Tech Talk

HOT DOG Warming Blanket

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Brantford Veterinary Clinic Tech Talk


In the Brantford Veterinary Clinic your pet’s care and comfort is of the utmost importance.  This is our HOT DOG warming blanket used to keep him or her warm and cozy during surgery. We use it on every patient who is undergoing an anesthetic procedure, no matter what type or length of anesthesia. It is called a HOT DOG warming blanket because (as you can see) it wraps around the animal much like a hot dog bun would. It is portable and therefore can be used anywhere in the clinic when needed. It comes with two different sizes of blanket to ensure the best fit for your pet. Having three different temperature levels to choose from allows us to adjust the warming blanket as needed while continually monitoring your pet’s body temperature with a thermometer throughout the procedure. A normal, healthy dog should have a body temperature between 37.5°C and 39.5°C. A normal, healthy cat should have a body temperature between 38°C and 39.5°C. Maintaining the correct body temperature while under anesthesia is very important, especially in younger animals like puppies and kittens. While under anesthesia, animals lose their ability to control their body temperature through shivering or panting. With this in mind, the animals require some sort of intervention from us to prevent them from becoming hypothermic. The HOT DOG warming blanket allows their body temperature to remain at the optimum level and therefore allow normal metabolic functions and provide an even safer anesthetic with a smooth and more rapid recovery.

When your dog or cat has finished in surgery, we move them to a kennel which we line with blankets and towel wrapped hot packs to keep them warm and comfortable.  A technician monitors them until they are fully awake.

Does your pet have kissable breath?

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Does your pet have kissable breath?

The importance of maintaining good oral hygiene is often something we don’t worry about for our cats and dogs like we do for ourselves. However, it is very important to their overall health and well being. Severe periodontal disease occurs when we allow plaque and harmful bacteria to destroy the gum tissue. The infection spreads under the gum line causing bone loss and eventually loss of teeth. Signs of periodontal disease include: bad breath, brown staining on teeth, bleeding gums, tooth loss, abnormal drooling and changes in eating habits.

Dental cleanings require a general anesthetic to ensure proper cleaning above and below the gum line. We also take dental radiographs to ensure there are no issues with bone loss or root infection not visible above the gum line.

Periodontal disease is quite uncomfortable for our pets and for us. Our bond is broken somewhat with our pet when we don’t want them close to us because of their bad breath.  The bacteria from periodontal disease can travel through the blood stream to other major organs such as the valves in their heart, the liver and the kidneys.

The benefit to having a dental cleaning done on your pet is that they will have that kissable breath again. Your pet will have a healthy mouth to eat with pain free and there will be no infection causing disease in their mouth or in their body. That means the possibility of a longer, healthier life for them and more enjoyment with them.

Brantford Vet Tech Talk —- with Anne and Jenn

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What is in that bag of food?

The pet food industry is a confusing one. We can stand in a store looking at all the ingredients on the bag of food and still not really understand what is in the food.  There are many misunderstandings or misconceptions regarding ingredients vs. nutrients. We need to feed a commercially prepared diet that is highly digestible and very tasty for our dog or cat.

By-products, meals and corn are among the most unpopular ingredients when it comes to why we choose one diet over another.  What is not understood is that these ingredients actually are healthy because the chicken meal for example is meat, skin and bone finely ground into a very highly digestible protein.  Another energy source,  corn gets a bad rap of being filler in the diet, but it is useful in providing protein, omega fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins to the diet.

We succumb to the effects of marketing and feel that if it is an “all natural diet” and costs more, then it must be good.  However, we have to ask ourselves if the company is spending so much money on advertising, are they also spending on research to ensure the quality and consistency of the diet.  We are not saying it is not a good diet, but often the protein or energy source is not a high quality one and therefore not broken down naturally by your pet. This means your pet is not absorbing the most it can from the diet. This is why some diets require more volume of food to be fed on a daily basis so that the pet gets the same nutrients as another diet with a higher digestibility of its ingredients.

Veterinary exclusive diets have put a lot of thought, time and money in the research behind their foods. They use high quality, highly digestible ingredients. This means that what your pet eats – they absorb and digest and therefore these diets may end up being more cost effective. Your pet will not need as much of the diet per day which also means a bag of food will last you longer.  And when what we put in is highly nutritious and digestible that means that less of it comes out….now who wouldn’t want to clean up less after their pet?

So contact your veterinary team today to find out what diet best suits you and your pet, both financially and nutritionally. Let us aid you in making the best decision you can to help your pet live a long and optimally healthy life.

Why should I test my dog annually for Heartworm?

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Why should I test my dog annually for heartworm?

This is a question that is frequently asked either on the phone or at the front desk.

At the Brantford Vet Clinic we believe your pet should be tested annually, and I would like to explain why.

As you know, no medication is 100% effective. For easy comparison, we liken this analogy to birth control. How many instances have you heard where someone became pregnant while taking birth control? Well, the same risk exists with heartworm prevention. Even if you have been diligent about administering your heartworm prevention there is always a small risk of infection occurring regardless.  We have all see cases like this.  Therefore, we recommend the test as a way of making 100 % certain your dog is not infected before you begin giving prevention for another season.

