Welcome to 2017!
This blog space has been very poorly used over the last year, and we have made it one of our resolutions to try to use our blog more regularly to reach our clients with information. To start things off, we thought that we could reflect on the good and the bad of 2016 from the clinic perspective.
Our pet care team: The first thank you to conclude 2016 needs to go out to our whole team, from those who manage the phones and front desk to everyone who makes sure that our furry friends are getting the care that they need in the wards of the hospital. We are very lucky to have had a very mature, stable and capable team come together in 2016, and they do good work every day while dealing with a busy schedule, long hours, and stresses of all kinds (both mental and physical). It is not easy to work in an animal hospital, and we are lucky to have a team that loves the pets that we care for.
New and improved options for pet health care: Veterinary medicine continues to evolve along with human health care and we have seen options expand for our patients on so many fronts. For example, we now have access to better pain medications, particularly for cats, who have unique physiology that makes pain control difficult. We have also seen an explosion in our understanding of supplements that can be used in pets, including probiotics, anti-anxiety remedies and supports for animals with liver disease, kidney disease or arthritis. Along the same lines, our understanding of how nutrition can assist in prevention of disease continues to progress. Finally, we are proud to continue to be on the leading edge of veterinary medicine in Toronto through our laparoscopic surgery program and laser therapy program.
Information on the internet: Technology makes our list as something good and bad in our world (see below for the bad). We love being able to communicate with our clients via email and social media, and have found that our clients have embraced our online store and pet portal. We can also use sites on the internet to point our clients to good resources when they might be in a situation in which they need to learn more about a specific pet health topic.
The internet: As noted above, the internet makes our list as both a good and bad thing. Just as with news or personal interest stories that are inaccurate or hoaxes, there is a great deal of pet care information on the internet that is potentially harmful to the pets that we love. Regardless of the qualifications of our team, our recommendations may be put aside because “the internet told me to”, and this can be very frustrating. We would ask that our clients consider the sources of the information that they are using very carefully.
Weather patterns in 2016: The past year included some very bizarre weather in Toronto, including a very mild winter last year, an extremely hot summer and a long fall. Although good weather is a bonus in so many ways, veterinary teams face challenges in a year like 2016. For example, the lack of cold temperatures last winter meant that parasites could sustain themselves through the winter, leading to us seeing more pets with gastrointestinal worms, the worst flea season in several years, and the rise of ticks in Ontario (see below). We also see many pets (especially dogs) with seasonal allergies, and in 2016 these pets suffered much longer with more significant symptoms. Some pets with seasonal allergies continue to show symptoms even now due to the late frost. These itchy dogs need a break!
Ticks in Ontario: Ticks have been a nuisance in certain parts of Ontario for several years, but in 2016 we have seen the establishment of more permanent populations of ticks all over the province, and signs that ticks have made their entry into the GTA (there are now established populations in the Rouge Valley and on the Toronto Islands, plus reports from all over the city). Ticks are more than just a nuisance, as they have the potential to transmit infections to animals and to people. The most recognizable of these is Lyme disease, but we know that ticks in Ontario may carry additional diseases as well. The good news is that we can protect dogs (and as of 2017, outdoor cats) from tick bites and disease, but the protection for people is very limited. We will continue to educate our clients about ticks in 2017 and recommend tick protection for the pets that are outdoors with us.
As we look forward to 2017, our whole team wishes you and your furry friends a Happy New Year!