New Additions to BAC!

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We recently welcomed some reptilian friends into the clinic.  They are two female Crested Geckos and we need help naming them!  Check out our facebook page to contribute to the name suggestions!  Names will be chosen from the suggestions in two weeks on April 5th and we will announce them on facebook!

If you would like to learn more about this really cool species, below are some interesting facts about Crested Geckos.

  • The crested gecko or Rhacodactylus ciliatus, also referred to as “eyelash gecko” or “crestie,” is a small, prehensile-tailed gecko which originates in New Caledonia.
  • Crested Geckos are semi-arboreal spending most of their time in small trees and low shrubs. They will however seek out hiding places near the ground to sleep during the day.
  • The average lifespan is thought to be 15-20years with proper care although this is not completely accurate as they have not been in captivity for long enough to know for certain.
  • An adult gecko can weigh on average 40-45 grams with a tail, though some may get a fair bit larger than this, up into the 60-70 gram range.  You should strive for healthy-bodied geckos that do not look overly ‘obese’, as obesity in geckos can have the same drawbacks that it does in other species affecting overall health.
  • An average length for an adult from snout to tail tip is about 8 inches.
  • As a crested gecko grows it will shed its skin. You will not often find skin in the enclosure after a shed as the gecko will normally eat the entire thing.
  • Crested geckos feed on both insects and fruits. The easiest and most convenient method of feeding in captivity is to use the powdered Crested Gecko Diet and crickets. All crested geckos have the ability to change colour under certain circumstances. This is commonly known as ‘firing up’ which causes their skin to sharpen and brighen.
  • A crestie can use its tail to wrap around branches (or your fingers) to slow its descent or help balance itself. The tip of the crested gecko’s tail has small ridges, a bit like a smaller version of its toe ridges, to help further slow itself should it be moving downward on a branch. This useful tail, however, is not always a permanent fixture on the gecko. If it is bitten by a predator or another gecko, or it is just startled by its handler, the gecko can drop its tail. The tail will continue wiggling for some time after it is dropped, which could possibly distract a would-be predator while the gecko makes its escape. Unlike some other lizards, the crested gecko will never grow its tail back.

While a gecko may tolerate handling that doesn’t mean she likes it and it may be traumatic for her. Always keep in mind that a crested gecko is a reptile and as much as we would love to form bonds with them as we might a dog or cat, their minds work differently from a mammals. If you want a pet you can snuggle please consider something fuzzy!

Update: Dr. Dave’s Training

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Its already mid February and the race is only 117 days away!  Despite the boring ordeal of riding a bike indoors and headed nowhere I’m up to 45km at a time 3 times a week. My butt seems to get a little less sore each time. Can’t wait for the good weather to arrive so I can get outside on the road in the sunshine. I’m lucky that my wife Tamara is also in The Ride so we can keep each other company.  We are hoping to get our hands on a helmet cam to allow our supporters to ride with us and take in the scenery of Durham area as we explore on our bikes. The ultimate goal is to be able to ride to Cobourg and back but I will need a lot more miles under my butt before I could even contemplate that endeavor.

The fundraising is going well and I have raised $2200 towards my ultimate goal of $3000. Please visit my personal page (see link below) to learn more about this epic adventure and help support me.

More to come as the weather improves!


Help me in the “Ride to Conquer Cancer”. Support me at:

Dental Month Case Study

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For those of you who have ever met our two black and white clinic cats you probably have heard how food motivated they are.  We probably couldn’t tell you how many bags of food or treats they have helped themselves to due to their love of food.  When Louis started slowing down while eating and even dropping kibble out of his mouth and walking away we knew something was up.  After a physical exam it was determined Louis had stomatitis which is the inflammation of the gums in response to tartar on the teeth.  Unfortunately, Louis is one of the few cats that did not respond to regular dental prophys.  Shortly after having his teeth cleaned we noticed he was showing some of the same signs as before.  Once again, Louis had developed severe stomatitis.  We tried putting him on various pain and anti-inflammatory medications but once taken off the symptoms would always return.  In Louis’ best interest and for his comfort the doctors elected to perform a full mouth extraction with the exception of his four K9s and incisors.  There are a lot of pets out there that have lost all their teeth and the owners can tell you what a difference it makes in their quality of life. We’ve all had a toothache before so you can imagine the pain of living with a whole mouth that is sore.

Louis is doing FANTASTIC!! He even beat his brother eating breakfast the following morning and happier than ever.  We have attached some before and after pictures to demonstrate what was done during his dental procedure.  If you have any questions about dental health in your pet or dentistry in general please call the clinic!




Dental Disease and Our Canine Friends

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I was totally unaware that dogs have dental problems. Is it common?

Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. Over 68% of all pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental disease. Most pets will show few signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet’s family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.

Are dental problems the same in pets and people?

No. In man the most common problem is tooth decay which, due to the loss of calcium from the enamel, results in painful infected cavities. In the dog decay represents less than 10% of dental problems, the majority of which are caused by periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

This is simply inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. Accumulation of tartar (calculus) on the teeth contributes to gum recession around the base of the tooth. Infection soon follows and the gums recede. Untreated infection then spreads into the tooth socket and ultimately the tooth loosens and is lost.

