http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/rss en Moving On, But Not Too Far... Dr. Mahaney Bids Adieu to Daily Vet http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/moving-dr-mahaney-bids-adieu-daily-vet-but-hes-not-go-32451









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Jan 30, 2015 Moving On, But Not Too Far... Dr. Mahaney Bids Adieu to Daily Vet by Dr. Patrick Mahaney     Share    
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It's inevitable that all good things must come to an end, so this is going to be my last Daily Vet blog post for petMD.
 
Since starting way back in 2011, I've greatly enjoyed the opportunity to contribute my veterinary perspective. I appreciate the ongoing audience participation in the form of comments (especially from TheOldBroad), even when readers may have a point of view different from mine.
 
I’ll still be doing special projects for petMD, and I'll continue my weekly column, Pet-Lebrity News, on Pet360, where I put a health and safety spin on current events involving celebrities and pets. (Check it out and sign up for convenient e-mail delivery!)
 
So, with this being my last Daily Vet piece, I wanted to share some of my contributions that I feel have been most influential, controversial, and relevant to canine and feline owners and public health.
 
2011
 
Dr. Patrick’s Top Holistic Halloween Pet Safety Tips
 
Pet Cancer Awareness Month: Clinical Signs, A Hopeful Perspective from Veterinary Oncologists, and Quality of Life
 
Canine and Feline Diabetes: Are Caretakers and Pet Foods at Fault?
 
I Saw Fido Eating Toxic Plants, Underneath the Mistletoe Last Night
 
2012
 
How My Personal Journey from Fat to Fit Applies to You and Your Pets
 
Are You Poisoning Your Companion Animal by Feeding 'Feed-Grade' Foods?
 
Physiologic Urge or Taste Preference: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
 
Top Ten Topics Veterinarians Wish Pet Owners Better Understood, Part 1
 
Top Ten Topics Veterinarians Wish Pet Owners Better Understood, Part 2
 
Spaying Pregnant Dogs in Third World Countries
 
Will Mitt Romney's Dog Affect Your Vote?
 
Molly’s Bill Exempts Some Dogs from Rabies Vaccination
 
Chocolate Toxicity Hits Home
 
How Christmas Reminds Me of the Most Important Gift of All: My Own Dog's Health
 
2013
 
Genetics Markers Prove Dogs Have Evolved to Digest Carbohydrates and Starches
 
Cosmetic 'Doping' in the Dog Show World
 
A Debilitated Cat Overcomes the Odds with the Help of Acupuncture
 
Paraphimosis: Pet Emergency or Owner Embarrassment?
 
Gang Tattoo Discovered on Abandoned Dog in California
 
Which Fall Fruits are Healthiest for Pets?
 
Have You Been Bathing Your Pet With a Cancer Causing Shampoo?
 
How Patrick the Pit Bull Started an Animal Rights Movement
 
Can You Feed Your Pet Thanksgiving Foods?
 
The Battle for Humane Treatment of Food Animals
 
2014
 
A Veterinarian's Experience with Treating His Dog's Cancer
 
Feeding Your Dog During Chemotherapy Treatment
 
Electronic Cigarettes Connected to Canine Fatalities
 
The Link Between Pets and Human Health
 
When Pets Complete Chemotherapy Are They Cancer-Free?
 
Training the Next Generation of Search and Rescue Dogs
 
Preventing Vaccine Associated Illness in Pets, Part 1 of 2
 
Symptoms and Treatment for Vaccine Associated Illness in Pets, Part 2
 
Documentary on Pet Cancer Aims to Lower Cancer Related Deaths
 
Does Inappropriate Urination Make Your Feline Friend a Cat From Hell?
 
2015
 
There is More Than One Way to Treat Your Pet's Pain
 
*
 
Bon voyage! Being one of petMD’s “Daily Vets” over the past few years has been an experience I’ll always treasure.
 
Feel free to stay in touch with me via social media:
 
Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian Facebook
Patrick Mahaney Twitter
Patrick Mahaney Instagram
Patrick Mahaney YouTube
Patrick Mahaney on the web at www.PatrickMahaney.com
 
 

Dr. Patrick Mahaney
 
 
Image: Dr. Mahaney's dog, Cardiff, in a petMD editorial favorite. Cardiff on a mountain trail looking out over Los Angeles, CA, proving that even in the city you can find some great ways to exercise in nature.
 
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TheOldBroad Bye! (said sadly) 01/30/2015 04:38pm You will truly be missed here on PetMD. Thank goodness I subscribe to your website so we'll still be in touch. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/moving-dr-mahaney-bids-adieu-daily-vet-but-hes-not-go-32451#comments TheDailyVet Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32451 at http://www.petmd.com
Farm Animal Dentistry: Caring for Horse Teeth http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/farm-animal-dentistry-caring-horse-teeth-32449
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TheOldBroad Cleaning 01/28/2015 06:04pm Does a horse ever get his/her teeth cleaned like a dog or cat? I'm assuming that a horse can have gum problems - or do they not have gum problems due to diet? Reply to this comment Report abuse TheOldBroad 01/28/2015 06:06pm I ask about the cleaning in regard to estimating the age of a horse. I know that dogs and cats and be mis-estimated if they've had good dental care, but does this happen with horses or is estimating age pretty much a tooth size thing? Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Anna O'Brien 01/30/2015 08:25pm Nope, horses do not need their teeth cleaned like dogs and cats. This is due to their diet; no animal-based protein. Also I believe the nature of grazing and relatively large amounts of saliva produced help keep gum disease at bay. Horse teeth are stained - some older horses have some pretty gnarly yellow/brown incisors. But this isn't an issue in terms of dental health. I also think the way that a horse's tooth keeps growing out of the gum line probably also prevents some decay as well. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/farm-animal-dentistry-caring-horse-teeth-32449#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32449 at http://www.petmd.com
The Kidney Disease in Pets You May Not Know About: Glomerulonephritis http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/january/kidney-disease-pets-you-may-not-know-about-glomerulonephrit









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 27, 2015 The Kidney Disease in Pets You May Not Know About: Glomerulonephritis by Dr. Ken Tudor     Share    
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Unless you have had a pet with “glomerulonephritis” you have probably never heard of this disease. But this is a special type of kidney disease that is quite common in pets, especially certain breeds of dogs. It is a condition that can be detected much earlier than other types of kidney diseases that lead to kidney failure. Early detection, the right treatment and the right diet can improve the quality of life for pets with glomerulonephritis.
 
What is Glomerulonephritis?
 
The glomerulus is the part of the kidney that selectively filters waste, water, and other chemicals from the blood. The waste is eliminated from the body in the urine. This filter protects against the loss of vital blood products, especially proteins, into the urine. Persistent irritation or inflammation causes swelling of the glomerulus. The swelling makes it more porous so important blood proteins, leak through the filter and are lost in the urine. Persistent inflammation can be caused by:
 

Auto-immune conditions
Breed genetic defects

Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bull Terriers
Cocker Spaniels
Springer Spaniels
Doberman Pinchers
Golden Retrievers
Lhasa Apsos
Shih Tzus
Soft-coated Wheaton Terriers


Viral diseases
Bacteria or parasite infections
Hormone diseases that promote inflammation
Antibiotics and other drugs
Cancers
Over vaccinations (speculation that yearly vaccines over-stimulate the immune system)

 
Protein losses in the urine lead to:

Weight and muscle loss
Water retention
High blood pressure
Fluid accumulation in the abdomen and legs

 
Dogs 4-8 years old seem to be at the highest risk for developing glomerulonephritis. Dogs with inherited genetic disease can show urine changes or symptoms of disease earlier in life.
 
Glomerulonephritis can be easily detected by simple urine tests. Simple routine screening for the amounts of urine microalbumin, a blood protein, can be suggestive for the condition. If the urine is positive for abnormal levels of microalbumin, another urine test that looks at the ratio of urine protein to urine creatinine (breakdown product of muscle metabolism) can be done on the same urine sample. A higher than expected protein-to-creatinine ratio makes the condition very likely. High risk breeds should have their urine checked yearly.
 
Glomerulonephritis eventually leads to kidney failure, so it is important to find and treat the cause when possible (bacterial or parasitic infections, hormonal diseases). The final diagnosis is made by looking a tissue sample taken from the kidneys. In most cases, the damage cannot be arrested or reversed and can only be managed.
 
How is Glomerulonephritis Managed?
 
Early treatment with medications to lower blood pressure and low-dose aspirin seems to work best. Low doses of aspirin given every other day or every third day can be safely given to cats. Combined with diet changes, the life of pets with glomerulonephritis can be extended.
 
What is the Best Food for Dogs with Glomerulonephritis?
 
Low protein diets work best for dogs with glomerulonephritis. High protein diets actually increase the loss of protein in the urine. Veterinary diets that are low in protein, high in carbohydrates and fats are widely available, but often they are not very appealing to many pet, especially cats. Homemade diets offer more choices of meat, carbohydrate, and fat and can be tailored to a pet’s individual tastes. Fish oil with DHA and EPA added to the diet helps reduce the inflammation in the glomerulus and protein loss.
 
