Our Blog

July 2019
02: Early Closure July 2nd 2019
June 2019
27: Canada Day Closure 2019
March 2019
07: The Threat of Tick-borne Diseases
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04: Important information from Hill’s Pet Nutrition about voluntarily recalled canned dog food:
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31: There is a difference
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19: Concerns regarding flea/tick medication side-effects, harmful grain-free diets and cannabis use in pets
15: Farley Foundation Fundraiser 2018
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17: Monthly Focus: Cancer Awareness - Lonestar's Story
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01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
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13: Keetah's Story
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06: The Value Of Education
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17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
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28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
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01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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29: Dog Park Etiquette
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10: Anticipated tick bloom
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22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
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14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
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09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
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23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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28: Exciting news for our hospital!
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08: Heartworm cases
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24: Changing your pet's food
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01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
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December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
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22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
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20: Happy Smiles
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22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
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11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
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20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
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25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
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29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
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10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story

Posted: 2015-09-23

Texas’ story began back in 2008, as a 9-month old Doberman pincher puppy going stir-crazy in a kennel after being abandoned at a veterinary hospital where David was working. Feeling bad that this beautiful high-energy puppy was limited to short walks when the clinic staff had free time, he started coming early before his shifts and staying late after his shifts to take him for runs to let off some of his steam. This was the start of their very special bond. After a few weeks, David decided to start the process of adopting Texas, promising his dad that he would just be ‘fostering him for a few weeks’, but knowing fully that the owner was unlikely to return. Texas didn’t have the best start to his life. This was obvious by his inability to trust new people and caused some fear aggression to others in the household. David found out quickly that Texas needed a more structured routine with training and socialization – something that wasn’t possible under the current conditions. We like to think that everything happens for a reason. Right around this time, Westbridge hired a new technician, Becky, who understandably fell in love with Texas immediately. She and David spent a lot of time together with Texas, taking him for long walks and trips to the dog park, the Bruce Trail, and vacant baseball diamonds. While the vacant diamonds may sound boring to many, Texas would disagree. Here, he would use the sound of passing motorcycles as encouragement to run several laps around the field, making it much easier to meet his exercise needs. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best idea, as car rides were never the same afterwards. Aside from his initial behavioural woes, for which he greatly improved, Texas was very low maintenance and the only medical issues he ever experienced was a bite wound to his leg after playing at one of his favourite places – the dog park.

This clean bill of health changed very quickly. Texas started having discharge from one of his nostrils in early July of 2013, something that normally would not be of great concern. However, the discharge persisted for several weeks and eventually became discoloured, though Texas remained his happy, playful self. Erring on the side of caution, David and Becky took Texas to have some diagnostics performed, including dental radiographs and a CT scan of his nasal passage. Neither of these tests showed any significant findings, and the Internist working on his case suggested antibiotics as a trial. After a few weeks on antibiotics, Texas began to drink and urinate more than normal. A urinalysis showed nothing abnormal, so it was thought to be a side-effect of the antibiotics. Both David and Becky’s intuition suggested, though, that there was something else going on. It was at this point that we brought Texas into Westbridge for Dr. Hylands to perform an ultrasound of his abdomen. Having seen hundreds of ultrasounds over the years, it didn’t take long for him to notice something was very wrong. There was free fluid present in his abdomen, and multiple abnormal lesions throughout his liver. In order to determine what the lesions were, Dr. Hylands recommended performing ultrasound guided biopsies of Texas’ liver. This happened on a Thursday evening, and both of us must have checked every five minutes, each time reading the words “pending” beside his histopathology results. Late Friday evening, after checking again, the word “pending” was replaced “completed”. It took them a few minutes to click the button on their iPhone to open up the results. They skipped past the endless paragraphs describing the pathologists’ detailed comments and findings to the only part that mattered to them – the diagnosis: MULTINODULAR INTRAHEPATIC ADENOCARCINOMA, PROBABLE BILIARY CARCINOMA. This quickly changed their weekend plans, as with their experience as veterinary technicians, they knew that this was a cancer with very few options for treatment. Had the cancer been more localized to a single liver lobe, surgical resection with radiation treatment could have been a favorable option. Due to the diffuse infiltration of the cancer, this was not an option for Texas.

This was something that was very difficult for Becky and David to believe and understand, as even as they sat entrenched in tears reading the results, Texas remained his happy and playful self with absolutely no signs of illness short of the completely unrelated nasal discharge. Appetite wasn’t an issue at the time, either; in fact, he would lighten the mood by devouring their ‘used’ tissues, for which there were many, helping them fight the tears with laughter. After consulting the doctors at Westbridge, as well as oncologists at the University of Guelph Cancer Centre, it was determined that the only option to try to save Texas was injectable chemotherapy. Texas’ well-being and happiness was at the forefront of their decision-making process. Because this particular chemotherapy agent had very little side-effects, they decided to move forward in lieu of the very poor prognosis (chemotherapy being <15% effective with this particular cancer). Texas handled his first treatment extremely well. Sadly, though, it was not effective. Texas had a great three weeks after his diagnosis, and he and his family spent every possible moment of every day enjoying each others presence. He spent his last weekend doing what he loved best – chasing squirrels up North for the long weekend in Parry Sound, wandering the forest, and only locatable by the bear bell jingling on his collar all weekend. On September 3rd, his condition deteriorated rapidly – he started coughing, presumably due to the cancer spreading to his chest. We knew it was time to let him go, and we made the drive from Guelph to Westbridge to spend our final moments as a Westbridge family together before he crossed over to the rainbow bridge.

While we have many stories of successful cancer treatments, Texas’ cancer is an example of one where treatment options are very few, and minimally successful. It is cases like his that outline just how much work that still needs to be done in cancer research. It is for this reason that we share this story.

- David and Becky

This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital) in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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