Is periodontal disease very common?

It is estimated that over 68% of dogs over three years old suffer from some degree of periodontitis, making it by far the most common canine disease.

What is tartar?

The mouth of all mammals is home to thousands of bacteria. Many of these bacteria will breed on the surfaces of the tooth and form an invisible layer called plaque or biofilm. Some of this is removed naturally by the dog’s tongue and chewing habits but if allowed to remain the plaque thickens, becomes mineralized and is then visible as tartar (calculus). The tartar presses on the gums, which recede, and the bacteria then result in gum inflammation and infection (gingivitis). The gums continue to recede until ultimately the socket is infected and the tooth is lost.

As the oral infection increases tonsillitis and pharyngitis can also occur. In addition, the bacteria are absorbed into the blood stream and can be carried to other organs. Heart valve infections (endocardiosis or endocarditis), kidney and liver problems are frequently due to bad teeth.

Can tartar be prevented?

Plaque is mineralized in some dogs much quicker than others. Special canine toys as well as feeding veterinary prescription dental diets helps to reduce tartar build up, as does regular home care – tooth brushing. Regular tooth brushing is the gold standard for prevention of dental disease in our pets.

Will feeding dry food remove tartar?

Once tartar has formed it will be necessary to remove it with a professional scaling and polishing under anesthesia. There are exciting new dental diets that can help reduce the formation of plaque and tartar in your pet.

What is involved with a dental cleaning for my dog?

The goal of dental scaling and polishing is to remove the tartar and invisible plaque. We will perform pre-anesthesia blood tests to ensure that kidney and liver function are satisfactory. Sometimes antibiotic treatment is instituted before full dental prophylaxis is carried out.  We will be happy to discuss this with you.

We take full mouth digital radiographs before starting the dental procedure as this helps us evaluate the health of the teeth below the gum level.  We can then accurately identify problems and ensure that all appropriate teeth are identified for extractions, if these are necessary.

Tooth scaling will be performed both by hand and using ultrasonic cleaning equipment to remove tartar both above and below the gum line. The tartar beneath the gum line causes the most significant gum recession. The teeth are then polished in order to help prevent subsequent plaque build-up. It may be necessary to carry out other procedures at the same time such as extractions and special applications such as fluoride may be indicated to decrease tooth sensitivity and strengthen enamel.

These procedures will be fully discussed both before your pet’s dental cleaning and when you bring your pet in for the procedure. We will need a telephone number where you can be reached during the dental cleaning so that we can discuss any additional work that may be indicated once we begin.

Do I have to make an appointment for my dog to have a scale and polish?

Yes. We will perform pre-anesthesia blood tests and examine your pet for any other underlying disorders.

How can I prevent tartar accumulation after the procedure?

Plaque and tartar begin forming in as little as six hours after your pet’s dental cleaning. We recommend beginning a home dental care program for all pets. We will provide you with detailed instructions on how to brush your pet’s teeth.

Can I use human toothpaste?

Do not use human dentifrice or toothpaste on any account. These are foaming products and are not meant to be swallowed. Additionally, many types of human toothpaste contain sodium, which may cause problems in some pets.



This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM.

 © Copyright 2002 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 19, 2013.

We now offer prescription refill requests and food orders online!

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Take advantage of this fast and convenient way to let us know when you need medication or food!

This service is available on our website 24/7 under the Forms page.  A one-time registration for the website is required to access this section and can be found on the New Clients page.  The Clinic Access code is “trapper”.

Please allow 2-3 business days when requesting a refill to allow time for orders to arrive.  We will call you as soon as your product is ready for pick up at the clinic!


Progress Report – Dr. Dave begins his training!

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So now that the new year is here and I am well on my way to exceeding my goal to raise $3000.00  it is time to get on the bike and start training

It is incredibly boring sitting on a bike in my basement in the middle of winter peddling like mad and never getting closer to the cement wall in front of me.

One thing I can assure everyone is that it takes about 10 minutes to have one’s backside become numb. We figure we will have to sit on a bike for upwards of four hours in June so need to put some serious time in the saddle before that.

Compared to what cancer patients go through, it is really not that much of a hardship

I’ll keep everyone up to date-perhaps with some photos as to my progress. Once the better weather arrives we will be out on the road and the miles will go by much faster

Thanks to all those who have donated to this great cause. To date we have raised $2025-incredible work. Please keep up the support. Let your friends know about this so they can visit the site and help make a difference


Dr Dave-team KPMG


Tips from Pet Poison Helpline to Help Keep Your Pet Safe!

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The holiday season is already busy enough without adding an expensive trip to the vet!  We came across an article by Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC describing many potential holiday hazards and wanted to share some tips with you!

