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Proper Ear Cleaning Can be the KEY to preventing ear infections!

By General Pet Care, Puppy & Kitten Care No Comments

Proper Ear Care Can Be The Key to Preventing Ear Infections.

Inflammation of the outer ear canal in dogs and cats can be one of the more frequent reasons that a pet is brought into the clinic for veterinary care.  While cats seem to be less frequently affected by ear troubles, up to 20% of dogs can be affected by ear infections at any one time.  Unlike our ear canal, the ear canals of our pets are actually “L”-shaped which allows water and dirt to sit deep in the ear for extended lengths of time.  The primary cause of any ear infection can actually be very complicated and may involve a combination of the following:  the ear’s physical characteristics (upright vs. floppy, having hairs in the canal), the activities of the animal (swimming, digging, hunting), the presence of parasites, foreign objects, improper cleaning, or allergic conditions.  Even the weather can affect the ear and lead to an infection.

As with any infection, it is important to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible, to limit the secondary problems that may occur when a problem is left too long.  When an infection is allowed to continue untreated, the upper ear canal can swell in response to the problem, just as our skin swells when it is irritated.  This swelling can actually worsen the ear condition, by preventing medication from getting down to the base of the ear where most conditions begin.  Also, this swelling stops air from reaching the area of infection, contributing to the severity of the condition.

 Steps to Caring for Your Pet’s Ears:

  1. With your pet standing and head in a vertical position apply enough ear cleaner to fill the ear canal, then gently massage at the base of the ear for about 5-10 seconds (Fig. 1 – Fig. 2)
  2. Allow pet to shake head to loosen debris in the horizontal part of the ear canal, then use cotton balls to wipe out and dry the accessible portion of the ear canal & ear flap (Fig. 3 – Fig. 4) Avoid use of cotton tipped applicators.
  3. Check your pet’s ears regularly – normal ears appear pale pink, dry and clean.

Ear1 (from a Scan from EpiOtic Cleaning information 2001)


On the Loss of an ‘Exotic’ Pet & a Friend…

By Avian Care, Exotic Pet Concerns No Comments

June 18, 2011 – The worlds of our home, and our practice changed when Baby Benny Arrived from the Bedford Pets Unlimited Store.  Baby was a beautiful little ‘Black Headed Caique’ who loved the attention anyone would give her, and returned it in spades.  Baby had a ‘saw bill’ from an injury as a chick that required monthly beak trimming which she accepted very well – but she always had the look of ‘Jean Chretien’.  But forget ‘dremelling’ her nails or trimming her wings – she had much to say about that!  Baby worked so very well as a ‘teaching’ bird from myself and our staff at Sunnyview – there wasn’t much she would not tolerate or, at least accept.  Baby was our ‘ADD’ bird, as she rarely could sit still for more then moments, before getting into something, or someone’s hair – body surfing back and forth and squealing (or slightly nipping) at any attempt to get her out of the person’s hair…

The staff of the Bedford Pets Unlimited have always taken excellent care of their birds and, Baby was no exception – which is how we met, as she needed those beak trims so often.  For whatever reason, Baby & I got on well, and she would dance (moving side to side so fast as to make you nauseous watching her!) the moment I entered the store for attention.  Anyone who enjoyed birds enjoyed Baby – and when the store was kind enough to sell her to me, many would visit her in the practice.  A HUGE Thank you to Paige, Krista, and all other staff there for their support.  Baby was an impressive ambassador for anyone interested in the care of birds, as she allowed many to pick her up and would talk in her own way to them.  It is also because of Baby that I met an excellent mentor in Anna C. & for this, I will be always grateful.

December 11, 2011 – Hunter arrived from an abusive situation, and really only wanted attention from me from the moment she arrived, after being abandoned at another Pets Unlimited Store.  Hunter was a mess – no tail feathers, severely trimmed back wings, and she had likely pulled many of her chest feathers – she was so damaged that it was a challenge to figure out her exact subspecies.  Whomever had her prior to our relationship had fed her many different junk foods as for the first months of being with us, Hunter would almost ‘attack’ anyone that had pizza, chips, french fries, or ‘Doritos’ – and she was not impressed when she wouldn’t get what she wanted. It was a challenge finding a balanced diet that she would accept, let alone eating healthy fruits and vegetables – but we both learned.  Amazingly, she was potty trained from the previous care-givers, and she would perch on my shoulder for hours at a time with no accidents!

