Answers to the questions we are most commonly asked about pet care, health, and our emergency animal hospital.

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Pet Emergency FAQs (Back To Top)

It’s important to have an emergency plan so if your cat or dog suddenly needs medical care, you won’t be caught off guard.

Here are four steps you can take before an emergency happens to be better prepared:

  1. Familiarize yourself with your local emergency veterinary clinics or pet hospitals, such as Clarkson Village Animal Hospital. The best case scenario is a clinic – like ours – that is open 24/7, every day, with a veterinarian and Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) on-site at all times. You must make sure that you are not calling an “emergency hospital” with the vet at home on call.
  2. Consider cost – some emergency hospitals charge an extra emergency fee, but at the Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, we do not charge an extra emergency fee; our fees are identical day and night.
  3. Consider how long it would take you to travel to the emergency vet clinic – physical distance is not as important as the amount of time it takes. Also, in the case of emergency, ask the veterinary hospital the anticipated waiting time. A hospital farther away with a shorter waiting time may be a better option.
  4. Write down the emergency clinic’s number and keep it somewhere handy, like on the fridge, in a drawer, or on your phone, so you won’t have to spend time looking it up if an accident happens. You can also keep our address handy, or look us up on your mobile phone to get directions to the hospital.

If you have any uncertainty at all about whether or not your pet needs emergency veterinary care – come right in!

Better to be safe than sorry. Ideally, call the emergency animal hospital or come in straight away.

However, here are some definite signs that your dog or cat needs medical attention right away:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Rapid pulse
  • Body temperature change
  • Difficulty standing up
  • Pale gums
  • Paralysis or difficulty moving
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Straining for urine or stools

Contact the Clarkson Village emergency veterinary hospital immediately at 905-855-2100. We should be able to walk you through what you’ll need to do in order to safely transport your dog or cat to the hospital.

Severely injured or sick pets can become defensive and even aggressive in some cases. Be careful approaching your pet to avoid getting injured if they lash out.

If there is bleeding, get bandage material or even a sock or T-shirt, and place steady pressure on the site of bleeding until you arrive.

If your pet is seizing, please stay away from their mouth.

If your pet may have had access to a poison or prescription medication, please bring in the container(s).

You will be asked to explain the injury or symptoms your pet is experiencing. The trained staff on the phone should be able to quickly determine whether your pet’s condition needs immediate care or not. They’ll advise you about what you should do next.

If your pet needs emergency care, you will be advised to come to the veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

The basic truth is that if you have a concern, any time at all, simply call and come in for a visit with our veterinarian.  No extra fees, no matter the hour or the day. Put your mind at rest, and get the best for your pet.

You can place a dog or cat on a blanket, and use the blanket as a ‘stretcher’. Two people holding two corners can carry a large dog.

If you can safely get your pet into a carrier to bring him/her to the hospital, do so gently.

If your pet is too aggressive to get close to, you should ask the staff at the emergency hospital for help and advice.

We will quickly assess (triage) your pet to see if their situation is truly urgent. If they need immediate care, we take them into the treatment room. Our on-site vet will attend the patient right away. Our vets are not ‘on call’, they are always at work. No matter the time of day or night, your pet will not have to wait for a vet to arrive at our hospital.

If you are already a client, we’ll confirm the information we have on file for your pet.

During the daytime, our friendly client services staff members will keep you company in the lobby while our veterinarian and Registered Veterinary Technicians do everything they can for your beloved pet. If your pet’s emergency happens during the evening or overnight, the Registered Vet Tech will periodically visit the lobby in case you have any questions.


If you aren’t one of our regular weekday clients, you should absolutely still bring your pet in. We will get all of the necessary information from you about your pet’s medical history when you arrive.


If your pet needs to stay overnight, you can rest assured they will never be left alone. Our hospital is always staffed. We will monitor your pet’s vital signs and administer fluids, medications, and pain management drugs if need be.

There is never a need for pets to be left alone at night.