Pets with glomerulonephritis need these diets for life, so homemade food recipes need to be specially formulated with less protein but still adequate in essential amino acids. These recipes also need vitamin and mineral supplements that meet all of the necessary daily requirements.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
Image: Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad HHHHmmmmmm 01/27/2015 06:26pm Yup, this is a new one on me. The article specifically talks about dogs, but is this something fairly common in cats? If so, are there breeds that get it more often? Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Ken Tudor 01/27/2015 08:58pm Cats are afflicted with glomerulonephritits, but no specific cat breeds have been identified to be at greater risk. Reply to this comment Report abuse PeaceofMindPetandHomeCare My 14 Year Old Cock-a-poo 01/30/2015 02:08pm Wow, great article; timely and relevant! My spayed 14-1/2 year old Cockapoo has just been diagnosed with glomerulonephritis and is being treated. She underwent 2 to 3 months of many, many different tests (blood, urine, urine cultures, ultrasound, x-ray, etc.) that ruled out all other possibilities. Her high blood pressure and protein:creatinine ratio were the strongest evidence of glomerulonephritis.

My question: She is being treated with once daily 2.5 mg amlodipine (to lower blood pressure) and once daily 5 mg benazepril hydrocholoride (Fortekor) (to increase blood flow to her kidneys). Also her diet has been changed to Hill's k/d wet and dry. In your opinion, is this the correct course of treatment? Her systolic blood pressure reading is finally down from a range of 280-210 to 150, and for now she has readings done bi-monthly. She continues to have increased drinking and peeing, and has frequent accidents in the house. The idea has been seeded that perhaps she additionally be put on (Propalin) to help out with her incontinence issues. One last observation: her whole body has been shaking and trembling most of the time for about 2 months now (not because she is cold). She trembles while standing or resting. Her appetite, energy level and demeanor have not shown any noticeable deterioration.

I would be ever so grateful to hear your thoughts. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/january/kidney-disease-pets-you-may-not-know-about-glomerulonephrit#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32436 at http://www.petmd.com
Don't Make These Dangerous Mistakes With Your Pet's Medicine http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/dont-make-these-dangerous-mistakes-your-pets-medicine-32421









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 26, 2015 Don't Make These Dangerous Mistakes With Your Pet's Medicine by Dr. Jennifer Coates     Share    
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Do you have a drawer or cabinet full of half-used, perhaps expired pet medications? We all know that we are supposed to dispose of “extra” medications, not keep them around “just in case,” but if you’re anything like me, frugality makes getting rid of something that might be useful in the future awfully hard.
 
The doctor in me must first say that you really shouldn’t give your pet any medication without first talking to your veterinarian. Of course, your vet will most likely say that he or she needs to see your pet before making a treatment recommendation, and a trip to the clinic is probably just what you were trying to avoid. Don’t blame your veterinarian though; he or she really is just trying to do right by your pet. Imagine how terrible everyone involved will feel if the treatment that was recommended without the benefit of an exam makes your pet’s condition worse rather than better.
 
The realist in me now has to admit that owners will continue to medicate their pets without the benefit of veterinary advice no matter what I say. The point of this post is to inform you of several instances when you must restrain yourself. The risks far outweigh any potential benefits.
 
Oral Antibiotics
 
What are you doing with “leftover” oral antibiotics anyway? Weren’t you told to give your pet the entire prescription? Anyway… do not be tempted to give your pet whatever is lying around when a new problem arises. Antibiotics have no efficacy against viruses, fungi, or any disease that isn’t caused, at least in part, by a bacterial infection. Also, a particular type of antibiotic is only active against a certain subset of bacteria. What are the chances that the antibiotic you have on hand is the ideal one for treating the infection your pet now has? Finally, expired antibiotics can lose their effectiveness. Giving your pet an antibiotic when it is not needed, the wrong type of antibiotic, or an expired antibiotic can result in antibiotic resistant infections that are very difficult to treat.
 
Steroids
 
Avoid giving your pet any medication that contains a corticosteroid unless it has been prescribed by your veterinarian to treat your pet’s current medical problem. Corticosteroids suppress the immune system (among other things) and if your pet has an infection of any sort, they can make your pet’s condition worse rather than better. Prednisone, prednisolone, cortisone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, betamethasone, flumethasone, isoflupredone, methylprednisolone, and triamcinolone are all commonly prescribed corticosteroids. Check the medication label. If you see any of these listed as an active ingredient (any other ingredients that end in “-one” are suspect also) do not give that medication to your pet. This applies to both oral and topically applied medications.
 
Eye Medications
 
Unless your pet has a chronic eye condition and you are 100% sure you know that is what you are treating with previously prescribed medications, never put anything in your pet’s eyes without first consulting a veterinarian. Most eye injuries/disorders cause pets to have similar symptoms (redness, drainage, and squinting). Without an exam and a few simple tests, it is virtually impossible to know what is going on. Problems affecting the eyes have a disturbing tendency to go from bad to worse VERY quickly, particularly if they are treated with the wrong medication.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Bingo! 01/27/2015 06:21pm One shouldn't have leftover antibiotics simply because the entire prescription should be taken. Just because Fido/Fluffy seems to feel better doesn't mean they've completely conquered the bug.

For any other type of leftover medication, I take it to the clinic and ask them to dispose of it. Flushing is not an option. Reply to this comment Report abuse 4
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/dont-make-these-dangerous-mistakes-your-pets-medicine-32421#comments TheDailyVet Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32421 at http://www.petmd.com
Why You Need a Special Doctor for Special Cases http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/january/what-do-those-letters-after-your-doctors-name-mean-32416









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 23, 2015 Why You Need a Special Doctor for Special Cases by Dr. Joanne Intile     Share    
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It’s difficult to entertain the thought of an appointment with a healthcare professional and not consider the significance of the myriad of letters you find following the name of the person attending to your needs.
 
We’re all familiar with MDs, DDSs, and EMTs. When you have something more than a typical case of “sniffles” you head to your ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) specialist. If you’re expecting a little bundle of joy, you probably will schedule an exam with your OB/GYN (Obstetrics/Gynecology). For a routine checkup, sometimes you see the NP (Nurse Practitioner), while other times you meet with the DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). All those years of experience and training are seemingly readily distilled down to a relatively insignificant string of characters.
 
Veterinary medicine is no exception to this rule. Graduates of veterinary schools in the United States possess either a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) or VMD (Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris) degree. Veterinarians who graduate from overseas schools could be BVM, BVSc, MVSc, or even BMVS.
 
Veterinarians can be rather modest about their qualifications. It’s not unusual for owners to be on a first name basis with their pet’s doctor, skipping the typical formality afforded to our human counterparts. Our accomplishments may seen diminished, perhaps by virtue of the fact that our preferred position in the exam room is usually on the floor, rolling around with our patients.
 
Obviously, the letters following a medical professional’s name have no bearing on their ability to practice good medicine. Plenty of people possessing advanced degrees and impressive certifications are simultaneously terrible at their chosen career path. Likewise, many highly competent individuals who would have likely excelled at advanced academic training are perfectly content to avoid jumping through the hoops necessary to acquire a complex combination of letters preceding or trailing their surname.
 
I’m here to argue that when it comes to ensuring that the right person is providing care for your pets, there are times when the letters following a veterinarian’s name are exceedingly important.
 
Specifically, I’m referring to cases where animals should be afforded advance diagnostic and therapeutic care under the guidance of a board-certified veterinary specialist. These are individuals who possess the appropriate credentials indicating they are diplomates of the respective college governing their field.
 
I say this not to garner validation for the time, energy, and tears I’ve put into earning my title as a boarded veterinary oncologist. My motivation lies in the same place I’d like to believe all those who embarked on a career in the care and welfare of animals share: the desire to do the right thing for my patients.
 
Though I’m passionate about my campaign to advance awareness of veterinary specialty medicine, there are times when it’s surprisingly difficult to articulate the significance of a specialist’s qualifications. This does not result from an inability to provide accurate information supporting our role, but rather occurs secondary to what I would consider a “hot button” topic in veterinary medicine. Therefore, my language must always be chosen carefully.
 
Some specialists argue that general practitioners fail to offer referral for fear of losing the client because they are looking to keep the revenue associated with that pet’s care in their own pockets. Specialists feel they are better equipped, trained, etc. to manage the case and that general practitioners do not recognize their abilities.
 
General practitioners argue that referrals are offered but refused by owners because specialists are too expensive, and they can manage cases equally as well as another doctor without the unnecessary extras afforded by the specialist mentality.
 
No matter the opinion, the days of veterinarians being the “James Herriot Jack-of-All-Trades” kind of doctor are long gone. The idea that one person is best trained in all aspects of medicine and surgery in all species is outdated and downright dangerous.
 
We currently possess the ability to treat our animal patients on par with how we treat humans and should offer owners every opportunity to do so when feasible. I am aware that not every owner can afford to “do it all” for their pets, but as many as possible should be given the opportunity to hear the options from the appropriately credentialed doctor.
 
I’m proud of all the letters that follow my name. They represent innumerable hours and days spent studying, practicing, and learning how to be the best veterinarian, oncologist, writer, and, ultimately, person I can be.
 
Those letters were costly, not only in the literal sense of the word when my student loan payment is automatically drawn from my account, but in a figurative sense, where time spent studying, reading, writing, and treating patients took away from time spent with friends and family.
 
Those letters push me to want to be a better veterinary oncologist and to keep current on newer options for treating cancer in pets so I can offer the most advance diagnostic and therapeutic plans for the patients I meet. They force me to never settle for the status quo or the “cookbook” option anyone can look up in a textbook.
 
You could argue that anyone with a veterinary degree feels the same way about the significance of his or her own letters, but reality tells me a disparity exists.
 
So I will continue to promote specialty medicine, even when it feels as though the effort isn’t apparently succeeding. And I will continue to urge owners to investigate a bit more into just what the letters after their doctor’s name truly mean.
 

