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Let’s Talk! Pets and Our Mental Health

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Anyone who has had the pleasure of having a furry family member can certainly appreciate the love and joy that they bring to our lives. They can even help our to improve our mental health. How many of us would take a walk outside after coming home exhausted from a long day at work if not for our dog? How many of us have been comforted at times by a warm furry being when we really didn’t feel like being with any other human at all?

Pets increase our physical activity, provide companionship, add structure and routine to our day, help us to meet people, help to decrease our stress level and providing us with a sense of purpose. The tactile stimulation provided by stroking a pet can ease loneliness, provide unconditional love and help to decrease agitation, anxiety and depression. Pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy, is recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health as a method of treatment for depression, and other mood disorders.

Enter my very own furry family member Louie. Louie was four years old when the OSPCA removed him and his puppies from an abusive home. His puppies were adopted out quickly, but not Louie. He was shy and skittish, and didn’t make a great first impression. Through a colleague, I learned of Louie and thought he would be a perfect addition to our family.

Louie took to our family immediately, especially to our children. He seeks them out when they are upset and allows them to hold him and pet him. At bed time, he will come racing from wherever he is to lay on his side, nose to nose with each child while they fall asleep – sometimes even resting his paws on their heads.

Through life and battles with depression and anxiety Louie has provided unconditional love and support for our family in a way I don’t think we ever could.

Pet ownership isn’t for everyone and I would never suggest anyone adopt a pet without being prepared for the responsibilities that come with it. In the spirit of Mental Health week, along with bringing awareness to our own mental health, it is important to give credit to our pets and the help they provide for us in so many unexpected ways. 


Written by Dr. Suzanne Lyons 


Leptospirosis: An Update From Bloor Animal Hospital

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Many dog owners have heard of Leptospirosis and know that it has something to do with raccoons, they also know that raccoons are no strangers to Bloor West.  Leptospirosis is not a new disease, nor is the vaccine for it.  What is new is the number of cases we have seen over the past couple of months.  We have had three confirmed cases in the last few months.  Two of these were fatal, and one dog has been left with kidney failure after a long stay at a local specialty hospital.

Here is what all dog owners need to know.  Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease which is spread through the urine of infected animals, with raccoons being the most common.  Dogs can catch this disease through contact with the urine directly or from water or soil that has been urine contaminated.   This could include drinking, swimming or walking through contaminated water (ex puddles or wet grass).  Signs of Leptospirosis often occur 2 to 14 days after exposure and include vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, fever and muscle pain.

Leptospirosis affects the kidneys and liver and hits them quickly and aggressively.  Diagnosis can be made through blood and urine testing.  Treatment consists of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, but due to the fierce nature of this disease, these poor animals are truly fighting for their lives and often end up succumbing to the disease or ending up with permanent kidney failure.  This disease can also affect humans in a similar way.

Each case we have seen has been a local dog with no travel history.  Therefore, we know that raccoons in Bloor West are carrying this disease.  Fortunately, a vaccine is available.  Based on this, we are recommending the vaccine to dogs in the area.  If your dog has not been vaccinated, we encourage you to visit your regular veterinarian and discuss it with them.  The recent cases of this disease have been devastating on pet owners.  As medical caregivers, we share in this sadness and hope that we can help avoid any more cases of Leptospirosis in Bloor West.

Check Out Our Webstore: Order Online & Save 5%!

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On our webstore you can:


  • Search over 2500 pet supplies and food

  • Arrange delivery to anywhere in Ontario, have your food waiting for you at the cottage, no more waiting in line or lugging large bags!

  • Set up automatic shipping: never run out of food and supplies. Set the frequency of your order and change it anytime.

  • Save 5% on all online orders!

  • For the month of June, enjoy free shipping on orders over $75!

  • Pick up at the clinic for free!

Register today!

As of July 1st we will no longer be stocking bags of food greater than 4kg. All large bag orders will need to be ordered through the webstore or as a special order through the clinic. 

Travelling With Your Pet This Summer? Check Out These Tips!

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Summer is almost here, the last day of school is fast approaching and we are getting into vacation mode! Booking a summer get away for the family? Or maybe a romantic trip for two? It’s really easy to get caught up in the fun of planning that we can forget about our pets.  Will they come with? Should we board them at a facility? These decisions can quickly take the fun out of planning. Here are some tips to help keep you summer vacation planning just as exciting as the final school bell.

