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.


Ana-Who? Anaplasmosis … and Your Pet

Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that can affect dogs, cats and people. White-tailed deer are thought to be the primary reservoir. The disease is caused by a bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It is transmitted when an infected deer tick bites its host (dogs, cats or people) and remains attached for at least 24 hours.

Anaplasmosis was previously considered to be endemic only in areas with warmer climates. However, as with Lyme disease, veterinarians are seeing more and more dogs and cats who are testing positive for Anaplasmosis. It is believed that this is due to alterations in the geographic range of the tick vectors due changes of flight patterns of migratory birds as a result of climate change.

All dogs and cats who have potential exposure to deer ticks are at risk. Year-round tick prevention is recommended to prevent tick-borne disease such as Anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. Ticks are active and looking for hosts to attach to when the temperatures rise at or above 4 degrees Celsius. It means that ticks might not be active 356 days of the year, but they are active 12 months of the year. Home remedies (such as essential oils, diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar or garlic), department store or pet store products don’t work and can be dangerous for your pet. Prescription tick prevention medications are reliable with fast tick-kill times and are safe.

Frequent tick checks, especially after spending any time in wooded or grassy areas, will help limit the transmission of tick-borne diseases. There is no vaccine available for Anaplasmosis, so tick control is the only method of prevention for ourselves as well as our animals.

Clinical signs and implications of this disease are lethargy (being more tired than normal), anorexia (not eating), stiffness or painful limbs, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, anemia or unexplained bleeding. Most animals infected with Anaplasma have low numbers of platelets in their bloodstream which puts animals at risks of bleeding disorders.

If you have found a tick on your dog or cat then it is recommended to have your veterinarian do a 4DX test on their blood after 6 weeks (3 weeks for Anaplasmosis, 6 weeks for Lyme disease). If positive and clinical signs are present (eg. painful limbs) then a 28-day course of antibiotics with pain and anti-inflammatory medications is indicated. It is also recommended that additional blood tests are done to evaluate your pet for platelet abnormalities, anemia (low red blood cells) and kidney or liver disease. In some cases, despite appropriate antibiotic therapy, some animals remain in a chronic carrier state. This means, that even with treatment some animals may perpetually continue to carry the Anaplasma bacteria.

If you notice your dog or cat suddenly limping, bruising easily, having nose bleeds or blood spots on their gums, then they should immediately be evaluated by your veterinarian. If your pet is currently not on any type of tick prevention, please speak with your pet’s veterinarian to discuss options of prevention.

Addendum: A random Google search brought me to a pet page recommending owners to feed their dog’s garlic to deter ticks from biting. It is both ineffective and very dangerous, as garlic is toxic to dogs and destroys their red blood cells. Please seek proper veterinary recommendations for safe and effective flea and tick preventative.

Written by: Dr. Krista Simonson, Veterinarian

Source: Etienne Cote. 2015. Clinical Veterinary Advisor – Third Edition.

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Does your feline have extra toes? The history behind Polydactyl Cats

Most cats have 18 toes; five toes on each of their front feet, and four on the back.  My cat, Mandy Pawtinkin, is blessed with 22 toes.  She has a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyly (Greek for ‘many digits’).  It is a genetic mutation that causes cats to be born with more than the usual number of toes on one or more of its paws.

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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 Monday, March 23, 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 902.422.8595. We will take a history of your pet over the phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. Once the examination is finished, we will call to discuss our recommended treatment plan over the phone and then return to your vehicle with your pet. Please ensure your pet has a properly fitted collar or is in a secure carrier. Please remove any additional clothing or blankets prior to our staff handling our patients to minimize risk to our team.

2. We are still OPEN but are now working in two shifts with reduced hours, reduced staff numbers and a need to close for extensive cleaning between shifts.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.

3. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 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.

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. You may see our team members wearing additional protective gear when interacting with our clients and patients.

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 Halifax Veterinary Hospital