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.

780.939.3133

Pets and Thunder!

It is the Summer storm season around Morinville. Long, hot days are followed by nights where lightning fills the sky, chased by booms of thunder. These storms are either so interesting or so terrifying, depending on who you are.

It is hard to understand why your dog is afraid of a balloon, or why your cat is afraid of your grandmother. Neither of those seem scary in the least. It is a little easier to understand why pets are afraid of thunderstorms: They are loud and bright and very intimidating. Lots of people are scared of thunderstorms for the same reasons. Unfortunately, when a pet is frightened by thunderstorms, they take that fear to a level way beyond what a person would. If they are outside during thunderstorms, pets may just start running with no regard for where they are going, or how for. Even if they are in their own house or kennel, they may start shaking, drooling, or vocalizing uncontrollably. In the worst cases, thunderstorms drive cats to hide in places they cannot or will not come out of, and make dogs do destructive behaviour (digging, chewing) to get away from the noise of the thunderstorms. Out of fear, many pets forget their house training.

The questions we hear about storms at Morinville Vet Clinic center around how to reduce the stress on the pets. We find that the most common solutions that owners have are not very helpful. The first solution is to hold the pet and comfort it. When they get this kind of close attention during thunderstorms, this only reinforces that they are showing the right behaviour to get their owner’s attention. They are being coached that they are supposed to be stressed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, owners that punish animals for being stressed in thunderstorms are reinforcing the message that storms are a bad thing. The third solution is to medicate the pet during thunderstorms. This might work if dogs and cats were not more sensitive than people to the signs of imminent thunderstorms. By the time an owner knows about a storm, their pet is already too stressed to be helped by tranquilizers. To be helpful, medicine would need to be given during the whole season when thunderstorms may occur. That is months of sedation in some places.

In the experience of the vets at Morinville, the most successful strategy is to work on desensitizing the pet to storms. You make a recording of a bad storm, then play it back very quietly while keeping your pet’s attention with an enjoyable activity like play or brushing. You keep repeating this until your pet is calm with the noise, then do it again with the volume slightly louder. The volume is slowly getting increased as the pet gets used to it. In the end, the pet is able to do something fun while the storm sounds are at full volume. The pets will still notice the noise, but they are able to focus on something else.

One recent product that is available for smaller pets is the “thundershirt”. This is a tight-fitting shirt that a cat or small dog can wear all the time during storm season. It gives the sensation of being snuggled up and protected, much like a baby is calmed by being swaddled. We have seen several pets that are much calmer wearing the shirts.

If you are concerned about your pet being too stressed during thunderstorms, please give us a call at (780)939-3133.

 

Written by Dr. Michael High

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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 Thursday, March 19, 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 780 939 3133. 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 you to discuss our recommended treatment plan and then return your pet to your car.

2. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm, Saturdays 8:00 am-6:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am-5:00 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.

4. We ask that payments be made over the phone with a credit card whenever possible. However, we will still accept debit payments if needed.

5. 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 Morinville Veterinary Clinic