Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.


What is a 4DX?

When Spring arrives all vet clinics start calling dog owners to remind them that their seasonal 4DX test is due, but what is this? We often forget that owners don’t speak our language! Simply put, a 4DX is a blood test that checks to see if your dog has antigen to heartworm disease or  antibodies to one of the five tick-borne diseases (Ehrlichia canis, Ehrlichia ewingii, Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Anaplasma platys).

4Dx tester

Figure 1: 4DX snap test

This is a screening test, which gives us a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If a positive result occurs we need to do further testing. The 4DX test is fast and done in the clinic and should be done every spring if living in Canada. If you and your pet are lucky enough to spend winters elsewhere it should be done twice a year. Detecting these diseases early means that we can treat them early and usually successfully.

Heartworm disease is not that common in our region but I have diagnosed several cases in the last 5 years. Many of these cases are from rescue foundations coming from the USA. Unfortunately, a few of these cases opted to NOT treat their dogs. This means that we have the potential for more cases in our area as mosquitoes bite these dogs and then travel to your dog. There are no laws requiring dog owners to treat their dog even if the disease is infectious.

All dogs should be given a Heartworm Disease Preventative medication during the months of June to (and including) November. If you travel to warm areas during the winter with your dog this medication should be continued year round. Often people will comment that their dog spends 90% or more of their time indoors. This does not matter since I’m sure we have all been bitten by a mosquito inside our homes!

Our area, especially Prince Edward County, is a very high tick burden area as well as being the “hot-spot” for Lyme Disease. The other tick-borne diseases are not common in our area yet but it is thought that they will soon be here.

Our main focus is on prevention of Lyme Disease. Since ticks are active when temperatures are above 4 degrees celsius the preventive product start time may vary year to year. I have personally had a tick in both December and February one year. A Lyme vaccine is available for dogs and giving this along with tick preventatives is the best protection.

The key point to remember is that these are all preventable vector-borne diseases that can be deadly if left undetected and untreated.

There is a lot more information on these diseases and types of preventatives. If you have questions regarding the diseases, or the best preventative medication to use for your dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Veterinarian giving a cat a vaccination

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. 

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Last updated: June 26, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!



We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Hillcrest Animal Hospital