Animal Health Week 2012

September 30 – October 6 is Animal Health Week  2012. This year’s theme is “Preventitive Veterinary Care”

So in honour of this, I am going to convince you that annual check-ups with your vet are a great idea.  I’m not talking about vaccinations – that is a whole other discussion, and I don’t want to get into that here. I’m just talking about a once a year appointment to get you, and your pet, in a room with a trusted veterinarian. What happens in that room is between you and your veterinarian. There will be a physical exam, of course, but beyond that will depend on the needs and conditions of you and your pet.

Once before I’ve discussed why regular visits are good for senior cats, and the same ideas apply to senior dogs, and cats and dogs of any age really.

The idea behind preventative veterinary care is to stop problems before they start, to catch issues before they cause serious damage, and to establish a relationship with your veterinarian so you have someone to turn to down the road when your currently healthy pet is not so healthy.

In a young healthy animal it may be no more than a physical exam, which may lead to a discussion about weight, diet, dental health, skin health, dirty ears. . . I could go on! As your pet gets older, we may recommend blood work to take a closer look at how things are working on the inside.

If we see your pet when he or she is a bit overweight we can have a discussion to prevent obesity and the health risks that come with it. If we spot early dental disease we can make recommendations that will prevent it from getting worse, do a routine cleaning before the teeth are rotting out of the head and cause a tooth root abscess. If we notice poor skin and coat quality, we can make suggestions to make this better and improve quality of life for you and your pet. If we see a mild ear infection we can take care of it before the ear becomes super inflamed, sore, and maybe even swells shut.  I hope you see my point! And with blood work we might find out your pet is diabetic before you rush them in on emergency because they are super sick with diabetic ketoacidosis, or we might find out the kidneys aren’t working so well before they start vomiting everywhere and stop eating. I could go on some more!

The bottom line: regular check-ups will extend your pet’s life and hopefully prevent serious illness requiring extensive and expensive medical intervention.  That is why it is called PREVENTATIVE care!

So, celebrate Animal Health week by thinking about when your pet has last had an exam… has it been more than a year? Maybe it’s time to call up your vet and book another! Also, by the way, some clinics celebrate Animal Health week with open houses and other such activities – so check out their websites, or swing by and ask if they’re doing anything special!

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Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

This year, September 22 to 30 had been declared National Cat ID Week!

Declared by whom, you ask? By Care for Cats  – a Canadian project begun in 2011 to respond to the cat overpopulation crisis.

Their mission statement:

“Creating awareness through response and education. Delivering resources to Canadian communities will encourage individuals to appreciate the feline species and foster more responsible cat ownership which in turn will decrease the daily euthanasia of thousands of adoptable cats.”

I definitely recommend you check out their website for information on the work they are doing. But just in case you are too lazy to do so, I’m going to hope that you at least continue to read this post and I will tell you about how important it is to have permanent identification for your little furry friend!

Even if you keep your cat exclusively indoors, things can happen – a window breaks, a door is left open a second to long, an escape is made. Now your indoor kitty is outdoors, and the possible outcomes are endless. Without some kind of identification on your cat, the outcomes where you find your cat again have significantly less probability.

Your cat may be picked up by a well-meaning stranger who never sees your missing cat posters, and brings him or her to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. Without any form a of identification, the staff of these places can only check lost reports, keep the cat for a certain amount of time, and if chance doesn’t alert you to the whereabouts before a certain amount of time runs out. . . they get adopted to a new home. Or, unfortunately, if your cat is extra unlucky, they get euthanized.

Perhaps your cat gets injured, and is brought to a veterinary clinic. If there is no identification on the cat to help find an owner immediately, it may be decided that it is in the cat’s best interest to euthanize unless someone is able to foot the bill to treat them if an owner is never found. Or perhaps your cat gets killed – hit by a car, attacked by another animal – and you never know. A body can only be kept for a certain amount of time to give people a chance to identify it.

My preferred method of identification is microchipping. A small little microchip, the size of a rice grain, is implanted under the skin. It is the most permanent form of identification, and the chances of something happening to your cat that would make it unidentifiable are very slim. Every veterinary clinic and animal shelter should have a scanner, or access to a scanner, and checking for a microchip is a standard part of processing any “stray” that comes in. Having your pet microchipped can help reunite you quickly with your lost kitty, or give you closure if the unthinkable has happened.

So, if your cat is not microchipped, I strongly recommend you consider changing this. I leave you with this bit from the ID Week Summary:

“People do not realize it but a lost cat has a very small chance to return back home safely,” explains Dr. Elizabeth O’Brien, a feline practitioner and the Care for Cats spokesperson. “Focusing on identifying and registering felines should be part of your veterinary care routine as it increases their chances to get back home should they go missing.”

My name is Stewie, and I am an arsehole who likes to run out of doors at every opportunity. . . Good thing I am microchipped!

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Ain’t No Party Like a George Street Party

So every summer there’s this thing that happens in St John’s: George Street Fest.

TheBiggest Little Street in North America” parties for six straight days, featuring both big name bands, tribute acts and local favorites alike.”

This is how it works: You pay a ticket price to get on George Street, where there is an outdoor stage and some bands will be playing. The bars have windows open to the outside or carts outside so you can buy drinks without going inside, and you can DRINK ON THE STREET! WoooOOOooo! (This is not normally allowed in Canada, in case you are unawares). More than a concert and a chance to drink outside, it can also be a chance to go inside some bars on the street you may normally not go into because you don’t want to pay the cover.

Some people go down for the music, some wait until later in the night and go down to visit all of the bars. Some people will swing both ways.

My first summer I was working a fair bit, as I didn’t know any better to ask for those nights off. But I went down one night with some folks from work to catch the cover band “Bon Journey”, because I work with some ladies who go nuts for Bon Jovi and they couldn’t miss a cover band that does Bon Jovi and Journey songs only! I mean, how often do you get to hear Bon Jovi classics mixed with Journey classics, in one show? Rock on!

I went another night with some friends for the “Kitchen Party” night, because we were a bunch of Come From Aways (in other words, none of us were born in Newfoundland) and it seemed like a good “Newfoundland” thing to take part in. It was a pretty mild George Street Fest experience, to be honest. There will be more George Street Fest posts, and they will be more exciting… but my first year I was just testing the waters.

And I brought Bob.

Little bit of rain couldn’t stop us from having a time!

And if you’re curious to hear more of this wonderful time to be had in St John’s, and are too impatient to wait for me to move on from writing about only my FIRST year in Newfoundland…. You can check out Candice’s post about it here… Appropriately, full of photographs taken by me! 😉

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