Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

If you or any member of your household is using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) cream, it is important that the medication is never within reach of your pets.

5-fluorouracil is typically prescribed to treat skin cancers and other skin disorders in people. Its mode of action, which causes cell death, can be fatal to pets that ingest the cream. 

And according to the FDA, a pet may be exposed: 

  • by chewing through the medication packaging (often a tube)
  • when licking their owner who has applied the cream on themselves
  • by coming in contact with 5-FU residue on hands, clothing, carpets, furniture
  • by ingesting residue in cloths or medication applicators
  • when grooming itself after contact with a person who uses 5-FU (more likely in cats).

Time is not on your side:

Within 30 minutes of ingestion, a pet may begin vomiting and exhibiting tremors, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination, trouble walking), and seizures. Death can occur within six hours after exposure.

Treatment may not be available or effective:

Unfortunately, “there is no defined effective treatment for 5-FU toxicosis in dogs and cats,” according to a report in Vetted™ magazine, a professional veterinary publication. Exposure to even a small amount of 5-fluorouracil can be fatal to pets, even with aggressive emergency care.

If you believe your pet has been exposed to any medication intended for humans, immediately contact an animal poison control hotline, such as

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435*    or

Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661*

*A fee will be applied to your credit card.

And be sure you know the location of the nearest pet emergency hospital. In Hampton Roads, we recommend Bay Beach and BluePearl.

Your best bet is prevention:

If you or someone in your household uses 5-fluorouracil [it may also be packaged as Carac, Efudex, or Fluoroplex], take special care to prevent your pet from any contact, no matter how small, with the drug. When discarding spent tubes, applicators, or anything that has contacted the medication, place the trash bag in an area that is inaccessible by your pets. Laundry that may contain traces of the medication should also be placed out of reach.

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Information for this article is condensed from Vetted™, August 2019, Volume 114, Number 8

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What’s going on in November?
This is a busy month, with your in-laws arriving, and a turkey to be cooked, and Christmas presents to be purchased.
On top of that — it’s National _______ _______ Month!
See below:

ASPCA’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month

National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

National Pet Diabetes Month

Manatee Awareness Month

One Health Day
November 3

USDA’s Bird Health Awareness Week
November 6-12
First full week of November starting with a Sunday

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week
November 6-12
First full week of November starting with a Sunday

Get Smart about Antibiotics Week
November 14-20

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Your pet’s yearly checkup is vital to their health. Make that appointment today!

As your pet ages, you may start to notice mysterious new bumps on its body. Or lumps. Missing fur. A black spot. A funny-looking toenail. Even young pets can develop such external oddities. Are these things nothing, or something of concern?

For even the most observant owners, it’s tough to know what skin issues are ok and what needs further evaluation. Yes, your pet may have skin disease and you may not even realize it. For example, your pet’s missing fur may be a bald spot from a tumble or a fungus

And if your pet has a little bump, it may be cancer. If it’s left unchecked, the bump may become larger and harder to remove, which may put your pet’s health at risk. But if we take a look early enough, we may be able to keep a little problem now from becoming a big problem in the future.

And finally, that black “spot” you thought was a freckle on your pet, may be a tick! If our team removes it within a certain amount of time, your pet will likely not be infected by a tick-borne disease

Skin is the largest organ of your pet’s body, and there’s a lot to examine. When you bring your pet in for its yearly checkup, we’ll assess every part of it, from nose to tail! We’ll look for spots, rashes, warts, skin tags and everything in between to make sure your pet stays healthy.

It’s time to schedule your pet’s yearly checkup. We’ll perform a thorough skin check and a few other easy tests if needed to keep your pet healthy and happy. Make an appointment today!

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Photo by Jennifer Miele at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

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Ten Pet Cancer Early Warning Signs

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

Other diseases can mimic the signs of cancer, so it’s important to have a veterinarian examine your pet. He will help you determine which steps you should take to uncover the cause of the pet’s illness. In some cases, a referral to a specialist, such as a veterinary oncologist, may be necessary.

