The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

May 24, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Is Your Pet Too Old For Cancer Treatment? Here’s What You Should Know

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Cancer is probably one the most spine-chilling words you can hear from your veterinarian. A large number of pet owners are surprised when they discover their pets are susceptible to the same types of cancers as humans. Cancer is a type of cell that grows by itself in an uncontrolled and unnatural manner. Some cancer cells accumulate to become a tumor whereas others have an effect on the lymph system or blood.

Moving on to the main question, is your pet too old for cancer treatment? Contrary to popular beliefs, your pet is never too old for cancer treatment. In fact, cancer mainly occurs in pets over the age of 10. Most of the time, pet owners are scared of putting their senior pets through different types of treatment. However, if you are not comfortable with the treatment offered by the vet, you can always ask the vet for alternatives.

Treatment of cancer

The type of treatment required for your pet depends on the kind of cancer it has. Treatment of cancer can be classified into three general categories.

  • Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy is a common method of treatment suggested by vets. When you hear the word chemotherapy, you shouldn’t relate it to what we have to go through. The goals of a vet are different from that of cancer specialists who focus on humans. The main aim of chemotherapy for pets is to extend their quality of life as much as possible. If there are too many severe side effects, the vet won’t recommend it to be used on your pet. Either your vet or a specialist will administer the medication. The medication can also be obtained in the form of pills so that you can give it at home.
  • Radiation
    The majority of the people are familiar with radiation as a method to destroy cancer cells. In radiation therapy, a beam of light is focused on a specific part of the pet’s body to eliminate cancer cells. This type of treatment will only be provided in specialized clinics as it requires particular equipment. Usually, radiation therapy is combined with other types of treatment. Sometimes, the main aim is to eradicate the remaining cancer cells. Otherwise, radiation is used to reduce the pain and the size of the tumor.
  • Surgery
    In most cases, the tumor is surgically removed and sent to the pathologist to identify the type of cancer cells and to see if there are any of them left behind in the pet’s body. Occasionally, the vet may remove the surrounding lymph nodes to see the extent of the damage done by the cancer cells. In most cases, surgery is a complete cure for cancer and no further treatment will be required.

Even though cancer is extremely dangerous, advancement in technology and medicines have made it easier to detect and eliminate the disease. If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, express your goals and concerns with your vet. There will always be an alternative that will take your pet’s needs into consideration.

May 23, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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All you need to know about malignant oral tumors in cats and dogs

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Oral tumors in cats and dogs can be really harmful and can even lead to oral cancer in certain instances if not dealt with. Malginant oral tumors are fairly common in cats and dogs, and the most of the serious tumors occur in the oral cavity. Tumors in the oral cavity are usually classified as non-neoplastic lesions, odontogenic tumors, or non-odontogenic tumors.

It is estimated that tumors in oral cavity account for around 3-12% of all tumors found in cats and 6% of tumors found in dogs. Oral tumors are mostly unavoidable unless your pets are consuming a 100% organic diet. It is important to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant so that you can proceed accordingly with the treatment.

Early detection is vital

Early detection is crucial to understanding the severity of the disease and deciding on the treatment procedure. With dogs, it is relatively easy to identify as a dog is likely to stop chewing chew toys in the event of a tumor. With a cat, it may be harder, but if you notice that your cat is eating less, it is usually a problem and maybe an oral tumor. Brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis is a good way to prevent the development of oral tumors.

Diagnosis

Establishing the correct diagnosis is crucial to treatment, and this is why choosing a reliable vet is ever so crucial. You should ideally get an oral biopsy done for your pet and the vet may even need to obtain multiple biopsy samples to make a definitive diagnosis. Your vet may recommend other tests such as blood tests, chest radiographs, CT scams, or skull imaging to arrive at comprehensive answers.

Treatment options

Most tumors can be removed surgically without hurting your pet in any manner. For malignant tumors, surgery may be the only option, and for early detection, surgery is most likely to lead to the lowest level of recurrence. For example, squamous cell carcinoma and fibrosarcoma, the two most common types of feline oral cavity tumors, are best treated by surgery irrespective of the cat’s age. However, surgery does not provide a guarantee of zero recurrence.

Other treatment options include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. For certain types of tumors, one of these treatment options may be the optimal form of treatment. For example, oral melanoma is best treated by immunotherapy. Generally, a combination of these treatment options are used if surgery is not an option for the pet. In essence, you should go with the advice of your vet as your doctor is capable of providing you with the most medically sound opinion based on the situation at hand.

May 23, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Food for Pets with Cancer: Homemade vs. Store Bought

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Those who have pets with cancer are often confused about the diet they should be feeding their beloved companions. There are different kinds of cancer diagnosed in pets. While some are accompanied by tumors, others might not show any visible growths (typically blood cancers). At the same time, all tumors aren’t malignant. It is possible to remove some of the benign tumors through surgery. This ensures complete recovery of the animal.

Food for Cancer Pets

Just like humans, cats and dogs suffering from cancer require a special type of diet since they have a weak immune system. And since this is typically a progressive disease, the immune system is likely to become weaker with the passage of time. Certain cancer therapies could put additional strain on the animal’s system, making it even more difficult for them to heal.

Before the advent of commercial foods for pets, most domestic animals were fed the same food as human beings. Today, there are multiple dog and cat kibble as well as canned food options readily available for purchase, both online and at pet food or grocery stores. Therefore, the idea of preparing homemade meals for the pet has become almost foreign for majority of the owners.
The reality is that pets with cancer may need some nutritious homemade meals as opposed to store-bought/processed foods for better recovery.

