All posts in Medical Information

Lyme Disease

What is Lyme disease and how would my pet get it?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group. This is a spirochete (spiral shaped) bacteria that can be carried by black-legged ticks. A tick bite from a black-legged tick carrying the disease has the potential to infect your pet. If one bites your pet the bacteria enters the bloodstream and can travel to different parts of the body and can cause overall illness or problems in specific organs or locations in the body.


In Alberta, ticks found on pets can be submitted to the government lab to be checked to see if they are black-legged ticks. From there, all black-legged ticks will be further tested to see if they carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Based on current evidence from Alberta Health black-legged ticks are not reproducing and are not well established in Alberta. The risk of being bitten by a black-legged tick is low in Alberta, and  the risk of being bitten by a black-legged tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, is even lower.


Liver Disease

What is liver disease/chronic liver failure?

Liver disease is caused by damage to the liver. Chronic liver failure is due to long term damage to the liver, causing the liver no longer to work properly. Liver disease is far more common than liver failure, as the liver has the ability to regenerate, even if the initial damage was severe. Liver failure only occurs when more than 70-75% of the liver is irreparably damaged (cirrhosis) and the liver begins to fail as it is no longer able to repair itself.



Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure

What is heart disease and congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure occurs as a result of progressive heart disease. Heart disease is when the heart starts to fail in its ability to pump blood properly, but in the early stages the body is still able to compensate and the blood and tissues still receives the oxygen they need. When the heart is unable to pump blood properly though your pet’s body and there is not enough oxygen getting around it causes an increase in pressure and fluid that eventually leaks out of the heart to the lungs, around the lungs or into the abdomen. This causes congestion of the lungs and the heart will begin to fail.


Chronic Kidney Disease

What is chronic kidney disease?

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Chronic kidney disease is a common health condition in cats and dogs, especially those who are in their senior and geriatric years. The onset of chronic kidney disease is usually slow and the signs are usually generalized and non-specific, usually your pet is “just not doing well”. Some symptoms may also not be noticed until your pet has progressed to a later stage of kidney disease. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • increased water consumption
  • changes in urination habits (increased, decreased, blood in the urine)
  • weight loss
  • not eating
  • poor hair coat
  • vomiting

Importance of spaying your pet

Spaying your pet

cat-19106_960_720Spaying removes the ovaries and uterus from your female animal, preventing them from coming into heat, convincing, carrying a  pregnancy and giving birth. This is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia by a veterinarian. The recovery time for you pet is about 24-72 hours until they are feeling back to normal, however recovery time for your pet’s body to heal is about 10-14 days. It is during this 2 week recovery period your pet will need to wear an e-collar so not to disturb the surgery site and will need to stay rested and not engage in any activity.


Cancer diagnosis and your pet

What is cancer


Cancer is also known as neoplasia. Neoplasia means abnormal/uncontrolled growth of cells or tissues in the body. The growth itself is called a neoplasm, mass or tumor. This mass can either be benign or malignant. Benign cancers do not grow quickly and do not spread throughout the body. Malignant cancers tend to grow very fast, invade the tissues around them and can spread other parts of the body.


Rabies Awareness

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals (including humans) that is most commonly transmitted though the bite of a rabid animal. In Canada the majority of the rabies cases reported are from foxes, bats and skunks.



Head Tilt and your Rabbit

Rabbits can suffer from a condition known as a head tilt. This condition is also called wry neck or torticollis. This condition looks just as it sounds. Your rabbit either gradually or suddenly has developed a head tilt to one side. Depending on the severity of the tilt, your rabbit may also roll, move in circles or be unable to stand.



Snuffles in Rabbits (Pasteurellosis)

Pasteurella multocida is a bacteria that causes Pasteurellosis, commonly known as “snuffles”. This is a severe respiratory disease that affects domestic rabbits. This bacteria can also be found in small amounts the nasal cavity in healthy rabbits and not cause disease unless they become stressed or their immune system becomes challenged (these are called carrier rabbits). Carrier rabbits can also spread the disease to other rabbits with suppressed immune systems and cause them to get sick, as this disease is very contagious.



Household Substances Toxic to your Pet

There are may substances around your house that may be toxic to your pet. These include over the counter (OTC) medications as well as “garage items” such as antifreeze and mouse poison. Here is a quick look at a few common household items that are toxic to your pet.

For a more complete and thorough list of toxic substances, please visit the ASPCA website or the Pet Poison Helpline website.skull-1426813_960_720