Cancer doesn’t just affect humans. In fact, cancer is the number one disease-related killer of pets. As with humans, it’s important catch it early and there’s a better chance it can be treated or cured. Regular full body checks and careful observation of your pets at home can help, as well as annual or more frequent wellness exams by a veterinary professional.
Here are 10 warning signs to watch for in your dog or cat:
- Lumps or bumps that persist or continue to grow – these should be biopsied.
- Sores that don’t heal – these can be a sign of infection, skin disease or cancer.
- Weight loss – sudden weight loss along with any other signs from this list are of concern.
- Loss of appetite – pets don’t stop eating without reason. Get them checked.
- Bleeding or discharge from any body opening such as blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea. Watch for abdominal bloating or distention as it can indicate a build up of fluids.
- Offensive odor – cancers of the mouth, nose or anal glands can cause nasty odors.
- Difficulty eating or swallowing – this can indicate any number of health problems, so best to see the vet right away.
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina – while these symptoms are associated with many health conditions, most people do not realize they can also indicate cancer.
- Persistent lameness or stiffness – this is usually due to arthritis or joint and muscle disease, but it can also be a sign of cancer.
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating. These symptoms, whether experienced alone or in groups, indicate that something is wrong. Make an appointment to see the vet, stat!
If your dog or cat is showing ANY of the signs listed above, it’s best to see your veterinarian for a full check-up. Make the call today.
Thanksgiving feasts are wonderful times for celebrating with family and friends, where temptations abound for everyone – including your pets. You don’t need to leave your pets out of the fun – you simply need to be careful about the types of food they eat and make sure they do not overindulge. No treats under the table please!
Fatty foods can cause digestive problems for your pets, so keep them out of reach. Also be very aware of your trash container – it’s going to be filled with a variety of scraps, foil, plastic wrap, and food waste that could harm your pet. Keep it well covered and away from pets – behind closed doors if possible.
Here are the DOs and DON’Ts for pets and holidays:
The NO NO List
– Turkey – while small amounts of skinless meat can be safe, it’s best to avoid
– Stuffing – chock full of ingredients that can harm your pet
– Mashed potatoes – too much butter and other fats
– Candied yams – too much sugar, butter and other fats
– Gravy – far too rich for pets’ tummies
– Candy – especially chocolate
– Pie or other desserts
SAFE & YUMMY
– Green beans (plain, steamed or boiled)
– Baby carrots (raw or cooked)
– Apple slices (small, thin slices)
– Celery – add a smear of natural, unsalted creamy peanut butter
– Plain pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
If you see sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.
If you believe your pet has been poisoned or has eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately.
ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435
Do you love black cats or are you superstitious? Do black cats make you nervous or scared? In honor of National Black Cat Day, let’s take at a few pros and cons of black cats and how they balance out.
PRO: Mysterious history full of exotic tales about witches and spells.
CON: Mysterious history full of exotic tales about witches and spells.
PRO: Beautifully silky black fur.
CON: That sticks to your light colored clothing (and everything else).
PRO: Gorgeous bright gold or green eyes.
CON: That scare the pants off of you when they’re all you can see in a dark room.
PRO: In many cultures, a black cat crossing your path is good luck.
CON: Until you trip over them in the dark.
PRO: Black is always in style.
CON: Unless orange really is the new black.
VERDICT: No matter what color the cat, it will make a wonderful paperweight, as it lounges comfortably on that stack of papers you were so desperately trying to organize.
November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, so we thought we’d take some time to highlight the disease and review the symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats.
Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy. Here is a simplified version of what happens:
When food is digested, it is broken down into many smaller components to be used by the body as fuel. Carbohydrates are broken down into many components, including a simple sugar called glucose, which provides energy to fuel the body. The hormone insulin moves through the bloodstream, entering cells to help convert glucose into fuel. If the pancreas makes too little insulin or the body can’t process it properly, glucose can’t get into the cells. Glucose (sugar) begins to build up in the bloodstream, triggering the pancreas to release more insulin to balance blood sugar levels. The resulting blood sugar drop triggers hunger, and the cycle of highs and lows begins all over again. As a result, a diabetic animal may want to eat constantly, but because its cells can’t absorb and convert glucose into energy, the animal will be malnourished and lethargic.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association:
“Obesity is a significant risk factor for development of diabetes. As dogs and cats age, they may also develop other diseases that can result in diabetes or could significantly affect their response to treatment for diabetes, including overactivity of the adrenal gland in dogs (hyperadrenocorticsm) or overactivity of the thyroid gland in cats (hyperthyroidism), pancreatitis, heart disease, kidney disease, urinary tract infections and skin infections.The long-term use of medications containing corticosteroids is also a risk factor for diabetes.”
If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is required to make a proper diagnosis.
- Change in appetite
- Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
- Weight loss
- Increased urination
- Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
- Urinary tract infections
- Cataract formation, blindness
- Chronic skin infections
Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be indicators that your cat has diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is required to make a proper diagnosis.
- Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
- Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
- Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
- Weight loss
- Change in gait (walking)
- Decreased activity, weakness, depression
Diabetes can be managed, so if your pet has symptoms, do not delay. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure your pet can live a longer, healthier life.
We get it – baby animals are cute, but cuteness is not a good reason to decide to get a pet. As the pet grows and matures, the novelty will quickly wear off. Owning a pet requires careful consideration of breed, size, temperament, and your lifestyle, before making a commitment.
Baby animals require a lot of training, veterinary care, attention and exercise in their first year of life. Add in the high energy levels of a young animal, and things can quickly become overwhelming. Too many people abandon their commitment and surrender the animal to a shelter. The majority of surrendered dogs and cats fall between the ages of five months and three years, however, this can also happen to pets who have been part of a family for years.
Older pets lose their homes and families for a variety of reasons. While many people believe there must be something wrong with the pet, like health or behavior issues, most often, it’s problems with the owner’s life – illness or death, financial challenges, allergies, changes to work schedules or moving to a new residence. Statistics show that once a pet reaches the age of five, their age becomes a huge barrier to adoption. The older the animal, the higher the chance they will be euthanized quickly, because of overcrowding and the time it takes to place them in a good home.
Happily, senior pets make wonderful companions for families and senior citizens. They’re also a great option for those who don’t have the time or patience to train and raise a young animal. This is especially true for dogs, who require house training, obedience classes, socialization, and regular exercise. Another advantage of adopting an older dog is that there is no guessing at just how big they may get.
While older pets may be stressed and confused by the transition from their home to the shelter or rescue, it’s very likely that they’ll quickly adapt to a new, loving home and family.
Ready to give an older pet a chance? A quick Google search will show that the Greater Phoenix metro area has a number of rescue organizations dedicated to rehoming senior animals. That’s a great place to begin!