October is Farley Month!

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We at the New Hamburg Vet Clinic understand how devistating it is when a pet becomes sick or injured. It is an even harder situation when a pet owner is unable to provide necessary veterinary care due to financial restrictions beyond their control.

During the month of October, the New Hamburg Vet Clinic will be raising awareness of and supporting the Farley Foundation! This year Merck has put together special items to be auctioned off and donated on behalf of Farley, alongside many of our other amazing veterinary companies (Royal Canin, Hill’s, Virbac, Zoetis, Aventix, Elanco and Dechra).

So, how are we raising money for Farley?

$5 Nail Trims , $1 Farley Bandanas, and best yet, RAFFLE PRIZES (a draw will be held on November 3rd)!
(Please call in advance to book any nail trims, cash only).

Any donation over $15 will be eligible for a tax receipt.

Unsure of what the Farley Foundation is all about? Or want to make a donation online?
Please visit their website at:

September is Pet Insurance Month!

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A lot of you out there may be thinking, “What? There’s PET insurance?” or “Why would my pet need health insurance?” or even “Can they be covered by my own insurance?”. This post will give you some ideas and some brain waves to think about whether you feel your pet needs health insurance or not. Sure, some pets may go on for it’s entire life and never need anything more than their annual vaccines, but there are many more pets that will end up needing a doctor’s appointment outside of the routine. September is the month to showcase the reason that pet insurance exists, and also to help you choose if you and your pet are the right candidates.

What is Pet Health Insurance?

Pet health insurance helps pay some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating, and managing your pet’s illness or injury. Thanks to ongoing improvements in veterinary medicine, your veterinarian is able to offer ever-progressive therapeutic plans and improved outcomes for your dogs and cats. With improved care, however, comes increased cost, and that’s where pet health insurance comes in.

Who needs Pet Health Insurance?

Pet Insurance can be for absolutely any pet, of any size, sex, breed or species. Not only is it relevant for high energy, active dogs or dogs that go camping or hiking, but low energy, couch potato dogs are also prone to long term health concerns. Some of these long term health concerns include arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and other hormonal conditions. Your veterinarian is the one who can help you explore the different health concerns that may be anticipated based on your pet’s breed and lifestyle.
Some of you may be asking, “What about my cat?” Outdoor cats are especially more at risk of accident or illness because the great outdoors is an uncontrolled environment. Indoor cats may not be as “accident-prone” as their dog counterparts, but in their senior years they can also develop long term health issues such as diabetes and kidney failure.
Overtime, a lot of these diseases and illnesses can become quite expensive to manage without pet insurance. Therefore, pet health insurance gives owners peace of mind and the ability to make decisions about diagnostic testing and treatment based on your pet’s needs.

Who offers Pet Health Insurance?

There are a few different companies in Canada that offer insurance:
OVMA Pet Health Insurance –
PetSecure Canada –
Pets+Us –
Trupanion –

Whichever route you decide to choose, whether it is with pet insurance or not, the option is always there for you. If you need more assistance with insurance plans, please feel free to contact any of the companies above and they will be more than happy to help you find the right plan for you and your pet.

Ticks in Ontario

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The most common tick species seen in Ontario are the American Dog Tick and the Deer Tick (Black legged tick).   Ticks can carry blood borne diseases such as Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and most commonly Lyme Disease (transmitted by the Deer Tick).  Tick populations are on the rise in both numbers and geographic distribution meaning the risk of tick borne disease is increasing.

Ticks feed on blood and can take around 5-6 hours to attach firmly to a pet and up to 10 days to fully engorge when feeding.  Unfortunately, it can take as little as 24-48 hours after attachment for a tick to transmit disease to the pet making tick preventatives key in preventing tick borne disease.  After feeding, a female tick can lay up to 8000 eggs per day.  Ticks can take up to two years to complete their life cycles but milder winters can allow adults to breed through winter months.

When and Where Are Ticks Active

Ticks are most active in the spring and fall from March-June and September-November.  However, with milder winters they can be active as early as February and as late as December.  They are active at temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius and can survive over winter.  Ticks prefer damp humid environments and especially wooded or grassy areas.  Precaution should be used when walking on trails, through leaf litter or near shrubs.

Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi)

Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks and can affect both dogs and people.  Lyme disease can be transmitted to cats but is very rare as cats are such fastidious groomers.  It can take as little as 24-48 hours after a tick attaches for it to transmit Lyme disease to the pet.  Deer ticks become infected after feeding on animals such as deer, who are carrying the disease, then transmit it to the pet via the bloodstream while feeding.  12% of deer ticks carry Lyme, but in Lyme endemic areas (lake Ontario, Long Point etc) up to 60% of deer ticks carry Lyme disease.  95% of dogs infected with Lyme disease will not show symptoms, making blood testing after tick exposure very important.  It takes up to 6 weeks after tick exposure for a dog to test positive with blood work.  For the 5% of dogs that do show symptoms, the effects may be permanent.  Signs of Lyme disease include: lethargy, inappetence, lameness, kidney failure and nervous system side effects.  The amount of time that a tick has been attached and fed on a dog determines the risk of contracting the disease: Less than 24 hours =  negligible risk,  24-48 = questionable risk, over 48 hours = significant risk.

Tick Prevention Option for Your Dog

Feel free to call us to discuss various options for tick prevention for your pet!  March is an ideal time to start on tick prevention before ticks emerge.  There are oral and topical tick and flea preventatives that kill ticks and fleas quickly.  With any tick preventative, speed of kill is important in preventing disease transmission.

I Found A Tick On My Pet, Now What?

If you have found a tick in your pet it is important to remove the tick as soon as possible to help decrease the risk of disease transmission.  Ticks can be removed with tick twisters, see link for demo ( ).  If you are unable to remove the tick or are uncomfortable doing so  we can remove the tick for you here at the clinic.  If you have successfully removed the tick, you can bring it to the clinic and we can identify the species of tick to determine whether Lyme disease transmission is a potential risk.  Note: Please bring the tick as is in a pill bottle or plastic bag for identification (Do Not Squish the tick or place in any liquids).  If a deer tick is found attached to your pet, we recommend blood testing in 6 weeks to be sure your pet was not exposed to Lyme disease.


For more information on ticks visit:

For information on the distribution of tick-borne infections in dogs in Ontario visit: 

Winter Weather Hazards for your Pets

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Chilly temperatures, cozy fireplaces, and extra layers are all part of the winters we have here in Ontario.  We prepare ourselves every year for this season by wearing our jackets, hats and mitts, as well as making sure our furnace or fireplace is working properly, but do you prepare your pets for the cold weather?  Here are a list of things to watch for and ideas to keep your pets safe this winter season.

1.  Frostbite: just like humans, animals are susceptible to frostbite.  Be aware that tissue damage (especially on ears and paws) usually doesn’t appear until several days after exposure, so make sure they are dressed properly, or reduce the amount of time you have them outside.  Basically, if it is too cold for you to be outside without a coat, it is too cold for your pet.

2.  Hypothermia:  To follow the above, body temperatures can fall dangerously below normal if exposed to the cold.  Watch out for signs such as, decreased appetite, severe lethargy, shivering and discoloration of skin (red or black).  Call your Veterinarian if your pet is experiencing any of these conditions.

3.  Shorter Days:  Dogs still need to go outside.  With winter come shorter days and darker nights,  For this reason, it is a good idea to get them (as well as yourself) some reflective gear, such as, leashes, collars or a coat to be more visible at night.

4.  Antifreeze:  Antifreeze is a poison that is very bad for our pets once ingested.  The sweet taste of this common household item is what attracts them to it. so be sure to wipe up spills and keep containers out of reach.  Also, make sure everyone in the house is aware of this poisonous substance to make sure it is always returned to it’s proper location.  CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN if you suspect your pet has consume any antifreeze.

5.  Protect their paws:  Because of the icy nature of winter, it is very common to have salt on our streets and sidewalks to keep us from slipping.  Unfortunately, salt can injure the pads of your pet when out for walk.  Consider buying booties to protect their feet while outside.

