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My Dog is Heatworm Positive, Now What?

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Heartworm tests have begun for the season. We always hope when the results come in not come across one that is positive, but sadly, sometimes we do. So what exactly does it mean if your dog is heartworm positive?

If your dog’s annual heartworm test comes back positive it means that your dog became infected with heartworm in the previous warm season. Your dog was bitten by a mosquito who picked up heartworm from a heartworm positive dog and transmitted it to your dog. Your dog now is heartworm positive and requires treatment by your veterinarian.

Treatment for heartworm includes oral pre-treatment prior to the actual injectable treatment. This pre-treatment helps to decrease the chances of reactions.  Following is a series of intra-muscular injections administered by your veterinarian. This injection is the drug that kills the worms. The drug used to treat heartworm is not readily available and is very expensive. Treatment for heartworm can be very painful for the patient and patients may need to be hospitalized at any time during the treatment. There can be reactions to the drug, reactions to the worms dying along with complications of the worms dying, stroke, pain at the injection site and most terribly, death.

Once treatment has started, strict rest is essential, no running, no jumping, no playing. The recovery can be further complicated and detrimental to the dog’s health if proper rest regime is not followed.

Treatment for heartworm can be expensive and on average ranges from $800-1000 if uncomplicated. This cost would be equivalent to providing heartworm prevention for your dog for 13 years.

This is why we recommend to prevent rather than treat. Prevention is safer, easier and more cost effective than having to treat your dog for heartworm.

If you have any questions about heartworm or need to schedule your dog in for their annual heartworm test, please call us at 416-767-5817


Meagan’s Walk Nail Trim-a-Thon!

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From April 29th to May 1st Bloor Animal Hospital will be doing a “nail-trim-a-thon” and bake sale in support of Meagan’s Walk. Meagan’s Walk and is a group of friends supporting research into new treatments for children with brain tumors, helping them live happier lives.

Meagan’s walk is named in memory of Meagan Bebenek, who ultimately lost her own battle with a brain tumor. Meagan’s family was touched by the outpour of support and donations made in their daughter’s name. The family then knew that they could help for the future treatment and care of children with brain tumors.

Meagan’s walk is now in their 15thyear and have raised over 4 milion dollars in support of research for less toxic treatment of children living with brain tumors, to live healthier lives. On May 7th, 5km walk starts at Fort Yok and culminates at the Hospital for Sick Children, where participants join hands and form a “human hug” around the hospital, a “Circle of Hope”. The message of love and support that can be viewed from those within.

Please join us at Bloor Animal Hospital from April 29th to May 1st to show your support in Creating a Circle of Hope

For more information or to register for the walk

megans walk

Heartworm Season is Here! Are you ready?

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Heartworm is a parasite that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Heartworm is not transmitted from dog to dog; the mosquito is needed for the development of the worm. The parasite travels through the blood stream of the dog to the heart and adjacent vessels where they grow to maturity. A female heartworm can be 15-36 cm long and 5mm wide. The male worm is about half the size of the female. One dog may have as many as 300 worms!  They live up to five years and during this time produce millions of offspring called microfilaria.



It can take a number of years before a dog may show signs of infection and by this time the infestation is well advanced.  The most common signs of heartworm are coughing, shortness of breath, weakness, lethargy, and loss of stamina.  All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise.

Diagnosis is made by a blood test; you can not see heartworm in your dogs’ poo.  The parasites stay within the blood vessels.  It takes 6 months for the parasites to develop to a level detectable by the test.  The ideal time to test for heartworm is between April and June.

Treatment is available for heartworm; however there are significant costs and risks associated with the treatment and strict rest is imperative after the treatment.

Prevention is key! There are several affordable preventive medications available through your veterinarian. A simple blood test should be done prior to starting the medication to ensure your dog is not heartworm positive as some of the preventive medications can cause harm if given to a heartworm positive dog.  The medication is given monthly during mosquito season (June-November).

Please contact your veterinarian today to ensure your dog is protected!


Written by: Ashley Kipling a Registered Veterinary Technician at Bloor Animal hospital.

