Dr. Sarah Silcox
Dr. Sarah graduated from the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College in 1997. Following graduation, she worked at a busy, multi-doctor, small animal practice where she continued to learn and fostered an interest in integrative therapies. In 2001 she completed the Professional Course in Veterinary Homeopathy and soon after, left general practice and opened the first Integrative Medicine House Call Practice in the Durham Region. In 2004, she became certified in Veterinary Acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, in 2010 completed her certification in Animal Chiropractic, and shortly after added the benefits of therapeutic laser treatment to practice.
In addition to Integrative and House Call practice, Dr. Sarah is an experienced emergency veterinarian, having worked part-time at the Animal Emergency Clinic of Durham Region for over 15 years.
After helping numerous patients and their owners through the end-of-life journey, she felt particularly blessed to be able to offer palliative care to three of her own pets during their final months and began thinking of ways she could offer the same services to her clients.
After 13 years of operating her Integrative Medicine House Call Practice, she is now focusing her energy on providing in-home palliative care for her patients, as well as support for her clients that are sharing this journey with their pets.
One of Dr. Sarah's areas of interest includes research into the potential benefits of using medical cannabis for pets. While she continues to follow the developing research closely, she also continues to advocate for including pets as patients under new regulations which would allow improved access to species-specific studies, and access for pet owners to obtain this potentially beneficial herbal medicine. She is a founding director and the current president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine ().
When she is not working, Dr. Sarah spends her time at home with her husband, their dog Blackberry, and their cat, Marvin. She enjoys travelling, gardening, and starting home renovation projects.
In-home Service Area
Our current service area includes Pickering (excluding the most northern aspect), Ajax, Claremont, Greenwood, Whitby, Brooklin, Oshawa, Courtice, and Bowmanville.
If you live outside these areas, please contact your local veterinarian, or consider contacting us to arrange a telemedicine consultation.
Compassionate care in the comfort of your home
There are many reasons why people choose an in-home visit. Patients with mobility issues may have difficulty getting into a vehicle, anxious patients may become overly stressed by travel and in-hospital visits, and in dealing with upsetting news, many clients feel more comfortable being at home. Whatever the reason, in-home visits allow you to receive professional veterinary care without the struggle involved in getting your pet to the hospital.
Laboratory Testing and Drug Monitoring
As many chronic diseases progress, the focus of treatment also changes. Periodic laboratory tests can help us adjust your pet's treatment plan to provide the best palliative care options available.
For pets on chronic medications, routine blood monitoring can allow us to ensure they are receiving the ideal dosing, and when necessary, make changes to their medicine
Professional Pain Management
Meeting pets in their home environment allows us to observe subtle signs of pain that can often be masked by a surge of adrenaline that frequently accompanies a visit to the hospital.
When pain is identified, we work with you to develop a pain management plan that may include any or all of the following:
massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, herbal therapies (including cannabis-based products), nutritional supplements, laser therapy, heat/cold therapy, at-home exercises, and of course, prescription pain medication.
Just like in human hospice care, the enjoyment and nutritional importance of a good meal cannot be under-estimated. We will review your pet's current diet and appetite, and offer professional advise on an appropriate prescription diet for your pet's medical condition, review home-prepared dietary options, and when needed, provide appetite stimulants to ensure they continue to receive the necessary nutrients for health.
As pets age, they can become less flexible and loose the ability to groom themselves. Nails can become long, fur matted. These can cause discomfort to our pets. When indicated, we can provide basic grooming assistance such as nail trims and shaving of matts, using gentle sedation when necessary.
Studies have shown that most of our senior pets have some degree of arthritis, which often progresses to difficulties getting around. Other conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and neurological systems can also impair our pets' mobility. We can assist in findings ways to support your pet using medications, therapies, and mobility aids such as slings, harnesses, and wheeled carts, as well as doing an environmental assessment and offering suggestions to make your home more "pet-friendly" during this time of their life.
In concert with appropriate veterinary care, many specific musculoskeletal conditions are well addressed by animal chiropractic, also known as veterinary spinal manipulation therapy. In addition, numerous animal care-takers understand the value of chiropractic in the overall health and wellness of their dogs, cats, horses and other animals. Benefits of animal chiropractic include enhanced performance, function, and quality of life.
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.
Laser Therapy is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to stimulate the body's natural ability to heal. The effects of laser energy include improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation and decreased swelling. In palliative care, the use of KLaser therapy can reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility, and assist in the healing of wounds.
When we perform a hospice visit, we are not only assessing your pet, but also the environment in which he or she lives. We will often be able to make suggestions to improve their access to common living spaces, bathroom areas, etc. These may include improved floor traction, improved stair safety, bedding changes, litter box access, etc. If you are interested in making any modifications in the home (ie. outdoor ramps), we can even recommend a trade carpenter to help!
The use of medical cannabis is rapidly growing in human medicine, and similar medical benefits are to be expected with pets as well. Current legislation prohibits the prescription of medical cannabis for pets, including CBD oil. However, now that all adult Canadians can legally access a range of cannabis products, the potential for pets to be exposed to cannabis inadvertently, or medicated by well-intentioned owners has risen dramatically. If you are considering cannabis for your pet, we encourage you to schedule a cannabis consultation to ensure that you have information on product safety, potential drug interactions, and administration guidance to keep your pet safe and work toward their optimal health.
When you and your veterinarian have decided that the time has come to say goodbye, our doctors can assist your pet's passing in the comfort of your home.
Your pet will receive initial sedation (typically by an initial injection), and only once relaxed and comfortable, will a final intravenous injection be administered to complete the euthanasia process. If desired, a hair clipping can be provided for a keepsake and ink paw and/or nose-prints can be made.
Aftercare services provided by Gateway Pet Memorial can be coordinated for you, and following euthanasia, we will transport your pet to prepare for cremation.
Alternatively, we can allow your pet to remain with you, for family-directed aftercare.
Where to get help
Although we occasionally have same-day appointments available, we do not operate as an emergency service, and cannot guarantee same-day appointments.
If your pet has an urgent health matter you are welcome to call us to see if we have an opening.
However, in the case of a true emergency, or if you are unable to reach us, you should call your regular veterinary practice or one of the local veterinary emergency hospitals listed below.
Animal Emergency Clinic of Durham Region
After-hours, weekends, holidays
1910 Dundas St. E, Unit B101
Toronto Veterinary Emergency Hospital
24-7 Emergency Care
21 Rolark Drive
Toronto Animal Health Partners
24-7 Emergency Care
1 Scarsdale Rd.
Veterinary Emergency Clinic and Referral Centre
24-7 Emergency Care
920 Yonge St. Suite 117