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Have You Heard of Xylitol Toxicity?

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When we talk about holiday hazards we often go to the common items: chocolate, tinsel, bones and light cords. However, with baking growing in popularity over the last 2 years we are seeing more, less common hazards such as Xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar replacement and often found in gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, gummy vitamins and toothpastes, among other products.  More and more people are incorporating xylitol in their home baking as it is lower in calories and lower on the glycemic index than sugar.

Xylitol may be a healthier alternative for some humans, but it is very toxic to dogs. It causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and can result in liver failure. Even small amounts such as 2 pieces of gum can cause severe hypoglycemia!

If your pet ingests an item containing xylitol contact the pet poison hotline (1-888-426-4435) and your veterinarian.

DO NOT cause your dog to vomit without direction from your veterinarian. Dogs that are already hypoglycemic, vomiting will make them much worse without proper supportive treatment and monitoring.

Symptoms are seen within 15-30 min of ingestion and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Treatment can include: IV fluid therapy including sugar supplementation, liver protective drugs, blood tests and monitoring.

The prognosis for Xylitol toxicity guarded.

With the busy time of the holidays upon us, please be aware of the potential hazards in your home, where your pets are at all times and emergency numbers handy, just in case.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!


Your Veterinary Team at Bloor Animal Hospital

COVID-19 Policy Update

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We would like to thank all our amazing clients for their continued patience and understanding during this time. Now that Toronto has moved into Phase 3, we want to provide an update on our policies during this stage of COVID-19.

Phase 3 does allow businesses the ability to open their doors to customers if they wish, however certain requirements must be met.  One these requirements from Public Health is the ability to maintain social distancing (keeping a distance of 2 meters).  Since veterinary exams involve close-proximity with pet owners, their pets, and also our medical staff during appointments, social distancing is virtually impossible.

It is important to us that we continue to provide medical care for as many of our patients as we can, however we also have a responsibility to our staff and the community to keep everyone safe. This is a very dynamic situation coupled with the added unknowns of many businesses and schools reopening, we have determined that it is in our patients’ and staff’s best interest to continue our closed-door policy.

At your appointment time, you and your pet will be greeted at our door. Your pet will be safely transferred to one of our staff members who will bring your pet to the Veterinarian. Dogs will be transferred via our leashes (attached to the outside wall) and all cats need to be safely transported in their carriers. The Veterinarian will call to discuss your pet and this will provide an opportunity to ask questions about medical care. All communication will be done over the phone.

Rest assured that your pet is in good hands. Pets have adjusted well to this protocol and many are very happy to see us. They get extra cuddles from our team to help ensure that they remain comfortable throughout their examinations.

The only exception to the closed-door policy is a euthanasia appointment. We are now allowing two family members to be present, but do ask that face masks are worn while in the clinic.  If you are unable to wear a face covering, please let us know when scheduling your appointment so that we can do our best to find a solution for you and your pet.

Payments will continue to be made over the phone or at the door; no cash can be accepted at this time.

As a reminder, our web store is available for all food and pet supplies. There is a 5% discount on these online orders and we will continue to provide free delivery until further notice. To register for our webstore, follow the link on our home page. 

We do ask that you please continue to be kind and treat us with respect. We are working very hard during a difficult time to ensure your pets are given great, loving care. We will not tolerate abuse to our staff or non-compliance of our COVID-19 protocols. If you have a concern about our protocols, please ask; we are happy to further explain and provide assistance so that every person and pet can be safe. Our protocols have been created with the assistance of Public Health, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, and Veterinary Infectious Disease Specialists. We need to abide by them so that you and your pets, the Bloor Animal Hospital staff, and the community are all safe.

If you have any questions about our services or your pet’s medical care, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here for you!

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay Safe,

Bloor Animal Hospital


Veterinary Service Update

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We would like to thank all of our amazing clients for their patience  and understanding during this time. With the government announcement on May 14th informing us that we are once again permitted to have routine veterinary appointments, we wanted to update you on what is happening here at the hospital.

