Keep up to date with the happenings of Bow Bottom Veterinary hospital with this blog!

Chinese Herbal Medication Administration

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Administration of granules:

Herb granules can often be easily mixed into canned or home cooked food, or into a special treat that your pet enjoys.  Start with small amounts at first (1/8 tsp) mixed into food, then gradually wean up to the prescribed dose.  To mix with dry food, the granules can be placed in an empty pepper or herb shaker bottle, then sprinkled onto their dry food, similar to mixing spices onto popcorn.   Some pets prefer a small amount of water mixed into their dry food which will allow the herb granules to adhere to their dry kibble.  Often your pet will eat their food as usual and not know they are receiving their medicine this way.

Commercial “Pill Pockets” are available from us.  These are tasty, soft, hollow treats that can be filled with the herb granules that many pets will enjoy eating. You can also learn how to make these yourself!

For pets that are sensitive and discerning, the granules can be placed inside gelatine capsules available from us, and then given to your  pet by opening their mouth, placing the filled capsule at the back of their tongue and then closing their mouth gently to encourage them to swallow.  About 2 to 3 mL of water should then be gently syringed into your pet’s mouth to help the capsule pass down the esophagus well.  Afterwards, reward your pet with petting, praise, playtime or a special treat for positive reinforcement.

Another way to help encourage dogs to accept the herb formula is to ‘butter’ a small (1/8 of a whole) piece of whole wheat tortilla or corn tortilla or whole wheat pita bread with organic coconut oil, then sprinkle the herb over coconut oil.  Then, roll up the tortilla or pita, and let the dog enjoy this fun treat.

Alternatively, the granules can be mixed with 1 to 3mL of water or pure maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, tuna water, chicken broth or other type of meat broth, and syringed into your pet’s mouth to encourage them to accept them.  Be certain not to use artificial sweeteners as they can be hazardous to pets.

Administration of herbal tinctures:

Try mixing the prescribed herbal tincture into your pet’s food, or mixed with a special treat that your pet enjoys such as cooked meat, fish, peanut butter, cheese, canned plain pumpkin, or a recommended food, or a “Pill Pocket”.

For pets that will not eat food mixed with the tincture, we can provide gelatine capsules that the tincture can be mixed in.

Administration of herbal tablets:

Tablets can be crushed and then mixed with food or a treat or placed whole inside a “Pill Pocket”.  If your pet will not eat them this way, you can open your pet’s mouth, place the tablet at the back of their tongue and then gently close their mouth to encourage swallowing.  2 to 3mL of water should then be gently syringed into your pets’ mouth to help the tablet pass down the esophagus well.

“Pet Pillers” are helpful for some pets.  They are devices available from us that hold the pill so it can be easily placed at the back of your pet’s tongue.  A trigger is then activated which releases the pill, and your pet’s mouth then needs to be gently closed to encourage swallowing. Some of the “Pet Pillers” can be pre-loaded with water to ease swallowing.

Homeopathic remedies:

If your pet will not eat the herb granules, liquid tinctures or tablets at full strength, we can make them into an homeopathic liquid that has very minor taste that may be easier to disguise into their food.

If your pet is having any abnormal symptoms after starting the herbal treatments, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or decreased appetite, please discontinue the treatment and please contact us as soon as possible.

Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would like demonstrations on medicine administration.  Thank you!

Essential Oil Use During Acupuncture

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Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC

I use essential oil therapy with almost every patient who receives acupuncture and chiropractic.
It not only helps relax the patient, but it helps prepare myself and my team (and my client, in
non-Covid times) who are in the room with the patient during acupuncture.

