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RSSFeline Health

Alternative Healing for Animals

| October 16, 2010
Alternative Healing for Animals

Alternative Healing for Animals

There are now available a fairly large array of alternative healing modalities for animals as well as humans and medical science has acknowledged the benefits of some of these. One needs to understand that, in the case of sick animals, choosing an alternative healing method does not mean that you don’t take the animal to the Vet but rather that the modality you choose for the animal works in conjunction with as opposed to instead of.

Animals are wonderful to work with as they have no expectations so the results cannot be written off to “well they expected to feel better so they did”.

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is one modality to which animals respond extremely well. This is a hands-on healing technique which is thousands of years old. The work Reiki comes from two Japanese words – Rei and Ki. The word Rei as it is used in Reiki can be interpreted to mean Spiritual consciousness and Ki is the life force which is a non-physical energy that animates all living things.

I am a Reiki Master teacher. I have also trained in Touch for Health (a Kinesiology module), Bach Flower remedies, Radionics, Animal Communication and Gestalt.

Working with animals I combine all the above, depending on what is required and will also utilise Tissue Salts and crystals if asked for. The animal can be anywhere in the country as I do not need to see it physically but can work with the hair. No two cases are ever the same – I have worked with horses, dogs and cats exhibiting behavioural problems and/or physical problems with many and varied causes.

I have a feral cat who has lived with me for close on 7 years and who, in conjunction with surgery, literally had to be put together again and learn to walk. Today he is a magnificent, loving cat who likes nothing better than a cuddle and is always the first one to greet visitors.

There have been several Dachshunds with back problems who required surgery but healed faster because of the energetic support.

Often an animal will present with a physical symptom/symptoms which the Vet has been unable to alleviate. Once one gets to the emotional cause, healing can begin. As an example of this, a Maltese was referred to me as a last resort. It had lost most of its fur and was covered in weeping sores. The Vet has changed the diet several times and prescribed many drugs over a period of time – to no avail. The owner had decided that euthanasia was the only option left. What I picked up when working with a minute amount of hair from its tail (the only area still partly furred) was a big black dog which had taken over the Maltese’s role in the household. When checking with the owner she confirmed that there was a black Lab in the house which had arrived several months before the Maltese started having skin problems. In a nutshell, I worked with the Maltese over a period of 3 weeks to heal on an emotional level and reinforce its No. 1 status and its coat grew back and the skin healed completely.

There are enough stories to fill a book about all the amazing animals I have been privileged to help. Humans need to understand the role that animals play in our lives, to acknowledge that they help us in so many ways and to move on from the belief that we own them and are superior to them.

I do work with people as well although this I prefer to do physically and not with hair as I find after a session a client will often want to talk things through.

I am available evenings and weekends and can be contacted on 082 812 3870 or email wizzypark@hotmail.com if you have any queries.

Copyright & Credit: Linda Park
Photo copyright and courtesy: Jorn Jansen
– stock.xchng

Anaemia

| September 15, 2010

 

Anaemia is a deficiency of red blood cells or haemoglobin

What is it?
Anaemia is a deficiency of red blood cells or haemoglobin (the oxygen carrying part of the red blood cell). Many things can cause Anaemia. If your pet shows signs of Anaemia, it is vital that you consult a veterinarian to establish the cause as it can be caused by serious conditions such as liver disease, renal failure, immune mediated disease etc. A less serious but very common cause of Anaemia is parasitic infestation.

Symptoms:

An unusual amount of lameness or sleepiness can be a sign of anaemia. Anaemia itself is a symptom that often affects the amount of energy that your pet has, so look out for a decrease in this.
What can be done?

Lifestyle changes:
Anaemia is closely linked with low levels of iron in the body. Food and herbal iron sources are therefore very helpful. Some mild exercise can help to increase oxygenation and energy levels. It is also important to feed good quality protein to support blood making in the body. As Anaemia is often related to parasitic infections it is vital that you ensure your pet is flea free, using a good quality conventional flea and worm treatment to get achieve quick and effective results.

Suggested dietary changes include the introduction of liver to the diet. Other possible foods include beets, molasses, brown rice, eggs, mussels, sesame seeds, oats and wheat bran. Broccoli, Sunflower seeds, fruit and vegetables are also helpful.