2387 Bloor St West 416-767-5817 [email protected]

A New Outlook on Declawing Cats…putting our feline patients first

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Shanna, one of RVT’s, disposing of our declaw instruments

One of the most controversial topics we talk to owners about is declawing cats. Over the years we have declawed many cats, including the occasional staff pet. We have always felt as though we were doing the best we could for our patients, pain medication prior to the procedure, freezing each paw first, three days of post-surgical of pain medication delivered as a constant rate intravenous infusion and a week of pain medication at home. However, over time products have become available to allow cats to keep their claws while keeping the peace at home. As a group we sat back and thought about why we declaw cats. Is this in the best interest of our patients? Is this a cosmetic procedure similar to ear cropping and tail docking?  Where do we draw the line?

When a cat is declawed, it is not just the claw that is removed. The entire first knuckle is removed. Despite aggressive pain control, cats can develop phantom pain later in life. There is also risk of infection or the surgical sites opening as well as the potential to have small pieces of bone left behind.  Declawed cats will still show their dislike for certain things by biting or scratching with their hind legs. Despite this, in the past we felt as though because we were making the procedure as pain free as it could be, we would rather the pet have the surgery done here correctly, versus elsewhere where the pain control might not be adequate. That being said, many cats seem to do just fine after being declawed. All of my cats growing up were declawed, it was just what was done at the time of their spay or neuter. All my cats lived long, happy lives. They were all very loving and cuddly and certainly bonded to our family.

After evaluating all sides and weighing the pros and the cons, as a group we have decided to no longer offer elective declawing surgery. We feel this is in the best interest of our feline patients and that our team can educate feline owners on other alternatives to prevent their cats from scratching:

Frequent Nail Trims: Our team can show you how to trim your cats nails, or you can have them clipped here. This usually needs to be done every 4-6 weeks.

Applying Soft Paws: soft plastic caps that are temporarily glued over the nails. These caps will last several weeks and can be reapplied at home or during a quick visit with one of our technicians.

Scratching posts: Cats can be trained to use scratching posts. Spraying them with cat nip spray, wrapping them in the type of fabric the cat likes to scratch or trying both vertical and horizontal scratching pads.

Feliway: Feliway is an appeasing pheromone that helps to decrease stress in cats.

Provide other stimulating areas in the house: We recommend checking out the indoor cat initiative website for great ideas on keeping your indoor cats happy and stimulated.

We truly hope that our clients understand that we made this decision because we are fully dedicated to our patient’s health and we always advocate for their best interests.

If you have any questions about declawing or how to prevent your cat from scratching at home, please call us or your family veterinarian for advice.


Nail Trim-a-Thon for Buddy!

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Last year, one of our Registered Veterinary Technicians Carley,  had a fantastic opportunity to travel to Asia and help with the stray animal population on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand. Carley spent 3 months exploring the island, making great friends, submerging herself in the local culture while volunteering full-time at Phangan Animal Care for Strays (PACS).

The “dog culture” in Thailand is entirely different from that in Toronto, Canada. There are dogs EVERYWHERE. Many of the owned dogs live their entire lives outside of a home. Properties are not fenced in and the dogs are not tethered to the property. As a result, the dogs roam freely. This doesn’t mean that the dogs are not well cared for; it’s just to point out the difference in culture. PACS has done a fantastic job with educating the local community about the benefits of sterilization (and vaccination) and as a result, they have seen a significant reduction in the local stray population. PACS makes every effort to facilitate adoptions for the dogs that come in to their care despite having limited space and resources. They are unable to house healthy dogs long-term as they regularly have ill, and often contagious, patients admitted. They are not equipped to run as a shelter.

Buddy was originally brought to the clinic as the main source of support for his partner in crime, Luna. She had suffered a broken leg and was severely anemic. She was not recovering well as she refused to eat or come out of her kennel. She made a miraculous recovery when she was reunited with Buddy. The pair had been raised as “inside dogs” but were abandoned and left to survive on the street. While many stray dogs are quite happy to be returned to their territory upon recovery (that is the area where they were originally found), PACS didn’t feel it was in their best interest to release the pair. Since there didn’t appear to be much interest in adoption, Carley decided to reach out to the rescue community in Toronto and see if anybody was interested in adopting the pair.

Happy Tails Rescue had agreed to take-on the pair once they arrive in Canada. PACS recently notified Carley that Luna had fallen ill and passed away. After very little discussion with Happy Tails Rescue we decided to follow through with Buddy’s transport to Canada and help find him a forever home. Carley is in the process of fundraising to help cover the cost of the transport and associated veterinary care required for his flight. Any additional funds collected will be split between Happy Tails Rescue and PACS so they can continue with the great work that they do.

