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Dr. Zach Jones

Wildlife Woes – Our Love/Hate Relationship with Nature’s Beasts

By Uncategorized


Don’t get us wrong – we love wildlife animals! The problem is that they don’t have access to regular healthcare like your cat or dog does. Many of them harbour a plethora of ailments like infectious diseases and/or parasites that our domesticated friends can be at risk of contracting. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the issues we feel are most important and how to keep your pets safe.


Rabies is a fatal viral infection affecting the brain and spinal cord of both people and pets. It is commonly spread by bats, racoons, foxes, and skunks via a bite. Although Rabies is rare amongst domestic animals (only 1 case in Ontario last year), wildlife cases are common. In 2016, there were 288 cases of confirmed rabies in Ontario. Pets who are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations are considered protected against this infection – so keep your pets protected!  Rabies vaccination in pets is also recommended by our veterinarians because the infection is a serious human public health concern in people too.

Above is a map of all positive cases of Rabies in both wildlife and domesticated animals in 2016 (image courtesy of Government of Ontario)

Above is a map of all positive cases of Rabies in both wildlife and domesticated animals in 2016 (image courtesy of Government of Ontario)


Leptospirosis is a life-threatening bacterial infection affecting both people and pets. In Ontario this infection is spread in the urine of an infected mammal -often a raccoon- but can also be transmitted by rats/mice, skunks, deer, and farm animals. Every year in Toronto there are numerous fatal cases of leptospirosis in pets. The ‘Lepto’ infection is best prevented through annual vaccination. Vaccination against leptospirosis in at-risk dogs (ie dogs who frequent parks, those who spend more time outdoors/in water, or those living in the same environment as racoons/skunks) has been shown to essentially eliminate risk of infection.

Parasites are by far the most common wildlife infection spread to our pets. Ectoparasites (ecto=outside the body) such as fleas are very common in wildlife animals and most cases in pets originate from wildlife! Fleas themselves can also spread other internal parasites like tapeworms too – yuck! Other endoparasites (endo=internal) like roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms are also common in cats and dogs and can be spread by wild mammals such as racoons and rodents. Because of the sheer number and variety of parasites that can be transmitted from wildlife to pets, there is no single preventative measure for all ecto/endoparasites. The best way to keep your pet safe is regular veterinary examinations, yearly fecal test for internal parasites, and a discussion with your vet about options for parasite prevention tailored to your pet’s lifestyle.

Wildlife Encounters
Violent wildlife encounters are on the rise in the Etobicoke and greater Toronto area as the lines between urban and rural regions are blurred. Bites from mammals such as raccoons (and recently coyotes in the city) are not only a concern for infectious diseases but also due to the trauma they cause.  In some cases these bites can be life-threatening – this is a particular concern for small dogs and cats. In addition to bites, sprays from skunks can be particularly harmful if they occur in or around the eyes. Although less common in urban areas, porcupine quills are also a concern as they have the potential to migrate to deep tissues and vital structures within the body.

So you may be thinking, “How do I keep my pet safe from all these wildlife dangers?!”.

Let’s keep it simple. Our recommendations are as follows:

1.) Bring your pet in for yearly check-ups and talk to your vet about your pet’s lifestyle, risk assessment, and vaccinations.
2.) At least once a year submit fecal specimens for routine parasite screening.
3.) Use your best judgement and minimize any potential for wildlife contact, especially for small dogs and cats.

Dr. Zach Jones

Royal York Animal Hospital 4222 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6


dr annelle

Let’s talk Worms — what you should know about protecting your Pet & your People family !