Why Commercial Foods Should be Avoided for Cancer Pets

While it’s true that commercial foods or store-bought foods are convenient, they may not be ideal for your cancer diseased pet. A lot of these commercial foods have carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that might cause or promote cancer. They have the ability to damage healthy DNA in the animal’s body in multiple ways. For instance, they could generate cancer cells which multiply uncontrollably.

In addition to containing carcinogens, these commercial pet foods are manufactured using feed-grade ingredients and may carry various kinds of toxins such as mold-produced mycotoxins and animal excreta.

Nutritious Homemade Meals for Optimal Health

If you have a pet suffering from cancer, you should ideally feed it a nutritious and well-balanced homemade diet that consists of fat, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamin D and other sources of antioxidants.

Proteins are very important for animals with cancer because protein deficiency could lead to poor immunity, muscle wasting as well as slow wound healing. Maximum number of calories in your pet’s diet should come from high-quality protein.

It is the blood glucose that gives energy to tumor cells. This glucose is metabolized by the tumor for energy and promotes further growth. So you need to reduce the amount of available energy by avoiding feeding simple carbohydrates to your pet. Good sources of complex carbohydrates for animals include brown rice and oatmeal.

May 19, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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Why Summers Are Risky For All Dogs

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Most pet owners like to spend time with their dogs at the beach during the summer. You may feel that your active pet would like to run and play around and enjoy the outdoors with you. You might also take your friendly companion in your car to run errands in the hot summer months. But did you know that the inside temperature of a parked car during the summers is typically above 38 degrees? This is true even if when the car is parked in the shade.

Several thousand dogs end up dying due to a heat stroke each year. While dogs are capable of tolerating high temperatures, they can only do so for a very brief period of time. Beyond that threshold, they could suffer from serious health problems such as brain damage, temporary unconsciousness and even death.

Signs of a Potential Heat Stroke

Summers are undoubtedly a risky time for your pets. Therefore, it is important to be aware of certain signs that might suggest a potential heat stroke in your dog:

  • Extremely heavy panting
  • Lethargy and/or sluggishness
  • Excessive salivation (this may end up in dry gums later)
  • Reddening of gums
  • Diarrhea/vomiting
  • Collapse

There are some dogs that are specifically susceptible to heat strokes. These include overweight dogs, dark-coat dogs and flat-faced breeds such as bull dogs and pugs. Vets recommend that brachycephalic or snub-faced dogs that suffer from heart or lung disease should be kept inside the house as much as possible, preferably in air-conditioning.

If you suspect that your pet might be demonstrating the early symptoms of a heat stroke, you need to take immediate action by spraying the animal with some cool water. This should be followed up with a call to an ER.

Why Dogs Need Extra Attention in the Summer

Here is some background on how a dog’s body and its organs function during the summer. Dogs have been designed to release sweat only through their tongues and feet padding. This is the reason they “drip” excessively during the summers. Also, dogs usually overheat at a much faster rate as compared to human beings. And they take longer to cool down.

Pet owners must exercise caution while cycling, walking or running with their dogs. These activities have the potential to cause a heat stroke, anxiety and other serious accidents. It is best to pick a comparatively cooler time of the say (late evening or early morning) for all such activities. Take enough breaks to help your dog recover and also carry sufficient water for rehydration. It is recommended that the dog runs on soft trails instead of asphalt and cement as it these surfaces can burn the animal’s foot pads.

May 18, 2017
by Lynn Merton
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FIP Related Death in Cats – What You Need To Know

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FIP or Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a disease that affects cats. It is caused by particular virus strains belonging to the coronavirus. Not all strains of the coronavirus lead to disease i.e. they are avirulent. Typically, these strains are referred to as the feline enteric coronavirus.

Cats that carry the coronavirus may not show any symptoms at all in the beginning. In fact, their immune systems develop antiviral antibodies to keep the coronavirus subdued. However, in some cats, the coronavirus can lead to full blown FIP. This happens when there is a problem with the immune response or when a viral mutation occurs. At this stage, the cat is said to be affected with FIP.

Due to aberrations in the immune system, the antibodies end up causing the white blood cells to get infected as well. The white blood cells then end up transporting the virus to the rest of the cat’s body. As a result of this, the tissues that house the infected cells become inflamed. This usually includes regions such as the brain, kidney, and abdomen. The sad truth is that there really is no cure for FIP and affected cats will eventually die as the disease progresses further. FIP is also referred to as an immune-mediated disease and is considered to be a very strange and unique one as well.

Symptoms

FIP can manifest in two forms – dry and wet. There are some symptoms that are common to both forms, while other that aren’t. For instance, incurable fever is a symptom in both, wet and dry FIP. This is followed by other common symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, and anorexia. As for form-specific symptoms, wet FIP is characterized by fluid accumulation within the chest or abdominal cavity. This further leads to problems such as labored breathing. One way to identify fluid accumulation is by observing the affected cat’s abdomen. If it is distended, this indicates fluid accumulation.

Dry FIP has characteristic symptoms such as the accumulation of inflammatory cells within organs. This is reflected in the organ that is most affected. For example, if it’s the kidneys, your cat will show symptoms such as vomiting, weight loss, and excessive thirst, which leads to excessive urination. The neurological system and the eyes are, often, affected too.

Treatment

As mentioned earlier, there is no cure for FIP. It is a progressive disease that eventually leads to death. However, there are treatment options to help alleviate some of the symptoms. This might help the cat enjoy a better quality of life, however, on a temporary basis. But, the most recommended solution is to euthanize the cat in order to release it from its suffering.
There is a vaccine that prevents FIP. However, it can only be given to kittens that are older than 16 weeks. But, it so happens that, most kittens get exposed to the FCoV infection by the time they reach that age.