Pet Wellness

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MARCH 2015

YOUR GUIDE TO CARING FOR YOUR PET


Preventative pet health care, one paw at a time

2035A Alberta Avenue Saskatoon, SK S7K 1S2 Phone: 306-934-8288 Fax: 306-934-8297 E E-mail: info@frontiervet.ca Join us on Facebook

Comprehensive Veterinary Services -Allergy Testing -Behavioural Consultations -Dental Care -Diagnostic Appointments -Elective Surgeries -Flea and Tick Prevention -In-House Laboratory -Nutritional Consultations

-In-House Pharmacy -Puppy and Kitten Packages -In-House Radiology -Senior Care -Spay and Neuter Surgeries -In-House Ultrasound -Vaccinations -Wellness Exams

WATCH FOR OUR MONTHLY SPECIALS Our Mission “Preventative veterinary health care works at the population level to prevent diseases that are difficult to treat or cure”. Reducing disease and maintaining optimal pet health requires good nutrition, targeted vaccination protocols, regular deworming schedules, and of course, spaying or neutering pets at the right stage of life. This is the foundation of our practice, and we hope to remove social barriers that currently prevent or restrict owners from acquiring preventative veterinary care for their animals. Our Philosophy Our team philosophy is simple - do the best we can for each animal we work with by: using tailored anesthetic protocols based on breed, species, blood work, and age; including pre-anesthetic blood work to screen for anesthetic risks; adopting American Animal Hospital Association perioperative pain care recommendations; and, providing IV fluids through surgery to reduce risks associated with surgery and anesthesia. Our Values Frontier Veterinary Services strives to provide high quality veterinary care for every patient that comes through our clinic. In addition, the company is strongly committed to educating its clients and the community about Veterinary Medicine in a respectful, professional, courteous, and responsible manner.

www.frontiervet.ca 2

P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

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Civic Agencies City Hall 222 Third Ave. N Animal Control Bay 4 - 1622 Ontario Ave.

Vet Clinics Acadia Veterinary Clinic 4-3421 8th St. E All About Cats & Dogs 1004 Taylor St. E

Animal Welfare Agencies

All West Veterinary Clinic 3120 Laurier Dr.

Street Cat Rescue 2750 Faithful Ave., Suite 108

Arlington Animal Hospital 3010B Arlington Ave.

Saskatoon SPCA Clarence Ave., past Grasswood Rd.

Corman Park Veterinary

Pet Stores Critters 90 – 220 Betts Ave. 2-202 Primrose Ave. 3-406 Ludlow St. 112-110 Ruth St. Bay F, 411 Herold Ct. Early’s Farm & Garden Centre 2615 Lorne Ave. 502-51st St. Pet-i-Coat Junction & Barkery 110 Wedge Rd. Pet Planet ­ Cumberland Square Mall Wilson’s Greenhouse & Garden Centre ­ RR#9 Station Main

Services East 140-105th St. E Cumberland Veterinary Clinic 25-1501 8th St. E Erindale Animal Hospital 4-410 Ludlow St. Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic 8-415 115th St. E Furry Friends Animal Hospital 9-110 Wedge Rd. Lakeview Veterinary Clinic 2-1945 McKercher Dr. Lawson Heights Animal Hospital 120-227 Primrose Dr. Stonebridge Veterinary Hospital 5-215 Stonebridge Blvd. U of S Small Animal Hospital 52 Campus Dr. Westward Animal Clinic 1006-22nd St. W

ABOUT THIS CONTENT: These stories were produced by The StarPhoenix Special Projects department to promote awareness of this topic for commercial purposes. The StarPhoenix editorial department had no involvement in the creation of this content.

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

Woodridge Veterinary Clinic 411D Herold Ct.

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Your pet’s license comes with perks and privileges by Jeannie Armstrong, SP Special Projects Editor As a pet owner, you may be surprised to learn of the many advantages and rewards that come with licensing your dog or cat annually with the City of Saskatoon. “A pet license is one of the best ways to ensure that if a dog or cat strays or gets lost, the pet can be returned to its rightful owner,� says Chelsie Schafer, Open Space Consultant with the City of Saskatoon. Every year, over 700 lost animals a year are reunited with their original owners, according to the Saskatoon SPCA. A pet license makes it easier for authorities to identify a lost animal and contact its owner. “The pet license is a direct link between the owner and the animal,� says Schafer. She explains that all cats and dogs over the age of four months are required by law to be licensed. The license should be attached to the animal’s collar or be added to the pet’s microchip information. Pet licenses are affordable. The

Licensing your pet offers many advantages, including the improved PAL (Pet-At-Large) Perk program – a oncein-a-lifetime waiver of the pet running at large fine, as well as an annual pound fee waiver. Photo: Fotolia

