Ask a Vet

Woof Woof Like Salmon Woof

Ever wondered what your pet is thinking? Does it have a particular request for dinner, or stories to tell? Well, here’s your chance to gain some insight. On March 9, there is a workshop on animal communication instructed by Andrea Schlupp and Alison Zeidler at the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre. We tend to anthropomorphize …

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Choosing the Best Packaged Food For Your Pet

I’m always amazed at advertising for pet foods. The current trend is towards “natural,” “organic” and other such words. But what does this really mean and what is the best food for your pets; or yourself, for that matter? Remember, the best advertisement isn’t necessarily the best food. “Organic” usually means there aren’t any additives …

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Thyroid Problems

One of the more common problems that veterinarians deal with involves the thyroid gland. The thyroid is in the neck and has to do with controlling metabolism. The problem is found in dogs and cats. It is probably a more common problem in dogs, and usually involves a low thyroid level, or hypothyroidism. When the …

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Breeding and Feeding

Thanks to everyone who pointed out that the Coombs test I mentioned last month was a related test, but not the right one. The Coggins test is, of course, the test for swamp fever in horses. I’ve had a few people ask about breeds of dogs. All breeds are man-made to one degree or another. …

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A Little Horse Sense

Afew people have asked about horses, and with the white fluffy stuff sticking to the ground in the last week or so, maybe this is a good time to take a look at these guys. I’ve worked with horses for almost 40 years, but always from the ground. Last time I got on a horse, …

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Aging Pets

The last few weeks I’ve been getting a lot of calls and emails about older dogs. When we have pets that have a significantly shorter lifespan than us, this is a pretty common problem to face. Dogs age at different rates by breed and size, and this is important to understand. The largest of the …

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So, just what is a vet?

This is the first column in a monthly series in which Jim Kenyon will answer readers’ questions about animals and animal care. As in any profession, many questions people ask veterinarians are often repeated. When I was in practice, it sometimes felt as if discussing parasites in dogs or vaccines in cats was launching into …

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Common Cat Poisons

Cats are different. Most people know this. You’re either a cat person or a dog person. As the old saying goes, dogs are companions, cats have staff. While this is true, they are also very different in many other ways. They handle drugs differently. They like to climb, so they get to lots of places …

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Most Common Dog Poisons

We’ve talked about poisoning in pets several times, but since there has been a lot of interest in the subject, I decided to throw out some basic facts. First, poinsettias are not poisonous. This is a myth that actually dates back to 1919 when a 2-year-old girl died and was incorrectly diagnosed. They’ll make you …

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Emergencies & Pet Peeves

One of the most common emergency calls that vets get is for seizures in dogs. Other animals can have seizures, but most of the calls involve dogs. Most people know roughly what epilepsy is, but much of the disease remains a mystery to most. Technically, epilepsy is a focus of abnormal electrical activity in the …

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A Day in a Vet’s Life

There’s a lot of serious stuff in my profession, as with many others, but sometimes things just happen that get pretty funny. I’ve had two reporters do full-page stories on the “life of a vet”. Once, in Ontario, the reporter followed me around on large animal calls and a few small animal office visits. What …

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Zoonotic Diseases

Zoonotic diseases are diseases that are common to both humans and animals. There are a lot of these, but it’s always surprising to find that people don’t understand which is which. There are a lot of jokes about distemper, but the reality is that you can’t get distemper from your dog or cat. In fact, …

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The Virtues of Vaccination

I’ve had a few questions about vaccinations this month from people wondering how they work and if they’re really worthwhile. The answer is simple. They work very well and they are very worthwhile. The way vaccines work is that they expose the animal (or human) to a form of a disease before the actual disease …

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The Knees Have It

This seems to be knee month. There have been lots of questions about dogs and their knee problems. This is a common problem in dogs, particularly the larger and more athletic breeds. There are a number of ligaments involved in the knee joint, and just as in humans, they can all cause problems. The most …

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