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Lifelearn Admin

Toxic Plants

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If you are anything like me you may have a house full of plants. Although they make our homes cozy and pretty, did you know that some of them can be dangerous to our furry family members?

Here are a few of the plants you may have at home and the troubles they can cause your pet:

1) Lilies: the Stargazer and Easter Lily could be fatal to cats if it goes untreated as it affects the animal’s appetite and kidneys. As for the Peace Lily, your dog or cat could start vomiting and have a problem swallowing due to irritated lips and tongue if it’s ingested.

2) Aloe Vera
: The leaves contain a type of gel substance which isn’t harmful to your pet if it’s ingested, but the other parts of the plant can harm a dog’s digestive system.

3) Ivy
: We’ve all heard of Poison Ivy, but even regular Ivy can be harmful to a dog even though it’s quite pretty. A dog may develop a rash and/or breathing problems if the plant is eaten, but things can become much worse as Ivy can also lead to a coma or paralysis.

4) Jade: Nobody really knows what the specific toxins are in this plant, but ingesting it can result in vomiting, incoordination (ataxia), a slow heart rate (bradycardia) and/or depression.

If you notice that your pet has ingested any of your plants and you are unsure if they are toxic or not, please contact us for immediate assistance. The doctors and staff at Leduc Animal Clinic are always happy to help!

Happy gardening everyone!

By Dr. Alysson Macedo

Quality of Life Assessment

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Hello, it’s Dr. Susanne Krägeloh again. As a veterinarian, I enjoy working with pets. Our team gets to cuddle all those cute puppies and kittens, and we see them grow up and become adult dogs and cats. We see them grow older and then accompany them into their senior years. For the most part this journey is enjoyable and satisfying, if we can help our pets live long, healthy lives. Often, we can alleviate the little aches and pains which set in once they age. Your pets grow on us during their lifetime. We take part in their lives, celebrating milestones and rooting for them if needed. 

But here is something we often forget to consider: The lifespan of a pet is shorter than ours. The end of a life is not something we want to think about, ever, but we have to. Death is a part of life, and we can prepare for the day when it happens. In an ideal world our pet would, when its time has come, curl up in its bed and simply not wake up. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. So, what do we do? How do we prepare for this unthinkable event? How do we know when it is time to say goodbye? And how do we approach this? This is a question we get asked often, and we can help. This is part of our job. First of all, we can look at the quality of life our pet has. The Ohio State University has published a quality of life assessment tool I often use. Here is the link: www.vet.osu.edu/honoringthebond. This tool enables us to objectively judge the quality of life our pet has – or doesn’t have. It helps us take a step back and try to walk in their paws. 

Euthanasia does not sound right for most of us. The word actually comes from the Greek language and means “beautiful death”. But what about death can possibly be beautiful? To me it means that we can alleviate suffering, we can help your pet with the transition, and help you to know that you made a good, caring decision. It does not take away from the pain of the loss, but we can also reflect on all the good during the lifetime of your pet. In fact, our pets live on in our memories. We do not forget them. I read a quote once which said: “They leave paw prints in our hearts forever.” This is so true.

As a veterinarian I have to advocate for quality of life. And we in the veterinary profession can help you to make decisions which are right for you and your pet. If you have questions, please ask. This is not an easy talk to have, but it is better to be prepared when the time comes. 

So, please: ask the questions. It is not something we can avoid; it is a part of life, and a reality within life. Asking questions regarding end of life decisions is hard, but should never be something we should be ashamed of. Just the opposite: it shows consideration for the wellbeing of our beloved companion. 

Injuries from a Sudden Increase in Activity

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I don’t know about you, but March always brings my hopes up and I start to think that summer is just around the corner! I start daydreaming about all the outdoor adventures that I may chase!

As we get more active so do our pets, and we’re all subjected to some tricky black ice or frozen over ponds this time of the year, isn’t that right? Although most falls aren’t very traumatic, some of them are and require more attention. Sudden limping or lameness may be the first warning sign of a sprain or strain. If this lasts more than a day or so, or it keeps happening, you may want to bring your pet for a visit!

The Doctors at Leduc Animal Clinic will figure out what kind and how severe the injury is.
A thorough physical exam will be performed and we’ll check the muscles and joints by pressing on certain points to determine if they are sore, warm, swollen, or even out of place. We may need some radiographic images to assist us in that lesion hunting process in order to provide the best care and outcome possible!

If you have any accidents with your pet, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Stay safe everyone and enjoy the outdoors!

