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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The Dreaded Vet Visit – How to Reduce Stress for Your Cat

“My cat hates the vet,” it’s a phrase we hear far too often while working in a veterinary practice. As a cat owner myself, I can relate to the struggle of trying to stuff a nervous, uncooperative cat into a carrier and dragging it to the vet (figuratively only, of course, be gentle with your cats please). Veterinary visits can seem so stressful that it’s often easier to just put it off and withhold annual exams – how important is that check-up anyways? It’s no surprise that routine annual exams are recommended to maintain the overall health of your pet. They can also be beneficial in reducing stress if done regularly, and a few extra steps are taken to help keep your cat calm and relaxed. Imagine having to go through the stress for the first time when your cat is sick and uncomfortable, believe me, it’s less than ideal. Luckily, there are a few helpful tips available to make your cat’s trip to the vet a more positive experience.

If possible, getting prepared for the upcoming veterinary visit a few days in advance is a good idea. Call the clinic ahead of time to schedule your appointment and try to request a time of day where traffic flow in the hospital is expected to be lighter. Being surrounded by barking dogs and large crowds of people do the opposite of helping a nervous cat remain calm. Another way you can prepare at home is to get your cat used to being handled and touched. You can practice touching their ears, around their face and looking into their mouth as they will likely be more comfortable if these actions aren’t being performed for the first time by a stranger. As an added bonus, doing this is also a great way to initiate tooth brushing with your cat.

Cat carriers – do I need to use one? It is highly recommended that you keep your cat safely contained in a pet carrier while at the vet. You should choose one that is large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around comfortably. Ideally, it should be able to be opened both from the top and the front for ease in removing the animal from the carrier. Bringing the carrier out into a room in your home where your cat likes to hang out prior to the vet visit can help them get comfortable with it and give them a chance to enter on their own terms. Putting their favourite treats or blanket inside may help to peak their interest. Leaving the carrier out for your cat to come and go as they please is a great way to break the association between the carrier and a scary trip to the vet. For anxious cats, you may find it helpful to purchase Feliway, a pheromone spray that can have a calming effect as it mimics the pheromone passed from mother to kittens. Spraying some on a blanket placed in the carrier prior to leaving for the appointment could help to keep your cat relaxed and happy.

Cat’s often associate a trip to the vet with being in the car because let’s face it, and it’s typically the only time they’re ever in it. Taking your cat on short practice drives is a good way to help them get used to the idea of travelling without the negative association of going somewhere where they feel threatened and afraid. Ensure to keep their carrier secure in the vehicle and turn the music down and keep air conditioning/heat vents from blowing directly into the carrier. On occasion, you may find that your cat gets car sick from travelling. To help prevent this withholding food for a few hours prior to the appointment may be a good idea. It may also help to entice your cat to eat treats or food while at the clinic as a positive distraction from the poking and prodding that will inevitably need to occur. Consider bringing some of your cats’ favourite treats or canned food along with you for them to snack on while in the exam room, it may help them to feel more comfortable.

Who said a trip to the vet needs to result in scratches and panic? Next time you need to schedule your cat in for a wellness exam remain calm and keep these tips in mind.

Give us a call to book your next appointment.

Written by: Halifax Veterinary Hospital

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Very clean clinic and the Veterinarian and their assistant were so kind and gentle with my friend's cat!

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Absolutely phenomenal vets and assistants, so friendly and caring. Gave my sweet cat 2 shots and a microchip and I…

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The staff have always been so friendly and so loving to both our golden pups.

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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