Dr. Joanne Intile, DVM, DACVIM
 
 
Image: Mr. Nikon / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Timely! 01/23/2015 04:59pm How timely! After an appointment with the ACVR, my DVM (and DAVBP) sent my Josie to a DACVIM for an endoscopy. We're going on Monday.

*fingers crossed* that nothing sinister is found. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/january/what-do-those-letters-after-your-doctors-name-mean-32416#comments TheDailyVet Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32416 at http://www.petmd.com
There is More Than One Way to Treat Your Pet's Pain http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/there-more-one-way-treat-your-pets-pain-32415







The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 22, 2015 There is More Than One Way to Treat Your Pet's Pain by Dr. Patrick Mahaney     Share    
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There are many modalities available to pet owners to better manage the pain experienced by a companion canine or feline. Which options to use, how frequently they should be employed, and concerns for side effects are some of the main considerations that may govern the availability of such treatments for a pet's pain management.
 
In my veterinary practice, the goal in treating my patients’ pain is to always improve their comfort, mobility, and quality of life while reducing risks for mild to life-threatening side effects from medications or other prescribed treatments (radiation for cancer, etc.). This approach is termed multimodal pain management and I use it frequently and effectively for my canine and feline patients’ arthritis and other health problems that cause pain (intervertebral disc disease [IVDD], trauma, surgery, muscle and ligament damage, etc.). The multimodal pain management protocols I recommend involve combinations of the following therapeutics tailored specifically to my patients’ needs.
 
Veterinary Prescription Drugs
 
When pets suffer from pain, owners must provide immediate relief so that secondary health (decreased appetite, difficulty resting, etc.) and behavior concerns (lethargy, aggression, etc.) do not emerge on a short or long-term basis. My first line of treatment is to use veterinary prescription pain-relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs), including Carprofen (Rimadyl), Meloxicam (Metacam), and others.
 
When prescribed and used appropriately, such medications can safely benefit arthritis pain. Of course the goal of multimodal pain management is to reduce the dose and frequency of such drugs by making the body healthier and modifying a patient’s lifestyle to decrease the further likelihood of creating additional discomfort. Cats are very sensitive to the use of NSAIDs, so I highly prioritize other means of reducing pain and inflammation to help protect feline kidneys and other organ systems.
 
I always evaluate my patients’ blood and urine status before prescribing such drugs, as the kidneys and liver are the primary means of drug metabolism and the digestive tract. Blood clotting mechanisms and organ systems can be negatively affected by non-judicious use.
 
Human Prescription Pain Medications
 
There are many human pain medications that can be used to relieve discomfort in our companion canines and felines. These drugs don't have animal-specific versions, so veterinarians dispense them from their hospital supply, human pharmacies, or veterinary  pharmacies.
 
Some examples include opioid pain relievers (those derived from the poppy plant but synthetically produced) like Tramadol and Buprenorphine and GABA analogues (Gabapentin, which mimics a neurotransmitter called GABA and modifies calcium channels). Since side effects of these drugs include sedation, difficulty standing or walking, anorexia (decreased appetite), nausea, and others it’s crucial to use such drugs at a dose and frequency that provides a desired result but minimizes adverse responses.
 
I must stress the importance that such medications are used under the guidance of your veterinarian and frequent communication about your pet’s response occurs so that any appropriate modifications in the pain management protocol can be made.
 
Joint Supporting Nutraceuticals
 
Nutraceuticals are food-derived substances having a medicinal effect. Nutraceuticals geared to promote joint health are termed chondroprotectants (i.e., cartilage protectors).
 
Chondroprotectant nutraceuticals commonly include glucosamine, MSM, vitamins (C, E, etc.), minerals (Calcium, Manganese, etc.), antioxidants (Selenium, Alpha Lipoic Acid, etc.), anti-inflammatory substances (turmeric, omega fatty acids, etc.), and more. I’ve seen favorable responses to ActivPhy for may canine patients, as it contains a novel blend of the above ingredients plus phycyocyanin, which is a blue-green algae extract that has been scientifically proven to reduce production of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme associated with arthritis in dogs.
 
I also strongly recommend the use of fish-oil based omega 3 fatty acids to naturally reduce inflammation in the joints, skin, internal organs, and nervous system. The primary product I use in my practice is Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Pet, which is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and radiation, has minimal odor or flavor, and comes in either easily-administered liquid or capsules. (I’ve taken Nordic Naturals fish oil for years to help my own arthritis pain and skin issues.)
 
Cartilage Rebuilding Medications
 
Besides nutraceuticals, there are veterinary medications that are given by injection to benefit joint health and rebuild cartilage, including Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG, like Adequan) and Sodium Pentosyn Sulfate (Cartrophen). Since these products are given as an injection, they bypass the digestive tract and readily travel from the injection site through the bloodstream to all joints. Such medications are ideal for a dog having digestive tract problems caused by disease (food intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.) or medications (NSAIDs, chemotherapy, etc.).
 
Home Environment and Lifestyle Modification
 
When dogs suffer from arthritis pain, modifying their home environment and lifestyle is crucial so that affected joints experience less stress and potential for injury is reduced. This means lowering the height of a bed and using a step or stairs next to the couch to provide safe passage onto and off of elevated surfaces. Carpeting, runner rugs, or yoga mats should cover slippery floors. Foot and nail covers (Pawz, ToeGrips, etc.) provide additional traction on slick surfaces. 
 
Access points to stairs can be blocked by gates to prevent a dog from slipping, falling, and injuring himself while attempting to ascend or descend. Ramps can provide safer access to the backseat of hatchback of cars. Dogs engaging in high-impact activities (running, ball playing, etc.) must transition to low-impact exercise, such as walking, hiking, swimming, or physical rehabilitation.
 
Weight Management
 
Over 54% of cats and dogs (approximately 98 million pets) in the U.S. are overweight or obese according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Besides arthritis, other ailments like heart and lung problems, glandular disorders (diabetes, etc.) digestive problems (constipation, etc.), and cancer can be avoided or minimized if pets maintain a normal body condition score (BCS) on a lifelong basis. 
 
Dogs in need of weight loss should have an examination by a veterinarian and any recommended diagnostic testing to determine if there’s an underlying endocrine problem (hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, etc.) contributing to an elevated BCS and higher number on the scale. Veterinarians can calculate a dog’s daily caloric needs and recommend the exact amount of commercially-available or home-prepared diets to feed each day to safely promote weight loss.
 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
 
A variety of treatments for arthritis pain have emerged that are considered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is becoming better-accepted as means of treating many canine ailments. Options include:

Acupuncture — Insertion of needles into acupuncture points to promote the release of the body's own pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory hormones. Manual pressure (acupressure), heat (moxibustion), electricity (electrostimulation), injection of liquids (aquapuncture), or laser can also be used to stimulate acupuncture points.
Herbs — There are a variety of plant-derived products that help promote blood flow and reduce inflammation in body tissues. I always recommend veterinary-prescribed, U.S.-made products like those made by Dr. Xie’s Jing Tang Herbal, Standard Process, and others.
Laser — Low power (“cold”) lasers can be used to safely and painlessly promote tissue repair, blood flow, oxygen and nutrient delivery, and the removal of metabolic wastes. I commonly use a MultiRadiance MR4 Activet4 Laser on my patients' painful spots and acupuncture points.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency (PEMF) — PEMF is a non-invasive means of modulating canine OA pain. In my practice, I treat patients with the Assisi Loop, which is simple to lay over or around affected joints. (To read more about it, click here)
Physical Rehabilitation — Specially-trained veterinarians and human physical therapists can provide physical rehabilitation to animal patients. Besides the above-mentioned modalities, dogs can swim in a pool, walk on an above-ground or underwater treadmill, have their bodies thoroughly stretched and massaged, receive range of motion (ROM) therapy, and more. Some treatments need to be done in a veterinary physical rehabilitation facility, but in many cases dog owners can be instructed on how to safely provide therapy at home.

 
As there are so many options to help lessen your pet’s pain, dog and cat owners now have the ability to make choices that can minimize undesirable side effects from treatment while still maintaining a pet’s comfortable quality of life.
 

A canine patient gets electrostimuation treatment for back pain.
 

A canine patient gets needle acupuncture treatment for joint and cancer-related pain.
 

A canine patient gets laser acupuncture treatment (laser applied to locations where needles would be placed).
 

A feline patient gets a combination of needle acupuncture and laser treatment.
 
 

Dr. Patrick Mahaney
 
Image from ShopMedVet.com
 
 
Related reading
 
'Advice to Dog Owners Whose Pets Take NSAIDs'
 
The trouble with NSAIDS
 
Can You Give a Dog Tylenol or other Pain Meds?
 
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TheOldBroad Pain! 01/22/2015 06:07pm And certainly the most beneficial thing for pain management in pets would be if they could talk and let us know what hurts and how much. It's so difficult to try to determine how aggressively to treat pain - especially in cats. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/there-more-one-way-treat-your-pets-pain-32415#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32415 at http://www.petmd.com
They Ate What? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/they-ate-what-32411
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TheOldBroad Eosinophilic Granulomas 01/20/2015 06:06pm Rodent ulcers aren't all that uncommon, are they?

As for hairballs in cattle, I wasn't aware cattle groomed themselves, much less enough to end up with a big ol' hairball. I learned something today, so it's been a good day. Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Anna O'Brien 01/22/2015 06:35am No, rodent ulcers aren't all that rare, but sometimes they look really weird or take on other complications. Also, eosinophilic granuloma was the only small animal pathology term that was coming to mind!

