February 03, 2014

Titre Testing, Vaccination & Your Dog, Part 2

Last week, I took a look at canine diseases and vaccines. This week, I will discuss how vaccines and titre testing work. I will talk about feline disease and vaccinations at a later date.

You can read Part 1: Canine Diseases and Vaccinations here.

Part 2: Vaccines and Titre Testing

January 27, 2014

Titre Testing, Vaccination & Your Dog, Part 1

Veterinary medical guidelines are constantly being updated. Canine vaccination guidelines were updated in 2011, with the development of core vaccines that are proven to provide immunity for at least 3 years. Last year, in hospital canine titre tests became available in Canada. Canine vaccination guidelines can not be updated to incorporate in house titre testing. Over the next two weeks, I will post a series on canine titre testing and vaccinations. Posts on feline vaccinations and titre testing will follow. This week, we will start with a brief description of canine diseases and vaccinations.

You can take our titre test survey and enter our draw here.

>Part 2 can be found here.

Part 1: Canine Diseases and Vaccines

The 2011 American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Canine Vaccination Guidelines divides vaccinations into 2 categories: core vaccinations and non core vaccinations. The AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines are the standard used throughout most of North America when recommending vaccinations for dogs. The AAHA Guidelines can be found on the AAHA website (see Appendix 2: Resources). It is important to recognize that the AAHA Guidelines are guidelines only: the exact vaccination schedule of a patient will vary depending on medical history (illnesses), missed vaccinations, and lifestyle.

August 22, 2013

Ticks & Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an infectious, tick-bourne disease that is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. The disease is tranmitted when an infect tick takes a blood meal from a host, injecting infected material into the host in the process. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include a characteristic bulls-eye rash (erythema migrans), fever, chills, fatigue, joint pain, and headache. Not all symptoms are necessarily present.

Ticks are eight-legged arachnids (relatives of spiders) who require a blood meal to reproduce. There several types of tick found in Nova Scotia. Only the Black-legged Tick (sometimes called the Deer Tick) carries the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, and not all Black-legged Ticks are infected. The Wood Tick (sometimes called the Dog Tick) does not carry the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. The image to the right is of a Wood Tick removed from a patient earlier this month. Note the hypostome, or straw-like mouth part, between the mandibles that is used to draw blood from a host.

June 11, 2013

UPDATE: Construction on the Forest Hills Extension finished the beginning of July. The extension is now open 24/7.
As a public service announcement, we would like to remind our clients that the Forest Hills Extension will be closed from 7pm to 5am on weekdays and from 7pm to 8am on weekends. Constructions begins on Monday, July 10 and will last for approximately 40 days. You can visit the news release on the Government Nova Scotia website for more information.
View Forest Hills Extension Construction in a larger map