Why can’t I test every other year then?

The simple answer is you can, but not without consequence. We do offer our clients the option of signing a waiver if they have had two negative tests consecutively. A waiver can be signed every other year after two negative tests.

However, clients should be aware that when you purchase your prevention (heartworm medications) you aren’t just purchasing prevention – it comes with a guarantee! The drug companies guarantee their products to prevent heartworm when administered correctly. Therefore if your dog does become infected while using prevention, the drug company agrees to pay for the cost of the treatment required.  However, this guarantee is negated if you don’t do annual testing, which is the consequence I spoke about above.  Also, if your pet were infected, another year would pass before that was detected.

It is our clinic policy to only allow waivers under these circumstances.  We acknowledge that clients should have the right to choose to do a waiver, but only every other year.  Our doctors simply believe the risk to your pet is too great otherwise, and they are unwilling to put your pet in danger.

Brantford is second only to Caledonia in the stats for the highest number of heartworm positives in the country so the risk is truly magnified because of where we live.

Hopefully this will clarify that common question for our clients, and help them make an informed decision. We only want to give your pet the best chance possible at a long healthy life!

by Bev Dungey
Brantford Veterinary Clinic

Heartworm Season has begun

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With the unusual weather patterns we have seen this year alot of people are wondering about Heartworm Season.  Should we test early?  Should we start preventive medication early.  One of the best responses we have seen is on the “Worms & Germs Blog” through the University of Guelph.  Please read the link below and contact us if you have any questions.

Brantford Veterinary Clinic Celebrates Cats!

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by Anne Klepp, RVT

Although a large percentage of owners want to give the best care to their feline family members, many cats, particularly seniors, do not receive annual physical exams. Cats are complex creatures. They stress easily, don’t travel well and have learned through the hierarchy of the animal kingdom that it is not ok to show signs of disease or weakness. So they hide! They hide under the bed, they don’t go willingly into a carrier and they certainly do not easily show us when something hurts or is wrong with them. Let us help you make this transition from home to the veterinary clinic easier on you and them.

  • Try to book their health exam at a time where the clinic is quieter.
  • Always bring them in a carrier. It is easier to put them into their carrier if there is a large opening on top, if the lid comes off or if you leave it out in the house for a few days prior to the visit.
  • When you arrive at the clinic, keep their carriers elevated off the floor. Covering them with a blanket also helps their stress level.

Cats should receive a physical exam at least once yearly. At this visit your veterinarian and their staff will discuss with you topics important to preventive care. This would include:

  •  proper nutrition guidelines
  •  oral care and preventive measures
  •  prevention of behavioral problems
  •  risk factors for disease.

As your cat ages, it is important to consider wellness bloodwork. This blood profile will look for parameters for diseases such as hyperthyroidism, kidney or liver disease, anemia, infection or cancer. Many diseases only show symptoms once the disease process has progressed to the end stages. If detected early, there are many things that can be done with some conditions to help slow down the progression of the disease.

We look forward to seeing you and your cat soon as Brantford Vet Clinic celebrates cats!

You want me to go where?

Brantford Veterinary Clinic supports Dental Health Month

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Brantford Veterinary Clinic supports Dental Health Month

by Jennifer Church, R.V.T.


Did you know February is dental health month?


80% of dogs and 70% of cats over age 3 suffer from periodontal disease.

How do you know if your dog or cat has dental disease?  Here are signs you can look for:

«     Yellow or brown discolouration of the teeth

«     Persistant bad breath

«     Bleeding or inflamed gums

«     Loose teeth

«     Missing or broken teeth

«     Trouble chewing or eating food

«     Sensitivity around the mouth

«     Unusual drooling

«     Loss of appetite

«     Lethargy


What should you do if you notice your dog or cat has these symptoms/signs?


Call your veterinarian and book a dental consultation.


Once your veterinarian has assessed the severity of your pets’ dental disease, they may make recommendations.  Some options would be:

«     Dental scale and polish

«     Brushing your pets teeth

«     Dental diets

«     Dental chews and toys

«     Additives for their water


Parts of teeth and gums:

Peridontium – structures that support the teeth

Gingiva – soft tissue that surrounds the teeth and cover the bone

Cementum – tissue that attaches the root to the ligament


Factors in dental disease:

Plaque          – bacterial film that forms on teeth daily.  Can lead to gingivitis and                              periodontal disease.

Calculus        – also known as tartar

– mineralized, crusty deposits that irritate the gums when plaque is                             removed

Gingivitis      – inflammation of the gingiva or gums

Periodontal disease – painful oral disease that can lead to tooth loss and organ disease.

Periodontitis – inflammation and disease of the tooth supportive tissue.


Stages of oral health:

Health – minimal plaque and tartar on the tooth surface

Gingivitis – plaque, tartar and mild bad breath

Early periodontal disease – inflammation and swelling of the gums with moderate bad breath

Established periodontal disease – bleeding gums, pustular discharge with severe bad breath

Advanced periodontal disease – loose teeth, bleeding gums, inflammation of the gums and severe bad breath.


Diagnosing the problem is the first step.  Call your veterinarian to book a consult today!