Aromatherapy (essential oil therapy) is very helpful in linking the emotional, spiritual, and
mental aspects of acupuncture to the physical needling.
Essential oils can also provide physical treatment as many of you have noticed that when
certain essential oils are applied, they can provide cooling, soothing, or heating effects? Often
during the hot summer months, application of peppermint oil is as powerful as air conditioning.
I have even seen it reduce fevers in pets. They can also improve circulation to an affected area,
moisturize dry skin, disinfect bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The physical aspect is
obvious, but there is also a mental/emotional aspect to their benefits, including triggering the
limbic system, and providing a sense of calm in an anxious animal, or energization in a weak
It is important to note that I dilute the essential oils for use on dogs and cats. The dilution is 1
drop of pure essential oil added to 10 drops of a diluter oil, such as V6 from Young Living, or
plain virgin olive oil or liquid coconut oil or sweet almond oil. I like V6 because it is a
combination of six vegetable-based oils, therefore there is less possibility of reactions to the oils
as each of the diluter oil is in a lower volume. Another way to perform the dilution is 1mL of
pure essential oil to 10mL of diluter oil. The fragrance is still very recognizable, but less potent
than the original undiluted oil. The oils are stored in brown glass dropper bottles and I never
touch the pipette to the animal which improves cleanliness.
A little goes a long way. I only apply about 5 to 7 drops for large dogs, 5 drops for medium
dogs, and about 3 drops for small dogs, and only about 3 drops for cats. Pets have amazing
olfactory innervation. In fact, their sense of smell is often effectively with them throughout
their whole lives, unlike their sense of hearing and vision.
The type of oils chosen depends on the patient needs and TCVM diagnosis. Each essential oil
has different and unique properties. I highly recommend taking training using essential oil
therapy to help you decide what oils to use for each patient. I have taken courses by Dr Melissa
Shelton, and also CIVT and VBMA courses. Check their websites and you will find courses that
you can download for a fee. I also love reading about essential oils. Dr Melissa Shelton has
wonderful texts and articles on it.

Some people are nervous about possible side effects of essential oils. However, these side
effects are often myths propagated by online exaggerations.
This is an excellent article by Dr Melissa Shelton discussing safety of essential oils for cats:
The only time I do not use essential oil therapy is if a client asks me not to. Some people plainly
do not like the smell of essential oils. Thus, we always ask new clients if they are okay with
their pet receiving essential oils. We even ask new clients to sign a Complimentary Medicine
For more information, please check out:

Home in Canada in the USA


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Hello BBVH community!

We wanted to provide you with a detailed breakdown of our current COVID-19 status at Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital and Pet Daycare.

Hospital Update:

-We are open & operational and accepting appointments
-We have closed door policy as well as curbside/contactless services
-*Social distancing is difficult in client traffic areas (front reception, patient waiting areas, food/boutique)
-*Helps protect our immuno-compromised clients, staff and community as a whole
-*Limiting contact with clients/public will help the BBVH team stay extra healthy so that we can be here to serve our community
-No clients are allowed into the building at this time
-We are seeing a VERY high volume of appointment requests. Due to this new challenge, we are booking preventative surgeries and appointments at minimum 6-8 weeks out. We are a one-doctor practice and we are doing our very best to see our patients, as well as cases from surrounding areas at a timely manner.
-We are doing our best to triage cases/emergencies. We may ask preventative appointments to kindly move if able. You have the option to admit your pet (if suitable) on our surgical days either in daycare (if healthy/vaccines up to date) or in-hospital. Kenneling fees may apply. Our staff will offer the admit option to you if scheduling allows.
-We are seeing a VERY high volume of phone calls. If you are not getting through on the phone lines, please consider emailing us or using our Refill Food/Prescription option on the homepage if it is not an urgent matter. If you are here for appointments, and are not getting through on the phone lines, please use the doorbell at the front entrance to let us know you are here; please DO NOT leave a message/text us about your arrival- these are not immediately monitored.
-Facemasks, shields and other protective clothing is worn for your pet’s appointments as well as food/medication pick ups. We also appreciate opening your car doors/trunk so we can limit our contact with your vehicle. We also have set up a table to let you know where you can pick up your pet’s food/medications so we have limited contact with public/vehicles.
**We ask, if you are able, to also help us by wearing a mask or protective clothing when our staff is bringing out food/medications, going over medications, paying at the side Debit door or exchanging pet’s at the curb.
-Frequent hand-washing and many hand-sanitizing stations made available within the hospital and done so between each patient/client interaction
-Live-chatting options are available for your pet’s appointment- please feel free to ask our staff to inquire more and we will help you set it up!