  1. Plan ahead! Everyone is thinking vacations right now. The sooner you discuss your plans, the more options you will have to choose from.
  2. Get your pet’s vaccinations up to date: All good boarding facilities will require your pet to be up to date on vaccines. Some cottage rentals and hotels may ask for this as well. Ideally, you want to get your pets vaccines caught up no sooner than 7 days before you leave, so the sooner the better.
  3. Parasite prevention! Regardless if you are taking your pet with you or if you are sending them on their own vacation, there is a good chance they will be exposed to more parasites than they usually are.  Speak to your vet about what preventives would be best suited for your pet.
  4. Planning on driving? Map out your route, consider pre-planning stops to stretch their legs and get some air.
  5. Can you even take your pet? When considering bringing your pet along, be sure this is allowed. Many rentals are pet friendly, some are not. Is there an additional cost for pets? What are the rules? Some require your pet to be with you at all times, this might not work for your plans.  If you are going to a family cottage be sure to ask if your furry companion is welcome too. Best to ask before you arrive.
  6. Thinking of a boarding facility? Ask for references and check the place out first! Leaving your pet can be stressful, being confident and comfortable with where they are staying will help. Pop by for a tour. Is it clean? Do they require vaccines? Are the pets housed separately or together? What happens if your pet gets sick? Do they require a trial stay first? Write down all your questions before you get there…a concentration of many cute animals is very distracting, believe me!
  7. Notify your vet! If you are leaving your pet under the care of a boarding facility or a friend, be sure to update your animal hospital. We need your permission to give out information about your pet. Let us know who is caring for your pet and for how long. If you are unreachable during your time away, communicate with us what your plan is if one of your pets gets injured or ill. Be sure to let the people caring for your pet who your vet is in case they have any problems while you are away.
  8. First Aid Kit: if you are taking your pet with you, bringing along a first aid kit is always a good idea. Be sure to include emergency clinic numbers in the area you are going, antihistamine and dose for your pet. If your pet is on medications, be sure to get a refill so you have enough. Keeping a small supply at home is great too, just in case you forget to pack them up for the trip home.
  9. Special Requirements: If you are travelling out of the country with your pet be sure to contact the embassy for the country and airline as soon as possible. There could special requirements, paperwork, vaccines needed to cross the border or board the flight. Often these are time sensitive and need to be scheduled with your vet so you don’t want to put this off.

So whether you choose to take your four legged pal with you or book them into a 5 star pet resort, we hope these tips help make the choice a smooth one. Happy planning!

carlos on the beach


Written by Ashley Docherty, R.V.T Practice Manager at Bloor Animal Hospital

Feature pictures courtesy of Pugsley and Carlos.

Nail Trims for Guide Dogs!

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Join us on Saturday May 13th to raise awareness & money for the Guide Dogs.


*Bake Sale


*Basket Raffle


*Nail Trim-a-Thon


….Meet upcoming Guide Dog Puppies!!


All proceeds go to the Lions Foundation of Canada in support of the Guide Dog Association


Call us today to book your pet in for their nail trim or pop by for a treat and meet the puppies!


guide pup

Putting Our Feline Patients First

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It has been just over a year since the Bloor Animal Hospital decided that we wouldn’t no longer be performing elective declaws in cats.  The support from our clients and the general public has been overwhelming. We received praise not just from our clientele, from all over North America and Europe too!
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has recently published a position statement against elective declaws in cats.  Our own Dr. Suzanne Lyons was on CBC’s “Here and Now” last week answering questions on this subject.
If you have any questions regarding your cat’s scratching behaviour, please don’t hesitate to call to discuss this further with one of our knowledgeable staff members!

Listen here to Dr.Lyons on CBC Radio

You can read more about the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s position here

The Important, Almighty Teeth!

