Spaying and neutering

Why Spaying/Neutering Your Pet Is The Best Idea

Spaying For Your Female Pet

Spaying your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents female animals from becoming pregnant and reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life.

By spaying your female pet, you're protecting her against potentially deadly diseases, including bacterial infections, reproductive tract diseases, and several types of cancer. You also won't have to worry about her going into heat. This means avoiding the mess that often accompanies the heat cycle in female dogs and the pacing and crying that happens with female cats. In addition, spaying your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.

Spaying, which involves removing the ovaries and uterus, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under a general anesthetic. We follow strict protocols and a veterinary technician continually monitors your pet's vital signs to help ensure her safety. 

The veterinarian will talk to you typically at your pet's final vaccine booster appointment about when to spay your puppy or kitten. For cats, we typically recommend to do it at 6 months, as long as all their adult teeth have come in. For dogs, the timing varies depending on their size. Typically for smaller breeds we recommend around 6 months, and for larger breeds we will wait longer as it takes longer for them to fully mature and develop.

To set up an appointment to have your pet spayed or to learn more about this procedure, call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to spay your pet, please call us so we can discuss your concerns.

Neutering For Your Male Pet

Neutering your  male pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents male animals from reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. 

By neutering your pet, you're reducing or eliminating his risk for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Neutering will also reduce or eliminate undesirable and embarrassing behaviour, including roaming, fighting, humping, and spraying. In addition, neutering your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.

Neutering, which involves removing the testicles, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet's vital signs to help ensure his safety. 

The veterinarian will talk to you typically at your pet's final vaccine booster appointment about when to spay your puppy or kitten. For cats, we typically recommend to do it at 6 months, as long as all their adult teeth have come in. For dogs, the timing varies depending on their size. Typically for smaller breeds we recommend around 6 months, and for larger breeds we will wait longer as it takes longer for them to fully mature and develop.

To set up an appointment to have your pet neutered or to learn more about this procedure, please call or visit our clinic. If you are struggling with the decision of whether to neuter your pet, please call us so we can discuss your concerns.

Why Microchipping Your Pet Is A Good Idea

Microchipping your pet is a quick, easy and relatively cheap way to make sure that no matter where your pet goes, he/she can get back home to you.

The microchip comes pre-loaded in a syringe with a larger needle than what is typically used during vaccine or blood  test visits. This is why we recommend doing it at the time of their spay/neuter. We insert the small microchip device (picture to the left) between their shoulder blades. When a microchip scanner passes over that area, or relatively close, it will show a number on their screen. That number is your pets identification number. All we, or whoever finds your pet, needs to do is call the hotline for the company and they can get in touch with you to safely return your pet.

We recommend doing this for all your pet, regardless if they go outside or not. It is better to be safe and not need it, then having your furry friend escape and not have it.

What You Should Know About Your Cat's Claws

A cat's claws perform several functions. Your pet uses them to mark its territory, defend itself or attack (in nature, a cat is both prey and predator), move around (for example, to climb trees) and keep its balance. Its claws are also useful to it when playing or stretching. Unlike a dog's claws, a cat's claws are retractable, which means that they can be extended and withdrawn at will.

If your pet lives exclusively indoors, where it has no predators to fear and no need to hunt, it does not need its claws to defend itself, to fight or to catch prey. However, cats are highly territorial and assert possession of their domain by making scratch marks on certain items in their environment. These marks send out a message (even to the cat itself!), and scratching also allows the cat to wear down its claws, which grow continuously.

Onychectomy, commonly called declawing, is a surgical procedure to amputate the claws, thus preventing them from ever growing back. This form of surgery used to be widely practised, but in recent years our knowledge of cat behaviour has greatly advanced and nowadays cat owners have a range of options that can greatly reduce the damage caused by their pets' claws. Below are some simple tips that allow your cat to continue expressing its natural behaviours while protecting you and your environment. With the right strategies you can in fact teach an adult cat to change its behaviour.

The first step is to provide your cat with a scratching post that it can use to its heart's content. Be sure to locate the post in a part of the house that the cat regularly frequents, close to where the action is. The post should be tall enough to allow your cat to stretch to its full length, and should be made of, or covered in, a material the cat finds enticing, such as  carpet, sisal, jute, leather, fabric or wood. While we do not like our cats to shred the couch or our favourite armchair, it is easy to see why these pieces of furniture are so irresistible to them. They provide a solid vertical surface, right where the family hangs out, and are covered in fabrics that make them ideally suited to a cat's claw-grooming regimen. One way of making the scratching post more enticing is to make the couch or armchair less appealing for the first little while. This can be achieved by covering them in aluminium foil until the cat has switched its allegiance to the scratching post, a behaviour you can reinforce by rewarding your pet with a treat whenever it uses the desired item. Please note that a scratching post placed in a remote corner of the basement will not produce results. Think of yourself when you are dieting: you keep the fruits and vegetables conveniently close to hand, not stashed at the back of the pantry.

A second option is claw caps. There are several brands of these small plastic covers that one glues to the cat's claws and that remain in place for 4 to 6 weeks until the claws become too long and the caps fall off. Claw caps come in several colours, which allows you to be creative and give your cat's paws an amusing "pawdicure" without causing the cat any discomfort. Your veterinary team can affix them for you, and can teach you how to apply them at home.

Lastly, trimming your cat's claws is easier than you might think. Once again, positive reinforcement - a lavish use of treats - is the key to success. If you want to get off to a good start, have your veterinary team show you how to do the job. If your cat objects to the procedure when you try to perform it at home, bear in mind that there is no need to trim all its claws in one go: sneak up while it is snoozing, gently squeeze one claw into view and trim it, then leave the cat alone for a while before continuing. Don't forget to trim the dewclaw (the "thumb"), as it is not retractile and can become stuck in the upholstery.

If these alternatives don't work for you and you decide to have your pet declawed after all, make sure the cat is given proper analgesia (painkillers) during the operation and throughout the recovery period. Although declawing is always performed under general anesthesia, it is a major procedure that requires good pain control once the cat wakes up. In fact, local anesthesia before the surgery is also possible, much as your dentist freezes you before filling your cavities. In the case of your cat, it is the nerves at the ends of its paws that are frozen for a few hours. Several forms of painkiller must be combined in what is known as multimodal analgesia, which is the absolute best way to control the cat's pain. These drugs must be given to the cat for several days after the surgery, because a single injection is far from sufficient to make your pet comfortable. 

It is important to note that declawing is more painful for older cats than for kittens. No veterinarian wants to declaw an adult cat, especially if the cat is overweight. In such cases, declawing should be considered only as the last alternative to euthanasia.

A decision to declaw should be given serious thought. Declawing is no longer the automatic procedure it was in decades past. However, both our knowledge of cats' behaviour and our options to relieve pain have made great strides in recent years. Feel free to discuss your own circumstances with your veterinarian, who will be able to give you personalised advice so that you and the feline member of your family can live together in happy harmony.