What is this mass on my pet?

“What is this mass on my pet?”
“Could it be cancer?”
“How will the veterinarian diagnose the lump?”
“What are the options for treatment?”

Many owners who find lumps and bumps may have the same general questions,
and it is essential to let your veterinarian know about your discovery as soon as
possible. Dogs and cats may have many benign skin tumors, but confirming the
diagnosis with laboratory work (eg, cytology or biopsy) is very important. The
results of these tests can help your veterinarian detect malignant lesions before
they spread.
Even some benign tumors warrant further workups. Benign tumors should be
monitored for signs of change, because it is possible for a benign tumor to
transform into a malignant tumor.
Malignant tumors can be similar in appearance to benign tumors, so being
proactive with detection and treatment (not “waiting and watching”) can help your
pet’s health and prognosis.

Source: vetteambrief.com, Barbara E. Kitchell, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
(Internal Medicine & Oncology)

Holiday Info: Why Dogs & Table Scraps Don’t Mix

It’s a common experience for animal lovers: We’re about to take our first bite of a meal and notice a dog sitting ever-so-politely next to us, possibly drooling, with eyes focused like tractor beams, willing us to share our food. “Aww, how cute!” we think, and give the pooch a little morsel.

It’s hard to withstand those puppy dog eyes any time of year, and can seem next to impossible at holiday meals during the season of giving. But for the good of our dogs, we need to resist the temptation to feed them table scraps—and so do our guests.

In fact, most veterinary practices see an influx of dogs with gastrointestinal upset after any holiday.

“We tend to think food is love for our pets, and that is not always the case,” Dr. Hechko says. “Abrupt changes in diet or feeding little scraps of food, particularly when they’re not used to getting those types of food, can really create a lot of problems for the gastrointestinal tract.”

One common and potentially serious issue is pancreatitis, which causes inflammation of the pancreas, the organ responsible for digestive enzymes and insulin production. In fact, pancreatitis can lead to organ damage, diabetes, or in the worst case scenario, death.

Feeding a high-fat diet or foods your dog is not used to eating increases his risk of developing pancreatitis. Once he has it, treatment focuses on supportive care, such as controlling nausea and vomiting, preventing further dehydration or imbalances in the blood, and feeding a low-fat, nutritious diet.

Never feed these foods to dogs:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Grapes or raisins
  • High-fat foods, like bacon
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Any foods containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol
  • Salty snacks
  • Rising bread dough or raw yeast

Also remember to keep medications, nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks out of reach of pets.

If the pet is experiencing severe signs, he may also have to be hospitalized for a few days, or even longer in serious cases. The challenge is that many of the signs, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain, can be seen with other diseases as well.

This is why it’s so important to go to the veterinarian and get appropriate diagnostics so that it can be diagnosed early and treated quickly to help prevent further complications, such as dehydration or more systemic diseases.

While pancreatitis in cats is not typically caused by changes in diet alone, consuming table scraps or other unusual foods can still cause gastric upset.

Pets can also develop an intolerance for certain foods as they age, just like people. It is best to feed quality pet food with little variance and allowing healthy pet treats—or even fresh fruits and vegetables—in moderation.

Of course, sticking to a normal diet around the holidays can be complicated by visiting guests. In fact, many sick patients are dogs who weren’t fed by their owners; rather, a relative gave them all the trimmings off the turkey or let them finish their plate because they couldn’t resist.  They have the best intentions, but can create big issues.

To that end, we suggests the following precautions during the holidays:

  • Ask guests not to feed your pet table scraps
  • Put your pet into a quiet room at meal time
  • If guests cannot resist the urge to feed the dog, leave out a bag of low-calorie treats or a small plate of plain vegetables (but keep in mind they still shouldn’t have too many treats)
  • Keep pets out of garbage bags

Holidays are all about celebrating family, and pets are a huge part of our family, so we want to celebrate them as well.  Setting up some basic ground rules and making our guests aware of what restrictions we have for our pets can make it a safe and happy holiday for everybody.

Source: Pancreatitis: Why dogs and holiday table scraps don’t mix by Jen Reeder.


Is My Pet Overweight?

An estimated 45 percent of all U.S. pets are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.  While the best treatment is prevention, it’s never too late to help your pet stay in better shape.

Obesity is the most common nutritional disease in dogs and cats. It’s more common with advancing age and in females.

Obese animals—those with a 15 percent increase over optimum body weight—have much higher incidence of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and greater risks with surgery and anesthesia. Most research in both humans and animals suggests that increased weight shortens life.

How do I know whether my pet’s overweight?

If you’re unsure what your pet’s optimum weight should be, perform this simple test: Place your hands on your pet’s rib cage with your thumbs on the back.

  • If you feel the ribs easily, your pet is considered to be normal weight.
  • If you can feel fat between the skin and ribs or the ribs are difficult to feel, your pet is overweight.
  • If you can’t feel the ribs, your pet is definitely obese.

Your pet is overweight if:

  • You have difficulty feeling its ribs.
  • It has a sagging stomach, and you can grab a handful of fat.
  • It has a broad, flat back and no visible waist.

Your pet is a healthy weight if:

  • You can easily feel its ribs.
  • It has a tucked abdomen and no sagging stomach.
  • You can see its waist from above.

In some pets, particularly cats, a large abdomen that hangs down may indicate obesity. It’s important to have this judgment confirmed by your veterinarian; he or she can rule out other diseases that look like obesity such as heart, kidney or glandular disease.

Can I help my pet lose weight?

If your animal is overweight, there are usually painless methods for losing those unhealthy pounds. With careful dietary management and oversight by your veterinarian, changes in diet and lifestyle can lead to a much more productive life.  There are prescription diet formulations available from your veterinarian that can make dieting easy for you and your pet. Routine walks and playtime combined with sensible feedings can avert the need for medical intervention. As your pet ages, we recommend changing to a low-fat, high-fiber senior maintenance diet. Contact your veterinarian at Rita Ranch Pet Hospital for professional recommendations.

Go to petobesityprevention.com to see how many calories per can/cup are in your pet’s wet or dry food!

Stress-Free Vet Visits for Your Cat

Do you dread trying to catch your cat for trips to the vet? Are you overlooking subtle signs of concern, or are your cats vaccinations outdated, because you so dread the struggle? Here are a few tips to help make your next visit to the vet less traumatizing for you and your cat:

— ALWAYS transport your cat in a carrier. This helps them to feel secure and protected, and is safer for both the cat and driver in a moving car. It also protects the cat from other pets that may be in the waiting room.
— Introduce your cat to its carrier and traveling in advance, and starting with kittenhood.
— If you have the space, leave the carrier out and open at home for your cat to explore.
— Do fun and positive things in, on, or around the carrier, like feeding, playing, and petting.
— If possible, take your cat for short car trips so she will not associate car rides only with visits to the vet.
— If your cat is prone to motion sickness when it travels, withholding food the day of travel. This may also help make the cat more receptive to treats at the clinic, and is beneficial if blood tests need to be run.
— Place something familiar in your cat’s carrier before travel. This could be a t-shirt of their favorite person or a blanket or rug they like to lay on at home.
— Provide a place for your cat to hide either in the carrier or drape a blanket on the carrier during transport.
— Consider owning a cat carrier that has a removable top. Rather than having to eject your cat from the carrier, the vet will be able to simply remove the top and conduct the majority of the exam with the cat feeling secure in his/her carrier.

It is important to for your cat’s health & happiness to make each visit to the vet as pleasant as possible. We hope these tips help make the next visit to the veterinary office less stressful for everyone involved, especially your cat.

Source: eldoravetcare.com