Belmont Veterinary Services
Serving Belmont, Aylmer, Dorchester, Nilestown, London and all the surrounding areas!

Leptospirosis and your pet



What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a potentially deadly bacterial disease that infects all breeds of dogs, wildlife and humans. This disease-causing bacteria is spread through the urine of infected animals. Raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums, rats and even livestock can be carriers of the disease. Soil and water contaminated with the bacteria can continue to be a source of infection for weeks or even months after exposure to infected urine.


Is my dog at risk?

Any dog coming in contact with contaminated water or soil is at risk, even pets that don’t leave their own yard. Common garden attractions such as bird baths and ornamental ponds attract a wide variety of wildlife and can be a source of infection. Leptospirosis is contracted when the bacteria enters the body through a cut or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth). Infection can occur if your pet simply drinks or wades through infected water. Licking their paws after walking on contaminated soil can also be a means of infection.


What are the signs and symptoms?

In humans, the symptoms are often flu-like and usually treated with antibiotics. Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy are common symptoms in dogs. Pets that contract the disease and are left untreated could develop potentially fatal kidney or liver failure. If you suspect your pet may be infected your veterinarian can perform urine and blood testing to determine if your dog has leptospirosis.  An early diagnosis is important for a full recovery.


Can Leptospirosis be prevented?

Discouraging your pet from drinking potentially contaminated water and avoiding areas frequented by wildlife will help to limit possible exposure. Leptospirosis can also be prevented with a safe and affordable vaccination. Dogs that have never received a vaccination against leptospirosis will require a second vaccination or “booster” 3-4 weeks after their initial dose. This will provide maximum protection. The vaccination can then be administered yearly with your pet’s annual wellness exam. This vaccine is part of our regular vaccination protocol, so you can be rest assured that your pet is receiving the best protection available.

Spring has Finally Arrived!! Unfortunately, so have Ticks and Mosquitoes!

Spring is finally here! While the warm weather is welcomed by most, it is closely followed by the arrival of unwanted mosquitoes and ticks. These are the vectors responsible for Heartworm disease and Lyme disease respectively.

Heartworm disease is a life-threatening condition caused by a worm that lives in the heart and adjacent blood vessels. The parasite is transmitted when a mosquito ingests the ‘baby worms’ (Microfilariae) while feeding from an animal infected with the disease.  After 2 – 3 weeks the microfilariae develop into infective larvae. When the mosquito takes another blood meal the infective larvae escape from its mouth parts into its victim. The larvae then further develop within the dog’s tissues and migrate to the heart where adult worms grow, and the life cycle begins all over again.

Signs of Heartworm disease can include lethargy, chronic cough and weight loss. Signs are not often apparent until 6 – 7 months after your dog has been infected. Although treatment is possible once infection has been diagnosed, it’s less traumatic for your pet if the disease is prevented.  Heartworm disease can be prevented safely and affordably. A small blood sample is taken from your pet to determine if there has been any past exposure to an infected mosquito. After a negative test result, your dog will be put on a monthly heartworm prevention to be administered regularly through the duration of mosquito season (normally June-November).

Ticks are not simply undesirable pests. They are responsible for the transmission of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis just to name a few.  Lyme disease, the most common tick borne disease in our immediate area, is spread by the Deer tick (lxodes Scapularis). The larval stages of the deer tick become infected while feeding on white-footed mice and ground feeding birds. The infected tick then transmits the Lyme disease causing bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) to people, dogs and other animals when it attaches itself to take a blood meal.

Signs of Lyme disease infection can include lameness, swollen or painful joints, lethargy, depression, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea and a general reluctance to exercise. A more serious form of the disease can lead to kidney failure. Like Heartworm disease, we can test for exposure to the Lyme disease causing bacteria with a simple blood test. Lyme disease can also be prevented with an inexpensive vaccination and with the administration of a monthly tick prevention designed specifically for dogs.

With today’s medical advances we are able to affordably test for and prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks.  Because no preventive medication is 100% effective, we recommend that all dogs be tested yearly. Please contact  us today to discuss what prevention is most suitable for your dog. 


Fall has officially arrived!

Here’s a great list of fall toxins that you should be aware of in order to keep your pets safe this season.


National Pet I.D. Week Promotion

National Pet I.D. Week is the perfect time to make sure you’ve taken every precaution to be reunited with your pet if he or she becomes lost. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently found that only 33 percent of pet parents admitted to always having ID tags on their dogs and cats.

In addition to that crucial step, pet owners should also have their furry friend microchipped. Collars with pet identification are accessible to anyone who finds your lost pet. But, tags can become hard to read, and collars can be broken or removed. Microchipping your pet is a method of permanent identification. Microchips cannot be easily misread, and the permanent identification number is tamperproof. The information about the pet and owner is usually readily retrievable.

A microchip is a very tiny transponder that is encoded with a unique identification number. Before insertion, the sterile microchip is scanned in the package to confirm that the identification code of the transponder matches that shown on the label of the bar code on the package.

The procedure for microchipping your pet is similar to that of vaccinating. Some of the loose skin between the shoulder blades is gently pulled up, and the application needle is quickly inserted. The trigger is depressed, which injects the microchip into the tissues. Once the chip is inserted, the pet is scanned to ensure that the chip is reading properly.

The procedure is fast, safe, and generally painless, even in puppies and kittens. Some owners choose to have the microchip inserted when the pet is spayed or neutered.