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annual fee for a cat is $32; for a dog, $54. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the cost of licensing is reduced to $16 for a cat and $27 for a dog. Licensing your pet entitles owners to numerous perks. “We have just introduced an improved PAL (Pet-AtLarge) Perk program. It includes a ‘getout-of-jail free’ pass for a pet that is caught running at large,� says Schafer. “If your pet gets out of your yard and ends up at the Saskatoon SPCA, your PAL Perk entitles you to a once in a lifetime pet running-at-large fine waiver and an annual pound fee waiver.� The PAL Perk program can represent significant savings to pet owners. Pet-atlarge fines can be costly, ranging from $100 to $300. Pound fees are $50 in addition to a $10 per day care and sustenance fee. “This month, we also introduced a new Pet Reward Club, which entitles pet owners to special discounts on services and products for their pets,� says Schafer. “It’s an exclusive rewards program for pet owners who purchase or renew pet licenses with the City of Saskatoon.� Another privilege that comes with a pet license is the opportunity to get out and play at the City of Saskatoon’s Dog Parks. “The City of Saskatoon currently operates seven Dog Parks in the city. An eighth dog park, located in Rosewood, will be opening this summer,� says Schafer. Fees collected from the City of Saskatoon’s pet licensing program go towards several important community programs, including the development of Dog Parks and support of the Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program (SSNP). It’s easier than ever to purchase or renew your pet license online. Just go to the City of Saskatoon’s newly updated website: www.saskatoon.ca/petlicense.

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City of Saskatoon supports Subsidized Spay and Neuter Program (SSNP) by Jeannie Armstrong, SP Special Projects Editor According to the analysis of a study on feral cat populations by the University of Washington, one unspayed cat and her offspring can produce between 100 and 400 cats by the end of seven years. When cats and dogs are not spayed or neutered, animal populations can quickly become unmanageable. Feral cats and unwanted dogs often end up homeless, languishing in animal shelters or being euthanized. Responsible pet ownership means spaying or neutering your pet. Not only does spaying/neutering prevent unplanned litters, the procedure can also extend an animal’s life. According to a report in USA Today (May 7, 2013), neutered male dogs live 18 per cent longer than un-neutered male dogs, while spayed female dogs lived 23 per cent longer than unspayed female dogs. Neutering/spaying your pet reduces the risk of uterine infections and certain types of cancers. Bad behaviours, including aggression and spraying, can also be curbed by neutering or spaying your pet. Spayed or neutered animals also qualify for significant savings when it comes to licensing your dog or cat. The City of Saskatoon reduces the cost of licensing your dog or cat by 50 per cent if the animal is spayed or neutered. To assist low income families in Saskatoon to get their cats and dogs spayed or neutered, the City of Saskatoon has joined forces with the Saskatoon Academy of Veterinary Practitioners and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in supporting the Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program (SSNP). “The SSNP program is a subsidized spay/neuter program that enables lowincome residents of Saskatoon to have their animals neutered for a nominal fee,” says Chelsie Schafer, Open Space Consultant with the City of Saskatoon. Residents who qualify for the SSNP program pay a non-refundable fee of

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

When cats and dogs are not spayed or neutered, animal populations can quickly become unmanageable. Photo: Fotolia

$25 (cat) or $40 (dog) to have their pet spayed or neutered. Typically, these surgeries range from $90 to $170 for cats, and $180 to $205 for dogs. “The purpose of SSNP is to promote responsible pet ownership by having your animal spayed or neutered. The objective is to reduce the populations of unwanted animals in our city.” In the past year, Schafer notes there has been a significant increase in the number of cats that have been spayed or neutered through the SSNP program, which helps to reduce the feral cat population in the city. “It’s a great program. If someone can’t otherwise afford to have their pet spayed or neutered, they can apply online to SSNP, on the City of Saskatoon website.” The online application form provides details of who is eligible and the household income cut-off levels to qualify for the subsidized program. A number of local veterinary clinics participate in the SSNP program by significantly discounting their services. Local animal welfare organizations, including the Saskatoon SPCA, SCAT Street Cat Rescue and New Hope Dog Rescue were involved in the development of the SSNP Program. The SSNP program has funding for approximately 200 surgeries per year. The program pays for a maximum of two pets per household. For more information on SSNP, visit: www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing.

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Dog Parks are a great place to socialize and exercise by Jeannie Armstrong, SP Special Projects Editor No matter the breed or size of your dog, daily exercise is important to his or her well-being. According to the website, PetMD.com, dogs need 30 minutes to two hours of activity every day. Breeds in the hunting, working or herding categories require the highest level of activity – at least 30 minutes of rigorous exercise along with the one to two hours of moderate activity. An inactive dog can easily become bored, leading to destructive behavior. Lack of exercise can also lead to physical ailments, ranging from obesity to metabolic disorders. What’s a dog owner to do? With busy schedules and small yards (or no yard at all), it can be challenging to ensure your canine companion gets sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. A visit to one of the City of Saskatoon’s seven (soon eight!) Dog Parks is a great way to work out with your pet. In these green open spaces, dogs can play and run off-leash. The concept has proven very popular in our community, says Chelsie Schafer, Open Space Consultant with the City of Saskatoon. “Dog Parks are a great opportunity for people to exercise with their animals,” says Schafer. “A lot of people use them for socialization, so their dogs get used to being around other groups of animals.” Dog Parks bring people, as well as dogs, together. “It’s also a great opportunity for pet owners to socialize with other members of the community. It gets people out and interacting with their neighbours,” says Schafer. Pedestrian counters will be installed this year at certain Dog Parks to provide the City of Saskatoon with a true measure of their usage. “That data will give us a better understanding of the actual numbers and how many people are coming through the parks,” says Schafer.