6.  Provide shelter:  We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but it you are unable to keep your dog or cat inside during cold weather provide them with a  warm, dry, solid shelter against wind.  Many feral cats live outside throughout all of winter so consider building a warm, dry shelter for them out of styrofoam or plastic boxes.  Tutorials for this can be found online.

7.  Thermal Burns:  During the cold weather you may have your baseboard heaters or fireplace on to keep warm.  Just remember, cats love the warmth, so make sure to keep your feline friends at a safe distance to avoid burns.

8.  Make some noise:  A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for stray or feral cats, but is deadly.  Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage these feline friends to get out.

Christmas Hazards

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Christmas Hazards to Animals

Christmas that great time of year, is arriving once again. This year don’t forget about the animals in your house. Christmas can be a great time for all the family including the family pet, if we all keep a few things in mind over the holidays.

When decorating your house for the Christmas season, remember that poinsettia’s, cacti, holly berry etc. are toxic to animals if eaten. Plants are best kept out of reach of curious pets. Also watch where you place candles. They can cause severe burns or star a fire if knocked over by a curious pet. If you have candles lit this holiday season, place them up high, and keep an eye on your cat to prevent singed whiskers!

The Christmas tree is always a great reminder that Christmas is on its way. When decorating, keep in mind that animals might chew on the ornaments or tinsel. During the Christmas holidays it isn’t unusual for the vets to see animals with decorations that have become lodged in the intestine and/or cut the intestinal wall. Removal for such objects can require surgery.

When the whole family sits down to Christmas dinner to enjoy a great meal, you might want to remind your guests that giving your dog turkey bones isn’t a good idea. It could get lodged and require surgical removal. Also, alcoholic beverages are not good to give to the animals. An ounce of a drink that is 20 to 40 proof can cause alcohol poisoning in a small dog.

Now it’s time to get the gift- wrapping done. But of course there is a list of things to look out for there too. Ribbon, trim polystyrene foam packaging, wrapping foil and paper are dangerous if eaten by your pet. Always wrap packages in an area away from your pet. Collect and discard all the waste and any wrapping paper and supplies you are using should be put away. If you have any gifts for your dog, use plain brown paper, wrap loosely and supervise the unwrapping.

We all like a bit of extra chocolate over the holidays. We need to be aware that this substance is poisonous to our family pets, (dark chocolate is the worst). Even a small amount of chocolate to a small dog can make them very ill. Make sure that gifts of chocolate under the tree are not left with an unsupervised family pet.

If we keep all of these thing in mind, we all will have a safe and happy holiday season.

Merry Christmas from the Vets and Staff of the New Hamburg Veterinary Clinic

photo credit View page:

Veterinary Technician Week

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October 16th-22nd 2016 is National Veterinary Technician week. A time when we take a few moments to say thank you to the people who do so much to help the people and the animals that we work with every day.

Veterinary Technicians fulfill many roles in a veterinary practice, from educators to anesthesiologists to animal care personnel to lab techs, they do just about every job in the clinic. They are often the first people that you meet when you come in and the last people you see when you leave, and they are with your pet the whole time that they stay with us. The clinic would not run the way it does without our technicians and we depend on them for all that we do.

For more information about Veterinary Technicians or to find out what it takes to become a Veterinary Technician, visit the American Veterinary Medical Associations website.

Thank you to our Veterinary Technicians for all you do.

Farley Foundation Ride 2016

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This past weekend, our own Dr Glen Blier participated in the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association Ride for Farley in Milton, Ontario. The ride was 100km long through the twists and turns of the Milton escarpment, and against a strong headwind on the last 40km. Even though the terrain & weather were not cooperating, Dr Glen gave it his all and finished the ride with his team (although he refrained from commenting on his course time…). Through generous donations from our clients and our by-donation nail trims for the past 2 months, Dr Glen was able to raise $1420 for the foundation, which helps people and pets who need help with paying for veterinary care.

Way to go Dr Glen! Thanks for representing New Hamburg in this Ontario wide fundraising event.


To find out more about the Farley Foundation, what they do and how you can be involved, look at the links below.