Yes, cattle do quite frequently groom themselves (allogrooming) and each other (typical herd behavior). They will throw their heads back and clean their sides. They actually have pretty long, raspy tongues that feel a bit like a cat's tongue. You can scoop up a lot of hair with a tongue like that :) Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/they-ate-what-32411#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32411 at http://www.petmd.com
Pet DNA Now Being Used to Solve Crimes http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/pet-dna-now-being-used-solve-crimes-32409









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 19, 2015 Pet DNA Now Being Used to Solve Crimes by Dr. Jennifer Coates     Share    
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I love my dog Apollo, but one of his less endearing traits involves his routinely leaving what I call “slug trails” on my pants. Apollo is a boxer and has the saggy lips and jowls that are common to members of his breed. When he places his chin on my lap in hopes of a scratch behind the ears he inevitably leaves behind a streak of saliva that is so sticky that I should seriously consider investigating its use as an industrial adhesive.
 
But I’ve just came across a story that gives me new appreciation for Apollo’s slug trails. It turns out that if I’m ever a victim of a serious crime, his saliva, hair, urine, or feces may just be what convicts the perpetrator. The relatively new field of veterinary forensics has already helped solve “hundreds if not thousands of human crimes.”
 
The premise is relatively simple. Drool, hair, urine, feces, and blood that pets leave behind often contains a bit of their DNA. If a criminal happens to come in contact with an animal’s “leavings” and carries a bit away with them, that evidence can be used to tie them to the crime scene. The opposite scenario is also possible. Criminals may inadvertently leave some of their own pet’s “evidence” at the crime scene.
 
The lab work comes in two stages: First, the crime scene DNA is profiled employing a few marker regions from the genome, and next, the lab [Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California Davis (VGL)] uses its own pet genetic database to calculate probability — how common is this particular pattern in the wider population? In other words, how likely is it that this hair could have come from any other dog or cat than the one linking the criminal to the crime?
 
In the case of [a] triple homicide in Indiana, a representative of VGL testified that the statistical chance that the feces sample on the shooter’s sneaker and the feces in the yard of the scene of the crime came from two different dogs was staggeringly low. In fact, it was one in 10 billion. And since there aren’t even close to 10 billion dogs in the entire country that meant the feces on the sneaker and the feces in the yard came from the same dog.

 
The first time pet DNA was ever used as evidence in court involved hair shed from a white cat named Snowball. (Owners of white cats are thinking “of course!”) Sometimes pets even take an active role in helping nab the perpetrators of crimes against their loved ones.
 
An attempted sexual assault case in Iowa in 1999 was solved largely because of dog urine. Though the victim could not positively identify her assailant, her dog could — by having lifted his leg on the tire of the man’s truck. DNA matching of dog and tire urine placed the man at the scene of the crime.

 
Good dog!
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: Jana Behr / Shutterstock
 
Source
 
WBUR’s The Wild Life, Vicki Croke, Pet CSI: How Dog And Cat DNA Nabs Bad Guys, Accessed January 13, 2015.
 
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TheOldBroad Dog Urine 01/20/2015 05:54pm The last paragraph made me chuckle and smile. Rock on to the detective(s) who figured that out. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/pet-dna-now-being-used-solve-crimes-32409#comments TheDailyVet Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32409 at http://www.petmd.com
Can Your Cat Literally Make You Crazy? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/january/can-your-cat-literally-make-you-crazy-32400









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 16, 2015 Can Your Cat Literally Make You Crazy? by Dr. Ken Tudor     Share    
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Your doctor warns you that your cat may be a risk to your unborn child. Her concern is a parasite common to cats called Toxoplasma gondii. Cats shed this parasite in their feces or poop. Pregnant women infected with Toxoplasma can transfer the infection across the placenta to the baby. Once infected, the infant can suffer irreversible damage to the brain and retinas of the eye. The infants can also be born with malformations of the nose.
 
That is why the doctor asks dad to take over litter box duties and tells mom to wash her hands after petting the cat and avoid having the cat lick her face.
 
The doctor may have forgotten to make sure mom wears gloves when working in the garden and washes her hands thoroughly after handling raw vegetables and meats. She may have also forgotten to tell mom to avoid eating raw or undercooked meats, raw milk and unwashed vegetables. Infection from food is much more common than infection from the cat.
 
But unborn babies are not the only ones at risk. And infection with T. gondii in adults is now being linked to the mental disorder schizophrenia. Dr. Gary Smith at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine just published a study that suggests that one-fifth of people with schizophrenia involve toxoplasma infection. Other researchers have also linked attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder, and suicidal behavior to infections with T. gondii.
 
What is Toxoplasma gondii?
 
Toxoplasma gondii is a single celled parasite that can infect all warm-blooded animals. In fact, it is estimated that 1/5 of Americans and 1/3 of all humans are infected with T. gondii. The cat family (both domestic and wild) is the definitive host for the parasite. T. gondii sexually reproduce in the intestines of the cat producing millions of oocysts (infectious “seeds”) that are shed in the feces and into the environment. The oocysts are very tough and can survive for long periods of time, even under harsh circumstances. Other animals and humans are infected by direct contact with the feces (eating the feces or eating after handling the feces without washing the hands). Eating unwashed products that are grown in contaminated soil, like vegetables, is another method of direct ingestion of the oocysts.
 
Once eaten by another animal, the oocysts multiply in the body and invade muscle, organs, and the brain and become permanent cysts. These cysts are infectious, so eating raw or undercooked meat with T. gondii cysts is the most common method of infection. It can also be shed in the milk of infected animals.
 
What Are the Symptoms of T. gondii Infection?
 
Most humans infected with T. gondii have no symptoms of infection. Mild flu-like symptoms occur in some people. Some adults develop permanent damage to the retina of the eye, but generally infection in adults does not cause illness. Infants, HIV/AIDS patients, or others with weakened immunity can become very ill, sometimes fatally.
 
This new study, like previous studies, suggests that maybe most infections with T. gondii are not uneventful and cysts in the brain can affect behavior. But hopefully it won’t revive the old notion of the “Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome.” Early researchers suggested that compulsive cat hoarding behavior was from infections of T. gondii that these individuals got from the cats they kept.
 
The high, worldwide infection rates of T. gondii are not from cats. Cats only shed oocysts in their feces for a few weeks after infection. The biggest route of infection is from food.
 
How to Avoid Infection from Toxoplasma
 
During the time I owned my cat-only hospital, I was called by a physician who wanted me to put his patient’s cat on permanent antibiotics for toxoplasmosis infection. His patient had advanced AIDS and he didn’t want to take any chances of the cat giving the owner toxoplasma. I told the physician that I had tested the cat’s feces and blood for evidence of toxoplasmosis and felt the cat was free of the condition. I told him I was not going to put my patient on medication that was not needed and it was inappropriate for him to ask that of another professional. He went on about how I was risking the health of the cat’s owner.
 
I asked him is he had instructed his patient to wash his hands thoroughly after handling raw vegetables and meats. He answered, “Should I?” I then asked if he cautioned his patient about eating raw or undercooked meat or raw milk. He again asked, “Should I?” I asked whether he told his client to wear gloves and take precautions when gardening. Finally I asked whether he had discouraged his patient from partaking in potluck dinners where he might not know how the food was handled or prepared. To both questions, he replied the same: “Should I?”
 
I finally said “Yes, you should” and asked why he didn’t know more about the transmission of diseases he treated. I explained that food, food preparation and poor hygiene were a much greater threat to his patient. I refused to put my patient on antibiotics it didn’t need.
 
Your cat may drive you crazy, but it is unlikely to make you crazy. Food and food handling is a bigger threat to your mental health. 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Olesya Kuznetsova / Shutterstock
 
 
Related reading
 
Pregnant? Know the Real Risk of Toxoplasmosis
 
How Serious is the Risk of Toxoplasmosis from Your Cat?
 
Cat Parasite Could Hold Key to Curing Cancer for Humans
 
Pregnancy and Cat Litter, Feces
 
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TheOldBroad Human Doctors. Ack! 01/16/2015 04:44pm Your story about the doctor calling you about putting a cat on unnecessary antibiotics reinforces my position of human doctors many times are not well-versed in what they tell their patients.

He's all worried about toxo, but doesn't have a clue where is primarily resides? Ack!

Good for you that you stood up to him (how many would have simply complied) and gave him the information he should have had in the first place. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/january/can-your-cat-literally-make-you-crazy-32400#comments behavior parasite TheDailyVet toxoplasmosis Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32400 at http://www.petmd.com
Do Biopsies Cause Cancer to Spread? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/january/do-biopsies-cause-cancer-spread-32399









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 15, 2015 Do Biopsies Cause Cancer to Spread? by Dr. Joanne Intile     Share    
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Many times I am referred a patient where there is a strong suspicion of cancer, but a definitive diagnosis has not yet been achieved.
 
Whether a mass was palpated externally, visualized on a radiograph, or seen arising from tissue within the mouth, concern is raised that the cause of the growth is cancer, and the recommendation is made to seek oncological care.
 
After evaluation of the patient, I generally advise one of three procedures to determine a definitive diagnosis: a fine needle aspirate (FNA), an incisional biopsy, or an excisional biopsy.
 
Obtaining samples from a tumor, whether by a FNA or biopsy, is an essential step most of our cancer patients will undergo. The level of invasiveness required to perform such tests depends on where the tumor is located anatomically. 
 
For tumors located within or just below the skin, FNAs or biopsies can be routinely performed, and with minimal invasiveness.
 
For internal tumors, for example those located within the abdominal or chest cavity, FNA or biopsy is still generally considered a routine procedure. Most often these procedures are done via ultrasound guidance in order to maximize diagnostic yield.
 