By Uncategorized

Intestinal parasites /Internal parasites or “worms” are small organisms that may live in the stomach, intestines and other internal organs of your pet dog or cat.  Even though they may not be easily seen, they can pose a threat to the health of both the pet and your family! “Worms” are very much a concern for pets and the families with whom they share their lives – and they aren’t going away anytime soon!   Reducing the risk of “worm” infection is an important part of your pet’s health care.  Your pet may also carry parasites which pose a threat to their human family.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal Parasites

For over 10 years now, Royal York Animal Hospital has conducted its own annual study to track the number of clinically “healthy” pets that tested positive for intestinal parasites. (and keep in mind that many of the affected pets were  asymptomatic at the time). Our 2016 numbers indicate that of all the stool tests submitted to our laboratory, 5.1%  tested positive for intestinal parasites (worms).  Common results included parasites such as Giardia, roundworm and coccidiosis, however we also were able to detect cases of Baylisascaris procyonis (a raccoon roundworm transmissible to pets but also very high zoonotic potential to humans) and even Aelurostrongylus (cat lungworm)…YIKES!! Despite this, we were ecstatic to see that over time, our practice has made great strides towards decreasing the infection rate of the pets in our care  since our study first began — the 2006 the positive rate was 10.1%!! We hope to continue to bring the number down even further with time, and in order to move towards this goal, the Veterinary Medical Team at Royal York Animal Hospital continues to recommend the following for ALL dogs and cats:

  •  Routine standardized deworming for ALL puppies and kittens as advised and overseen by the governing bodies of both the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP)
  •  Annual fecal (stool) testing for ALL dogs and cats
  •  Deworming ALL outdoor cats 4 times per year (once every 3 months) –particularly those who hunt or have regular contact with other animals outdoors
  •   Prevention of the most common intestinal parasites during peak season (May thru November) with monthly Revolution dosing

 Working together, we can keep our pets healthy and happy — and intestinal parasite free!! The Worms and Germs blog from the University of Guelph is a great resource.  Check it out!

Dr. Annelle Valentin Royal York Animal Hospital 4222 Dundas St. West Etobicoke, Ontario   M8X 1Y6


Heatstroke is a Pet Emergency – how to recognize it and what to do

By Dogs

Most pet owners are aware of the dangers of leaving their pet in a hot car or taking their dog for a run on a sweltering summer day.  However, heatstroke is not limited to those situations by a long shot.

Consider this story:Baker

It was a lovely early summer day. The temperature was hovering around 70 F (21 C) and Baker was heading out to walk to the park with her owner. Baker is an active 5 year old female/spayed Labrador Retriever. Like most Labs, Baker is ball crazy and when they reached the park a game of fetch the ball ensued. But on this day, after chasing & fetching the ball several times , Baker seemed very reluctant to return the ball to her owner and they decided to return home. Her owner tried to get the ball from her but Baker insisted on carrying the ball in her mouth, all the way home, which was a fairly long way.

When they got home, Baker. appeared to be panting excessively. She went into the backyard where she collapsed and could not get up.
Baker was rushed to Royal York Animal Hospital.  By the time she got to the hospital, Baker could not stand. Her abdomen was very sore and her body temperature was 105.4 F (40.8C) Normal body temperature for a dog is 100 – 102 F (37.7 – 38.8 C)

What do you think was wrong with Baker?

Care needs to be taken that your dog does not over exert themselves when it is warm......and occasionally take the ball away to help them cool down

Care needs to be taken that your dog does not over exert themselves when it is warm……and occasionally take the ball away to help them cool down

If you guessed Heat Stroke you would be correct but this is not be most pet owner’s first thought and they would not recognize this as an ermergency.

Baker was admittted to the hospital and the Royal York Veterinary Team performed emergency life saving procedures.  Radiographs (xrays) were taken as Baker’s abdomen was so sore  & painful to touch.  The radiographs showed that her stomach and intestines were full of air. This would have been caused from extra swallowing from carrying the ball home in her mouth. Due to the fact that dogs perspire through their tongues the ball had made it difficult for Baker to get a good air supply when she was already over-heated.

Baker’s body temperature had then started to climb dangerously high. As her body temperature climbed, essentially the body organs start to “bake”.

Dogs that are very active can over-heat in milder temperatures especially if they are continually holding objects in their mouths

Dogs that are very active can over-heat in milder temperatures especially if they are continually holding objects in their mouths

Luckily Baker did not sustain permanent organ damage as her owner was quick to act and Royal York Animal Hospital was quick to cool Baker’s temperature with cold water towels, icepacks, IV fluids and a medication called Sulcrate to help with any secondary hemmorhagic enteritis. (internal bleeding).

