We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.


Rabies Vaccine: Does My Indoor Cat Really Need It?

Recently I heard someone mention that “rabies is extinct and no longer exists.” Unfortunately, as much as we would love for that to be true, it just isn’t. Rabies is still a very real issue here in Canada. Last year, in 2017, there were 149 positive cases of rabies in Ontario alone, with 90 other positive cases throughout the rest of the country. Among the 149 Ontario cases, 1 of those positives was a cat, with the most cases coming from raccoons, skunks, and bats. Throughout Canada, there are many more positive cases that involve dogs, cows, and arctic foxes.

The most frequent question we get from owners is:

Question: “My cat is indoors only. Do they really need to be vaccinated for rabies?”

Answer: Even though your cat may not go outside, that doesn’t mean that the outside can’t still come in. Even with our best efforts, wildlife can sometimes find their way inside. Bats might make their way into rafters and then eventually all the way indoors. Raccoons sneak their way into garages to rummage through garbage bins. Even if you’re positive that your house is completely wildlife proof, accidents still happen. It’s possible for doors to get left open long enough for a curious cat to sneak out. They may only be out for a few hours or a couple days but during that time there is a risk that they may be exposed to an animal with rabies.

Your indoor cat should still be making annual trips to their veterinarian to have a physical examination done with their vaccines. Trips to the vet clinic can be stressful for your cat and even the most well-mannered cats can become frightened. For some cats, when they are nervous, their first response can be to bite or scratch. Any bites are required to be reported to the health unit. If the cat is not up to date on their rabies vaccine, they must be quarantined for 10 days to observe for symptoms of rabies. Some other important things to remember are:

  1. Rabies is local. Rabies isn’t just on the far outskirts of Ontario and Canada, its local! Over the past couple of years, there have been multiple positive cases locally. In August of 2016, Hamilton had a positive case of rabies in a cat and another positive case in February of 2017. Even closer to home, a bat tested positive in Brighton in July 2015.The best way to protect your pet is to get them vaccinated. Stay away from wildlife and report any bites or scratches to your local Health Unit.
  2. Vaccines are required by law. Vaccine protocols may be tailored by your veterinarian to suit your pet’s lifestyle but rabies is not an optional vaccine. All dogs, cats and ferrets above the age of three months are required by the Rabies Immunization Regulation under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to be vaccinated for rabies. Rabies is fatal in animals and if not treated immediately, it is also fatal in humans as well. Why take the risk? Vaccination is the best prevention you can offer for your pet. If you have questions in regards to rabies and your pet contact us at the office and we are happy to help answer them!

Written by Kelsey Hewgill, RVT


What you need to know about kitten vaccinations

Kittens will get vaccinations at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then annually. Overview A vaccine is a substance created to incite an immune response for a particular disease.  It needs to be given multiple times to a kitten to initiate his immune system. 

Read More
See All Articles

COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

Last updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1. We are currently operating a "closed-waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 613-394-4811. We will bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. The veterinarian will then call you to discuss our recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a technician will return your pet to your car and take care of any needed medications and payment.

2. We can now see all cases by appointment only.

3. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday: Closed.

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 5-7 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive at 613-394-4811 to pick up your order, but do not enter the clinic. We do have our online store available, which can be accessed from our website by clicking the online store button.

5. Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our jobs. We have taken these measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid, and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Hillcrest Animal Hospital