In some cases, a more intensive surgical procedure is necessary. This includes laparoscopic surgical procedures, which are considered minimally invasive. The benefit to this form of surgery is it requires tiny incisions; therefore recovery is rapid. The downside to laparoscopic surgery is it does not allow for complete evaluation of the entire cavity in question and therefore does not substitute for full exploratory surgery.
 
Open thoracic or abdominal surgery entails creating a large incision. This method can procure biopsy samples by either taking small pieces from the affected tissue(s) or by removing tumors in their entirety (e.g., tumors of the spleen can be removed during a splenectomy surgery). This type of surgery also allows for complete visualization of the entire cavity in question, which is essential for examining for evidence of other abnormalities or potential spread of disease.
 
One of the first questions I’m asked by worried owners when I mention the words “aspirate” or “biopsy” is, “Won’t the act of performing that test cause the cancer to spread?”
 
Oncologists generally consider this line of thinking to be a “myth,” meaning something that is widely believed but false in origin. What’s interesting is our lack of ability to say with certainty that this is really a myth (versus an understudied phenomenon).
 
A recent large-scale study at the Mayo clinic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was designed to answer the question of the risk of spreading cancer associated with a biopsy procedure. In this study, researchers looked at the outcome for patients with non-metastatic pancreatic cancer who either did or did not undergo a FNA prior to more definitive surgery for their tumors.
 
Results showed patients who underwent an aspirate procedure actually had a better outcome than those who did not, with an overall survival time of 22 months compared to 15 months. Though numerically unimpressive, the results were statistically significant. 
 
Researchers concluded that the act of procuring a sample from the tumor was not associated with spread of disease. Additionally, previously reported isolated case reports of instances where tumors did spread following a biopsy or aspirate procedure should be considered such rare events that the risk does not out-warrant the benefit.
 
Another study examined the relationship between FNA, incisional, or excisional biopsy of a specific form of breast cancer, and the risk of spread of the tumor to a regional lymph node. This study contradicted the Mayo clinic’s results. Researchers found a correlation between “fine-needle aspiration and an increase in the incidence of sentinel node metastases.”
 
What conclusions can we draw from the opposing results of these two studies? The answer lies in the inference.
 
After reading the Mayo clinic’s report, it’s easy for a reader to decide biopsy procedures are safe and possess a low rate of complications. More importantly, they may even go as far as to infer that refusing a biopsy or surgery out of fear of causing spread of cancer could worsen a pet’s outcome. Is this exactly what the paper states? No, but if given the latitude of “reading between the lines,” such statements wouldn’t be stretching the truth all that far.
 
The results of the breast cancer study tell a reader there may be an association between the act of physically manipulating a tumor and the presence of tumor cells within lymph nodes that drain the area where the tumor is located. If they were to make such an inference, they would not be saying aspiration caused the tumor cells to spread, but rather acknowledging a correlation between the two events.
 
When objectively evaluating studies with disparate results, it’s easy to understand why confusion persists in the general public regarding complicated medical issues. Unfortunately, this situation abounds in research. This is likely one of the main reasons why myths and misconceptions regarding cancer are so prevalent in both animals and people.
 
My take on these less than clear-cut situations is to allow clinical experience to guide me in bridging the gap between the myths and the statistics. Inference is good, but it won’t help me make recommendations to a distraught owner who is nervous about their pet’s care.
 
If you’re wondering what my opinion is when it comes to concerns about a FNA or biopsy resulting in spread of cancer, my familiarity with these procedures and their risk tells me the myth is incorrect. I will continue to await the evidence that strongly points toward a causal relationship between the two events.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Resource:
National Cancer Institute’s List of Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions
 
Image: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Cancer 01/15/2015 06:55pm I'm sure most people have heard others (or themselves) say, "Don't let them operate because, if it's cancer, oxygen will cause the cancer to spread."

I'm guessing the myth began because someone had surgery and lots of cancer was found when the person felt just fine. Without looking at the science, it's easy to understand that some might think a small bit of cancer spread due to the surgery.

However, until science shows me that allowing air to hit cancer, I'm not at all convinced that cancer would grown/spread due to surgery.

It makes sense that cancer might spread after a lymph node biopsy due to the drainage, though. Reply to this comment Report abuse tkjtkj 01/16/2015 09:33am I fear that the article has done more to reinforce the 'myth' than to dispel it .. yet it's conclusion seems to be 'yes it's a myth' ..
This is unconscionable misuse of language and logic. The question posed was 'can biopsies cause spread of cancer' , and by the logic of the article the plain answer must be 'yes , it can.' .. period. I do not believe patient-owners want more confusion. It is not serving them well to see practitioner implying that although we have insufficient evidence , " I'm gonna form an opinion anyway ..and say it's a myth until improved wrong" (my paraphrasing). This does nothing but to instill in the public's mind that the practitioner is illogical. It would be correct to say "the answer is not in on that matter" rather than 'taking a stand'.
This not in any way to suggest the practitioner should not recommend a plan where risks/benefit ratios can only be estimated.
By quasi-data stated in the article: why not say the obvious: "we don't know but it is possible".

"Inevitably, as the needle transgresses the tumour field and is withdrawn there is the potential for cells located in the tumour to migrate into the adjacent soft tissue and skin as a consequence of the violation of the tissue by the biopsy needle. The possibility of tumour spread following needle biopsy is well recognised but appears, in the majority of cases, to be an infrequent occurrence with little direct impact on patient outcome. Nevertheless, anecdotal reports of probable extension of the tumour down the needle track leading to a local recurrence do exist."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3473763/

J. Anderson, M.D.
Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 DebsSweet 01/16/2015 06:03pm
"the possibility of tumour spread following needle biopsy is well recognised but appears, in the majority of cases, to be an infrequent occurrence with little direct impact on patient outcome."
But it does happen. My father (in 1988) had a needle biopsy - they told us he had a year to live - he died in less than 2 weeks. My brother, a physician, didn't discuss this with but -- but we knew. Reply to this comment Report abuse Bai C 01/29/2015 10:04pm I feel the opposite. Yeah, I can see why it could confuse some people- most people need science and findings/results to be dumbed down and not just presented. But for those who can read this kind of thing, it makes sense (it probably made sense to the author, so they wote it in a way they understood. This doesn't mean the article was all over the place, just arranged in a way some people don't understand.) What the author was actually saying was that we have no idea if biopsies do or don't, for a fact, cause cancer to spread (which is why the results of the clinics were provided). What the end was saying is why take the chance of letting the cancer progress without treatment? If you take the biopsy and cancer is present, you can treat it before it becomes more of a problem. And since there is no solid evidence that biopsies are harmful, since it's still up in the air, there isn't a real reason to not help your animal out of fear of a test. Reply to this comment Report abuse tkjtkj 01/31/2015 03:41pm I think you leaped ahead, beyond my points. I essentially do agree with you, and note that at no time did I suggest surgery should not happen because of this issue.
The topic was, simply, can bx's cause spread of cancer cells, and the answer to that (with which you also agree) is 'yes, it can.'
We do have to note the recent 'turmoil' happening in Gyn surgery on the topic of 'morcelation hysterectomy' .. which the FDA
has condemned it while some practitioners (including a ? past president of the gyno-journal) endorse the use of the procedure
(though only in specific situations, with which I would agree). You might call 'morcelation' the 'ultimate biopsy that we know can cause a uterine cancer to spread and be untreatable. Reply to this comment Report abuse Itsnotme Itsyou Mast Cell tumours 01/16/2015 08:40pm Would that apply to mast cell tumours? Everything I read was to not even manipulate or allow the tumour to be bumped as that can cause the tumour to break up and release histamine (or something like that, basically it spreads the cancer cells!). Before surgery to remove a tumour apparently ant-histamines are used to prevent this also... is this accurate and mast cell tumours can metastasise if aspirate or removal is performed? Thanks. Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Joanne Intile 01/20/2015 10:55am Hi

The concern with manipulation of mast cell tumors is that this can cause the cells to release histamine (and other chemicals) into the surrounding tissue and bloodstream, which can cause negative side effects. This is different than physically causing cells from the tumor to spread. It's not the cells that spread, but the chemicals from the cells. Yes - antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can help block the effects from the histamine that is released and hopefully avoid some of the negative side effects But the antihistamine doesn't prevent the histamine from being released - it blocks it's action once is is released. Thanks! Reply to this comment Report abuse
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Memorial for Marco, The Beagle Who Valiantly Battled Bladder Cancer http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/memorial-marco-beagle-who-valiantly-battled-cancer-32392
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Using Rattlesnake Antivenin in Dogs and Cats http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/using-rattlesnake-antivenin-dogs-and-cats-32388









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 12, 2015 Using Rattlesnake Antivenin in Dogs and Cats by Dr. Jennifer Coates     Share    
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I live in rattlesnake country. The foothills of the Rocky Mountains lie just a mile or so from my house, and when my dog and I go for a hike in that area, I’m on high snake alert. We stay on the trails, and my dog can wander only as far as his six foot leash allows. All in all, I rate his risk of being bitten as pretty low.
 
I’ve elected against giving him the “rattlesnake vaccine,” in part because I know that our local veterinary emergency centers carry rattlesnake antivenin. A study published in 2011 showed that giving antivenin to dogs who had been bitten by rattlesnakes “effectively stabilized or terminated” the effects of the venom.
 
Researchers had access to 115 client-owned dogs who had been bitten by rattlesnakes and whose symptoms associated with the bite were worsening over time. All dogs received “standard supportive care” and one vial of rattlesnake antivenin either given all at once or divided in half with the second dose given six hours after the first. Each dog’s condition was evaluated using a standardized system and assigned a “severity score.”
 