After a few months, her feathers started to come in, and she turned into a beautiful ‘Greater Jardine’, and with her feathers came a better ability to balance herself.  Like Baby Benny, she would travel back & forth to the practice with me – and either would be upset if they were not brought along.  However, Hunter’s ‘claim to fame’ was that she could clearly talk – though we did not know it at the time.  When she did speak, it was with the most eire whisper and, only when I was with her alone.  It was so un nerving until I figured out where & what was going on – I just never expected it.  After she become more comfortable, her talking was regular, she bobbed up and down to get my attention, went to work with me everyday in her carrier (as did Baby) and, never failed to make anyone smile.

Every day, rain or shine, summer or winter (with fleece covers on their ‘Celltie’ carriers) they were in the practice adding to the enjoyment of everyone!  I cannot say how often one of them made us smile during those times when things just were not great.


Well, late last November Hunter suddenly turned ill – loosing weight at a precipitous rate and what with the blood work, virus screening, Radiology (‘X-Rays’), fecal testing, and multiple on-line specialist consultations, where she was diagnosed with ‘Wasting Disease’ – she passed in our hands Feb 19th – we were holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

About 7 days ago – while I was away of course – Baby started to slowly become more tired, less interactive, and went off her food somewhat.  When I returned, she was dancing side-to-side for me, ate a bit more, and was giving kisses by the truck-load.  I palpated her abdomen Tuesday evening thinking that she might be laying an egg – and I felt a tumour.  It was just as if once I felt it – she became aware of it.  I brought her into the practice Wednesday-past and, as we were X-Raying her – she just stopped – I was holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

Both these wonderful souls were beyond the care abilities of anyone we knew – and we tried to find them!  Nothing is worse for any caregiver, owner, partner, or pet owner to know you have done the best for your friend, and there is nothing left to offer them.  All we can do is commune with them even more so – thats all that can be done.

I cannot understand how the loss of two creatures that barely would have weighed 450gm together, and lived in spaces less then 3-4 ft square would tear such immense holes in our hearts.  Only those people who have the patience to care for exotic pets – reptiles, birds, fish – you name it, can begin to understand.

To all of those clients (daresay friends) who have entrusted your pet (exotic or otherwise) to our care – Thank You.  Please know that the team at Sunnyview Animal Care give their all to your pet, and to you.  Please also know that when they pass – we have some intimate understanding of the loss you and your family are experiencing, we commiserate with all our clients.

Thank You Baby, Thank You Hunter – we miss you both so very very much.   The loss of two heartbeats in our lives is almost too much to bear at times.  The holes will never fill in completely, and thats the way it should be…

Golden Retriever looking around vet office

Lyme Disease, Zoonotic Dog Diseases, & Tick Prevention ‘101’

By Parasite Concerns, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns No Comments

I’m writing today’s blog entry because I believe that Lyme disease is a significant and serious threat to the health & well being of the dogs in our practice at Sunnyview Animal Care, & I would make the argument it is also of concern to their families.  I am disappointed to have learned that many people are not aware of ticks is a serious disease vector for themselves, that they are a risk to the health of their families’ & their dogs.

Recently I was surprised to learn that only 30% of Canadian dog owners are using any sort of tick prevention, while 93% of Canadians surveyed were aware of Lyme disease – yet only 76% knew that this disease came from the bite of a tick!  Now on the one hand, there are areas of Canada where ticks carrying Lyme disease may not be of as great of a concern as they are here in Bedford, Nova Scotia; as the lowest awareness rate was in Alberta where I believe Lyme disease and ticks are not as common[I could be mistaken here], but these statistics are of concern.

When I read further-I was disappointed to read that only 35% of people are familiar with the symptoms of Lyme disease in themselves, & of these, only 6% felt they were “very familiar” with the symptoms.  I think I am most surprised at the fact that there are at least two human family practitioners in my practice that currently do not believe that Lyme disease is a problem or is of great concern in their [human] patients!

For more information on Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Erlichiosis; all diseases that are spread by the bite of tick, please go to our website – – as I believe everyone, not just pet owners-should be aware of these disorders and take precautions.

Happily enough, where ticks are concerned there are very effective, monthly topical tick preventatives that are safe your pet and for your family as well.  This means that while Lyme disease is a serious lifelong and all too common disease in dogs, it is easily preventable! There are also tick collars-only one of these (‘Preventic’) is in my opinion effective and, only when your dog is a very short coated breed, or you clip a significant 2 inch by 1 inch strip under the neck in order to allow the caller to contact your dog’s skin and allow the product to spread over the body.  Otherwise, “K9 Advantix II” or “Revolution” are the only effective once monthly tick and flea preventatives to which we defer in our practice – and the former gets all four species of ticks in Canada, stopping them from biting in the first place.

