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Kennel Cough in Dogs

This is a recent interview with Global News Calgary about kennel cough in dogs. The warm December weather brought more dogs to the off leash areas. The close contact with other dogs allows transmission of many types of infectious organisms. The vaccination for "kennel cough" is called Bordetella bronchiseptica. This is a bacteria that is the most common cause of cough in dogs. While they are protected for 1 year with this vaccination they may become sick with another organism. Vaccination against Bordetella should reduce the severity of illness if this occurs. 

The employee of the daycare stated that they believe in allowing dogs to develop a natural immunity to the disease. Naturally infected dogs with Bordetella bronchiseptica usually only have immunity for 6 months while the vaccine give protection for 1 year. 

You can watch the interview here. If you think your dog has kennel cough, please contact your veterinarian now to book an appointment.

Yours in health.

Dr. Kent Morley

Cosmetic Surgery in Dogs

I was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about cosmetic surgery in dogs. Ear cropping and tail docking serve no purpose in the health and welfare of dogs. I discuss this topic and how these procedures harm our canine friends. I have included a link to the interview here. You will find the interview at the 25th minute of the broadcast.

If you have further questions about ear cropping and tail docking, please contact your veterinarian.

Yours in health,

Dr. Kent Morley

The Truth About Anesthesia Free Dental Cleanings

If you hadn't heard I was on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio and Television broadcasts warning about the dangers of anesthesia free dental cleanings. Read the story here.

This is a practice where lay people will clean a pet's teeth with dental instruments while the pet is awake.  The claim is that they are only getting above the gum-line or they are performing hygienic cleanings which are safe because the pet does not have to be anesthetized.  All of this is completely misleading if not fraudulent.  What does hygienic mean really?  One definition is to promote or preserve health.  This is not what is happening when these procedures are done.   By not cleaning under the gum-line these people are completely missing the areas of the tooth that count.  In order to do any good we must clean under the gum-line.  To safely and effectively do this the patient must be anesthetized.  We also need a complete oral examination and x-rays of the entire mouth to properly assess the health of mouth.  Again, the patient must be anesthetized to do this properly and safely.

These operators prey on our fear of losing our beloved pet to an anesthetic complication.  They fail to discuss the damage that can occur from the sharp dental instruments damaging the gum or water from an ultrasonic scaler getting into the airways and causing pneumonia or worse.  They also give a false sense of security into making the crowns of the teeth look good while they continue to rot away under the gum-line.  Any amount charged to have this done is a waste of money.

While anesthetic deaths can occur, the anesthetic agents we are using are much safer and the monitoring techniques are much better than even 5 years ago.  I carefully examine and determine the relative risk for each patient and make sure each pet is a good candidate for anesthesia.

The best treatment is prevention. There are three key things we can do to help:

1) Brush the teeth daily with a regular soft bristled tooth brush.  Tartar forms from plaque within 24 hours.  We need to brush the teeth daily to remove the plaque and prevent tartar formation.  Groomers and boarding facilities will offer to brush your pet's teeth for you.  Unless you do this daily at home, there is no benefit having it done at the groomer.  Save your money and ask it not to be done.

2) Feeding Hill's t/d.  This is my favourite adult maintenance food.  As long as your pet has no medical conditions to prevent using it, t/d should be the food the eat.  This food has been proven with tests to remove plaque and tartar.  They have to eat so they might as well get something else out of it and most pets love it!

3) Healthy Mouth water additive.  This is a liquid that you put in the drinking water.  It is the only water additive that has testing to support it's claim to reduce plaque formation.  

These three things can help reduce the severity of tartar accumulation and the frequency of dental cleanings.  If your veterinarian tells you to have your pet's teeth clean, do not wait to have it done.  The sooner you intervene, the sooner your pet will have a healthy mouth.  I have seen too many cases where people have put off the dental procedure for years for any number of reasons.  The dental disease then worsens to the point where we have an old patient with a mouth that is painful. Dogs and cats are designed to hide this kind of chronic pain, but eventually they gradually go off their food.  We now have a patient that may have medical conditions that will complicate the anesthetic.  If only the cleaning had been done earlier the situation could have been avoided.

If you have any questions, please call us at 403-285-5111.

Yours in health.

Dr. Kent Morley

We are happy to announce we are the first clinic in Alberta and the second in Western Canada to have Claims Express from Trupanion! Claims Express is a first in the pet health insurance industry allowing immediate payment of your claim.

Claims Express allows Trupanion to pay us directly within four minutes greatly reducing your out of pocket expenses! No longer do you have to wait weeks for the cheque to be sent to you. 

Insurance helps protect you from unexpected costs associated with veterinary care and allows you to do what is needed to help your pet return to health. If you are not protected with Trupanion call us at 403-285-5111 or click  here  to visit Trupanion's website to find out how we can get you started.

Here's a great new project right here in Calgary called The Pet Friendly House Project.  This project will cover the design, construction, decorating and ‘durability testing’ of a home for a family of four and their pets with all aspects of the project covered through the Professor’s House –

Check it out and send them your ideas on how to build the perfect house for pets!

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