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Cabbagetown Pet Clinic

CBD and Pets. Potential Wonder Drug?

By Pet Health

CBD is big news and like all hyped and yet-unproven medical claims, it appears to be a cure-all for almost everything under the sun. However, hard scientific evidence remains elusive. If new, on-going research can support even some of its claims, it could introduce a whole new treatment paradigm in veterinary care.

At our AAHA Accredited Cabbagetown Pet Clinic, we closely monitor emerging CBD research and are always prepared to address our client’s questions and concerns.

Introduction to CBD for Pets.

CBD is on the minds of many pet owners, and not just for their own personal use. Fueled largely by anecdotal reports, pet parents are turning to this potential wonder drug to help manage pain, arthritis, seizures, and other chronic health problems in their fur-babies.

In the US, a growing crop of CBD products marketed for pets – including extracts, capsules, and chewy treats – have erupted onto the market to meet consumer demand.

In Canada, however, all legal CBD products for pets must be approved by Health Canada. They are taking a more cautious approach, as solid evidence on its efficacy is still unknown. To date, there have been no such approvals for any pet-specific CBD products.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol is a member of the cannabinoid family, a class of organic compounds naturally found in the cannabis or hemp plant.

Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems of humans, which help the body maintain a normal healthy state, also known as homeostasis. It is generally believed that a similar interaction is replicated in pets, but more research is needed.

Unlike its THC cousin, CBD doesn’t produce a ‘high’, but it is psychoactive. Psychoactive – or psychotropic – is a term that is applied to chemical elements that change one’s mental state by affecting the way the brain and nervous system work. Alcohol and caffeine also fall into this group.

What are the Health Benefits of CBD for my Pet?

The jury – medical community – is still out on CBD’s effectiveness.

While there’s no conclusive scientific data – it’s ongoing – in using CBD to treat our furry friends, there’s growing anecdotal evidence suggesting it can treat pain, reduce anxiety, as well as helping to control seizures.

CBD is also purported to deliver anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation and anti-anxiety impacts, although there’s no conclusive data on these claims.

Risks and Possible Side Effects of CBD in Pets

The safety of CBD products for pets has not yet been adequately researched. Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not approved CBD for use on animals. Consequently, there are no guidelines on what dosages to administer to your pet, based on species, breed, body weight or any other number of multiple variables. You’re not entirely on your own – always seek guidance with our Cabbagetown veterinary team first to discuss any potential risks associated with its application.

Any medication or supplement has the possibility of a positive or negative response. If a pet owner wants to use CBD on their pet – regardless of its legality – it is prudent to start out with small amounts and then closely monitor the effects.

More importantly, pet owners should be aware that there are no approved, legal CBD products available to consumers in Canada, although plenty of CBD products are being marketed and sold to those who seek it. If a CBD product does not have a drug identification number (DIN) or a notification number (VHP) then its safety and efficacy can’t be demonstrated.

If you DO choose to try the CBD route for your pet, how do you know what dosage to administer?

The short answer is, you don’t. While there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for pets, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans.

  • Dry mouth: There is research to show that CBD can decrease the production of saliva. For pets, a noticeable increase in thirst may be apparent.
  • Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a short-term drop in blood pressure. Even if the drop is insignificant, it could create a momentary feeling of light-headedness.
  • Drowsiness: Pet parents – especially dog owners – have been known to use CBD to treat anxiety. The comforting effect of CBD can also cause slight sluggishness.

Again, a discussion with one of our AAHA Accredited Cabbagetown veterinarians can help clarify risks and help mitigate potential side effects.

Is CBD Legal for Use with Pets in Ontario?

From the CVO – College of Veterinarians of Ontario, as of January 2020:

“As veterinarians are included in the definition of practitioner in this Act, veterinarians would be permitted to prescribe either substance if there was a legal pathway to do so. The Office of Controlled Substances at Health Canada has confirmed that there are currently no approved CBD products for animals, meaning there is no legal pathway to obtain these products for animals in Canada.

It is not enough that CBD oil or related products may be offered through a licensed supplier in Canada – the supplier must also be supplying a CBD product that is approved by Health Canada. Manufacturers would need to complete the approval process to get such a product approved for use in animals.

The College is aware that animal owners may ask their veterinarians about using products for their animals that contain active ingredients found in the cannabis plant. It is important that the public is aware that:

  • There is currently no legal pathway for veterinarians in Ontario to prescribe medical marijuana to animals.
  • There are currently no CBD products approved by Health Canada and therefore no legal pathway to obtain these products.”

Additional Resources

cvo.org
veterinarycannabis.org 

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The Importance of Dental Health

By Pet Health

The Importance of Dental Health for your Pet

When it comes to keeping our pets healthy, pet parents often overlook the importance of oral hygiene. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, it’s estimated that the majority of pets show symptoms of dental or periodontal disease by three years of age.

One of the best (and easiest) indicators of oral disease is bad breath. Some pet parents believe that bad breath is something pets naturally have and consequently, often goes unnoticed and untreated.

It may not always be fresh, but your pet’s breath also shouldn’t be bad enough to make you gag.

It’s easy for many pet parents to overlook the importance of promoting good oral hygiene.

Why Dental Health is Important.

Every pet parent wants his or her beloved pet to have excellent oral hygiene.

Four reasons how poor dental care can affect your pet’s overall health:

  1. Bad Breath or Halitosis: If the odor of your pet’s breath makes you recoil, it’s time to seek good dental care.
  2. Tooth Loss: If structures supporting your pet’s teeth become infected, the teeth fall out.
  3. Oral Pain: Severe dental disease can be very painful for cats and dogs. Keep an eye out for the tell-tale** signs.
  4. Organ Damage. Bacteria in the plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys and liver. This spread, called bacteremia, can damage organs and make your animal sick.