Daycare/Overnight Services:

-Daycares are still permitted, however on Sundays, we have closed this service. Daycare is open at 7am-7pm as usual, except on Saturdays which has changed to 8:30am-4:30pm, and Mondays from 7am-5:30pm.
-Overnight services are temporarily suspended. We still encourage to call about future dates. We will keep you updated about Christmas/Holidays if there is growing interest.
-Greatly encourage all our new puppies (and there have been many new ones recently!) to come check out our daycare to help with socialization, meeting new people and learning to be by themselves. Submit a daycare request here!

We want to thank ALL of our clients who are understanding of these ongoing challenges daily. It hasn’t been easy, but we are here for our community and each other. Patient care is our top priority, and we hope everyone stays healthy and safe during this complicated stage.

Important COVID-19 Update for BBVH Services

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We are doing our very best to keep our staff and clients safe while providing important and essential healthcare to our patients.

We ask if you are sick, have travelled recently, or have been in contact with someone who travelled recently to postpone non-essential pet visits for minimum 2 weeks.  You may be a carrier without having any symptoms.

We know that not everyone will catch the virus or become ill from it, but is it our duty to prevent spread and protect our community,
clients, staff and their families.

We are immediately implementing some changes to help decrease public flow in the office so we can continue to
maintain a safe environment for clients and staff.

We are operating as ‘close-door.‘ You must call us or use doorbell (located at front door) when you have arrived for your
appointment, or medication/food pick up.
We have implemented a hand clean station in the vestibule if you are permitted into the building. 

Our staff are happy to retrieve your products you require and bring it out to your vehicle.
This to limit public handling of our stock.

We ask you to be respectful and responsible to protect our staff and other clients by using our
new contactless appointment options

Payments for services/products can be paid by credit card or carside debit payment.
Please NO cash transactions. 

As an essential service provider, we need to preserve our health in order to continue to serving our fur family community. 


Carside Service: (New Service)

When you have arrived for your appointment, call for a phone check-in with one of our VOA’s.

Then a staff member will be out to bring your pet into the office. Dr Schell and staff will communicate over the phone regarding physical findings and recommendations.

Appointments:  Call (403) 278-1984 – Use this for ALL appointments so staff can perform a history and proper check in.

Day care admits for appointments: (New Service)

We happy to offer admits in our daycare for hospital appointments. (Pending space and appointment availability)  Pets must be current on required vaccines and Reason for visit most be routine, or noninfectious.  Infectious pets should consider the car side service, for contactless visits.

For prescription/food/supply pick up:

When you arrive in the parking lot, please notify staff you have arrived and they will bring out your order.  If it has not been pre-paid for, the staff will call for payment prior to delivering the medication to your car.  We will do our best to accommodate last minute “pop-ins” for food and medication.  This process will be most efficient if we are notified in advance so that food and prescriptions are ready for pick up when you arrive.

Additional contact methods can be used for food and prescription filling and pick-ups:

Facebook private message: Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital (for the short term we will increase monitoring as an additional contactless form of communication)

                       Email us:

                       Text us at:   Coming Soon

Important Facts About Pets and COVID-19

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC


  1. There is no evidence that cats and dogs, or other domestic animals can be infected with SARS-COV-2 causing COVID-19 disease.  They can be infected with other, different strains of Coronavirus but not SARS-COV-2. COV-19 is a disease specifically of humans, and it is not expected to transfer from humans to pets or vice versa.
  1. Animals can carry parasites, and bacteria and other viruses that can transfer to humans. Therefore, proper and safe animal handling and husbandry techniques are always important to consider.  These include deworming dogs and outdoor cats monthly and indoor cats yearly; vaccinating pets, grooming pets (do not let fecal material accumulate on our pet’s tails.  Washing their feet after they have been outside before entering your house.), cooking the pet’s food before feeding home cooked foods (no raw meat), and washing hands well after cleaning/handling pets and before eating.
  1. Pets are good for people!  Exercise and decreasing stress are good for your immune system, and pets enable humans to exercise and they help decrease stress.
  1. That one canine case in Hong Kong who tested weak positive most likely was coughed or sneezed on by their owner, and thus the dog may have been a temporary fomite, but not infected. It is not likely that the virus would survive long on the surface of the dog’s fur to then infect another person.
  1. We have not seen any pets with COVID-19.
  1. There is no evidence that pets can be a source of infection to people.
  1. Strengthen your and your pet’s immune system. Practice methods to keep yourself and your pets as clean, stress-free and immunocompetent as possible. This includes picking up feces from your backyard and cleaning litterboxes regularly, washing your pet’s feet before they enter your house, washing your floors often, weekly bathing of dogs with veterinary recommended shampoo, feeding healthy food to your pets recommended by your veterinarian, deworming and vaccinating your pet according to your veterinarian’s recommendations, working with your veterinarian to help keep your pets pain free including treating dental pain and joint pain to name a few.