These tips and more information are included in VPI‘s pamphlet “Pet Cancer Awareness,” available at our office. Or Contact Us and we’ll mail a pamphlet to you.

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This article originally posted on February 21, 2012.

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Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Reveals Most Common Causes of Veterinary Visits

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Brea, Calif. (April 2, 2013) – Just like their human counterparts, when pets are afflicted with even seemingly minor ailments such as an ear infection, stomach ache or cough, it can prompt a visit to the doctor. While the majority of these conditions are rarely life threatening, they can become chronic and expensive to treat. Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) policyholders spent more than $58 million in 2012 treating the 10 most common medical conditions affecting their pets. VPI, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat medical conditions in 2012. Below are the results:

 

Top Dog Conditions  Top Cat Conditions
1. Skin Allergies 1. Bladder Infection
2. Ear Infection 2. Periodontitis/Dental Disease
3. Skin Infection 3. Overactive Thyroid
4. Non-Canerous Skin Growth 4. Chronic Kidney Disease
5. Upset Stomach/Vomiting 5. Upset Stomach/Vomiting
6. Arthritis 6. Diabetes
7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea 7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
8. Bladder Infection 8. Skin Allergies
9. Periodontitis/Dental Disease 9. Lymphosarcoma (Cancer of Lymph Node
10. Bruise or Contusion 10. Upper Respiratory Infection

 Compare this list with the Top Ten Medical Claims of 2010 and Top Ten Medical Claims of 2011.

“Although a few of the top 10 dog and cat conditions can be associated with an animal’s natural aging process, many of the conditions listed above can occur in any pet,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Regardless of the age or breed of the dog or cat, pet owners should familiarize themselves with their pets’ daily routine in order to identify abnormal behaviors that might indicate an injury or illness.”

In 2012, VPI received more than 68,000 canine claims for skin allergies, the most common cause for taking a dog to see a veterinarian. The average claim fee was $96 per office visit. For cats, a bladder infection was the most common reason to take your kitty to the veterinarian. VPI received more than 4,000 medical claims for this ailment – with an average claim amount of $251 per office visit.

The most expensive canine condition on the list (arthritis) cost an average of $258 per visit, while, for cats, the most expensive condition (lymphosarcoma) cost an average of $415 per visit. In addition to familiarizing themselves with their pets’ routine and behavior, pet owners should schedule their pets’ semiannual veterinary examinations on a regular basis to help prevent and identify certain conditions before they become serious or costly.

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     We can’t say it enough:  pet insurance can be a lifesaver when a medical crisis and financial hardship intersect.  For Virginians, the good news is, there are at least 6 pet insurance companies registered to provide coverage in this state.  The flip side to such a large offering is that it is up to pet owners to research the companies and their available plans, in order to make the best choice.

(Pets Best Insurance reveals its Top 5 Costliest Pet Insurance Claims)

     Veterinarian Frances Wilkerson has dedicated her website, Pet Insurance University, to sorting through the pet insurance providers for you.  (Find a list of reviewed companies under the Research Library heading in the left margin.)

     Make no mistake:  You still have to read the information provided, as well as contact the companies for premium quotes, but many questions have been researched for you.  Dr. Wilkerson recommends looking for these components when choosing pet insurance:

  • Coverage for cancer
  • Coverage for chronic disease
  • Continual coverage for chronic diseases
  • Coverage for hereditary and congenital diseases
  • Coverage for medical conditions common to your pet’s breed and species¹

Dr. Wilkerson also provides links to organizations which can provide financial assistance to pet owners, based on specific guidelines.  Emergency financial assistance may be your best option if you are unable to purchase pet insurance.

     Don’t wait for an emergency to arise – check out your insurance options today.  ~~  Jen

¹Practice Insights, Vol.1, No.1; Pet Insurance 411

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This article was originally posted on May 17, 2011. 

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     Ten Pet Cancer Early Warning Signs

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

These tips and more information are included in VPI‘s pamphlet “Pet Cancer Awareness,” available at our office. Or Contact Us and we’ll mail a pamphlet to you.

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