Cancer in Pets – The Warning Signs

Cancer in Pets

Lumps, bumps, growths, and swellings are signs indicative of health issues that could be potentially life-threatening. As our pets continue to live longer lives, it is imperative that any symptom of a tumor be examined by a veterinarian. 

TUMORS: TWO BASIC CATEGORIES

Benign tumors:
• Not generally life-threatening
• Slow growing
• Do not spread to other parts of the body
• Do not invade neighboring tissue
• Cured by surgery if the entire tumor is able to be removed

Malignant tumors:
• Generally always considered life-threatening
• Damage healthy cells
• Grow in an unrestricted way
• Invade neighboring tissue
• Spread to other parts of the body and establish growth in other areas after entering the lymphatic or circulatory system
• Result of environmental factors or hereditary/genetic sources
• Appropriate treatment dependent on the health of the animal and the size, location, and stage of the tumor

DETECTION

Veterinarians are able to detect a large number of cancers through a physical examination of the animal. Detection can occur through:

• Visual identification:
-Cancers that appear as growths or sores on or beneath the skin

• Inspection and palpation:
-Cancers under the skin
Example: Testicular or mammary gland cancers

• Hands-on examination:
-Swelling or lameness may indicate a cancer of the bone
Cancers that are found inside the body, such as in the spleen and liver, often show clinical signs before they are detected.

Common symptoms include:
• Weight loss
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Constipation
• Gastrointestinal bleeding

 

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Companion animals are living longer today. Good food and living conditions plus increased and better opportunities for health care, are all indicative of our desire to have our pets live a good, long life. Since most cancers are discovered in middle-aged and senior dogs, clients need to remain vigilant with their veterinary visits if they want to detect a cancer in its earliest stage. One recommendation is that healthy animals seven years and older be given at least one yearly examination.

Pet parents need to know that the annual physical examinations provide baselines and screening information that could reveal the start of a change in the health of their pet. Early detection could improve the prognosis and prolong the animal’s life expectancy.


Yearly checkups may include:

• Physical examination
• Complete blood count
• Blood chemistries
• Urinalysis
• Parasite check
• Liver and kidney function tests
• Thyroid levels
• Chest x-ray
• Electrocardiogram
• Early renal disease health screen

Click to learn about: SouthCare – Preventative Care Exams

WARNING SIGNS

During the time between the yearly examinations, it is a good idea for clients to be aware of the warning signs of cancer. Any of the following symptoms indicate a need to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.
• Lumps that do not go away, or ones that grow in size
• Abnormal odors
• Wounds that do not heal
• Abnormal discharges, such as blood, pus, diarrhea, vomiting
• Anemia
• Bloating
• Sudden weight loss
• Change in appetite
• Coughing
• Breathing difficulties
• Lethargy
• Depression
• Changes in urinary or bowel habits
• Pain
• Limping
• Swelling
The warning signs do not always mean to expect a diagnosis of cancer; but if they do, clients who know to be watchful, observant, and to contact their veterinarian right away, may help to save their pet’s life.

Click to learn about: SouthCare – Cancer Care

If you’re concerned about the health of your pet, or it’s been a while since their last exam – CALL US to schedule an appointment.  SouthCare: 509-448-4480  OR Click Here to Request an Exam

Can Acupuncture Help My Pet?

Some of you may have already asked yourself this question, or maybe even wondered if acupuncture is a valid treatment option. I mean, it’s a little out there, right? Does it actually help? Hopefully the following post will help answer some of these questions, and give you the information you need to decide if acupuncture would fit into your pet’s already established treatment regimen.

Veterinary acupuncture has likely been around for the same amount of time as human acupuncture, which is over 1000 years! In the US, veterinary acupuncture has been practiced for several decades. There is more than one school of thought regarding how acupuncture points are chosen. Dr. Patterson was trained in the neurophysiology based method, which means the points are chosen based on the physical issues present e.g. nerve dysfunction, arthritic pain, gastrointestinal issues, etc.

As with human acupuncture, our goals with veterinary acupuncture are to decrease pain, & increase mobility and comfort in our patients. We use it to treat pain from arthritis or soft tissue injuries, and to help increase nerve function in animals that may have spinal cord diseases or neuropathies. It can also be used to treat certain kidney or digestive disorders, or in conjunction with laser therapy to help with wound healing.

