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Fundraise for Farley

By Uncategorized No Comments

Pets are important to the health and well being of their owners.  This is particularly true for the elderly or persons with disabilities as well as women at risk of abuse, who depend heavily on their pets for companionship. 

 That’s why the Farley foundation provides funding for veterinary services to  the elderly, disabled, or women at risk of abuse. 

Please make a donation today to help animals obtain the medical care they need while providing peace of mind to the people who own them.




By Parasites No Comments




2013: The Year of the Tick?

An engorged tick (grey). The small brown tick above it has not yet fed.

An engorged tick (grey). The small brown tick above it has not yet fed.

With the return of warm weather, many of you here in North Toronto will be spending a lot more time outdoors on walks with your canine family members. You might be surprised when your canine companion brings home some uninvited guests; TICKS! Experts note that tick population ranges have been expanding and predict that tick populations will increase will increase dramatically in many areas of Southern Ontario this year.

 So why are ticks suddenly a problem? There are several reasons and increased populations are likely the result of a combination of factors such as warmer than average winter temperatures, migratory birds, rodents, coyotes and other wildlife which are vectors (carriers) for ticks. Ticks will climb to the tips of grasses and shrubs and then hop on to whatever animal brushes by. They will then bury their mouth parts into the unsuspecting victim, inject some saliva to prevent blood clotting, and begin to feed by sucking the blood of the victim. This is when the disease transmission can occur. Most ticks will feed for several days before they become engorged and easily noticed (see images).

Over the past few years, the Orchard Grove Animal Clinic team has seen a marked increase in the number of tick cases on our canine patients. Many of these dogs had never left our north Toronto neighbourhood. The most concerning fact is that several of these ticks tested positive for Lyme Disease. We have also seen a case of Erlichosis, another tick borne disease.

Obviously. ticks are more than just an annoyance, as they present a serious health risk to both you and your pet. Tick borne diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Erlichicosis and Bartonellosis can be difficult to diagnose and treat so TICK PREVENTION and quick removal are the best treatments.

Dr. Alex Sunarich recommends a testing and prevention program when it comes to keeping Fido safe from ticks and the diseases they carry. The most effective tick preventives are the Preventic Collar and Advantix. Pet store products are not very effective and should not be considered equivalent despite the claims. As ticks are most active in the spring and fall, and less so in the summer, it is recommended that a tick prevention program be implemented from early spring until the

Life cycle of the dog tick.

Life cycle of the dog tick.

frost returns. In addition to tick prevention, we recommend that all dogs be tested for tick borne diseases at the time of the annual Heartworm or Wellness blood test. The test can be performed on the same sample so no extra poking is required!

We also advise that you check your dog for ticks every time you come back from the park or a wooded area…..or even your back yard. The best way to do this is just to run your hands over the entire body. Ticks attach most frequently to the head, ears, neck and feet but can be found anywhere on the pet.

An engorged tick on a dog.

An engorged tick on a dog.

What do they look like? Ticks are most often describedto us as a brown or dark grey “skin tag” or small “growth”. When they have been attached for longer they are blood engorged so can be considerably larger than this.

If you find one don’t squeeze it. If you do the tick might inject disease causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or other agents into the dog, or contaminate your hands.

Ticks need to be removed by pulling off directly without and turning or twisting. We use a special tool to do this and it is usually just best to have us remove it. Once removed, we send the tick to the lab for testing to see if it is a carrier of any of the above mentioned diseases. If we receive a positive test, we can then implement the appropriate treatment right away, before the disease has time to cause any damage to your dog.

In 2012, Toronto had over 100 positive Lyme cases in addition to lower numbers of Anaplasmosis, Erilchosis and Bartonellosis. Don’t let your dog become a statistic!

Please give us a call to set up your dog’s tick prevention program today.

Online shopping at Orchard Grove Animal Clinic’s new Web Store

By Web Store No Comments

Shop online for a variety of pet supplies and foods

Orchard Grove Animal Clinic is pleased to announce our new online ordering service!
Why shop online?
1. Convenience: Even though we know you enjoy visiting Orchard Grove Animal Clinic, your local north Toronto veterinarian, it is not always possible. Our webstore gives our clients the ability to shop from home 24/7 and the products are delivered to your home in 2-3 business days, or  you can sign up for our no obligation subscription service to have the food delivered at a set interval of time!
2. Variety: A wide range of vet-approved diets, treats and toys are available along with vitamin and supplements, grooming supplies, training aids, litter and all your other pet needs!
3. Reorder Reminders: Never run out of food or medication again; we send you email reminders a week before you are due to run out!
4. Economical: Delivery direct to your door for only $8.95 anywhere in Ontario (even to the cottage) and we’re currently offering free shipping on orders over $50. Often times your order will cost less delivered from us than it would cost for you to shop elsewhere. Our premium foods are very competitively priced when compared to foods available at pet stores, which are generally of inferior quality.
5. Support: Our experienced and knowledgeable staff is always ready to answer questions or give advice, helping you to select the best products to allow you to provide the best care to your pet.

So, when you have a moment, please check out our Web Store either by clicking on this link; or by hitting the Web Store button on our home page. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Laser Therapy for Pain Control in Pets

By Complementary Therapies for Pets No Comments

Laser Therapy for Pain Control in Pets

By Alex Sunarich, BSc, DVM

I am pleased to announce the addition of Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), also known as ‘cold laser therapy’ to our pain management treatment options at Orchard Grove Animal Clinic. As a veterinarian whose utmost concern is the comfort of my patients, I wanted to find a form of treatment which could be used in place of, or in addition to, the drugs currently available for the treatment of pain. Over the years, I have found that many pets do not tolerate long term pain medication, often developing side effect related problems such as diarrhea, stomach upset, behavioral changes and kidney or liver damage. I had first heard of Low Level Laser Therapy several years ago, but needed some convincing before I decided to introduce it to my practice. I spent several years researching the scientific evidence supporting the use of various types of laser treatment options for the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation before finally deciding to add  the FDA cleared Microlight ML830 Class IIIb cold laser unit to this practice.

I see a large number of middle aged and older dogs and cats who experience a lot of chronic pain from arthritis. In addition to arthritis, there are many other chronically painful conditions such as tendonitis and back pain which can be relieved with cold laser treatments. Thus far, I have been impressed with the results, and am now recommending this form of treatment for all newly diagnosed cases of pain.

The nice thing about LLLT is that there are absolutely no negative side effects. It is totally safe and it is effective in a majority of cases. Certainly, some cases of pain are so severe that the patients require additional support with traditional pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents or even narcotic type drugs, but because the laser therapy is itself anti-inflammatory, it can reduce the dosages required for these medications.  In addition to treating pain, cold laser therapy can be used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions from ear inflammation (otitis) to lick granulomas. It is also useful in promoting and accelerating healing after injuries or surgery.

What’s the best part about LLLT? My patients love it! They get to come for a series of calm and relaxing 20 to 30 minute sessions where they receive the laser treatment plus all of the love and affection that goes with it! In my opinion, LLLT should be a first line treatment when it comes to pain.

For more information on LLLT, please click this link

Alex Sunarich, DVM, is the owner, veterinarian and director of Orchard Grove Animal Clinic which is located in north Toronto