Frequently Asked Questions

Who works at the clinic and what do they do?

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is a professional degree that is earned from an accredited school of veterinary medicine.

Veterinarians in Ontario must be licensed by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO). All veterinary clinics and hospitals in Ontario must be accredited by the CVO. A veterinarian is able to preform a variety of services and procedures. These include: formulating diagnostic and treatment protocols, performing medical and surgical procedures, prescribing and dispensing drugs, and assuming responsibility for the care and medical attention of patients.  In addition, many veterinarians take on management and administrative responsibilities in the running of the hospital.

Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) is a recognized member of the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT). The veterinary technician assists in medical and surgical procedures. They are trained to perform laboratory tests, monitor and administer anesthetics, and carry out doctor’s recommendations for animal care. An RVT can triage emergencies, take a patient’s vital signs and initiate first aid.

The Veterinary Medical Receptionist (VMR) is the first to greet you on the phone or in person at the animal hospital. The receptionist has specific training in animal health management and in the protocols and procedures at the veterinary hospital. The receptionist often helps the veterinary technician or doctor with pet handling and patient care. They are responsible for client-to-clinic communication, can provide clients with continuing education, and can help with the sale of pet products and booking appointments during office hours.

The Practice Manager is primarily responsible for business administration and the flow of information throughout the practice. The manager controls the daily functions of the front office and assists the practice owner in formulating and implementing long term business strategies. She develops and implements all procedures and policies for the clinic and acts as a human resources leader. Furthermore, the manager is responsible for keeping the veterinary office current in terms of technology, procedures and products offered and maintaining business partnerships within and outside of the community. Any questions regarding the procedures and policies at the clinic can be directed towards the practice manager.

The Office Manager is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the front office. This includes maintaining adequate office supplies, scheduling staff, delegating office tasks, ensuring that appointments are appropriately booked, keeping the hospital clean and most importantly making sure that our clients are satisfied with the services they receive. Our office manager is concurrently responsible for maintaining the hospital’s inventory including food, drugs, and medical supplies.

A Veterinary Assistant (VA) is responsible for helping veterinarians and technicians with appointments ranging from the administration of medications and immunizations to simple wellness exams. They are also responsible for the maintenance and cleanliness of the facility and of any visiting animals, ensuring that equipment, examination rooms, and kennels are stocked and disinfected between patients.

Where can I find information on pet health?

Veterinary Partner –

Washington State University: Pet Health Topics –

The Merck Veterinary Manual –


Lost Pets

24PetWatch: Microchip ID –

Get Me Home –

Town of Georgina: Animal Control and Adoption Centre –

Ontario SPCA –


Veterinary Associations/Organizations

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) –

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) –

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) –

Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) –

Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) –

I lost/found a pet, what do I do next?

Losing your pet can be very upsetting, but it is important not to give up. Many owners and pets have been reunited weeks, months, and sometimes even years later. Ensuring your pet is identifiable can increase the chances that they are found and returned. Engraved tags, including rabies tags, and microchips are two means of identifying your pet and its owner. If you have lost or found a pet you have several options:

  1. South Shore Veterinary Clinic keeps a phone log of lost and found pets. Please call us and notify us if a pet has been lost or found in the local area and we will keep a record for reference. We also keep a community message board for posting flyers. We have had success at reuniting lost pets with their owners.
  2. Animal control and the local shelter should be notified. Many owners that have lost a pet will contact the local animal control to retrieve their animal. The phone numbers are provided below:Animal Control East Gwillimbury – 905-853-9148
    Animal Control Sutton/Keswick – 905-722-3452
    Animal Control Udora – 705-437-2210
    Georgina Shelter (Keswick) – 905-476-3457
    OSPCA Newmarket – 905-898-7122
    Toronto Humane Society – 416-392-2273
  3. Many Websites online offer pet finding services. Posting pictures and a description of a pet you have lost or found can greatly increase the chance of the pet’s return to their family. Always be cautious for scams when using online services. South Shore clients may submit a picture of their lost or found pets to our Website, Facebook page, or to our email for posting.
What is involved in an annual exam?

An annual physical exam involves a complete check of all your pet’s body systems including:

  • Skin and coat
  • Nose, Ears, and Eyes
  • Musculature and skeleton
  • Dental
  • Heart and lungs
  • Digestive system
  • Nervous system

Following the physical exam our doctors will review your pet’s medical history and determine which vaccines are necessary to ensure your animal is protected. Parasite prevention and screening will also be discussed and the doctor will make recommendations on how to keep your pet free from worms, fleas, and other unwanted pests. The annual exam may also include blood screening for early disease detection.

Your pet’s annual exam is a good time to bring up questions you may have about pet health care including: dietary needs, weight, exercise, behavioural issues, proper grooming and nail care, tooth brushing and oral hygiene. The annual physical is a time to make sure that your pet’s health is on the right track.

Parasite FAQ

What are the most common parasites?

Many parasites can affect our pets.  They can be contracted from the environment and from contact with other pets and wild animals.  Fleas and ticks are small insects that feed on the blood of cats and dogs.  Other common parasites include those found in the gastrointestinal tract such as giardia, roundworm, tapeworms and hookworms.  Heartworm is a parasite that invades the heart of dogs or cats and can cause heart failure.  More information on the parasites listed can be found below.

What is zoonosis?

Zoonosis refers to an infectious disease that can be passed from animals to humans.  Some common parasites are zoonotic, so it is important to protect both our pets and ourselves against infection through preventive treatments and screening.

