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.


Pet Obesity

Is Your Pet Packing on the Pounds?
In 2018, it was estimated by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention that 60% of cats and 58% of dogs are overweight or obese in the United States. We likely see similar numbers here in Canada as well. Unfortunately, excess body fat can lead to a variety of health issues for pets. Pets that are overweight have a higher risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have even shown that overweight pets are seen as less happy (lower quality of life) and don’t live as long as pets kept at a healthy weight.

How Can I Tell If My Pet Is Overweight?
In the clinic, we commonly use a Body Condition Score chart. Here is an example of one from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

We use this chart to get an idea on if your pet is underweight, at a healthy weight, or overweight. It would be similar to the Body Mass Index system used in your physician’s office. Feel free to use this chart to try to assess your own dog or cat’s body condition at home! You can use the images to see where your pet’s shape falls compared to the goal of a body condition score of 5 out of 9.

Step 1: The Ribs. You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs with minimal pressure easily, but you don’t want to see them sticking out. Below is a great graphic to show how to determine if your pet’s ribs are easy to feel or hard to feel.

(Photo Source: https://www.vettimes.co.uk/article/diabetes-mellitus-educating-owners-on-spotting-signs-and-managing-treatment/)
(Click the photo to make it larger)

Step 2: The Waist. You want to be able to see an ‘hourglass figure’ when you look at your pet’s waist from above. You should be able to see where their ribcage ends and where their hips begin.

Step 3: The Tuck. When looking at your pet from the side, you should see their belly slope up from where their ribcage ends to where their pelvis begins. It is called an abdominal tuck.

How can I get my pet into tip-top shape?
Come and talk to the veterinarians and staff in the clinic, and we can help develop a weight loss plan tailored to your pet. First, we will check to see how many calories your pet should be eating based on their weight, age, and body condition score. Then we may recommend some changes to help your pet shed any extra pounds.

Diet – If your pet is overweight or obese, a weight loss diet may be the best option to help them to shed those extra pounds. Weight-loss diets are specifically made to have lower calories but still provide your pet with all of the nutrients they need. These diets are sold just in veterinary clinics, to ensure that your pets weight loss is safe and monitored by a veterinarian.

Exercise – Both dogs and cats can benefit from more exercise! Start slowly trying to take your dog for longer walks or use toys to play with your cat. You can also use a treat ball, puzzle feeders, or an empty egg carton to feed their meals in so that they have to work harder to get their food.

Limit Treats – While treats are great ways to reward your pet and show affection, they can be an added source of calories! Try to buy low-calorie treats from the pet store, use your pet’s kibble as a treat, or use vegetables like baby carrots as a healthy snack. Remember – everything in moderation!

If you have any questions about your pet’s weight, give us a call at (519) 893 – 1360. We’re happy to help you make sure your pet has a longer, healthier, and happier life with you!

Additional Resources:
Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
For more information about pet nutrition, check out the PetFoodology Blog by Tufts University

Written by: Amanda S, Veterinary Student



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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

We are all aware of the concerns and rapidly changing situation with COVID-19. Due to the close public contact that our work requires, we have taken necessary measures to protect our clients, our team and work hard to ensure we can continue to provide excellent care for our patients.

The following changes have taken effective Monday, March 30:

• Currently, we are operating a “closed waiting room” clinic to protect our clients and staff. We ask you to stay in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call our front desk at 519-893-1360 once you have arrived. For scheduled appointments we will take a history over the phone or we ask that you email us any concerns prior to the appointment. A technician will meet you outside the doors to bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. We will then call to discuss our recommended treatment plan and take payment over the phone. A technician will then meet you outside the door to hand off any take home medications and return your pet.

We are reducing our operating hours to Monday to Friday 9am-6pm. We will be closed on Saturday until further notice. We are running with limited staff in order to be able to continue to be open, so please be patience.

• Like many veterinary hospitals right now, we will only be taking care of urgent or sick pet cases, therefore, we are rescheduling annual physical/vaccines appointments for at least the next 4 weeks.

• If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with issues at their ends and are attempting to provide orders as soon as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order - our staff will meet you outside the door with your items. We are asking that all food and medications are pre-paid at the time of ordering it. If your food is not prepaid, we unfortunately cannot hold it for you for longer than 1 day at this time. If you are paying Debit we will be allowing one client at a time to enter the clinic to pay. We have stopped taking cash payments for the time being.

We do have an online store available for purchasing food 24/7. Go to our website manitouanimalhospital.com and click “online store” to sign up.

Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

• Following the recommendations of our government and human medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs and have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this disease.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience in these matters. Please stay healthy and 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.

Thank you,

The Manitou Animal Hospital Team