Take a look at these informative articles:  

this article:  

this website:  

and this Blog:  


Please contact us if you have any questions.  Thank you!

Chiropractic to Improve Your Pet’s Body and Mind

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC

I had the pleasure of attending the 2019 American Veterinary Chiropractic Association’s annual conference.  It was excellent to learn from over 300 of my colleagues, practice new techniques and become aware of the latest advances in this great field.   

Improving a pet’s mobility is important.  A veterinarian’s goal is to have their patient moving pain free, with full range of motion in their joints.  Mobility and motion are so important in making your pet feel good and live healthier and longer.  Chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, proper nutrition, supplements, herbal medicines and essential oil therapy will help enable this.

Your veterinary chiropractor will palpate all of your pet’s joints to assess range of motion.  Joints that are not working well may have malalignment causing nerve or spinal cord compression.  The irritation may be local or distal.  For example, improper positioning of neck vertebrae can cause decreased mobility of the hind legs. 

The field of chiropractic believes that the body has an innate ability to heal.  If we can restore a pet’s joint mobility, then their immune system, circulation system and neuromuscular system should be able to restore the imbalances and help the pet regain health and comfort.

Many pet owners have seen the benefits of providing petting and massage to their pets- they feel better often instantly.  Some pets really enjoy bathing, which is a super powered massage as the warm water is also relaxing.  It is also exciting for owners to witness their pets improved feelings of well-being.

Use it or lose it.  Keeping your pet’s brain functioning well will help prevent degeneration.   This includes stimulating all of their senses including touch, smell, taste, vision, and hearing.  Chiropractors use these senses, especially touch, to assess the health of the nervous system using a system called Functional Neurology.  Using neuronal pathways, chiropractors stimulate the immune system in specific ways to help their patient’s healing systems to work better, sooner and faster.

Ways to help your pet remain mentally active and therefore improve their physical well-being include taking them on walks- there is an abundance in smells, sights and sounds on walks.

Bringing your pet for daycare visits and hiring a dog walker for them when you are at work is also stimulatory.   It is important not to overwhelm your pet, especially if they are older, therefore, sometime shorter walks and shorter periods at daycare are best. Hiding treats in your house for your pet to sniff out and find is also helpful.  Many professional training schools offer scent classes, often called nose work, which are great for all dogs, especially seniors who may not be able to keep up with prolonged walks at first. 

At Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital we often use Essential Oil therapy for pets.  The oils have amazing healing properties including aromatherapeutic properties including improving olfactory awareness and also decreasing anxiety.  Check out a video we made about essential oil therapy for pets:

Cookie stretches are excellent- hold a treat in front of your pet and move it left and right so that their eyes or nose tracks the sight and scent.

The simple act of petting, grooming and bathing your pet improves their brain health.  Many pets can be trained to truly enjoy bathing.  If trained well, pets may even learn to enjoy nail trimming.  Your veterinarian can help you find ways to prevent your pet from becoming overwhelmed or experience anxiety during nail trimming.


For more information about veterinary chiropractic and your pet’s total well-being, check out and and and and and and

Busting Myths About Parasites

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We’re here to bust some common myths about parasites and parasite prevention.

One of the main risk of parasites is the zoonotic transmission that may happen to your family. Children and immune-compromised family members are at the biggest risk. Please discuss your questions about prevention and treatment with one of our friendly staff. Annual testing ensures early and timely detection of a positive case.

 “My pet’s stool is normal (no diarrhea) – they must not have any parasites” – False

Diarrhea is not the only symptom of an internal parasite prevention! Often they will have normal stool production until the infestation is at a critical level. More common symptoms to be observant of is pale mucous membranes, failure to gain weight, dehydration, poor hair coat, coughing and that pot-bellied appearance.