What is Pet Dental Disease?

Dental or periodontal disease affects the teeth, gums and the support structures that surround your pet’s teeth. It begins with a simple plaque buildup on the tooth enamel which contain bacteria and food particles.

If the plaque is not addressed, it remains on the tooth surface and eventually hardens into tartar. When tartar is above the gum line, our veterinary team can remove it relatively easily during a professional dental cleaning.

Tartar that makes its way below the gumline is the real problem.

Tartar below the gumline causes inflammation and not only damages the structures supporting the teeth but also causes infection. If dental disease reaches this stage, pets can experience severe dental problems and pain.

Factors Associated with Dental Disease.

  • Age: Dental Disease is more common in older pets, but evidence can appear as soon as three years of age.
  • Breed: Persians and other flat-faced cats and smaller dog breeds are more likely to have over-crowded or misaligned teeth that are difficult to keep clean, making them more prone to disease.
  • Food/Diet: Some foods can increase your cat’s risk of dental disease, so ask your veterinarian for a nutritional recommendation.

Signs of Dental Disease in Your Pet.

Even if your pet isn’t outwardly showing signs of oral health issues, it’s worth asking our veterinarians during a regular health exam to help prevent potential problems.

Symptoms of oral health problems:

  • Bad breath
  • Yellow or brown crust on tooth surface
  • Bleeding gums
  • Change in chewing habits
  • Tooth loss
  • Drooling

If you observe any of these conditions, please make an appointment with us as soon as possible. That way, we can alleviate any further dental deterioration and get your pet on the right path to a healthy mouth.

3 Ways to Promote Better Dental Health for Your Pet.

Protecting the oral health of your pet is super important for many of the reasons we’ve outlined above. Although ‘perfect’ oral hygiene can be elusive, there are ways to be proactive and help stave off the possibility of dental disease.

If there is one best option you can choose to address your pet’s dental health, we suggest visiting our veterinarian for a professional exam. Our veterinarian knows what’s best for your pet’s teeth and will be able to address any issues she finds.

Investing in preventative oral hygiene is one of the best ways to keep your pet healthy.

1. Professional Dental Cleanings

One of the many services the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic offers is dental cleaning. The best way to ensure your pet’s oral health is to have them undergo a professional cleaning by our veterinary team.

These cleanings require general anesthesia to allow our veterinarians to clean above and below the gumline. This ensures that your pet’s entire mouth is scrubbed.

Although more costly,* a professional dental cleaning is the best way to improve and maintain your pet’s oral hygiene.

2. Diet/Prescription Pet Food

It’s always a good idea to discuss nutrition with our veterinarians for many reasons, dental health included.

Generally, we recommend Hills Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care.

Why?

  • Fibre Matrix: the fine structure of in the kibble scrubs the tooth surface to clean teeth and keeps breath fresh.
  • Distinctive Fibre Alignment: helps kibble stay in contact with the tooth surface right to the gumline. This allows the kibble to gently scrub away plaque and tartar.
  • Pets love it.

Although this food is a very popular, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best solution for your particular situation. A consultation with our veterinarians will provide recommendations that will get your pet on the right path to a healthy mouth.

3. Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits for Pet Parents

A preventative measure pet owners can take is to brush your pet’s teeth. Yes, this is a thing and is done to prevent plaque from mineralizing into tartar. Getting your pet comfortable to brushing can take time and patience, so make sure your reward your furry family member for their cooperation!

  • Introducing the toothpaste: use a finger toothbrush or an index finger wrapped in gauze and gently rub pet-specific toothpaste over your pet’s teeth and gums. A splash of chicken broth or tuna juice can make it more palatable.
  • Brushing: brush teeth and gums gently, finishing with the bottom front teeth. Focus on the outside surface facing the cheek, as this part is most prone to tartar build up.

Combine all 3 factors and you’ll have no trouble keeping your pet’s oral health in tip-top shape.

*Cabbagetown Care Plans w/ Dental Cleanings

For some, the cost of regular dental cleanings can be prohibitive. To help alleviate this, we offer a preventative health care program – Cabbagetown Care – to spread out the costs of regular veterinary care, including dental cleanings over the year. This helps you budget and ensure your pet receives all the care necessary to keep them happy and healthy.

Contact us today to see how you can save money on your pet’s health care.

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Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

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How Essential Oils Can Affect Your Pet’s Health

By Uncategorized

Essential Oil Diffusers and Pet Safety.

The use of essential oils has become increasingly widespread over the last few years. While wildly popular, scientific support about the positive health effects is limited and contradictory. This is particularly true when discussing health effects on your pet.

How safe are these essential oils for our pets?

Many essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, wintergreen, and ylang ylang are straight up toxic to pets. These are toxic whether they are applied to the skin, used in diffusers or licked up in the case of a spill.

Diffusers emitting a lovely, nose-pleasing aroma may seem benign, but can be unsafe since it uses water vapour to diffuse tiny oil droplets into the air. Inhaling diffused oils is known to cause negative respiratory effects on humans and pets, if used in a small space and/or for an extended period of time.

It is important to note that cats and dogs are much more sensitive to scents than their human counterparts. What you may believe to be an insignificant, fragrant scent may be overwhelming and harmful to an animal.

What Are Essential Oils And What Are The Benefits?

Essential oils are made from highly concentrated plant substances and are popular in aromatherapy and alternative medicine, as well as home air fresheners. There are numerous types of essential oils, each with their own unique physical and chemical properties.