Holistic Treatments:
A range of vitamins can help your pet when suffering with anaemia. Nutritional Yeast, Wheat germ, Folic Acid and Vitamins B, C and E are particularly good. Acupuncture and herbal treatment are also worth considering. The Natural Vet Company have consulted Sydney veterinarian, Dr Barbara Fougere to formulate a range of safe and easy to use products to best help your pet. We can also assist during consultation by presecribing chinese medicinal herbs to treat the specific problem your pet has..

Conventional Treatments:
Iron supplements are often a conventional way to treat anaemia. Your vet should also carry out some blood tests. While The Natural Vet Company can offer you new and natural ways to improve your pet’s health, it is important not to disregard any of the advice that your regular veterinarian provides you with

Consult one of our vets:
For more information and guidance feel free to contact The Natural Vet Company directly. You can sign up for a consultation using our online ordering system. One of the many trained veterinarians will be more than happy to guide you through a personalised treatment plan to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy again very soon. Another option is to post your question to our online forums where other members can perhaps help you with advice and guidance (please note: we do not have any control over the advice given in our forums). Please feel free to suggest a topic for a factsheet and we will be happy to put one online.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS FACTSHEET IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL BACKGROUND READING AND NOT AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL VETERINARY ADVICE. A VET CAN NOTICE SUBTLE CHANGES PERHAPS NOT OBVIOUS IN YOUR PET AND HAS MANY YEARS OF TRAINING TO PROVIDE THE BEST TREATMENT. WE DO NOT ADVISE YOU FOLLOW ANY OF THIS ADVICE WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH OUR VET OR YOURS.

Copyright & Credit:
Source:  The Natural Vet Company | http://www.naturalvetcompany.com
Photo copyright and courtesy: Kathryn Cairney – stock.xchng

Animal Hospitals Jump on High Tech Feline Healing

| July 14, 2010
Even as impressive is the advanced gear hidden within the walls of animal hospitals around the world. That equipment is indistinguishable to the devices applied to manage human maladies. Thanks to this equipment, and to the vets that employ it, the diagnosis and treatment of cat sicknesses has shown to be surprisingly successful.

Even as impressive is the advanced gear hidden within the walls of animal hospitals around the world. That equipment is indistinguishable to the devices applied to manage human maladies. Thanks to this equipment, and to the vets that employ it, the diagnosis and treatment of cat sicknesses has shown to be surprisingly successful.

Humans are privy to the most technologically advanced methods of treatment that the world has ever seen. Ailments that were once considered terminal are now combatable, even curable, thanks to the research and development of pioneers in the medical field.

Even as impressive is the advanced gear hidden within the walls of animal hospitals around the world. That equipment is indistinguishable to the devices applied to manage human maladies. Thanks to this equipment, and to the vets that employ it, the diagnosis and treatment of cat sicknesses has shown to be surprisingly successful.

No matter if your cat is unhappy from irregularity, tumors, heartworm, cancer, or any number of added illnesses, his or her vet can present the most effective treatment, as long as high tech equipment like the following is available:

Echography, or ultrasound, equipment for diagnosis of heart and abdominal problems.

Electrocardiogram for detection of problems with heart function.

Radiography, or X ray, for capturing still images of a cat’s internal body structure.

Fluoroscopy Radiography, or X ray, for viewing immediate, accurate images of a cat’s internal body structure.

CAT scan, for viewing 3D and cross sectioned images of a cat’s organs and bones, and for discovering tumors and infections.

MRI, for applications similar to that of a CAT scan, only with more effective tissue screening contrast. It’s particularly useful for watching over the brain, heart, muscles, and any tumors that may exist.

Photodynamic Therapy, for the targeted removal of tumors.

BICOM machine, for the revitalizing of a cat’s immune structure, in the struggle against toxins, cancer, and parasites.

BFS machine, for reconstructing your cat’s body’s instinctive rhythms, and to raise blood counts, circulation, and immunoresponse.

Endoscopic surgical equipment, for biopsies and surgeries with minimal invasion and scarring.

Surgical microscope, for a superior grade of meticulousness during veterinary surgery.

Anesthetic apparatus, for the best administration and observance supervising of your cat’s state of consciousness and vital signs for the duration of veterinary surgery.

Your cat’s best chances for a long and healthy life can be realized when his or her veterinarian creates a collage of care. That creation should include the most modern high tech diagnostic and treatment equipment; cat medicine when necessary; special attention to cat illnesses, pregnancy, and kitten care; and an approach that understands that your cat’s symptoms are indicators of bigger problems.

Veterinary medicine frequently lays the groundwork for human medicine’s developments, so it’s only reasonable that your cat should gain from those advancements.