Please remember most infections are asymptomatic (no signs).

I don’t see any “worms” in the stool – they don’t have any worms. False

Parasite’s live in the intestine, they are happy there and do not want to leave. The eggs they produce are what is passed in stool, these are microscopic! The only way you will see a parasitic infection is in tapeworm infections if severe/rare cases you may see little rice like bits moving in the stool. Also roundworm infections as patients often vomit large masses of worms that look like spaghetti. Gross right? Instead of letting your pet get to an overload of parasites before noticing/treating we recommended monthly preventive for everyone’s health.

 They are on a monthly dewormer – do I still need to test?Yes

Yes! The de-wormer we recommended at Bow Bottom is broad spectrum and generally covers most parasites. However there is concern that some worms are becoming super worms – therefore we still recommend testing annually. Also there are common parasites like giardia, coccidia and the new major concern is Echinococcus that are not covered under the deworming normally prescribed. Giardia is most common in puppies and coccidia in kittens. 

My puppy was dewormed by the breeder – that is sufficient.No

Sadly no, breeders often deworm with an over the counter medicine which is considered not adequate. Of course each breeder is different and we recommend bringing your puppy in for its first puppy visit as soon as possible, that way we can sign your pet up for insurance and discuss a proper vaccine schedule and deworming plan. Please bring any records your breeder has given you for us to place in your file. 

My cat is always indoor – no need for parasite preventionFalse

Yes! Your cat although indoors is still at risk. We leave the house daily and may walk around higher risk areas like farms, parks or other outdoor places and track in parasite eggs on our shoes. Also if you have an indoor cat but a dog as well, they can share parasites between species so highly recommended to keep your indoor kitty up to date on parasite prevention and vaccines!

Flea and parasite prevention is toxic for my pet. The pet store products are the same– False!

Veterinary products are by prescription as it is important to ensure your pet’s health before administering any medications. There are possible reactions to any medication and if you have concerns, please discuss with one of our technicians or with Dr. Schell. Pet store products are very risky as they are more based off pesticides and you are more at risk of selecting the wrong dose, they can be very toxic to cats if the wrong medication is given. It has been demonstrated that pet store products only affect approx. 50% of fleas due to resistance and lack of residual effect.

Ticks, Are those parasites too? – Yes

Yes. Ticks transmit a large variety of disease agents that can cause Lyme disease and many other harmful diseases. Ticks are very small and often overlooked therefore prevention is the best method of protection and not just removal.

Heartworm? Not here in CanadaFalse

Yes. Heartworm occurs in warmer regions, where summer temperatures are high enough for the worm larvae to survive inside the carrier mosquitoes. The high-risk areas in Canada are southern Ontario, southern Quebec Manitoba, and the Okanagan in British Columbia. Heartworm is also found in most states in the US. Although it is not absolutely certain, it appears that heartworms are unable to survive at prevailing temperatures in Alberta and Saskatchewan. A few cases are diagnosed in these provinces every year, but to date the dogs have visited or lived in heartworm risk areas. We recommend heartworm prevention as many of our patients travel and it is one less concern on the pre-packing list.


Did you know?!

Biggest areas of infection: Dog parks, farms/barns, daycare centers, puppies from mothers and exploring the environment, fleas, anywhere wild life is, even your own backyard!

A female roundworm can lay up to 85,000 eggs per day! These hard shelled eggs can survive in the environment for years. A whipworm female only produces about 2,000 eggs a day but they can still live for multiple years in the environment.

Hookworms have a very short growth period, even pets on a monthly dewormer may have adult worms in their intestines. This stresses the importance of minimally yearly stool testing. 

In puppies under 6 months studies have shown as many as 30% are infected with roundworm.

Just one flea can become 1,000 on your pet and in your home in only 21 days.

Preventive measures

At least yearly stool testing at your annual exam.

Monthly parasite prevention with a broad spectrum medication.

Feeding a commercial or home cooked diet, raw diets are not recommended.

Limit access to areas where wildlife are (Stay on leash in parks, on hikes)

Do not let cats outside unsupervised, most cats take to a harness and leash walking very well or build a catio!