Holiday ornaments should be given careful consideration.  These are usually shiny and tempting and who can blame your pet for mistaking them for toys?  If your pet is the inquistive type make sure to be thoughtful about where you place holiday ornaments and consider not allowing any access to the Christmas tree unless it is supervised.  Old-fashioned bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals.  Chewing on ornaments can cause lacerations in the mouth, risk of ingesting harmful substances and also risk of foreign body obstruction of the gastro-intestinal tract.  Tinsel is one holiday ornament that can prove deadly if ingested because it can result in a severe linear foreign body that can cause serious injury to the intestines or even cause a rupture!

Antifreeze is a chemical used during this time of year that can be found in numerous sources and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal.  Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy.  While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure.  Immediate treatment is vital if you suspect that your pet may have been exposed to antifreeze.

Pointsettas and other festive holiday plants can pose a serious risk to dogs and cats.  Poinsettia, holly berries, mistletoe and rosemary can all be toxic to pets.  Recently florists have started to use Japanese Yew to make wreaths and all parts of this plant are very poisonous.  Lilies are often used in floral arrangements and just one or two bites from a lily can result in severe acute kidney failure in cats – even the pollen is poisonous!  When in doubt don’t keep the bouquets in the house, or put them in an inaccessible spot.

Holiday foods can present many hazards for your pet.  Be careful to keep these delicacies away from your pets and don’t let friends or family sneak in treats.  Foods containing grapes, raisins and currents can result in kidney failure in dogs.  Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats.  Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.  Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs.  It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.  Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.  Finally, even though most people know not to give alcohol to their pets alcohol poisoning in pets is fairly common because alcohol can be found in surprising places!  Rum-soaked fruitcake or unbaked dough that contains yeast result in alcohol poisoning and other problems.  Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

If you think your pet has been poisoned contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.  For more information regarding services visit the PPH website at .

We hope everyone, and their furry family members, has a happy and safe holiday season!


Dr. Dave Sutherland Fights Cancer!

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Hello and Seasons Greetings

On June 8th and 9th I’ll be participating in the  The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting The Campbell Family Institute at The Princess Margaret, one of the top 5 cancer research hospitals in the world. Like many, my life has been touched by cancer and I felt it was important to be part of this ride and part of the solution so we can ultimately find a cure.

I’ll be cycling over 200km that weekend, from Toronto to Niagara Falls, with thousands of other Riders. All the proceeds will go to The Princess Margaret to support cancer research, treatment, and services. The Princess Margaret is Canada’s leading comprehensive institution devoted to cancer research and care, and the work they’re doing is leading-edge.

As part of th KPMG team “Ridin Survinin”, I’ve agreed to raise at least $2,500 towards our ultimate goal of over $300,000 from 4 teams across Canada. So here’s where you come in, because I need your help to do that. Would you please consider making a donation towards this great cause.  Use the link at the bottom of this email to go visit my webpage, and please take the time to support me. Please keep in mind the commitment I’m making to end this heartbreaking disease and the personal efforts I’ll have to make to accomplish this.

When I say “heartbreaking,” here’s what I mean: research at the National Cancer Institute of Canada show 171,000 estimated new cases of cancer in Canada this year and 75,300 estimated deaths from cancer in Canada this year. That’s why I’m riding. To do something BIG about cancer. I hope that you’ll share this incredible adventure with me by supporting me in my fundraising efforts.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


Dr Dave Sutherland

We couldn’t do it without YOU!

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Once again, we owe a BIG “Thank You” to all of our amazing clients and their pets!

Last Sunday the clinic held a fundraiser for our H.O.P.E. Adoption Program which included nail trims, photos with Santa and a bake sale!

The support from all of you was phenomenal and we raised an impressive $1700!!

H.O.P.E. has successfully found forever homes for over 100 cats and this money will allow the program to continue taking in homeless cats and providing medical care for them until we can find the perfect family to adopt them!  H.O.P.E. focuses on adult cats who may otherwise have a difficult time being re-homed.

If you have any questions about H.O.P.E. or are interested in adopting a feline friend as an addition to your family, please call the clinic at 905-571-3700.

Margaret’s Story

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Margaret was just over 10 weeks old when Dr. Birss fell in love with her.  At that time she had injuries to her mouth, which made it difficult for her to eat, and additionally was suffering from a severe upper respiratory tract infection.  Because Margaret was potentially going to be euthanized due to her poor health Dr. Birss brought her back to the clinic where all the staff quickly fell in love with this little lady.  It was our goal to help Margaret feel better and then find her the forever home that she deserved!  Intravenous fluids were given to her through a catheter in her leg to help with her hydration, and antibiotics and pain meds were administered to help with her respiratory disease and keep her comfortable.  Once she was feeling better and able to eat on her own Dr. Birss performed surgery to repair the injury to her mouth.  It took some time and lots of love but Margaret has made a full recovery!    She is now a healthy, energetic kitten and she can be seen all over the clinic getting into trouble and giving lots of affection to everyone she meets.  One her favorite activities is playing with the resident cats at the clinic (whether they want to or not!).  She has a wonderful personality and has stolen the hearts of all those who have met her.  We are happy to announce that her adoption is pending and hopefully soon she will be safe and happy with her new family.