Introducing EVF's new veterinarian

We are excited to introduce Dr. Natasha Nofal as the newest member of our veterinary team.

Dr. Nofal graduated from the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London in 2010. Originally from Devon County (south-west England), she moved to Toronto in May of this year after leaving a busy-small animal practice in Kent, U.K. We were specifically looking for someone with a passion for surgery, and are pleased to see how excited Dr. Nofal is about her role at Eglinton Vet, where she will be heading up our laparoscopic surgery program as well as overseeing out dentistry and traditional surgery programs.

Hiring a new veterinarian gave the team at EVF an opportunity to look at the qualities that we feel are important to our patients and clients, including excellent medical knowledge and compassion for animals and people. We feel that Natasha brings all of this and much more to Eglinton Vet.

Please say hello to Natasha if you cross paths in the clinic. As she is new to Toronto, she is always looking for suggestions as to new things to do, especially with respect to new restaurants in the area.

For Dr. Nofal’s full bio, please see our Veterinary page here: http://eglintonvet.com/veterinarians/.

 

A change at Eglinton Vet-One goodbye and one hello

We are sending out this message to acknowledge that Dr. Paul Hodges will no longer be working at Eglinton Vet in his capacity as one of our associate veterinarians.

Dr. Paul has been working with us for the last several years, and has been an integral part of our practice, managing the majority of our surgery and dentistry cases. His skills will be missed. We wish Dr. Paul all of the best as he moves on to other opportunities.

Drs. Bev Bateman, Bob Watson and Jen Hodges will be available to our clients as usual, and our availability and the flow of the practice should not change if you are to need us on the phone or in person with your furry friend(s).

We are in the process of finding a permanent surgeon to complement the team, and we hope to have someone in place by early September. In the meantime, we have added a colleague to our team to allow us to provide surgical and dental procedures as necessary. Dr. Eran Gilady is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, and has been practicing in the GTA since 2001. He has worked in emergency clinics, and in general veterinary practice, including owning a practice for a number of years. We are pleased to have Dr. Gilady join our team on a part-time basis to work Monday nights and to do procedures two mornings a week, including all soft-tissue surgeries and dental procedures, including tooth extractions if necessary.

The one piece of our surgical program that will need to be put on hold is our laparoscopic spay program. This is a disappointment in the short term, but in the long term we hope to find an enthusiastic surgeon to take over this program. Until we have a doctor trained appropriately on the laparoscope, we will need to discuss each case individually if there is need for the laparoscope and make the best plan possible for that pet. Please call us and speak to Dr. Bateman if you have any questions about our laparoscopic procedures.

A special introduction... Meet our friend Bo

This past summer, we were visited by a client who had a cat who was not well. This cat had lived indoors along with a number of other animals, and had become obese despite eating diet food. As a result of poor nutrition and weight gain, the cat was showing signs of Diabetes Mellitus, which was confirmed through testing. As the client felt unable to care for a cat with Diabetes appropriately, we were asked to euthanize the cat; after refusing this, our clinic team decided to adopt her. Our beautiful ‘Bo’ has since become a very important part of the clinic.

Bo spends her time on the third floor of the clinic, where she moves between a kitty perch in the window of the vet office, a comfy orange couch and our staff room. Her choice seems to depend on who she is looking to hang out with, who might have some food to offer (no table foods!), and where things are looking the most comfortable. She is truly “queen” of the Eglinton Vet castle, with her food presented on a regular schedule. She will certainly let you know if a meal is too late! And, she is always up for a belly rub.

Bo came into our care weighing 10.1kg on August 6, 2014 (a big 22.2lbs!). At this size, she was unable to walk more than a few steps at a time or groom herself properly. We are proud to say that since moving into EVF, Bo has lost 0.75kg (or 1.65lbs), which is an impressive 7.5% of her body weight. She has lost this weight due to the perseverance of our team, who measure her food carefully and exercise her when possible. The most important thing about Bo’s story is that her diabetes is now in remission, purely due to her improved diet. She becomes more active every day, and has tried to convince us that weekly ‘weigh ins’ are not necessary, but she still has a long way to go to reach her ideal weight.

Obesity in pets is unfortunately something that our doctors discuss with clients every day. It is one of the most common medical disorders affecting companion animals, with up to 40% of pets in North America being classified as overweight. There are a number of reasons for this including: a more confined and sedentary lifestyle for pets, availability of highly palatable, energy dense pet foods and treats, and a strong human-animal bond that leads to overfeeding and snacking. One of our goals is to discuss diet and weight with each of our clients at each and every visit. We hope that by focusing on good nutrition, we will allow our patients to live long, healthy lives.

Our friend Bo is a good example of how we can help our patients to lose weight. She is also a great addition to the clinic team, and provides us all with smiles just by being around. Obviously, we are all animal people, but there is something special about EVF’s resident furry friend. We are so glad that we agreed to let her stay with us, and we hope that she will be here for many years to come!