The excessive gas in the stomach would have predisposed Baker to  Stomach Bloat (a secondary emergency and often fatal condition)  but this was averted in time and BAKER MADE A FULL RECOVERY.

This is a particular cautionary tale as the weather was only warm but not hot BUT Baker is an energetic, ball chasing dog.

Extra care also needs to be taken if your dog is a “flat faced” breed (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers etc) because their airways are already often compromised and they can become overcome with the heat very quickly.Dogs that are very active can over-heat in milder temperatures especially if they are continually holding objects in their mouths

Bottom line: Know your dog and pay attention: If its too hot for you to go for a long or brisk walk or play in the park then it is definitely too hot for your dog and could be fatal. Also, if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke don’t delay — cover your dog with a cold, wet towel and transport immediately to your nearest Veterinary Hospital.

Rosie chillin' on the deck  on a summer day.....water and A/C close by.

Rosie chillin’ on the deck on a summer day…..water and A/C close by.

Sadly, we see quite a few of this types of emergencies during the summer and all don’t end quite as happily.

Dr. John Allen

Royal York Animal Hospital  416-231-9293

4222 Dundas St West, Etobicoke, Ontario

Dr. Lilla Yan

Ear Infections: Itchy, painful and sometimes re-occurring (especially in the summer)

By Dogs


Ears infections are, unfortunately, one of the most common medical concerns we see at Royal York Animal Hospital.  It can be very frustrating for a  family to watch their pet scratch their ears or shake their head in pain. Some pets are so bothered by an ear infection, that they scratch their ears day and night to the point of bleeding.

Dog Ear Infections



How would I know if my pet has an ear infection?

How to Prevent your Pets from Ear Infections

You may see your pet scratching at one (or both) ears excessively; or you may notice an odour or discharge from the ears; sometimes you would only notice your pet shaking their head excessively.

What happens when you take your pet to the Veterinarian for a possible ear infection?

Dr. Luisa Alvarez uses an otoscope to look deep into Jasmine's ear canals.

Dr. Luisa Alvarez uses an otoscope to look deep into Jasmine’s ear canals.

When you bring your pet to Royal York Animal Hospital for a possible ear infection, the Veterinarian does an otoscopic exam (looks into the ear canals with an instrument called an otoscope).




What is the Veterinarian looking for?

1. Is there discharge in the ear(s)?   It’s very common that a pet owner notices scratching at one ear but often there is an infection in the other ear also.

2. Is the ear canal swollen or red?  If so we may need to prescribe medication to reduce the swelling to open up the ear canal, so that ear medication can actually flow down the ear canal and treat the infection properly.

3. Is there any signs of a foreign material or a growth in the ear, that maybe is the cause of the ear infection in the first place?

The next step would be to do ear swab cytology. This means we use a long Q-tip looking stick called a swab  and take a sample of the debris in the ear canal.  The swab is stained with a special dye and examined under the microscope.  How to Clean Dogs EarsFrom this, we can tell what type of infection your pet has.

For example, it could be a yeast or a bacterial infection which are treated with different medications.

Or maybe it could be ear mites that have caused all of the itching?

Based on what type of infection it is, we would prescribe medications accordingly.


How do I apply the medications or ear cleaners ?

We have an excellent video on our website that shows  how to clean a pet’s ears: How to Clean Your Dogs Ears (Hecktor and Heidi)

    • We usually recommend having your pet rechecked after about two weeks of treatment (depending on the type of ear infection).
    • Pets often are often much more comfortable within a few days of treatment BUT it’s very important for them to be rechecked.

Why does the Veterinarian need to Recheck your pet’s ears?

1.  Pets’ ear canals are very deep.  Sometimes the outside looks good, but when we look down their ear canal with an otoscope we realize the deeper end of the ear canal is still infected. Left untreated, it will likely come back as a more difficult infection to get rid of. Not to mention the discomfort your pet will be in with a chronic ear infection.