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

There will soon be eight Dog Parks in Saskatoon. Photo: City of Saskatoon Last fall, as part of a two-year pilot project, the City of Saskatoon added its first ‘neighbourhood’ Dog Park, located in Caswell Hill, just south of Mayfair Pool. It’s the first Dog Park to be located within a neighbourhood, instead of in an outlying area. This summer, a second neighbourhood Dog Park will open in the Rosewood subdivision, within the parameters of Hyde Park. The new Dog Park will occupy a section just off Boychuk Drive. The City of Saskatoon is encouraging groups of residents who are interested in having a Dog Park in their neighbourhood to take advantage of a new application process. “Interested community residents can form a Dog Park Ambassador group and fill out an application form. We are in the process right now of discussing and reviewing an application from a user group for a new Dog Park at Pierre Radisson Park in the Mayfair area,” says Schafer. Many factors are taken into consideration before a new Dog Park can be approved, including location, budget and how it fits into the City’s overall plan. An internal review is conducted, followed by public consultation. “Right now, we’re getting feedback from an online survey for the Pierre Radisson location; then a report will go to City Council. Ultimately, it’s Council’s decision whether a new Dog Park proceeds or not,” says Schafer. While Dog Parks are all about getting outdoors and having fun, there are a few pet wellness • march 2015


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within your sight at all times.� All owners are reminded of the need to pick up after their pets, to leave the Dog Park in good shape for other users. For more information about Saskatoon’s Dog Parks, visit www.saskatoon.ca./dogparks.

rules that users need to comply with. First and foremost, to use one of the City’s Dog Parks, a dog must have a current pet license. Schafer adds, “It’s important to be in control of your animal and be respectful of other users. Your animal has to be

DOG PARK ETIQUETTE Better yet, leave the toys at home.

n Your pet license is like an all-access pass to Saskatoon’s Dog Parks. Only licensed dogs are invited to play!

n Is your dog hot to trot? The mere presence of a female dog in heat can cause a frenzy among potential four-legged Romeos. It’s best to have your dog spayed or neutered before planning a Dog Park visit.

n Be a good buddy and interact with your dog, keeping him or her within sight at all times. Off-leash doesn’t mean unattended. n Scoop your dog’s poop. Bring a few extra baggies, just in case.

n If you have concerns about the behaviour of a dog or its owner while at the park, contact the Saskatoon Animal Control Agency at 306-385-PETS.

n Play nice! Your dog should know and obey basic commands of come, sit and stay before visiting a Dog Park.

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AVALON At the end of Broadway Avenue, south of Glasgow Street. CASWELL DOG PARK Avenue F North or Avenue G North, south of 32nd Street West.

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HAMPTON VILLAGE North of 33rd Street, along Junor Avenue, around Hampton Circle, north on Dawson Way, follow grid. Dog Park next to airport. HYDE DOG PARK Enter North Gate from Slimmon Road. Alternate South Gate (foot traffic only).

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SILVERWOOD Adjacent to the north east edges of Silverwood Golf Course, along the riverbank north of the City Limits. SOUTHWEST North of Cedar Villa Road. SUTHERLAND BEACH Accessed via grid road with entry off of Central Avenue, 50 m north of Attridge Drive.

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Constable Chad Malanowich, of the Saskatoon Police Service’s canine unit, has formed a strong bond with his furry partner. Officer Tyr is a four-year-old Giant Schnauzer. Photos: Jeff Lyons/StarPhoenix

Hometown heroes: Saskatoon Police Service canine unit serves with honour by Blair Braitenbach for SP Special Projects From the moment Constable Chad Malanowich made the decision to join the Saskatoon Police Service, he knew he wanted to enlist in the elite canine unit. That’s because in addition to the gratifying rewards that come with being a police officer, working alongside a four-legged furry partner bridges a human-animal connection that few others will ever experience. “That is everything when it comes to being a canine handler or part of a successful canine team, is that bond – building that trust between each other… You’re involved in a lot of situations together that you have to depend on each other to get out of, so that bond does become very strong,” Malanowich says, noting canine unit officers are paired solely with their own individual dogs. “I spend more time with my dog than

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

I do with my wife and kids – he’s home with me and he’s at work with me.” Being able to read each other and operate as a single unit is integral to the police work Malanowich and his four-year-old Giant Schnauzer, Officer Tyr, undergo daily. By spending almost every minute of every day together in varying capacities, the two are able to perform their duties in sync – thereby strengthening the effectiveness of their team. So when not actively responding to emergency situations, on patrol or giving educational talks, Malanowich is routinely training Tyr to be even more adept in his abilities. “The training with the dogs never stops until they retire or unfortunately pass away,” explains the eight-year Saskatoon canine unit veteran. “You want to try and expose the dog and yourself to as many things