The reason for our recommendation is simple-both have effect this above 94%, and were K9Advantix II is concerned, the effectiveness can approach 98%.  The reason I mention this is that I have people in the practice using over-the-counter tick collars who are surprised when the collar fails. Why this is, is beyond the subject of this blog however, I encourage you to discuss this with your veterinarian- & soon.

Many people are not aware of, nor familiar with the risks and signs of Lyme disease in their dogs – these symptoms can be as subtle as lethargy, inappetence, reluctance to play or be “normal”, and can disappear altogether – only to recur with more severity months or even over a year later.  More significant signs are swollen joints, the symptoms of kidney disease, or PAIN – many dogs can be described as ‘walking on eggshells’ at their worst.

If anything else, please “take home” the fact that by the time your dog develops Lyme disease-you are looking at a life-long and likely PAINFUL situation requiring medications, annual testing, and with the kidney disorder – possibly a shortened life-span.  As I understand the current research, 2 out of 10 dogs that are positive for Lyme disease will develop either osteoarthritis or, kidney disease. The latter will require an annual “Urine Protein / Creatinine Ratio” testing to ensure that the kidney disease does not develop or, the test will be used to assess the development of the disease and allow you and your veterinarian together to plan treatment.

In areas where Lyme disease is “endemic”, Sunnyview Animal Care recommends that in addition to topical preventatives, the use of an annual vaccination for Lyme disease be considered for your dog.  Unfortunately, at this time, Lyme vaccine requires annual revaccination, unlike the other three vaccines we use in a three-year rotation.

Anyone reading this blog who is not a client of Sunnyview Animal Care should consider contacting their local veterinarian in order to start the discussion on this subject-if nothing else to be sure that this is not a concern for you, your pet and family, for whatever reason in your area.

Thank you for reading! For further information on ticks/Lyme in Nova Scotia, please click on the links or PDF’s below;


Does My Dog Require A Distemper Vaccination?

By Puppy & Kitten Care, Vaccination Discussion No Comments

Does My Dog Require a Distemper Vaccination?

The Canine Distemper Virus is a contagious virus of dogs, ferrets, skunks and raccoons, spread by direct contact that is almost always fatal – affecting the Nervous, Gastrointestinal, and Respiratory systems.  Distemper can be spread over short distances by coughing or sneezes as well.

The Distemper Vaccines used by many veterinary practices in Canada are approved for three-year interval use and, when used in a rotation with Parvovirus and Rabies vaccination – have a profound and positive effect on your dog’s health.

In Nova Scotia, Distemper shows up primarily in our racoon population as recently as late 2013 in the Mount Uniacke area, and is seen so often that posters remain up in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia!  The apparent clinical signs of this virus vary from obvious eye and nose discharges in wildlife, progressing to seizures – but in addition to these signs, in our dogs we see vomiting and diarrhea that rapidly progress to those signs outlined above.

While a dog that contracts this virus will have life-long immunity, that dog will also suffer from seizures, twitches (chorea), and general poor health.  Treatment is directed at supporting the pet through the seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and secondary bacterial infections that occur.  Unfortunately, the rate of recovery is very poor.  This virus is not infectious to people and is NOT related to the Feline Distemper Complex Virus we also vaccination our Cats for.

Please make the time to review the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines here –, and you can see where the three year core vaccination protocol used at Sunnyview Animal Care is derived from.

The Team at Sunnyview Animal Care, (your Bedford Veterinarian) hopes this helps you and your dog on your journey together in the best possible way!

Puppy House Training ‘101’ from Sunnyview Animal Care

By Puppy & Kitten Care No Comments

Puppy House Training 101 – by Jeff Goodall, Veterinarian, Sunnyview Animal Care

Always remember we need to reward good behaviour with lots of praise and petting – treats are not always needed.  Many dogs with this program will housetrain within a few weeks – No kidding!  We use these tricks here at Sunnyview with great success.  A few days or weeks of extra attention is a small discomfort for you & your puppy in order to get this part of training finished.  You will both learn your puppies’ habits and, bond you & your family to your puppy quickly!

Things you will need:

  •  A Dog Carrier/Crate
  • Timer
  • Pick a place outside for your puppy to consistently use for relieving themselves
  • Leash
  • Cat Treats (You’ll see – read on!)
  • Bell & strong cord (if you want to train your pup to tell you when he or she needs to go outside)

1) First start with the Carrier – it needs to be large enough for your puppy to stand up in, turn around, and lie somewhat stretched out.  Where you place it is up to you, but be prepared for some crying for the first few nights – and don’t reward the crying that might happen for the first few nights.  You puppy needs to be left in this carrier for the night and, anytime you go out whenever possible.

