Archive for November, 2010

Cancer in Pets – What You Need to Know

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: 4. Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , , |

Unfortunately cancer is not just something humans need to worry about.  In honor of National Pet Cancer Awareness month we have some important information from Zachary M. Wright, DVM DACVIM (oncology), Staff Oncologist and Intern Director at VCA Veterinary Care Referral Center in Albuquerque, NM.

Breakthroughs in veterinarian medicine across wellness, trauma, infections and surgery have led to our pets surviving more conditions and living longer. The extended life of a pet consequently provides an increased chance for developing other issues, including cancer. One in four domesticated dogs in the United States will die of cancer, and that number increases to almost one in two for dogs who reach the age of 10.
Owners can take a proactive role in identifying cancer in their pets. Skin tumors, the most common cancer in dogs and cats, can be easily felt while spending quality time your pet.   Middle to older aged animals may display vague signs that including vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, lameness, or coughing, which can all be linked to cancers of internal organs. The smaller the tumor the more effective therapy will be against it, so never just watch a lump on your pet. If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should bring your animal to the nearest VCA veterinarian.
If your pet is diagnosed with a cancer, ask your VCA veterinarian for a referral to the nearest veterinarian oncologist. Veterinary oncologists are veterinarians who have done 3-4 years of additional training in cancer diagnosis and treatment. VCA has more than 10 veterinary oncologists nationwide who are skilled at evaluating, treating and researching cancer in pets.
A cancer diagnosis comes with a variety of treatment options:
  • Surgery: Typically a first line of treatment as it can offer a cure for many tumors if they are completely removed.
  • Radiation: The least used treatment modality in veterinary oncology because of the lack of radiation units across the country. However, it is a great second line option when surgery is ineffective or incomplete.  VCA currently has four hospitals across the country with radiation facilities.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy use in veterinary medicine is very different than the perception of cancer treatment in human medicine.  Much lower dosages are used as quality of life is most important. Approximately 90% of dogs and cats will have little to no obvious side effects from their treatments; thus allowing our pets to be at home, feeling great, with their loved ones.
  • Clinical Trials: Oncology has our own breakthroughs in cancer treatment and many veterinary oncologists are able to offer pet owners clinical trials for new cancer therapies.
If you have additional questions about cancer in pets please visit the following links.
– Zachary M. Wright, DVM DACVIM (oncology), Staff Oncologist
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European Pet Love

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

My Furry Buddy in Venice

My husband and I just got back from a 17 day Europe trip, and it was incredible! It was truly trains, planes and automobiles – a wonderful adventure! We went to Italy, Hungary and France. That was the longest we’ve been away from our pets, and I must say after a few days, I needed a pet fix! Thank goodness in Murano (an island off of Venice) I met such a cute dog. I never found out his name, but he greeted tourists who came to the glass blowing demonstration. His owners make a living by blowing glass into the most beautiful vases, statues and chandeliers.

Glass Blowing in Murano

The dog was friendly and well behaved. I loved petting him! It made me miss my dog and cat.

Germie and Caesar

In Ajka, Hungary while visiting my relatives for the first time, I got to meet Germie (dog) and  Caesar (cat). Although Germie had owners who take good care of him, he loves my aunt and uncle, who spoil him with belly rubs and food over the fence. Germie and Caesar get along really well – it’s very sweet!

We noticed that the pets in Europe, even the few strays we saw, were healthy and happy. We learned that the people in the areas we visited are big animal advocates, and this made my heart sing! I did notice that there were quite a few homeless people with pets in Paris. Although the pets looked healthy, and I’m sure they are great companions to the men and women who live on the streets, I don’t believe that is the ideal lifestyle for those animals. In some cases, it was obvious that the pets were used as a means to get money from those passing by. We saw one homeless man with kittens and puppies.

However, for the most part, Europe seemed extremely pet friendly, which made my experience there that much better!

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