2.  Sometimes as treatment goes on, the type of infection changes, and we may need to adjust their medications accordingly.


Why do some dogs get recurrent ear infections?

For pets with recurrent ear infections, there usually is an underlying cause.

1. Allergies are a common and make the ear canal moist, itchy and red, which is a perfect environment for bugs to grow

2. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is another possibility.

Just like in people, allergies are a complicated disease to treat, and there’s rarely a ‘cure’.

Dogs that have recurrent ear infections may need a long-term maintenance treatment, such as a special solution instilled in their ears every day, to prevent ear infections.   If the cause of recurrent ear infections is a growth inside the ear canal, the pet usually need the growth surgically removed to prevent recurrent ear infections.

How do I know if the treatment is working?

    • The most important thing to remember when using an ear medication/cleaner is: you need to put enough in!
    • A pet’s ear canal is quite deep, and a common reason for treatment failure is not putting in enough medication.  When this happens the deeper end of the ear canal is not getting treated.
    • When your Pet is prescribed ear medication or ear cleaner, you should squeeze into the ear until you can see the liquid come up the ear canal.  This ensures that you’ve applied enough.  Next, close their ear flap and massage the base of the ear to ensure the liquid reaches the deeper end of the canal  ( or until you hear a ‘squishy’ sound). Pets often immediately want to shake their heads to shake out the excess so be prepared by either being outside or in a place where you are ok with them doing that!

As usual, the entire Veterinary Medical Care Team at Royal York Animal Hospital, is always available to answer your questions!

Dr. Lilla Yan



Dr. Suzie Jerabek

Dog Days of Summer – Skin problems & Hot spots

By Dog Grooming, Dog Hot Spots

Summer is here at last!

At Royal York Animal Hospital that means….… dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and other thick coated dogs come in for their summer groom and trim.  Why trim a Golden Retriever?? To deter the dreaded Hot Spot of course!!

Summer Pet Tips for Dogs

Golden Retriever

A Hot Spot is an area of localized skin irritation that can appear quite superficial or it can progress deep into the skin layers. The affected skin area is initially quite itchy and uncomfortable for your pet. The affected areas appear red and wet. These areas can be the size of a dime to the size of a basketball depending on how much self mutilization has occurred. Usually hairloss is noted and the area can be very painful for your pet. Ninety Nine % of Hot Spots are due to allergies.

Hot Spot on Dogs

Localized Hot Spot

To treat a Hot Spot, the areas are shaved to stop the spreading….like a forest fire, a trench is made to stop the flames from spreading hence shaving the area larger than the wound, stops the wet skin discharge from spreading it to the surrounding areas.

Hot Spot on Dogs

Here you can see RYAH Technicians start to shave the hot spot which at first appears to be fairly localized.

Dog Hot Spots Etobicoke, Ontario

After completely shaving and treating the affected area, you can see how large this hot spot actually was. Poor Angus!

The areas are then washed or disinfected with an Iodine based liquid. Our Veterinarians may dispense a topical ointment to apply to the area twice daily as well as an accompanying oral antibiotic to dry the skin lesions. A head collar , T-shirt or light wrap may be recommended to detour the aggressive licking/scratching that may ensue.

Hot Spots on Dogs in Etobicoke, Ontario

Angus all decked out with his head collar ready to go home — and feeling a lot more comfortable and a lot less itchy !

The skin wounds take about 2 weeks to heal and hair growth is complete in 12 – 16 weeks. It is true that once your pet has had a Hot Spot they can  certainly get another one It is thought that dogs who are not completely dried after swimming or bathing may be predisposed to Hot Spots but we also get a run of dogs with the dramatic weather changes ( I. e  in May when the temperatures increase and then decrease rapidly)  and the dog hasn’t had time to climatize. Royal York Animal Hospital in Etobicoke, Ontario   At the first sign of itching/scratching or excessive licking of an area…..please contact Royal York Animal Hospital ASAP…..The sooner Hot Spot is diagnosed and treated, the sooner your pet will be comfortable again.

Happy Summer!

Dr. Suzie Jerabek

Royal York Animal Hospital 4222 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6 416-231-9293   .

