Daily Paws

Pet news, tips, entertainment and opinions from VetLocator.com

Archive for December, 2009

Canine Lymphoma

Monday, December 28th, 2009

We regularly get questions from dog owners at our Ask A Pet Pro blog about canine lymphoma, an increasingly common form of cancer.

Today we received an email from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine that we’d like to share with you.

You can read the original article here:  http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/news/stories/news4989.html

Canine Lymphoma

Author: Ashley Mitek

An archive of Pet Columns from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is available online at www.vetmed.illinois.edu/petcolumns/.  Requests for reprints of this article may be directed to Mandy Barth, mandyb@illinois.edu.Approximately 5 percent of all human cancers in the United States are diagnosed as lymphoma according to the National Cancer Institute. Unfortunately, it is much more common in our canine companions. Nearly 20 percent of all reported malignant tumors in dogs are lymphoma. The disease, which starts in the lymphocytes (white blood cells) of the immune system, can go on to invade the lymph nodes as well as almost any other part of the body.

Dr. Laura Garrett is a veterinary oncologist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana. She says, “lymphoma usually affects middle-aged to older dogs. But it is also one of the few cancers that commonly affects young dogs as well.”

In contrast to the feline forms of lymphoma, there is no known cause of the cancer in dogs. However, some breeds seem to be predisposed, such as: golden retrievers, Scottish terriers, mastiffs, and rottweilers. The disease also presents differently in dogs. While cats with lymphoma are typically very ill by the time they see a veterinarian, dogs with lymphoma usually do not feel sick when they are diagnosed.

“Dog owners usually complain of lumps under the jaw,” explains Dr. Garrett, or a veterinarian may notice them on a routine physical exam. The “lumps” that can be felt are enlarged lymph nodes. As lymphoma spreads, it has the ability to affect lymph nodes all over the body, as well as other organs. This type of lymphoma, called “multicentric,” reflects the fact that it is found in multiple places. It is the most common form of the disease in dogs.

Because lymphoma is a cancer that tends to be very widespread throughout an animal’s body, there is only one real choice of therapy that has the potential to make the cancer go into remission: chemotherapy.

“Lymphoma is not a surgical disease,” notes Dr. Garrett. The only way oncologists can attempt to slow down its progression is to try and poison the fastest growing cells in the dog’s body (usually the tumor cells) with chemotherapy.

Thankfully, dogs with the multicentric form of lymphoma have a good to excellent chance of responding well to treatment. That said, there are other forms of the disease, such as the gastro-intestinal variety, that do not respond very well to therapy, so it is important to know what kind of lymphoma you are dealing with.

In general, dogs with the multicentric form of lymphoma will live approximately one year after being diagnosed if they have completed chemotherapy. If owners choose not to treat, dogs can expect to live around four to six weeks after being diagnosed.

It is important to note that each patient with lymphoma is different, and the median survival time is simply that–an average that can be used to help inform owners. Depending on certain prognostic factors, patients may be more likely to do better or worse. For example, a dog that is not feeling well at the time of lymphoma diagnosis is a very strong negative prognostic indicator. Meaning, the animal is much worse off than a dog that feels well at the time of diagnosis.

For information regarding lymphoma, contact your local veterinarian. A list of board certified veterinary oncologists in your state can be found by visiting Veterinary Cancer Society Web site: http://www.vetcancersociety.org/.

Source: Dr. Laura Garrett, DVM, DACVIM

Adam’s Updates: Another Recall – hoofs and ears, new VL recall resource and how to avoid the most common winter pet injury

Monday, December 14th, 2009


Latest pet product recall

Recalls………..sigh.  Here’s another one.

The FDA has issued another recall, this time for Pet Carousel beef hoofs and pig ears, due to possible salmonella contamination.  Here is the link to the official FDA release.

Unfortunately, pet product recalls are becoming an all too common part of our lives and while I am very happy to know the information, I wish pet food was safer.

I’ve kept a link to the FDA product recall page live on my Google Desktop so I receive the alert when they issue it.

Recently the FDA announced they’ve created a special tool so pet owners can view the latest recalls.  We’ve created a special page on VetLocator just for pet product recalls that you can visit any time.  On it you’ll find any new pet product recalls and other pet related links the FDA feels are important or of interest to pet owners.

Check it out!

(we also have a copy of the latest recall posted there too)


The #1 winter pet weather-related injuries

With the recent cold weather that much of the country is experiencing, it’s a good time to remind you that pets can get frostbite too.  While its not a problem here in Florida, we’re getting mufflered up when we go for our walks along the Gulf.  Those winter winds are CHILLY!!!  Even our pets are keeping close to warm places to ward off the cold days.

Animals who are outdoors in the freezing cold have some the of same problems we experience in the cold, namely frostbite and dehydration.  One veterinarian we talked to said that frostbite and dehydration are the most common weather-related injuries for pets in colder climates during the winter.  Just a heads up so you can keep your pets warm and healthy when it’s cold outside.

With all this cautionary news, we do want to change the subject to say:


Have a wonderful, healthy and happy holiday with your family and pets and our warmest wishes to you!