To continue to allow for safe distancing, we will continue to operate in a curbside manner. We will continue to greet you and your pet at the door and transfer your pet to us safely. During your appointment, the veterinarian or Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) (depending on what service your pet is here for) will call you to discuss your pet, concerns at home, findings on their physical exam and communicate a treatment plan if needed.

We are still asking for payment over the phone as much as possible.

Urgent Care Appointments:

As always, we are here for your pet. If you have any questions about your pet’s medical care or your pet is experiencing an emergency, please call us. We are here to help!


If your pet is due or overdue for vaccines, please contact us. We will schedule your appointment with one of our doctors. Please note, due to the number of pets that needed to postpone their vaccines, we are booking up quickly. Please call us at your earliest convenience to schedule your appointment.

Heartworm and Lyme Testing:

If your dog is due for their heartworm and Lyme testing, please contact us to schedule this appointment with one of our RVTs. Similar to the vaccinations, there are a number of dogs that needed to postpone their test. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule your appointment.

Parasite Prevention:

If you have not yet refilled your pet’s parasite prevention we recommend starting now. Ticks are out looking for a blood meal, prevention is the easiest way to protect your pet. Some intestinal parasites are transmitted to humans, spring/summer is when we see the most intestinal parasites. Please contact us to refill your pet’s prevention.

Health and safety of our team and your pet is of the utmost importance. Due to the amount of time needed for each appointment, disinfection and donning of PPE your appointment may take longer than previous appointments. Please be patient with us.

Thank you so much for your understanding and support during this time.

Your Bloor Animal Hospital Team 

COVID-19 Essential Service Update

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We would like to thank everyone for their understanding during this time. COVID-19 has been difficult for all of us. As you may be aware, the Ontario Government has updated their Essential Service list. We are grateful to continue to be listed as an essential service.  We are here for you and your pets but we have had to alter how we see our patients.  Here are some of the changes we have needed to implement to be in compliance with the governing bodies. 

Below are the changes that will be in place:

  • Until further notice, our hospital hours will be as follows: Monday- Friday 7:30am-10:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am-5pm. Please note, these times may vary pending business needs and staffing availability.
  • We will only be available for urgent cases. This means if your pet is sick, or if you have a question about your pet’s medical care, we are here.
  • We are currently not able to perform wellness appointments or elective services such as vaccinations, spaying, neutering or non-elective dental procedures.

Regarding vaccinations: As for vaccines, our licensing body (CVO), our provincial regulatory body (OVMA) and Dr Scott Weiss (infectious disease specialist at the Ontario Veterinary College) have made guidelines as to how we are able to practice during this time.  

We will still be offering initial puppy/kitten vaccines to protect them from potentially fatal diseases (therefore qualifying as urgent care). 

For those with adult pets coming due for vaccines, we are asking for you to hold off on requesting these appointments for the time being.  We ask also that you limit exposure of your pets to risk of illness covered by these vaccines.  We feel that at this point in time the risks of illness (death) by COVID-19 is greater than the risk of illness by diseases that these vaccines prevent against such as rabies. 


We will continue to keep current during this ever-changing situation and will keep all of you updated as to when are able to offer these services again. 


  • If you currently have wellness appointment scheduled, we will be contacting you to reschedule. At this time we are hoping to book for May. This date may change pending government requirements.
  • Telemedicine: We are now offering telemedicine appointments. Although there are limitations with telemedicine, our goal is it decrease the amount of pets who need to come into the clinic and in turn, support social distancing. Please contact us for details.
  • Due to the changes in our booking procedure, we have removed the online booking option until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • If someone in your home is ill we ask that you do not come to the clinic. We can still help you! Please contact the clinic for instruction.
  • Food must be purchased and delivered through our webstore.
  • Prescriptions and small food items are to be paid for over the phone and ideally delivered to your home. We can courier all items for a flat fee of $15.
  • When visiting the clinic please be aware that we have a closed door policy. Please knock and we will help you.
  • Please step back from the door and allow a 6 foot distance from our team.

We ask that you remain patient with us. These are difficult times for everyone. The human-animal bond is more important now than ever. We are grateful to be here working hard for your pets when they need us. 

Thank you for your understanding during this time, we will get through this together as a community.

