Saturday, February 15, 2014

Animal Overpopulation-Not just a domestic animal issue

Marius,the reticulated giraffe from the Copenhagen Zoo, who was euthanized this week brought a flurry of media attention. Most of this attention focusing on the European Association of Zoo and Aquaria's (EAZA) practices of culling animals that are not biologically diverse enough for their program.

I understand the need to protect endangered species. In doing so it is imperative to keep what remaining animals we have in breeding programs genetically diverse. Prevention of inbreeding is important; but shouldn't this be considered before breeding is allowed to occur with captive animals vs. after the fact?

Working as a Registered Veterinary Technician, in an Animal Shelter, my job is a daily reminder of the pet overpopulation crisis North America deals with on a daily basis. Animals that have been discarded or those allowed to roam unaltered and ready and able to breed all contribute to this problem. A problem many call being an irresponsible pet owner.

There are days when Shelter workers like myself have to make unfortunate decisions to euthanize animals. This may be due to lack of resources whether it be space, or funds to treat medically/behaviourally extensive issues. These decisions are never made lightly and weigh on the hearts of the workers who are left with no other option because a pet owner was irresponsible and left the issue for us to deal with.

So, why, when we struggle with pet overpopulation issues in this world (that most deem unnecessary and cruel) would we be so nonsensical to allow it in a captive bred herd of animals in a zoo? We know there are sterilization methods available to prevent this situation. We know we can offer enclosures to separate animals we do not want in close contact with each other. We know this is a controllable issue.

Once again an animal has brought forward the need for patrons of any animal related establishment to take a good look at what you are supporting by visiting them. Your lack of purchasing an admission ticket or donating money to them will be most loudly heard and will help to ensure they are doing right by the animals.

If anything, Marius' short life should be a lesson to us all to become more aware, more involved and to make positive changes happen after being enlightened by negative situations. It starts with just one voice.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Safe Car Travel With Your Dog

Summer is here which means long rides to the cottage will be in full swing. Have you thought about how to safely travel with your dog?

Lets be clear, safe travel for your pet definitely does not include a ride in the bed of a pick up truck, nor half hanging out the car through an unrolled window. Owners beware, allowing your dogs to ride these way runs the risk of injury or death. Sudden braking  can send your dog out of the vehicle or from the back to the front. Flying stones and debris can cause injury. Curious pups may see something that piques their interest resulting in them jumping ship.

Having smaller pets lose in your vehicle or sitting on your lap is hazardous as well. Accidents may ensue if you are distracted by your dog, your dog gets in the way of your vision or prevents proper access to mirrors, break and gas pedals or your steering wheel.

To make sure your pet is safe during car travel consider the following:

Buy a doggie seat belt so your dog is secure should you need to stop quickly.

1. Consider placing smaller dogs in a crate that can be buckled into place preventing them from getting under your feet or in your way.

2. If you vehicle doesn't have air conditioning plan for frequent stops and bring water along for both of you to drink!

3. For dogs that are anxious travellers  consider speaking to your veterinarian about medication or herbal remedies to calm your dogs nerves on road trips.

4. Never leave your pet in your vehicle in the summer. Temperatures rise within minutes and may lead to heat stroke and death. If you can't stand being in there, neither can your dog!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Going away? How to protect your pet...

So, you're going away...whether it's a weekend, a week, or a month there are times when your pet  just can't come along for the trip. To make sure they are safe while you travel here's what you can do...

Find somewhere safe for them to stay

While your away you will feel much better knowing that your precious pooch is being cared for properly. Whether its a boarding kennel, a friend or family member, or an in home service caring for your dog make sure they are reputable, have experience and great references. If you're not sure where to go ask your Veterinarian for a recommendation.

Leave phone numbers

In the unfortunate event that you pet may require medical care, while you are away, make sure to leave lots of phone numbers for their caregiver.
Include numbers for where you can be reached, your veterinarian, the local after hours emergency clinic as well as and friends or family who can act as an emergency contact.

Also, in case they get out or away leave numbers for your local animal control shelter.

Give your vet a heads up

It's a great idea to call your vet before you leave and give them instructions on what you would like done should your pet need treatment. You may want to preauthorize the use and limit you would like to spend on your credit card as well as a direct contact number you can be reached at. You should also let them know who you are leaving in charge of your pet's care.

Contact your local animal control service

Before leaving for your trip make sure to contact your local animal control service and make sure your pet's license is up to date. You may also want to leave the contact number of the person caring for your pet while away. If they go missing your caregiver can easily be alerted to their whereabouts. If your pet has a microchip it is wise to notify them as well.

