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The Team at Hôpital Vétérinaire Taché in Outaouais Answers Your Questions

Does my cat or dog need daily tooth brushing?

Yes, daily brushing can help prevent plaque and tartar build-up and gingivitis. Bacteria (one of the components of plaque) living in the mouth can get into the blood stream and lead to problems with other organs, in particular the heart and the kidneys. There are toothpastes that are specially designed for pets, as well as foods and treats than can help keep teeth healthy. Despite all your precautions, most cats and dogs will need annual tartar removal. Make an appointment with us for a dental evaluation and for a tooth brushing demonstration with your pet!

Do ticks and mosquitoes present a danger to my dog?

Yes. Ticks and mosquitoes can be carriers of certain diseases. The tick can carry and transmit diseases such as Lyme borreliosis (Lyme disease), anaplasmosis or ehrlichiosis, while mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease, among other things. The clinical signs of these diseases may vary, and can be very serious. Your animal may be bitten or stung in both rural and urban settings. It is therefore suggested your pet undergo regular screenings for these four diseases. There are also several medications that can prevent the development of these diseases. A vaccine to prevent Lyme disease is available. Discuss your options with us during your pet’s annual exam.

My pet is scratching a lot! What should I do?

There are many potential causes for scratching in pets. Some parasites (such as fleas and ear mites) can cause itchiness, as can infections or inflammation. Your pet may be allergic to an ingredient in its food or may be reacting to an allergen in its environment (flowers, pollen, etc). A thorough exam and several tests are necessary to determine the cause of the problem and find an appropriate solution.

My pet is overweight despite my efforts. What can I do?

Obesity is increasingly common among household pets. As in humans, this disease puts your pet at risk for serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, heat or exercise intolerance, increased risks during surgery and anasthesia, as well as a reduced lifespan. Therefore it is important to ensure that your animal maintains (or returns to) its ideal weight. Exercising by playing games or walking is an essential element of weight loss. It is also necessary to modify your pet’s diet, by reducing portion sizes and/or choosing food specifically formulated for weight loss. Consult us for more information!

Which plants or foods are dangerous or toxic to my cat or dog?

There are many! Here is a partial list of foods and plants to avoid:

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Garlic and foods of the same family
  • Onions and foods of the same family
  • Raw bread dough
  • Raw eggs, raw meat
  • Bones
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Fruits with pits
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol, coffee, tea
  • Green potatoes, green tomatoes
  • Some mushrooms
  • Narcissus
  • Holly
  • Lilies
  • Ivy
  • Oleander
  • Tobacco
  • Mistletoe, poinsettia
  • Morning glory
  • Potato plants
  • Yew
  • Tulips

See for more information.

Does my pet require annual vaccines?

Cats, dogs, and ferrets should receive regular vaccines to protect against certain diseases. However, the choice and frequency of vaccine administration depend on the animal and on its risk of contracting these diseases. An adult cat living exclusively indoors may need only one vaccine every 3 years, while an active dog that loves to go out and explore may require several annual vaccines. Certain diseases can be transmitted to humans. They are called “zoonoses”. Rabies and leptospirosis are two such examples. Vaccines are available to protect your pets from these diseases.

My cat or dog is over 7 years old. Should I be worried? What should I watch for?

All pets age differently. The species and the breed influence the animal’s life cycle. Your veterinarian can shed some light on the particular case of your cat or dog during its general exam. Even if your animal is now considered “geriatric”, it may stay in great shape for several years. Its health however can change rapidly as it grows older. It is therefore essential to pay close attention to changes in behaviour and habits. The annual exam remains essential to most rapidly detect certain physical changes. Your veterinarian may recommend a bi-annual exam to more closely track a specific condition. Certain diseases can only be detected using very specific tests. A “geriatric health assessment” including blood and urine tests, X-rays or other information will accordingly be suggested to you during your pet’s annual visit. Be attentive to any changes, including behavioural changes, increases or decreases in appetite or thirst, weight gain or loss, vomiting or changes in stool consistency, changes in mobility, etc, and contact us if these changes (or other concerns) occur.

I have a little pet that is not a dog or a cat. Does it need a medical check-up?

Yes! An annual exam is recommended for all pets, whether it is a small rodent (mouse, hamster, gerbil…), a rabbit, a bird, a reptile, a ferret, a hedgehog, or even a sugar glider! Even the smallest animals need care to avoid health problems. Call us for more information!



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