People believe the use of these “natural” essential oils helps improve their personal and their pet’s health and happiness. The perceived health benefits of essential oils has convinced some pet parents to try a holistic, “natural” approach to help with a wide variety of medical conditions, from anxiety and skin problems to flea and tick prevention.

However, the perceived positive effects (calming sensations, stress-reduction, boost energy and improved focus, among others) of essential oils for you may result in significant negative effects on your beloved pet.

“Natural” doesn’t always mean safe.

There is some preliminary research – largely funded by companies selling herbal-infused pet products – that suggests essential oils may have some health benefits for pets. This has resulted in some holistic veterinarians to include essential oil treatments into their practices.

Although research is still in the early stages, we don’t incorporate this yet-unproven therapy at our Cabbagetown animal hospital, as the risks outweigh any benefits. Instead, we recommend our Cabbagetown Care Preventative Care Program that will cover all your bases and may complement any holistic approach you choose to pursue.

How Do Essential Oils Put My Cat at Risk?

Established research has shown that essential oils can be toxic to cats, whether taken internally, applied to the skin, or simply inhaled. Exposure can lead to serious liver damage, liver failure, respiratory failure, seizures and even death.

Felines are missing specific enzymes that provide the ability to properly process various compounds (called “gluconuridation”) found in essential oils, specifically phenols. Phenolic compounds occur naturally in plants and are highly concentrated in essential oils, leaving the liver the most vulnerable to organ failure.

Essential oil and aromatherapy diffusers, candles, liquid potpourri products, and room sprays are all sources of airborne essential oils that can be inhaled or licked off their fur. If you can smell the aroma of the oil, that means that there’s oil in the air and can result in respiratory distress.

General guidelines for the use of essential oils in homes with your feline friends:

  • Do not apply or feed essential oils directly to cats, or leave oils in areas where they may come in direct contact. While some oils do have insect repellant capabilities and smell great, the risk of serious or fatal reactions in your cat is high. Your inquisitive pet will thank you.
  • If your cat has asthma, allergies, or another respiratory conditions, avoid all use of essential oils.
  • Keep cats out of rooms with a high concentration of essential oils. Kittens, elderly cats, or cats who have liver or respiratory problems should be kept out of any room where essential oil diffusers are used.

The following essential oils are poisonous to cats:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Oil of Sweet Birch
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pine oils
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang Ylang

Is My Dog at Risk if I Use Essential Oils?

A dogs’ sense of smell is much more keen than humans – this is very important to consider if you plan to use or diffuse essential oils in your home. Placing drops of lavender oil on your pet’s bedding may help calm them, or it may just cause further stress. Oils used incorrectly can also lead to changes in behaviour, adverse central nervous system effects, and respiratory problems.

Natural flea and tick treatments that use essential oils can be tricky. With a lack of data supporting the efficacy of these products, pet parents may be putting their dogs at risk for flea and tick-borne diseases.

If you plan to use essential oils with/on your dog, there is an easy way to do it safely: talk to our veterinary team. They will let you know which oils are potentially dangerous and provide you with information about safely using them in your home.

  • Keep all essential oils out of reach of curious dogs – ALWAYS. Fragrant smelling liquids may attract your dog and never leave essential oils unattended.
  • Do not apply pure essential oils topically or orally to your dog without consulting with your veterinarian first. Oils can be dangerous – especially tea tree oil – and there’s scant evidence that they’re effective.
  • If you have an active diffuser, make sure the oil you’re using is safe for your particular animal (more on this below), and air out the room before you let your dog back in.
  • Passive diffusers are generally safer, as long as your pet doesn’t knock them over. Generally speaking, the more dilute the oil, the safer it is…but always check with our vets first!

For our canine friends, toxic essential oils include:

  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Pine oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Sweet Birch oil
  • Ylang Ylang

Pet Exposure to Essential Oils.

What to do.

If you’re worried that your pet has been exposed, monitor them for symptoms. If they start having a negative reaction, bring your pet to the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic or an emergency animal clinic immediately.

Common symptoms of essential oil poisoning:

  • watery nose or eyes
  • redness of the lips, gums or skin
  • vomiting and drooling
  • difficulty breathing or panting; coughing or wheezing
  • lethargy, tremors or wobbliness
  • low heart rate
  • low body temperature

What to do before going to our vet clinic or emergency animal hospital:

  • If the product was inhaled, take them into fresh air immediately.
  • If ingested, Do NOT induce vomiting or give them activated charcoal. This puts your pet at risk because essential oils can stick to the lungs and airway leading to lung inflammation or airway obstruction.
  • Put the product and packaging in a sealed bag and bring to the clinic or emergency hospital.
  • If your pet gets oil on its skin or fur, wash it off as quickly as possible using hand dishwashing soap.
Conclusion

We believe the risks of using essential oils diffusers in your home outweigh the benefits, especially if you have curious pets in close proximity. Although we don’t outright discourage use of these oils, we do suggest you proceed with caution. The form of essential oil, dosage, and route of exposure are all important considerations.

If you have an emergency related to essential oil exposure outside of our clinic hours, we recommend the Animal Health Partners for emergency medical care.

And no matter which essential oil or diffuser you use, talk to our  veterinarians, always do your research, and exercise caution.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

Canine Lyme Disease

By Pet Health

Is My Dog at Risk of Canine Lyme Disease?

The short answer is a resounding ‘yes’. If you walk your dog in one of Toronto’s many wonderful series of wooded trail systems, you and your dog are susceptible. Canine Lyme Disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Toronto area, initiated by the bite of infected, Ixode scapularis, also known as Deer or Blacklegged ticks. While not all variations of ticks carry Lyme disease, populations of Blacklegged, Deer and American Dog ticks continue to expand in the GTA and other parts of Ontario.

