The Ins and Outs of Lumps and Bumps

Very often, we see pets come in with lumps and bumps. We have heard time and again that while petting their dog or cat, clients came across a bump they never noticed before. Concerned, they call and make an appointment to come in.

 

What to know about common lumps and bumps:

The lumps and bumps you find on your pet can be a variety of things. A few common lumps and bumps are skin tags, cysts, hair follicle infections, and unfortunately tumors. In the case of this blog, we want to talk about the tumor lumps and bumps. In senior dogs, over half will develop tumors of one kind or another. They vary in size, shape, location, and can be cancerous or benign. Thankfully not every tumor is cancerous, and not every cancerous tumor is a death sentence.

 

Common Causes:

Although the cause of tumors is not always known, the basics remain the same. For some pets, cancerous tumors are genetic and for others it’s a matter of lifestyle. Many breeds are prone to cancer including golden retrievers and boxers. There is no telling why some pets develop tumors and others do not. What we do know is early detection and treatment can help eliminate tumors and prolong life.

 

How to prevent your pet from getting tumors:

As we have said before: prevention, prevention, prevention! A healthy diet and exercise can help prevent many common illness and diseases from starting.  Just like humans, avoiding junk food, exercising daily, and staying up to date on healthcare and wellness is the best form of preventative medicine. Unfortunately, even in the healthiest of healthy pets, lumps and bumps can appear.  Starting your dog or cat on regular wellness examinations will catch problems early and help keep them healthy for years to come. According to AAHA (the leading accreditation association for veterinary practices, including PAH) bi-annual exams are the best plan for prevention and detection of health issues in pets.

 

What to do if you find a lump or bump:

The first step is to not freak out. Your pets can sense your concern and there is no reason to alarm them. As scary as it can be, if you find a bump on your pet, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. In addition to a lump or bump, if you find a wound or sore that won’t heal, swelling on any part of the body, or enlarged lymph nodes (i.e. their neck glands feel swollen), give us a call. Also, not every tumor is on the surface of the body, so if your pet appears to not be feeling well or their behavior seems unusual, call for an appointment as soon as possible.

 

What to expect:

If you come in to see your veterinarian because your pet has a lump, you can expect a few things to happen. The technician will ask several questions to get background information on your pet, or update any information that has changed. Be sure to let them know of even little changes in diet or exercise routine. The doctor will then perform a thorough physical exam, focusing on any lumps or bumps found. They may then suggest testing to help identify the cause and determine if it is benign or cancerous.

The tests may include skin scrapes, x-rays if they are concerned it may have to do with something internal, or a biopsy. Depending on the type of test, results can be back in a matter of moments to several days. Once known, the doctor will communicate the results to you and a course of action will be developed together.

 

 

The big thing to remember about lumps, bumps, and tumors is that they don’t change how fabulous your pet is. With the help of your pet’s doctor and you, your pet can live a comfortable, healthy, and happy life.  If your pet has not been in to see the doctor in a while or you have found a lump or bump, be sure to give us a call. Thirty minutes of preventative care for your pet can mean a lifetime of happiness and health!

Easter Safety and Your Pet

With Easter fast approaching and the stores filling with yummy treats and decorations, we thought it might be a good time to share a few safety tips and tricks from our doctors and staff to help keep your pet safe.

Candy
We have said it time and time again, chocolate and pets do not a good pair make. Unfortunately Easter tends to be a holiday that tastes better when coated in chocolate. Keep your pets safe this Easter by keeping candy dishes out of reach. On the day of Easter hide chocolate bunnies and eggs in places that your pets are not allowed. It is also a good idea to keep pets as spectators for the great Easter egg hunt. This will keep them from finding the eggs before your kids, and also help keep them from accidentally eating sweets not meant for them.

If you are looking for great Easter treats for your pet, Three Dog Bakery in Del Mar offers fabulous sweet treats for pets.

Eggs and bunnies
As we mentioned already the chocolate variety of bunnies and eggs can be quite dangerous to pets. The real version can also be a little risky. If you plan to have live rabbits as part of your holiday festivities, keep all animals safe by allowing plenty of distance from each other. Although you have the world’s sweetest pet, it is still possible that they will be uncertain around their new rabbit friend and behave in unexpected ways (biting, hiding in fear, or other defensive behaviors).