Your role in your cat’s health care includes making ensuring that he or she is examined every year by a veterinarian, undergoes suitable and punctual pet immunizations, and that his or her teeth are kept clean with brushing every day.

To give your friendly feline still more, ask a vet in your district if their animal hospital takes advantage of the latest medical equipment for the care of your cat. Doing so will make certain that your cat is given optimal care, and that he or she can join the animal doctor in pouncing on, and capturing, robustness.

Copyright & Credit:
About the Author: Dr. Omaboe has been practicing veterinary medicine for over a quarter of a century. His animal hospital, Cabinet Veterinaire International offers the most up to date treatment options available for cats. To learn more about what those treatment options are you are encouraged to visit the Cabinet Veterinaire International website.

Photo copyright & courtesy: – stock.xchng

Are These Five Killers Chasing Your Cat?

| October 27, 2010
Are These Five Killers Chasing Your Cat?

As a cat owner, your first responsibility is to keep your pet healthy. However, even with balanced nutrition and a good amount of love and attention, cats can still get sick.

As a cat owner, your first responsibility is to keep your pet healthy. However, even with balanced nutrition and a good amount of love and attention, cats can still get sick. Learn about the most common ailments that affect cats so you can try to prevent them or cure them quickly with the proper medical care when you first spot the symptoms.

Fleas

Although cats and dogs can live with fleas, flea infestations should be controlled for several reasons. The most common flea, the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) may carry the Dipylidium caninum tapeworm larvae. If cats eat fleas during grooming, they may become infested with these tapeworms.

Fleas could also transmit other infectious agents to both you and your pet. If kittens are exposed to fleas, they may become anemic. Cats can also develop an allergy to flea bites, resulting in excessive scratching or possibly skin disease. Finally, humans are also susceptive to itchy flea bites, usually on the ankles.

You may suspect your cat has fleas if he seems particularly itchy, or you see bites on human members of your household. To check if your cat has fleas, groom him over a sheet of white paper. Look for a few fleas caught in the comb’s teeth or flea dirt on the paper. Flea dirt is actually excrement of undigested cat blood, and appears black and comma shaped to the naked eye. If you place it on damp cotton wool, the flea dirt dissolves into bloody streaks.

To control fleas, all mature fleas must be killed and reinfestation prevented. Many commercial products are available both to kill adult fleas and remove fleas from the environment. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. Make sure what you use kills both the adult mature fleas, as well as the eggs left behind, usually on carpet and bedding. Nothing is worse than to think you have conquered the problem, than several months later to have your family and pets attacked by blood hungry new hatchlings.

Hairballs

When cats cannot digest hair and food debris, they regurgitate hairballs. Hairballs are formed either at the back of the throat or in the small intestines. Hairballs not only sound disgusting while your cat is producing them for you, but they also make an unsightly mess on your carpets and floors. Any cat owner who has had the thrill of watching their pet suffer through the process of hacking up fur balls will be highly motivated to prevent new ones from forming.

The simplest method of hairball prevention is grooming your cat to remove excess hair. The next step involves many products already on the market to prevent hairball build-up such as oils, treats, and diets. If your cat vomits frequently and the problem isn’t resolved with regular brushings, you should consult with the veterinarian to be certain that a more serious problem is not the cause.

Overactive thyroid

Overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, is a condition where the thyroid gland becomes enlarged and produces excess amounts of thyroid hormone. The condition is often provoked by a benign tumor on one or both lobes of the thyroid gland. The good news is that thyroid tumors have only a 2-5% chance of malignancy.

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include: increased appetite or thirst, unexplained weight loss (particularly muscle mass), nervousness or irritability, frequent vomiting, lethargy and weakness, diarrhea, or a coat that looks ungroomed. A cat with the condition may not present every symptom, but the presence of two or more should prompt a visit to the veterinarian’s office.

At the vet’s, your cat will be given a physical exam. If she notices enlarged glands, a CBC (blood panel) and a thyroid-specific test can make the diagnosis more conclusive. There are three treatments that offer a good chance for your cat’s full recovery: anti-thyroid medication, surgery, and radioiodine treatment. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you should learn more about the disease and its treatments and discuss your options with the veterinarian before making a decision.

Diabetes

Feline Diabetes can affect cats of any age, but is most common in older, obese cats—typically males. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is caused by insufficient insulin production while Type 2 results from a body’s inability to handle insulin effectively. Another type of diabetes, secondary diabetes, occurs as a side effect of drugs or diseases that impair the natural secretion of insulin or its effects in the body.