Canine Lyme Disease Risk Assessment:
  1.   Have you seen or heard of ticks on people or pets in your area?
  2.   Is your dog likely to go into areas where ticks are found?
  3.   Do you live in an area with ticks and/or where there are cases of Lyme disease in animals or humans?
  4.   Are you likely to travel with your dog to areas where Lyme disease is present?
  5.   Have you forgotten to give monthly tick medication on time?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, protection against disease-carrying ticks – a small, chewy and tasty treat – for your dog is recommended.

What is Canine Lyme Disease?

The risk for you and your pet – specifically dogs – of contracting Lyme disease is increasingly on the rise across areas of Ontario.

Incidence of Canine Lyme Disease easily keeps pace with the increased incidence of the disease in humans, and probably more. Although likely true that the incidence of Lyme disease is higher in dogs than humans, there is no national or provincial system for capturing the incidence of Canine Lyme Disease.

Lacking a national or provincial system for tracking, reviewing the human data for Lyme disease is important as an indication of the exposure and potential infection in dogs.

  1. It is estimated that 50% of dogs are infected with borrelia burgdorferi in endemic disease areas.
  2. Nearly 75% of unvaccinated dogs in endemic areas will eventually test positive, and each year some will develop Lyme disease.
  3. Dogs are 50 to 100 times more likely than humans to come in contact with infected ticks.
  4. More dogs are likely infected with borellia burgdorferi than reported, as dogs will often show no signs of disease.
  5. Dogs spend more time roaming in areas infested with ticks – even in their own backyards – thus making threat of Lyme disease undeniably greater in dogs than in humans

* lymeinfo.ca

A Tick’s Life

Ticks don’t fly, jump or blow around with the wind. They are sluggish and lumbering and can be as small as a poppy seed. Bites are usually painless, so you or your pet may not know that there’s been a bite.

Three things make them so effective at what they do: Their small size, extreme patience and their amazing capacity to locate their host/prey.

Their purpose in life is to propagate their species and inadvertently pass diseases to those hosts they feed on. Ticks don’t feed often, but when they do, they can acquire disease agents from one host and pass it to another host at a later feeding.

Where are Ticks in Toronto Located?

Blacklegged ticks are found most often in forests and overgrown areas between wooded areas and open spaces. This makes for perfect breeding grounds in many parts of Toronto. Specifically,

  • The Rouge Valley, east of Toronto
  • Don Valley trail system

The Public Health Agency of Canada works with provincial authorities to identify where populations of infected blacklegged ticks have been established or are spreading.

This is the latest Ontario Lyme Disease Map from Public Health Ontario:

More information can be found here:

OAHN-Ticks-Lyme-Infographic-2020

In other parts of Ontario, known endemic (common) areas for Lyme disease are:

  • Point Pelee National Park
  • Rondeau and Turkey Point Provincial Parks
  • Long Point Peninsula, including Long Point Provincial Park
  • Wainfleet bog near Welland on the Niagara Peninsula
  • Prince Edward County
  • Thousand Islands National Park

“Expansion” areas of risk in Ontario include:

  • Kingston and surrounding areas along Lake Ontario
  • Along the St. Lawrence Valley to the border with Quebec and northeast towards Ottawa
  • Northwestern Ontario in the Lake of the Woods region
  • Pinery Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Huron

For the most up-to-date information, visit canada.ca/LymeDisease

What Should I Do if I Find Ticks on my Dog?

Removing the ticks within 24-36 hours will usually prevent infection. Using tweezers, grasp the head as close to your pets skin as possible and pull straight out. Wash the area with soap and water, disinfectant with alcohol or hand sanitizer.

If possible, save the tick in a Ziploc bag and record the approximate date of the bite. If symptoms develop, contact our team at the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic.

Can I Get Lyme Disease From My Dog?

No. Although pets – particularly dogs – can contract Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they can spread the infection directly to people. However, pets can carry infected ticks into homes and yards increasing your chance of getting bitten.

Here are some ways to protect yourself when venturing into wooded hiking trails with your dog:

  • Wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Pull your socks over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs
  • Wear light-coloured clothes to identify ticks easier
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET
  • Shower within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks
  • Do daily full-body check for ticks on yourself, your children and your pets

Can You Test My Dog For Lyme Disease?

Absolutely. Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the test we incorporate at our animal hospital for diagnosing Lyme disease is called the 4DX test. It’s a simple blood test that we run at our AAHA Accredited Cabbagetown animal hospital. This helps you get the answers you need in a timely fashion.

As the name implies, 4DX tests for four things: Heartworm, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Biological vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks, transmit all four of these diseases and may carry pathogens that can multiply within their bodies and be delivered to new hosts, usually by biting.

The test measures antibodies, meaning how your dog responds or reacts to an infection. A positive test result only indicates exposure to the bacteria. The infection could have occurred sometime in the past, and the immune system may have eliminated the bacteria without your dog ever showing symptoms.

If a positive test result is confirmed, our veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics and/or advise further, more specific testing.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs?

Lyme disease is, unfortunately, a relatively common canine illness.

The most common symptom is arthritic pain, accompanied by fatigue and fever. If you’re unsure if your pet has been exposed, contact our Cabbagetown veterinary team to discuss appropriate measures to protect or treat your pet.

Left untreated, symptoms can last for years and include recurring arthritis and neurological problems, kidney failure, numbness and paralysis. We are often asked if Lyme disease can be fatal to a dog? Although uncommon, fatalities from Lyme disease have been reported.

