Covid-19 & Your Pet // April 7, 2020

Can My Pet Give Me Covid-19?

Currently there is no evidence whatsoever that indicates pets can spread Covid-19 to humans under natural conditions. Outbreaks are being driven by human interaction only.  

Can I Give My Pet Covid-19?

 There have been reports of animals around the world testing positive for Covid-19, the most recent being a tiger at a New York Zoo. While this news is unsettling, as the majority of the pandemic news has been, there is currently no reason to panic about our pets becoming ill with Covid-19. 

-There are many dogs and cats that are residing with infected people that have remained uninfected.

-There have been no reports of any pets of livestock becoming ill in either Canada or the United States. 

-All animals that have become ill have all been proven to be in close continual contact with humans who have tested positive for the virus. 

-Almost all of the infected animals have made, or are expected to make a full recovery. 

Since it has been proven that animals can contract Covid-19, even though cases are rare, precautions should still be taken to protect our pets. 

How Can I Best Protect My Pet From Covid-19?

While there is no reason to panic about our pets becoming ill, we should not ignore the proven fact that they can potentially become ill in rare circumstances. The following precautions should be taken as best practice to keep our pets safe.

If you are not ill, continue normal interaction with your animals. Care for them as you normally would, while practicing proper hygiene. Keep surfaces clean, and continue to practice consistent handwashing. Our pets are undeniably important to our well-being, especially in stressful times. Spending time with them and doing activities you both love during this pandemic will help to keep both of you happy and healthy. 

If you are ill, as a precaution, you should limit your exposure to pets if possible. Having another family member or friend care for them for the duration of your illness would be gold standard of care. If there is nobody else who can care for your pet, or if you have a service animal, don't share food with them, kiss them or hug them, and wash your hands before and after all interactions. 

There are currently no vaccines proven effective against Covid-19 for animals. 

If your pet is showing signs of respiratory illness, it is most likely unrelated to Covid-19. Give us a call at 1-877-393-1204 or 1-587-802-5111 to discuss what our diagnostic options are, and how we can help to alleviate any discomfort your pet may be in. 

More studies are being performed to better understand how Covid-19 is affecting different animals, and until they are complete, the information provided here is best practice for your pets. As always, proper handwashing and social distancing measures remain actions within our power that can greatly reduce the chance of spreading this virus. 

Stay safe,

-The Antler Hill Team

The information provided here concerning Covid-19 in animals is current as of May 13, 2020. This information has been drawn from leaders in Veterinary Medicine such as the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Alberta Veterinary Medical Assocation (ABVMA). 


AHVS Covid-19 Updates // March 18, 2020

March 24, 2020

Until further notice, Antler Hill Vet is now operating under a curbside only appointment policy!

In our best efforts to keep everyone – you, your pet, and our team – safe & healthy, we will now be providing curbside service, for pets with appointments & for picking up supplies such as food & medication. 

Please be advised that the door will now remain locked. Call 877-393-1204 when you arrive and we will let you know how to proceed! 

*If you have an appointment, a staff member will come retrieve your pet from your vehicle, and further communication will happen via phone.

*If you need food or medication a staff member will bring it to your vehicle when able.

We've implemented this policy as we feel it is the safest possible option for both our clients and our staff. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation during this time! 

March 18, 2020

With continuing updates to the Covid-19 situation, AHVS has made the decision to postpone all non-essential appointments (ie. vaccines) and elective surgical procedures. This is to reduce traffic through our clinic, as a way to further protect both our clients with pets needing immediate attention, as well as our staff and our families. At this point we are postponing these appointments for the next two weeks, this may change as the situation continues to unfold.

We are still available to see sick pets and to refill essential medications. We are however now scheduling pickup for supplies. We would like to once again encourage clients to use our online store for food purchases, so that products can be shipped to home (

If you need to enter the clinic for food, medications or appointments, please be advised that our door will now be locked while a client is inside, to limit traffic to one person at a time. We would ask that you wait in your vehicle until you see that the waiting room is empty before coming in. If you are unsure, give us a call and we will call you when we have a room free. If you do find yourself in the waiting room with others, please maintain an appropriate distance.