Once your pet has been microchipped, you must register it with the appropriate agency. Your veterinarian will provide you with the relevant information and documents. Be sure to keep your contact information updated. If your pet is lost and recovered, this information can be used to reunite you with your pet. Most, if not all, humane societies and animal shelters now have microchip readers, and all stray and injured animals are routinely scanned.

You Can Never Be Too Certain

Even if you’re told at the time of adoption that your new pet has been microchipped — bring him or her to a vet and have them double check.

You want to make sure that a) the chip has actually been inserted and b) that they have your information on file locally.


What is a pet microchip?
A microchip is a very tiny electronic device that is encoded with an identification number unique to your pet. Once implanted, the microchip provides a permanent form of identification that cannot be lost or easily removed.

How is this device implanted?
The microchip is inserted under the skin using a hollow needle, much like vaccination. This procedure is relatively painless, but some owners choose to have it done when their animal is under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.

What happens after the chip is implanted?
Your veterinarian will provide you with the information needed to register your pet with the appropriate agency. Be sure to keep your contact information updated, because accurate information is needed to reunite you with your lost pet.

What happens if my pet is lost?
Most, if not all, humane societies and animal shelters now have microchip readers, and these organizations routinely scan all stray and injured animals. The ID number is then passed along to the appropriate agency, which arranges for your pet to be returned to you.


Pet Dental Health Month Colouring Contest!

We want everyone involved in Pet Dental Health Month, including your kids! We are having a colouring contest for the kids until the end of February. Stop in and pick up a colouring sheet. All entries will be posted in the clinic and winners will be announced at the end of the month! Great prizes to be won!

National Cupcake Day!

It’s that time of year again, National Cupcake Day! Be sure to mark Monday, February 24th on your calendars and stop in for some wonderful cupcakes! Thank you so much to the amazing people at Bella Bella Nice Custom Cakes for donating 60 cupcakes to help make our cupcake day a success!!! Last year we raised $110.21 for the SPCAs and humane societies. Let’s try to break that record this year!

If you’re unable to make it in, but would still like to donate, you can do so online by clicking here! All proceeds go to support the SPCAs and local humane societies, so it’s all for a great cause.

City of London – Pet Rewards Program

We will be taking part in London’s new “Pet Rewards” program.

London Animal Services is excited to announce the launch of it’s new rewards program encouraging responsible pet ownership.

The new rewards program is an incentive program, designed to achieve two goals:

  1. Thank pet owners who have already obtained licenses, and
  2. Motivate pet owners who have not yet licensed their pet.

In order to get you “Pet Rewards Card” just license your pet with the City of London. And by showing your card at Belmont Veterinary Services you will receive 10% off your annual vaccines and 5% off pet food and treats.

Referral Program

MemRef_card_sm_wtypeWe are now offering incentives for referring your friends to us! Both you and the new client you refer will receive coupons via e-mail or you can pick them up here when you come in. When your friend comes in for their first visit, have them mention your name and you will both get a 10% one-time discount.

These can be used towards one of the following:

  • Your pet’s next annual vaccines
  • Your pet’s next general exam
  • A general surgery for your dog or cat (spay/neuter)

*Some exceptions apply. No cash value. Sales tax not included. Not valid if copied or transferred. May not be combined with other offers. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.<

Introducing new Rayne diets and treats!

RayneWe now carry veterinary exclusive diets and treats from Rayne Clinical Nutrition.

Rayne foods are made without corn/wheat, animal-by-product, artificial colours, chemical preservatives or artificial flavours. Their great line of treats are also healthy and safe to feed dogs with any medical conditions. From their Rabbit and Kangaroo and Honey jerky treats to their Apple and Pumpkin biscuits, we’re sure there is something your pet will love.

If you think that Rayne is right for your pet, give us a call today or stop in to discuss what diet may be best suited for your pet!

Holiday Safety Tips

Be careful how you deck your halls! The holiday season is generally a time of family togetherness in which even our pets participate. One’s thoughts generally are far from thoughts of injury; however, one must be aware of some important seasonal hazards in order to insure a happy holiday season.


These are of special interest to playful cats and kittens who see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing pose no health threats, chewing and swallowing do, as these strings or “linear foreign bodies” can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery for correction. Supervise animals who play with string closely.


These are also tempting to cats who like to play with string as well as to puppies who are teething and interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue which causes the pet’s lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.


Many people do not realize that chocolate can be a poison. Unsweetened baking chocolate carries a much higher dose of the toxin “theobromine” than does milk chocolate, but even normal milk chocolate can be dangerous; a small dog sharing candy can wind up in big trouble. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include hyperexcitability, nervousness, vomiting, and diarrhea and death.


Consuming this festive-looking plant can be irritating to the mouth and stomach of the dog or cat that chews on or eats it. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia is not specifically toxic.


The fact that there are several types of mistletoe makes it difficult to predict the clinical signs of poisoning. Some mistletoes produce only stomach upset while others may lead to liver failure or seizuring. Consider mistletoe to be a hazardous substance and keep it inaccessible to pets and children.


Keep pets out of the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of the season. The last thing you want is for someone you love to get underfoot and get burned from spillage.


We all like to include our pets in Holiday meals along with the rest of the family, but try to keep in mind that sudden rich diet changes are likely to upset a pet’s stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon. If leftovers are of an especially fatty nature, the pancreas may become inflamed and overloaded. This condition is serious and may require hospitalization

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