Typical symptoms in dogs include:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • reduced energy
  • lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
  • generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
  • swelling of joints

How is Canine Lyme Disease Treated and Prevented?

Because Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics, once an animal has been examined and tested positive. The antibiotic of choice for canines is doxycycline. Treatment lasts for up to 4 weeks.

The Cabbagetown Pet Clinic offers a comprehensive Cabbagetown Care Program, which includes a canine Lyme vaccination. This is the only way to assure dogs in endemic and expansion areas, such as Toronto, are protected.

What is the Best Way to Prevent Canine Lyme Disease?

  • Prevent ticks from transmitting disease with one of our veterinary-approved flea and tick medications.
  • Get your dog vaccinated.
  • Inspect your dog (and yourself!) for ticks after walks through wooded trails. Check your dog under their collar, under their tail, between their toes, under their legs and elbows.
  • Remove ticks immediately. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will be infected. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers and learn the proper method of tick removal.
  • At your next vet visit, ask our veterinarian to conduct a tick check during the exam. We’ll be able to find any you may have missed.
  • Keep your grass mowed and refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

Microchipping 101

By Pet Health

Here’s a staggering statistic:

One in three pets become lost at some point in their lives.

For anyone avoiding a utility pole, perusing a storefront window or has logged into any social media account, it is not uncommon to see a posting related to someone who has found a lost pet or an owner seeking a lost pet.

The figures from humane societies across North America are sobering and troubling. Millions (!) of pets go missing and are picked up by SPCAs on a daily basis. A significant portion of those lost pets are euthanized because their owners simply cannot be located.

Microchipping isn’t a magic bullet by any means, but it provides a simple, safe and quick means of permanently providing your pet with a distinctive form of identification.

Scroll down for the Top 10 Microchipping FAQ’s

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a large grain of rice.

The unit is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponder that carries a unique identification number. When scanned by a vet or shelter, it transmits the ID number and is read-only. There’s no battery, no power requirement, and no moving parts. The microchip is injected under the loose skin between your pet’s shoulder blades and can be done in your vet’s office. It’s no more invasive than a standard vaccination.

What it is not.

A microchip does not replace a collar or tag.

If your pet becomes lost, the first person she is likely to encounter will not be an animal shelter or vet clinic employee, but rather your neighbour down the street, or some random citizen who your confused and/or hungry pet took a liking to.

You can save everybody – including your pet – a lot of anxiety by making sure that your pet has a collar with your contact information on it. If the collar comes off, a microchip can serve as a good backup and help your pet find her way home.

Your pet’s microchip is not a GPS.

A microchip is not like a GPS tracker that can be used to find a pet’s location. Microchips don’t transmit information. When a scanner is passed over a microchip, it will show the chip’s code, which is linked to the owner’s contact information. Under no circumstance can the microchip be used to determine a pet’s location.

The microchip is useless if it’s not registered.

Unfortunately, many people believe that if their pet is microchipped, they can never get lost. Any animal shelter or vet will be able to pull up their contact information and call them directly.

Microchips don’t store your personal information – they store a unique code that is linked to that chip. If you don’t register that code and connect it with your contact information, then whoever scans that code will be no closer to finding you than if your pet was microchip-free.

How is a Microchip implanted ?

A needle is used to place a small chip – the size of a large grain of rice – under the animal’s loose skin, usually between the shoulder blades.

It takes seconds. No surgery or anesthesia is required – a microchip can be implanted during a routine veterinary office visit. It takes more time to do the paperwork than implant the microchip.

On the pain scale, it hurts about as much as having blood drawn. It’s a large needle. For that reason, a lot of people have it done when their pets are being spayed or neutered.

This procedure doesn’t need to be done by a veterinarian, although it’s recommended.

Five Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet.

  1. Identification collars and tags can break or get lost.
  2. Microchips are made to last the life of your pet – up to 25 years.
  3. Peace-of-mind. Successful scans result in reuniting you with your pet as soon as possible.
  4. Your pet gets lost, it is far less likely to be euthanized or re-homed.
  5. You have low-cost and reliable proof of ownership in cases of theft.

Hopefully, your pet will never go missing. But if it happens, you are giving yourself and your cherished pet the best chance of a swift, joyful reunion.

What does it cost ?

If you’re going to a vet just for a microchip, it’s probably going be in the range of $50 and $75. If you have it inserted while you’re having other treatments done – like a regular check up – then it may be a bit less in some cases.

The City of Toronto offers a microchip service via a mobile Chip Truck. This service is offered April through October and costs $25 for cats and $35 for dogs, plus $10 for a City of Toronto pet license.

Click below for times and locations.

https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/animals-pets/pets-in-the-city/chip-truck/

How will it help me get my pet back ?

It’s only going to help if someone picks up your pet and takes him to a shelter or veterinarian’s office to be scanned for a chip. Some people think chips are like a tracker or a GPS device, but a microchip only works if someone scans the chip.

FACT: Many more pets are microchipped than are properly registered. The paperwork needs to be complete and the chip has to be registered to you, complete with current contact information.

What kind of information is contained in the microchip and can my pet be tracked ? Will it store my pet's medical information ?

The microchips presently used in pets ONLY contain identification numbers. No, the microchip is not a GPS device and cannot track your animal if it gets lost. Although the present technology microchip itself does not contain your pet’s medical information or track it’s whereabouts, it may become a standard feature in the next-generation chips.

What are the risks associated my pet ? Could there be microchip complications for my dog or cat?

Yes, but the number is extraordinarily small. The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) maintains a database of adverse reactions to microchips. Since the database was started in 1996, over 4 million animals have been microchipped and only 391 (.01%) had any reported adverse reactions.

