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Intestinal worms – why deworming our pets is important

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Summer is over, and winter is knocking on our door. We are staying indoors more, and so are our pets. We as veterinary professionals often get asked: why is it important to deworm our pets, even in the winter months? And even if we do not see any worms in their stools?

The answer is: we usually do not see worms in the feces.  Only if we have severe infestation with them do we see worms or pieces exiting our pets. A good routine with deworming helps us keep our pets worm free, and healthy. And it protects us as humans, as well.

Here is some short information on different types or worms and what this means for our pets and ourselves:

Roundworms:  Those are the worms we are mostly concerned about with young puppies. They can be transmitted already in the womb, or with the mothers’ milk. The life cycle of roundworms can be complicated, but we know that they can also infect humans, and transmission is not depending on direct contact with feces or the animal carrying the parasites. Especially young children and immunocompromised people are at risk. Therefore, it is advisable to deworm dogs regularly.  

Hookworms: Just like with roundworms, these worms can affect our pets from the time they are babies. These guys can be contracted by ingesting an infectious egg or even by larvae penetrating the skin, and the adult worms usually live in the intestines of their host, where they feed on the blood of their host. This can lead to anemia in severely infected animals. Here again: these worms can be transmitted to humans, either by ingesting infectious eggs or by larvae penetrating the skin. The good news is that they can be treated readily with the same products we use for roundworms.

Tapeworms: Typically, we think of cats which are hunting and eating mice as carriers of tapeworms, and it is right to want to deworm mousing cats for tapeworms. Recently another tapeworm is also more in the spotlight: Echinococcus, or the fox-tapeworm. While the “usual” tapeworm which affects dogs and cats is gross, echinococcus can be a huge health concern in humans.  Echinococcus can affect inner organs (liver, even the brain) where it can form cysts and lead to extensive damage. Fortunately, that seems to be relatively rare, but we want to be proactive and not risk severe health consequences from these critters. Treating tapeworms requires specific medication, which is in several, but not all products, for deworming. These products are generally prescription products.

To sum it up:  Deworming our animals regularly is necessary to keep our pets (and ourselves) healthy and free of parasites. We can help you find the right products and the right regimen for your pets.

On My Own

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The mornings are getting cooler, the wind is getting stronger, and the sun is setting earlier. That can only mean one thing; school is almost back in session. After months of upheaval, for better or for worse, the world is starting to return to normal. With this return to normalcy, our pets are going to be left alone at home more often. For all the COVID puppies out there, this will likely be the first time they have been left alone, and that will present certain challenges. Lets explore how we can help our furry friends through this difficult time.

  1. Start Early: The time to start leaving your dog alone isn’t on the first day of school, its weeks to months before. You want to start with small trips away from home at first, so that your dog doesn’t think each time you leave you will be gone for hours. You can gradually work up how long you are gone each trip.
  2. Create a Routine: Just like humans, dogs thrive on routine, and it can be very comforting for them. Start to develop a routine for when you leave in the morning. This includes the little details; like where you grab your car keys from before you leave. Try to make your entrances and exits as boring as possible, so they learn it’s no big deal.
  3. Film It: When you first start leaving your dog alone, do like they do in the movies, and set up a nanny cam. This way you can see how your dog reacts when you are gone, see how anxious they are, and learn how much work you have left to do to make the experience more positive for them.
  4. Create Distraction: Fill your house or crate with items that are safe for them to be left alone with, and that make for good long-lasting toys/treats. This is where those frozen Kongs come in handy!
  5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Teaching your dog to be alone is not an easy task, especially if they are anxious by nature. Don’t be afraid to contact a trainer to help with these issues. At Leduc Animal Clinic we are more than happy to connect you with a positive-methods trainer, or discuss if medications may be needed.

Happy learning! Best of luck to all the little humans starting their school year!

Looking For Some Hot Stuff

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By Dr. Megan Forgan

Well, it appears as though summer weather is finally upon us. The sun is out, the temperatures are in the 20’s, and there is humidity galore. While this positive change is very much welcome, and provides us with wonderful opportunities to get outside with our dogs, there are some safety rules we need to carefully consider.

Honk-Honk: We say this every year, but every year we still see cases. Don’t leave your dogs in cars during the summer! The temperature outside is nowhere near how hot it can climb to in the cars. Only a few short moments in a car can be deadly. So if you are going out with your dog, plan accordingly, and make sure you aren’t planning to run any errands during that time.

Sidewalk Safety: It’s not just cars that can become too hot, even the sidewalks can pose a threat in hot weather. The cement and pavement can quickly heat up, becoming similar to a stovetop burner. A few short steps, and your pets’ paws can actually burn on the pavement, resulting in a lot of pain and trauma. If you put your hand on the cement and it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog as well.

Running Wild: It’s not just the pavement/cement that can be a problem, it’s exercising during the heat in general. Too much exercise during the hot hours of the day can cause heat stroke in any dog, but especially in our little squishy-faced friends. Signs of heat stroke can include excessive panting, vomiting, lethargy, and collapse. These dogs need to be treated by a veterinarian immediately, and in the case of brachycephalic dogs, they can sometimes go into such severe respiratory distress that they need to be ventilated. On the hot days, make sure you are going for your walks in the early morning, or late evening when the temperatures are the coolest.

As always, remember that we at the Leduc Animal Clinic are here to help! If you have any questions regarding pets and the heat, or think your pet may be experiencing a heat related injury, please feel free to give us a call.

The Calm Before the Storm

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The Calm Before the Storm

By Dr. Megan Forgan


We are officially in the summer months of 2020, which apparently this year means a lot of stormy weather. While some of us humans love a good storm-watching event, for a lot of our dogs, storms can cause an insane amount of anxiety. Here are some tips to help your dogs become brave storm-watching souls.


  1. Start Young: Dealing with anxiety can be difficult, so prevention is key. One of the key training aspects for any new dog is desensitizing them to scary noises. Start by finding YouTube videos of thunder, and playing them quietly. While the videos are playing, make sure to give your dogs loads of their favorite treats. This will help them build positive associations with the thunder, so they learn not to be afraid of it. You can gradually increase the volume of the videos to make it more realistic to an actual storm. Make sure you never stop giving treats!


  1. Cool Clothes: There are many different products out there that can be used to try and calm down a dog during a thunderstorm. The most well known is a “Thunder Shirt”, which is essentially a weighted jacket. The weight is meant to provide a calming effect. These products can work great in some dogs, but may not be enough for other dogs.


  1. Miraculous Medications: For some dogs, natural type therapies simply are not enough. These dogs often benefit from anti-anxiety medications. Remember anxiety is a very distressing feeling for the dog, and letting them just “get through it”, is not fair. The medications that we use for thunderstorm phobias are for situational anxiety, meaning they are just given as needed. They work best when given prior to the start of a storm, which is normally preceded by a drop in barometric pressure. You can buy a device to measure barometric pressure at home, and when this drops, you can then give your dog its anti-anxiety medications at that time.


If your dog is experiencing thunder storm anxiety, please contact the Leduc Animal Clinic. We would be more than happy to guide you through the different options available for you and your dog.