IMG_2431 IMG_2413

No Hot Pets

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The summer weather is here and we all know how hot it can get inside a car in the blazing sun. Yet still, every year, we hear stories of pets left unattended in cars. There are all kinds of reasons why this happens, but this year the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) has set up a campaign using the hashtag #nohotpets to raise awareness that their really are no good excuses for this kind of treatment for our pets.

Below is the link to the No Hot Pets website with information on how to report if you see a pet in need. Also included is the No Hot Pets pledge, saying that we will not leave our pets unattended this summer and some social media posters to use to help raise awareness.

Also, here are some resources for recognizing heat stroke in dogs

Keep your hot dogs cool this summer!

Does my dog need a heartworm test?

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Summer months mean mosquitos in Ontario. Annoying for us, but potentially deadly for our furry friends. Dogs (and to a much lesser extent cats) can be infected by the larvae of a parasite known as Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis), which is transmitted to pets by mosquito bites during the warmer months of the year. Many of our pets receive monthly preventative medications to stop them from becoming infected by the heartworm parasite and these act to kill of any larvae that our pets may have been infected with. If an animal has an adult worm inside them, a blood test is the easiest way to find out before the worm causes damage to the heart, lung and blood vessels, and before we see clinical signs like shortness of breath, coughing or decreased activity.

“But my dog was on medication, do I need to do the test?” A great question and one that we get asked all of the time. The recommendation from the suppliers of the once monthly heartworm medication is that a dog gets tested prior to starting medication. There is a small risk for a dog who has a heartworm infection to have an allergic-type reaction if they are given a dose of the medication and the larvae in their blood stream begin dying. In Southern Ontario, this risk is small due to the prevalence of the heartworm parasite. However, another risk exists for dogs that are not tested, and that is that a dog is affected by heartworm disease and goes undiagnosed. For instance, Gus the Golden Retriever is on once a month preventatives in the summer of 2015. In July his parents take him to the cottage and forget his medication. He is bitten by a mosquito while there and picks up the heartworm parasite. He gets his August dose of medication and goes on like nothing has happened. But inside, the larvae have started to grow into worms and are no longer affected by the preventative medication. Testing in 2016 will tell us that Gus is infected and we can get him on the treatment he needs; Heartworm is treatable if caught early. If he is not tested, Gus goes on receiving his monthly medication this summer without anyone knowing he is infected and the treatment this year does not help with the worms already growing in his heart. This same concern exists for pets if mosquito season starts earlier, lasts longer or if there is a resistance developing to the parasite medication. This is why we can’t just ignore testing completely.

Currently we are recommending a “Spot check” approach to heartworm testing. For dogs in Southern Ontario with no travel history and who have been on preventatives June 1st to November 1st, it is reasonable to test them for heartworm once at some point in a two-year period (not necessarily before starting summer medication) to make sure that they have not been exposed to the parasite.

That is a brief summary of why we test and what risks are involved. There are many factors here and one answer does not always fit each pet’s lifestyle. Our staff will be happy to help you make the best decision for you, your family and your pet. Please let us know if there is any way that we can help?


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Get out and enjoy the sun, not the blood-sucking parasites

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Spring certainly looks like it has sprung. Warm weather, green grass, long walks in the park- all the things we enjoy this time of the year. Spring is also a time of the year that we see a lot of our patients for their annual wellness exams, Heartworm testing and parasite control medications. This is because this is the time of year that we start thinking about parasites waking up from the long cold winter and becoming active again. Last month our blog was about ticks and mentioned that 4 degrees Celsius is the temperature that ticks will start to become active. Fleas prefer temperatures between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius (don’t we all?), so warm spring days mean active flea infestations. Cool spring nights mean that those same fleas are looking for a warm place to sleep like on your dog or cat, but they can also seek shelter in your house. This year’s warm-cold cycles have made the perfect set-up for fleas moving indoors; and it will be happening earlier this year than most years.

Below is a great animated video showing the life cycle of a flea including time spent on your pet and in your home. Watch it and see if it makes you squirm?

If you have questions about flea control or other parasite questions, or to choose the parasite prevention product that is right for your furry friends, give us a call and one of our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you out.

(Flea image courtesy of