Tag Archives: rabbit

Rabbit dental care


Does your rabbit need orthodontic care? As curious as it may seem, dental malocclusion in rabbits is an important problem and is often under diagnosed.

The poor apposition of the teeth is one of the main causes of the loss of appetite in rabbits.

The origins of the malocclusion are multiple. We speak mainly of genetic causes, traumas and dental abscesses.animal-1846462_960_720

The diet of rabbits is very abrasive, which has the effect of wearing the teeth during chewing. To compensate for this wear, the teeth of rabbits grow continuously. The molars are aligned so that the wear surfaces are flat with sharp edges, allowing effective chewing of fibre. The teeth must be properly aligned to allow for proper wear of maxillary and mandibular teeth.

Rabbits with malocclusion usually exhibit excessive drooling, appetite and weight loss. Anorexia is frequently progressive. First, the animal stops eating its pellets, then its hay, then, finally its vegetables. Often the animal seems interested in its food. He even goes to put food in his mouth, to drop it shortly after. Owners often mention that these rabbits grind their teeth.

Loss of appetite should be addressed promptly in rabbits, because if it persists too long, it can become lethal.

To make a precise diagnosis, your veterinarian will often have to put your rabbit under anesthesia, especially if his mouth is full of saliva and a problem in the back teeth is suspected.

Depending on the type of problem, its origin and its location, treatments will be suggested. Some advanced cases can sometimes be relieved, but cannot be cured permanently. Some rabbits will require regular visits to their veterinarian.

So the best solution is prevention. Offer a rich fibre diet containing a large amount of hay, ideally Timothy as well as good leafy green vegetables.

Where possible, acquire the rabbit from a breeder who is known to produce animals free from malocclusion. And finally, after buying the rabbit, have it checked immediately by your veterinarian to make sure it is free from birth defects and infections.

If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team of the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.

About the clinic: The Lachine Veterinary Clinic offers an unmatched and personalized service to pet owners from Lachine, LaSalle, Dorval and Pointe Claire, but also across the West Island of Montreal (West Island) and Laval, and has done so ,since 1982.

The abandonment of pets

It is well known, the true national sport of Quebecers is not hockey. It is moving.In about two weeks, all trucks in Quebec will be requisitioned for this annual chore. July 1st is a day to forget for motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists traveling in Montreal. Besides  regular roadwork and festivals clogging traffic , the additional moving trucks double parked everywhere ,won’t improve the situation. Fortunately, the bulk of all the moving being done is on July 1st, which is a holiday.

What scares us is that by the time everyone planning to move will be finished moving into their new homes,hundreds of pets will be abandoned by their owners.

What scares us is that by the time everyone planning to move will be finished moving into their new homes,hundreds of pets will be abandoned by their owners.

The reason we apprehend July 1st in this chronicle, is not because we are afraid of being caught in a traffic jam. What scares us is that by the time everyone planning to move will be finished moving into their new homes,hundreds of pets will be abandoned by their owners. A yearly event, that, is terrible.

According to recently published statistics, nearly 45% of Quebec households owns a pet, but on average, these animals are kept for two years …

We know and we are regularly reminded by the fact that organizations protect animals. But regardless,each year, thousands of pets are abandoned. And when moving season and the summer holidays approach, the situation escalates.

For many people who had not thought of that(moving,vacations etc,) before acquiring a pet, these two periods are often problematic.

To make matters worse, with the housing crisis raging in Quebec these days, landlords become increasingly picky and accept fewer tenants who own an animal.

The result is that many animals get abandoned, left on the street or are sent to a refuge, where most of the time they will eventually be euthanized.

How to avoid this carnage?

Before buying a pet, find a solution and plan your absences. There are several solutions: pension specialists, pet stores, veterinary clinics, family, friends. Many hotels even allow dogs. Simply search.

If unfortunately you must move into a home where pets are not allowed, two solutions  are available to you. The Quebec Society for Animal Welfare (SQDA) suggests that you  offer to pay a security deposit to the landlord. In this way, the future tenant ensures that in case of damage caused by his animal to the property, the landlord will be compensated.