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as possible. It’s like a young officer recruit coming onto the street. They go away for their training for four or five months, but once you hit the street it’s a completely different ball game.� While all the animals in the unit are defined as “patrol� or “general service� dogs, each one is cross-trained to allow for optimal efficiency. In addition to being deployed in evidence searches and cases involving fleeing criminals and missing persons, each dog is trained in narcotics and explosives detection as well as a variety of other police work. Malanowich adds that when arriving at crime scenes, often the mere presence of a police dog will help diffuse a violent situation. “There are a lot of people who have no issues being aggressive towards another human being, but with a dog there is no negotiating,� he says. With a current staff of eight constables and one sergeant, the Saskatoon Police Service’s Canine Unit has been crucial to the department since 1968. Of the eight dogs, there are six German Shepherds, a Belgian Malinois and Malanowich’s Giant Schnauzer. Because the animals play such key roles, they are awarded badges and referred to as officers in reflection of that respect. Additionally, the Saskatoon Police Service is one of the leading advocates in the country seeking increased legal and protection status for service dogs. “These are very special animals,

they work to serve the community,� notes the lifelong dog handler. “There is no known instrument or machine on this planet that can replicate the dog’s capabilities. That is their greatest advantage for the department.� The service dogs are often selected as puppies, and from day one are regularly tested to gauge characteristics and qualities in determining their suitability for police work. On average a successful dog joins the force at around 18-months-old and remains active anywhere from five to eight years, depending on health. Malanowich says an ideal police dog is social, playful and possesses a lot of “drive.� “We can shape that dog by using those toys to make it a game, because this is all a game for the dogs,� he explains, noting that Saskatoon’s harsh climates also require hearty breeds capable of withstanding the elements. To apply for the canine unit, a police officer must be in the service for at least five years, pass a stringent physical test and submit to four months of basic training. Though he acknowledges the high demand to join the canine unit, Malanowich stresses the additional challenges accompanying the position. “A lot of us say ‘canine is a lifestyle.’ It’s not a job per se because you’re taking your work home with you every night. It does affect your personal and family life and it’s a huge responsibility,� he says.

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When does pet love become pet obsession? by Hilary Klassen of SP Special Projects Possibly some of the purest bonds imaginable are those between animals and humans. Those who have owned, loved and cared for a pet over many years are well acquainted with this incredible bond and the unconditional love animals unfailingly give. It’s hard to imagine pet love gone sideways. However, recent news stories have brought the reality of animal hoarding to our attention. And it happens more frequently than just some isolated reports. Hoarding has become increasingly identified as its own mental health issue, and the subject of reality TV shows. Pet hoarding shares some aspects of general hoarding, but has its own characteristics. Social worker Elaine Birchall is one of very few mental health professionals in Canada to specialize in animal hoarding. She works closely with the Ottawa Humane Society and the Ontario SPCA, and runs a private practice in the Ottawa and Toronto areas. “Animal hoarding is an accumulation of animals sufficient in number that there is a failure to provide minimal nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care,” says Birchall. There’s no set number of animals, but each jurisdiction has bylaw requirements and limitations. Hoarders consider themselves excused from such requirements. They also fail to address the deteriorating condition of both the animals and the environment or recognize the negative impact on their own well-being. Pet hoarders do not typically seek treatment on their own. While they may deny the situation, they also seek to avoid discovery, a form of tacit admission. “By the time they come to the attention of officials, it is a serious situation. It’s an entrenched behaviour and is out of control,” says Birchall. Animal hoarders are often in the 40

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

Animal hoarding is a symptom of a broader mental health issue. Recently, 201 dogs belonging to April Dawn Irving were rescued from an acreage near Milk River, AB. Horrific images such as this revealed the extent of the harm done to the animals. Irving had been previously banned from owning more than two pets in Saskatchewan, so as many hoarders do, moved to another jurisdiction where the behaviour escalated. SP file photo to 55 or 60 age range. We don’t know all the “whys” of their behaviour but Birchall points to five psychiatric models that reveal their belief systems. Focal delusional model – This person’s false beliefs are completely disconnected from reality. They insist the animals are in good condition despite all evidence to the contrary, and believe it to their core. Addiction model - Individuals are preoccupied with their addiction, either to animals in general or specific types or characteristics of animals in an extreme way, to their own self-neglect. They can be from any culture of socio-economic group and cannot control their impulse

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to acquire. Animals are their “substance of choice.� Obsessive-compulsive model These individuals have an overwhelming belief that they MUST be responsible for preventing harm and providing care to animals. This is their mission in life, but their attempt to fulfill this responsibility is unrealistic. This is the “rescue� hoarder who may justify their actions by claiming to be a shelter. Zoophilia model – Animals are kept as objects of sexual attraction and gratification. Attachment model - Animals are this individual’s only stable adult relationship. (S)he may have come from a chaotic home with no parental consistency or unconditional love. Animals satisfy this person’s unmet needs for unconditional love and acceptance, but animal breed needs are not met. Those involved in animal protection

“By the time they come to the attention of officials, it is a serious situation. It’s an entrenched behaviour and is out of control.�

