Author Archive for ryan

Should I have my pet insured?

The short answer to this question is YES!

Common Procedures Required

Common Procedures Required

We strongly recommend that all our clients obtain health and accident insurance for their pets. If you think you don’t need to insure your pets or feel it may not be worth the expense, you should ask yourself the following question: If my pet got sick or had an accident and the cost to treat him/her was $5000 or more (potentially a LOT more), would I be able to authorize treatment without any hesitation and without causing myself financial hardship?

If the answer to this question is NO, then you need pet insurance.

Many people feel that it is not worth paying for pet insurance because they may never need it or may not use it for several years. Using this argument, we would not insure our homes or cars either, but this is not the case. Some clients feel that they would be better off putting the money they would spend on insurance into a separate account each month to pay for unexpected veterinary costs. There are two problems with this approach:

1) Many of us have this good intention but will not actually keep up with it.

2) This approach only works if your pet does not need treatment for several months/years after you start to save.

Another mistake people tend to make with respect to pet insurance is to wait until the pet is older, thinking that they will not need to pay premiums for as long. This often results in the pet ending up with what is termed a “pre-existing” condition, which the insurance company will no longer cover. If you insure your pet when it is young and healthy, then the pet will likely be covered for all illnesses for the rest of its life.

It is possible to obtain pet insurance which only covers accidents. Obviously the monthly premiums for this type of insurance are cheaper. It is certainly better to have this type of insurance than none at all, especially for younger pets as they are more prone to things such as swallowing toys, etc., but keep in mind the above advice about pre-existing conditions; it may be worth the extra each month not to have to worry about what you may end up needing to claim for.

Below are some links to some of the major companies offering pet insurance in Canada. If you have specific questions about choosing a company or a plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

Over the counter pain medications

As a pet owner, you hate to see your dog or cat in pain. Therefore, many pet owners will try to help reduce their pet’s pain by giving them human, rather than veterinary, medications that they have found effective in alleviating their own pain or that of their children. After all, “if it helped me/my child, there’s no reason it won’t help my pet, right?’

WRONG! Not only may some human products not be effective, many of them can be downright harmful.

Dogs and cats are not the same as small people. Their metabolisms, and therefore their ability to metabolize drugs, can vary greatly from our own. This means that a drug which is effective for a person may not be effective for your pet and in some cases can actually be quite toxic or have negative side-effects.

We often hear clients say that “Dr. Google” or even “my friend’s vet” said that it is okay to give my dog aspirin. While it is true that most dogs can tolerate the occasional dose of aspirin, there are many instances in which it could still be harmful. Additionally, it is not the most effective pain reliever for dogs. Most non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have 2 main effects on the body: pain relief and also gastric, or stomach irritation.  Most of the NSAIDs used in veterinary medicine have been developed to maximize pain relief while minimizing the gastric side effects. This is important because dogs, and especially cats, are more prone to developing complications such as stomach ulcers from the use of NSAIDs than people are. Another consideration when using NSAIDs for dogs and cats is that they are also more prone to kidney toxicity from their use. As owners often give these products to older pets who may be suffering from arthritic pain, these older pets may already have impaired kidney function and a decreased ability to handle these drugs.

So you might think, “OK, so I will just give my dog one dose of aspirin until I can take him to the vet”. The problem with this is that NSAIDs require what is called a “washout” period between their use. This means that if aspirin is given, it will then be several days before a different NSAID can be given. This is due to the fact that some of the drug will still be present in the dog after the time when the pain relieving properties have finished, and adding another NSAID too soon will greatly increase the chances of negative side effects such as stomach ulceration. Thus, the one dose of aspirin that you gave your dog to “tide him over” has now resulted in an inability for your vet to start the dog on a safer NSAID for several days.

The take-home message from all of this is that you should always contact us prior to giving your dog or cat any over-the-counter medication to prevent administration of products that could be harmful, toxic, wrongly dosed, or ineffective. This includes drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), aspirin (Excedrin, Anacin), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen, in particular, is extremely toxic to cats.

Our pets certainly feel pain in the same way we do – if something causes us pain, it will cause pain for our pets. Many options exist to help alleviate pain in pets. Make sure to work with your vet to do so safely!

Old Age is Not a Disease

While there are many diseases that are seen more frequently as pets get older, arthritis being arguably the most common, old age itself is not a disease. There is no cure or treatment for old age, but there most certainly are treatments for arthritis and some of the other diseases associated with aging.

On a daily basis, we see pets for their annual checkups, and when asking about their current health status, we hear “Fluffy/Rover is doing fine I guess, just getting old.” This is followed with statements such as “he is slowing down”, “she can’t jump in the car any more”, “he just isn’t the dog/cat he was a few years ago”.

