Pet of the Month November 2017

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Ready to go home after having his dentistry

He recently had a dental cleaning and dental x-rays taken. Now his teeth are pearly white and his breath smells fresh!

While he was having his annual exam earlier this year Dr. Kathy noticed he had early symptoms of dental disease and recommended the dental cleaning and x-rays.

The good news with dental disease is if it’s caught early enough we can reverse most of the effects and reduce the need for dental extractions, by performing a thorough dental cleaning.

Dental x-rays allow us to see what is going on below the gumline. Pets can develop bone loss or damage to the root of a tooth or may have teeth that have not erupted and the only way to find this out is with dental x-rays.

In this x-ray you can see the canine teeth (the really big ones) and the incisor teeth (the little ones in between) and appreciate just how much of the teeth are below the gumline.

Here you can see the pre-molars and molars on the lower jaw – again noting that the roots are considerably larger than the crown (the area above the gumline)

You may wonder why does your pet require an anesthetic for a dental cleaning. Here are a few great reasons:

  • Our pets don’t understand that we need them to sit still and not move during dental procedures
  • Our pets have much more tartar than we do so we will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove it. This is loud and could scare your pet if awake.
  • We scale below the gum line to remove tartar that accumulates there. This would be uncomfortable to have done while awake.
  • Our x-ray film is small and in order to take certain views the film needs to be positioned in a way that would pose a risk of ingestion/choking on an awake patient.
  • To see all of your pets teeth we often need to move your pets head to many different positions and often get our eyes as close as possible. This could also be very scary for some pets.
  • Another benefit of anesthesia is that our patients will have a breathing tube placed in their trachea which will prevent an bacteria or tartar from being inhaled into their respiratory system.

How do you know if your pet might have dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Changes in eating habits or chewing
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Loose, broken or abscessed teeth

Your pets annual exam will also help us to identify any changes in your pets oral health and make a plan before major dental surgery is needed.

Please give the clinic a call or email to book your pet in for their exam.

Farley Foundation Fundraiser Saturday September 23/2017

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Farley Fundraiser Event

This is a fundraising event to benefit the Farley Foundation, a charity that assists seniors and disabled persons with limited income in accessing necessary treatment for their pets. All proceeds from this event go to the Farley Foundation; however, donations can be made any time.

We will be having a Bake Table, BBQ, Silent Auction and Community Yard Sale

Join in the fun !!

When: Saturday September 23, 2017 from 10 AM- 2 PM

Where: 3843 Soules Road, Severn, Ontario

New Services!!

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New this year at Lake Country is the addition of a digital radiography unit for taking x-rays of the body and also a digital dental radiography unit to take dental x-rays.

We are very excited to be able to offer these new services and we will be able to provide much more detailed images in moments making this a very valuable addition to our clinic.

Not only do these new changes provide better care for our patients but having digital images is also a great environmentally friendly option as there are no chemicals or films involved!

A cat’s chest x-ray

An abdomen and pelvis in a dog

A sample of a cats upper canine and incisor teeth

Here is a sample of a Cat’s premolars and molar.

Pets on a Budget–How Much Do They Really Cost?

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Every year, countless animals are abandoned and sent to live their lives in shelters. One main reason this happens is because the previous owners simply didn’t understand how much their new pet would cost. If you are not currently financially stable, then it may be unfair to own a pet, for you may skimp out on their expensive needs. That said, there are affordable solutions! Read on and consider the following:

How much do cats and dogs cost?

Most pet owners do not understand how much these popular animals cost before they adopt one. Prices will vary for veterinary care, between breeders, between shelters, between pet stores etc., but no matter what you end up spending, prices add up quickly. Here is a list of some of the costs that may be involved in owning one or both of these pets:

1. The actual cost of the cat or dog
2. Vaccines
3. De-worming
4. Chip implant
5. Spay/Neuter
6. Food
7. Treats
8. Toys
9. Accessories (collar, leash, bed, harness, bowls)
10. Poop bags
11. Litter
12. Shampoo
13. Nail trimmers
14. Pet Brush
15. Unexpected medical expenses

The most important item on this list is #15, unexpected medical expenses. You may find yourself able to budget for the first 14 items, as they are expected, but medical problems happen suddenly, just as they do in humans. These are the costs that really overwhelm pet owners, and is the reason why so many animals are sadly relinquished from their homes.