The scientists found that after receiving the antivenin “the mean severity score of the 115 patients decreased from 4.19 to 3.29 points” and “the mean severity score of the 107 patients without fatalities decreased from 4.16 to 2.15. It didn’t seem to matter whether the dogs received the entire contents of the vial as one dose or divided into two doses.
 
Giving antivenin is not an entirely benign treatment. Dogs can have adverse (including allergic) reactions to the injection, but in this study only six percent of the dogs had problems associated with the antivenin.
 
Unfortunately, the evidence supporting the use of antivenin in cats is somewhat questionable. A 2013 study looked at what happened to “115 envenomed cats treated with antivenom* and 177 envenomed cats treated without antivenom” and found:
 
There was no mortality rate difference between cats that did (6.67%) or did not (5.08%) receive antivenom. A type I hypersensitivity [allergic] reaction was diagnosed in 26 of 115 (22.6%) cats. The use of premedications did not decrease type I hypersensitivity or improve mortality rate. Cats that had a type I hypersensitivity reaction were 10 times as likely to die as were those that did not have such a reaction.

 
I feel pretty good that if my dog ever does get bitten by a rattlesnake, prompt treatment including supportive care and an injection of antivenin will probably get him through the crisis. On the other hand, if my cat is bitten, I’ll probably go for supportive care only.
 
* For our purposes, antivenom and antivenin are the same thing.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
References
 
A randomized multicenter trial of Crotalidae polyvalent immune F(ab) antivenom for the treatment of rattlesnake envenomation in dogs. Peterson ME, Matz M, Seibold K, Plunkett S, Johnson S, Fitzgerald K. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2011 Aug;21(4):335-45. 
 
Multicenter evaluation of the administration of crotalid antivenom in cats: 115 cases (2000-2011). Pashmakova MB, Bishop MA, Black DM, Bernhard C, Johnson SI, Mensack S, Wells RJ, Barr JW. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013 Aug 15;243(4):520-5.
 
 
Image: Ryan M. Bolton / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Immediacy 01/12/2015 06:10pm If you're out walking with your dog, how quickly could you get to a clinic to treat a rattlesnake bite?

Also, what's the efficacy of the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs?

As a final thought - pretty simple taking care of the cat. Just don't let them outside! Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Jennifer Coates 01/13/2015 04:04pm The sooner the better is the rule of thumb when it comes to treating rattlesnake bites, but the antivenin can be helpful even if given a day or two after the bite. For more information on the vaccine, take a look at this post.
http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2013/july/canine-vaccination-series-part-2-rattlesnake-vaccines-30527
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/using-rattlesnake-antivenin-dogs-and-cats-32388#comments emergency poisoning TheDailyVet Mon, 12 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32388 at http://www.petmd.com
Monensin in Horses – The Latest Update on the Horse Poisonings http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/monensin-horses-%E2%80%93-latest-update-horse-poisonings-32386
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TheOldBroad Why? 01/12/2015 06:03pm Do we know why horses are so acutely sensitive to monensin?

Also, just out of curiosity, does monensin exist in nature - or is it completely man-made? Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Anna O'Brien 01/22/2015 06:45am Technically, monensin is a polyether antibiotic, isolated from Streptomyces cinnamonensis (don't you love that name?) It is synthesized in a lab, so although it comes from bacteria, I'm not sure if it could be considered "naturally occurring," at least in the form that it is given to livestock.

One of its primary biochemical actions is to transport ions across cell membranes. It is called an ionophore for this reason. Mammalian cells have varying levels of sensitivity to its actions (which are lethal for coccidia) and my rudimentary thought is that there is something in equine cells that make them more sensitive to monensin's cellular actions than bovine cells.
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/monensin-horses-%E2%80%93-latest-update-horse-poisonings-32386#comments poisoning recall TheDailyVet Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32386 at http://www.petmd.com
A Better Method for Diagnosing Kidney Disease in Pets http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/january/kidney-disease-pets-better-method-quicker-diagnosis-32385









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 08, 2015 A Better Method for Diagnosing Kidney Disease in Pets by Dr. Ken Tudor     Share    
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Chronic kidney disease and failure is common in older pets; it is a leading cause of death in geriatric cats. Although eventually fatal, the progression of the disease can be slowed by dietary and medical management. An earlier diagnosis has the potential for extending the life of these patients.
 
A newly identified chemical in the blood can detect impending kidney failure 17 months earlier than traditional blood tests. This may have a significant impact on the length and quality of the life of pets stricken with kidney disease and failure.
 
A New Blood Biomarker
 
Traditional blood work in pets has focused on levels of particular metabolic products, enzymes, and proteins for diagnosing disease. New technology has allowed for the ability to identify smaller molecules associated with medical conditions. Research identifying these blood “biomarkers” is revolutionizing medical diagnosis.
 
Many of you, especially those of you my age, are familiar with blood troponin levels for diagnosing a heart attack when human patients are experiencing minor symptoms that could actually be confused with simple “heartburn.” Troponin is a complex protein that is essential for heart function. Elevation of this biomarker in the blood indicates evidence of a cardiac event; i.e., a heart attack.
 
Researchers at Oregon State University, IDEXX laboratories, and Hill’s Pet Nutrition have identified a blood marker that can detect kidney failure in cats much earlier than present methods. The biomarker is called SDMA, short for symmetric dimethylarginine. Thirty-two healthy, but older, cats were used for the study. The test correctly identified those with kidney disease 17 months earlier than present blood markers, blood urea nitrogen or BUN and creatinine.
 
Blood creatinine levels are dependent on lean body mass. A skinny cat in renal failure may actually have normal blood creatinine levels and the diagnosis of kidney failure could be missed. SDMA is not influenced by body muscle mass.
 
BUN and creatinine are both breakdown products of protein metabolism that rise when kidney function between both kidneys falls to 75 percent of total normal function. That means we presently diagnose kidney disease when there is only 25 percent functional capacity between both kidneys. That is why the life expectancy of these pets is so short after the diagnosis. It is often too late for therapeutic dietary intervention to prolong kidney life.
 
Early dietary intervention has been proven to prolong the life patients with kidney disease. Diets that include the following can slow the progression of kidney dysfunction:

Very low levels of phosphorus
Variable amounts of protein to control symptoms and maintain muscle mass
DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil
L-carnitine to promote more effective fat utilization for energy
Medium chain fatty acids (coconut oil) that are immediately used for energy and spare protein

 
Early detection of kidney disease with SDMA will mean earlier dietary intervention. Earlier treatment can extend the life of these pets and improve the quality of that time. The same researcher presented an abstract at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2014 conference that showed the same early diagnosis in dogs as well.
 
Unfortunately, the SDMA screen is not yet commercially available. When IDEXX does make it available, it can be used as a yearly, reliable screening test for kidney failure that you and your veterinarian can use to monitor the health of your geriatric pet.
 
Update:
 
Last week Idexx labs announced that starting this summer, SDMA will be added to routine blood panels for cats and dogs. Idexx is not charging more for the panels that include SDMA, so veterinarians and owners will not be paying extra for this new information. I am really excited by this news, because getting dogs and cats on an appropriate phosphorus restricted diets sooner may have a significant impact on the quality and length of life for these pets.
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Source
 
J.A. Hall, M. Yerramilli, E. Obare, M. Yerramilli, S. Yu, D.E. Jewell. Comparison of serum concentrations of symmetric dimethylarginine and creatinine as kidney function biomarkers in healthy geriatric cats fed reduced protein foods enriched with fish oil, L-carnitine, and medium-chain triglycerides. The Veterinary Journal, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.10.021
 
 
Image: foto Arts / Shutterstock
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TheOldBroad Can't Wait! 01/09/2015 04:54pm Can't wait for this to be available. Any chance this could be included in a geriatric blood panel? Or do you think it will always be a separate test? Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 Dr. Ken Tudor 01/09/2015 04:59pm This is purely a guess based on my observation of laboratory advancements over the years:
I suspect it will be an individual test until the technology and methodology advances make it cheaper to add to routine panels. That was the evolution of thyroid and the various kitty virals that are all now standard. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Living in Whisker City Timetable? Dogs, too? 01/09/2015 07:43pm Any idea when the manufacturer will make the test available? Six months? A year? Five years? How will the manufacturer inform vets that the test is available? I don't want to bug my vet every month about the test's availability, but I want to take advantage of this diagnostic test as soon as it is on the market. And is it just for cats or does it work for dogs, too? Thanks! Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Ken Tudor 01/09/2015 08:35pm I have know idea and the researchers were reluctant to promise any kind of time table. But I have no doubt that veterinarians will be eager to inform their clients when it is available. It would certainly be on my social media sites. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/january/kidney-disease-pets-better-method-quicker-diagnosis-32385#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 08 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32385 at http://www.petmd.com
Are Specialists Really a Necessary Part of Cancer Care for Pets? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/january/are-specialists-really-necessary-part-cancer-care-pets-3238









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 07, 2015 Are Specialists Really a Necessary Part of Cancer Care for Pets? by Dr. Joanne Intile     Share    
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If you were diagnosed with cancer, to whom would you entrust your care?
 
The obvious answer is: an oncologist. 
 
Most people understand an oncologist’s expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of various cancers. Regardless of the expertise of the initial physician suspecting this dreaded disease, once cancer is on the radar the average person would be referred to, and actively seek consultation with, an oncologist.
 
Unfortunately, cancer is as common a disease in animals as it is in people. Approximately one in four dogs will develop this disease during their lifetime and more than half of animals over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with a tumor.
 
