News and Events

"Ear's" to Corn! The Truth Unhusked

November 18, 2015
Dufferin Veterinary HospitalOrangeville, Ontario

There are many nutritional myths that exist about the humble corn ingredient and its role in pet food nutrition. Let us help you with some common myths with evidence by science!

Myth:  Corn is a filler Truth:  Corn has been referred to as a filler ingredient in commercial diets.  This is NOT true.  Fillers are ingredients that provide no nutrients.  A nutrient is a substance that needs to be consumed as part of a diet to provide a source of energy or provide for growth. Corn supplies many essential nutrients including sources of protein, carbohydrate, fatty acids and anti-oxidants.   

Myth:  Corn is a "hot grain".  Truth:  Corn is NOT a hot grain for pets.  Corn is safely and easily digested - 85.4% digestible which is higher than rice (83.9%), wheat (83.5%), barley (82.5%) or sorghum (79.7%).  Like other grains, corn is not easily digested before cooking, but like other grains corn becomes highly digestible after grinding and cooking so that nutrients are easily absorbed.  The protein found in corn gluten is over 90% digestible!

Myth:  Corn is a major cause of allergies.  Truth:  Corn is NOT a common cause of food sensitivities or adverse allergic response for cats and dogs.  Corn is associated with fewer allergy responses than other common protein sources such as beef, dairy, wheat, chicken, egg, lamb or soy.

Overall, corn is not a filler.  It provides several important nutrients such as protein, antioxidants, fatty acids and carbohydrates.  No single ingredient provides the best protein source for pets - maximal balance comes from using nutrition from multiple protein sources.  The protein available from corn is essential for pets and compliments that in other ingredients to provide complete balanced nutrition.  Antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E and lutein are provided by corn and are key components in protecting cells from damage.  Corn provides a rich source of fatty acids, especially linoleic and linolenic for healthy skin and coat, healthy immune system, balanced intestinal microflora and healthy central nervous system.  Corn itself is not an ingredient commonly associated with adverse food reactions - in dogs 69% of food allergies are associated with beef, dairy or wheat, and 23% are associated with lamb, chicken, chicken egg or soy while 80% of cat food allergies are associated with beef, dairy or fish. 

If you have any questions regarding your pet's food, ask us about it - we are all ears!

Halloween Trick and Tips This Halloween, help your pet keep its cool among the witches and ghouls!

September 30, 2015
Dufferin Veterinary Hospital - Orangeville
Generally, pets are happy to perform tricks for treats. At Halloween, it’s up to us to make sure they get into the spirit safely. Although a spooky celebration, having them terrified and unsafe is no fun for anyone. Here are some tips and tricks of your own to ensure your furry companions experience an enjoyable and secure Halloween.
Dress the part:
            While some pets enjoy dressing up as fairies and vampires, others may prefer to embellish for celebration with a simple T-shirt or bandana.   A pets’ ability to tolerate a costume depends on previous experience and familiarity with accessories - be it clothes, harnesses or collars. If not familiar with the sensation and presence of attire, a costume could prove to be upsetting and quite a Halloween fright.   Adapt to the comfort level of your pet – you know them best! If they seem agitated or depressed, pulling or biting at the costume, or try to hide – it means they are unhappy and for their benefit it is best not to continue with the masquerade. For costumes, please avoid small sequins, hanging parts and bells to reduce any concerns. It is always important not to leave your pet unattended in a costume!
Play safe:
            In your home, it is important to remember to use pet-safe decorations such as cutouts and decals. Dangling cobwebs can be dangerous for cats! Items such as pumpkins, decorative corn and Styrofoam objects are relatively non-toxic – but can cause severe stomach upset or blockage if ingested – definitely not a Halloween treat. Ensure candles and candle lit jack-o-lanterns are placed safely out of reach, or use electric lights. 
            Although greeting party guests and trick-or-treaters is great fun for us – it can be frightening for our pets who do not understand. Strangers in unfamiliar shapes and sizes can be scary. For safety, it is recommended to keep your pet in a separate room – with all their familiar comforts of bed, toys and food/water bowls. Dogs can be territorial by nature, so keep an eye on their behavior and comfort level.
            It is also important to remember to store your candy treats in a secure container and out of pets reach. All wrappers should be placed in a closed trash bin to reduce temptation. Remember: chocolate, xylitol-sweetened candy, gum and raisins are potential toxins – quite a Halloween fright! If your pet ingests any of these, call your veterinarian immediately!
Have fun:
            Before you go out on costume parade or for trick-or-treating, consider how your pet will cope with being out in a large, strange looking crowd. Many dogs do very well, and have great amounts of fun with all the new smells and friends to greet, while others do not. It is important to monitor your pet for its emotional comfort, safety and personal space needs. If showing signs of becoming overwhelmed, by panting, avoidance, pulling away or other stressed behavior – it is time to go home. Remember, this is a fun holiday, not supposed to be a real nightmare!