Do not handle animal feces or urine with bare hands.

Promptly and regularly clean your yard with proper stool disposal

Reduce tick habitat, such as leaf litter or long grasses in your yard.

We have teamed up with our Veterinary Reference Lab to help research parasites in our area, and to make sure our fur friends are parasite free!

For the next 4 weeks (ending November 30th at 12pm!) we are offering Annual Parasite Screens at no cost!  (** Conditions apply, see below)  The screen includes the routine fecal centrifuge (looking for pesky parasites and eggs), as well as a giardia test, and the brand new antigen screening looking for hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.  This entire screen is normally in the realm of $100, but our charge to you is $0!  All we ask is that you make a donation to Tails of Help.

Why Tails of Help?

Tails of Help recently reached out to all clinics in Alberta with a sad message:

“……. Tails of Help is now on the verge of having allocated all our available charitable funds for providing pet treatment aid.  Effective immediately, as of September 11, 2019, Tails of Help will have to temporarily suspend accepting applications to aid pet owners in need.”

Click HERE to learn more about Tails of Help!

We wanted to help, and thought we would use this parasite data collection as an opportunity to collect some donations for Tails of Help. We have nominated our clients and patients for this charity and they have used them to help their pets. We are hoping to help them replenish some of the bank and aid more pets in need.

Please call our team if you have any questions! Samples can be brought in during office hours.  

 ** For research purposes the free testing is on “Healthy screens”, the No charge test cannot be completed on diarrhea or loose stool


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Dr. Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC

Calgary has very poor air quality due to forest fires up north sending severe amounts of smoke.

Protecting lung and nasal tissues is important.  When the air is this bad, keep pets indoors as much as possible and give them indoor rather than outdoor exercise.  Soft sponge-type balls and stuffies can be thrown indoors to play fetch.  Humans need to wear air pollution masks if outside.  There are even air pollution filtration masks for pets.  Check it out:

Pet owners should also keep their pets well hydrated so their lung’s cilia cells can filter better.  The cilia cells line the trachea (wind pipe) and help sweep particulate matter like smoke particles, dirt and mucus out of the lung. The immune system also works better when the body is properly nourished and hydrated.  Therefore, fresh water needs to be available at all times for pets and they need to be fed balanced, nutritious diets.

Keeping your pet’s body in shape is also important.  Excess fat cells release inflammatory mediators that decrease health and comfort of pets at many levels. They also insulate the pet, making them feel overheated, especially on hot, smoky summer days.

Here are some other interesting ways to help your pets stay healthy during smoky conditions:

  1. Provide a clean, healthy house for them. Hepa Filters are excellent ways to keep inside of your house free of excess dust.  Humidifying the home may be helpful to prevent the home from being too dry.  The lungs do not do well with environments that are too dry, too wet, too cold or too hot.
  2. Vacuum your house regularly to remove excess dirt, pet and human dander and fur. This decreases antigen exposure to your pets.
  3. Prevent excess drafts, fans and aggressive air conditioning. Drafts, especially along the back and the neck are challenging to the immune system.  In Chinese Medicine, they are felt to cause Wind and Cold Invasion.
  4. Energetically warming teas with cinnamon, ginger, clove, and green tea for detoxification can be fed to pets. Check out directions:
  5. Diffusion of essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, pine spruce, lavender, cypress, peppermint, marjoram, rosemary which help support and soothe the respiratory system.
  6. Keep your pets away from cigarette smoke, cannabis smoke, firewood smoke and vape smoke. Those are known carcinogens and very hard for their lungs to tolerate.
  7. Bath your dog weekly to remove particulate matter like dirt and smoke particles that cling to the skin and causes immune system stimulation and irritation.
  8. Bring your pet to your veterinarian for diagnosis, and treatment. Veterinarians trained in Herbal medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture may prescribe immune tonifiers such as echinacea larch, reishi and cordyceps mushroom, atragalus, n-aetyl-cystein, Lung Yin tonifiers, andrograpis and Xiao Chai Hu Tang.  Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, topical essential oils and home cooked food can also help many pets.
  9. Asthmatic pets may require metered dose inhalers (puffers). Allergy testing can also be done by your veterinarian to help identify immune system needs and allergy desensitization therapy needs.