Pet Loss Support

Elaine Birchall, Birchall Consulting play a vital role. Patricia Cameron, Executive Director of the Saskatoon SPCA, says those who adopt a pet are responsible under the law to ensure the animal in their care is not in distress. “This includes always having fresh water and edible food available, veterinary care for life and grooming.â€? Given that hoarders are out of touch with reality and in denial, it falls to others, like neighbours or family members, to recognize animal hoarding situations and take action. “You want to look for those minimal standards of care. If you’re going into a home and sanitation has gone sideways, there’s not enough space, there’s moldy or old food, there’s skinny looking animals that clearly need veterinary care, you should act immediately. All of those would tip you off that there’s an pet wellness • march 2015

animal protection issue,� says Cameron. In one home she went into, all of the furniture and drywall in the house was clawed, animals were living in the structures of the couches and beds, and there were animal carcasses around the house. There were feces everywhere and the smell of urine and ammonia greeted her outside the house. Intervention is critical. Concerned neighbours and family members should call the Saskatoon SPCA at 306.374.7387, the police, or the Saskatoon Animal Control Agency and make people aware of their concerns. With animate hoarding, the beautiful bond between animal and human is no longer pure. Animals are exploited and harmed to serve the needs of the hoarder. Simply removing animals is not a full solution. While the recidivism rate is very high, counseling can help. Birchall does remote counseling using technology (see hoarding.ca).

The death of a pet can be one of the most devastating experiences an individual or family has to face. If you are having difďŹ culty coping with the loss of a beloved pet or are dealing with an end of life decision, you are invited to gather with other animal lovers, like yourself, in a safe, supportive and informal environment to share your experiences, feelings, stories and pictures.

The Pet Loss Support Group

meets the ďŹ rst & third Sunday of every month at 2pm at the WA Edwards Family Centre 333 4th Avenue North. (There’s no cost to participate and no obligation to attend on a regular basis). For more information or to receive bereavement resource material, we invite you to call Family Pet - 306-343-5322

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Ticked off!

The American dog tick or wood tick is expanding its territory northward and westward from its historic stomping grounds. This means pet owners – especially dog owners – will need to take measures to prevent tick bites from April through fall. Fotolia image by Jennifer Jacoby-Smith of SP Special Projects Nothing ruins a perfectly delightful afternoon at the park more than finding a tick on your dog. Typically, the small arachnids measure 5 mm in size, but once gorged on the blood of a mammal the creepy critters can enlarge to 15 or 10 mm wide. According to Dr. Neil Chilton, Assistant Head Biology at the University of Saskatchewan, the most common tick in Saskatchewan is the American dog tick, also known as the wood tick. Historically, ticks thrived south of the border and further east in Canada, but in recent years the distribution of ticks has expanded to include most of the province. “We did a study a few years ago and we looked at where the tick populations were at that time and compared it to historical records or where specimens of this tick species occurred in the

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

1960s and the 1970s. And there was a big change in the distributional limits,” explains Dr. Chilton. That may explain why you’re seeing ticks now and never encountered them as a child on the prairies. Saskatoon veterinarian Dr. Terri Chotowetz has good news. The ticks invading Saskatchewan do not carry Lyme Disease like the black-legged ticks or deer ticks. So if you do find a tick on your dog, it’s likely not the black-leggedLyme-carrying kind. There are other tick-borne diseases, but the most common problem is the localized irritation and possibility of infection. “You and I can get someone to look behind our ears and check (for ticks), but it is so hard to check a longhaired dog to find ticks,” explains Dr. Chotowetz.

pet wellness • march 2015


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“The wood ticks we have here are typically very nimble and very aggressive,� Dr. Terri Chotowetz , Saskatoon veterinarian Further if a tick does get on your dog, they could carry it into your house and expose other members of the family to a tick bite. While Dr. Chotowetz says there is a definite “ick factor� to finding a tick on your dog, there is no reason for alarm or a vet visit. Ticks can usually be gently pulled off. For easier removal, a tick lasso can be purchased from your vet clinic. There are many products to prevent tick bites on the market. Dr. Chotowetz is not a fan of chemical-laden tick collars that can leach chemicals everywhere, however there are easy-touse topical applications. The first type is applied between the dog’s shoulder blades where it enters the blood stream. When a tick bites the dog, the tick is slowly poisoned and dies. The second type – called a hot foot product – work very well for the type of ticks we have in Saskatchewan. “The wood ticks we have here are typically very nimble and very aggressive,� explains Dr. Chotowetz. “As they’re running on the dog’s skin and hair their little feet get coated (with product) and they fall off.�

pet wellness • march 2015

This method is very effective, as the tick doesn’t even get a chance to attach and thus transmit disease. As well, new products are coming on the market all the time to make it easier to protect your dog against ticks. When chatting with your vet about the best treatment for your dog, be sure to mention any other pets living in your house. Some dog-friendly tick treatments are toxic to cats. If your furry friends are best buddies, it’s probably a good idea to get a tick treatment suitable for both, even if you’re only treating one. And this is one case where the cat may have a leg up. “Cats can get ticks too, but cats clean themselves so well. The ticks don’t have the luxury of borrowing in, because the cat’s big rough tongue pulls them right off,� Dr. Chotowetz says. Tick season can start as early as April, as ticks can survive the winter here in Saskatchewan. When the ticks wake up in spring they are hungry and desperate for a meal. Ticks can continue to be a problem throughout the summer, and the wood tick often has a second “bloom� in the fall. If you do come across a tick and you’d like to know more about it, Dr. Chilton says the biology depart of the University of Saskatchewan would be happy to take a look at it. Ticks can be placed sealed in a plastic bag or a pill bottle and sent to the Chilton Parasitology Laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan.