Confining your puppy to a room with a tile/linoleum floor for house training sounds like a great idea – but the smaller confines of the carrier use your puppies’ innate desire not to soil their ‘nest’ or home.  Also, many times we see puppies for ingestion of baseboard or other items (including the flooring sometimes) that happen in these small rooms.

There is an exception to not using the crate for training – shelter or rescue dogs likely have had experience with not begin taken out as often as needed, and therefore the need not to soil where they live & sleep has been lost.  Then use the room, covered in paper if possible when you go out, so you do not have to continually bathe & clean your dog anytime they would soil in a smaller crate.  Towels or ‘Pee Pads’ are discouraged for this use, as your puppy may find them a tempting chew toy.

Aside – The general rule for how long you can leave your puppy unattended in their crate without an accident is their age in months, plus 1 – converted to hours.  Therefore a 2 month old pup can be left and expected not to have an accident for 3 hours.

For the size of the crate – it should be just larger then the puppy itself, with enough room to stand up, turn around and, lie down with their legs tucked under themselves.  Many ‘handy’ clients buy a larger crate and build a sturdy dividing wall that the puppy cannot chew nor get around – securing it firmly to the sides in the process.  Then it is moved as the puppy grows.  Too large a crate is just a bad as using a large room for training!

2) Next, buy an inexpensive kitchen timer or two – you will use this to train yourself and your family to remember to let your puppy out.

3) Pick a place away from your house for your puppy to use for deification and urination.  Ideally, you will be able to leave a stool or two there for the first few days to a week, so your puppy knows its his or her ‘safe spot’ to use.

In general, the use of ‘Pee Pads’ in the home is not a great idea – your puppy will likely become confused & extend the house training period.  Also, the same goes for training your puppy to use the back deck.  We have had owners who train their puppy to use ‘Pee Pads’ while they are living in an apartment building, only to have significant challenges in re-training their adult dog once they move into a home later in their lives together.

4) Set a schedule for feeding & set your puppies’ schedule.  Puppies under 12 weeks of age should be fed 3 times a day and, we can use this to our advantage for housetraining!  Place the food down for 10-15 minutes to encourage them to get into a habit to eat regularly – and then leash your puppy to you and expect that they will need to relieve themselves within 15 minutes of eating.  Watch for your puppies’ signs of wanting to go – sniffing, trying to hide, vocalizing, etc.

Aside – remember to wiggle your fingers in your puppies’ food while they eat so they understand not to become possessive of their food – encourage all members of your family to do so, and in a week or so, a friend or two that are visiting at feeding time.  Also, use the feeding opportunity to “bait” your puppy into a sit position by lifting the bowl over their nose.  Some of the more exuberant puppies will struggle with this for the first few days – feeding time is a happy time!

5) Set a schedule for yourself and your family – anticipate that your puppy will need to ‘go’ as soon as you wake up in the morning, within 15 minutes of eating, and likely anytime after playing.  You will need to be aggressive in taking your puppy outside every 30 minutes for the first week when anyone is home with your puppy.

6) Get your puppy to the door ‘on time’ – First, for this to work most effectively, pick one door in the home to use.  Second, at this door, have your coat, umbrella, your puppies’ lead, and cat treats handy so that when the timer goes off – there is no wasted time in getting outside.  This applies to apartment dwellers as well.

7) Set the timer – for 15 minutes after eating, and for 30 minutes whenever you are home.  Every time the timer goes off, pick your puppy up and get them to the door.  Encourage your puppy to ‘sit’ and try to engage them with eye contact while you get your coat on & get ready. Carry your puppy to the spot you want them to ‘favour’ over others – we cannot stress this any more fully – walking your puppy to their spot just won’t work for a few months.

Wait for 3-5 minutes – possibly longer for the first few days, while your puppy comes to understand what is expected of them.  When they go – a lot of praise (alot!) and, a cat treat or two – dogs love them!, and a good quality one will be low in calories, no additives or food colouring.  Remember to just use this treat for house training however.

Aside – a lot of verbal praise and, repeating the words ‘Pee’ or ‘Outside’ or whatever word you are most comfortable with – and consistently use that word as your puppy relieves themselves, setting up word & action association.  The more excited you sound – the more the puppy will be excited to please you!

Once you learn your puppies’ schedule for relieving themselves – you can cut the time down that they are outside.  IF you have been walking for more then 5 minutes and, its clear your puppy does not need to go outside, thats ok.  Just scoop them up and, carry them back in the home – don’t forget to RESET the timer!