Migration of the microchip from its original implantation site is the most common problem reported. Other reported issues, such as failure of the microchip, hair loss, infection, swelling, and tumor formation, were reported in much lower numbers.

Should I be concerned about my privacy if my pet is microchipped ?

The information you provide to the manufacturer’s microchip registry will be used to contact you in the event your pet is found and their microchip is scanned. The only information about you contained in the database is the information that you choose to provide when you register the chip or update your information.

If that information is missing or incorrect, your chances of getting your pet back are dramatically reduced. 

What is an “ISO” standard microchip ?

In the early 2000’s, not all microchips could be read by scanners. Since then, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has approved and recommended a global standard for microchips. The global standard is intended to create an identification system that is consistent worldwide.

For example, if a dog was implanted with an ISO standard microchip in the Canada travels to Europe with its owners and they become separated, the ISO standard scanners in Europe would be able to read the dog’s microchip.

Does a microchipping really help to get my lost pet home ?

Yes. A study (Lord et al, JAVMA, July 15, 2009) of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters across the United States showed the following:

  • Dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were reunited to their owners 52.2% of the time. Almost 2.5x better success rate!
  • Cats without microchips were returned to their owners a lowly 1.8% of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5% of the time. More than 20x more likely to be reunited!

Can a microchip replace identification tags and collars ?

No. Microchips are great for permanent identification that is tamper-proof, but nothing replaces a collar with up-to-date identification tags.

If a pet is wearing a collar with tags when it’s lost, it’s often a very quick process to read the tag and contact the owner. If a pet is not wearing a collar and tags, or if the collar is lost or removed, then the presence of a microchip might be the only way the pet’s owner can be found.

What maintenance is required after implantation?

Essentially none. The microchips themselves do not require ongoing care, although you do need to keep your contact information up-to-date in the database.

In the event you notice any irregularities near the site of the microchip, such as oozing or swelling, contact your veterinarian.

Are microchips foolproof ?

It is not an infallible system. Although rare, microchips can fail and become undetectable. Improper scanning technique can also lead to failure to detect a microchip.

Some of the animal-related factors that can interfere with the microchip detection include:

  • animals that can’t stay still or struggle while being scanned
  • the presence of long, knotted hair at or near the microchip site
  • excessive fat deposits in the area of implantation
  • a metal collar

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

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AAHA Accreditation

By Pet Health

Have you heard of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

Probably not. And why would you?

Maybe you think the AAHA is some backwater acronym for a minor hockey league in Manitoba. Perhaps you’ve read a pet health blog or website that mentioned AAHA Accreditation. Or, maybe you’re familiar with the red-and-white logo you’ve seen at the entrance to the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic.

What do we know – or care – about AAHA Accreditation?

Unlike human hospitals, veterinary hospitals in Canada do NOT require to be accredited by any specific regulatory body. AAHA Accredited animal hospitals are the ONLY facilities that choose to be evaluated on over 900(!) quality standards that go above and beyond basic provincial regulations.

AAHA-Accreditation = Superiour Care + Better Value + Healthier Outcomes

What is the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

The Standard of Veterinary Excellence.

Established in 1933, the AAHA has focused on promoting high-quality standards for the constantly progressing segment of small-animal practice through accreditation and other initiatives.

The original directors were convinced that it was necessary to provide better protocols and methods than were generally available for small-animal practices.

That philosophy is still alive today as a guiding principle of the AAHA. It has helped inspire and sustain the growth and development, not only of the AAHA but also of the practice of small-animal medicine throughout Canada and the United States.

AAHA’s MISSION.

“Enhance the abilities of veterinarians to provide quality medical care to companion animals.”

 “Enable veterinarians to successfully conduct their practices and maintain their facilities with high standards of excellence.”

 “Meet the public’s needs as they relate to the delivery of small-animal veterinary medicine.”

The AAHA Standards of Accreditation were developed to push this mission and has established itself as the leader in developing benchmarks of excellence, business practice standards, informative publications, and educational programs – all designed to help veterinary practices thrive.

AAHA’s VISION.

“Seeks to lead the profession in the provision of the highest quality of care for companion animals by improving standards of care, championing accreditation, and supporting our member practices in all aspects of this pursuit.”

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is the ONLY organization to certify animal veterinary hospitals across Canada and the US. Today, more than 4500 practices (12-15% of all veterinary practices) are AAHA-accredited.

More information about the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) can be found at aaha.org

Why AAHA Accreditation is Important to our Cabbagetown Pet Clinic Clients.

At the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic, we believe becoming an AAHA-accredited veterinary practice wasn’t about prestige or status – it’s about operating at the highest level. It’s a way to force ourselves to be the best we can be – our dedicated staff is constantly looking to make things better.

AAHA Accreditation serves a variety of purposes.

  • It recognizes and quantitatively certifies excellent veterinary practices in Canada and the United States.
  • It helps good veterinary hospitals become great ones by bringing out the maximum potential of the practice. AAHA provides the framework and support of running a highly professional practice.
  • Practices want the best for their patients and pet owners, and AAHA provides resources for our team to deliver the best medicine.
  • It serves as an excellent recruitment tool for us – it acts as a beacon to attract the best-of-the-best candidates who are dedicated to operating at the highest standards.

The accreditation process is challenging, rigorous, voluntary, and not guaranteed. When we made the promise to step up to become accredited, we were making a statement that our practice is committed to excellence to our clients in Cabbagetown.

To become AAHA Accredited, we were required to undergo a rigorous evaluation process to ensure we met ALL of the protocols prescribed by the AAHA.

