Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns

Leptospirosis – Concerns to be aware of in the HRM

By General Pet Care, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns, Uncategorized No Comments


There has been an unusual increase of Leptospirosis-positive dogs being diagnosed since May, 2o17 – AND, this appears to be localized to the HRM only, and not the rest of Nova Scotia as of this update.

Currently, Sunnyview Animal Care does not recommend annual vaccination for this bacterial disease, but we are reviewing this disease with our clients on a regular basis with each examination – but we encourage you to contact us with your concerns anytime.

With the recent freezing cold temperatures – the transmission of this bacteria in stagnant water/puddles, or other water sources has been eliminated for this year, and for early 2018 until the temperatures rise above 10 Degrees Celsius.

Leptospirosis may be a risk for you and your pet if you hike in the Annapolis valley, the area north & west of Truro, and possibly in the Pictou area. Dogs can contract this disease by drinking out of any water source – fresh or just a puddle. It causes Kidney &/or Liver Damage – and it can be quite severe, even fatal if not treated for. One Symptom that is sometimes seen is blood in the urine. Please click here for more information.

Leptospirosis can be in water contaminated by other wildlife such as Raccoons, coyotes, rodents, skunks, and foxes. The water might look okay to drink – but it is a risk to your pet AND US! The mammals that carry this disease spread it by urination into water sources.

Therefore – Sunnyview Vet recommends that pet owners take fresh water for their pets on walks, hikes AND trips with you & your pets. Also – don’t forget to wash your hands after picking up after your pets!

Have Parrot – Will Travel!

By Avian Care, Holiday Concerns No Comments

Travelling with Parrots is relatively simple – but your & your family need to plan things well in advance.

Desensitization – this situation is simplified if you are going to drive with them in my experience. Typically, parrots travel very, very well-as long as you prepare them and, then yourself. Begin to desensitize them to their traveling “crate” as soon as you can.

Carrier choice – You need to place one or two perches across an appropriately sized plastic cat carrier. A simple “dowel” likely won’t do for proper grip so, finding Dragonwood or other perches through online bird stores that have more of a grip-texture that would be better for your birds. You’ll also need to place a towel in the bottom of the carrier and have extras with you on the road to change out daily. You can also purchase (online) appropriately sized stainless steel water and food bowls that will attach to the doorway of the kennel. I strongly recommend you do not use plastic bowls with birds like this-while you will think they may not destroy them-the moment you leave them unattended in the carrier and look elsewhere/take your eyes off of them- they usually will. also is an excellent company who makes carriers that are soft sided, easily secured, very easy to clean, mobile & light to carry. They already have perches in them with appropriate water bowls that come with them as well. However, they are little more expensive-if you do decide to purchase one of these for your bird – Ensure you get the stainless steel mesh and not the plastic mesh! While the latter is cheaper, for the same reasons noted above-stainless steel is better-the birds really have to try hard to get out of them. My Caique made easy work of chewing the plastic mesh once during a 20 minute commute to my practice with her – this was well after she was used to the carrier! Finally, Celltei carriers are also very convenient for travel-I move my birds exclusively in these carriers. Also- the company is very good about the occasional repair from one of my more robust parrots.

If you are traveling the winter or colder months – Celltie also makes fleece covers for the carriers that are absolutely perfect. If you don’t have towels over the carriers or have the ability to towel them-you will need to consider this depending on the length of time your on the road and in keeping with the birds 12 hour light cycle.

Tolerizing your bird to the carrier & travelling – Once you “desensitize” your bird by placing them in the carrier and rewarding them for perching, do some interactive enrichment as well and possibly even some foraging exercises which are “self-rewarding” activity for them to actually play in the carrier and get used to being in an enclosed space. And you increase the time in the carrier over days and weeks until your hundred percent comfortable that they are 100% comfortable in them or as best as they can be. Consider taking your bird on short day-trips for progressively longer times.