If you have any questions please contact us at




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Dr. Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC
Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital

Fascinating facts about ticks include:

  • There are about 40 different species of ticks in Canada.
  • They are arachnids as they have 8 legs, whereas fleas are insects with 6 legs.
  • Some female ticks can live 3 years as they complete their life cycle.
  • Ticks can cause major, serious diseases such as Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, paralysis and anemia (blood deficiency).

They are very powerful creatures that can severely negatively impact pet’s lives, and therefore their owner’s lives.  For example, Lyme disease is a crippling illness and can have long lasting, devastating clinical signs such as arthritis, fever and decreased energy.

Ticks are very hardy and small.  Some species are only the size of a poppy seed and therefore, are very challenging to find hidden in the fur of your dog or cat.  They are also often painless when attached to skin, so your pet may not scratch them off themselves.  To help prevent your pet from being bitten from ticks, contact your veterinarian.  They will prescribe safe and effective tick protection in the form of a tasty chewable tablet given either monthly or every 3 months for dogs, or, topical medication applied to the neck area monthly or every 3 months for dogs and cats.  All dogs and cats who go outside should be treated as ticks can fall off birds flying overhead and land in your back yard, waiting in the grass or trees to attach to your pet as they walk past.

Dogs who travel or who live in areas of Canada that are heavily infested with ticks may also require a vaccination to protect against Lyme Disease.  Contact your veterinarian to discuss if vaccination is necessary.

In addition to the prevention medication, applying veterinary approved, pet friendly essential oil topical sprays that have peppermint and cedar are helpful.  The sprays may also have citronella and lemon which dispel mosquitoes:

You should also do a check of your pet’s coat each day to look for ticks.  Usually you will only find them in a larger adult life stage as the juvenile or non-engorged size is very small.                                

If you do find a tick on your pet, it needs to be removed as quickly as possible.  This is because within 48 hours of attachment, an adult tick can transfer the causative agent (Borrelia burgdorferi) into your pet or start injecting toxins that lead to paralysis.  You have two options for tick removal:

  1. Bring your pet to your veterinarian or to an emergency veterinary hospital if your regular veterinarian is closed. They will professionally remove the tick and send it for testing to the Government of Alberta.  The test will include tick species identification, and if the tick is the Ixodes genus, further testing for Lyme disease will be done.  Your pet’s skin will also be examined to determine if the tick’s attachment site is painful or infected.  Topical ointments, and possible oral antibiotics may be needed.
  1. If you cannot get your pet to a veterinarian (for example you are camping remotely), then try to remove the tick yourself. Wearing rubber gloves, remove the tick with proper equipment such as the commercially available “Tick Twister”:   Or tweezers.  You should always carry a Tick Twister or tweezers with you while camping.

Do not touch the tick with your bare hands as sometimes the saliva of the tick will have infectious agents such as Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.  Be sure to remove the whole tick including head and body.   The “Tick Twister” or tweezers will help you do that (pull the tick off at the base of the mouth parts are attached the skin).  Then, the tick should be placed in a secure hard plastic, glass or metal container (with a piece of wet tissue or cotton ball that is wet to keep the tick alive) and brought to your veterinarian.  Your veterinarian will then send the tick to the Alberta Government for identification.

For more information contact your veterinarian and check out:

Global News Ticks Segment

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Preparing Your Home and Family for a New Pet

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Preparing Your Home and Family for a New Pet
Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC

It takes a village to raise a puppy or kitten so it is important to be as prepared as possible.

1. It is important to determine what veterinarian you choose as your veterinary team will play an integral role in helping you choose your pet, giving pre-purchase examination, setting up pet health insurance and keeping your pet health and happy for a lifetime. Your veterinarian is an excellent resource for everything pet related including nutrition, behaviour, and medical health. Your veterinarian can even guide you about how and where to find a new pet and determining what species and breed best suits you and your family. Feel free to interview several veterinarians until you find the right match.

2. Pet Health Insurance will save you thousands of dollars throughout your pet’s lifetime. Register your pet for the best policy you can. Not only does it save you money, it saves you from making tough decisions about your pet’s care.