So maybe a cat or a dog is not for you at this stage in your life, but as LCAH veterinarian Dr. Sandy says, “it would be wonderful if everyone could have a pet”. This leads us to the next section of this article.

What is the cheapest pet?

So you’ve mulled it over and a cat or dog is just too expensive, this is especially true for young people. Surprisingly though, there are so many other less expensive pets that give just as much companionship and love as the common puppy or kitten! Here are a few suggestions.

1. Rat
I know what many of you may be thinking: “ew”. The rat is a misunderstood creature that is actually extremely intelligent (can be taught to fetch, spin, sit and all kinds of tricks), loveable, and creates strong bonds with their owners. Although, rats should really be purchased in pairs (two females is recommended for new owners), so this increases costs. The rat has a lifespan of about 1-4 years depending on the breed, which means owning one will involve less of a financial commitment than say a dog or cat who can live up to 15+ years! Other furry pets that are equally as affordable include hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils!

2. Fish
If your financial budget is considerably low, but you crave to have a small pet to take care of, then a fish may be right for you. Fish are a lot of responsibility as they need to be fed every day, and their tanks need to be cleaned (which is not a fun job), but their costs are relatively low, costing around $100 a year (not including upfront costs of the pet itself, tank etc.). If you are a beginner pet owner, then a fish is a great choice as it will help you learn about yourself, and your willingness to commit to a pet.

3. Gecko
The leopard gecko is the most popular gecko pet and is a good alternative to furry or feathered companions. This breed of gecko is the only one that can make sounds! Geckos are very cheap, whose food only costs a few cents for serving–live crickets. If feeding your pet live food makes you uneasy, then skip all reptiles as options. If not, then the gecko may be a wonderful choice for you.

How can I save money on pet costs?

The best way to save money as a pet owner is this one simple tip– prevention. Keep your animals in good health, give them all required shots, and see the vet frequently. If your animal becomes sick, this is going to be much more costly than prevention ever would be. Keep your pets safe, make sure they are supervised, and keep your dogs on leashes in high-traffic areas!

Buy your pet food in bulk (large bags and full cases). Please check the expiry date and place your dry food in air tight storage containers! This is a basic tip for anyone who wants to save money, pet owners or not. Also, make sure to buy good quality products such as collars and leashes. You’ll save more money buying one slightly more expensive collar, than many cheap ones that break often.

Consider getting pet insurance! No pet owner wants to be put in a tough spot when your pet’s lives are put in danger but the money is just not there. Ask your veterinarian if this option is right for you!

Do not try to save money by buying cheap food products or toys. This can adversely affect your pet’s health which is the most costly problem of all!


Anderson, K. (2013, April 05). The 10 cheapets pets to own. Retrieved from Mint Life website:

Animal Planet. (2011, June 22). Pets 101-gecko (video). Retrieved from YouTube website:

Spadafori, G. (2009, February 16). Cut the costs, keep the pets. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Content Contributor: Dr. Sandy Drury

Committing to Living with a Nine-Lived Creature: The LCAH Kitten Behaviour Series (3rd Installment)

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Adopting a new kitten is a big decision, and requires more preparation and responsibility than you may think. Potential owners may find themselves overwhelmed with all kinds of problems. The most common problem that new kitten owners have to deal with is issues with the litter box! This is an important concern, that will be discussed right here, in part three of the kitten behaviour series!

How do I deal with litter box issues?

As technology has improved, so has our desire to have kittens as pets. Why? The litter box has become more improved and efficient than ever, of course! At one time, the smell of a litter box could ruin the ambience of a room, making it an unpleasant addition to your home. Now, litter box fillers are more absorbent than ever, and it isn’t hard to help mask the smell.

