Ask The Expert

Elizabeth Street Pet Hospital, writes an article for our local newspaper regarding the most common questions they receive in their day-to-day practice. If you have any questions please let us know and we'll do our best to answer on an upcoming Ask The Expert.

My pet is drinking a lot and peeing a lot; what could that be?

Dogs and cats can drink and urinate excessively for several reasons. The source of the problem may be in the urinary tract itself or it could be in another area of the body but be affecting the urinary tract secondarily.


The first step to diagnosing the problem is usually with a urine test. Often a blood test is also required to assess the blood sugar, kidney function and liver enzymes.


One common cause of excessive drinking and urination in older pets is diabetes mellitus. Diabetes occurs when there is a deficiency of the pancreatic hormone, insulin; this results in an excess of sugar in the blood and in the urine. These pets often have excellent appetites but will empty the water bowl in one sitting! They may even urinate in the house despite being housetrained; these pets should not be scolded, they usually can’t help it!


If you think your pet might be drinking or peeing more than normal, consult your veterinarian!



I am going on a road trip with my dog for the first time out of province, is there anything I should be aware of?

If your dog has not been on long trips before, it may get car sick. If you feel that it may be a problem try taking your pet for car rides starting with short distances, then gradually increasing the length of time. Signs of vomiting, hyper salivation, or excessive anxiety indicate that your dog has motion sickness. Some dogs can become desensitized to motion sickness by taking them on frequent but short distance car rides to the point where they do not exhibit any signs. At that point, gradually increase your distances until he becomes used to riding in the car.


Frequent stops, treats, and other type of distraction techniques can help your pet get over it. For some pets, this training technique may not work in which case you can talk to your veterinarian about medications that may be appropriate for your dog to travel comfortably.


Also discuss with your veterinarian where you are going, and if there is any need for additional vaccines, or heartworm, flea, and tick prevention.


Travelling into the USA requires that your dog has an up to date Rabies certificate.

It is also a good idea to have your dog microchipped. If your pet gets lost, it is the best way to be identified, and be sure your contact information is up to date with your microchip company.


Always remember to never leave your dog in the car on warm or hot days. Even with the windows rolled down, your car can still get very hot inside.


My dog has bad breath and a lot of tarter on his teeth. He appears just fine otherwise, should I be concerned?

Pets need dental care too. Tarter will eventually lead to periodontal disease.


Proper oral care isn’t just good for the mouth, but for the whole body, too.

Tarter build starts off as plaque which is a colourless film that contains large amounts of bacteria. If left unchecked, plaque builds up to form tarter, creating infection, destroying gums and resulting in the loss of the tissue and bone that support the teeth. If this condition progresses, bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause heart, liver, and kidney disease.


Dogs may show few obvious signs. Dogs unlike us, internalize there pain and discomfort. Therefore signs of dental pain are often subtle. Sometimes, all that is noticed is bad breath or a change in the way your dog chews or eats. There may be subdued behaviour, dropping food out of its mouth or just swallowing food whole.


Clients are encouraged to book  an appointment for  a dental assessment to ensure your pet’s health is not compromised by dental issues.  It is also a chance to learn about proper oral hygiene for dogs and cats to reduce formation of tarter and plaque.

April is Lyme disease prevention.
Here is an article from Dr. Robyn regarding ticks.

When is tick season?

  • March through to November

  • However adult ticks will be active any day the temperature is above 4 ° C


Where are ticks found?

  • Fields, long grass, wooded areas and leaf litter are the more common areas to find ticks. If your pet visits the mountains or a dog park we highly recommend putting your dog on tick preventives.


Why are we concerned about ticks?

  • Ticks carry many diseases. Some common diseases ticks carry includes Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and others.


What do I do if I find a tick on my pet?

  • Remove the tick using a fine pair of tweezers by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling up gently but firmly

  • Do not attempt to use noxious substances to encourage the tick to detach on their own (dish soap, DEET, alcohol, tea tree oil, burning with match/lighter). When a tick comes in contact with a noxious substance its natural reaction is to regurgitate its stomach contents which increases the risk of exposure to tick borne diseases

  • Keep the tick. Place the detached tick in a container and store in your freezer until you are able to bring the tick into a vet clinic. The tick can be sent away for species identification.

  • Have your animal tested for exposure to lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses at your veterinarian


How do I prevent tick attachment on my animal?

  • tick checks! This will not only help find ticks but may help find other things of medical importance (such as masses or fleas) and may help the animal become more comfortable with nail trims and vet palpation's when in the clinic!

  • The most common spots for ticks to be found is under the collar and around the ears and snout, other spots include the armpit and groin regions but ticks can be found anywhere

  • Adult male ticks do not engorge significantly and therefore are rarely found on animals, however they still carry disease so it is important to also use tick prevention products.

  • Veterinary products in Canada for tick prevention. These products also kill any ticks attached to the animal within hours

    • Bravecto – chewable tablet, given 3 monthly

    • K9 advantix 2 – topical product given monthly

    • Nexgard – chewable tablet, given monthly

  • Other products and home remedies may have SOME activity against ticks but efficacy pales in comparison to products with veterinary laboratory research and are NOT recommended.

Our dog vomited worms yesterday. They looked like spaghetti. What type of worms are they & should I be concerned?

Based on your description, your dog most likely has contracted roundworms. If you can, please scoop a couple of them with gloves on, place in zip lock bag, and take them to your vet for identification. If they are in fact roundworms, your dog will need deworming medication.


Roundworms, are the most common intestinal parasite among pets in our region. One out of every five dogs is infested with this type of worm.  Young children are the most susceptible group and they can suffer serious health effects including loss of vision if they are exposed. Prevention is easy and key to avoid infection. It is important for children to wash their hands after being in contact with dogs, and family pets should be on a routine deworming protocol.


In our clinic we recommend deworming based on the level of risk to exposure of these parasites. For low level risk dogs, we recommend deworming at least once a year.  For families with small children and/or dogs that are commonly in contact with other dog, deworming is done more frequently.  Monthly deworming is recommended especially between April and September when the weather is warmer and dogs are at more risk. Outdoor cats are also susceptible to intestinal parasites.


It is always good idea to have your veterinarian see your pet in the springtime, to recommend the most appropriate deworming protocol for your pet.