These include these areas:

  • Antimicrobials
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Diabetes Management
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Infection Control, Prevention and Biosecurity
  • Mentoring and Continuing Education
  • Nutritional Assessment
  • Oncology
  • Pain Management
  • Preventative Healthcare
  • Senior and End-of-Life Care
  • Weight Management
  • Canine and Feline Life Stages
  • Anesthesia
  • Dental Care
  • Medical Records Management
  • Emergency/Urgent Care

To maintain accredited status, we undergo a wide-ranging, on-site evaluation every three years to certify that we are compliant with the AAHA’s mandatory standards.

The Case Against AAHA Accreditation ?

We’ve heard the argument that the stringent AAHA requirements are too rigorous and costly to put into practice, and that those costs get passed onto our clients.

Is there a downside?

No. We would say it’s a commitment to a higher standard by the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic and our clients to go the extra mile and ensure their pets receive best-in-class treatment and preventative care. If that’s considered a downside, we’ll accept that. By the way, our pricing structure is reviewed regularly and is always competitive across the entire Toronto market.

Three Reasons Animal Hospitals may NOT seek AAHA Accreditation.
  1. The goals are too burdensome and time-consuming for vet clinics that are limited by space concerns, such as those in big-city, high-expense storefronts.

We recognize this difficulty, but this did not impede our cozy and welcoming facility in downtown Toronto in pursuit of accreditation.

  1. AAHA Accreditation standards discriminate against older, established clinics where the quality of care is excellent, but the structural changes necessary for pre-1980 practices are cost-prohibitive.

So, it costs too much? If a practice is still operating with policies and procedures instituted 30 years ago, it seems hard to fathom (but is still possible) that your pet is receiving the latest advances in technological and preventative care.

When purchased in 2008, Cabbagetown Pet Clinic made the commitment to invest in the process to ensure the clinic was prepared to meet the challenges of the stringent AAHA procedure. We were accredited in 2012.

  1. Some believe the process is impractical, countering that the vast majority of the pet-owning populace has no idea what it means for an animal hospital to have obtained AAHA Accreditation.

This may be true in some cases, but clients do their homework nowadays and capable of doing research that will put them and their pets in the best possible situation. If more hospitals (currently 12-15% are accredited) worked harder to gain certification, then clients would come to recognize what AAHA means when they see the plaque on the door or the logo on the website.

Eventually, there will be a tipping point – likely initiated by an increasingly highly educated client base – where the majority of practices feel it’s in their best interest to welcome the extra pressure to perform and meet this high AAHA bar. Until then, we will proudly continue our ongoing obligation to meeting (and exceeding) the latest AAHA requirements.

As more practices get onboard with AAHA, we feel that professional practice standards in the veterinarian community will rise and pets everywhere will receive better care.

AAHA and the Future.

Since AAHA was founded, everything they represent has been done has been with one goal in mind: to help veterinary professionals provide exceptional care for companion animals.

We share this goal.

At the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic, we are driven to ensure that your pet is happy, healthy, and has access to the latest innovations in veterinary medicine so you and your pet can enjoy a long, wonderful life together.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

Farley Foundation [2021]

By Fundraising

Our clinic –  located in the heart of Cabbagetown – is dedicated to providing the utmost care to all of our clients and patients regardless of financial status.

The Farley Foundation

If you have pets, you already know the joy and love they bring to your life. Now science is confirming just how good they really are for you – both mentally and physically. Pets are apparently great oxytocin boosters!

Recent studies (here, here and here) have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. They can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.

However, there may come a time when some people face an awful truth. Their much-loved pet needs a critical procedure or treatment and they lack the means to pay for treatment.

This places the pet owner in a distressing predicament that has only two possible outcomes – neither of them good. The choice is stark – decline non-elective treatment, or possibly euthanize.

Not only is the health of a beloved pet at risk, so is the potential health of the owner.

What is the Farley Foundation?

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) established the Farley Foundation – a registered charity – in 2002 because they (and we) believe there needs be a potential third option – to get financial help for those who need it. The goal is to help pet owners who aren’t able to afford necessary or emergency veterinary care for their beloved pets.

The funds distributed by the Farley Foundation are a direct result of OVMA-member veterinarians fundraising efforts, big-hearted donations from the public and sponsors.

The Cabbagetown Pet Clinic has been actively involved with this growing initiative since 2012 and has raised thousands of dollars through bottle drives, garage and bake sales and raffles. This success could not have been accomplished without incredible support from Cabbagetown residents, veterinary partners and the local business community. In turn, these civic-minded Cabbagetown citizens and businesses have helped support many local pet lovers in need.

Who is Farley?

The Farley Foundation name pays homage to one of Canada’s most renowned pets – Farley, the Old English sheep dog – from Lynn Johnston’s internationally acclaimed comic strip “For Better or For Worse”. Her comic strip chronicles the life of the Patterson family, and has appeared in more than 2,000 newspapers worldwide.

In 2001, Lynn Johnston generously allowed one of her most beloved characters – Farley – to be the face of the Foundation to help promote it’s philanthropic efforts. Famously, the treasured Farley character dies after saving a family member who had fallen into a raging river.

Farley’s image helps to promote awareness of the Foundation, making it possible for thousands of low-income pet owners to continue the relationship with their pets who mean the world to them.

Who the Farley Foundation helps.

The Farley Foundation assists those who are struggling financially to pay for veterinary care for their pets. Pet owners who cannot afford medical care for their sick or injured pet are encouraged to talk with their veterinarian about the availability of Farley Foundation funding, if they fall into one of the categories below:

  • Seniors receiving the Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
  • Disabled individuals receiving the Ontario Disability Support Payment (ODSP) or the Canada Pension Plan Disability Payment (CPP Disability).
  • Individuals receiving assistance through the Ontario Works Program.
  • Persons with an annual income of less than $25,000.
  • Supportive housing for seniors, retirement homes or long-term care facilities with live-in pets.
  • Women at risk of abuse who are entering a registered Ontario women’s shelter and who are participating in OVMA’s SafePet Program.