Dr. Lilla Yan

Common household items that are poisonous to your pet

By Uncategorized

There are many household items that are poisonous to your pet.  Here are some of the most common ones and definetley the ones we at Royal York Animal Hospital see the most often.  Even the most diligent owner cannot completely poison -proof their home as dogs and cats have wiley ways and are known to get into things and eat things that are not necessarily food items!

However, along with owner due diligence and KNOWING what is poisonous means that veterinary care can be sought immediately if needed.

The most important thing to remember for all toxicities:  If you think your pet has ingested a potential toxin CALL Royal York Animal Hospital at 416-231-9293 ASAP !  We are open from 7am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.  ( after hours Call  416-920-2002)   Immediately after the ingestion we can often make your pet vomit or pump their stomach so that very little is absorbed.  Once a pet starts showing symptoms of the toxicity, they likely have absorbed most of the toxins so it is too late to pump their stomach.

Check out for amazing and detailed information about toxins.


Chocolate is Toxic To Pets


One of the most common toxins we see in dogs is chocolate. If enough is ingested, a dog can show various symptoms including vomiting/diarrhea, heart abnormalities, and the most severe ones can even have neurological abnormalities such as seizures. Symptoms don’t usually show up until hours after chocolate ingestion. Chocolate toxicity is dose dependent, which means that the more a dog ingests and the smaller the dog is, the more severe their symptoms will be. Also, remember that the darker and more bitter the chocolate is, the more cocoa it would contain, and therefore the more toxic it is.

Rat poison or Rodenticide

Pet Toxins

Rodenticide or Rat Poison


Rat poison ingestion in dogs is also very common. Rat poisons are designed to taste good to rodents, however many dogs also find that to be true. Rat poison toxicity is also dose dependent, but unlike chocolate toxicity, symptoms from rat poison toxicity may not show up for days after ingestion. Rat poisons cause internal bleeding, so symptoms may include bleeding gums and bruising, however if bleeding is internal a dog may only show lethargy (tiredness) or may suddenly die.



Xylitol (found in gums, candies, sweeteners etc)Xylitol toxicity is becoming more common nowadays. Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener. It’s found in some chewing gums (eg. Trident), mints, candies, pudding/snacks, oral rinses, toothpastes, supplements (vitamins, fish oils), etc. So why can humans tolerate xylitol well but dogs can’t? It’s because xylitol doesn’t stimulate insulin secretion in human but it does stimulate a massive insulin secretion in dogs. This insulin secretion can cause a dog’s blood sugar to drop to a dangerously low level (hypoglycemia). Xylitol ingestion can also cause a dog’s liver to fail. Xylitol is estimated to be about 100 times more toxic compared to chocolate in dogs. Depending on the product, a few pieces of gums can kill a small dog.

House Hold Pet Toxins

Xylitol (found in gum, candies and sweetners)

  • Caffeine pills. Caffeine toxicity is similar to chocolate toxicity in dogs. However as you can imagine, caffeine pills contain much more caffeine than a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar. Often, dogs that get into caffeine pills ingest a large amount, which can have detrimental effect on their heart and brain. A dog that have ingested caffeine pills may show symptoms such as restlessness, vomiting, high heart rate, tremors or even seizures.
Medications Toxic to Pets


  • Humane Medications: Unfortunately sometimes we see dogs that chew open their owner’s medication bottle, or scoop up a pill that was dropped on the floor before the owner could get to it. Medications vary and so are the symptoms they may cause. When in doubt, give us a call.

Acetaminophen (found in Tylenol and some cold/flu medications) Anti-inflammatory medications (Motrin, Aleve, Voltaren, Aspirin etc)

Cats are 7-10 times more sensitive to acetaminophen that dogs, because they lack the liver enzyme that they need to break down acetaminophen properly.  This means that as little as ONE tablet of Tylenol can kill a cat! It takes 1-2 days for a cat to show symptoms of acetaminophen toxicity and symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting and not eating

Veterinarians say that cats are not small dogs…..Just like acetaminophen, cats are also much more prone to the side effects from anti-inflammatory medications.  As a rule of thumb, human pain medications should not be given to any pet!  Even for the pet-friendly anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by your Veterinarian, a much smaller dose is used when it comes to cats.   Anti-inflammatory medications can cause gastrointestinal issues and/or kidney/liver failure in cats.  And if a cat is starting to show symptoms of this toxicity, you may see vomiting, lethargy and/or not eating.