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A friend for life: Service dogs make a difference in the lives of children with autism

Pearl Gagnon (left) and Amanda Gardner (right) work with ‘Annie’ and ‘Andy’, two of three English Lab puppies being trained by Pawsitive Independence Autism Service Dogs of Saskatchewan. Photo: Jeff Lyons/StarPhoenix by Blair Braitenbach for SP Special Projects Helping to face the challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder, a non-profit group in Martensville is developing a dog service program for those directly impacted by the disability. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is highly complex and called such due to the varying degrees of functioning levels in those living with it. Because of the documented mental health benefits achieved via time spent with dogs, Pearl Gagnon and Joan Frehlich, with the guidance of local dog trainer and Paws Republic owner Kristine O’Brien, took it upon themselves to create Pawsitive Independence Autism Service Dogs of Saskatchewan Inc. – a program primarily aimed at younger children with ASD who need some extra help in their everyday lives. “We want to foster that independence

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where they’re aware of their own space and encourage the child to grow independently,” explains Gagnon, whose two sons Cole, 11, and Gabriel, 9, are diagnosed with ASD. “If you have a child on the spectrum – especially in cases where they are lower functioning and you get accustomed to staring and weird looks – and they’re with a visible service dog, hopefully there will be more empathy and tolerance than negative judgment. It’s almost like a dog is a medical ID bracelet for our kids (in the program). “A puppy will just be with them by their side as a constant companion and that lowers their anxiety as well. Having that constant, when you don’t have the words to express your feelings, helps make new situations and transitions easier for the children.” Working closely with O’Brien, pet wellness • march 2015


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Pawsitive Independence recently adopted three English Labrador puppies – Andy, Annie and Bonnie – that will provide the organization’s first full-time service dogs. Gagnon says the English Labs are the chosen breed due to their calm temperament, work drive and stalky physical dimensions. The animals from birth are monitored regularly and given temperament testing to determine development before being chosen to start the program. In addition to basic- then advancedlevel obedience training, the three puppies are being housed by volunteers in the community, spending their days in office and school environments, and at public events at night. The idea is to familiarize the puppies with busy and even stressful surroundings, teaching them to filter out distracting sights and smells while they focus entirely on the children they are supporting. Within the coming year, Gagnon says Pawsitive Independence will be ready to establish where the Labs will be placed – with each dog’s training tailored to meet the specific needs of each child they are assisting. “We want the puppies to be confident, smart and problem solvers and they can’t just follow the child,â€? Gagnon explains. For instance, if one of the service dogs is placed with a non-verbal child who likes to wander or run, it will be conditioned to recognize and respond to tugging to help slow or stop the child, as well as be scent-trained for its companion. If a child struggles with self-harming or repetitive habits, the dog will be trained to place its paws on the child’s lap and to lick or bump with its nose to help create a distraction and possible redirection. Or, perhaps, the animal might simply provide sensory relief and/or a feeling of security to the child. “Some people are more affected by their diagnoses and they don’t have jobs or a role with family and at school,â€? Gagnon adds. “If you give them more of a purpose in taking care of their dog, children can do fun things that will give them a sense of responsibility and pet wellness • march 2015

hopefully become more engaged with the family and others in their lives.� Ideal placements are with children between the ages of 5 and 7 in an effort to instill healthy behaviours and communication techniques while they’re most impressionable, thereby helping to increase the effectiveness of therapies that also can prevent undesirable coping mechanisms. However, Gagnon says if Pawsitive Independence can assist in providing support to older children who will benefit from the service, they will try to find a way to do so. “The main thing is we want to pair dogs with families and children based on needs and not by age. We will always want to give a child the chance to grow and we don’t want that to be cut off by an age limit,� Gagnon says. For more information or to get involved and volunteer, visit www. PawsitiveIndependenceASD.com or visit their Facebook page.