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Time and again in the exam room we are asked if a particular teeth cleaning chew is appropriate for dogs.  Clients describe anything from bones, to particular products marketed exclusively for teeth to other chew toys commonly found in pet stores.  There are too many products out there to be familiar with all, but we can offer some helpful hints in order to choose safe options for your pets.  Careful selection of appropriate chews is very important to your pet’s oral health, not just for the purpose of cleaning their teeth, but to not cause damage to your pet’s teeth as well.  When dog’s chew a chew toy, they do so with great strength using the large 4th premolar, also known as the Carnassial tooth.  It is the largest tooth in their mouths and is the main tooth used for chewing and grinding up food.  Dogs that chew hard chews may fracture the exterior part of the tooth.  This is called a slab fracture.  This type of fracture exposes the sensitive “pulp chamber” inside the tooth which contains the blood vessel and nerve.  It is a painful lesion and places the tooth at high risk for abscess/infection.
slab fx
X rays of the tooth are required to determine if the pulp chamber is exposed, giving bacteria access to the root and other sensitive structures of the tooth and to ensure that surrounding teeth have not been damaged as well.  Treatment options include a root canal if the tooth meets criteria or surgical extraction of the tooth.  This tooth contains 3 roots which extend deeply into the jaw bone.  It is a painful lesion and requires extraction.  Dental fractures caused by hard chews are one of the most common reasons for extractions in dogs.
Obviously we want to try to avoid these injuries and extractions at all costs.  Although most people feel hard chews will help clean their pets teeth, they will likely fracture them as well. The Veterinary Oral Health Care Specialists (VOHC) is a group of board certified veterinary dental specialists.  They have a “kneecap” rule.  If you wouldn’t want to be hit in the kneecap by a chew you are contemplating giving your dog, then it is too hard and should not be given to them, as it can fracture their teeth.  Bones, antlers and other synthetic hard chews are good examples of this. CET chews are a good example of a safe chew.  You can look for the VOHC seal on any dental product to see if they have approved it as a safe and effective part of your pets health care routine.
If you have any questions regarding safe chew toys or fractured teeth please call or make an appointment to speak to one of our veterinarians or veterinary technicians.  Happy chewing!

You hear us say RVT, but what is a RVT?

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You hear us say RVT, but what the heck is a RVT?  In a veterinary practice, there are many different roles and jobs that are needed to help the clinic function. We have Veterinary Receptionists, Veterinary Assistants, Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVT) and Veterinarians (DVM).

Each role plays a crucial part of our team and helps to make our days run smoothly. RVT’s start out as Veterinary Technicians. They have completed post-secondary education and graduated with a diploma to go on to become a RVT.  Once graduated the technician must complete and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and must also complete a professionalism and ethics course. Once completed and passed, the technician is now a RVT. As a RVT it is mandatory to complete and maintain your qualifications.  This is done by completing continuing education each and every year, to ensure that the RVT is keeping up with the ever changing veterinary medicine and techniques. The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) monitors the RVT and ensures they are keeping up with their education to maintain their RVT status.

The Veterinarian will see the patient in the appointment and get a full history and perform a through physical exam.  Next, the Veterinarian will determine what necessary treatment is and present the patient and the treatment plan to the RVT.  The RVT will typically see the treatments through. The RVT can do an array of treatments, here are a list of most of them: collect blood and urine samples, wound management, anesthesia, pain management, triage and emergency care, intravenous catheters, urinary catheters, radiographs, pre and post-surgical care, medication administration, nail trims, ear cleaning, cytology (looking at cells under a microscope to help determine diagnosis), urinalysis. This list goes on. This only covers what RVT’s can do for their patients, their role continues for our clients.

RVT’s are often first line of communication regarding medical issues and guidance when our clients need help. They are a shoulder to lean on and a valued member of our team. It goes without saying how we cannot function without our RVT’s and we can’t say enough how much we appreciate them. Next time you meet with your RVT, you’ll know you are speaking with a well-educated individual!

What is The Farley Foundation?

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The Farley Foundation was established in 2001 by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) to help low income pet owners by subsidizing the cost of urgent veterinary care. The foundation relies on donations to provide funding for those in need.

Donations to the Farley Foundation are made by the veterinary community and generous pet owners. The OVMA and veterinary clinics team together to educate and promote awareness to pet owners on the Farley Foundation and how their involvement can help owners in need. Funding from the Farley Foundation is only distributed in Ontario, but sees donations from all over North America.

The Farley Foundation reviews their eligibility criteria annually and to be able to provide the most funding available to the greatest number of people in need.

The Farley Foundation has helped over 7200 pet owners and pets since its funding was available in 2002. They have helped a variety of pets from cats and dog to ferrets and guinea pigs. Helping with diagnostics, surgery, hospitalization and necessary medications.

With the OVMA heading up this foundation and corporate sponsors supporting fundraising, they are able to keep costs very low allowing the majority of the donations to be used towards pets and pet owners in need. Over 75% of donations have been allocated to be used towards veterinary care for pets.

You can help support the Farley Foundation by donating anytime through the Farley Foundation website, or by participating in any of their ongoing fundraising event.  October is Fundraise for Farley Month, you can come in and support Farley by donating to the registered charity and have paw prints displayed with your support. In October of 2015 Farley raised over $260,000 with dedicated partnerships between veterinary health care teams and support of their corporate partner Royal Canin.

For the entire month of October we will be accepting donations towards Farley. We will be holding a bake sale October 29th and 30th, and for a donation your pet can take part in Halloween photo shoot on October 30th ! All proceeds will go to the Farley Foundation.

Come join us in our efforts to help support low income pet owners and pets with urgent medical care needs!