3. Ask your veterinarian what breed of dog would suit your and your family’s life style. Be sure everyone in your family is on board with having a pet and wanting to take responsibility caring for him/her. Cats can live 41 years! Dogs can live 29 years! They both need commitment both financially and through time and effort needed to train and raise them.

4. If you decide on a purebred, interview breeders until you find a helpful one who provides health guarantee and has healthy breeding stock who have been tested for the congenital mutations that may be common in that breed. A good breeder can also help you determine if their breed is a good match for you and your lifestyle.

5. If you buy from a rescue center, be sure you receive medical records and health notes so you know what vaccinations and tests the pet has had before purchase. You may be able to foster the pet to determine if he or she is the right match for you.

6. Prepare your home- pets need a safe environment. No poisonous plants for pets to chew, or access to railings or stairs that kittens can climb and fall from. Ensure there are safe toys, chews, games, scratching posts, windows to help keep your pets occupied. Your veterinarian will be very helpful in helping you ‘pet proof’ your home as well as improve the resources and environmental enrichment for your pets.

7. Consider adopting an older pet. Sometimes an older pet is easier to accommodate compared to a puppy or kitten because often they are already trained. Dog training classes are excellent ways to help you train you new dog or puppy and will give you helpful training advice, and a lot of fun!

8. Look into pet daycare facilities and over-night care/boarding centers and pet sitters for your pet. It is helpful to prepare in advance for trips. Also, if you work outside of your home more than 5 hours per day, you will probably need a dog walking service or a daycare. It is challenging to train puppies and is not fair to the puppy if they are left home all day long. This can set back potty-training with your puppy.

9. Also look into pet friendly hotels when planning holidays so you can enjoy your pet during your holiday.

10. If you have existing pets, have plans in place on how to introduce your new pets to them. For example if you are adopting a dog, introduce them to your existing dog in neutral and joyful territory such as a dog park or a green space that your current dog enjoys. Do not let two new pets together alone unattended until you are certain they accept each other and do not fight. If you are introducing a new cat to an existing cat, it is often best to keep your new cat/kitten in a spare room for a few days or weeks so that your existing cat can smell them under the door and get used to the sounds of the new cat. Then, you can swap spaces so that the new cat/kitten is allowed to explore the house and the existing cat can stay inside the room to acquaint itself with the scents of the new cat. If you own birds and are introducing a cat, be very cautious to protect your birds from being attacked by the cat. You may need to house the birds in a safe, protected room or keep them inside large, safe cages.

11. Litter box etiquette is important. Note that puppies and adult dogs will eat cat feces. Elevate your cat’s litter boxes onto a table, or place them in areas your new dog will not reach. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 1 more litter box than the number of cats you have in the house. So if you have two cats, have at least 3 litter boxes. And place them in different floors of the house. This will help if your cat accidentally gets trapped in the basement.

12. Ensure enough water is placed in the house, in many areas of the house there should be water bowls that are kept full. Adding more pets to your home will increase the water consumption stations and volumes.

13. Decrease stress of introductions of new pets with pheromone sprays such as Adaptil for dogs, and Feliway for cats. Thundershirts are helpful as well as essential oil sprays for pets. Oral anti-stress herbs and supplements that contain ingredients such as colostrum, valerian, L-theanine, Chinese herb formulas suited specifically to your pet, acupuncture, massage, are all often very helpful to your pets.
This is a video on Thundershirts-> click here!
This is a video on items and products that reduce stress in cats-> click here!

14. Monitor feeding times well. It is important that the new pet is eating and is not getting his/her food stolen by the existing pet. Watch them closely while eating or you have to separate them into different rooms during meal times. Leaving food out all day and not measuring meals can lead to obesity or starvation for the other pet. There are excellent technologies that help prevent pets from over eating including automatic feeders triggered by an individualized fob attached to each pet’s collar.

15. Children must be educated about how to properly and safely handle a pet. Never leave a child alone unattended with a pet, especially when you are still learning your pet’s personality and needs.

This is an article on decreasing stress in pets-> click here!

As well as behavior protocols to help relax pets-> click here!
and how to introduce a new pet-> click here!
and introducing a pet to children-> click here!

Thank you!

Dr. Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC
Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital
1186 137 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2J 6T6

Your pets are our passion!