How to be a good pet owner guest and 5 reasons to leave your pet at home

Friday, December 4th, 2009

christmaspupTonight our community is having a holiday tree lighting ceremony and downtown stroll.  I’m bringing my dog with me.

Then our neighbors are having get together after the performance of the Nutcracker their daughter is performing in.  That’s tomorrow and the dog gets to make a brief appearance there.

And then there’s a casual get together for our vendors and some clients of VetLocator.com and of course we’re all about pets so the office cats make an appearance there.  The rest of our month is pretty full of such gatherings and events.

And we’re not even leaving town.

I’ll bet you’re experiencing something similar too.  Its as if with the economy and the other stresses of life, there’s a need to remind us what is real and what matters.

Family, pets, friends, business and community are real.  They are what matters (and I personally have a much longer list of what matters most to me) and it is a good time to focus on what matters.

So for this holiday season I am focusing on what matters as much as I can.  So I’m sharing time and having my pets accompany me when it makes sense and I can safely include them in my activities.

In the event that you and your pets are able to accept holiday invites together too I thought I’d share some petiquette tips you might find handy.

1.  The very first thing you’ll want to do is to make sure it’s ok with your host that you bring your pet with you.
2.  Next make sure he/she has a collar with an ID and that the ID has correct information on it.  These days it’s an excellent idea to use a cell number rather than a home phone number since your cell phone is usually with you and you can be reached quickly in an emergency.
3.  Put your vet’s phone number and an emergency vet hospital number into your cell phone to have it handy in the event you need it.
4.  Try to find out who’ll be at the party in case you need to make plan changes (for example people with babies, small kids or other pets can change things, including whether you should bring your pet with you).
5.  Bring along pet essentials like food and water bowls, a leash, handi wipes and cleaning stuff and pet waste bags.
6.  I like to bring some special treats with me.  Folks like to feed my dog, so I give them some of his healthy treats to make sure he’s not getting junk.
7.  Pets can make a mess sometimes so I keep a couple of baggies handy for the expected and unexpected messes and also have a lint roller in my pet kit because my dog has been known to shed.
8.  It’s not a bad idea to have a crate handy so your pet can be safely secure if things get crazy.
9.  If you notice your pet becoming tired or agitated, secure him in a closed room or his crate if you aren’t able to take him home.
10.  Don’t let pets wander around cooking food. Not only can it be a problem for the cook, but your pet might accidentally eat something thats not good for him.
11.  Always be aware of where your pet is during any event.  Pets can become nervous and bolt in unfamiliar surroundings.  Also, like children, there are times when they’ve had enough and it’s time to go home.

Now for some personal peeves I’ve experienced attending events where certain pets should not be.  I’m titling this short list ****If your dog has any of the following problems, please leave him/her at home.

1.  Incessantly barks at other people, dogs, birds, cats, etc.  A barking dog that won’t quiet is distracting and the owners that won’t remove the dog are just plain rude.
2.  An aggressive animal.  If you know your dog – or cat – is aggressive, LEAVE THEM AT HOME.  Period.
3.  Your pet is ill or has not been feeling well.  Besides the obvious point of an ill pet might be a contagious pet, outings can be stressful and can make your pet’s health worse.  Leave an ill pet at home with a sitter and not in a kennel.
4.  The event will have people who are fearful or allergic to pets – See #1 above.
5.  Your pet is having a bad day – everyone does and our pets are no exception.  If you see that your pet is having a bad day, give him/her a break and let them stay home.

If you decide to leave your pet at home while you attend a party or other event, consider the best options for him while you’re gone.

  • If he’s not used to being home alone, you should leave for short periods of time to prepare him/her to being by themselves.
  • If you’ll be gone for any length of time you may want to consider keeping your pet at a kennel.  This is a good option for social animals that don’t stress about being away from home.
  • Additionally, for animals that are going to a kennel and may not be used to small spaces, consider getting a crate ahead of time to prepare the pet.
  • Arrange play dates for pets who might not be used to having other animals around. Send along an item that smells like home for a pet’s stay at the kennel.
  • Kennel spots should be reserved early for the holidays. If you’ve not used a particular kennel before, check into their safety measures, such as video surveillance, fire alarms and sprinkler systems.
  • Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccines, and find out if any others are required for their kennel stay as most kennels will request proof before allowing your pet to stay.

Pet sitters are a good option for animals that do better at home or if you have several pets that you’ll be leaving.  If you decide to hire a pet sitter, here are a few tips:

  • Ask for references, find out what services the sitter provides and do your standard due dilligence before hiring.
  • Prepare an emergency card with all of the information the sitter might need including Vet, Emergency Vet, your contact info and a close neighbors contact info, medications your pet needs along with their dosages.
  • Don’t wait till the last minute to introduce your pet to the sitter. Pet sitters should meet the pet ahead of time and be introduced to see if there are any personality issues between pet and sitter.
  • Then, while you are away, make sure to check in with the sitter during a time you know he/she will be there and let your pet hear your voice.

And with all this advice, here is one more for you.

Have a wonderful, happy holiday season that is shared it with family pets and great friends!