mvh@myvethosp.ca

1-844-933-2677 PH 306-933-2677 FAX 306-933-4388 TOLL FREE

Box 885 #2-4th St. South, Martensville , SK S0K 2T0

myvethosp.ca

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Specialist tackles dermatological diseases in pets by Jesse Green for SP Special Projects Is your family pet licking, scratching, chewing and shaking? Is he losing hair or having dandruff? While these behaviours and symptoms can be perfectly normal, they can also signal a more serious problem. Beneath all that fur is skin that is vulnerable to sunburn, allergic sensitivities, communicable diseases and cancer; just like a human’s. Enter the veterinary dermatologist – a veterinarian who specializes in treatment and diagnosis of animal skin, ear, hair, nail, mouth and hoof disorders. Dr. Foster is a board-certified veterinary dermatologist with the American College of Veterinary Dermatologists, and complements the large team of specialists at the Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). She offers a broad range of dermatology services for both domestic pets and larger animals. “I have always wanted to stay in academia, so I was thrilled when they approached me about the position,” Foster said. She joined the VMC at the University of Saskatchewan campus in August 2014. Dermatology services can include allergy testing, video otoscopy for ear diseases, treatment for ear and skin disorders and advanced therapy for all skin disorders. While many of their patients are family pets like cats and dogs, they do get horses, cows and goats through the doors. Warning signs of a skin disorder can include: - excessive scratching - licking, chewing or biting at the affected area - scabs

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

From food sensitivities and allergies to communicable diseases, there are many different dermatological conditions that can cause discomfort and threaten the wellness of your pet. Photo: VMC/Christina Weese

- unusual lumps or bumps - unpleasant odour from the ears - bald spots Environmental allergies like pollens, moulds and house dust mites are a common problem, and testing is similar to that of humans. When these allergies are serious, they may be treated with medication. Pet owners can help by regularly bathing the pet, keeping bedding clean and keeping air filters clean. Food allergies are a little more tricky to pin down. Treatment and diagnosis consist of a veterinarian-directed diet change to a novel protein source. Simply put – a diet change won’t cut it.

pet wellness • march 2015


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Dr. Foster typically sees skin and ear cases which have failed traditional therapies performed by the family veterinarian. As skin diseases can indicate an underlying internal condition, veterinary dermatologists are trained to recognize how internal disorders can manifest as dermatological disease, as well as extensive training in allergies and immunology. Being part of a the team of specialists at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine means that Dr. Foster can draw on colleagues in their area of expertise. Having an oncologist or veterinary internist just down the hall is a huge benefit to Dr. Foster, and of course her furry patients and their families. The establishment of veterinary dermatology is credited to Dr. Hugo Schindelka. Schindelka was a teacher at the Vienna Veterinary School when he published his book ‘Skin Diseases of Domestic Animals’ in 1903. The Western College of Veterinary Medicine is the regional veterinary college for Western Canada and the North, and provides three main services: education, clinical services and health research. The Veterinary Medical Centre is the WCVM’s state of the art animal health facility where western Canadian animal owners and veterinarians can access a wide range of clinical and referral services. In addition to specialized services, the Veterinary Medical Centre also offers primary clinical services like regular checkups and vaccinations, as well as

FURRY FRIENDS ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Dermatology services offered by the Veterinary Medical Centre can include allergy testing, video otoscopy for ear diseases, treatment for ear and skin disorders and advanced therapy for all skin disorders. Photo: VMC/Christina Weese offering around-the-clock emergency and critical care. The team of specialists includes oncology, internal medicine, surgery, dentistry, ophthalmology, reproduction services, acupuncture and rehabilitation. The VMC serves as the referral centre for veterinarians across Western Canada. It is located on the University of Saskatchewan campus, and online at: www.usask.ca/vmc.

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9-110 Wedge dge Rd. Rd Saskatoon 306-934-8387 306-934-83

*Under New Ownership*

Dr. David Nairn www.Saskatoonvet.ca

pet wellness • march 2015

The Poop Guys

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Specializing in Home Boarding on our Acreage

Large fenced play areas & secure cat runs! For a comfortable experience, pets sleep in our home!

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Call 306-227-0711 thepoopguys@gmail.com www.thepoopguys.com

Dog Park access... a pet license benefit

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Senior pets need TLC

Both cats and dogs become senior at about seven years of age, says Dr. Teresa Cook with Frontier Veterinary Services. Photo: Fotolia by Kira Olfert for SP Special Projects Pets are a much loved part of many families, and like any other family member, making sure they have proper health care is essential. For our pets, this is especially important as they move into their senior years. Dr. Teresa Cook from Saskatoon’s Frontier Veterinary Services says that, in general, both cats and dogs become senior at about seven years of age. Meanwhile, pets hit the geriatric years “once they’ve met their life expectancy, so around 10 to 12 years old for large breed dogs and 12 to 14 years old for smaller dogs and cats. This is when you want to especially closely monitor your pet’s quality of life.” For our senior pets, Dr. Cook says there are three particular issues to be

