margins and cause stomach ulcers or kidney damage.

Make sure to keep these medications in an area that your pet cannot access. Always contact your veterinarian before giving any over the counter medication to your pet to make sure it is safe. If you pet ingests any medication, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Food is also a very common toxin ingestion, and depending on the breed you have, may be a constant battle! The foods of most concern include chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, dough and bones. More recently, xylitol has also become a concern. Xylitol is found in many products including gum, toothpaste and some nut butters. Xylitol can cause life threatening low blood sugar values.

Keep food off counters and out of reach for your pet. Make sure to never offer them any xylitol or chocolate containing products. If your pet ingests anything that you aren’t sure about, contact your veterinarian immediately to discuss whether the food is toxic and what the next steps should be.


There are many plants that are toxic and can even be lethal to your pets. For example, lilies are extremely deadly for cats. Even ingesting just small amounts of it, or just drinking the water from where the lily is placed, can cause acute kidney disease and death. Lilies should not be kept in a house with a cat. Other plants that are toxic for pets include azalea, daffodils, and tulip bulbs.
Before bringing any plant home, it would be best to make sure it is safe to have around your pet by contacting your veterinarian.

Human Prescription Medications

Human prescription medications have now made it on the list of common pet toxins. The common medications ingested by pets are the common medications taken by owners. These include heart medications and anti-depressants. Because all of these medications are very different, they have many different ways in which they are dangerous if ingested by your dog or cat.

All medications should be kept in areas that are not accessible by your pet. If your pet ingests a medication, contact your veterinarian immediately and have the medication with you so that your veterinarian can know exactly what your pet has swallowed.

If you ever have any questions about anything your pet has eaten or come into contact with, always contact your veterinarian. They are happy to answer any questions to help keep your pet safe and healthy!

Related articles:

Pets and Houseplants

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Tick Prevention – Part # 2

By Small Animal No Comments

It is best to prevent tick bites through avoidance or removing ticks right away before they have time to transmit disease. The process of disease transmission requires a minimum length of time for the tick to feed, which means that if the tick is removed promptly, then the host will not get the disease.

You can keep your pet on a trimmed lawn and on-leash when in the woods. It is recommended to look for ticks by combing through your pet’s fur when he/she comes back from playing in wooded areas or areas with long grass.  A tick can be removed at home with tweezers or by a technician at our clinic.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has some strategies to reduce risk for pets and humans alike.

There are several veterinary products that kill and repel ticks:

  • There are spot-on and oral products available for dogs and spot-on products for cats that are available by veterinary prescription.
  • All tick products should still be combined with tick avoidance strategies.

Mitchell Veterinary Services tests for tick-borne diseases at the time we perform a yearly blood test to screen for exposure to heartworm. Tick prevention is safe to use even in the event that a dog’s blood sample shows that it has been exposed to a tick-borne disease.

Mitchell Veterinary Services Discusses Ticks – Part # 1

By Small Animal No Comments

We have had some unseasonably warm weather here in Perth County – which means that ticks are active! There are two spikes in the tick population each year, occurring in the early spring and late fall.  However, any time the temperature is above 4C, ticks are on the move and searching for a warm body to feed on.

Ticks are arachnids that feed on blood from small wildlife, dogs, cats and humans. Female ticks require a blood meal to complete their life cycle.  Ticks start as eggs laid in the summer, emerge as larvae in the fall, molt into nymphs in the winter and end up as adults in the spring.

  • An immature tick is the size of a freckle.
  • An adult tick is the size of a sesame seed.
  • An engorged adult tick is the size of a pencil eraser.

Ticks are mostly found in wooded areas, along the side of trails, playgrounds and grassy areas in urban areas. There are several species of ticks.  The deer tickfeeds primarily on white-tailed deer in its adult form, but all life-stages of the tick will feed on dogs and humans.

Tick bites are usually not painful, but cause some mild swelling and redness. The bad part is that tick bites can transmit diseases; Lyme disease is one of the most prevalent in our region.

Tick numbers are on the rise in this part of the country.

Here is a map of Canada with the number of tick-borne diseases reported in dogs tested with a blood sample since 2017:

The Public Health Agency of Canada has a map with locations in Ontario that have the highest risk of Lyme disease transmission.

Mitchell Veterinary Services Talks about Dog chew toys, also known as “Nothing is indestructible”

By Small Animal No Comments

Most dogs have a huge desire to chew. Many people picture puppies with their sharp teeth exploring their surroundings through chewing, but after even after a puppy’s adult teeth erupt, they will continue to chew and may even be quite destructive chewers for the first 2 years.  Many dogs chew as a relaxing pastime and before they fall asleep.

Jennifer Orr

Here are some ideas that may help you keep your puppy/dog and house safe from injury:

  • Assume that your puppy and young dog will chew things when left unattended
    • Plan for this by having a safe area for your dog to rest, such as a crate, kennel or room barricaded by a baby gate
    • Bitter apple spray can be applied several times a day to a table leg or other inappropriate item that it is starting to gnaw on
    • Close doors to deny access to forbidden items


  • Nothing is completely safe, but you will still need to provide them with options to chew
    • Supervise your pup with new toys


  • Dogs prefer different textures at different life stages
    • Experiment with different textures and observe the chewing habits of your dog to determine which toys are safest for it.
    • Select a toy that can’t be swallowed or break off into small pieces



  • Never allow your dog to play with/chew old articles of clothing or shoes, as it may think that means that even your new clothes and shoes are fair game!


  • Have a variety of options ready for your dog at a moment’s notice
    • Consider raw vegetables, such as carrots or celery
    • Toys with food compartments can provide mental stimulation


  • Assume that your puppy/young dog will chew anything left in the crate
    • Don’t leave it unsupervised with a blanket in the crate until you have tested this for short periods while you are home


  • Sometimes chews that are extra-hard and marketed as indestructible may actually cause more damage to your dog
    • Such super-hard items may result in broken teeth when they are chewed on
    • Offering your dog bones to chew can be risky


  • Throw away a toy as soon as it is damaged, so that it can’t cause injury to your dog
    • There are occasional reports of trauma to the underlying dental (alveolar) bone of dogs with punctured gums from broken toys


  • Certain toys are best left for play time with their favourite person – you!


The really neat thing is that we see mature dogs that still have their soft stuffed toys in one piece; on the other end of the spectrum, we see dogs that chew through the “indestructible” variety of toys in one session. Dogs have individual tastes and they will show you their preferences in chew toys.

If you are finding that your dog’s chewing seems to be excessive and uncontrolled, perhaps your dog needs another outlet for its pent-up energy/boredom/anxiety. Here are some non-chewing suggestions for your pooch:

If you have any questions talk to our team members at Mitchell Veterinary Services.