Aging happens to us all, humans and pets alike. As humans age though, we do all we can to alleviate the symptoms, and maintain our quality of life and stay active. We do this through medications, health supplements, diet, appropriate exercise, and therapies such as physiotherapy and chiropractic. We generally do not suffer in silence, nor should we.

Unfortunately, many of our pets do just that, most likely because they are more stoic than most people and because it is part of their nature not to want to show any sign of weakness; this does not mean that the discomfort is not present. This is especially true for cats.  Additionally, many people are just not aware that virtually any treatment/therapy available for humans is likely available for our pets.

At the first sign of “slowing down” or even before, starting joint supplements will help to keep pets’ mobility at an optimal level for as long as possible. As symptoms progress, medications can be added to keep them comfortable. If pain is controlled, normal movement and function will be better maintained, which in turn will prevent muscle loss and further decreases in mobility. Using alternative treatments such as therapeutic laser, underwater treadmill, and chiropractic adjustments will keep pets comfortable and mean lower doses of pain medications can be used. These treatments can also be very valuable for pets who cannot take medications due to other health concerns.

Consulting with your veterinarian to develop a plan to maintain your pet’s comfort and mobility will greatly enhance their senior years and keep the human-animal bond strong between you and your beloved furry family member. One important thing to consider long before you pet shows age-related symptoms is that many pet insurance plans will cover not only prescribed medications but also the additional therapies such as physio and chiropractic, as long as the policy is in place before a diagnosis of arthritis or other orthopedic problems is made.

Do not go gentle into that good night……..rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

Queensway West Animal Hospital’s First Veterinary Blog

Hello and welcome to Queensway West Animal Hospital’s first veterinary blog! Queensway West Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic located in Kanata, Ontario. We offer a comprehensive range of veterinary services with an emphasis on promoting wellness and preventative medicine within a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Please visit our website at www.qwah.ca to learn more about us.

Our plan is to write a blog on a monthly basis. We will be including some informational articles on various veterinary topics as well as posting about more personal aspects of our practice, including some of our community outreach endeavours.

On that note, we recently held a campaign to encourage people to follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/QueenswayWestAnimalHospital

Fb fund raiser( blog photo)We invited people to like our page, and in return for each “Like” received we promised to donate 1 pound of pet food to one of two charities: the Arnprior Humane Society and the Ottawa Food Bank. This resulted in us providing 100 pounds of much-needed food to each location! At the same time, we held a raffle for two Christmas pet-themed gift baskets with proceeds going to the Ottawa Humane Society. We like to spread the love around!

In the upcoming couple of months we have some of our staff members attending veterinary continuing education conferences as well as our entire staff participating in a volunteer program for the Ottawa Humane Society. We will report on these activities in an upcoming blog.

We welcome your feedback on this and future blogs and also invite you to let us know if there is a topic you would like us to cover in the future. Please feel to contact us any time at 613-271-8387 or info@qwah.ca or leave us a message on Facebook.

Cancer and immune disease in our Companion Animals

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT WITH ACUPUNCTURE, TRADITIONAL CHINESE VETERINARY MEDICINE AND HERBAL THERAPY

The bad news!
• Many of our animal companions, unfortunately, have this disease we call cancer.
• Cancer is a ‘whole being’ disharmony that eventually shows up somewhere it can be diagnosed.
• It is a result of genetic, environmental, nutritional, physiological, physical and emotional factors, combining to overwhelm and disturb an animal’s immune system.

The good news!
• Cancer and immune diseases can be prevented, treated and alleviated.
• Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and herbal therapy, nutrition and nutritional supplements, natural healing methods along with conventional therapies in an integrative approach can help to deal with cancer and other autoimmune diseases.

Prevention
• TCVM excels at picking up subtle early imbalances in your pet before cancer develops, and seeks to balance these disharmonies and treat the root cause. TCVM uses some special methods of diagnosis eg examination of tongue, pulse and certain acupuncture points on the body, as well as specific questions in the animal’s history.
• By examining your pet regularly, especially if she/he has problems already, TCVM can help prevent further progression of the disease.

Treatment
• TCVM can help to treat, prevent spread, cure, and alleviate clinical signs and pain, making the animal more comfortable. It can help to strengthen the animal and her/his immune system.
• TCVM can alleviate side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

QWAH
• We want the best for your animal friend. Dr. Janet Knowlton, who works with us, is trained in TCVM, Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy and other complementary modalities and is pleased to offer her compassion and expertise to help your animal friend to wellness and better health.
• If your pet is suffering from cancer, autoimmune disease, or other problems which could benefit from natural healing methods or for which conventional treatments may have unwanted side effects, or for a preventive consultation and examination, please call our office, 613 271 8387, for an appointment with Dr. Knowlton.

For more information on Acupuncture and TCVM, and Dr. Knowlton’s work, please visit our website:

http://www.qwah.ca.