Medication Toxic to Pets

Advil, Tylenol and other over the counter pain, cold and flu medication

  • Lillies – One of unique toxicities in cats is lily toxicity. Even though lilies don’t appear to be different from other flowers, it’s extremely toxic to cats. The ingestion of even a few pedals or leaves, small amount of pollen or even the water lilies have been sitting in, can cause kidney failure in cats. The good news is, if caught early and treated properly, most cats have a good prognosis. However if it had been a couple of days after the ingestion and if a cat is starting to show symptoms of kidney failure (lethargy, vomiting, not eating), treatment may not be successful.

Easter Lily smaller

Let’s keep our pets safe!

Dr. Lilla Yan

Royal York Animal Hospital 4222 Dundas St. West, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6  416-231-9293

Dr. Iz Jakubowski

Should I have my dog on Tick protection year ‘round? (Toronto)

By Dog Fleas, Uncategorized

It’s gotten to the point where there’s no such thing as a specific “season” for ticks. The reality is that they’re active any time the temperature is 4°C or higher. And that could be any time of the year.

Take last winter, for example. Each day in Etobicoke there were– 44 days in all, with temperatures rising as high as 15.6°C (in February no less!). December was a particularly tick-friendly month.

Will our next winter see even more tick-friendly temperatures? The only predictable thing about the weather is that it’s unpredictable. So it comes down to your tolerance for risk. If you have little or no tolerance for it and want to be able to take your dog for a walk wherever and whenever you like without worrying about ticks and the diseases they transmit, then year-round protection is for you.

The nice thing about Bravecto, our ‘go to’ for tick protection, is that a single chewable tablet treats your dog for 3 months. You’ve got the winter covered right there. Bravecto and Revolution Promo 2 - trans



Dr. Zach Jones

Six reasons why your Cat hates fleas more than you do!

By Cat Fleas, Uncategorized

SIX reasons Why Your Cat Hates Fleas and Doesn’t Even Know It

Since the beginning of time, mammals everywhere have struggled in the fight against their miniscule mortal enemies known as Ctenocephalides, aka the FLEA.  These little bloodsuckers are by far the most common parasite of cats and dogs today and they are also one of the most frustrating for pet owners to deal with.  As much as we humans dislike fleas, there is one species in particular that hates fleas the most – your cat!

Here’s why:

Flea Control

1.) Fleas are sneaky little devils.

They will jump onto your unsuspecting cat while they are sunbathing on the deck/patio and wait to be carried inside your home. Even if your cat is outside on the deck for 5 seconds of the day they are at risk.  Once a flea makes it inside, they will lay approximately100 eggs per day in your carpets, rugs, and even your bedding.

Outdoor Cat

Not even the stealthiest of outdoor cats can hide from fleas!


2.) Fleas are disgusting, vile creatures.  Baby fleas (aka larvae) grow by feasting on their parent’s feces (yuck!).  As if that weren’t gross enough, mom and pop survive solely by sucking 15 times their bodyweight in cat blood per day.   In heavily infested homes, adult fleas will even bite humans and cause an unsightly skin rash.

3.) Fleas are (quite literally!) disease-ridden, filthy, blood sucking parasites.

Have you ever heard of tapeworms? These giant worms are about the length of a cucumber and live inside our digestive tracts, consuming food as it passes them by.  Dipylidium Caninum (aka the flea tapeworm) especially like to pray on our kitty cats and young children and are transmitted by fleas – gross!

Cat flea blog by Zach


4.) Fleas are NOT hypo-allergenic. In fact they are the opposite of hypo-allergenic.