Stay Safe,

The Bloor Animal Hospital Team


Frequently Asked Questions About Corona-virus and Pets from the VEC

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The following was created and sent to us by the Veterinary Emergency Clinic at 920 Yonge St Toronto:

We have pulled together relevant information from various sources in order to try to assist pet owners during this current time of uncertainty and questions. We will keep you updated you as we learn more. At this time, the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) say there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, spread COVID‐19.  

As always, it’s a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals, and animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two‐week supply of food and medications on hand.


  • According to the World Health Organization there is no evidence companion animals or pets, such as cats and dogs, can spread the virus that causes COVID‐19.
  • Further, there is no evidence cats or dogs can be a source of COVID‐19 infection to people.
  • Experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals.  Multiple international and domestic health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting or spreading COVID‐19. –

AVMA AVMA – additional information:

What can I do to keep my pets safe from COVID‐19?

  • Keep pets away from people infected with COVID‐19.
  • Confine pets of infected people to limit spread, as it’s not yet known whether pets may be nonclinical carriers of disease.
  • Follow good hygiene practices at all times, especially hand washing before and after interacting with pets.
  • People with COVID‐19 should be advised to tell their public health point of contact that they have pets or other animals in their home.

In addition to other prevention measures, people with COVID‐19 who are identified by public health officials as requiring home care and isolation should be advised to limit interaction with pets and other animals. Specifically, while these people are symptomatic, they should maintain separation from pets as they would with other household members, and avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food. Service animals should be permitted to remain with their handlers.

If possible, a household member should be designated to care for pets in the home. If the individual in home care and isolation must care for pet(s), including service animals, they should ensure they wash their hands before and after caring for pets and wear a facemask while interacting with pets, until they are medically cleared to return to normal activities.


  • At this time, testing pets for COVID‐19 is unwarranted, as there is no indication that apparently healthy and unexposed pets should be tested for the human COVID‐19 virus.
  • According to the World Health Organization, people who test positive for COVID‐19 should be isolated from others including children, spouses and even pets to ensure they do not inadvertently transfer infection.
  • While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person‐to‐person.  There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in North America might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID‐19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID‐19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.


  • Walk on a leash when outdoors.
  • Avoid contact with persons known or suspected to have been exposed to COVID‐19. If you are infected or have been exposed, include your pet(s) among those you do not have contact with, and wash hands before and after handling your pet(s).
  • Routinely clean and disinfect animal contact surfaces (e.g. cages, feeding areas) and immediately after contact with high‐risk species. What if my dog or cat is showing signs of flu‐like illness?
  • If your pet shows signs of coughing, sneezing, lethargy or otherwise, call your veterinarian at the first sign of illness and keep them indoors to prevent further spread.
  • Signs of illness in dogs and cats can be associated with various common viral and bacterial infections (e.g. kennel cough and canine flu) that are not transmissible to people. Are exotic pets, such as ferrets and rats, safe from the disease?
  • The practice of selling/consuming wildlife that may carry the virus has been implicated as the source of the current global coronavirus outbreak.
  • If you have recently acquired an exotic pet, it should be handled hygienically as indicated above, quarantined away from other pets, and your veterinarian should be consulted. Should we get rid of our pets to be sure they will not transfer the virus to our family?
  • No. There is currently no evidence that household pets like dogs and cats are involved in transmitting coronaviruses to humans.
  • Pet ownership can have health, emotional and social benefits, so practicing responsible pet ownership and hygienic practices is recommended to keep families and pets together and free from disease.

What is known about other‐NON COVID‐19 coronaviruses in cats and dogs?

  • Feline infectious peritonitis is associated with a viral infection from feline NON COVID‐19 coronavirus. There are many different strains of feline NON COVID‐19 coronavirus, which differ in their ability to cause disease. It is now recognized that feline enteric coronavirus strains can mutate to the more harmful type of virus and cause FIP disease.
  • Canine enteric NON COVID‐19 coronavirus is a highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies. Companion animal NON COVID‐19 coronavirus is usually short‐lived, but may cause considerable abdominal discomfort, vomiting and diarrhea.