If negotiations fail, you need to find a host family for your pet. Animals adapt very well to new families. Euthanasia is not a solution. And like most animals that are left in refuges are eventually euthanized, abandoning your pet in the various shelters across Quebec is not a solution. You should have thought this through. This is your pet, your responsibility.

What about people who do not even  bother to take their pet to the shelter and decide to abandon them in the street? Those people disgust me. A couple years ago, one of our clients, who was moving into her new apartment , found a box full of hungry kittens….

And unfortunately, abandoned animals are rarely sterilized, and therefore contribute in aggravating the problem of stray animal overpopulation.

We invite you to take  responsibility and show good citizenship. Do not let a beautiful season like summer, become an innocent animal’s nightmare.

Easter: Bunny, chocolate, flowers and company!

Who says Easter, says Easter Bunny. There are traces of the famous rabbit , even in antiquity, 3,500 years before Christ . Initially, we were talking about a hare , a symbol of abundance, growth and renewal that corresponded to the spring.

The tradition of associating the rabbit and eggs is of Germanic origin . Traders of the eighteenth century , had the idea to offer chocolate rabbit and eggs . Neat idea , especially after the privations of Lent. Legend has it that a poor man , too poor to offer treats to his children, had the idea of decorated eggs and to hide them in the garden before sending his children search for them . After seeing a rabbit, the children thought that it was he who had laid those colorful eggs.


It is never a good idea to offer pet rabbits as a gift!

The tradition has since been exported to the United States by German immigrants and there was born the famous Easter Bunny. The children made a nest in the garden hoping that the Easter bunny would fill it with eggs overnight. Traditionally, the egg was associated with germination , which takes place in the spring and the rabbit was a symbol of fertility.

Along with this tradition , another one is installed… Giving children baby rabbits for Easter . In Quebec , this tradition has been very popular after the Quiet Revolution. Unfortunately, this tradition has had a negative impact on the lives of these poor rabbits. They were very beautiful when they were small , but once the excitement of Easter past , the vast majority of these animals found themselves at the SPCA and most of them were then euthanized. How sad ! Some unscrupulous pet dealers would even dye rabbits ( and chicks too) to make them more attractive!

Fortunately, thanks to pressure from animal welfare organizations , the tradition was lost . Nowadays at Easter , serious pet stores avoid putting rabbits in evidence and some even give chocolate bunnies instead of live animals.

Does that mean that the rabbit is not a good pet ? Absolutely not! But give to give a live animal as a gift on specials days and occasions it is never a good idea.

That being said , here is a good description of the domestic rabbit .

It is a herbivorous mammal of the order of lagomorphs. Its upper jaw has two pairs of incisors that continually grow compared to rodents that have only one pair of incisors .

All strains of domestic rabbits , including the dwarf rabbit, come from a wild rabbit. Previously, it was said that the average life expectancy of a rabbit was 7 years. Nowadays , one can easily say that rabbits who are sterilized (especially females ) can easily double this longevity.

Contrary to what many people think , this is a very intelligent animal . It is very sweet, loving , sociable and easy to housebreak and rarely bites . Most rabbits we see even use a litter, such as cats.

A final word on Easter chocolate and flowers.

You will receive chocolate of all shapes and colors . Be careful! Chocolate can make your pets very sick . Some may even die. Make sure you make your chocolate inaccessible to your pets. Remember that the flair of our animals, especially our dogs, is quite better than ours .
The flowers are finally out in Quebec… In supermarkets! Some flowers can be dangerous to our pets, especially those of the lily family. For more information, visit Pet Poison Helpline. (http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/top-10-plants-poisonous-to-pets/)

Dental care at home: part two

Last week we started to talk about dental care for pet carnivores , ie , dogs , cats and ferrets. We have seen that diet and tooth brushing are very important in keeping our animals with an ideal dental health.

It is never too late to star brushing your pet's teeth.

It is never too late to star brushing your pet’s teeth.

