Spring 2006 Newsletter

Topics of Interest

Impact of Hurricane Katrina to Ontario dogs

Dog Owner Alert

Microchip Identification – now even more affordable!

Rabies – an ever present danger

PetHealth Insurance

Upcoming events

Staff Profile – Tracy Bauman

What did we do?

Terri celebrates 25 years at WVS

Important Dates

On the Label Part 2 – By Products and what they mean

Important Dates

Good Friday—Friday April 14Victoria Day—Monday May 22Wedding Day—Saturday May 27Canada Day—Monday July 3Civic Holiday—Monday August 7Labour Day—Monday September 4
Thanksgiving Day—Monday October 9

Hurricane Katrina

Local Volunteers for Hurricane Katrina

By Heather Johnston, Belwood, ON.

Louie, a 5 lb Chihuahua, was saved by a team of Ontarians from a “high kill” shelter in Louisiana after the devastation left by hurricane Katrina. He was rescued at 3pm, only two hours before he was scheduled to die. The team included Meg Brubacher, Traci Dawson, Tim MacDonell, Kathleen Dubelaar, Katie Miller and me, Heather Johnston, supported by the Cambridge Humane Society’s Bonnie Deekon.
As pet lovers, we could not stand watching pictures of these helpless creatures on the news. We had to act, and to date we have collectively spent 2 months with the Hurricane Katrina/Rita relief effort. On one trip, Meg and Bonnie worked with a shelter in Alexandria, LA, finding homes for over 200 dogs that were doomed to what we call “death row” (high kill shelters in the southern U.S., one of which alone gassed over 7000 dogs in a single year).
Louie came from one of these shelters. He is a result of overpopulation due to low rates of spay and neutering in the American south. He is also heartworm positive, which means his heart is full of worms that would soon cause heart and lung failure. Unfortunately, Louie is not alone. We found up to 90% of the dogs in the shelters were heartworm positive. (Our organization tests dogs and only brings negative dogs up north, or we treat positive dogs if necessary.)
Pet owners in the poorest areas of the south do not often use prevention for their dogs, leaving the dogs unprotected to the devastating disease. I have seen what late stage heartworm does to dogs, and I will always be proactive and make sure all my dogs get preventative medications in the summer.
This trip has motivated us to start working locally as well as continuing our efforts down south. Unfortunately, we have our own problems in Canada. There is disease, neglect, abuse, overpopulation, puppy mills and dog fighting here, too. If you want to help, but don’t know where to start, think about starting in our own backyard. Contact your local Humane society and rescue organizations and lend a hand, even if it just alleviates the suffering of a single animal, the reward is priceless and comes with the first tail wag or purr.
Louie is being treated for heartworm right now. The treatment is long and difficult, and the heartworm disease may have lifelong consequences, even if treatment is successful. Keep him in your thoughts.

Dog Owner Alert

Due to the climate in the southern U.S., heartworm is a huge problem. In the aftermath of Katrina, dogs from that area have been moved all over North America increasing local risks of infection.
We are urging dog owners to continue to treat their dogs with preventative medications. We are asking those who have not used prevention or may have missed last year, to call our office in April or May to restart treatment. In our area, mosquitoes can spread heartworm from June to November.

Microchip Information

Microchipping has become the standard for identification of pets. While collars can be lost, and tattoos fade and can only be traced during standard work hours, microchips cannot be lost and a pet’s information is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Microchips are implanted with a needle under the skin between the shoulder blades. It is no more uncomfortable than a vaccine and takes just a second to implant. Due to strong competition between microchip companies, we are able to offer our clients a reduction in the cost of microchipping pets. The cost is now only $55 plus gst, and includes the chip, implantation and registration of your pet’s information.

Rabies Issues

Rabies is one of the best-known and most devastating diseases that passes between animals or from animals to humans. It is a fatal viral disease, transmitted via bites or through broken skin, which affects the brain and nerves.The most common sign of rabies is an unexplained change in behavior. A friendly pet may turn aggressive or act strangely, with no apparent cause. However, a wild animal may act tame and not be afraid when approached by people. It is important to know that once a rabid animal starts to exhibit abnormal behavior, it will continue to do so. It may take two to six months before showing signs, but once it does, it is an irreversible process, and the animal will die in a matter of days. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency lab reports that there are approximately 450 positive cases of rabies reported each year (mostly in bats, skunks, racoons and foxes).This fall we were startled to discover that there were 3 cases of skunk rabies that were identified within a few weeks of each other just outside of Fergus near Belwood lake. One of these skunks climbed into a dog pen with dogs that had not been recently vaccinated, resulting in a 6 month quarantine to determine if they have been infected. Once clinical signs develop the disease is quickly fatal.It is essential to vaccinate pets for Rabies to protect them and to protect ourselves. Keep in mind that house, apartment and in-door pets are not immune to rabies. “We have a large urban bat population with easy access to balconies and homes through the smallest of openings,” says Dr. Nigel Gumley, Chairman of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Advisory Group on Vaccination Protocols.”