The symptoms of feline diabetes include vomiting, dehydration, weakness and loss of appetite, increased thirst and urination, weight loss, breathing abnormalities, and an unkempt-looking coat. If your cat has any or several of these symptoms, take him to the vet. The vet will test for blood sugar levels and sugar levels in the urine. Doing both tests rules out an increased blood sugar level due to the stress of the office visit.

If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, it is usually treated through one or a combination of five methods: diet and weight control, insulin injections, oral medications, monitoring glucose and insulin levels, and nutrient and botanical supplements. Each method of treatments has unique benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to decide on a treatment plan with your veterinarian.

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)

This disease is a painful inflammation of the lower urinary tract that has the potential to be fatal. Feline lower urinary tract disease has a number of causes from decreased water intake and urine retention to viruses, bacteria, or diet. Symptoms that your cat may have FLUTD include inappropriate or difficult and frequent urination, appetite loss, listlessness, blood in the urine, or frequent licking of the genitals.

Vet treatment for FLUTD can include catheterization, fluid therapy, antibiotics, or even (rarely) surgery. At home, cat owners are often encouraged to change their pet’s diet and style of feeding (more frequent, smaller meals). It is also important for your cat to drink plenty of water.

We all want to keep our cats healthy and with us for as long as possible. Understanding and being on the lookout for these common ailments will allow the discerning cat owner to take action before a small health problem turns into something more serious. Using good observation skills to evaluate any potential change in your cat’s condition will allow you to take simple steps to keep your cat healthy, happy, and disease free. If you notice a continuing pattern of symptoms that may point to flea infestation, hairballs, an overactive thyroid, urinary tract disease, or even diabetes, timely consulation with your vet will allow you both to plan the best course of action. Your happy, healthy cat will thank you.

Copyright & Credit:
Author’s Resource: Romi Matsushita craves constant close contact with her calico cat. Find great tips, articles, and cat care advice at www.cat-advisors-online.com

Article Source: Article Dashboard Visit Animal Pets & Friends for more pet and animal articles.

Photo copyright and courtesy: Christa Richert – stock.xchng

Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney disease in Persian and Exotic Cats

| October 16, 2010

Polycystic Kidney Disease is an inherited kidney disease that has been found in Persian/Exotic cats

Polycystic Kidney Disease is an inherited kidney disease that has been found in Persian/Exotic cats

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease – PKD?s

Polycystic Kidney Disease is an inherited kidney disease that has been found in Persian/Exotic cats. Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) has been reported sporadically in the literature since 1967, but actual study into this renal disease did not begin until 1990. In 1990 an affected female Persian was referred to the Ohio State University teaching hospital with symptoms of renal failure. Offspring of this female were used to start a colony and begin research into this condition.

How is PKD diagnosed?

PKD is most easily diagnosed by ultrasound, which can identify the disease very early in its course. All that is required is a mid-ventral abdominal area hair-clip and a short time period for imaging to detect the possible presence of cysts. It takes a few minutes, with little or no sedation needed. It is very important that experienced personnel and proper equipment perform the ultrasound! When so, ultrasound diagnosis is 98% accurate after approximately 10 months of age. The frequency of the transducer has to be 7,5 MHz – 10 MHz, with a greyscale of 256. The higher frequency, the better details. A DNA-test for ADPKD in cats is not available at this time.

What does this disease cause in cats?

Polycystic Kidney Disease is a slowly progressive disease. It clinically shows up later in life (late onset), with enlarged kidneys and kidney dysfunction on average at seven years of age. The condition is inherited and cysts are present from birth. The size of cysts can vary from less than one millimeter to several centimeters, with older animals having larger and more numerous cysts. Problems occur when these cysts start to grow and progressively enlarge the kidney, reducing the kidneys’ ability to function properly. The ultimate end is kidney failure.

Some of the clinical signs are depression, lack of or reduced appetite, excessive thirst, excessive urination and weight loss. There is a marked variability in how quickly individual cats succumb, with the possibility of the symptoms of PKD developing late enough in life that the cat can die of other causes before kidney failure. However, kidney failure is certain when and if the cysts grow and cause problems.

How does a breeder eliminate PKD from a breeding colony/cattery?