Last week we also talked about using a enzymatic toothpaste . But there are other types of products that can also be used. Toothpastes and rinses containing chlorhexidine are also quite popular. Chlorhexidine is one of the best oral antiseptic that exists today. In addition to being bactericidal , it has a very interesting residual time of at least four hours in the mouth of the animal . Some products containing chlorhexidine literally resembles human mouthwash and when equipped with a fragrance (ex; mint), they can give a ” Dentyne breath ” to our little companions. If this product is so good for our animals , why not use it regularly for humans? Well… the answer is a matter of aesthetics. Over time, chlorhexidine tends to make teeth turn brownish. For an animal that has a average life expectancy , say 18 years , it matters less but for Canadians, who have a life expectancy of over 75 years , it’s another story.

Cats ,on the other end, tend to dislike flavored solutions .For cats , one of our preferred product is a gel made with zinc and vitamin C. The product is very effective in fighting gingivitis and plaque and ,very important… cats do not hate the taste , which is a key asset for regular use.

For poultry , beef or malt flavored toothpastes, we mentioned that you needed your pet to taste it before you even begin applying it on it’s teeth. For products like chlorhexidine toothpastes , the technique is a little different. You will need a healthy treat that your pet loves to be able to use the toothpaste . You should always start by giving the treat. Thereafter , the solution on the gums of the animal is applied with a finger after the first application its time for another treat and so on. Once your pet is used to it, you can begin to apply the solution with a toothbrush .

By the way, this reward technique of positive conditioning was used by one of our client who was able to brush the teeth of her three Shetland Shepherds with an electric toothbrush. And believe us, the results are spectacular !

Mind you, rabbits , chinchillas and guinea pigs also need dental care. The treatment is completely different from those provided to our pet carnivores . Indeed , since the teeth of these animals grow continuously , it is not useful to brush their teeth . In fact, even though their teeth do not grow ad infinitum , it would be very difficult to brush their teeth, particularly those in back.

With these species , dental problems are not associated with the formation of tartar and gingivitis, but from uneven tooth wear. Several factors explain this anomaly, but the main one is the kind and quality of the food provided to them. In the Wild, rodents and rabbits wear their teeth by grinding very hard and fibrous food. In Canada (and around the world for that matter… ), the main food offered to them is composed of granules. These granules are actually different types of hay,grinded in industrial food processors and pelletized . The fiber of these granules is not as effective against tooth wear as the original hay which it is derived . In addition, many rabbits swallow their food without even chewing it properly which may also lead to an impaction of the stomach. The solution to this problem is simple. Give some molding ( a 1/4 cup per day for a two kilo rabbit ) and offer a good quality hay , such as timothy hay , at will. It will not solve all their dental problems , but it will do a great deal to reduce them.

10 New Year resolutions for all pet owners from Lachine veterinary clinic

Here are 10 resolutions that should be taken by all pet owners. These resolutions do not apply to everyone. Some focus on dogs and cats, others on birds and some on acquiring a NAC ( new pets ) . Here listed from the tenth to first .

Birds are not trophies.

To this day, many people still buy  birds only because they find them beautiful ! They are…, but remember, these animals require tons of care and attention.

After handling any animal, make sure to wash your hands.

A definite must,to the point of making it a habit. Let it be a turtle, snake and even a dog, you should wash your hands after every handling and especially  when young children are involved.

Pets not intended for breeding  =  sterilization .

Sterilization is the best way to control pet overpopulation . Quebec SPCA’s are overflowing with abandoned animals  and hundreds are headed for euthanasia  each year. In addition, this routine procedure can even save the lives of many animals . Rabbits, for example, greatly benefit from sterilization as tumors of the uterus are a leading cause of death in rabbits.

Aquarium water needs to be changed frequently.

Without frequent water changes , the water in your aquarium can quickly become a smelly and deadly swamp . We recommend changing up to  25 %  of your aquarium water weekly .

I must brush my pet’s teeth.

Many cats and dogs over three years of age suffer from periodontal diseases. Good oral hygiene habits are essential to the health of your pets. There is now evidence that poorly maintained teeth can cause problems to the heart , kidneys and liver. When you adopt a cat , dog or ferret , get it used to frequent brushings.

Follow obedience classes with your dog.

With proper veterinary care , the best investment a new dog owner can make is a solid obedience starter class. It will provide and encourage years of enjoyment for yourself and  your new ‘friend’.

