Monday, October 29, 2018
It’s a good day to talk about hay
One of the most important aspects of being a pet parent to a small herbivore is providing a proper diet that is predominantly hay. But have you ever wondered how and why hay keeps your pet happy and healthy? There are many different functions that hay provides for your pet and it may not be as obvious as it seems. It all starts with a basic understanding of herbivore physiology, starting at the mouth.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas have hypsodont teeth, which means they are open rooted and continuously grow throughout their lifetime. The front incisor teeth are scythe-like and used to cut through vegetation while the back premolars and molars are flat and used to grind hard fibrous foods. Rabbits use those molars to chew up to 120 times a minute! The rapid side-to-side jaw movements, encouraged by a suitable high fibre diet, helps with proper dental health to allow the incisors to be constantly sharpened and the back teeth to wear down and prevent overgrowth. With low fibre diets or overfeeding of pellets, the jaw movements are slower and more up-and-down, which can result in tooth root elongation and malocclusion (misalignment). Inappetance caused by dental malocclusion is one of the most common reasons a small herbivore is brought to the veterinary hospital.
As the hay moves into the gut, it passes through the stomach and the small intestines, which play only a small part in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Most of the work is performed by the large intestinal tract, known at the hind-gut. The hind-gut is comprised of 2 segments called the cecum and the colon. The cecum is a large pouch within the intestinal tract that is home to over 70 different types of bacteria and microorganisms. The bacteria break down and ferment, or digest, plant materials into different fatty acids and vitamins, which are then absorbed into the animal’s body to be used as energy for daily life. The fibre from the hay that is eaten helps to stimulate the contractions of the hind-gut to mix the intestinal contents around to enable the bacteria to ferment the fibre properly. This fermentation process is also crucial for the production of cecotrophs, soft nutrient-dense fecal pellets that are ingested directly from the rectum (midnight snack!). Diets low in fibre lead to decreased production of fatty acids and destabilization of the bacterial environment. Inappropriate diets, such as ones high in seeds, grains, bread and other carbohydrates, as well as diets with lots of treats, such as fruits and yogurt drops, can cause an overgrowth of bacterial pathogens and toxin production. This can lead to a serious condition known as gastrointestinal stasis – symptoms to watch out for include decreased appetite, bloated abdomen and/or diarrhea.
Aside from being an important part of the diet, hay is also good for the mental health of small herbivores. Hay encourages natural foraging and grazing behaviours, which help to diminish boredom-based behaviours, increase physical activity and promote mental stimulation. You can also offer a variety of different hays to make mealtimes interesting and provide different tastes and textures – good grass hays to feed include timothy, orchard grass and oat. It’s encouraged to place hay in as many locations as possible throughout the living space or to stuff hay into safe-to-chew containers, such as toilet paper rolls, to maximize enrichment. For an added incentive, you can bury a few of your pet’s favourite treats into the hay and watch them excitedly hunt for them!
In summary, improper nutrition is often the key contributing factor in reasons why small herbivores are presented to the veterinary hospital. Feeding a proper diet that is mostly hay is good preventative health care and ensures a long and happy life for your pet!
Friday, October 26, 2018
Hello followers and to anyone new on our site. Just an update, tomorrow night we are hosting a trivia night. It's our first time running this event and of course all proceeds are donated to the the GAAP. A charity that we have been working alongside with for quite some time now.
Avery one of our technicians has been busy collecting and wrapping gift baskets all week, and boy oh boy does she have some goodies to give away! Grab bags are up for grabs, along with a delicious lasagna dinner with all the fixings' for dinner. Dinner will be starting at 6 and wrapping up around 7 pm when we will get set to test our knowledge.
Play in teams, enter a full team, or join another. It's all in good fun. The evening should conclude around 9 pm, so if your heading out for a halloween party, well the night is still young.
We hope to see you there!
Tickets can be purchased at our hospital, or at the door.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
ALLANDALE VETERINARY HOSPITAL celebrates 25 years of accreditation
Allandale Veterinary Hospital has earned recognition for practicing gold standard medicine for 25 years consecutively.
Since 1993, our hospital has voluntarily submitted itself to the American Animal Hospital Association’s Standard of Accreditation. Achieving accreditation by AAHA is an important milestone to delivering quality pet care.
Not every companion animal hospital practice is accredited and maintain that for a quarter century demonstrates true commitment to veterinary excellence by the entire practice team. Pet owners can ret assure knowing they take their beloved companions to an accredited hospital.
AAHA is the only organization in the United States and Canada that accredits companion animal hospitals based on standards that go above and beyond state and provincial regulations. Accredited hospitals are the only veterinary hospitals that choose to be evaluated on approximately 900 quality standards ranging from patient care and pain management to staff training and advanced diagnostic services. AAHA standards are continuously revised and updated to keep accredited practices on the cutting edge of veterinary excellence.
Pet owners look for AAHA-accredited hospitals because they value their pet’s health and trust the consistent, expert care provided by the entire health team. Allandale Veterinary Hospital was recognized for its achievement during the AAHA conference, Connexity, on September 13 2018.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
And in a blink of an eye we were off. Off supporting the Canadian Golden Rescue Car rally. Each year Dr. Lechten generously gives the entire staff of our hospital the opportunity to participate in the annual car rally. If you have never been in a car Rally- it is loads of fun! (As long as you aren’t lost!? Like we were this year!) So we had many teams participating in this year’s events. Our car was Dr. Lechten, Melissa, Lisa and Bex. We were going well, then somehow, we made a wrong turn! It took us some time to figure out, but wondered why we hadn’t seen anyone, nor had we found any of the clues, ahh but never the less our brains came together and we were back on track.
Towards the end of the 5 hour ride, we were sailing. It was also starting to get dark. We meet back at headquarters up in beautiful Port Severn on the water, with a love band, the wind in our hair, food and drink. Not to mention enjoying the company and listening to others how they got the clues. Of course you are able to bring your pooch, what’s not to love being greeted by 20 Goldens at the end of the day?
Awards and trophies are even handed out that evening, this year Dr. Poon, Dr. Hauer, Dr Pierre and her husband Scott came in third! While Shawnah and her boarding team came in last- and was awarded the horses ass award. Sorry guys, but I had to write it.
Cheers to an enjoyable day, and a big THANK YOU to Canadian Golden Rescue for hosting this fabulous event! If you are interested in participating for next year, keep your eyes peeled on their website https://www.goldenrescue.ca/about/
Here are a few photos to show off the event.