Costs will vary depending on the treatment your pet’s condition requires. The only emergency costs we can predict are for the initial examination.After the examination, the veterinarian will discuss with you the best route to follow for tests and treatments, as needed.

At Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, we do not add an emergency fee to the examination fee. Day or night, you will receive the same price for an emergency examination.

It is always best to phone ahead so we know you are coming and can be prepared for you; we will also help you with directions if needed. However, you do not need an appointment for emergency care.Call us or bring your pet it at any time of the day or night, 365 days of the year.

No matter what, through weeknights, weekends, and holidays, a veterinarian and Ontario Registered Veterinary Technician will be on-site (never just “on call”).

Different foods, plants, and substances are toxic for different pets (e.g. something toxic for a cat may not be toxic for a dog, and vice versa). Click here for a list of pet toxins from the Pet Poison Helpline to find out what is toxic for your pet.

What common foods are toxic for my pet?

  • Grapes or raisins
  • Garlic, Chinese chive, or anything from the Allium vegetable family
  • Onions (from the Allium family but they deserve their own line here!)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Xylitol (found in chewing gum, many sugar-free baked goods, and some peanut butters)
  • Bones of any type
  • Raw fish and bones
  • Peaches with the pit or any stone fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Moldy cheese or nuts
  • Yeast dough
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Prescription and non-prescription drugs and medications

If you think your pet may have ingested something potentially toxic to them, call our 24/7 emergency number 905-855-2100 right away.

If are bringing your pet to an emergency veterinary hospital because of something they ate, try to bring in a sample to help the vet more quickly determine the right treatment.

Maybe. It depends on your specific pet insurance provider, coverage, and your pet’s specific situation.

Different insurance programs offer different protection plans and levels of coverage. For each plan, there are a range of deductibles and premiums. Emergency coverage is usually an option in these plans. Check your pet’s policy or call your insurance company to see if your pet is covered.

There are even plans available in conjunction with a microchip identification system. This will allow you to protect your pet and provide automatic emergency medical care if your pet is lost and injured, and you cannot be immediately contacted.

Pet insurance is an invaluable safeguard, which will ensure that your pet will always be able to receive the best in healthcare. Currently, we believe that Trupanion offers the best coverage.

Intestinal Parasites and Deworming FAQs (Back To Top)

When pets are infected with parasites, you may or may not see signs. Hopefully the infection will have been treated or diagnosed (by regular stool checks) before they become ill.

Otherwise, you may see signs of:

  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Dry skin and fur
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting (possibly with worms present)
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of energy

Since many parasites are too tiny to be seen, diagnosis is made by microscopic analysis of the stool looking for the eggs, and other microscopic stages produced by intestinal parasites.

Testing stool samples for parasite eggs should be done routinely, every couple of months when your pet is young, and at least annually when they are an adult. 

However, on some days the worms produce few eggs, or in many cases the worms are too young to produce eggs. In these situations, we may not find evidence of infection microscopically. Stool samples, therefore, do not demonstrate the presence of parasites 100% of the time.

We do not always depend on a negative stool sample. We include many factors before making a conclusion.

Routine treatments are required because the incidence of parasites is so high, and it poses a health risk both to pets and people.

It is actually good news when the stool sample is negative, because the worms present are young, who are not yet producing eggs. This means less risk for re-infection of your pet, less risk for your family, and less contamination of the environment. 

Firstly, stool samples are performed to help assess the success of deworming treatments of confirmed cases.

Stool checks are also required routinely to check for the other parasites that are not treated by the standard deworming treatment (Giardia, Coccidia, Tapeworms, etc.), and to check for more unusual parasites (Physaloptera, Paragonimus, Alaria).

Skin parasites (Sarcoptes, Demodex mites) may show on stool samples, after pets chew their itchy skin and swallow the microscopic mites. This is an unexpected but effective means of diagnosing skin mites.

Puppies and kittens are routinely dewormed every 2 weeks until 3 months of age, then again at 4 months. Since the larvae of the worms continue to cycle through pets for several months when they are young, it is important to repeat the treatments. 