These are not symptoms of the human COVID‐19 These viruses ARE NOT transmitted to or cause disease in people


  • There is no specific treatment for NON COVID‐19 coronaviruses in dogs or cats, as mild clinical signs are unlikely to require therapy.
  • Supportive care, including replacement of lost fluids, nutritional support, and anti‐nausea medication, may be used for more severe cases.
  • Rarely, hospitalization is necessary. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses and, therefore, will not help treat NON COVID‐19 coronavirus infections. Can manufactured pet food carry COVID‐19?
  • It is highly unlikely that dry or canned pet foods can transmit viral diseases

For more information:

Are your pets stressed over the holidays?

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Holiday stress effects all of us, even our pets. Guests coming and going, loud noises, decorations and changes in routine can make all of us feel overwhelmed.  Luckily there are products available over the counter that can help, at least your pet, through these stressful times. The trick is starting them early, before the holidays.

Feliway and Adaptil:

These are appeasing pheromones that help to make your pet feel safe and comforted. They come in several forms:

Collars (for dogs only) These are great if you dog is travelling with you. The pheromone is in the collar and will go with your pet on all your holiday excursions.

Spray: 8 sprays in the back seat of the car or in the cat carrier, 20 min before you leave can help make car rides less stressful.  The spray is also great to use on a bandana (for dogs), 8 sprays will last up to 5 hours on fabric so it can be a good alternative to the collar.

Diffuser: This is my personal favorite to use at home. It is a plug in that diffuses the pheromone throughout the room. Great to place in the area where your pet hangs out the most, or if you have an issue with inappropriate elimination in a particular area.


This is a hydrolyzed milk protein supplement that has calming properties.  This is a very safe supplement, for both dogs and cats. It comes in chews as well as sprinkle capsules that you can add to their food.


For the pets that are extremely stressed during these times, there are prescription medications that you can give to your pets. For this, you will need to speak to your veterinarian about what options are best for your pet.

These products on their own can be very helpful, you can also pair them together for extra support. The key is to start these products well before the stressful situations have occurred. They need time to be in their system to have the full effects.  Starting them a couple weeks in advance and continuing them for a few days after the holidays is ideal.

No product will be 100% effective, but they can certainly help, and in most cases, they can really improve the holiday experience for everyone. 

Regardless of what product you try with your pet, always ensure that they have a quiet place to go, away from the party and limit treats…no need to add stomach upset to your festivities.

We hope these tips help to make your pet’s holidays just a little more bright.

Welcome Dr. Vanessa Choy!

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About Dr. Choy:

Dr. Vanessa Choy graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering, and a Masters in Medical Biophysics before switching her career and going back to school. She graduated with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 and completed her Small Animal Rotating Internship both at Ontario Veterinary College in 2012.  

Dr. Choy enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine, but has a particular interest in surgeries, pain management and preventative medicine.  She is also Fear Free Certified.

While not working, Dr. Choy enjoys spending time with her husband Chris, her two sons, Ashton and Ryan, and her two boy cats Lincoln and Jersey.  As well, she volunteers her time on the Board of Management at the Toronto Zoo. 

Dr. Choy is looking forward to providing care to all of our patients! Please help us welcome her to the team!


End of Summer Fun! Is your pet ready?

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With the Labour Day around the corner there are lots of things to celebrate: the CNE is in town, fireworks, the Air Show, back to school…ok maybe somethings are more exciting than others.  This time of year makes us all a bit anxious, including our dogs. Some dogs are so anxious during loud noises they will either spend their time cowering under the table, or if they’re like my dog, the bathtub, or worse, run away. If your dog is one of those high anxious dogs you may want to try a couple of these tips to help make the celebrations a bit more relaxing for everyone in the family.

  • Keep your dog indoors or on a leash: Even the calmest dog can spook when they hear a loud bang. By keeping them close by you can ensure they don’t run off to hide.
  • Adaptil: This is an appeasing pheromone naturally found in lactating dogs. The pheromone is released as the puppies nurse, making them feel calm. They have been able to synthesize this pheromone and is currently available as a spray or collar. For short term stressors we would recommend spraying their bed or a bandanna. The pheromone (that only dogs can smell) will last for 5 hours in the environment.
  • Zylkene: A supplement containing hydrolyzed milk protein, an ingredient that has calming properties. Zylkene comes in capsules and chews and should be started a few days prior to any stressful situation.
  • Thundershirt: this is a snug fitting shirt that applies gentle constant pressure on the dog’s chest. This technique has been used to successfully reduce anxiety for many years. This product also comes with a 100% guarantee! If you are not happy with the results, you can return the shirt for a full reimbursement.