If the above requirements are met, funding is available to subsidize the treatment of any animal whose primary purpose is companionship, without restriction on the species of animal. If the pet owner doesn’t meet these criteria, they’re not eligible to receive Farley funding.

What’s covered with a Farley Foundation Donation… and what’s not.

The Farley Foundation provides funding for non-elective procedures or treatments such as surgery (including some dental surgery), diagnostics and hospitalization.

It is important to understand that there are a couple caveats associated with this financial assistance program.

The Farley Foundation does not deal directly with pet owners. Pet owners interested in the program are required apply for assistance through their regular veterinary clinic. Pet owners must have a pre-existing veterinary-client-patient relationship with the practice from which they’re seeking funding. Status updates on the application are also handled through their clinic.

Ineligible treatments include:

  • Routine physical examinations and vaccinations.
  • Spays and Neuters. (unless it is deemed essential to the continued health of the animal)
  • General Prophylactic Dental Care.
  • Food and Medications.

To date, the Farley Foundation has disbursed more than $4 million to assist nearly 10,000 pet owners in need. Donations in excess of $25.00 can be claimed as a charitable deduction.

When you donate to the Farley Foundation, you can change two lives: the life of a real pet and the life of their owner. You’re helping to preserve and protect a bond of love and devotion, and giving hope to those who depend the most on their pets for love and companionship.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

DCM and Grain-Free Diets for Dogs

By Pet Health

What you need to know about grain-free diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

It’s natural to get concerned anytime that we see a news headline implicating a negative relationship between our pet’s health and wellbeing and their diet.

At Cabbagetown Pet Clinic, we have been fielding many calls about a recent report released by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in the United States (dog food manufacturers are NOT regulated in Canada). This study was initiated after the FDA received 515 reports of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs between Jan. 1, 2014 and April 30, 2019 which appeared to link dog breeds not typically susceptible to DCM genetically, and diets predominately labelled and marketed as “grain free”.

The report details FDA’s ongoing investigation into a “potential connection between certain diets and cases of canine heart disease”. We feel its important try and set the record straight and to help reduce some of the anxiety surrounding its recent findings.

You can read the full report here:

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

At this time, there is no verifiable evidence that these ingredients are a primary cause of DCM, but dog lovers should be aware of this alert and it’s ongoing investigation.

Q&A for DCM and Grain-free Dog Food.

What is Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) ?

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious disease affecting the heart.

Canine DCM occurs when the muscle wall of a dog’s heart thins, thereby weakening it and making it more difficult to pump blood. Congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death can result.

What Causes DCM ?

There a many factors that can lead to the development of canine DCM. Genetics appear to play a central role in the predisposition some dog breeds (Dobermans and Boxers have had specific genetic mutations identified) which makes them more susceptible to develop DCM.

One factor of concern with respect to nutrition, which is the focus of this report, is a deficiency of some amino acids (namely taurine and carnitine) or other nutritional components in the diet which may be causing an increase in cases of DCM in dog breeds not known to have genetic predisposition.

The FDA has not come to a definitive conclusion with respect to why “grain-free” dog food diets are suspect. The only common relationship that investigators at the FDA have observed is “grain-free” diets that use peas, lentils and other legumes and/or potatoes listed as one of the main ingredients appear to be associated with an increased incidence of canine DCM. There are currently many theories, but no conclusive answers clarifying how these diets can intensify this condition.  

How do I know if my dog has DCM ?

The indicators of DCM differ depending on the breed of dog and at what stage the disease has progressed.

Symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • pale gums
  • increased heart rate
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • periods of weakness
  • fainting
  • abdominal distension

Abnormal respiratory signs are most common initial complaint.

What should I do if my dog eats a grain-free, legume-based or other implicated diets ?

As a general rule of thumb, the best thing you can do for your dog’s dietary health is to consult your veterinarian. Together you can weigh the pros and cons of your dog’s diet and, if necessary, monitor your dog for signs of DCM. A discussion with your veterinarian will result in a tailored recommendation that reflects your dog’s needs and medical history.

To be clear, the FDA is not advising dietary changes based solely on the information gathered to date.

How did the FDA compile the list of brands ?

Of the dog food brands on the FDA’s list, 91% of the products were labeled grain-free and did not contain corn, soy, wheat, rice, barley or other grains, while 93% contained peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans, or potatoes. The common thread appears to be legumes, pulses (seeds of legumes), and/or potatoes as main ingredients in the food.

The FDA does not believe these cases can be explained simply by whether or not they contain grains, or by brand or manufacturer. Brands cited by the FDA most frequently (as of April 30, 2019) that had at least ten reports include: 

Currently, no therapeutic diets manufactured by Hills, Purina or Royal Canin have been associated with cases of diet-associated DCM.

Has the FDA recalled any of these brands ?

No. It is important to note that the FDA has not recalled any of the brands mentioned above. The potential connection between these foods and canine DCM has not been definitively confirmed, and there’s not enough conclusive data indicating that the aforementioned brands need to be removed from the market.

What’s Next ?

If your dog is showing possible signs of DCM, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If the indicators are severe enough and your veterinarian is not available, obtain emergency veterinary care.

To conclude, the FDA is continuing to investigate and gather more information in an effort to identify whether there is a specific dietary link to development of DCM and will provide updates to the public as information develops.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.