This Halloween, help your pet keep its cool among the witches and ghouls!

Who's Noses? Zoonoses! Keeping everyone healthy

July 1, 2015
Dufferin Veterinary HospitalOrangeville, ON

Ticks Are Everywhere! "Vector Borne Diseases" are here!

May 13, 2015
Dufferin Veterinary HospitalOrangeville, Ontario

We are all so happy to see the arrival of spring!  Unfortunately, it brings with it unwanted friends such as fleas, ticks, mites and other parasites.  A disease or parasite that can be spread from an animal to a human is called a "zoonosis".  Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are "vectors" of zoonoses.  That is, they function as a courier or "Purolator" of the parasite world.  They pick up an infectious disease from one animal, and deliver it to another - spreading it far and wide with efficiency.

Ticks have become a significant vector in Southern Ontario.  There are four main types of ticks; the Deer Tick/Western Black Legged Tick, the American Dog Tick (that likes Canadians too), the Lone Star Tick, and the Brown Dog Tick (which bites all colours of dogs, not only the brown ones). They have the potential to spread infections such as Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis or Ehrlichiosis to you or your dog.  Symptoms of these diseases are vague and hard to recognize.  Just one bite from an infected tick can cause disease.  Unfortunately, you cannot feel the bite of a tick, as their saliva carries a numbing agent that prevents feeling of their attachment to the skin.

Your best protection against transmittable diseases from ticks is prevention.  Check your dog and yourself after being out in the weirdly infested great outdoors.  If you find a tick, do not pull on it!  Call and visit your veterinarian for a demonstration of proper and safe removal, and to discuss possible testing options.  Learn about ticks, and talk to your veterinary team about risk assessment and prevention options for your dog.  For more information and helpful tips, visit, or schedule a visit with us -it would be our pleasure to help you! 

Some Common Toxic Plants Keeping Your Pet Safe

March 4, 2015
Dufferin Veterinary Hospital Orangeville

With the hint of spring around the corner - we have compiled a list of common toxic plants to avoid while we dream of the gardening season to come!  If at any time you have any concerns or questions regarding something your cat or dog has eaten, please contact us immediately.  Rapid identification and treatement when dealing with potential toxin ingestion is vital! 

Aloe vera
Great for burns, toxic to cats and dogs. Who knew? If you keep an aloe plant on hand for burns, make sure to keep it out of reach for your pets.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, change in urine color.

Pretty, common as a garden ornamental, and a very popular potted bulb for the holidays…and toxic to both cats and dogs.  Be careful with the bulbs, they contain the most toxins.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors.

Not only toxic to cats and dogs, this popular garden staple is also dangerous for horses, goats and sheep–and ingestion of just a few leaves can cause serious problems.
• Symptoms: Acute digestive upset, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, frequent bowel movements/diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, leg paralysis, weak heart rate and recumbency for 2 or more days; at this point, improvement may be seen or the animal may become comatose and die.

Baby’s Breath
This sweet filler of many a floral arrangement seems innocent enough, but not so innocuous when it comes to your pet’s digestion.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea.

This popular garden and container plant is toxic to both dogs and cats. The tubers are the most toxic part.
• Symptoms: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

The carnation isn’t the most poisonous of the bunch, but it’s ubiquity in floral arrangements makes it one to keep your eye out for.
• Symptoms: Mild gastrointestinal signs, mild dermatitis.

Castor Bean
Not in everyone’s garden or bouquet, but castor bean plant is a popular landscaping plant used in many parks and public spaces. Watch out for it on those dog walks.
• Symptoms: abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

The smell of chrysanthemum is enough to keep me away, but dogs and cats may still be drawn to it. It’s not likely to cause death, but it is a popular plant and can cause quite a bit of discomfort. In certain cases, depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis

These pretty flowers are popular in the garden and in pots–and they are toxic to both cats and dogs. The highest concentration of the toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant.
• Symptoms: gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.