As PKD is the result of an autosomal dominant gene, it is relatively easy to track and eliminate from the breeding population. All breeding animals need to have an ultrasound to detect the possible presence of kidney cysts. The quickest way to eliminate the problem is to neuter or spay the affected individuals and only breed from PKD-negative cats. A PKD-negative cat is also genetically PKD-free!

If a particular breeding stud or queen is extremely valuable, there is still a possibility to produce PKD-negative kittens. To achieve that, one parent has to be PKD-negative and the other parent heterozygous in its gene. Please, read more about this in the article «Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian Cats», by Dr David S. Biller, Dr Stephen P. DiBartola and Wilma J. Lagerwerf. The article was published in the Cat Fanciers’ Magazine, Feb 1998, and can also be found on the CFA home page.

Other reference articles are: Biller DS, et al; «Inheritance of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian Cats», Journal of Heredity, 1996 Jan; 87(1): 1-5 and Eaton KA, et al; «Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian and Persian-cross Cats», Vet Pathology 1997, Mar; 34(2): 117-126.

What can YOU do?

It is theorised that PKD is more common in Persians/Exotics than what is currently diagnosed. With more studies and published information about this disease, breeders and veterinarians can work to establish PKD-free breeding programs.

You can help in this! You can have your breeding cats ultrasounded, and aim to breed from PKD-negative individuals as soon as possible.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: David S. Biller, DAVM, DAVCR, Kansas State University, USA, and Marie Thiers, S*Sequoyahs Persians, Sweden | www.felinepkd.com

Bladder Stones: An Uncomfortable Problem

| October 16, 2010
Urinary tract infections are a very uncomfortable problem for humans and animals alike. In pets, especially cats, urinary tract infections can sometimes be accompanied by bladder stones, which can both initiate and promote infection in the bladder.

Urinary tract infections are a very uncomfortable problem for humans and animals alike. In pets, especially cats, urinary tract infections can sometimes be accompanied by bladder stones, which can both initiate and promote infection in the bladder.

Urinary tract infections are a very uncomfortable problem for humans and animals alike. In pets, especially cats, urinary tract infections can sometimes be accompanied by bladder stones, which can both initiate and promote infection in the bladder.

Dr. Christine Merle, a veterinarian formerly at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, says, “While dogs do get urinary tract infections, cats are much more susceptible.” Female cats are also more susceptible than male cats. This may be because the urethra (opening from the bladder to the outside world) is very short in female cats, and it is close to the rectum, where there is a large amount of bacteria. In addition, cats do more grooming than dogs, which can spread bacteria.

Dogs are usually housebroken, and because they go outside, there is more opportunity for an owner to notice when there is a problem. The owner may notice straining or blood in the urine sooner. Infections often go unnoticed in cats because the owner may not see the cat using the litter box. Often, cat owners don’t notice there is a problem until their pet stops using the box. Dr. Merle says, “While some cats stop using the litter box for behavioral reasons, it is important to rule out a medical problem before assuming that the cause is behavioral.”

Since urinary tract infections can be caused by a multitude of factors, it is often difficult to discover the cause. The origin of an infection could be as simple as an overgrowth of bacteria or as complicated as bladder stones.

The formation of a bladder stone is very much like the formation of a pearl inside an oyster. It often forms from a single irritating particle called a nidus, which consists of a tiny particle such as small bacteria. Minerals are deposited on its surface, and over time it grows larger and can become very irritating to the lining of the bladder.

In female cats, these stones can cause recurrent infections with signs such as straining and blood in the urine. Infections caused by bladder stones often respond to antibiotics but return once the antibiotics are discontinued. In male cats, stones can cause infection and, if a bladder stone becomes lodged in the urethra, make the cat unable to urinate. Such an obstruction can result in the accumulation of urine in the bladder, which can cause the bladder to rupture, a medical emergency that is fatal if untreated.

If bladder stones are suspected, it is a good idea to take X-rays and do an ultrasound examination. Some stones can be seen on a regular X-ray, while others require ultrasound in order to see them. Ultrasound can also identify the presence of sandy residue and thickening of the bladder wall, both of which are signs of possible bladder stone formation.

Because there are several kinds of bladder stones, it is important to find out what kind of stone an animal has before starting treatment. Some stones can be dissolved with medication and others, such as calcium oxalate stones, cannot.

The only treatment for some stones is surgical removal. Surgically removed stones should be analyzed so a plan can be made to avoid the recurrence of stones in the future. Prevention may include a change in diet, medication, and prevention of bacterial infections that can lead to the formation of stones. Chronic problems with stones and bladder infections that do not respond to standard treatments may require a consultation with a surgeon or specialist.