When first choosing a litter box, it is less the box that needs to be decided on, but rather the contents of the box. Among many options, the most popular ones are clay fillers, and clumping fillers. Clay fillers are the least expensive option in terms of price per pound, but will need to be replaced weekly in entirety. Clumping fillers will dissolve around the moisture in urine and feces, becoming somewhat of a lump encasing the elimination. You can then easily scoop or sift out these sections, and replacing the litter in entirety will not need to happen nearly as frequently.

Remember that choosing the right litter is not just about your preference, but your kitten’s preference as well! If your kitten lays their waste anywhere BUT the litter box–it could be because of the filler! So shop around, and try different ones.

That said, there are MANY reasons why your kitten may not be using the litter box. Unfortunately, this becomes a huge problem for many cat owners, resulting in feline friends being taken to shelters each year! Here are some reasons your kitten may not be using the litter box:

1) They have a medical condition. Problems such as urinary tract infections and diabetes could cause difficulty for the cat to consistently use the litter box. Allow your pet to have a full check-up with the vet before you try to make any changes.

2) The box is not clean. Would you want to use a dirty bathroom? Neither would your cat! Scoop out feces and urine at least twice a day and empty/scrub down the whole box about once every week (depending on the filler) if you want your cat to continue using it. Most cats prefer not to have a lid on the box unless it is kept immaculate. Remember, if you have multiple cats/kittens then you need multiple litter boxes (number of cats/kittens + 1=box number).

3) The box is in an undesirable location. Some necessities for litter box locations: They should be away from the food and water bowl, in an easy to reach place, in a quiet area, and in a place where the cat can feel safe. Cats do not like surprises when using the litter box, so make sure they have a private space to be. If you have multiple cats in the home make sure there is a safe exit from the litter box area so your timid cat or young kitten does not feel trapped.

4) The filler type. Your cat may not like scented cat litter or would prefer clumping over clay. Fill it up! The litter should be fairly deep so make sure there is adequate quantity in the box for some serious digging.

5) The cat is trying to tell you something. Sometimes, urinating in strange places is a cat’s way of expressing its feelings. For instance, if you go away on vacation and leave the cat alone, they may urinate on your BED to relieve their feelings of anxiety! There are treatments for this so seek veterinary advice for ways to improve your cats mood.

If your cat has been using alternative spaces to relieve themselves, and now you have made changes, make sure you have neutralized the area they used to go to! Remove all odor that was there with an enzymatic cleaner, and maybe consider even quarantining the pet from that part of the house–at least for a little while. Once the pet starts continuously using the litter box, then you can re-introduce them to the area.


Spadafori, G. (2001, November 08). Think inside the box. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Spadafori, G. (2007, December 01). Better box habits. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Content Contributor: Dr. Sandy Drury

Committing to Living with a Nine-Lived Creature: The LCAH Kitten Behaviour Series (2nd Installment)

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Adopting a new kitten is a big decision, and requires more preparation and responsibility than you may think. Potential owners may find themselves overwhelmed with all kinds of questions: Should my cat live indoors or outdoors? What should their diet consist of? These are both great questions, that can be answered right here, in part two of the kitten behaviour series!

Should my cat live indoors or outdoors?

The debate over what is a better lifestyle for a cat–to live outside, or remain inside–is one with great opposition. Many cat owners firmly believe that cats should remain outside, and forcing them to stay in the house is wrong. Others will point out that living outside unsupervised is a dangerous lifestyle for a domestic pet. Which is the right answer?

Well, there is no real right answer, but it can be said that outdoor cats are far more likely to end up in devastating, painful, or fatal experiences. In fact, statistically, indoor cats are likely to outlive free-roaming cats by about a decade! The life of an indoor cat is relatively risk-free.