You’ll also need to bring bottled water with you and try not to change the brand while you’re traveling. You will also likely need to bring some form of suction cup perch also available online from various distributors so that you can have them perch at points in the hotel room or, more appropriately in the bathroom tub and if needed, you can shower them.

Ensure that you also bring their favorite food and treats but, you must be certain that every night they eat and drink well and try to keep them on their light cycle as much as possible. Of course you can leave some water and food in the carriers while you’re traveling.

Jeff Goodall, DVM

Owner/Medical Director
Sunnyview Animal Care
36 Duke Street, Unit #6
Bedford, Nova Scotia
B4A 2Z5

Corn Cobs & your Dog – watch that your Green Bin is secure!

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

With the fall weather closing in, and thoughts turning to Thanksgiving, one of our staff had a scare today that led me to write this blog. This entry is meant to remind all of us to be extra careful – not only our food waste in the garbage, but also what we put in our ‘Green Bins’!

Kim’s dogs got into some dried corn cobs that were in her Green Bin. Corn Cobs are one of the most problematic of all things dogs can eat, as they are difficult at times to see on X-Ray, and even the smallest portion of the cob can result in an intestinal blockage requiring emergency surgery! (See the picture of a cob portion that required surgical removal) Too many times, our clients don’t know what their pet has gotten into, but they present to our practice vomiting, depressed, and have an inability to hold water or food down.

The dogs ate some drying cobs that were thought to be out of reach, and thank goodness; Kim knew that it had happened, Knew the time that they had been able to get to them was less then an hour, and most Importantly – Knew that it was an emergency. Dried Corn Cobs are less likely to cause the blockages then those that ‘fresh’ cobs will lead to if eaten.

Treatment can be as simple as what happened with Kim’s dogs – we X-Rayed them, figured out that the cobs were very well chewed up, and that we could likely resolve the situation by inducing vomiting. It appears to have worked. (see comments below)

However, with Thanksgiving coming up – Sunnyview Animal Care wants to remind our clients to be extra careful in disposing of not only Turkey or Chicken bones safely, but also watch that your Green Bin is not accidentally accessed. Too Many cases of Corn Cob ingestion – Sunnyview has about one a year – result in the need for emergency surgery to remove them. Fresh Corn Cob is less likely to be broken up in the stomach to allow your Veterinarian to safely induce vomiting, let alone for the pet to safely vomit the cob(s) up. Some cobs can be removed with an endoscope, but not many Vet practices have them, and sadly there are some cases of pets going into cardiac arrhythmias as the cob is pulled back up the esophagus – leading to their passing. Also, if the cob or it’s fragments have moved into the small intestine, then the ‘scope’ may not be able to reach nor extract them – meaning exploratory surgery is needed anyway.

In many cases, and in our opinion – the timely exploration of the abdomen is the safest option for your pet’s recovery from Corn Cob ingestion; To allow your Veterinarian to fully asses your pet’s intestines & stomach and, To allow for the timely removal of all the fragments. Please note, that even if you attempt to induce vomiting and, not have your pet examined and X-rayed at your veterinary clinic – there is still a risk if your pet may NOT actually vomit all the fragments up – there may still be some cob fragments left in the stomach, or they may have already migrated into the small intestine. There is also the significant risk of the vomiting leading to impaction of the foreign body within the esophagus.

So we are clear – Sunnyview is NOT recommending you induce vomiting for any foreign body ingestion without your Veterinarian’s direct involvement.

Please, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from the Staff at Sunnyview.Vet Let us also give Thanks not only for time with our families, but for the companionship our pets give us everyday, in addition to the love of all of those in our daily lives!

Xylitol toxicity in Cats & Dogs

By First Aid for Your Pet, Safety (Pet & Family) Concerns 2 Comments

Xylitol is a “natural” sweetener that appears to sweeten much the same way as sugar-but with 75% fewer carbohydrates & 40% fewer calories. It is actually a sugar alcohol & in nature is found in mushrooms, lettuce, plums, berries and some other hardwood trees & fruits. Therefore it’s no surprise this product is showing up very many different foods & other products in our homes. these products vary but include chewing gum, mouthwashes, toothpaste, baking products, breath fresheners, nasal sprays including the more commonly available candy & mints. Please be clear-xylitol is safe in people.