 

Ticks and Lyme disease

Would you want to know if your family and your dog had been exposed to something that could cause all of you harm? Of course you would!

Approximately 5 years ago, veterinarians began to realize that there was an emerging animal health issue in Ontario. This was the arrival of more and more ticks along the southern border of the province. These ticks have been carried into Ontario by migrating birds, setting up some permanent populations in the southeast and southwest areas of the province, but their ability to ride with birds means that they can temporarily be dropped in any area of the province, including your backyard, cottage area or in Toronto’s ravines.

In addition to being bothersome and ugly, ticks also have the capacity to carry a number of diseases; the best known of these is Lyme Disease, which may be transmitted by the bite of a tick. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium named Borrelia burgdorferi. Once in the blood stream, the Lyme disease organism is carried to many parts of the body and is likely to localize in joints. It was first thought that only a few types of ticks could transmit this disease, but now it appears that several common species may be involved.

For the past several years, we have been recommending routine blood screening of all our canine patients for Lyme (along with two other tick-borne illnesses) while doing heartworm blood screening. This strategy has two important purposes as we try to identify dogs exposed to the Lyme bacterium:

(a)    Any dog positive for exposure to Lyme can then be tested further to establish whether there is the possibility that this exposure may cause them harm. Each year since we have started this protocol, we have found dogs that required antibiotic treatment, including two already in 2014. Both were dogs who have not left the GTA. One owner was aware of a tick pulled off the dog last summer, the second had not seen any ticks.

(b)   All of the dogs positive for exposure to Lyme were likely accompanied in the outdoors by one or more members of their family. These people walking in tick areas may have also unknowingly been bitten by a tick, as some of the immature forms of ticks can be very tiny. Lyme disease in people can be a very serious, debilitating illness; unfortunately it is also a health issue not easily identified by our medical doctors at this time. Therefore, we can use our canine patients as “sentinels” to warn family members and their friends to exposure.

We believe that veterinarians have a role in public health, just as we participate in food safety, public health education and parasite control. Our commitment to Lyme Disease screening and tick control for our patients is one of the pieces of this puzzle.

 

Heartworm, fleas and ticks... our parasite FAQs

Every spring, we have questions from clients about our recommendations for parasite testing and control in their pets. We thought that it might be useful to address some of the most common questions here. As parasites prepare to be active in the warm weather, one of our major focuses is how to keep your pets safe. This list of “frequently asked questions” is expanded from our spring newsletter, which is to be released online this week

.I know that heartworm disease is not common in Ontario. Why do we need to do a heartworm test every year?  It is recommended for safety and peace of mind. Every year there are a few hundred dogs that test positive for Heartworm disease in Ontario. This includes animals on preventative medication. We need to recognize positive cases, as symptoms do not occur until late in this disease, when treatment is dangerous and expensive. Heartworm is a life-threatening disease which is easier to prevent than to treat.

I give my dog its heartworm protection every year. Does this mean that my dog does not need a test?  NO.  We recommend regular testing, as none of our preventative products have 100% efficacy and we find that animals rarely receive all of their doses every year (e.g.the dog may not take them easily, owners forget, etc). This includes dogs which travel to the south in the winter, even if they are on heartworm prevention year round.

I have never seen a tick on my dog. Why are you testing him for tick-borne illnesses? Ticks are an emerging danger and it is rare for ticks to be recognized and removed, even in known tick areas. By screening for tick-borne infections, we are protecting both your pet and your family as owners need to know that tick exposure has occurred. Since we started testing all dogs for tick-borne illnesses, there are a number every year who come up positive for exposure, and a handful of these have also required treatment for Lyme Disease. This is in dogs in which their owners had never seen a tick!

I have heard that some animal parasites can be transmitted to people? True. Although this is rare, it is possible for certain animal parasites (e.g. roundworm, giardia) to be transmitted to humans. Those at highest risk are children, the elderly, and anyone with poor immunity. This is why most of the parasite prevention products include treatment or control of intestinal parasites. So far in 2014, we have seen a higher than usual number of parasites in fecal samples, and anticipate seeing more as the weather warms up.

Do you recommend flea control? Fleas, of course, can also be a nuisance to all members of the household if brought into the house. The decision as to whether to include flea prevention in your dog’s parasite prevention products is a personal one based on the pet and your lifestyle.

There are so many options out there for parasite control. Why should I buy from the vet rather than a pet store? Safety and expertise.   Prescription parasite products contain ingredients with tested safety margins and guarantees. Would you rather take your advice from one of our team members, or from the teenager at the pet store? Sadly, we do see reactions to pet store parasite prevention products every year (particularly in cats), because owners are just not given good advice.

We appreciate that the spring visit to the clinic for blood testing and parasite control products can be both expensive and overwhelming at times. Our team is here to help with any questions that you may have. The key to remember is that by protecting your pet from disease, our goal is to keep them healthy and avoid costly visits to see us for things that could have been prevented.