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Pet Friendly Canada Newsletter - June 2009

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too." (Samuel Butler)

"I've met many thinkers and many cats, but the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." (Hippolyte Taine)



"Today, glorious Friday. I only had a few pesos on me so Julieta (a girl I work with) and I decided to go get a sandwich. As we turn the corner something organish-brown catches my eye. To my horror, a dog is lying on the street - on his side with all four legs outstretched - next to the curb.

"Oh my God Julieta look at that dog!?! Is it dead?!?!"

"It must be sick or dead, a healthy dog doesn't lie in the street like that."

I stand aghast watching people literally walk over the sick dog that blocks their path. I rush to it - I have to get it out of the street, I have to save this helpless animal. Julieta and I call to the dog - veni perro, veni! I whistle, squeal, make every and any annoying sound I can think of but the dog doesn't move. I realize I am literally watching it take its last breath - and tears well up in my eyes.

Finally, the dog raises its head. Excited, I make more noises hoping he will come to me and out of the street. He looks at me with surprisingly bright eyes but certain death weighs heavy and he returns his head to the dirty street. Surely he can not hold on much longer - he is weakening with every breath and movement. I tell Julieta I am going to cross the street to buy him some food and water with my 5 measly pesos.

As I turn, a woman passing by also notices the dying dog. She makes a cooing noise accompanied with a sad sigh and brings out half of a sandwich from her purse. She pulls out the meat from between the mustardy pieces of bread and waves it in front of his nose. It catches his attention, and he slowly raises his head again. Even in the temporal space between life and death, his strong will to survive allows him one last meal. Gingerly, he rises, and goes toward the woman with the sandwich. He limps severely but slowly makes it on to the curb. I turn to Julieta.

"Isn't there someone we can call to come pick up the dog? Isn't there a humane society or something that can help him?"

She looks at me sadly and shakes her head. I think - what do you mean no?!? What kind of country is this? Someone call someone! Call the government! Call the News! What has happened to these people that they are so disconnected from another living creature?!? Anger and hopelessness crawl up my throat.

My attention is back to the dog, and he eats slowly and gently from the woman's hands while standing on his 3 good legs. She points at his injured leg and comments on where she thinks it is hurt. I cannot help but notice he is unkempt: the tip of his ear is missing, his nails are too long and in some places his fur is dirty and patchy. I think about the chance of saving him, taking him home, giving him the love and attention he deserves - if only he can hold on to precious life just a little longer. Quite possibly he will need surgery for his injured leg, it's only a miracle I got a raise this month so I can pay for it. She pulls out the other half of the sandwich and he wags his small bony tail.

I thank the woman for her kind heart and she smiles slightly. Soon the dog finishes and looks at all three of us for more. The woman opens her hands and says "nada mas" and I wait for the dog to sit down again as I plan my next move to ensure his rescue.

To my surprise, the dog doesn't sit down. In fact, he stands suddenly tall and proud - he sets his injured leg back on the ground and puts weight on it. He licks his chops, and watches people cross the same street that was his death bed only minutes ago. Then, he turns and that bony tail wags faster and faster. A grin appears on his con-artist face and he begins to run - fast and with ease. He has lost his limp and gained a whole lot of energy as he bounds across the sidewalk. He prances down the crowded street with his pink tongue sliming out the side. My jaw drops. I wipe the tears from my eyes just to see him turn the corner and disappear out of site. I laugh and can only wonder where he will find his next sandwich, and next victim.


Story Credit:
   R. Deering of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, USA, friend of


"This is Luci Lu, a 9 month old Bichon. This is her attempt at getting up on the wicker sofa. She did it after 3 tries and of course has had a problem getting up since."
- Rosemary D. of British Columbia

"Sam is a two year old who enjoys riding in the car and has his spot on the parcel shelf where he likes to lay on."
- Linda from Abbotsford

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Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDS)

Simply put, these medications control pain by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is a common source of pain (arthritis, post-operative, infection, etc). When the inflammation is reduced, the sensation of pain is often reduced also. These drugs are often capable of reducing fever as well.

Common examples of human NSAIDS are ibuprofen and aspirin. Ibuprofen is merely mentioned here as people are familiar with the name/drug. It is rarely used in veterinary medicine, as it has a relatively high tendency to upset the gastro-intestinal system. Commonly used NSAIDS in veterinary medicine are Metacam, Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Pervicox, Anafen, others.

NSAIDS, through their mode of action, have the potential to upset the gastrointestinal system, the kidneys, the liver and blood clotting. At prescribed doses, this is not at all common, but we should always be conscious of it.

It is difficult to make comparisons of one NSAID to another in terms of efficacy, strength, etc, as there are many sub-classes of NSAIDS, and, as you might expect, they can have quite different effects in one individual compared to another. We all know people who find aspirin more effective than ibuprofen for headaches and pain, yet we generally consider ibuprofen to be a “stronger” NSAID.

Whenever possible, it is NOT a good idea to be using more than one of the medications in this category at the same time. This would seem like an intuitively obvious thing to avoid, but it is a very common mistake made by many unfortunate pet owners. Pet owners may not realize that some of the medication prescribed by their vet is an anti-inflammatory, and give additional medication from their own drug cupboard, with the good intention of making their pets more comfortable. Use of combinations of NSAIDS are much more likely to lead to stomach upset.


This drug should never be used in cats.

This drug is in a class of its own, as the mode of action is still not fully understood. It is no longer considered an NSAID in most pharmacological circles. It has no anti- inflammatory effect, nor does it affect clotting. It is used by some veterinarians in certain circumstances, but dog owners should contact their vet to get advice before ever giving it to their pets. Remember… never to cats!

Opiates (Narcotics)

Opiate medications are used primarily to block the sensation of pain. They do not possess any anti-inflammatory effect (that is to say…if inflammation is the root cause of discomfort, opiates only block the sensation of pain, the inflammation is still present). Most opiates also have some cough suppression effect, may cause constipation, respiratory depression and sedation. These side effects are highly variable with each drug and corresponding dose.

Some commonly recognized opiate drug names are codeine, morphine, Oxycontin, fentanyl, many others.

Please contact your veterinarian if you have any questions about the pain management your pet is receiving, and always contact us if you are considering giving a medication from the human market.


Article Credit:
   Stephen Longridge, D.V.M.
   Clappison Veterinary Services
   Waterdown, Ontario 905-689-8005

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