Dr. Danny Joffe is only half joking when he says that if he’d fallen asleep on the last day of vet school in Saskatoon and woken up some two decades later in his current workplace, he would not have believed it was an animal hospital. Joffe is one of 11 specialists at the C.A.R.E. Centre, a 28,000-sq.-foot palace of veterinary medicine built two years ago in Calgary by a consortium that owns 23 vet clinics and animal hospitals across British Columbia and Alberta. It has four operating theatres, a $100,000 CT machine, two ultrasound machines, a digital X-ray unit, an endoscopy centre, a lab and 16 examination rooms. Its intensive care unit boasts 20 cages and eight dog runs, staffed 24/7. “It’s just like an emergency centre at a tertiary care human hospital,” Joffe says.
There is almost no pet illness that can’t be treated here. For eye problems, C.A.R.E. provides ophthalmologists who perform cataract surgery. Orthopaedic surgeons do hip replacements or arthroscopy — minimally invasive surgery on joints. To treat cancer, a surprisingly common disease in dogs and cats, says Joffe, “Our oncologist can offer intricate chemotherapy protocols and our surgeons can do very extreme and elaborate surgeries, including mass removals, amputations and bone transplants from cadaver dogs.” As for MRIs, C.A.R.E. has a standing two appointments a week booked at a private human facility in the city. “For you or I it might be a several-month process,” says Joffe of getting an MRI. “We get it done in a week or less.”