Statistics also tell us that two out of three American households own a pet, nine out of ten owners consider their pet part of their family, and over 75 percent of owners admit to talking to their pets as if they were “real” people. About 60 percent are comfortable referring to themselves as their pet’s “Mommy” or “Daddy,” and an additional 10 percent celebrate Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day with their pets.
 
A quick summary of all these details tells us that 1) people understand the value of an oncologist for their own health care needs, 2) pets are more often than not considered a part of the household, and 3) cancer is a very common diagnosis in our furry family members.
 
So why am I, a board-certified veterinary oncologist, not completely booked with appointments every day? How do I explain the blank spaces in my schedule?
 
It’s frustrating for me to think about the disparity between what surveys and statistics tell us and what transpires in reality. It also affords me the chance to try to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions I think are (at least partially) responsible for the gap.
 
One major issue is the overriding, and incorrect, public perception that treating a pet’s cancer is akin to “torturing” them. I recognize the negative connotations associated with words like cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. I understand the gravity imparted by the diagnoses I deal with on a daily basis. I’m completely aware that my days are not filled with happy puppy and kitten visits or routine wellness exams.
 
However, I assure you that if I were to list the myriad of reasons why I selected veterinary oncology as my specialty, “a want and desire to torture animals and make them sick” would never even be on my radar. 
 
I’m here to help pets with cancer live longer, happier lives. The treatments I prescribe have low side effect profiles and our patients are amongst the happiest and healthiest pets you will find in our waiting room. Many cancers are now managed as chronic diseases similar to diabetes or kidney failure. When it comes to cancer care for pets, the idea that I’m here to impart “torture” is absolutely absurd.
 
Likewise, I also struggle with primary care veterinarians who do not offer owners a referral or, worse yet, dissuade owners from pursuing consultation with an oncologist because they feel the option is inappropriate for the pet.
 
The numbers of vets who do not embrace specialty care or who adhere to the line of thinking that cancer is an untreatable condition in animals is remarkable. While I agree that it may not be the right choice for every pet or for every owner, the number of instances where oncological care can improve and extend a pet’s quality of life is no exaggeration. 
 
Paradoxically, there are many general practitioner veterinarians who administer chemotherapy treatments without offering, or discouraging referral to, a specialist because they can treat cancer “equally” as well.
 
Though I understand the utility of such practice in areas where specialists are not available, I’ve encountered this practice in each area where I’ve worked, making it difficult to reconcile geography as the sole rationale.
                     
In most of those cases, I’m told that owners are reluctant to pursue referral to an oncologist and choose to treat locally because of perception of increased expense. But experience tells me that in many instances the cost differential between my treatments and a primary care veterinarian’s is nominal.
 
Everything I’ve talked about thus far points toward an “outward” cause for my concerns. I’d be remiss not to look internally and ask what it is that I do or, conversely, don’t do, that contributes to a lack of referrals filling up my schedule.
 
Perhaps the most obvious answer is a lack of accessibility. I am one person, and I’m someone who values my personal time and quality of life outside of the clinic immensely. As such, although I work full time and make myself available as often as I can, I don’t see appointments on weekends or have late evening hours.
 
This means I’m not always available to see a case on a moment's notice or offer instant advice to a distraught owner. In a world where immediate gratification is the norm, the fact that I’m not always there for owners or veterinarians' questions has been called into question more than once during my career. Though I understand the hindrance, I must do what I can to maintain a semblance of normalcy in a profession where the expectation of doing so is far from ordinary.
 
I’ve mentioned a lot about statistics and odds, but what might be more important to note is that surveys also consistently tell us that owners of pets who elect to pursue advanced oncological care for their pets are happy with their decisions and would do so again in the future if faced with a similar decision.
 
With this information on board, I challenge owners, veterinarians, and specialists alike to keep the dialogue open and maintain our responsibility towards ensuring that we each work to support what is in the best interests of the animals we all love.

I’d bet if we did, there would never be a blank space in my schedule to speak of.
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
Image: Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Doctors! 01/07/2015 09:07am I'm pretty horrified when I hear people say they chose a veterinarian due to location as opposed to skill. Even though people claim Fido or Fluffy is a family member, I really don't feel that most put any thought into selecting a doctor to monitor or treat their pet.

Years ago, I referred myself to a specialist for my little Emma Jean (thank goodness) and I got away with it because the regular vet was out of the office for the afternoon.

But better yet, my current vet doesn't hesitate to refer to specialists and spends the time to confer with them on a regular basis to keep up to speed on what's going on. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/january/are-specialists-really-necessary-part-cancer-care-pets-3238#comments cancer TheDailyVet Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32384 at http://www.petmd.com
2014 Veterinary Blogs in Review, with Dr. Mahaney http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/2014-veterinary-blogs-review-dr-mahaney-32383









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 06, 2015 2014 Veterinary Blogs in Review, with Dr. Mahaney by Dr. Patrick Mahaney     Share    
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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
 
Symptoms and Treatment for Vaccine Associated Illness in Pets, Part 2
 
Training the Next Generation of Search and Rescue Dogs
 
Documentary on Pet Cancer Aims to Lower Cancer Related Deaths
 
Red Carpet Report from the Premiere Screening of "My Friend: Changing the Journey”
 
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 and Cardiff, 2014
 
 

Dr. Patrick Mahaney
 
Image: Javier Brosch / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Gifting Pets 01/06/2015 06:31pm Of course, I'm always horrified when someone wants to or does give a pet as a gift. Geez. Thank about the animal!

I'm also horrified that someone would adopt to someone or sell a pet to someone when they *know* it's to be a gift. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/patrick-mahaney/2015/january/2014-veterinary-blogs-review-dr-mahaney-32383#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32383 at http://www.petmd.com
Do Animals Have Emotions? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/do-animals-have-emotions-32381









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 05, 2015 Do Animals Have Emotions? by Dr. Jennifer Coates     Share    
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Most pet owners answer the question “Do animals have emotions?” with an emphatic “Yes, of course!” To those of us who live closely with animals, that answer seems so self-evident that we might be tempted to shrug off the question, but it’s important to remember that many people do not feel as we do.
 
Scientific research into animal emotions is important, not just because it increases our understanding of the inner lives of animals, but also because it serves an important reminder that we are responsible for both the physical and mental well-being of the animals under our care.
 
Three studies were recently published looking at jealousy in dogs, optimism in rats, and empathy in pigs:
 
Jealousy describes the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety that occur when an interloper threatens an important relationship. Jealousy requires the cognitive ability to determine self-esteem and weigh the rival’s threats.
 
In a study by Harris et al. (PLoS One, 2014), scientists adapted a paradigm from human infant studies to examine jealousy in companion dogs. They had people lavish attention on objects, one of which was a realistic-looking stuffed dog that barked and whined, in front of their companion dogs. The interactions and the dog responses were recorded and analyzed. Nearly all of the dogs pushed at either the stuffed dog or the owner and almost one-third attempted to get between the object and their owner.
 
Significantly, they did not exhibit these behaviors to the same degree when the object of affection was not dog-like. The authors say the results lend credence to the notion that dogs, like humans, do experience jealousy.
 
 
In popular culture, happiness and laughter were long thought to be unique to humans, even though scientists dating back to Charles Darwin have documented laugh-like vocalizations in chimpanzees and other great apes. Now, we are discovering that laughter is not limited to primates.
 
In a 2012 article by Rygula et al., entitled “Laughing Rats Are Optimistic” (PLoS One, 2012), the scientists were able to elicit specific vocalizations, akin to laughter, when they subjected the rats to playful handling and tickling. They found that the tickling produced positive emotions and the rats were more likely to approach a tester’s hand when compared to those rats who were only handled.
 
 
Empathy is the capacity to recognize and react to emotions that are being experienced by another. An article by Reimert et al. (Physiology and Behavior, 2013), correlated a number of behaviors in pigs with positive (feeding and group housing) and negative (social isolation) events. They demonstrated that a positive behavior in one pig had a positive effect on nearby pigs. Similarly, pigs displaying the negative behaviors affected the surrounding pigs.
 
The effects were not just limited to visible behaviors, as cortisol levels (i.e., stress hormone) in the pigs’ saliva confirmed their emotional state. The pigs were effectively demonstrating empathy toward their pen-mates, a concept that required them to understand the emotions of those around them.
 

 
*Portions reprinted with permission of the Animal Welfare Institute.
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Image: vvvita / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Grumpy Cats 01/05/2015 08:04pm Nothing was said about Grumpy Cats. I certainly have one. She's happy as a clam if she has me all to herself, but gets really grumpy if one of the other kitties gets too close or (heaven forbid!) gets in my lap. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/january/do-animals-have-emotions-32381#comments behavior bonding TheDailyVet Mon, 05 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32381 at http://www.petmd.com
Top Veterinary Stories of 2014 http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/top-veterinary-stories-2014-32372









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Jan 01, 2015 Top Veterinary Stories of 2014 by Dr. Anna O'Brien     Share    
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Happy 2015! I hope you and your animals all had a successful New Year’s Eve in whichever way you chose to celebrate it and that you are enjoying a restful start to the New Year.
 
I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on 2014 in terms of events relevant to the large animal veterinary field. This is what I’ve come up with:
 

PED
The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus continued to spread throughout the U.S. in 2014 since its detection in April 2013. However, the USDA granted conditional licensure to a vaccine against the virus in the fall. Hopefully, surveillance data collected over the past six months and continually throughout 2015 will provide helpful information in order to determine if use of the vaccine is making a difference in the infection rate. The USDA has declared PED a reportable disease so that disease progression can be monitored.


