The Adventures of Penny

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We had a litter of kittens here, born to a rescue cat, River, in September of 2017, and Penny was adopted by a staff member’s daughter.  She has a unique life — as she is co-pilot to her owner, who is a long haul driver.  Here is her story:


Hello, we would like to introduce you to Penny:


We adopted her from McPhillips Animal Hospital in September 2017, waiting for her to be old enough to leave her mum was painstakingly long but worth the wait!

She is the only cat I know that has a job of co-pilot. Our daughter is a long hauler driver and asked if she could have a cat for company. 

Turns out she is a great traveler, wakes at the crack of dawn to start the day and goes a little nutty to wind down at night.  She has an abundance of toys, beds and her litter box. She also has an assortment of harness which she wears when traveling. She has a microchip and tattoo for ID along with tags plus up to date with vaccines and parasite prevention. 


When not in motion, she enjoys looking at the sights from the dash board of the truck. When walking through a truck stop you notice lots of dogs in the windows but not many cats so you do a double take when you see one.

Penny is now 6 months old and she could tell you she’s seen all kinds of weather and all kinds of places. She is a fantastic companion as well as a stress reliever.

When home she blends right in with our 4 cats, like she never left.  We did a lot of research and watched videos to ensure a cat would have a well-balanced life, within the confined space which they appeared to have. 

Thought we would share our unique story.

Happy travels from the crew!!

Thank you Cheryl & Caitlyn for sharing Penny’s story with us!


Three Tips on Preventing Tick Borne Diseases in Your Dog

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Three Tips on Preventing Tick Borne Diseases in Your Dog

By Karina, RVT at McPhillips Animal Hospital

            Did you know that some dogs who have never left Winnipeg have been tested positive for Lyme Disease?  The tiny deer tick that can transmit Lyme Disease does not need long grassy areas to live in, they are often found in leaf litter, under ground cover plants, around stone walls or wood piles, or even in cut and raked lawns.  By following these three tips you can decrease your dog’s chance of being bitten by a tick and becoming infected with tick born diseases including Lyme Disease.

  • Use a tick preventative medication. There are many types of tick prevention available, unfortunately many of the preventatives available from pet stores don’t work well, or can even cause serious burns to your pet’s skin.  At McPhillips Animal Hospital we can help you find the right prevention for your pet, depending on their lifestyle.  We have different types of preventatives available, depending on your pet’s lifestyle.  We recommend starting tick prevention on April 1st and ending November 1st each year.  Feel free to give us a call (204-589-8381) or come in any time to discuss which product would be right for your dog.


  • Remove any ticks you do find on your dog. While prevention does decrease the number of ticks your dog will get, it may not be able to eliminate 100% of the ticks 100% of the time.  We recommend you routinely check your pet for ticks and remove any ticks you do find.  Keeping dogs well groomed will help with finding any ticks they may get.Vaccinate your dog for Lyme Disease. Even when using tick preventative, as well as doing a regular ‘tick check’ on your dog, there is still a small chance a tick may become attached and transmit disease, such as Lyme Disease. Deer ticks are extremely small and tend to be extremely difficult to find on a dog, even when fully engorged.  A Lyme vaccine needs a booster 2-3 weeks after the first time it is given, and then should be repeated yearly to provide the best protection.  Ticks become active once it is 4°C.  If we are having unseasonably warm days in the winter, it is possible for ticks to emerge, causing a potential for infection outside of the April – November ‘tick season’.  Having the yearly Lyme vaccine can help to protect your dog all year round.

By following these three tips you will significantly decrease the chance that your dog will become bitten by a tick and infected with Lyme Disease and other diseases carried by ticks.

Regardless of what method of prevention you choose, yearly testing is recommended to make sure your pet is free from tick borne diseases.

As always, do not hesitate to contact McPhillips Animal Hospital to find out how we can help keep your pet healthy and happy!


Shadow’s Story: Our Heartworm Positive Dog

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We unfortunately have our first Heartworm positive case of the year to report. We are sharing Shadow’s story, to spread awareness about the importance of Heartworm prevention.

Shadow Desmarais

Meet Shadow! Shadow is a very special girl, with a wonderful family who loves her dearly. Here is her story:

Hi, Shadow here! Boy, do I have a story to tell! I’m only 2 years old, but I’ve already had a lot to go through in my short life.

Here is my adoption story from my family:


“Our home was supposed to be just a quick stop on her way to her new home but the new owner only wanted the male puppy. Our son asked if we could keep her and after much hesitation we agreed. In the back of our truck she was just a little shadow (hence the name) and still today blends in when there is little lighting.


We only got to see her bossy and adorable personality for a day and a half before she got sick (Parvo) and went to McPhillips Animal Hospital for the first time. The news was not good (we were all in tears) and I’m not sure how we (my husband, son and I) got so attached to her in such a short period. Despite the slim chance of survival we agreed that as long as there was a chance we had to do what we could for her.


We have grandchildren and she is great with children and loves the attention as much as they do. Shadow is very much loved and part of our family. Our son loves Shadow and she loves him.”


Now, here I am, two years old, and I’ve contracted Heartworm disease. All it took was for me to get bitten by a mosquito carrying the disease.


Heartworm Microfiliaria

Heartworm Microfiliaria

The symptoms of Heartworm disease include fatigue, weight loss and a chronic cough. Thankfully, my family had a Heartworm screening test done, and the disease was caught early; so I’m not showing any of those symptoms yet.


