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.

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Cancer in Companion Animals

Studies show that 1 out of 4 dogs will develop cancer. Although it cannot be prevented, it is important to know the signs to look out for because early detection is key. It is recommended to recognize what your pet’s normal behaviour is in order to identify if anything becomes abnormal quickly.

Signs of cancer include:

  • Unusual lumps/bumps that increase in size
  • Sores that don’t heal (indicates that the immune system is compromised in some way)
  • Decreased weight/appetite lasting more than 24 hours (If Fluffy usually begs for scraps but suddenly seems uninterested or not wanting to eat anything at all)
  • Lethargic/no energy
  • Inability to urinate or defecate

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian so that further testing (such as blood work, x-rays, biopsies) can be performed in order to confirm or rule out cancer. Once a diagnosis of cancer is confirmed, your veterinarian will go over treatment options. The success of treatment depends on the stage and type of cancer and how well it will respond to treatment.

Treatment options include:

  • Surgery – Involves removing or debulking a tumour.
  • Radiation Therapy – Ionizing radiation used to kill abnormal cells.
  • Immunotherapy – Used to activate the immune system into fighting off the cancer
  • Chemotherapy – Systemic drugs that are used when cancer has spread, or it is not a localized tumour.

With the use of any drugs, there is the possibility of side effects. The side effects of chemotherapy are vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased white blood cells. In regards to the white blood cells, your veterinarian will be closely monitoring those values to see if they get to low. If they do, we will look at decreasing the dose, changing the medication, or putting your pet on an immune-stimulating drug. Hair loss is a less common side effect in animals, but in breeds that continuously grow hair coats like poodles may experience some thinning of the hair. It is also important to note that the drugs will remain active in your pet’s system for a couple of days after treatment. So, it is suggested to have them urinate/defecate in a separate area away from other pets and to wear gloves when picking up after them. It is also recommended to have separate water/food bowls if you have healthy pets in the house to prevent it from affecting them. Also, if you are the one administering the medication to your pet, wear gloves and wash hands after doing so.

Some types of cancer can be cured, while others can only be managed to decrease the spread. If your pet is not responding to treatment or if the cost is an issue, this is where palliative care comes into play. Palliative care is a way to make your pet comfortable and to improve its quality of life without slowing cancer, essentially just treating the clinical signs. You should discuss with your veterinarian what the best palliative care plan is for you and your pet.

Written by: Sabrina

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Cancer in Companion Animals

Studies show that 1 out of 4 dogs will develop cancer.

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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.

The following changes are effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 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 780-539-0636. We will bring your pet into the hospital 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 are continuing to accept appointments for urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. All other services will be scheduled for a later time. However, if you're unsure whether your pet needs medical attention, please call us to discuss your situation.

3. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Saturday 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 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 to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the Online Store, please visit our website.

5. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

6. 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 disease.

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 Animal Medical Centre North