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

aware of: arthritis, dental disease and blood monitoring for kidney/liver and hormonal function. “I think people are really unaware of how painful dental problems can be for our pets. If it gets to the point where your cat or dog has actually stopped eating, you know they’ve been in pain for a while, because their urge to feed is no longer more important than the pain.” Dr. Cook says that, while there are diets and treats available that can aid in your pet’s dental health, “it is as unrealistic for your pet to go without professional dental check-ups as it is for you yourself to do.” With high protein pet foods being a popular trend right now, Dr. Cook says that it is important that senior

pet wellness • march 2015


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pets receive regular check-ups so that vets can check their kidney and liver health. “As pets age and they become sedentary, high protein diets can tax the kidneys, which can lead to problems.� Protein is required to replenish enzymes that the body needs and repair muscle. If there is an excess of protein beyond that which is required, it is excreted by the kidneys. For cats, Dr. Cook also cautions owners to look for signs of arthritis. “Eighty percent of cats over the age of 7 will have arthritis. If your cat is not as active as they once were, aren’t jumping up and down like normal on the furniture or their cat condos, or if they are starting to hide, this could indicate arthritis. The good news is, with proper medication, we can do great things these days to help ease your cat’s symptoms.� While proper care for senior pets is vital, Dr. Cook says that the most important kind of care our pets need is preventative. “In 80 per cent of the cases, our pets have been seriously affected by illness by the time they exhibit any signs of the disease. With regular check-ups and blood work, we can catch illnesses before they do

any serious damage, and find a care routine for your pet that will extend their chances for a good and long quality of life.� Dr. Cook highly recommends that pet owners look into pet insurance for their furry family members. “Emergency vet care for your pet can start out at between $1,000 to $3,000. People with pet insurance tell me it is a great relief to them to not have to worry about that cost when their loved one’s well-being as at stake. As well, some pet insurance plans cover dental care.� Frontier has a brochure available detailing different pet insurance policies. Dr. Cook stresses that the love you get back from your senior pet is worth every effort. “Senior pets, especially ones adopted as seniors, are not very high maintenance, and come with the added benefit of a known personality. You can tell that they are just so happy and relieved to be someplace where they know they are loved and know they will be taken care of. There is such a strong bond there.� Frontier Veterinary Services is located at 2035A Alberta Avenue; call (306) 934-8288.

Dental problems are common among older dogs and cats. Photo: Fotolia

pet wellness • march 2014

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Well-mannered cats get their start at Kitten Kindergarten

At Kitten Kindergarten, kittens are socialized and learn to walk with a leash and harness. This training makes it easier for pet owners to take their cats with them to more places and events. Photo: Fotolia by Kira Olfert for SP Special Projects We’ve all heard of dog obedience school, but did you know that there is also a kitten kindergarten? Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic (FGVC) is now offering the classes for your furry friends. According to Lynnsey Hamilton, the Registered Vet Technician (RVT) who runs the class, “proper socialization for cats is just as important as it is for dogs. It helps them to be better behaved and to feel more secure in their surroundings.” Hamilton says that offering training classes for kittens is something Forest Grove Vet Clinic had been talking about for a while. Last May, Hamilton traveled to Edmonton to complete a program in Low Stress Handling with Dr. Sophia

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P.A.L. Card... a pet license benefit

Yin. She was certified as an instructor in August after months of intensive coursework. Now that she has spent some time teaching the class to staff from FGVC using kittens from the Saskatoon SPCA, Hamilton has begun offering the class to the public, and she says that “cats are exceptionally smart.” She points out that, while cats are at least as smart as dogs, they “learn differently from dogs.” They have a shorter attention span and are not as food motivated. However, Hamilton explains that once those factors have been accounted and adjusted for, “it’s really amazing what cats can learn to do.” The main focus of the class is to

pet wellness • march 2015


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The skills learned in Kitten Kindergarten will help the kittens be more comfortable both at home and when visiting their vet. Photo: Fotolia

“teach cats how to be handled and how to be less fearful.� Hamilton suggests that the ideal age for kittens to take the course is between six to eight weeks old, as “they startle easily at disruptions in their surroundings, but recover more quickly than older cats.� The skills learned in the class will help the kittens be more comfortable both at home and when visiting their vet. Hamilton’s course consists of three classes, run every other week so that the pets and their people have a week to practice in between. The first class focuses on tips for litter box training as well as leash and harness training. “Often,� Hamilton says, “cats fight being on a leash, and any walk to try to take them on doesn’t go so well. We teach them to love their leash, and to walk into their harness.� The second class looks at getting your cat to come when called – especially important if they somehow slip the leash in a public place; clicker training; and the importance of vaccinations and proper healthcare.

The last class teaches your cat to sit and how to get them to behave when receiving medication and during physical exams by their vet. Hamilton pays attention to keeping the stress level of the cats as low as possible during the classes. “We always stay below the level of what they are comfortable doing and use lots of positive reinforcement and attention and play time as rewards.� Hamilton says that cats that are properly socialized will be more confident when experiencing new situations, and this can mean the pet’s person will be more comfortable taking their cat out to more places and events. “Cats don’t get to experience life as dogs do. Our dogs go everywhere with us. But with the proper training, so can our cats.� The three-class course costs $90 plus taxes. As well, Hamilton is willing to give individual classes to kittens and to adult cats as well with training courses based on that animal’s particular needs. For more information, call Lynnsey Hamilton at Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic at (306) 955-6111.

Celebrate the 10th Annual Pets in the Park! Join us on July 26th, 2015! Location: Kiwanis Memorial Park South Remember: All pets must be leashed! For more info, email petsinthepark@sasktel.net All funds donated to New Hope Dog Rescue, Saskatoon SPCA & SCAT Street Cat Rescue. www.petsinthepark.ca

pet wellness • march 2015

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