I will keep a very keen eye on my ferret.

Ferrets have a habit of tasting everything. If you do not watch them closely, they will try to swallow pieces like; rubber erasers , pieces of toys,plastic pen caps etc.  And in most cases, those same ferrets end up on a surgical table . When you can not closely supervise your ferret ,  keep it in it’s cage.

At least one yearly medical exam for your pet.

It is generally said that dogs age seven years per calendar year. It is roughly the same phenomenon with cats. So understand here that getting your pet examined once a calendar year equals to a human checking in a medical clinic every 5 to 7 years!! Preventive medicine usually avoids more expensive procedures down the road and protects your pet from seriously compromising it’s immediate and future health.

Picking up your pet’s little gifts

Even  now in 2013 , people continue to walk their dogs without poo bags. Dog owners can sometimes be their own worst enemies . When they allow their dogs to walk without a leash in public or when they do not pick up after their pets, they enrage entire communities and expose themselves to massive push-back from local authorities, who counter with measures like banning dogs from parks etc. For the love of dogs in general , please show a little civility .

Seek competent animal experts for  Q/A’s and information on a chosen pet BEFORE your next pet acquisition.

When you are misinformed about the animal you are about to adopt, the story rarely ends well. Today, with all the information readily available on the web, in books,magazines or  at your local  Animal heath clinic , you truly have no excuses not to be informed. Acquiring knowledge is the name of the game here.

In closing, we wish you a very Happy New Year , health and happiness for you and your favorite pets !

The dangers of Christmas according to the veterinarians of the Lachine veterinary clinic

Today, the veterinarians at the Lachine veterinary clinic want to warn you about the dangers facing our pets during these times of rejoicing. Often we do not realize , but many products or materials that are particularly common during the holiday season can be dangerous for our animals.

Be careful with Christmas decorations

Be careful with Christmas decorations

Who said Christmas, said Christmas tree and decorations . The tree itself , even without any decorations , can be a danger to our pets , especially for our cats. That’s right, if a cat decides to climb a Christmas tree that is not stable , it may fall and it could end badly . So make sure that your tree is well fastened to avoir any problems.

The decorations can also be dangerous. Mainly icicles. Each year we see animals that have eaten the famous icicles. Cats are very fond of them. The vast majority of these patients end up in surgery. Damage to the intestines are sometimes so severe that many die from this.

Food. We all know that during the holiday season , we cook more than ever. Many of the products used for cooking are toxic to our pets , including onions and garlic. Fresh and dried grapes have been associated with renal failure in dogs. The veterinarians at the Lachine veterinary clinic think that the same phenomenon may occur in cats. Although the exact cause of the poisoning is unknown, it is not recommended to give grapes to our animals.

The turkey carcass can also be a source of problems. Indeed , the carcass itself is very oily and if an animal puts its teeth in it, it is at risk of developing a severe disease : pancreatitis. Believe us , dogs and cats that are affected by this condition are very sick , in pain and a lot of care is needed to help them heal.

Cats and dogs love the famous rope that is attached to the turkey during cooking . It can cause serious gastrointestinal complications. So once boned , the carcass should be placed in a garbage bag and stored so that it is inaccessible for our faithful companions .

With respect to the preparation of food itself , most bird owners know that Teflon fumes are toxic to birds. Pet birds should never be present in the kitchen when preparing meals. Not just during the Christmas period. But it is also wise not to let our dogs and cats prowling in the kitchen while we cook . All odors that emerge from the preparation and cooking are very exciting for them. But accidents do happen …

Chocolate is also present in large quantity during the holidays. It is toxic to animals. Beware! Although chocolate (or any other candy ) that are wrapped an easily be detected , especially by dogs whose sense of smell is much more sensitive than ours.

What about alcohol? Often , glasses and even viniers are left unattended. Alcohol can cause serious poisoning in animals. Remember that even a small amount of alcohol for an animal weighing a few pounds can be a major problem that requires veterinary care.

Be careful with candles, they are especially popular during the holidays. Our animals can make them fall, which can cause burns or even cause fires .

Some Christmas plants are toxic to our pets . According to the Poison Control Center of the American SPCA , the toxicity of the poinsettia has been largely exaggerated. It is therefore not the most poisonous Christmas plant . Mistletoe can cause serious digestive problems and even death.

In short the veterinarians at the Lachine veterinary clinic remind you that when you have a pet , you should always be alert . They just needs extra attention during the holiday season. That way you ‘re more likely to spend Christmas Eve or New Year’s Day in the comfort of your home with your family and friends, rather than in a waiting room of a crowded emergency center …

Christmas gift ideas for our pet

Let’s begin with dogs. Leashes , collars and harnesses are a can’t miss idea . More and more shops offer very original types and models.. For very small dogs like Chihuahuas , we recommend a lightweight fabric like nylon. For larger specimens , leather is always chic!

Happy can't wait to open his gift!

Happy can’t wait to open his gift!

Coats and raincoats for dogs may seem unnecessary to some but believe me , they can come very handy in the rain and winter and are certainly not just a fashion statement. . They are particularly useful for short-haired dogs . In winter when it’s cold , short-haired breeds need extra protection. The use of boots help protect paws from frostbite, prevent ice accumulation between fingers and toes and protect against salt and abrasives.There is a special wax you can buy , which when applied between the fingers and toes prevents the accumulation of ice and protects against salts. But it offers no protection against the cold. Chew toys also make great gifts and are particularly handy on Christmas Eve…when families struggle to keep their dogs busy while they run around excited… unwrapping gifts and having a good time.

Cat lovers , you are not forgotten.Lack of stimulation in indoor cats is a key factor in feline behavior problems . But don’t worry, there are several toys that can stimulate them and we have you covered. The first essential need for a balanced feline life : the ever popular claw post. All cats should have one. Ideally more than one. You can even add some catnip to them : hours of fun ! The ultimate post is composed of several units that are set up like condos. Olfactory and visual marking in some units combined with calm hiding units in which he can get some rest . The hot ticket these days concerning cat toys consist of a tube-like shape riddled with multiple holes . The idea is to hide dry food or treats in the holes and watch your cat spend hours trying to dig up the loot . A budget version can be crafted home with a roll of toilet paper or a paper towel roll.

If your cat goes outside , why not give it a nice medal ID ? There are lovely ones on the market and they can be very helpful .

Now,what to get a ferret ? Obviously you want a safe gift. Avoid toys that can be destroyed and swallowed . Ferrets have a tendency to eat/chew everything and that’s never a good idea unless you want your ferret to end up in surgery. So, opt for a hammock or a sleeping bag . They love to sleep on those things…and God knows that nap time is an important activity in the life of a ferret !

For rabbits,avoid treats that are dairy base . Instead, offer coriander or parsley. With rabbits those herbs are always in the winner’s circle. You can also buy small houses where they can hide and which are made of hay…and the added value of a house made of hay is that when your rabbit gets the munchies he can nibble the walls of his own house!

The most important gift that a bird can receive is a bigger cage . A cage can never be too large. ” Bigger is better ” as they say in Chinese. If you have a parrot ( whatever its size) , buy toys that will stimulate it . Mostly toys in which you can hide a treat to be discovered by your bird. It helps prevent behavior problems. A favorite toy for parrots : a piece of white pine. Built for the needs of your bird, a piece of white untreated pine , in which you can make holes with a drill, can become a major focal point . Just apply peanut butter and seeds into the holes and voila! But be prepared . Once your bird has taken a liking to these games , he will ask for more . Remember that white pine is a soft wood that can be destroyed easily and therefore is harmless to your bird.

Reptiles perhaps are not very tuned with their emotions and chances are they will not communicate their gratitude for their new Christmas gifts like your dogs , cats, rabbits , ferrets or birds would. But nonetheless, it’s still nice to spoil them a little for Christmas. Give your reptile a new fluorescent tube that provides UVB rays and enhances colors or maybe a new hot plate providing extra heat ,how about a couple new decorative plants , or new shelter to hide in … Specialty shops are full of presents for your reptiles.

Use your imagination and be generous this Christmas to your furry , feathered or scaly friends.