How can I prevent parasites in my pets and myself

Children are more prone to contracting zoonotic parasites, as they tend to kiss and play more readily with pets.  Parasitic larvae are shed in the pet’s feces and contaminate soil and sand.  When children play in the contaminated areas and place their fingers in their mouths this allows eggs to be ingested, causing infection.  Pick up feces promptly and avoid eating while playing with your pet.  If a children’s sandbox is present cover it when not in use.  Frequent hand washing, as well as good general hygiene for people and dogs, is recommended.

Routine check ups by your veterinarian, including parasite screening and preventive medication, will not only keep your dog healthy but will reduce risk to you and your family.

What are fleas and how can I protect against them?

Adult fleas are wingless insects, generally smaller than a sesame seed that feed on the blood of animals. Their enlarged back pair of legs gives them an extraordinary jumping ability. Hanging on to your pet’s fur with their claws, their needle-like mouth parts bite through the skin to suck up blood.

Fleas spend much of their lifetime off the pet. They go through a life cycle that includes egg and cocoon or pupal stages. While adult fleas are relatively easy to kill with insecticides, the egg and cocoon stages are very resistant. Treatments should be coordinated that break the life cycle of the flea and treat the environment and the pet at the same time. Ask our health care team to determine the best products for your pet.

What are ticks, is my animal at risk, and how can I protect against them?

Ticks are external skin parasites that attach to a host animal and feed off its blood.  Ticks can be found in various outdoor locations including parks, fields, and forested areas where other host animals like deer, raccoons, rabbits, and other small mammals, may frequent.  Ticks are dangerous because they may pass on diseases including: Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis.  The site where the tick attaches to a pet may become infected if the tick is not properly removed, and if the pet is irritated and scratching or licking the wound.

Testing is available to screen for tick-born diseases.  Some topical treatments are also available to prevent ticks from attaching.  Speak to your veterinarian to find out if your pet is at risk and what protection is available.

What is Giardia?

Giardia is a very small parasite that is invisible to the human eye and causes diarrhea.  It infects the intestinal tract of its host and can infect cats, dogs, and humans.  The parasite can also live in the external environment for many months without a host as it waits for a suitable candidate to arrive.  Contaminated water is one of the primary ways that giardia is contracted; however, pets can also contract giardia by coming into contact with the feces of another infected animal, or soil where cysts have fallen.  Tests are available to screen for giardia, and treatments can be prescribed by a veterinarian to eliminate the parasite.

What are roundworms?

Roundworms are parasitic worms that live in the pet’s intestines, and consume partially digested food.  Adult worms resemble spaghetti and may come out in the feces or vomit of an infected dog.  Transmission to dogs and cats occurs through ingestion of eggs in contaminated feces and soil.  These worms are also transmitted by eating a prey animal that is infected (usually rodents), as well as to puppies from the mother’s milk or while in the uterus.

In dogs, roundworms cause diarrhea, vomiting, and in extreme cases, intestinal obstruction. It is important to note that these worms are zoonotic and can infect humans through transmission of the eggs.  Children are often infected when putting contaminated fingers into their mouths.  Proper hand washing can prevent infection.  Deworming of puppies and preventive medication will reduce environmental contamination.

What are hookworms?

In dogs, hookworm infection occurs through ingestion or skin penetration of hookworm larvae found in contaminated stool or soil.  Puppies can also be infected in the uterus or by consuming their mother’s milk if she has hookworms.  The larvae then develop and migrate to the intestines where they hook onto the intestinal wall and feast on the host’s blood.  These parasites are zoonotic.  The larvae of hookworms can penetrate the skin and infect humans.  It is important to keep your pet free of hookworms with good hygiene, preventive medication and regular veterinary check ups.  Keeping stray dogs and cats out of sandboxes and gardening areas can also help to prevent transmission.

What are tapeworms?

Tapeworms are long flat worms that grow in segments.  This parasite has a more complicated life cycle involving an intermediate host.  One type of tapeworm is transmitted through fleas while another type is transmitted to cats and dogs by hunting and consuming mice, rats, or rabbits.

Many people who do not know their pet has fleas find out about the infestation this way.

A tapeworm is transmitted when a segment breaks open releasing its eggs.  A larval flea consumes the egg along with the flea dirt that it normally eats.  As the larval flea matures, so does the baby tapeworm.  When a grooming dog or cat licks the flea and swallows it, the dead flea is digested in the dog’s stomach releasing the baby tapeworm.  The tapeworm is passed to its new home in the dog or cat’s small intestine where it attaches and lives its life. Your pet may have tapeworms if segments are seen under its tail, around its anus, or on its feces.  Tapeworm segments generally look like a grain of rice, although segments can be passed in small groups connected to each other and look larger than a grain of rice. Some species of tapeworms can infect humans.

What is heartworm disease, is my pet at risk, and how can it be prevented?

Canine Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal parasitic condition caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. Adult worms produce offspring called microfilariae, which circulate in the bloodstream and are ingested by mosquitoes that feed on an infected animal. The microfilariae undergo development in the mosquito and are then transmitted to another dog or animal when that mosquito bites. Dogs are considered the most common host for heartworm, however heartworms may also infect coyotes, foxes, wolves, domestic cats, ferrets and even humans. If infection with heartworm is prolonged damage to the heart and lungs, kidneys, liver, joints and eyes can occur.

There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection, including monthly topical treatments or chewable flavoured tablets. Preventive medications are extremely effective when given properly.

A blood test will be taken prior to dispensing preventive medications to ensure your pet is not already infected.

It is important to ensure that resources being used are from a credible source when researching pet health. There is a wide variety of information available online. Some information is from credible authors using current research, and some is not. In the resources sections above we have tried to provide some websites that publish reliable articles and research developed by veterinarians and animal health professionals. The information found through these sites is not meant as a substitute for the advice of a veterinary doctor. If you have concerns about your animal's health please contact us and arrange for a consultation and exam. We are available to answer any inquiries you may have about your pet.