If you have any questions regarding urinary tract infections or bladder stones, please contact your local veterinarian.

Copyright & Credit:
Source:
Jennifer Stone
, University of Illinois – College of Veterinary Medicine
Photo copyright and courtesy: Agata Urbaniak
– stock.xchng

Blood Transfusions

| December 16, 2011
Blood Transfusions

In caring for sick animals, all veterinarians eventually find themselves faced with a patient that has anemia of such severity as to require a blood transfusion. Access to blood products has improved in the past few years.

In caring for sick animals, all veterinarians eventually find themselves faced with a patient that has anemia of such severity as to require a blood transfusion. Access to blood products has improved in the past few years. Veterinary blood banks can supply canine, feline, and even ferret blood within 24 hours via overnight mail. For animals that need blood more immediately, however, veterinarians have to be more resourceful. Canine blood is usually obtained from another donor dog, often a young, healthy large-breed dog owned by a member of the veterinary staff, such as a technician, receptionist, or doctor. Sometimes, the client of a dog requiring a transfusion offers the services of one of their other dogs in an attempt to provide the life-saving blood that their sick dog requires. Obtaining feline blood can be more of a challenge, as the demand for feline blood products is much greater than the supply. Some veterinary clinics utilize a so-called “hospital cat”. This invariably turns out to be a cat that was either abandoned by a client or left on the doorstep of the hospital. Rather than being surrendered to a local shelter, these cats, through their sweet dispositions, manage to win over the hearts of the hospital staff, becoming adopted mascots of sorts. They live a life of relative luxury at the hospital, entertaining clients and staff alike. Occasionally, they get called into duty, donating blood to a desperately ill patient in time of need. Unfortunately, most cats can donate only small volumes of blood (35 to 50 milliliters) every four weeks at maximum.

In human medicine, there has been an increased demand for blood and blood products. This demand has been driven by the need to support procedures with heavy transfusion requirements, such as total hip replacement, organ transplantation, and coronary bypass surgery. The need for blood for sophisticated procedures, coupled with the risk of viral transmission via transfusion, has led to a quest for a blood substitute in human medicine. This endeavor has been beneficial for veterinary medicine. In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Oxyglobin. Manufactured by Biopure Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Oxyglobin is the first “blood substitute” approved for use in the dog.

Hemoglobin is an iron-containing molecule found in red blood cells that is responsible for binding oxygen. Oxyglobin is a purified hemoglobin solution. It has the ability to deliver oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Because Oxyglobin does not contain red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, or clotting factors, the term “blood substitute” is somewhat of a misnomer. The preferred term is “hemoglobin based oxygen carrier”, often abbreviated as HBOC.

As with any therapeutic product, there are both advantages and disadvantages to its use. Advantages include the fact that blood-typing and cross-matching is not required before administration. Adverse transfusion reactions occur because the red blood cells of the donor are incompatible with those of the recipient. Oxyglobin contains hemoglobin only; red blood cells and membranes are removed during ultrapurification, eliminating the need for typing and cross-matching and eradicating the occurrence of adverse transfusion reactions. Another advantage is the long shelf life: Oxyglobin can be stored for 36 months without refrigeration.

Oxyglobin has some disadvantages that veterinarians and clients need to be aware of. When administered, Oxyglobin expands the total blood volume, and close monitoring is necessary to prevent development of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) and pleural effusion (fluid in the chest cavity), both signs of fluid overload. The distinct purple color of Oxyglobin will temporarily impart an unusual color to the gums and the urine. Some blood parameters may be affected after administration of Oxyglobin, temporarily affecting our ability to use these parameters as a diagnostic or monitoring tool. Despite these shortcomings, Oxyglobin has become a useful product in canine transfusion medicine.

