Position Statements

  • Canine & Feline Vaccination
  • Deworming
  • Feline Declaws
  • Spaying and Neutering
  • Testing and Prevention of Parasites

Canine & Feline Vaccination

Gateway Pet Hospital supports the use of vaccination against infectious disease in dogs and cats. Our vaccination protocols are designed based on the latest information about local disease risk. We design our protocols using the most recent professional guidelines and duration of immunity studies. We tailor our protocols to each pet based on the needs of the pet and the pet's family.

Key points:

• Vaccines play an important role in the health and welfare of pets and humans.

• Vaccines registered for use in Canada have been tested for safety and efficacy.

• The vaccination needs of every patient is assessed regularly and adjusted as needed.

AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines
AAHA Feline Vaccination Guidelines


Gateway Pet Hospital supports the routine use of anti-parasitic medication to prevent disease caused by parasites, and to prevent the spread of parasites to other pets and humans. Deworming protocols are based on risk factor that include location, exposure, risk of spread and risk to the pet's family members.  We design our deworming protocols based on the recommendation from professional guidelines in North America. 

Key points:

  • Puppies and kittens are particularly susceptible to parasites. They can cause serious disease.
  • Children and immune compromised adults are at highest risk for contracting parasites from pets.
  • Many pets have parasites and shed microscopic parasite eggs without any signs.
  • Parasites are usually picked up in the environment, in water or grass, or from direct contact with other dogs' feces.
  • Raw meat is also a source of intestinal parasites.


Companion Animal Parasite Council
Canadian Parasitology Panel (CPEP)

For more information on deworming, please visit our parasite prevention page.

Feline Declaws

Gateway Pet Hospital prides itself in providing the best possible care for our patients. We are strong advocates for our friends that have no voice, and strive to make choices in their best interest. For that reason, Gateway Pet Hospital does not perform declaws.

The term declawing actually describes partial digit amputations (usually done on both front paws). As you can imagine, it is a painful procedure that results in cats who can no longer perform their natural scratching and stretching behaviors.

While we have provided this surgical option in the past for our clients, more and more non-surgical options are available now to help deal with cats who scratch and are destructive. We are dedicated to working with, and supporting our clients to find alternative solutions that will work for them.

Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns about our policy.

Spaying and Neutering

Gateway Pet Hospital recommends spaying and neutering of dogs and cats that are not intended for breeding. This recommendation is based on preventing health problems associated with aging intact animals, as well as preventing accidental breedings that contribute to pet overpopulation. We are dedicated to staying current with developing and evolving research that evaluates the risks and benefits of spaying and neutering. Every individual pet will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and a plan will be formulated with the pet's family. 

It is important to remember that the below recommendations are guidelines only. Timing of your pet's spay or neuter is an important item for you to discuss with your veterinary team.

Feline Patients

We recommend spaying and neutering ALL cats before 6 months of age. This recommendation is based on clear, evidence-based research that it promotes individual pet health and prevents overpopulation.

Canine Patients

We currently recommend that all female dogs are spayed at 6 months of age, regardless of breed or size. This decision is based on a review of current literature and research available covering suspected benefits and risks of spaying before or after estrus (heat).

We recommend neutering most large and giant breed male dogs at 12-14 months of age, and small and medium breed dogs at 6-10 months of age. This decision is based on a review of current literature and research available that investigates the effects of hormones on bone and muscle development in growing dogs.

Testing and Prevention of Parasites

We recommend yearly heartworm and tick-borne disease testing with the Idexx 4DX test for Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis and Heartworm for dogs. 

• Even with parasite prevention, the transmission of these diseases is possible.

• Ticks have been well documented to occur on warm days in the winter when prevention is not commonly used in most pets.

• Pills given late skipped or inadvertently spit/vomited up unnoticed by the owner leave the pet exposed to these diseases.

• Wellness testing at a reduced price is also recommended at this time to screen early for disease that may not show clinical signs.  This blood test will also provide a baseline for comparing future lab results. 

• We recommend the use of monthly Credelio oral (preferred) or Advantix topical as a primary method of preventing fleas, lice, and ticks in all dogs.  In cats that go outdoors, we recommend topical Bravecto for the prevention of fleas, lice, mites and ticks.

• Ticks, fleas and lice are found regularly in urban areas including grass bordering sidewalks and paths, and in back yards.

• For most pets, March to November offers appropriate coverage.  However, with milder winters, we encourage owners to consider year-round tick prevention, especially in dogs that are active outdoors in the winter.

• Prevention is much safer, easier and less costly than treatment.

• At this time in our area, we recommend tick prevention with monthly Credelio oral (preferred) or Advantix topical as our primary prevention for tick-borne disease, including Lyme disease, in all dogs during the highest-risk months of March to November. We encourage owners to consider year-round protection.

• The incidence of tick-borne disease is rapidly increasing in our area.  Diagnosis and treatment of these diseases can be difficult and costly.

• Ticks have been found in our area 12 months of the year, appearing in colder months if daily temperatures exceed 4 degrees even for a short period of time.

• This is the timeline that has been determined as the risk period for animals to contract heartworm disease, and thus we base our yearly prevention programs around these dates.

• Year-round treatment is recommended for pets in the home with young children, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals.

• Year-round treatment is recommended for dogs that roam freely off-leash and may have access to rodents, or the feces of other dogs or wild canids (coyotes, foxes).

• We recommend regular deworming of all cats with Milbemax or Advantage Multi, on a schedule determined by your veterinary team depending on the risk

• Monthly treatment with Milbemax + Advantage Multi (or Every 2nd month treatment with Bravecto) for all outdoor cats or cats that might be hunting indoors.

• Monthly treatment with Advantage Multi + every 3rd month treatment with Milbemax for indoor cats in the household with dogs or that go out on a leash.

• Every 3-month treatment with Milbemax for indoor-only cats. 

• We recommend the use of Interceptor Plus monthly as a means of preventing the spread of a new and emerging tapeworm in Ontario that poses a serious risk to human health, Echinococcus multilocularis as well as prevention of heartworm, roundworm, hookworm and whipworm.

• This risk of Echinococcus multilocularis is of particular concern to dogs that have access to wild canid feces (coyote or wolf), or that have access to rodents. 

***Other products are available and can be ordered on an individual basis if needed***