Our concern at Sunnyview Animal Care-your Halifax, Bedford, Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, and Fall River veterinarians-is that xylitol is estimated to be 100 times as toxic as chocolate to dogs, and is very toxic to cats. There is no test for its presence in your pet, and toxic effects in a pet can be rapid. The prognosis is good however with early intervention.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning:

A) Vomiting
B) Weakness
C) In-coordination or difficulty walking or standing/walking like they are drunk
D) Depression or lethargy
E Tremors or Seizures

Xylitol Toxicity in Cats

In cats, a very small amount of xylitol can elicit a sudden release of insulin resulting in low blood sugar-a condition known as hypoglycemia. Even if your pet is able to survive exposure, liver failure is sadly common. It is extremely toxic.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a product containing xylitol – This condition can lead to seizures & a coma-therefore prompt veterinary attention is needed on an emergency basis with no exceptions.

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Like we outlined in the discussion regarding cats, xylitol is also extremely toxic to dogs. Small amounts of xylitol result in low blood sugar levels, seizures, liver failure and can progress to your pet’s passing.

For example; as few as two pieces of gum can lead to hypoglycaemia in a 20kg (44b), while the liver toxic dose with many brands of gum can result from the ingestion of only nine(9) pieces/ or sticks in a 45 pound dog.

Please do not induce vomiting or give anything orally, a your dog or cat unless specifically directed to do so by our veterinarians or those at the emergency clinic.

In summary, please keep xylitol containing products where your pets cannot get to them, and if your cat or dog does eat something you suspect contain xylitol we do recommend you obtain our services or those of the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic(MAEC) in Burnside immediately.

Our Practice Number is 902-835-2223, the Metro Animal Emergency phone number is 902-468-0674.

How is Xylitol Poisoning Treated?

Fast & aggressive treatment by our veterinarians are essential to effectively reverse the toxic effects of xylitol, & prevent the development of severe problems. You can expect your pet the placed on IV fluids, bloodwork for a general outline of your pet’s overall health situation, and specifically the blood glucose level, possibly the induction of vomiting to prevent further xylitol absorption.

You can expect your dog or cat will require extended hospitalization & blood sugar monitoring for 24-48 hours, the administration of liver protectant, and possibly even the supplementation of potassium as this electrolyte can be affected in addition to everything else outlined above in these cases.

You can also expect a follow-up appointment with a repetition of liver enzyme-related blood work to ensure no long-term damage has occurred. This is especially important if the animal is over the age of eight years whether the dog or a cat.

While the overall toxicity of xylitol in other species is not well documented at the time of this writing, there is some concern that other non-primate species such as ferrets, hamsters & guinea pigs etc. may also react to xylitol in a similar manner to that in dogs & cats.

Related Tags – Submitted with respect from Dr. Jeff Goodall, Sunnyview Animal Care in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Halifax Veterinarian, Lower Sackville Veterinarian, Fall River Veterinarian, using various Veterinary Reviewed Source materials. Alcohol, antidote, liver failure, glucose, ingested poison, poison, poisons, gum toxicity, chewing gum toxicity, gum, chewing gum, gum poisoning, chewing gum toxicity, mouthwash toxicity, mouthwash, baking product toxicity, chocolate toxicity, chocolate poisoning, sugar substitute poisoning, sugar substitute toxicity, sugar-free gum, sugar-free gum toxicity, sugar-free chewing gum poisoning, sugar-free chewing gum toxicity, toothpaste toxicity, toothpaste poisoning, poisoning treatments, veterinary poisoning treatments, dog vomiting, cat vomiting, vomiting, seizures, dog seizures, Seizures, veterinary treatment

Sunnyview Animal Care

36 Duke Street, Unit#6

Bedford, Nova Scotia B4A 2Z5

Phone: (902)835-2223 Fax:(902)835-8837 /

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;


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