Cancer and Tumours in Pets

Animals can develop cancer cells throughout their lifetime, just as we humans can. In some, these cells remain dormant and no malignancy ever grows; in others, the cells behave very badly. The cellular delinquents fight past the body’s natural immune system and develop into abnormal cells. They do not observe the healthy cell’s programmed death, so the cellular delinquents multiply as they crowd out healthy cells. They don’t follow any rules and ignore signals that they are overfilling the place. For nourishment, they cause new blood vessels to form to supply them, which should be supplying healthy tissue. These marauding delinquents can grow anywhere in our pets’ bodies, just like us: lungs, liver, spleen, kidney, intestines, bone, blood, brain, skin, muscle, mouth, digits and anal sacs.

Here are some signs that cancer may be lurking in your pet:

  • Lumps and bumps that don’t go away.
  • Wounds that don’t heal, particularly if their appearance is changing.
  • Limping or other signs of pain while walking, running, or jumping.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Less energy/willingness to play, walk and run.
  • Lethargy, less appetite.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Bleeding, including nosebleeds, skin bruises, blood in stool, urine or vomit; pale gums.
  • Bad odours from the mouth, ears or anus.
  • Abnormal discharge such as blood or pus; vomiting or diarrhea, particularly if accompanied by other signs.
  • Changes in urinary and bowel habits, such as straining or going too often.

These range from subtle to more obvious signs that something is wrong. Signs of cancer can be similar to ones seen in other diseases, so don’t assume your pet has cancer if you see one. Also, don’t assume that age alone is causing issues.

If your pet has one or more of these signs, see your veterinarian: catching any disease process early is best because it’s easier to treat. With cancer, early detection is key and sometimes can make the difference between good health at a reasonable cost and an expensive illness with a poor outcome.

Written by Alex Hare, DVM


The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: March 22, 2022.

Dear Clients,

Our top priority here at Westwood Hills is the ongoing health and safety of our clients, their pets, and our dedicated team members that serve you and the community.

NEW: We kindly request that clients continue wearing facemasks during their visits to our hospital. Our staff will continue to wear masks, as they remain one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
* *Facemasks are no longer mandatory in veterinary clinics (but still highly recommended) as per recent provincial guidelines.

Here is what you can expect during your next visit:

  • We ask that all clients keep their distance / practice social distancing.
  • Continue the use of debit / credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • For those interested we will still offer curbside pickup. Please place your food and medication order 48 hours in advance.
  • We are constantly analyzing our day to day actions and we appreciate your patience. We will continue to implement procedures that are in the best interest of both you, our clients and our staff.

    If you are not feeling well in any way, or if you have interacted with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 we ask that you stay isolated and do not visit us at the clinic. If your pet needs medical attention please have a family member or friend bring in your pet or pick up prescriptions / food.


    Monday - Friday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    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 Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital