2014 has been a year of great professional and personal growth, as I've endured the process of my own dog Cardiff being diagnosed with and treated for cancer (T-Cell Lymphoma) and having his fourth episode of immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). As a result, Cardiff’s illnesses have been the subject of many articles I've written this year. 

 

Looking back on these last challenging 12 months, I realized it’s time again for my year-end review of what I feel are the most relevant petMD Daily Vet articles of 2014 written by my fellow veterinary writers (and me). Here we go.

 

Are 'Natural' and 'Organic' Just Words on a Dog Food Label?

 

Dr. Coates shared some helpful perspective with owners who actually take the time to read the labels on their pet’s foods (and treats) before the products are consumed by our eager canine and feline companions. My suggestion is that pet owners should scrutinize the quality of the ingredients like they would with their own meals and offer whole-food diets established around nature created ingredients instead of highly-processed, feed-grade meals like most commercially available kibble and canned foods.

 

Do your pets eat human-grade foods? I only recommend commercially-available and home-prepared foods that are human grade for my patients (and personal pooch). I do some veterinary consulting work with The Honest Kitchen, and just as Dr. Coates brings up the concept and benefits of Human Grade ingredients, I feel compelled to point out that The Honest Kitchen has taken the legal and regulatory steps to permit its labels to include the term Human Grade (see: why choose human grade pet food?).

 

Why You Need a Surgeon to Perform Your Pet's Cancer Surgery

 

Dr. Intlile brings great perspective to the complicated series of circumstances that develops when a pet is diagnosed with cancer. To best understand the process and potential outcomes of cancer treatment, consultation with specialists like veterinary oncologists and surgeons is key.

 

Cardiff required surgery to achieve his cancer diagnosis (as his mass was too deep in the abdominal cavity to safely get an accurate sample, even using ultrasound), and in his case the surgical removal of his intestinal mass was essentially curative as it removed the only known area of cancer in his body. Fortunately, tissue samples from his spleen, liver, and intestinal lymph nodes showed no lymphoma cells. In his case, the adage “a chance to cut” was “a chance to cure” was true, but he still needed seven months of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells that could potentially become new tumors.

 

Gifted Pets Often Become Returned Pets After Holidays

 

Dr. Huston brought up the uncomfortable topic of giving pets as gifts, especially during the holiday season. Too often pets are purchased from stores, online, from breeders, or elsewhere with the plan for them to be given away to a suspecting or unsuspecting recipient. It's quite common for animal shelters to see a larger number of surrendered cats, dogs, and other species after the Christmas holiday season. So, if you know somebody who is interested in getting a pet, make sure to discuss the specifics of the financial, logistical, and emotional responsibilities required to provide appropriate pet care before a new dog or cat appears under the holiday tree or affixed to the menorah.

 

If you are not aware, Dr. Houston passed away this year. Her presence is missed in the veterinary and journalistic communities. Here’s my memorial to her: In Remembrance of Dr. Lorie Huston

 

Obesity in Cats: Different Approaches for Weight Loss

 

Dr. Tudor shares two unique approaches to enforcing calorie control for overweight or obese cats based on oral presentations given at the 2014 Academy of Veterinary Internal Medicine Symposium.

 

Pet owners really need to pay attention to this topic, as in the United States, over 54 percent of cats and dogs (approximately 98 million pets) are overweight or obese according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Arthritis, high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and other ailments can be avoided or minimized if pets maintain a normal body condition score (see The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Body Condition Scoring Chart).

 

For 2015, all owners should pledge to work with their veterinarians and put in daily effort to prevent our companion animals from becoming overweight or obese.

 

Now, here are some of the articles I've written in 2014 for the Daily Vet and Pet360’s Pet-Lebrity News that I feel should be reviewed again and shared amongst your pet-loving associates.

 

What Does a Veterinarian Do When a Pet With a Complicated Medical History Gets Sick Again?

 

Preventing Vaccine Associated Illness in Pets, Part 1 of 2

 

Training the Next Generation of Search and Rescue Dogs

 

Documentary on Pet Cancer Aims to Lower Cancer Related Deaths

 

Discovering the Best New Pet Products of 2014

 

Behind the Scenes of FOX's "Cause For Paws"

 

Health Care Providers Advise Cautionary Measures as MERS Infections Spread

 

How Fish Acupuncture Made Katy Perry and Neil Patrick Harris' Sushi Taste Better

 

Stay tuned for more Cardiff updates and hot topics in human and veterinary health (along with a dash of celebrity journalism) in 2015.

 

dr. mahaney, patrick mahaney, cardiff, vet blog, pet blog, health blog

Dr. Mahaney and Cardiff, 2014

 

 

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

 

Image: Javier Brosch / Shutterstock