November was Pet Cancer Awareness Month!

November was Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Kit and Kapoodle know that Cancer is not strictly a human disease; it is the number 1 disease-related killer of cats and dogs. They also know that it is very important to never overlook the symptoms that could mean cancer. These include:

  1. Persistent, abnormal swelling
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Loss of weight
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Excessive coughing
  6. Gum Paleness
  7. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  8. Offensive odour
  9. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  10. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  11. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  12. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

Just as in humans, cancer can occur in any part of your pets body, so watch for the symptoms mentioned previously all over your pet. If any of these symptoms appear make an appointment to see your friendly PetFocus Veterinarian.

If you’re noticing any of the previous symptoms in your pets then we suggest you seek medical advice from your local PetFocus Veterinary Clinic. One of the biggest questions is, “What causes cancer?”, but this question is not easily answered. As in humans we are not always sure what causes cancers, though there are some common denominators that we can see in pets such as:

  • Genetics: Animals that come from improper breeding      practices are genetically prone to cancer. This typically refers to puppy      or kitten mills, or breeders using animals who have incidences of cancer      in the bloodline.
  • Over-Vaccination: Always speak to your friendly PetFocus      Veterinarian about which vaccinations are necessary to keep your pet safe.      Over-vaccination can weaken your pets immune system, only vaccinate as per your veterinarians recommendations.
  • Toxins in the environment and food: Large amounts of preservatives and chemical additives can build up in the food, and that has been linked to cancer in both humans and pets. The environmental toxins include but are not limited to, lawn fertilizers, detergents, and cleaners. These of course have been linked to pet cancer though are not conclusive.

The best way to fight pet cancer is to educate yourself, to know the signs and symptoms of cancer in your pets, and to be proactive. Talk to your PetFocus Veterinarian if you are concerned in any way, or notice any of the symptoms noted above.

Sources: http://www.petcancerawareness.org/ , http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/november-marks-fifth-annual-national-pet-cancer-awareness-month-67198552.html, and http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/november-marks-fifth-annual-national-pet-cancer-awareness-month-67198552.html

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Winter Worries from the Fashion Experts

Liz Claybone: Liz Claybone here!  Your fashion forward cocker spaniel!!!  I just wanted to let everyone know about all the salt on the sidewalks that is soon to come. All of us dogs love going for walks but in the wintertime it becomes almost painful. The salt they use to breakdown ice on the sidewalks dries out our poor paw pads. Though that may mean a trip to one of my favourite places, a PetFocus Clinic, it also means sore poochie paws. But… for all of us who love fashion, our humans can pick up some winter boots at pet stores or other retailers who carry pet supplies that are specially made to fit our paws.  They shield our sensitive paw pads from cold weather and the salty sidewalk. Of course we will walk like a duck uncontrollably at first, but after that there’s just no stopping us!!  There are also creams you can use to help shield the paw, and moisturize, it’s like a manicure/pedicure!  What do you think CATrina, is there anything you’d like to add?

Catrina: Hey Liz, it’s almost purrrfect, but don’t forget that outdoor cats can suffer from the same problem. You also forgot to mention that if we are outside too long we can suffer from hypothermia.  Even though I’m a Russian Blue, I would prefer my toes and nose not to be the same color!  When the temperature drops you should keep your pets inside as much as possible, outdoor cats should be kept inside, and dogs should be let outside to do their business for short periods of time, short haired dogs should have jackets, and all dogs should wear some sort of paw protection as you mentioned!  If they have to be outdoors, then they should be provided with a heated doghouse or run for shelter. If owners have any questions about the best care of their pet during the winter they can go into any PetFocus Veterinary Hospital, they are always very helpful.

Trick or Treat?

Kapoodle: Hey Kit, did you hear what happened to Indie? You know, my buddy, Indiana Bones?  His humans brought home a whole lot of chocolate and a costume for him. He was pretty excited about the chocolate because they never let him have any, but not so keen about the costume… Who ever heard of a dog wearing a hot dog costume?   He noticed that they hid all those boxes of chocolates in the pantry, and he didn’t understand why they thought they needed to hide those things from him. Anyway, when the grown ups went to work, and the kids went to school, he broke into the pantry and decided to sample all of the different types of chocolates.  He said it was fabulous!  Some guys have all the luck!

Kit: Oh my gosh, Kapoodle!  Don’t his owners realize that wearing a hot dog costume is so last season!? And doesn’t he know that chocolate is toxic to him?

Kapoodle: Well, actually, his luck did change pretty fast.  He realized that after he ate all of that chocolate, he felt pretty ill and quite a bit of stomach upset. As soon as his owners got home and saw all the wrappers and boxes, they rushed him to the PetFocus Veterinary Group clinic at the DartmouthVeterinaryHospital – he is definitely lucky that he has such smart owners – they realized right away that it was an emergency. Sarah, the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) took very good care of him, and Dr. Robb told Indie’s owners that there is this chemical in chocolate, called Theobromine, that causes serious issues such as cardiac arrhythmias, epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, heart attacks, and can also be fatal.  And it doesn’t just affect dogs – it can affect other animals including cats!  Pretty scary, eh?  I’ve been reading more about it on these sites that Dr. Robb told Indie about:

http://www.healthypet.com/PetCare/PetCareArticle.aspx?title=A_Safe_Halloween

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/halloween-safety-tips.aspx

Kit: Well I’m glad that he is okay, Kapoodle, and I hope that he learned a lesson from today. My tastes are too delicate for chocolate anyway – did you know that cats cannot taste sweetness?   And did you know that there are a lot more hazards at Halloween than most pets think. Decorative corn and pumpkin stems can cause tummy upset, and with doors constantly opening and closing, anyone could just run outside and get lost. Ooo… I don’t want to even think about what could happen out there with all those scary goblins and ghosts!

Kapoodle: Wow! I didn’t realize how many potential hazards there are during Halloween! It’s amazing how much our humans really need to pay attention to what pets can get into. Indiana Bones was pretty lucky – things could have been a lot worse for him had his humans not rushed him to a PetFocus clinic right away.