Fleas can actually cause your cat to develop allergies. Their saliva can cause a significant allergic reaction within the skin following a bite.  This results in an intensely itchy skin problem called “Flea Allergy Dermatitis” or “FAD”, and is by far one of the most common dermatological issues in pets.

5.) Fleas are like teenagers at a high school party.

If you “shut down the party” by treating only one pet in your home the fleas will just move the party to the next available location which is often another pet in the house hold.  This means that if you treat your dog for fleas but your indoor cat is left untreated, the cat will likely be the host of a not-so-fun “flea party”

The best flea treatments are prevention.  Veterinarians at Royal York Animal Hospital are constantly reviewing products.  For cats,we recommend a product called Revolution, which is topical (applied to the back of the neck) and is only needed once per month.

"Revolution" monthly topical flea protection for cats


6.) Fleas just can’t take a hint when it’s time for them to leave.

Most people don’t realize it that it takes 90 days or more to fully rid your home of all life stages of fleas (ie adults, eggs, nymphs, and larvae).  It’s easier for your and your cat the prevent the problem then to treat it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Cats hate fleas. You hate fleas.  Fleas are gross.  Prevent fleas by treating your cat with a product such as Revolution if it goes outside  (even just a little).  If you have questions regarding fleas or flea preventatives don’t hesitate to contact us today at 416-231-9293 or

Even some condo cats (such as Dr. Zach's cat "Spanky") will require flea preventatives - depending on who they share the condo with !

Even some condo cats (such as Dr. Zach’s cat “Spanky”) will require flea preventatives – depending on who they share the condo with !

Dr. Zach Jones

Royal York Animal Hospital

4222 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6












The Hazards of Chocolate and Pets

By Uncategorized

Pet Toxins Chocolate brownies, chocolate chips, chocolate bars, oh my!! It would be highly unusual for me to turn down chocolate at anytime. Unfortunately, despite my enthusiasm for chocolate, I never share this delicious treat with my pet. No, it’s not because I am selfish, but because it is toxic and potentially dangerous.

How can something so delicious be toxic to our pets you ask? Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine that humans can easily metabolize (lucky us!), but dogs and cats are not as fortunate. When your dog or cat ingests theobromine, it is processed much slower, allowing it to accumulate to toxic levels. 

Toxins for DogsThe hazard level of chocolate depends mainly on the level of theobromine and the size of your dog. Signs of poisoning such as vomiting and/or diarrhea can be seen with levels as low as 20 mg/kg; levels over 40 mg/kg results in toxic effects to the heart leading to hyperactivity, an irregular or racing heart rate; and lastly, levels over 60 mg/kg result in poisoning to the nervous system including muscle tremors, seizures and in some cases death.

As a general rule the darker the chocolate, the higher the toxic level. For example, white chocolate and milk chocolate contain a lower level of theobromine compared to dark chocolate, cocoa or baker’s chocolate. A large dog that consumes some milk chocolate may develop vomiting and/or diarrhea, or no clinical signs at all, however, if that same dog were to consume a small amount of 60% dark chocolate they could be at risk of seizures and/or death. Smaller dogs are usually at higher risk for toxicity compared to large breed dogs.

Chocolate is a Toxin for Pets

Pet ToxinsAnother indirect complication associated with chocolate ingestion includes intestinal blockages. Most pets, when consuming chocolate do not bother unwrapping the chocolate, thus consume wrappers, and other packaging materials that can become lodged in their intestines. Lastly, depending on the chocolate treat consumed, your pet may also be at risk for developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) due to higher fat content of some of the treats. This usually manifests several days later and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, and/or abdominal pain.

My dog just ate chocolate, now what?! The best thing to do would be call your veterinarian. Make sure you have your pet’s body weight, and if possible the exact amount of chocolate consumed. Your vet can do a calculation to determine the toxicity of the amount of chocolate ingested. If the level is below toxic dose, your vet may advise that treatment is not necessary. You can now spend time with your dog as he or she sits there smiling smugly with chocolate breath, or you can choose to give them the cold shoulder for getting into your personal supply of chocolate.