We are also no longer accepting cash at this time.

Thank you once again for your understanding and compliance during this time. We will continue to provide updates as they come.

-The Antler Hill Team

March 17, 2020

To Our Valued Clients,

We want to thank you for your continued patience with us, and other local businesses during these uncertain and unsettling times. We would like to assure you that we are taking this risk seriously, and are implementing new practices and standards for ourselves accordingly.

At this time Antler Hill Vet is fully operational and is maintaining normal hours.

What Has Changed:
1. We are urging clients to please wash your hands before and after coming in, and use hand sanitizer that we have placed throughout the clinic.

2. At this time we are asking those who have cold-like symptoms, or those who have been in contact with people who have cold-like symptoms to reschedule their appointments. In the case of an emergency, please find someone to bring your pet in. We are asking the same of our staff.

3. We have increased our sanitation procedures between appointments. This includes our routine cleaning of the exam rooms, and additional disinfecting any and all surfaces that may have come in contact with clients and pets.

4. Because of our new cleaning procedures, we are now staggering appointments. We would ask that you wait in your vehicle until you see that the waiting room is empty before coming in. If you are unsure, give us a call and we will call you when we have a room free. If you do find yourself in the waiting room with others, please maintain an appropriate distance.

5. We understand that some people may be wanting to stockpile food and supplies during this time. It is important to be rational with ordering so as to not overwhelm our supplier. It is vital that they are able to function as normal, and able to provide everyone with basic supplies such as food. We are encouraging clients to use our online store and have pet food and supplies shipped to your home instead of picking up in clinic, to reduce traffic coming in and out.

6. If you need supplies that you cannot find on our website, please call ahead to ensure that we have appropriate stock. We are also trying to schedule pickup to reduce traffic overlap.

We are grateful to be a part of communities that have already demonstrated their commitment to the slowdown of this virus and have been exemplary in the support that is being offered between community members.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. We will continue to provide updates as they come.

Thank you,
-The Antler Hill Team

Please limit traffic into our clinic and utilize our online store if you need dog food or products. We are all doing our best to contribute to the slowdown of this virus.


A Tumor Causing Tapeworm? // March 5, 2020

Echinococcus multiocularis: the name of a tapeworm that has been present in Albertan animals for many years, but has recently hit the news. This new media coverage is due to humans being infected with a hard to detect, tumor-like disease. 

Over the past few years, there has been an alarmingly high incidence of a potentially more virulent European strain of the tapeworm in infected wild animals across Alberta, in rural areas, but also in urban areas such as off leash dog parks or walking trails. 

Dogs acquire these worms by eating or coming into contact with feces of coyotes, foxes or other dogs that have eaten infected rodents. The adult stage of the parasite lives in the intestine of these canids. 

These adults then produce eggs that are excreted with feces. This leads to the potential for contamination of soil and water, and therefore the food we eat. 

When these eggs are ingested by humans, they hatch. The larvae then migrate to the organs (most often the liver) and multiply. As they multiply, the larvae cause severe lesions that left undetected and untreated, become fatal to the host. 

How do humans become infected?

                 1.   Eating contaminated fruits or vegetables.

                 2.   Hand to mouth contact after handling contaminated soil.

                 3.   Ingesting the eggs from unknown contact with fecal matter or from a pet’s fur. 

The first human case in Alberta was diagnosed in 2013. Since 2016 there have been 6 more diagnosed cases. The disease typically spreads slowly over several years. If diagnosed too late, the disease (alveolar echinococcosis) can be fatal to the host. While the risk of humans becoming infected is not high, the growth of the lesions can take up to 15 years to cause symptoms. 

How can this disease be prevented?

  1. Washing hands after handling pets, soil or fecal matter, and before handling any food.
  2. Clean up feces promptly.
  3. Deworm your animals with a product that is labelled to be effective against echinococcus multiocularis. Not all dewormers are.