Most people aren’t going to let their pet chow down on pretty daffodils, but who knows what may happen when you turn your back. These harbingers of spring are toxic to cats and dogs; the bulbs being the most toxic part.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, salvation, diarrhea; large ingestions cause convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias.

Although gladiolus are great in the garden, they are more popularly used in floral arrangements–since it is the corm (bulb) that is most toxic to dogs and cats it may not present much of a problem, but still…
• Symptoms: Salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, diarrhea.

If you have shade in your yard, I’m guessing you have a host of hostas. Am I right? I’ve seen many hostas unbothered by dogs and cats, but the plant is toxic to both–so make sure your pet doesn’t have a taste for them.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, depression.

Ivy (California Ivy, Branching Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, English Ivy)
I really can’t see a dog or cat approaching a wall of ivy and begin munching away, but then again, some of the things I have heard about pets eating have really surprised me, so…be warned.
Ivy foliage is more toxic than its berries.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea.

So lovely, so fragrant, so dangerous to kitties! Members of the Lilium family are considered to be
highly toxic to cats, even when very small portions are ingested. Many types of lily (Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, Casa Blanca) can cause kidney failure in cats. Curiously, lilies are not toxic to dogs.
Symptoms: signs of kidney failure including increased drinking, increased urination, vomiting, dehydration, foul breath, weight loss, lethargy.

For the sake of the monarchs I really hope you will plant milkweed in your garden, but…alas, it’s quite toxic to dogs and cats. (You can help monarchs in other ways, though:
First Aid for Butterflies.)
• Symptoms: Vomiting, profound depression, weakness, anorexia, and diarrhea are common; may be followed by seizures, difficulty breathing, rapid, weak pulse, dilated pupils, kidney or liver failure, coma, respiratory paralysis and death.

Morning Glory
It somehow doesn’t surprise me that morning glory can cause hallucinations–and although cats on catnip are cute, cats and dogs experiencing rubber reality? Not so much.
• Symptoms: Gastrointestinal upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia, hallucinations.

Being a native of southern California, I’ve known forever that oleander is pretty, and poisonous–but I never knew how severely it could affect cats, dogs, and even horses. All parts contain a highly toxic cardiac glycoside (much like digitoxin) and can cause a number of problems.
• Symptoms: Colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, recumbency, and possibly death from cardiac failure.

“Beware the poinsettia,” pet-owners have been told ad nauseam. But guess what, they are totally over-rated in toxicity! The ubiquitous holiday decoration may cause discomfort, but not the alarming panic that has been described. Read
Can Poinsettias Kill Your Cat? for more about the Poinsettia myth.
• Symptoms: Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing mild vomiting.

Not the most toxic plant on the list, but it’s such a popular houseplant that is should be noted that cats and dogs can both have adverse reactions to chewing or ingesting it.
• Symptoms: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

Sago Palm
If you live in a temperate region, chances are that you have sago palms around. They are a very popular landscaping plant, and also do double duty as a popular bonsai choice. They are apparently very tasty to animals, and unfortunately highly toxic–all parts are poisonous, but especially the seeds.
• Symptoms: Vomiting, melena, icterus, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, coagulopathy, liver damage, liver failure, death.

Tomato Plant
Is there anything better than the smell of tomato plants on your hands
after you’ve picked fresh tomatoes? Not so for your dog or cat. Although tomato plants probably won’t prove lethal for your pet, they can provide a good dose of discomfort.
• Symptoms: Hypersalivation, inappetence, severe gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, CNS depression, confusion, behavioral change, weakness, dilated pupils, slow heart rate.

It’s the bulb of the tulip and narcissus plants that have the highest concentration of toxins. This means: if you have a dog that digs, be cautious. Or, if you are forcing bulbs indoors, make sure they they are out of reach.
• Symptoms: Intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

The bark and leaves of this very popular evergreen provided the basis for the cancer-treatment drug, paclitaxel–but general ingestion of any part of the tree (except the flesh of the berry) can be very dangerous to animals. Horses have an especially low tolerance to yew.
• Symptoms: Central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.

Dufferin News! Paws to Read Program

January 26, 2015
Dufferin Veterinary Hospital, Orangeville Citizen
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