8) What if your puppy does not go when you expected them too(?), or its been the 3rd or 4th time you have taken them out to pee and, they keep getting distracted?  This is the time to leash them to yourself and, reset the timer for another 30 minutes.  Don’t allow your puppy to fail – and they won’t.

Also, in the first week or two, it is a great idea to get up with your puppy twice nightly in the first few weeks to have your puppy relieve themselves and, then once nightly for the next few weeks as well.  Feeding your puppy 3 hours or more before bedtime will allow them to sleep through the night, but don’t try this right away – use the opportunity of their need to go in the middle of the night to your advantage!  Carry your puppy to the door, have them sit, carry them to their spot – and lots of reward words and treats!


People at coffee parties will be envious of your ability to train your puppy in less then 3 weeks!


Bell Training – once your puppy is through the first 3-4 weeks of training, your puppy is starting to hold out for more then an hour – and you are working on your puppy socialization classes with a reputable trainer, you can also look at working with your puppy to tell you when they need to go and avoid the timer.

Get a good sized Christmas or Bear Bell and, some very stout rope.  Tie  the bell to the door handle of the door you have trained them to just slightly above the level of their nose.

Anytime your timer goes off, walk to the door (likely puppy will be too) and call the puppy in your happiest voice.  This will trigger their excitement to get to the door.  Have the puppy sit as usual, and get your coat on (& umbrella as it seems to always rain during training) and, just before you open the door – hit the bell and use the keyword associated with the process.  I.E. “Puppy want to go Pee?”, and hit the bell.  Soon with consistent repetition, your puppy will be nosing the bell for you – the key will be to listen for it!

The Team at Sunnyview Animal Care hopes this helps you and your puppy get started on your journey together in the best possible way!

Dog (& Pet) Bite Prevention Tips from Sunnyview Animal Care

By Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns No Comments

Some Essentials for Pet Bite Prevention!

Thank you for taking the time to read this information!  With the warm weather coming, school soon coming to an end, and that we are finally get the warm days we need to get outside – there will be more time to spend with our great pets – Dogs, Cats (on a leash), ferrets, and parrots!  The latter two species should be in proper harnesses!

The topic I would like to address today is not just ‘Dog Bite Prevention’ but avoidance of them along with the circumstances that surround the possibility of receiving bites from any pet or animal.

For anyone out there who owns a pet or not – We need to remind ourselves and our children of the importance of AVOIDING the possibility of harm from an animal in the first place.  Consider reminding our children & ourselves of the following;1) If you see a stray animal wandering, looking lost or worried – don’t approach it!  Many animals that are away from home will look sad, or anxious but are just as likely to respond to a kind-intended pat or trying to corner them to control and return them to their owners as a THREAT.  Its likely they will respond accordingly.

  •  If you see a stray animal wandering, looking lost or worried – don’t approach it!  Many animals that are away from home will look sad, or anxious but are just as likely to respond to a kind-intended pat or trying to corner them to control and return them to their owners as a THREAT.  Its likely they will respond accordingly.
  •  If you or your child see a pet on a leash tied out in front of a store or home – do not approach it – the results can be saddening as in #1.  This applies to pets behind a fence as well!
  • If you see a pet in a car – windows down or up – do not approach.  We recently had a dog squeeze its way out of a slightly lowered window, get stuck and, a passer-by attempted to help the dog – receiving a nasty bite as the animal was confused.  If the pet is in a car – with the warm weather – call 911.
  • Remind your children to leave pets alone when they are eating, playing with a toy, and sleeping.
  • Please teach young children not to chase, hug, or poke any pet – its a natural temptation to hug your pet, but with some children – regardless of how well behaved our pets are – the pet can become scared by the happy shrieks or unintended rough play of some children.  Its never a poor idea to remind our youngsters to avoid putting their face near that of our pets either.

Last year we had a parent bring in their Cocker Spaniel for a consultation as the dog had behaved out of character – nipping their child as it jumped down from the couch.  Please help our kids learn to allow a pet to jump down from their arms if they are carrying them, or from furniture.  Trying to stop them can lead to serious, unintended injuries.

In the end, please take the time to teach our kids to think before they act around any pet – the BEST WAY TO AVOID these concerns is to have your child learn to simply ask permission.  Permission to pet, touch, or feed the pet.

Asking ‘Is your pet friendly?’ when meeting a new pet,

Ensuring the adult has control of the pet,

Offering their hand palm upwards for the pet to sniff or rub their hand will avoid unexpected consequences.

Once the pet is clearly comfortable with your child, have them gently stroke the sides of the pets upper body ONLY.  Any other area of a strange or well-known pet can elicit an unexpected reaction.
By Jeff Goodall, Veterinarian / Owner Sunnyview Animal Care