Kidney Disease Part I

In order to understand why our pets, get kidney disease and its impact on their health, it is important to know what kidneys do. In this three-part series, we will discuss what the kidneys do, what causes kidney failure and how we diagnose it, treat it, manage it and monitor your pet who is living with kidney disease.

Kidneys are made up of units called nephrons; these are responsible for separating the products that our bodies need from those that our bodies have to excrete.  When our kidneys need to dispose of waste or toxins these products are dissolved in water and passed when our pets urinate. Kidneys are also efficient at conserving and balancing electrolytes like potassium, which if low can lead to muscle weakness.

Kidneys also play an important role in hydration or water conservation, when your pet is dehydrated the kidneys are still able to manage toxin excretion, they just doing it using leskinds water. On the other side if a pet consumes a large amount of water the kidneys will remove it, which prevents dilution of the bloodstream.

Balancing calcium and phosphorus in the blood is another function of the kidney if these are off balance if can cause weakening of the bones.  Kidneys also balance pH balance which requires a fine balance and if not regulated medical intervention is necessary.

Blood pressure is regulated by the kidneys and kidneys need to be working efficiently in order to prevent high blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels in the body, including those in the kidney.

Kidneys produce a hormone that regulates red blood cells by telling the bone marrow to produce more. Kidneys also via the nephron filter toxins but conserve the important proteins that circulate in the bloodstream, both these functions play a role in causes of anemia and low protein.

As discussed, the kidney’s function is very important in many areas of the body and vital for good health and quality of life.  In the next part of the series, we will discuss the importance of early diagnosis and how and why kidney disease can affect your pet.

Written by Jane Corkum, 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