April 05, 2013

Vet hospital bugged by missing info in recent flea medication article

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image
of a flea from the Australian Museum
Many clients have had questions about flea medications lately. A recent memorandum from the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association (NSVMA) has caused a lot of discussion. The article is rather erroneously titled "Vets bugged about rule for prescribing flea medication". I can't speak for the entire veterinary industry, but many of us are not “bugged” by these rules at all. Rather, we are bugged by the important facts that seem to be missing from this article.
  1. Health Canada determines what drugs may be sold for use in Canada, both for humans and for animals. Health Canada also determines which drugs may be sold over-the-counter (OTC) and which must be sold by prescription from a doctor or veterinarian. Medications are classified as prescription medications for the patient's safety: serious, and even fatal, complications can arise from using prescription medications for a case where the patient's medical history would indicate that the medication would not be safe to use.
  2. The NSVMA provides the bylaws that govern the practice of veterinary medicine in Nova Scotia and licenses all veterinarians and veterinary hospitals for practice in the province. The bylaws concerning prescriptions apply to all prescription medications, whether for fleas or for heart disease. As Health Canada determines which medications are prescription, the NSVMA can not pick and choose which medications will fall under the scope of the bylaws: all prescription medications must be treated equally.
  3. Most (if not all) flea medications that treat fleas only (and do not treat worms) are OTC. These products include Advantage, Program, and Capstar. They can be sold without a prescription from a veterinarian, and can be sold for use in animals who are not patients of the veterinary hospital.
  4. Medications that prevent heartworm, in addition to treating fleas and intestinal parasites, are prescription medications. These medications include Sentinel, Revolution, and Advantage Multi. Heartworm are parasites that live in the heart and lungs of animals. They are transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm preventative medication kills the microfilaria, which are the tiny pre-adult form of the parasite that are transmitted by mosquitoes. After entering the host animal, the microfilaria travel to the heart and lungs where they grow into adult heartworm. Preventative medications kill the microfilaria before they can become adult heartworms. Patients who already have heartworm should not be given preventative medication as this does not treat the adult worm. Use of preventative medication in animals who already have heartworm can cause the patient to die.
  5. What does this mean for our clients? As the regulations are not new, there will be no change to the way we dispense flea and worm medication at Acres. Patients who have been examined in the past 12 months, including for vaccinations, will be assessed by the veterinarian at the time of the examination. If the patient is in good health, the patient's prescription for flea and heartworm medication will be renewed. The medication can then be dispensed at any time in the next 12 months. For patients who have never been on a heartworm preventative medication, a heartworm test may be recommended to ensure that the patient does not have heartworm.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet's flea and heartworm medication, give us a call and we will be glad to answer your questions.

February 21, 2013

Cupcake Day!

Everyone loves cupcakes, right? I know I do. That's why we decided to have a Cupcake Day at Acres.

National Cupcake Day was begun by the SPCA as a way to raise money for humane societies. At Acres, we've decided to have our own cupcake day this year and support Homeward Bound by offering cupcakes and pup-cakes for a donation. Drop in for a yummy homemade cupcake for you or your dog, and support Homeward Bound!

Here's the scoop:

  • Date: Monday, February 25, 2013
  • Time: 8:00am - 8:00pm, or as long as we have cupcakes left!
  • Where: At Acres Animal Hospital: 721 Main St., Dartmouth, NS
  • Donations go to Homeward Bound in Burnside.
Come get your cupcakes before Rowan does!

February 13, 2013

Dentistry Walkthrough

Teardrop's Dental Cleaning

Kisses! We've all been to the human dentist and had our teeth cleaned, our cavities filled, and had fluoride treatments. Those of us who are unlucky have also had dental surgery such as root canals and extractions, or removal or the teeth. We all know the drill (so to speak) at the human dentist. What do our pets experience at the veterinary dentist? Teardrop, a 9 year old Sheltie, has agreed to share her big day.

January 31, 2013

Pet Dental Health Month

February is Pet Dental Health Month. Across Canada, veterinary professionals will be teaching pet owners about good dental hygiene. Keeping our teeth strong and white keeps us healthy overall. Here's a look at what we will be doing this month.

To start the month off, we have posted a new issue of Rowan's Report, our quarterly newsletter, on our website. We also have printed copies available in hospital. This dental edition gives an introduction of dental disease and some tips to prevent it. We also give a brief walkthrough of veterinary dentistry. Next week, we will post a longer walkthrough (here on the blog) of a dental cleaning and dental surgery, with photos. This will be similar to our walkthrough of Bear's Neuter, and will continue our procedure walkthrough series.

On Facebook, we will focus our weekly games and fun facts on dental health. We also have some videos and slideshows we will be posting. In the hospital, we will be promoting dental care. Call or visit the clinic to ask us for details or make an appointment.

There are lots of things you can do at home to help keep your pet's teeth clean and healthy. There are lots of things we can do to help too. What would you like to learn for dental health month?

Edit: We were originally planning to post the dental walkthrough tomorrow (Friday). But it's taking longer to put together than anticipated. We'll get it up next week.

Edit 2: The dental walkthrough is finally posted!

January 29, 2013

Belated New Year's Resolution

We had one post last year. That's a little sad. So for our belated New Year's resolution, we resolve to post at least twice a month. Next January, we'll have to look back at this belated resolution, and see how we did.