That said, having an indoor cat requires a few more challenges, mainly in making sure the cat is mentally and physically sensitized and content. Ensuring that there are plenty of toys and scratching posts is necessary to engage all of your cat’s senses. You can even consider building a kitty door leading to a screened-in porch! This way, the cat has some exposure to the outdoors without having to be put in danger. Above all, whatever works for you, while keeping the cat happy, will always be a worthwhile choice.

What should my kitten’s diet consist of?

Not all kitten’s diets are created equal. Sometimes it will depend on their physical traits and their bodies’ respective needs. Other times, it will be a matter of personal choice or preference of the kitten. Picking the right diet for your kitten can be confusing, especially now with so many different brands and types to choose from! The ultimate recommendation is to ask for advice from your veterinarian at the first check-up. They will know which brands/types of foods have reaped benefits historically with other patients.

More often than not, a new kitten will be finicky (which most cats are). This may make it difficult to change diets in the future. To help avoid this, try feeding your new kitten a variety of foods at a young age so if dietary changes need to be made, the transition will be easier and less stressful for them.

Pet food isn’t always cheap, and during rough financial dry spells, we may be tempted to opt for the no-name cat foods–try to avoid doing this. The bigger brand names tend to be more reliable because there is a good chance they have gone through actual feeding trials.

One cost effective strategy that many people consider is to buy kibble instead of canned food. You may be surprised to know that cats descend from desert animals that depended on their food to provide needed water. Their kidneys are adapted to this desert environment to conserve water and rid the body of wastes. When cats don’t get enough water from food or additional water intake, they spend much of their lives dehydrated, which is not good for those kidneys or the rest of the body.

Dry diets are not that helpful in preventing dental disease as it was believed years ago. Feeding dry diets alone is also a risk factor for developing bladder stones and crystals in the urine which can be life threatening, especially for males. To help with this, try feeding some kibble with a helping of canned food at each meal. Another trick for a healthy appetite is to warm your cat’s canned food to room temperature!

Always provide water for your kitten in a large whisker width shallow bowl, or purchase a cat water fountain. Make sure to change the water often! Cats and kittens will not search out water on their own, so you must make the water attractive to them.

Fun fact: Cats actually SHOULDN’T drink milk beyond their infancy, as most cats are lactose-intolerant!


Spadafori, G. (2002, June 12). Good nutrition for healthy growth for kittens. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Spadafori, G. (2004, November 15). Behind closed doors. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Content Contributor: Dr. Sandy Drury

Threats To Your Pets: Raccoons with Canine Distemper

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It was reported that in the GTA there were hundreds of raccoon deaths that could be attributed to distemper between 2009 and 2010. This disease is still prevalent in raccoons and is not widely understood. There is a huge risk for pets who come in contact with infected raccoons or skunks with the disease–dead or alive. It is important to become educated and take the proper precautions.

What is canine distemper?

Canine distemper is an infectious viral disease which is similar to rabies in its symptoms. The disease is spread through the air, as well as direct and indirect contact. The virus first attacks the tonsils. After a week it will then attack the respiratory, urogenital, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Canine distemper, as titled, affects dogs, but also affects many other carnivores, most commonly raccoons, skunks, and household ferrets.

What are the symptoms of canine distemper?

Among raccoons, the symptoms will begin simply with a runny nose and watery eyes, which makes it difficult to detect in early stages. As time passes, the raccoon may develop pneumonia, becoming extremely thin. Diarrhea is a clear symptom of the disease. In the final stages, the raccoon will become disoriented, walking aimlessly, seemingly dazed and confused. This is what makes people assume rabies is the cause, although the true cause can only be determined through laboratory testing.

Noticing symptoms in your dogs is important, because the disease can become fatal quickly. Your dog will have a high fever, and experience discharge from the nose and experience reddening of the eyes. The dog will become lethargic, and often times become anorexic as well. At this stage, vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing will begin. The final indicator will occur once the disease has reached the central nervous system, and the dog will experience fits, seizures, and bursts of hysteria.