As a veterinarian, I was certainly thrilled when news of the availability of this product was announced. As a cat specialist, however, the first thing I focused on was the labeling: Oxyglobin is approved for use in dogs only. Despite the label, when faced with a cat that is imminent danger of dying from severe anemia and with compatible cat blood not readily available, my colleagues and I have found ourselves cautiously reaching for the Oxyglobin. As with any off-label usage, we inform our clients that the product is not approved for use in cats, warn them of the potential risks and benefits as best we can, and obtain their written consent before proceeding. With no reason to suspect that Oxyglobin would work differently in cats compared to dogs, but with limited experience using the product in cats, I still find myself asking the basic questions: is Oxyglobin useful in cats? Is it effective? Is it safe? According to a recent article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the answer to these questions is a qualified “yes”. The article, entitled “Use of a Hemoglobin-based Oxygen Carrier Solution in Cats”, details the results of a review of the medical records of 72 cats that received Oxyglobin. Ninety-seven percent of the cats receiving the Oxyglobin were anemic and most often received it because compatible blood wasn’t available. Thirty-seven of 43 cats that were monitored very closely showed improvement in at least one evaluation parameter, such as increased body temperature, blood hemoglobin concentration, blood pressure, appetite and activity. A significant number of cats, however, showed adverse events following administration of Oxyglobin, including discoloration of mucous membranes and urine, vomiting, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema. Overall, 49 cats, all severely ill, died or were euthanized, however, 23 cats survived and were discharged to their owners. The authors concluded that administration of a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier solution may provide temporary support to anemic cats, however, they remain somewhat reluctant to recommend routine usage in cats pending further investigation of some of the complications that may be associated with its use, such as pulmonary edema and pleural effusion.

One exciting possibility that is currently being investigated is the use of Oxyglobin in non-anemic patients with other disorders requiring increased oxygen delivery to tissues, for example, restoring oxygen supply to tissues that have suffered oxygen deprivation. This may have application for cats with aortic thromboembolism, a devastating complication that sometimes develops in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.

We still have much to learn about the clinical use of hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers. Studies in which HBOCs are compared to blood are difficult to interpret because HBOCs do not have many of the properties of blood and cannot be considered to be equivalent to transfusion with red blood cells. It would be like comparing apples and oranges. It would be even more difficult to perform studies comparing HBOCs to no transfusion at all, as it would be ethically questionable to deny a pet a transfusion when medically necessary. We can, however, continue to make observations regarding which species might benefit from these products, and which diseases and conditions might improve with their use. Hopefully, HBOCs will allow us to treat a myriad of diseases for which current therapy is limited.

Copyright & Credit:

Article Source: Dr. Arnold Plotnick is a board-certified veterinary internist and feline specialist. He is the owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists, http://www.manhattancats.com , a full-service veterinary facility located in New York City. Dr. Plotnick is the medical editor of Catnip magazine and is a medical advice columnist on CatChannel. He authors his own blog “Cat Man Do” http://catexpert.blogspot.com .

Photo copyright and courtesy: Marissen

Blood Transfusions for Pets

| October 16, 2010
Blood Transfusions for Pets

Blood Transfusions for Pets

“A number of animals who come in for emergency care at veterinary clinics wouldn’t survive surgery or trauma unless blood was made available for them,” says Kristi Stasi, veterinary technician at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital. “The process of collecting and transfusing blood is very similar in veterinary and human medicine.”

Blood is species specific-dogs can receive only dog blood and cats can receive only cat blood. In addition, dogs and cats have blood types just as humans have blood types. Cats have A, B, and AB groups with specific factors within these groups that further differentiate
them. Dogs have eleven different blood groups; the most important one is the A1/A2 system. Dogs that are A negative are considered universal donors. Cats do not have a universal donor; therefore, it is especially important that donor and recipient are cross-matched.

Multiple transfusions can also be a problem. Even though the donor and recipient may be compatible originally, the recipient’s immune system may build up a sensitivity to a specific donor. “Thus, every time you transfuse, you need to cross-match to make sure that your donor and recipient are compatible,” explains Stasi.

There are two types of cross-matching tests: major and minor cross-matching. “For major cross-matches, red cells from the donor are mixed with serum from the recipient. We observe to see if there is a reaction; the recipient may attack donor cells and not accept them. If you have a major cross-match incompatibility, unless you are desperate, you shouldn’t do a transfusion,” explains Stasi. In a minor cross-match, the recipient’s red cells are compared with the donor’s serum. Usually, in minor incompatibilities, parts of the donor’s blood can be given to the recipient but not the blood in its entirety.

The different blood components-red cells, plasma, and platelets-can be separated if need
be. “Red cells are given to a patient that may be anemic due to trauma or due to a treatable disease. Plasma is used to build up blood volume in situations when the animal is not making enough or is losing too much protein. Platelet-rich plasma is for those patients whose platelets are depleted or dysfunctional,” says Stasi.