Pet Health Care Insurance

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 pets will have an accident or illness this year that will require veterinary care? Trying to plan for the unexpected is one of the reasons we recommend pet insurance. It gives our clients who have insurance peace of mind to know that they can separate finances from decisions about how much they want to do for theirs pets. The insurer that clients use most is Pet Plan. They founded the pet insurance industry 15 years ago and offer several different plans to suit your needs.
Have a peek at their website: www.petplan.com or call or visit our office for a brochure.

Upcoming Events

5 th Annual Fundraiser for Local SheltersJoin us Saturday June 3 2006 for our annual BBQ, silent auction, dog agility demonstrations and much more!This year, we are raising funds for Cats Anonymous, a local cat shelter and the Guelph Humane Society…Join us!

WVS at Fergus Lion’s Home Show May 10,11 & 12 Mark your calendars for the upcoming home show at the Fergus Arena in May! We will be at the home show this year sharing information about pet healthcare and some of our pets will be there too. Hope to see you there!

Congratulations to our monthly draw winners!December—Kim BakerJanuary-Monica LassnerFebruary—Diane Willis
Remember next time you’re in, fill out a ballot…we have our draws monthly!

Tracy Bauman-Staff Profile

The first time that Tracy entered Wellington Veterinary Services, the clinic focused on the care of cows and pigs and companion animals. She was 16 years old, wide eyed, ready for a challenge and had no idea that her part-time job would turn into a career.Tracy worked at WVS part-time after school from 1986 until 1989. During this time, she was introduced to many different tasks, from helping Dr. John Scott with a caesarean section on a beef cow, to holding dogs and cats for treatment and even cutting the lawn at the clinic.After high school, Tracy worked at a large small animal practice in Kitchener for 5 1/2 years. There, she broadened her skills to include client education , nutrition, technical skills and the management of a veterinary hospital.After working in Kitchener, she broadened her knowledge working at 3 other small animal clinics in the Waterloo region.In 1998, Tracy sent a resume to Drs. John and Yvette Scott with the hope of returning to her hometown community. Within a couple of weeks, Tracy was back working at WVS.Tracy was keen to incorporate the information that she had gathered from her experiences at other veterinary hospitals into her job at WVS.Tracy has attained many training certificates. One that she is most proud of is the St. Lawrence Veterinary Hospital Manager Certificate that she received in 2002.Along with management, Tracy helps with client education and surgery, and she is our clinic expert on handling cranky kitties! She loves to keep everyone updated with ideas on patient care, client satisfaction and team management. She also has organized the annual fundraiser for the past 5 years.

What did we do?

Dr. Scott, Dr. Reichertz and Tracy attended the OVMA (Ontario Veterinary Medical Association) conference January 27, 2006.Dr. Scott attended lectures about blood disorders and Dr. Reichertz focused on cardiology. Tracy attended a staff motivation and management seminar.Crystal Ray our RVT went to the OAVT (Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians) conference in February to attend 2 days of lectures.We also all attended in-house seminars this year which included: · Heartworm disease and prevention· communications with clients and fellow staff· the use of a new heart medication for dogs· new hypoallergenic diets available for dogs and cats with skin problems and flea control.
If you have any questions any of the above topics, please ask our staff and we will be happy to help!

Terri’s 25th!

Terri has been with WVS for 25 years.Please come celebrate with us June 3, 2006 at the fundraiser.
See you there!

On the label – Part 2

On the Label—Part 2

“By-Products—What do they mean?”

Pet food ingredient labels are not always what they seem. Although every company uses standard AAFCO definitions for ingredients, the ingredient listing itself does not necessarily indicate quality. For example, there are two AAFCO categories for chicken:

1. “Chicken/chicken meal” (clean flesh and skin, with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry. No feathers, heads, feet or entrails).

2. “Chicken by-products/chicken meal by-products” (clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet and internal organs. No feathers).

It seems that “by-products” would be worse, because they include heads, feet and entrails. However, “chicken” and “chicken meal” might include bones, tendons and ligaments, which are poorly digestible and a poor source of protein. On the other hand, “chicken by-products” and “chicken meal by-products” might include heart and liver, which are very digestible and an excellent source of protein. But even if chicken/chicken meal were high in protein (eg. flesh and bones), it isn’t necessarily good if it isn’t digestible (shoe leather is high in protein, but not digestible at all). For this reason, a food listing a high percentage of protein isn’t necessarily better. What matters is digestibility.

This example illustrates that a package that lists “chicken” and has 24% protein can be much lower in quality than a product that lists “chicken by-products” with the exact same 24% protein. The ingredient listing does not necessarily indicate the quality of the pet food.

The best way to determine food quality is to ask the manufacturer for data on digestibility, urinary pH, and the food’s effect on growth and healthiness. On of the criteria we use ourselves when recommending pet foods (including store brands) is that they have had complete and successful feeding trials.

Competition in the pet food business is extreme, making labels almost impossible to interpret. If you’re confused by the labels, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.