How can I prevent distemper in my pets?

Routine vaccinations and isolation of infected pets is the best way to prevent the disease. As it can be spread through infected wild animals, you should make sure to be monitoring your dog at all times, ensuring that they are not chasing raccoons, or sniffing at dead raccoons who may be victims of the disease. Puppies are especially susceptible, so making sure they are protected is paramount.

Is there a cure for canine distemper?

No. At this stage, no treatment exists for the disease, and infected raccoons are often euthanized if detected. This is what makes prevention and control all the more pertinent.


(n.d.). Distemper in dogs. Retrieved from PetMD website:

Aulakh, R. (2010, February 18). Dogs and cats at risk as epidemic kills raccoons. Retrieved from The Star website:

(2010, February 18). Distemper outbreak in toronto. Retrieved from CBC website:

(n.d.). Raccoon diseases. Retrieved from Wildlife Education website:

Content contributor: Dr. Sandra Drury

Committing to Living with a Nine-Lived Creature: The LCAH Kitten Behaviour Series (1st Installment) October 22, 2014

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Adopting a new kitten is a big decision, and requires more preparation and responsibility than you may think. Potential owners may find themselves overwhelmed with all kinds of questions: What should I look for in a kitten? How do I prepare for the new kitten? What kind of costs are involved? These are all great questions, that can be answered right here, in part one of the kitten behaviour series!

What should I look for in a kitten?

Making sure a kitten is healthy before you adopt it is very important–but how do you know? First of all, when holding the kitty candidate, assess how they feel. They should be neither too skinny, nor too fat. If they have a pot-belly, or protruding ribs, then these are signs that the kitten could have health problems as a result of neglect. Kittens with a history of neglect could have growth or socialization problems in the future so buyer beware. When looking at each kitten, you want to do somewhat of a full body inspection! Here’s what to look for:

  • Fur and skin: Skin should be clean, unbroken, and equipped with a smooth coat of fur!
  • Ears: Check to see if their tiny ears are nice and clean.
  • Eyes: Look for runniness or signs of discharge, both are signs of illness. Eyes should be clear and bright!
  • Nose: A healthy kitten nose will be slightly moist
  • Mouth: Gums should be bright pink, and teeth should be pearly white
  • Tail: Check for any damp areas, as they can be signs of illness.

How do I prepare for the new kitten?

There are many preparations that need to be made before the new kitten even comes home. First, you’ll need basic care items: a litter box, food & water dishes, cat food, a scratching post, and toys. All of these are very important, including the scratching post. (That is, unless you want your curtains shredded up in the morning.) You will also need treats for the first few weeks when you teach the kitten certain skills. A collar with tags is also recommended, whether your cat is outdoor or indoor. Finally, a cat carrier that opens at the top will need to be purchased for car rides that your kitten will be taking to the vet. Always put a blanket in the carrier to give your new pet some traction for the first ride home. There are pheromone wipes and sprays which can be used inside the carrier to make your feline friend feel stress-free when confined. These should be applied five minutes before travel.

You’re also going to need a veterinarian! You’ll want to take the new kitten for an exam as soon as possible after adoption.

What kind of costs are involved?

As with any pet, there’s going to be some money involved to take proper care of the new family member. First of all, the preparations that have been made will certainly add up in the cost department–feline friends aren’t cheap! The kitten will also need to be spayed or neutered, as well as examined at an appointment with your veterinarian and given its vaccinations. Micro-chipping your pet is also an option (which can be read about here). Potential owners should be preparing for and considering these costs well before the adoption is made. It is important to be aware that even the seemingly healthiest and best cared for animals fall ill sometimes, and these potential situations need to be budgeted for. Cats grow up to be independent creatures, but they will always need to have dependable, committed owners.


Spadafori, G. (2007, September 07). The right start. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Spadafori, G. (2013, August 05). A few simple steps will help you adopt a healthy young cat. Retrieved from Veterinary Partner website:

Content Contributor: Dr. Sandy Drury