The eggs are not visible to the human eye, making incidence of transmission nearly impossible to detect. Practicing exceptional hygiene and staying up to date with deworming then becomes the best possible prevention of this disease. 

Wondering which dewormer is best for your pet? Have any other questions?  Give us a call at 1-877-393-1204 or email us at and we would love to talk!

Have questions about which dewormer is best for your pet? Give us a call or send an email and we would love to help. Please feel free to share the info here with other pet owners you think may be interested! 

Common fall toxins for cats, Central Alberta

Avoid These 6 Autumn Toxins // September 23, 2019

 There's no denying that fall in Central Alberta is beautiful, and much easier enjoyed when not worrying about a sick pet.  As with any season, the potential toxic exposures and hazards prevalent in the fall can be avoided with a little preparation by pet owners regarding storage and placement of these 6 goods. 

1.  Antifreeze -  Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste, therefore pets like to lick it. With winter preparations underway, one common toxicity that veterinary clinics see is an inadvertent antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze is particularly frightening because as little as a teaspoon for a cat or a tablespoon for a larger dog can be fatal. Immediate treatment is vital, but the best practice is prevention. Be sure to store any antifreeze far out the reach of animals, and immediately clean up any spilled liquid! 

2.  Rodenticide - As you start winterizing your garage and house, be sure to place poisonous baits out of the reach of animals. Most pet owners are attentive to the dangers that rodenticides present, however we want to remind owners about 'relay toxicity'. Simply stated, if your dog or cat eats mice that have ingested any sort of rodenticide they can experience secondary effects! 

3. Compost - We don't normally think about compost as 'toxic', but it can pose a huge danger to our pets!  

Compost has the potential to contain ‘tremorgenic mycotoxins’, which is a fancy name for molds that cause tremors. Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures within 30 minutes to several hours. The risk for a foreign body is also prevalent in this scenario. 

4. Mushrooms -  Most mushrooms are generally non-toxic,  but certain types can be very dangerous  The proper identification of mushrooms is extremely difficult and often only done by experts. Therefore, it's best to consider any ingestion of unidentified mushrooms as toxic until proven otherwise.  Pet owners should scour their yard frequently to get rid of any mushrooms just to be safe.

5. Insulation - Adding extra insulation before the cold hits?  Truthfully these ingestions pose more of a GI irritation and foreign body problem rather than a toxicity risk, but it's still important to keep pets away from them and prevent ingestion. Dermal irritation is also possible with exposure to these materials, so they are best to be avoided altogether.

6. Thanksgiving - Grapes, onions, garlic, raisins - all foods in abundance around Thanksgiving! These four are particularly toxic to our dogs and cats, but any sort of human food that is a deviation from normal diet for our pets can cause quite the upset stomach. Too much of a Thanksgiving meal can even cause pancreatitis, a painful condition! Foreign bodies such as corn cobs, toothpicks, twine, fruit pits and bones all frequent the house at this time of year and all pose a risk. 

Have any questions? Did we miss any common toxins? Give us a call at 1-877-393-1204 or email us at! We hope you have a wonderful autumn! 

 If you have any questions about the toxins listed here, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. Let us know if we missed any! 

Dog playing in sprinkler, summer activities in Central Alberta

Dog Days of Summer // July 31, 2019

It's finally that short span in the year that so many of us look forward to! Beach days, suntans, barbecues, and warm evening walks. Unfortunately this time of year can be frustrating as a dog owner, as some of our fur kids just can't handle the heat. We've put together a short list of dog friendly places around Red Deer and area that could be an alternative to a sweltering walk in the heat of the day. Dog friendly places are hard to find, so let us know if we missed any! 

Any dog park goers? Try out Lacy & Foxy's climate controlled Indoor dog park... it's the only one in Central Alberta!

Eating out? Head over to Buckwildz in Sylvan Lake, their patio is dog friendly!


Spending a day at home? Try making some dog friendly frozen treats: .

Have an evening free? Head over with the whole family to the Bowden Sunmaze, support a local business and take in the beauty of the fields!