If a pet is diagnosed with intestinal parasites, bathing should be done about 1 day after the first treatment. 

These are the guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and by the World Health Organization (WHO), for both the health of pets and people in the household.

Any deworming treatments done before you got your pet were just the beginning of the deworming program. There is a huge difference between receiving deworm treatment(s) and being free of worms. 

Furthermore, medications used by breeders or humane societies are not as effective as the medications we use in the veterinary hospital. Products available over the counter at pet stores are not effective, have very limited treatment ranges, are often outdated, and often have significant toxicity concerns.

There is no room for error when dealing with the health of people and our pets.

Absolutely, yes. Diseases which pass from animals to humans are termed “zoonotic” diseases.  

Several common pet parasites can pass to people in a variety of stages. The symptoms can range from showing no signs, to causing a variety of symptoms including:

  • Skin irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Development of internal cysts
  • Seizures
  • Blindness

Treating your pets’ intestinal parasites is extremely important for your entire family.

We recommend cleaning up stools immediately, washing hands after handling puppies and kittens, and discouraging face licking, especially for children and people with compromised immune systems. 

Ensure that you have a fresh stool sample checked microscopically at least annually, provide a sample for the follow-up test if worms were found on a previous sample, and make sure to follow all deworming protocols according to directions.

Make sure to cover sandboxes, which cats may use as a toilet.  Be very careful if raccoons are around to wear gloves and wash hands well when working in the garden, and for children to wash before eating, and when coming indoors. 

Pregnant (or possibly pregnant) women should not clean or change the cat litter, should wash hands well after gardening, and only eat well-cooked meat or fish. 

Vaccination FAQs (Back To Top)

If you are one of our clients, you can certainly get your pet’s vaccination history. Simply call the clinic at 905-855-2100 to make your request.

Pet Arthritis FAQs (Back To Top)

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the joints and is the most common cause for lameness and chronic pain – found in both pets and people! For our pets, it can start in middle age if the cartilage surface of the joint is injured or from normal aging changes.

Genetics, diet, weight, and previous injuries can also play a role.

Many changes occur when a joint is injured or inflamed. Inflammation causes bone and cartilage damage, decreases joint fluid viscosity, and leads to pain. As the joint fluid degrades, this causes further damage to bone and cartilage, and this vicious cycle perpetuates the degenerative and painful arthritic response.   

The signs of arthritis can be very subtle. Often, our pets appear to be “slowing down”. For example, they may have more trouble with stairs, jumping up, or jumping into the car. They may be stiffer in the morning or you may see them licking their paws. Dogs and cats both tend to minimize external signs of pain and do not generally cry, whine, or limp until arthritis is fairly advanced or severe. They don’t show what you would call “typical” signs of pain.

Any pet can develop arthritis, but larger dog breeds and overweight pets place much higher stresses on their joints. Pets that have previous injuries to their bones, joints, ligaments, or tendons may later develop arthritis. Hereditary diseases (e.g. hip dysplasia) can also play a role.

Many treatments exist to help our pets with arthritis. Arthritis treatments are usually more effective when used in combination, so your pet may be prescribed more than one.

Visit our dedicated chronic pain and arthritis page for full details.

Once the pain of arthritis is removed with appropriate treatment, most pets quickly regain their energy and activity levels and often appear to “come back to life”, using far less drugs with combination treatment. 

  • Start your pet on a weight loss program if they are overweight (to minimize the weight the joints must carry).
  • Provide well-padded bedding in a warm, dry place.
  • Provide non-skid flooring.
  • Ensure proper grooming of their nails and feet.
  • Elevate food and water bowls to a comfortable height for your pet (especially for large dogs).
  • For dogs, regular (daily) leash walks with moderate levels of exercise will help maintain flexibility and help to reduce the pain of arthritis. After 6-8 years of age, it is best to avoid running or chasing with tight turns, as this stresses the joints.

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