In very stressful situations such as the Air Show this weekend, we would recommend Applying all 4 of these techniques. Spray the Thundershit with the Adaptil and keep your dog inside.  If you have any questions about these products, or if you would like to try the Adaptil, Zylkene or Thundershirt, please stop by the clinic, we would be happy to help.

FeltUp Pet Memorial Statues and Toys

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New to our clinic are custom felted pet memorial statues and cat toys!  These amazing, one of a kind creations are made by hand by a local Toronto artist, Jeffery Mason.

To request a custom statue or to learn more, please visit:  Or check out Jeffery’s Etsy page: Felt Up by Jeffrey Mason



Who is Jeffrey Mason?
I am a Toronto artist who is a tall human being…very tall. I was originally born in the small town
of Lewiston, Idaho, but moved to the Great White North over 15 years ago to live with my
boyfriend, comedian and veterinarian, Ted Morris. I love Canada, well everything but the
winters…I am very much a sun and warm weather person. I am traditionally a comic illustrator
and my work has been featured on the Space Network and CP24, in Toronto. Recently I dove
into the wonderful world of needle felting and turning wool into 3D sculptures. I loved the
process so much I created the company “Felt Up by Jeffrey Mason” as a way to showcase and
sell my needle felt sculptures, especially my dog sculptures of people’s beloved companions. To
see all my needle felted creations, visit my Etsy site @

What is needle felting you ask?
Needle felting is a type of fiber art which uses notched needles to interlock wool fibers to form a
more condensed material. Wool fibers have scales which when rubbed against each other
catch and lock into place to create this denser material called felt. Felting needles are used to
entangle the fibers. As the felting needle is moved up and down, the notches on the needles
catch the scales of the wool and entangle them into place.

4DX Test: FAQ

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Over the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in ticks. Although the tick prevention we recommend for pets is very effective, no prevention is 100%. For this reason, we have decided to add tick borne diseases to our annual blood screening during heartworm season.  We have seen Lyme disease recently here in our clinic which we have not seen in previous years. There is an increased risk of exposure, not just to our patients, but to their owners as well.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What are tick borne diseases?

These are diseases that are contracted through the bite of a tick.  The transmission of disease requires the tick to feed for approximately 48 hours.

The new test we will be using will test for heartworm along with Ehrlichia and Lyme Disease.

What is Ehrlichia?

Ehrlichia is a blood parasite that is primarily transmitted through the Brown Dog Tick. It can cause blood clotting disorders and potentially lead to kidney failure.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is a bacterial disease that is primarily transmitted by the Deer Tick. Symptoms of Lyme can be difficult to detect as they can be delayed and can go unnoticed.  Most common symptom is generalized pain and lameness, often shifting from one leg to another.

Can these diseases be transmitted to humans?

Although these diseases can affect humans, the disease can only be transmitted through the bite of a tick. These are not diseases that you can catch from your pet.

Although you cannot get these diseases from your pet and often times even if your pet tests positive, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily become ill, it does mean that your pet was exposed to these diseases. If your pet was exposed, this indicates both you and your dog are frequenting areas containing Lyme Disease. It would be important for both you and your pet to stay vigilant and protected when visiting these areas.  For that reason, we feel this test is in our pet’s and their family’s best interest.

What happens if my pet tests positive for one of these diseases?

If your pet tests positive this does not automatically mean your pet is sick or requires treatment. The veterinarian will talk to you about their travel history and get a detailed update from you regarding how they are doing at home. If your pet is not showing any signs of disease, the veterinarian will advise you on what you should watch out for at home. They may also recommend monitoring blood and urine tests more frequently throughout their life to help catch any changes in their health status early.


If you have any questions about the 4DX testing or the diseases they test for, please speak to one of our Veterinarians or Registered Veterinary Technicians.