If you are interested in learning more about these fantastic organizations please check out their websites at and

Please contact Bloor Animal Hospital at 416-767-5817 to schedule your pets nail trim on March 19th and 20th to help raise funds to bring Buddy home!

Dental Disease in pets – it is real!  

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As a notorious lover and collector of small breed flat face dogs with under bites myself, I can most definitely vouch for this through personal experience with my own fur family!

An often overlooked fact; as your pet’s veterinarian, we are their dentists too!  One of the most important parts of your pet’s annual exam is examining their mouths and evaluating their oral health.  We look for tartar, calculus, gingivitis, broken teeth, missing teeth, root exposure, loose teeth, infection and masses.  One can only imagine what would be found in anyone’s mouth who does not brush, floss and visit their dentist regularly!  Dental disease is very common in dogs and cats, and cannot be ignored!

Tartar and calculus (hardened mineralized tartar) is a common finding.  If caught early, a proper dental cleaning can remove this and restore our pet’s oral health.   If left to fester, gingivitis will progress and the gums and bone will start to regress causing painful root exposure.  Once the roots are exposed, unfortunately a cleaning is no longer enough.  This is end stage dental disease and very painful for our pets.  These teeth now must be extracted as the only treatment option for these patients who have undoubtedly suffered trough this process of disease and decay.

Dental fractures are very common as well, and is often the most common reason for extraction of the large chewing premolar in dogs.  Pet stores are filled with many chewing options for dogs; some of which are excellent choices.  Others are very dangerous and can lead to serious and very painful fractures of the teeth.  Hard chews such as natural bones, antlers, dried cow hooves, hard pressed rawhyde and nylon bones are common culprits here.  These teeth are most certainly painful and require either extraction or root canal treatment.  Tennis balls can be quite damaging as well.  The nylon fuzz is abrasive and can cause significant wearing of the teeth.  If the wearing is severe enough, it can cause nerve exposure and pain, requiring extracting or endodontic treatment.

The good news here?  There are many preventative measures we can take as pet owners to help maintain orally health and comfort in our pets!

1) Dental diets: Diets carrying the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Healthcare Committee – a group of board certified veterinary dental specialists who review dental products) seal (ex Royal Canin Dental Diet or Hills t/d), have been clinically proven to move plaque and tartar from teeth.  They are fully  balanced , high quality diets suitable for healthy adult pets.  They are most effective if used as the primary diet for your pets.

2) Daily brushing: Daily brushing with an infant toothbrush or finger brush along with a pet friendly tooth paste can also help to decrease tartar and plaque accumulation on teeth.

3) Healthy Mouth is a VOHC approved water additive made by Dr. Frasier Hale, a Board Certified Veterinary Dentist in Guelph.  It can also help reduce the accumulation of tartar and calculus on teeth

Softer Chews such as flat rawhyde chews such as CET chews are safe chewing options that are enjoyable for pets and can aid in maintaining oral health.  They start firm, but become soft as your pet chews them, thus making tooth fracture very unlikely.

Although the above home care options are excellent and helpful, your pet will still require a proper dental cleanings by their veterinarian.  You can compare this to us humans having to see our dentist regular once or twice a year despite practicing proper brushing and flossing at home.  We use the same equipment that human dentists use.  They are sharp, vibrate and make noise.  Our cats and dogs would not stay still for such a procedure, making a proper cleaning impossible and dangerous.  For this reason, the standard of care requires us to preform these procedures under general anesthesia.  This allows us to completely examine your pets’ mouth and clean under the gumline.

Full mouth x rays of the teeth are a must as well.  Most dental disease begins under the gumline.  Our patients cannot alert us of a sensitive tooth.  It is not uncommon to find otherwise undetectable infection, bone loss, fracture or uninterrupted teeth on x rays.  All these are painful and lead to infection or even jaw fracture if left undetected or untreated, thus making this a very important part of the dental procedure.  Small dogs (esp the flat faced dogs such as pugs and shih tzus) and cats  commonly have significant disease picked up dental x ray that would have otherwise been unnoticed leaving them to suffer in silence.

Together with you, we are your pet’s health care team!  If you are interested in learning more about homecare options for your pet or if your pet can benefit from a dental cleaning, please contact one of the members of our healthcare team!  Your pet will live a longer life free of oral discomfort and pain and will most certainly thank your for it!!


