We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

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Diets: Not for the Faint-Hearted!

Most of us have been a bit impressed, if not overwhelmed, by the huge selection of pet diets in our local pet stores. There is so much variety, all claiming to use the best ingredients and provide ideal nourishment for our precious furry friends. In 2018, a number of stories started circulating about dogs and diets and heart issues. Here is an update on what has been happening and what we know now.

Heart disease can happen to any pet. However, cardiologists (heart specialists) started noticing an increase in dogs with heart disease. Cardiologists began compiling their data and looking for common links between cases. Common denominators began to emerge, such as taurine level changes and diets. Many of these pets were on BEG diets (boutique, exotic meats, grain-free). The heart specialists also found multiple cases with extremely low taurine levels. The cardiologists had a number of pets placed on taurine supplements and transitioned pets to regular diets. A great number of patients’ heart conditions began to improve. A significant number of heart conditions resolved completely. Some pets with normal taurine levels improved with only a transition to regular food. Still, there were a few pets that, although their diet was changed, showed no improvement at all.

Lately, the FDA has come out with a list of diets and the number of cases of heart disease that have been linked to each diet. Does this mean all of these diets will eventually cause heart disease in every single pet that eats these diets? Likely not. However, with the new evidence, it would be best to re-evaluate what your pet is eating. Some simple precautions:

  • If you are feeding a raw, boutique, exotic meat or grain-free diet, do a slow transition to a regular diet. Food allergies are NOT very common. Food allergies are mostly due to the protein in the diet, not the grain component. Grains, including corn, do contain essential and important nutrients.
  • You can choose to monitor your pet. Lethargy, exercise intolerance, coughing, and panting can all be signs that your pet’s heart is in trouble. However, these signs can also be attributed to multiple other causes as well. Book an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your concerns and options.
  • Check taurine levels. If they are low, your pet may need to switch to a different diet and/or start a taurine supplement. However, this test can be a bit expensive. There are more than just taurine levels to consider in regards to heart disease. Taurine supplements “just in case” is not recommended at this time.

Do some Googling about your pet’s food. Does the food company employ a nutritionist? Do they follow AAFCO standards and testing? Do they have studies available? What are they doing to correct the issue?

Unfortunately, our pets don’t last forever. We feed them as best we can with what we know. Sometimes we make unfortunate connections between people health and animal health, thus all the assumptions that grains are bad for pets and the introduction of new diets on the market. We need to look at the issue with an open mind and talk to those who are a source of good, balanced knowledge, i.e. veterinarians, animal nutritionists, specialists. We may not have all the answers right away. We know who to turn to and where to look and only want to give our patients and clients the best information possible. When it comes to the heart, people take it to heart to do the best for their pets. Let’s work together to keep those furry hearts pumping loudly and clearly for as long as possible.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 519.759.3031.

Written by: Dr. Rhonda Boulter, DVM

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a “closed waiting room” policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 519-759-3031. We will take a history from outside of your vehicle, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. We will then return to your vehicle with your pet to discuss our recommended treatment plan. If you do not have a cell phone please knock our door to let us know you have arrived and then return to your vehicle.

2. We are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time.

3. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm. Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Sunday: Closed.

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 3-5 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

5. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

6. Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

7. Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Park Road Veterinary Clinic