Royal York Animal Hospital in EtobicokeIf it is determined that the chocolate level is toxic, or you do not know the amount of chocolate consumed, it is best to bring your pet to the vet immediately. If your pet has consumed chocolate within the past few hours, your vet can administer a medication to cause your dog to vomit. Depending on the amount of chocolate, your vet may also offer activated charcoal to your pet to prevent further absorption of any remaining chocolate in the stomach.chocolate6 6

   If it has been longer than a few hours, or if your pet is now demonstrating the signs of chocolate toxicity (see above), then your vet will recommend hospitalizing your pet for supportive care. Depending on the clinical signs your pet is exhibiting, this may include intravenous fluids to help dilute/flush out the toxin, medication to treat tremors, seizures, and/or heart rate abnormalities.

Although chocolate toxicity can happen at anytime, it occurs more commonly around the holidays, Easter, Christmas,  Halloween, Valentine’s Day, so make sure you keep your chocolate in a safe place that your pet cannot access. After all, prevention is the best medicine!

Dr. Joanna McPherson

“Catertainment” 101

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“Catertainment” 101

Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats

Cat Toys





An indoor lifestyle keeps our cats healthier, safer and living longer lives.   However boredom, frustration and environmental stress are some of the most common reasons why indoor cats develop behavior problems.

Listed below are suggestions for keeping your indoor cat active, stimulated and happy. Cats are very prey driven, so trying different varieties of toys is important to find out what your cat likes to “hunt”.Cat Health

Be patient! Don’t give up! It is worth it.


If left to their own devices, cats would generally eat small meals 9 – 16 times a day. Mulitple feeding areas around the house would be ideal but not very practical.  Instead, the best way to do this is by having several foraging toys or puzzle feeders.

To start your cat off using this feeding method you want to use easy, clear puzzles with many openings so that your cat can see, hear the food and the food easily falls out or is dispensed. The puzzles should be ½ to ¾ full for easy dispensing.

Examples of some puzzle toys, stationary puzzle feeders or handmade puzzles are listed below:Entertainment for Your Cats

Slim Cat Ball  (Pet store)

Catit Feeding Maze (Pet store)
Fun Cat Games

Muffin Tins/Egg Cartons/Ice cube trays (homemade)

Shoebox with cut out holes (homemade)Entertainment for Your Cats

As your cat gets used to this way of eating, increase the difficulty of the puzzle, by having smaller holes, and/or adding toys to them so it is harder for them to get the food out.

Feeding your cat this way will increase the cat’s exercise level and keep him/her stimulated by having them work for their food.


Playing with your cat every day is very important for the human/ cat relationship.

The key is finding what your cat likes to play with.  Having a variety of toys at hand is best. If you find your cat gets bored with the toys it has, switch them out for some new ones and keep rotating the toys.

For the toys that are not in use do a “Catnip Marinade” until you are ready to use them. Place all toys in container sprinkle with fresh catnip and close lid until ready for use. This helps save money, so you don’t have to buy new toys all the time. Royal York Animal Hospital

Try putting ping pong balls in the bath tub and watch your cat have fun batting them around. (You might need to take the balls away at nighttime so your cat doesn’t keep you awake!)

Play  “Go Fish” – place a small amount of water with some marbles at the bottom and watch your cat go fishing for them.

Play games that mimic prey, once they catch the prey make sure you reward them with a treat, so they don’t get frustrated that they didn’t catch anything. This works well with the laser toys.

Scratching Posts

Scratching Post for CatsDid you know that 80% of cats prefer the sisal rope scratching posts while cats over the age of 10 prefer the carpeted ones?

Scratching post should be over 3’ tall so your cat can achieve full body stretch. The post should be sturdy and stable. Avoid the door hanging post.

Why do cats scratch?

  1. To mark their scent
  2. To groom their nails
  3. To stretch
  4. To blow off stress and frustration.

Place the scratching post in high traffic area in your home.

A cat prefers to be up high which allows them to look around at an area and provides a sense of safety.

Questions ?

We’re only a phone call away!

Judy Ling RVT

Royal York Animal Hospital  416-231-9293


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