February is Oral Health Awarness Month!

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February is oral health awareness month! To celebrate we have lots of fun programs running at the clinic this month:

  • Win a Dental Basket full of dental goodies and a large bag of food!

– For every bag of Royal Canin Dental Formula or Hills T/d you purchase you get a ballot into the draw.

– For every dental procedure booked in the month of February and march you get 2 ballots into the draw!

  • Royal Canin Dental Formula Loyalty Program: From February 1st to March 31st you can enroll in the Dental Loyalty Program!

– Purchase 5 bags of Royal Canin Dental and get your 6th bag FREE!

  • Trial Bags!

– Would you like to try a bag of Dental Formula? Come by the clinic and pick up a complimentary trial size of Royal Canin Dental.  Just the right size to see how much your pet will enjoy this great food!

  • Check out our Webstore!

– For the month of February we have decreased our minimum order from $100 to $75 for free home delivery! This is a great opportunity to give our webstore a try! To register, click on the Webstore link on the main page of our website.

online store banner picture

Come check out the clinic for all of these great Oral Heath Awareness offers today!







Bloor Animal Hospital Gives Back – Help us help Hope and Shelter bring a Syrian family to Canada

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From January 29 to the 31st Bloor Animal Hospital will be holding a “nail trim-a-thon” and bake sale to raise money for Hope and Shelter (  Hope and Shelter is a group of friends local to the Bloor West area, that are committed to making a difference for at least one Syrian family by providing sponsorship and resettlement support.

The group is working with Humanity First, a humanitarian relief organization that is helping Hope and Shelter to sponsor and help resettle the family.  They are in the process of being matched with a refugee family that is set to arrive in March.  Once matched, they are responsible for arranging funds, setting up housing and basic support over the family’s first twelve months in Canada.  Their goal is to raise $30,000 to cover these expenses.  At this time, they are over two thirds of the way to achieving their goal!

We are inspired by Hope and Shelter’s commitment to this cause and feel terribly for the many Syrians who have been forced from their homes and life they had known, and have been through the unimaginable.

In a remarkable addition to our efforts, a member of the  Halsall family foundation ( ) , heard about our involvement was moved. They have agreed to match all funds collected through our event!

Please come out with your furry family members and join us for our event help us make a difference.  We are asking for a minimum donation of $15 per nail trim, 100% of all proceeds will be donated to Hope and Shelter.  Appointments for nail trims can be made in advance at (416) 767-5817.

Hope to see you all there!

Welcome Dr. Erin Reid

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We would like to welcome Dr. Erin Reid to our team!

Erin graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2006, and completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery from 2006-2007.  Upon completion of her internship, she has worked at the Veterinary Emergency Clinic and Referral Centre in Toronto practicing emergency medicine.  Over the last 9 years, Erin has also worked as a locum veterinarian in several small animal practices.  Although she loves emergency medicine, and is comfortable handling any type of emergency and critical patient, she also enjoys  small animal practice and preventative medicine.  Erin and her husband have an 8 month old daughter, and three cats.  Over the years Erin has also been fortunate to have loved and cared for two of the most wonderful dogs.  She is very excited to be a part of the Bloor Animal Hospital team, and looks forward to taking care of your pet!



Bloor Animal Hospital News & Announcements

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  • We would like to wish all of our patients and their families a safe and happy holiday season. However, if your pet is in need of medical attention over the holidays, here are our hours and the emergency hospital contact information:

We will be open our regular business hours unless otherwise stated below:

Hospital Holiday Hours:

December 24th: 7:30am – 12:00pm

December 25th & 26th CLOSED

December 31st: 7:30am – 12:00pm

January 1st: CLOSED

In case of an emergency outside of our hours, please contact the Veterinary Emergency Clinic at 416-920-2002 

  • Bake Sale!

We will be hosting a bake sale to help raise much needed funds for Four Paws One Heart cat rescue.  One of our receptionists, Katie, helps Four Paws raise money and care for abandoned pets in need of medical care and forever homes. If you are in Bloor West Village this weekend, please come by to support Katie and enjoy a delicious treat!

Bake Sale will run from Friday December 11th at 3:30pm through to Sunday December 13th at 5pm.

  • *New* Text Messaging:

Did you know that we can now text you your pets wellness check up reminders?

If you would like to sign up for text message reminders, you can opt in through your Petly account.