When in doubt, there's of course nothing better than a simple swim, or run through the sprinkler. Whatever you try, be sure to let us know how you and your fur kids beat the heat. We'd love to see how our patients spend their summers! 

We'd love to know if you try any of these out, send us an email or share photos on our Facebook page! Is there any summer specific activities that we missed? Let us know if we did! 

Dogs grain free concern, vets recommendation

Is Grain Free Risk Free? // July 10, 2019

This past month we've had a lot of concerned pet owners asking questions about the recent update the FDA provided concerning grain-free diets. As with most things on the internet, it can be hard to sort through all of the information and make judgement calls on who to trust. We're hoping to provide answers to those questions, and open up the discussion about your pets health and diet. If you can't find the answers you're looking for here please contact us and we'll let you know what we think!

For those of you who haven't seen, the FDA recently released a study showing the brands of dog food that are most commonly seen with the recent, currently unexplained, spike in dilated cardiomyopathy in breeds that are not normally prone to the disease.  We know many of our clients are feeding these diets, so we hope we can address the concerns that we've been hearing. 

Our Most Common Questions

What is dilated cardiomyopathy?

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the muscle of the heart. It makes it harder for the heart to pump blood, and the valves found in the heart start to leak. This means that fluid eventually builds up in the chest and abdomen. When this happens, we then classify the disease as congestive heart failure. 

Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include decreased energy, difficulty breathing, coughing and collapsing or passing out. If you notice any of these signs, always contact your vet as soon as possible. 

Is it safe to feed my pet a grain free diet?

At this point in time, there is no definitive answer. There is not a direct proven link between feeding grain free and the incidence of this disease. However, the increase in clinical cases is undeniable, and the majority of the reported cases were feeding their pets a grain free diet. We don't currently know why so many pets being pet grain free diets are developing heart disease, but there is a correlation that has been identified. 

Do I need to change my pets diet?

As always, consulting with your vet to make a dietary plan tailored specifically to your pet would be ideal. We recognize that many pets being fed these diets are doing very well on them, and we don't expect everyone to make a sudden change. We definitely recommend monitoring for the clinical signs mentioned if your pet is on a grain free diet or not, in the hopes of catching any disease process early. If you think that it may be time for a diet switch but don't know what is best for your pet then email us at or give us a call at 877-393-1204 ! 

Any questions that didn't get answered here? Let us know and we will do our best to help you do your best for your fur kids. 

Still not sure what diet would be best for your pet? Contact us and we'll work with you to make a plan specifically tailored to them. 


Nobody Likes a Bloodsucker // June 26, 2019

There are numerous different types of parasites, but they all have the same goal in mind. Worms, ticks and fleas alike all live by using your pets body as food and shelter.

Traditionally parasites such as ticks are a seasonal concern, however intestinal worms can be a threat all year long. We've been seeing ticks earlier and earlier each year, and we've been adjusting prevention protocols to follow. 

Parasite prevention & control isn't a 'one size fits all'  fix.  We can help you personalize a plan for your pet to ensure that they have the best possible prevention. 

Our Most Common Questions

My dog or cat never leaves our house or yard, do they need protection?

Unfortunately, parasites can be sneaky. Transmission of parasites or parasite eggs does not need to involve animal-animal contact. It can be brought into your house on anybody's shoes, clothes or hands, and most are microscopic, so there is no definitive way to ensure that your pets aren't being exposed! 

Why do I need to use parasite prevention for my pets?

Most healthy animals will be strong enough to fight parasites, to an extent. While the problem may not be necessarily fatal, parasites still cause your pet pain and discomfort, and can be incredibly debilitating in an ill animal. Parasites also transmit diseases, and not just between animals! If your pet brings certain parasites into your home, everyone living there is then at risk. Parasite prevention and control for your pets helps to protect every member of your family, human and animal alike!

What other questions do you have? Would you like more info? Give us a call at 877-393-1204 or send us an email at!

Nobody likes parasites, and there's a simple fix! 

Give us a call or send an email and we can chat about what parasite control option would be the best fit for your pet!