What’s next? I am undergoing more tests, to give my doctors all the information they need to treat me. I will receive injections to get rid of the Heartworms that are in my system, and be put on “bed rest” to make sure that while the Heartworms in my system are dissolved, my body doesn’t go through any unnecessary strain. My family and my healthcare team will monitor me closely, to make sure I don’t have any side effects that need additional treatments.


After I go through all the treatments to get rid of the Heartworm disease, I will be started on a regular Heartworm prevention schedule, and life should start to get back to normal for me and my family. I am lucky, I was diagnosed early. Animals who are diagnosed after they show symptoms, may have to be on lifetime treatments for heart disease. That is why early detection is so important!

Thank you for reading my story. I hope it helps everyone recognize the importance of Heartworm prevention. Remember to always ask your pet’s veterinarian about any concerns you have for your pet’s health. They are here to help your pets live long and healthy lives!


Better Breath Equals Better Health

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5 Ways to Improve Your Pet’s Overall Health by Improving Oral Health

by Karina Smith, RAHT at McPhillips Animal Hospital

It’s safe to say that everyone has heard or used the phrase “doggy breath” (or “kitty breath”), but have you ever thought about where that smell comes from or what it means about your pet’s health?

A foul smell coming from a dog or cat’s mouth is often a sign of infection.  Dental disease (infection and inflammation such as gingivitis) in your pet’s mouth can lead to problems with other organs – such as kidney or heart disease.   When a pet has infection in the mouth, you may notice his/her gums bleeding when they eat, or even if you were to touch them with your finger.  If your dog chews rawhide, bones, or other similar objects, you may see blood on the object while your pet is chewing it.  This means that while blood is escaping circulation, bacteria from the pet’s oral infection is gaining access.

So how do I prevent dental disease?

We all want the same things for our pets, for them to live long, happy, comfortable lives.  Oral health has a huge impact on the total health and comfort of your pet.  Here are 5 ways to improve your pet’s oral health, to keep them as healthy, happy, and comfortable for their whole long lives.

1. Teeth brushing.  Many people don’t think to brush their pet’s teeth.  Brushing your pet’s teeth every day (or even twice daily) is the best way to prevent tartar build-up, gingivitis, and infection in the mouth.  It also gives you a chance to check their whole mouths for anything you wouldn’t otherwise notice (such as cracked or broken teeth, lumps or tumors starting to grow, etc).  At McPhillips Animal Hospital, we offer many flavours of pet-specific toothpaste (it’s OK for them to swallow!) that uses enzymes to break down the plaque and bacteria on your pet’s teeth.

brush felines

2. Oral care chews.  There are many different types of oral care chews available.  Many are high calorie, and can stick to the surface of the pet’s teeth, which will not do much to improve their oral health.   At McPhillips Animal Hospital, we have Enzadent and C.E.T oral care chews available to both dogs and cats.  These chews are treated with enzymes which work to break down the bacteria that cause plaque.  They are a great addition to a tooth brushing routine, or can be given to a pet who may not tolerate having their teeth brushed.

enzadent chews

3. Oral rinses and water additives.  Some pets won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed, and are also not interested in the chews.  For those pets we have options as well!  Oral rinses such as Novaldent or CET Chlorhexidine work like a mouthwash for your pet.  You can just squirt it onto the teeth to help kill bacteria.  For more sensitive pets, we also carry water additives such as StrixNB.  This is a product you would add to your pet’s fresh water each morning.  Every time he/she takes a drink, the additive will aid in killing the plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth.

oral rinses

4. Diet.  Believe it or not, there are foods made specifically with oral health in mind.  This is one of the easiest ways to help keep your pet’s mouth healthy.  Hill’s t/d dog or cat food id a special diet that is formulated in a way that allows the pet’s teeth to penetrate and be scrubbed by the kibble, rather than having the kibble just break apart as soon as the pet bites into it.  This is a great diet for any healthy pet, or can even be fed as a treat.  Many pets find the Hill’s t/d to be very palatable.


5. Dental cleaning under anesthetic.  If your pet already has moderate – severe dental disease and tartar build-up, they will need a dental cleaning under anesthetic to remove the tartar and any teeth that may be a source of pain or infection to your pet.  When we do a dental cleaning on your pet, he/she will stay with us at the clinic for the day.  We will start by doing a full blood work-up to ensure your pet’s organs are functioning well enough to undergo general anesthetic.  We will then insert an IV catheter into a vein on your pet’s leg in order to administer IV fluids to him/her for the duration of the procedure.  Once asleep, we will start by taking x-rays of your pet’s entire mouth – all the teeth and their roots, as well as the surrounding bone.  This allows the veterinarian to assess each tooth and decide what ones are healthy, and what one(s) need to be extracted.  Diseased teeth are extracted; the remaining healthy teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, and then polished.  Polishing creates a very smooth surface on the teeth to aid in the prevention of new bacteria, plaque, and tartar.  Once your pet’s dental procedure has been completed, he/she will be recovered in one of our ICU kennels where he/she will be monitored by one of our veterinary technicians until he/she is fully recovered.  He/she will be able to go home that evening.

Dylan before and after

If you would like an assessment of your pet’s oral health, please call us at 204-589-8381.  For the month of February, we are doing FREE oral health assessments, to be booked with one of our veterinary technicians.  We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about your pet’s oral health, and help you choose the right product or products for you and your pet.

Click here to view our dental promotion for the month of February!


Happy Brushing!!