Real eggs are a low risk item for many pets. Although be warned, they may end up with terrible gas. As we discussed in the SBDG blog, there is nothing worse than a pet tooting their way through your house. If you want to share your Easter eggs with your pet, speak with your PAH doctor first to ensure it is safe for them to eat eggs. For most pets, eggs are not harmful, but each pet is unique and has their own medical and health needs.

Decorations
There is always the risk that your frisky kitty or curious pup will end up attracted to the holiday decorations. Keep your pets and decorations safe by displaying them in places your pet cannot reach. If you have cats, keep their favorite shelves, ledges, and book case tops clear of decorations as they will likely end up on the floor or in the way of a high jumping cat.

Plants and cut flowers
If you are lucky enough to receive a bouquet of Easter Lilies this holiday, count your blessings, and then put them in a room where your pets cannot reach them. Although less toxic to dogs, Easter Lilies are very toxic and possibly deadly to your cats. Lily poisoning in dogs can cause vomiting and diarrhea, however cats can develop kidney failure in addition to gastrointestinal signs. All parts of the plant are toxic and ingestion of just a leaf or two can cause death in a cat. So if you notice nibble marks on your flowers or think your cat may have made a snack of any part of your lilies, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. It may be safest to remove the lily flowers or plant from your house so there are no mishaps.

We hope that you have a fun and festive Easter holiday! If you have questions about how to keep your pet safe, or have any Easter related questions not covered above, please give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Cats, babies, and a whole lot of cuteness

Spring is here and that means one thing: babies. If you have been pregnant, or are currently, you may have been warned about being around cats. Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Cats, like many things while pregnant, can be bad for the health of your unborn child. That being said, getting pregnant and living with a cat do not have to be separate chapters of your life. A few precautions and tips for living with cats and you can keep everyone in the house safe!

 

Why are cats dangerous to unborn babies?

Kittens can be especially susceptible to toxoplasmosis carrying parasites. Be sure to keep cats indoors and away from rodents and birds that they may try to catch and eat.

This question, although frequently asked, is a little bit misleading. The truth is it’s not your cat that is dangerous, but a microscopic parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, toxoplasmosis can cause stillbirths or serious birth defects, including deafness, epilepsy, and blindness.

 

How can toxoplasmosis be contracted?

Toxoplasmosis is found mainly in the feces of cats. Tiny toxoplasmosis cysts are passed in their stool. The feces can then get under their nails, on the pads of their feet, or left behind in your garden for you to come in contact with later.

 

Signs of toxoplasmosis:

Although some animals and humans will never show signs of toxoplasmosis, those that do show symptoms may display the following:

 

Cats: fever, loss of appetite, vision/eye issues, or unexplainable nervous system issues

Dogs: seizures, tremors, and paralysis

Humans: flu like symptoms, but like pets many people show no signs at all

 

How to avoid coming into contact with toxoplasmosis?

-Ideally, the best way to keep your cat from becoming a carrier is to keep them indoors. Cats that go outside are more likely to eat rodents and birds that can be carriers of the parasite.

-Always wear gloves when gardening, and avoid contact with animal feces.

-Clean out your cats litter box daily. If you are pregnant, use the risk of toxoplasmosis as a great excuse to get out of litter box duty! Practice the following line, “Sweetheart, I’d love to clean the litter box, but I can’t… it’s not safe for the baby.”

-Thoroughly wash any and all fruits and vegetables you eat, from your garden or otherwise.

-Avoid raw or undercooked meat. Also avoid feeding it to your cats as it may pass the parasite from meat to cat and then into their feces.

-If possible, avoid livestock and feedlots as sheep and goats can also be carriers.

-Keep your dog from eating cat feces as there have been cases of dogs contracting toxoplasmosis as well

 

What to do if you think you or your pet may have toxoplasmosis?

If you believe you have come into contact with toxoplasmosis or possibly contaminated animal feces, contact your human physician immediately. If you are concerned your pet may have or have come into contact with toxoplasmosis, contact your veterinarian.

 

 

All this being said, healthy cats under close supervision can live happy lives coexisting with babies. Check out this adorable Youtube clip of one baby-cat duo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information:

http://www.pacificanimalhospital.com/pet-care/handouts.html search: toxoplasmosis

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/toxoplasmosis.cfm

http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/FastFacts/pdfs/toxoplasmosis_F.pdf