By Dr. Macedo

Why an exam with the vaccinations?

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Hello, it’s Dr. Krägeloh! Spring is here, and despite Covid-19 restrictions life goes on, and it goes fast! Today I would like to outline why we perform health exams with our routine vaccinations.
Vaccinations are an important part of health care, for humans as well as for our pets. Don’t we refer to them often as “fur-babies”? Preventative care is supposed to protect against (mostly) viral diseases which can be quite severe or even deadly to our pets. Vaccinations work by helping the pet’s body, or specifically their immune system, to create a defense mechanism against viruses which can invade their bodies. With booster vaccinations the (immune) system gets a “reminder” to refresh these defences.

Since these vaccinations directly affect and stimulate the immune system, we want to be sure that our pets are healthy at the time when they receive the vaccines. The way we determine this is with a health exam. The added benefit of this is that the information we gather can help us pick up early on changes in the pet’s body, and discuss these changes with you, the pet owner. We can discuss what the changes mean and how we can prevent these changes from becoming a problem, or how to intervene early with developing problems like dental disease, kidney disease or metabolic diseases.

The best terminology for this kind of exam would be “annual health examination with vaccinations”. Often this is all that is required to keep our pets healthy and happy, at least during adulthood into early mature years. It also helps us to find the best solutions for evolving problems, if caught early. For us as health professionals it is mandatory to keep records of our patients and findings, which in turn also make it easier to tailor any necessary treatment plans. Having records of vital signs and findings on physical examinations helps to trend these findings, for example weight, and address changes. This is the added benefit of the health exams. It is not solely about the vaccinations, it is about maintaining good health for our pets, and helping them and you in their journey through life!

In this sense, I hope everyone has a great start into spring!

What Do Pet Food Labels Really Tell Us?

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By Dr. Susanne Krägeloh

Hello again, it is Dr. Susanne Krägeloh. This crazy year is drawing to an end, and despite increased measures to contain Covid19 we all hope for a peaceful Christmas and holiday season.

Typically around this time there are warnings about foods which can be poisonous or dangerous to our pets when consumed; this is a huge concern but I just would like to give everyone a helpful link: good information and an extensive list of toxins and what to look for when ingested are to be found at petpoisonhelpline.com. Also, you can always contact your veterinarian!

I would like to address a few misconceptions which are widespread when it comes to pet food. We all want the best for our pets. There are literally hundreds of different options, brands, and formulations, as well as thousands of opinions. What about the legal side of it with labelling, though? What do the words on the label mean?

First, the label must include the common or generic name (“dog food”/”cat food”), the amount of product, and the information of the manufacturer or importer. Additionally, the following information should be included: list of ingredients, feeding instructions, guaranteed analysis and nutritional adequacy or intended life stage. The ingredients must be listed by their common name. If an ingredient or combination of ingredients add up to 90% of the total weight of the ingredients it may form part of the name. That means if the food contains 90% chicken it can have “chicken” in its name (“House Brand Chicken Cat Food”). (See: Consumer packaging and Labelling Act)

Then there are a host of different claims which are used on the labels.  The claim “natural” is often found – the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has a definition what can be called “natural”; in essence it is free of artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. “Natural” also is not to be confused with “organic”, which refers to the conditions under which the plants were grown, or animals where raised. Currently there are no official rules to be applied to the term “organic” other than said conditions. 

What do we expect from out pet food? We often hear that people do not want “fillers”. What do we think fillers are? Especially for “weight control” or “light” foods, but also for all others it is important to have good fibre in the formulation. Fibre is an ingredient with a purpose – it helps the digestive process in a very desired way, and also can make our pets feel full longer – who likes a pet begging for food because the digestive process went too fast! So – fibre has a place in our pet food!

And why is meat not always the first ingredient? First of all: dogs (not cats though) are omnivores, which means their nutrition contains animals as well as plant-based foods (fruit and vegetables as well as grains and other starchy foods). So, they need a variety of food items, not just meat. Then the processing comes into play: ingredients have to be listed by weight, and during processing water is removed from the ingredients, which makes up a good chunk of meat. So, a food with a non-meat ingredient in first place can still be a qualitative high-ranking food!

All in all, pet food labels contain a lot of information, just sometimes not what we expect or read into it! For the readers who want to delve in detail into this: more information can be found here: Guide for the Labelling and Advertising of Pet Foods (Government of Canada); the website of AAFCO; and also worthwhile looking at, is the website of the FDA (pet food labels). Or have a chat with your veterinarian!