Leave a note and detailed instructions

Before you leave put everything in writing and sign it. In the event of an emergency your pet's caregiver will be happy to have the info in one spot for easy access.

Details should include : feeding and medication instructions, veterinary clinic details (name,phone number and address), animal control shelter info, your pet's license or microchip number, microchip company info, and your contact info while away.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Unique cat dish prevents dogs from getting cat's food

It's often the burden of pet owners that would like to have both a cat and dog. While feeding your cat at a higher location like the counter or laundry table may work for some, it's not the most ideal situation.Especially as your cat ages and finds jumping up a harder task.

The great news is there is now a cat dish on the market that can solve this situation. The dish allows cats to feed at ground level with a specially designed hood that prevents dogs from getting in the dish. No more cat food all over the place, a starving kitty or a pup with an upset stomach who ate something he shouldn't have.

Check out this great veterinarian designed dish now available online for purchase at

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Salty dog paws

It's that time of year. We are in the midst of winter and not only is your skin dry and cracking but its quite likely your dogs pads on their paws may be too!

Winter is rough on pet's paws. With the cold surfaces and sharp icy edges on walkways their paws take a beating, and ice melter and salt can make for some uncomfortable feet.

Although, great at melting ice and snow and providing a place to walk, salt can burn the pads of your pets feet.

Not to worry though, walks are not out of the question. If you know you will be heading out in ice melter territory consider applying a protective salve to your pets pads before leaving to provide a barrier between their skin and the ice melter. Doggie boots like muttlucks can also be great for winter time walks. Not only will they protect your pet's feet from the elements they will also provide more traction on slippery surfaces. Local pet stores have a selection of both products with boots coming in various sizes.

In the meantime, when returning from a walk rinse your dogs feet and dry them well to remove any salt residue. You may want to consider using pet friendly ice melter on your own property.

If you notice your dogs pads are red,raw,inflammed, or they are licking at them, limping or seem painful consult your veterinarian for an exam to make sure medical intervention is not needed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

When you have to Re-Home your pet.

Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we are left with no choice but to find a new home for our pets.

Working in an animal shelter, there are often many different reasons I hear why people can no longer keep their furry friends.......allergies, lack of time, change in lifestyle and sickness just to name a few.

There are many different ways of trying to re-home your pet before deciding the euthanasia is the only way to end the relationship.

Here are a few ideas:

Animal Shelters

Check out your local SPCA, Humane Society or Municipal Animal Shelters to see if they take pets in for surrender for adoption. These animals would be placed in a kennel type setting or into a foster home, depending on how the organization is set up, and the staff will find a suitable family to match your dogs or cats needs.

Breed Rescue Groups

There are many breed specific rescue groups for purebred dogs and cats. These groups are very familiar with the particular breed that they rescue and their idiosyncrasies. They often have a network of foster homes that house these pets until a suitable match is found for their forever home.

Free Advertising

Consider advertising in the FREE section of your local newspapers. You can also post ads in your local grocery stores and vet clinics. When placing a pet yourself with a new family be sure to check them out and ask for references ( ie/ vet clinic, pet sitter or trainer that they use).

In any situation when trying to find a new home for your pet the most valuable information you can give the shelter, rescue group or foster parents is the TRUTH! Explaining in detail any medical or behaviour issues your pet has can give your pet the best chance at finding a new family. It allows the new family to fully understand the extent of attention and care your pet will need and helps them in picking the most appropriate addition to their family. This will also help to lessening the chance that the pet will be bounced around to multiple homes which is stressful on the animal.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

WOW! Its almost been 2 1/2 years!

WOW! Its hard to believe it has almost been 2 1/2 years that I have been working at the animal shelter. It is quite different from what I was doing in general veterinary practice and I am still loving it! The time has already gone by so quickly. Its hard to belive that at one point in my career I couldn't even imagine considering a job in a shelter. I am glad that the opportunity presented was just the change I needed. Of course I woulnd't be blessed with 2 lovebirds and a Siamese x all from the is it that I worked almost 12 years in vet clinics and never brought one home but have managed to gain 3 in 2 1/2 years at the shelter?

Keke & LuLu, although they have had thier trials and tribulations, have been a great source of entertainment. Being a first time bird owner..... I had a lot to learn and yes......they were very patient.

And sweet little Sadie. The miracle kitten. She is the sweetest little Siamese X that was born to a domestic medium haird all black mom. We thought she may be pregnant when she came to the shelter but after 10 weeks (usual kitten gestation is about 8 weeks) we booked her for a spay. The night before the surgery at the vets she gave birth to one lone all white precious little Sadie.....she truely is a miracle!

Well as the saying goes.......time sure does fly when your having fun!