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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Kidney Disease

Kidneys are amazing and so precious…

Kidney disease has carried off way too many of my patients in the past few months. It’s a sad and frustrating condition because there’s usually so little we can do to stop it.

At vet school, I remember thinking that kidneys are the most incredible of all our organs – no wonder we studied for endless weeks to figure them out. They are responsible for so many things. Through intricate chemical pathways, they regulate the amount of water in the body and, therefore, affect blood pressure, guard against dehydration, and determine how often we run to the bathroom. Kidneys also eliminate waste products produced by food molecules absorbed into the bloodstream. Red blood cell production in our bone marrow is stimulated by a chemical produced by the kidneys.

Even the liver doesn’t seem as complex in how it functions. But liver has one big advantage over kidneys. It can regenerate and recover from fairly severe damage. Once kidney cells die, they don’t come back.

Now, dogs and cats at least, don’t need all of the kidney capacity they have and will often have lost more than 50 per cent of functioning tissue before we start to see signs of illness. Usually, the first symptom is increased urination and thirst. In the jargon of my profession, this is called PUPD for polyuria, polydypsia. Next, pets develop poor appetites and vomiting.

These signs are also seen with diabetes, but blood and urine tests can quickly differentiate the two. If I had to have a sick pet, I’d wish for diabetes which can be survived for years. The prognosis for survival after diagnosis with chronic kidney disease is often as short as three or four months, occasionally only as many weeks.

So why did I slip in that word “chronic”? Well, there are some diseases of the kidneys associated with poisonings or infections that develop quite suddenly and can be halted if treated quickly. Exposure to the bacteria leptospirosis or toxins such as antifreeze can quickly cause this form of life-threatening “acute” kidney failure. But it’s the slowly progressive loss of function associated with age we see most commonly.

If your pet is drinking and peeing larger volumes than is normal, make a vet appointment and be prepared to take a urine sample. There may be some hard choices ahead. One of the patients we recently lost was on three medications daily and came in for fluid injections twice a week. It took an enormous commitment from his family to treat him, but for the few extra months he survived, he was one of the happiest, most energetic dogs I’ve ever known.

Cats diagnosed with kidney disease tend to live longer, although they are harder to medicate than their canine counterparts. I have several feline kidney patients still purring along several years after diagnosis.

I wish there was a handy list of preventive measures that guard against chronic kidney disease. Some studies have linked severe dental disease with kidney damage, so keeping your pet’s teeth clean may help. Other than that, just like us, they should be encouraged to drink lots of water every day.

Dr. Fiona Gilchrist,
Hillcrest Animal Hospital – Trenton/Quinte West
January 2013

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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.

Last updated: Tuesday, May 19, 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 613-394-4811. We will bring your pet into the clinic 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 can now see all cases by appointment only.

3. We are still OPEN with the following hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday: Closed.

4. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 5-7 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 at 613-394-4811 to pick up your order, but do not enter the clinic. We do have our online store available, which can be accessed from our website by clicking the online store button.

5. Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

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 virus.

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 Hillcrest Animal Hospital