 

California Crome
With almost cringe-worthy predictability, we came this close to a Triple Crown winner in horse racing. Again. California Chrome wowed fans with easy wins in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness this past spring, the first two races of the coveted Triple Crown in Thoroughbred racing. But, like I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Big Brown in 2008 (and ten others since 1978), it was the Belmont that became this racehorse’s folly in June in New York, where he came in a disappointing tie for fourth. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. We are sorely overdue. Maybe 2015 will be the year?


 

Vet Mobility Act
On August 1, 2014, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act was signed into law. This was a great relief to mixed and large animal practitioners who work out of their trucks to provide medical care to patients outside of the clinic and across state lines. Prior to this Act, it was illegal for veterinarians to transport controlled substances for use outside of a registered location (e.g. the clinic) under the Controlled Substances Act and some veterinarians were finding themselves in trouble with the DEA as they were going about normal veterinary business from their trucks on farms. Large animal vets rejoiced at the passage of this act!


 

Ebola
As the largest Ebola epidemic in history continued its rampage in West Africa in 2014, panic spread as the first case of Ebola was reported in the US. Concerns for our own health and the health of our pets were increased when Spanish health officials euthanized a dog belonging to an Ebola victim and people began asking: can I get Ebola from my pet? The American Veterinary Medical Association was quick to collaborate with the CDC on this and provided veterinarians with tentative answers to clients’ (and veterinarians’) many questions. It does not appear currently that people can get the Ebola virus from dogs or cats and there have been not reports of these animals contracting the disease in West Africa.


 

Antimicrobial resistance
More and more a hot topic issue, antimicrobial resistance seems to be in the news more than ever. In 2014, the FDA issued plans to phase out medically important antibiotics that are given to farm animals in feed when used for production purposes, meaning for growth promotion as opposed to disease treatment and control. These antibiotics will also be phased from over-the-counter to prescription only. These are some very large changes for large-scale farms and a few years have been allowed for the logistics to be worked out.


 

Dr. Anna O'Brien
 
 
Image: Igor Stramyk / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Top Stories 01/01/2015 04:50pm Absolutely the top 5 stories of 2014 and there are thousands of non-top-5 stories, too.

Is there a chance that the antibiotics in story #5 are those that were fed to the horses in Florida and subsequently killed them? Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Dr. Anna O'Brien 01/22/2015 06:59am No, the drug that killed those horses in Florida was the ionophore monensin. Although technically an antibiotic, monensin is not used in humans and therefore the concern over antibiotic resistance to drugs that are medically important to humans (e.g. penicillin, tetracycline, etc.) doesn't apply to this product. I have heard of some resistance to monensin in some bacteria that are present in the bovine gut, but I'm not sure how prevalent this is or what threat it poses to animal health. Ionophores are very interesting to me (and complicated and a little confusing)! Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/january/top-veterinary-stories-2014-32372#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 01 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32372 at http://www.petmd.com
Intestinal Bacteria and Its Role in the Health of Pets http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2014/december/intestinal-bacteria-and-its-role-health-pets-32371









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Dec 31, 2014 Intestinal Bacteria and Its Role in the Health of Pets by Dr. Ken Tudor     Share    
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What if we discovered that many infections and chronic diseases, including obesity, were caused by alterations of intestinal bacteria? What if these conditions could be treated with dietary aids rather than new generations of drugs and antibiotics? Mounting research data is suggesting that the gut may indeed hold the key to better health.
 
Cultivating the right balance of bacteria in the intestines may be a better approach to the treatment and management of disease. Supplementing your pet with prebiotics (soluble fiber that promotes the growth of certain bacteria) and probiotics (the bacteria themselves) may be a better approach to treating obesity, diabetes, and even infections of Salmonella. Your vet may already be treating acute gastrointestinal upset in your pets with only these supplements.
 
What is the Microbiota?
 
Microbiota refers to the large number of species of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. It is a complex, fragile ecological system where different numbers of bacterial types influence gut and body function. Larger populations of beneficial or “good” bacteria promote normal function and good health. Overgrowth of detrimental or “bad” bacteria results in the obvious symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. But the effects are not limited to the gut.
 
The microbiome refers to the genetic identification of the hundreds of species of gut microbiota. It allows for analyzing large amounts of data that are more quickly and easily obtained than growing and identifying the hundreds of bacteria in petri dishes.
 
Dr. Kelly Scott Swanson has been studying the microbiome of the intestinal tract of dogs and cats for the past ten years. He has found that, like in human research, populations of certain gut bacteria are associated with chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, oral disease, gastrointestinal diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, skin and urinary diseases, and acute infections like Salmonella. Other researchers have found the same associations with asthma in children.
 
The Microbiota and Obesity
 
The most intriguing work in this area was recently published in the journal Cell. Chief investigator Dr. Laura Cox, along with her team at NYU Langone Medical Center, conducted a series of studies in mice to examine the effect of antibiotics on gut bacteria and the development of obesity.
 
In their first study, the newborns of pregnant mice that were given low doses of penicillin only during late pregnancy and nursing gained just as much weight as mice exposed to antibiotics their entire lives. It is believed that the administration of penicillin tends to reduce the populations of good bacteria and increases the populations of bad bacteria in these newborns. The weight gain occurred despite stopping the antibiotic treatment to the nursing moms and a return to a normal gut microbiota in these newborns.
 
This study suggests that disruption of gut bacterial at a critical time in development has a permanent effect on metabolism and promoted obesity throughout the life of these young mice.
 
A second experiment looked at three groups of young mice:

One group received penicillin in the womb during the last week of pregnancy that continued throughout life.
Another group received the same dose of penicillin after weaning and throughout life.
The last group received no antibiotics.

 
Both penicillin groups increased fat mass compared to the non-penicillin group. But the group that was treated in the womb had much greater fat than those treated after weaning. This affect was exacerbated on a high fat diet.
 
Dr. Martin Blaser, a senior author of the study, said in an interview about their work:
 
“When we put mice on a high-calorie diet they got fat. When we put mice on antibiotics, they got fat. But when we put them on both antibiotics and a high-fat diet, they got very, very fat.”

 
The antibiotic treated mice showed other permanent metabolic changes like increased fasting insulin levels and decreased liver detoxification and regeneration functions.
 
These observations confirmed earlier work by Dr. Blaser. In a 2012 study he showed that mice on a normal diet that were treated with low dose antibiotics their entire life increased their body fat 10-15% more than untreated mice. This is very similar to the weight gain experienced by commercial livestock treated with antibiotics.
 
In their third study Drs. Cox and Blaser sought to determine if the obesity was caused by the antibiotics or the change in gut bacteria caused by the antibiotics. They transplanted intestinal bacteria from antibiotic treated mice and mice not treated with antibiotics into 3-week old germ-free mice. This is considered a pivotal infancy period just after weaning in mice. They found that the germ-free mice implanted with bacteria from antibiotic treated mice got fatter than those implanted from non-treated mice. This suggests that alterations in gut bacteria during critical times of development leads to life-long metabolic changes.
 
Ancillary findings also showed that the total intestinal bacterial population of the intestines did not change with antibiotic treatment. But antibiotics did significantly decrease the numbers of five groups of good bacteria that are known to play a role in normal metabolic and immunological interactions. The importance of the relative size of intestinal bacterial populations was demonstrated in a study I reported about here in 2013.
 
What Does This Mean?
 
As we learn more and more about the gastrointestinal ecology and its effect on health, it will gives us greater opportunities to prevent, treat, or manage conditions through nutritional intervention rather than drugs. The increased use of pre- and probiotics in the treatment of acute gastrointestinal and other conditions in pets is testimony to the effectiveness of this approach. The old adage may be right: You are what you eat.
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Source
 
Cox LM, et al. Altering the intestinal microbiota during a critical developmental window has lasting metabolic consequences. Cell 2014:705-721
 
Image: ngera / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Good information! 12/31/2014 03:07pm How fascinating!

On a much simpler level, any time my kitties or I are on antibiotics, I supplement with acidophilus to avoid diarrhea.

I'd be curious to know if any of the mice were provided antibiotics AND acidophilus and/or probiotics. Perhaps the probiotics would offset the upset of the ecosystem in the gut. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 gspal Interesting! 01/03/2015 05:37pm Our pet adult German Spitz (11 kg) was on antibiotics & pain killers for a maggot infested wound around the base of its tail when we adopted it. By this reading I can assume that it became round and rotund on its shorter than usual legs because of the antibiotics as no pre and probiotics were administered at the time of treatment on a regular basis. It has mostly been on Farmina LG Chicken & Pomegranate Adult Mini kibble. If we start now to administer pre and probiotics as a further supplement, would it make a difference in improving its shape? Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Dr. Ken Tudor 01/03/2015 06:35pm It is unlikely that antibiotics were the cause of your baby's weight problem. But the research does suggests that long term antibiotics (months) and too much food could cause excessive weight gain. Feedlot cattle are a good example.

Prebiotics and probiotics certainly should be considered an important supplement for all dogs. More importantly though is feeding correctly. Have your vet help you calculate the "ideal" weight of your dog and feed the number of calories appropriate for that weight. In other words, feed the "Thin Dog Inside" the overweight dog. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2014/december/intestinal-bacteria-and-its-role-health-pets-32371#comments GI nutrients nutrition TheDailyVet weight management Wed, 31 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 32371 at http://www.petmd.com
Veterinary Resolutions for the New Year http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2014/december/veterinary-resolutions-new-year-32370
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2014/december/veterinary-resolutions-new-year-32370#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 32370 at http://www.petmd.com