Does it seem impossible to perform acupuncture on a cat or dog (or any other animal for that matter!)? After all, they would probably rather be anywhere else than an exam room getting poked with needles! Luckily those pesky needles are quite small, about the size of a human hair, and flexible, therefore many patients barely register them. We also offer our patients snacks like baby food, peanut butter, and other yummy treats to keep them occupied while the needles are being placed and stimulated. We also try to have our sessions in a non-clinical area, one that is comfortable for both the patient and owner.

Acupuncture is a treatment modality that works best when administered routinely. For example, an ideal acupuncture treatment regimen might look something like this: you and your pet come in for an initial evaluation and discussion about your main concerns and goals. This includes an appointment with the veterinarian, who will do a physical exam on your pet and determine how acupuncture may benefit your pet; the first session will also take place. Then, we schedule weekly sessions for at least 3 weeks. By that time, we will be able to determine how your pet is responding to the treatment.

As with any treatment, human or veterinary, each individual patient will respond, well, individually. While most patients are quite happy and cooperative during the acupuncture sessions, there are those who are too worried or uncomfortable to allow the treatment to occur. In that case, we will discuss other treatment options that best fit with your pet’s current status.

Acupuncture could be a wonderful adjunct to your pet’s already established treatment routine. Please feel free to call and chat with Dr. Patterson if you have any questions!
Schedule an Appointment

For more information, check out the links below!

WSU – Veterinary Acupuncture

PetMD – Acupuncture

National Geographic Video: Treating Animals with Acupuncture

 

Holiday Recipes For Your Pets

The holiday season is, once again, upon us. Family members may come from all corners of the globe to celebrate with us. Fido may also enjoy this time – not only are there extra pats on the head to go around, but there may be extra bits of dropped food too! We all want to snuggle on the couch with our pets. At times it might be safer for our pets to be entertained with snacks that keep them busy instead of under your feet in the kitchen.

 

 

If you would like to include your pet in the festivities, there are safe and healthy ways to do it.  A favorite trick of ours is to stuff a rubber pet toy with treats and let your critters lick it out. Kongs along with West Paw Toppl, Qwizl and Tux toys are great options. We do offer these toys in our clinic, if you would like to check them out. If your pets are skilled at treat extraction from the toys you can pop them in the freezer to harden the goodies. This way your pet will have to try extra hard (and will take a bit longer) to get the treat.

 

What stuff should you stuff with? A classic favorite is peanut butter, pay close attention to make sure that your brand does not contain xylitol which is toxic to pets. For cat toys, tuna is extra stinky and tasty for them. If your pet is on a specialized prescription diet, a wet version of this food could be used. Both cats and dogs will appreciate meat flavored baby foods too! During the holiday season people are treated with extra special home-made foods. Why shouldn’t your pets be treated to the same delights?

 

 

 

Here’s a list of holiday recipes for our furry family members:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

Ingredients:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, pumpkin puree and applesauce until mixed thoroughly. Spoon into your favorite dog toy and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the freezer for roughly 4 hours, or until frozen solid. When ready, remove the cling wrap and let your pet enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Turkey & Cranberry Stuffing

Ingredients:
6 oz roasted boneless turkey
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup quinoa flour
1/8 cup dried cranberries (this can be optional for our feline friends)

Directions:
Blend turkey, carrot, quinoa flour and cranberries in a food processor. Roll the doughy mixture into 1-2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and allow to cool. Place your stuffing balls into your pets’ toy. Depending on the size of your toy, you can seal up the opening with a glaze of peanut butter to make sure your balls don’t roll right out.

 

 

Sweet Potato Cookies

Ingredients:
1 large cooked sweet potato
1 banana
½ cup quinoa flour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix banana, sweet potato and vegetable oil until well blended. Mix in quinoa flour until well blended. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely and serve in a toy or give as is.

 

Frozen Feast

Ingredients:
Thanksgiving / Holiday leftovers!
Great options include:
cranberries
steamed broccoli
turkey
brussels sprouts
and more!
Things to avoid:
Onion
Garlic
Xylitol – sugar substitute
Foods high in fat – bacon, etc.

Directions:
Simply combine all the tiny bits of leftovers and stuff them into your pets’ toy. Wrap in cling wrap and freeze. Unwrap and serve to your pets that need a bit of distraction during the bustling holiday season.

The best part about these recipes, they only take minutes to prepare! A spoiled pet and no food waste make for a happy holiday season!