As with human blood donors, animal donors are tested to make sure blood values are high
enough and no infectious disease is present before blood is drawn. Donors must meet
weight requirements-10 pounds for cats and 50 pounds for dogs. Fluid is replaced after
blood is drawn, and the body compensates by producing new red blood cells. Also similar
to human donors, there must be a waiting period of at least two months before blood is
collected again.

Private veterinarians sometimes use their pet dogs or cats as blood donors when
emergencies arise. The University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital relies
on one of a small number of canine blood banks in the United States to meet the needs of
most of its patients.

For further information about pet health, contact your local veterinarian.

Copyright & Credit:
Source: Sarah Probst,
University of Illinois – College of Veterinary Medicine
Photo copyright and courtesy:  David Oito Percebes
– stock.xchng

Cancer

| October 16, 2010

Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division

Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division

What is it?

Cancer is any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division.
If cancer occurs, it can often be treated very successfully. It is important to support the whole body during any treatment.

Symptoms:

Cancer gives you no symptoms or signs that exclusively indicate the disease. However, you may notice a general deterioration in your pet’s health. It is important to get a diagnosis for cancer so that you know what you are dealing with. Your veterinarian can help you with this.

Palpable lumps & bumps, weight loss, appetite changes, sores that will not heal, persistent discharges, lethargy, difficulty breathing, painful urination or defecation, stiffness, soreness or just not feeling right are all possible symptoms of cancer.

What can be done?

A cancer diagnosis can be a frightening and upsetting experience, you may feel helpless and want to do anything in your power to improve your pets chances of survival. It is at times like this that is important to try to deal with the diagnosis calmly and consider all of your options. Some practitioners and websites may promise results and dissuade you from a conventional approach to cancer care. This may not be in your pets best interests. Often a combination of conventional and natural treatment is the best way forward using each to support and complement the other. Do not be afraid to look for answers and to get a second opinion but remember that conventional medicine has many years of research behind it. Fortunately for your pet, he or she has no concept of the diagnosis so they are spared some of the mental anguish however they are receptive to your mood and may be experiencing some trauma at your upset.

The first thing to do in the fight against cancer is to get a firm veterinary diagnosis with recommendations for treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or a combination of them.

Lifestyle changes:

Holistic Treatments:
If cancer is one where conventional treatment cannot cure it or the side effects are a concern, or simply that you choose not to pursue a conventional course of action then there are some options to consider. The Natural Vet Company has consulted Sydney veterinarian, Dr Barbara Fougere to formulate a range of safe and easy to use products to best help your pet.

With malignant cancers, the goal is usually to prolong and enhance the quality of life. Natural Therapies can be used very very successfully in this area. If the cancer is the type that cannot be treated conventionally, if side effects are a concern, or if you have decided not to pursue a conventional treatment plan then we can help you with some natural options. The main goal being to support the body, reduce the impact of the cancer, and to keep your pet as happy and pain free as possible. Our cancer related products are only available as part of a consultation process – this is for a number of reasons – we do not want to encourage treatment of pets with cancer with an incorrect solution and in any way discourage conventional treatment without being aware of all the specific details of your pets condition. There are also a number of options available and it is important to receive guidance on the best combination of products for the specific case and to monitor their effectiveness once treatment begins.

A good diet is important to strengthen the immune system and minimise cancer growth. herbal medicine is the number one therapy for successful complementary treatment plan, acupuncture can reduce pain and improve energy. Homeopathic remedies can improve your pets quality of life by supporting the other forms of natural therapies. Gentle exercise is important and pain relief is a must (conventional or natural) if there is any pain to keep your pets spirit and energy up. Keep in mind some pets do not show that they are in pain even when they are.

We often see pets that are completely over medicated by well intentioned owners – they have read that a particular supplement or herb is good for a particular cancer and want to do everything possible to help their pet. The best formula however is one that is based on strategy and is balanced for your pets needs. As part of the consultation process we will suggest to you a number of supplements that may help, anti cancer diets (normally containing 60% meat / 40% veg) with recipes and a prescribed herbal formula tailored to your pets diagnosis. What is best for your pet may be just a few herbs or it may consist of many but it is really important that it be properly formulated and prescribed for your pet. We would never supply you with 3, 4, or 5 homeopathic or other treatments and 3 supplements – it just does not make sense medically or financially.

Do not give up hope – cancer does not necessarily mean death. Every animal and every cancer is unique- set yourself some goals and consider all of the information given to you. A combination of conventional and natural treatment is often the best course of action. Complementary treatments can reduce side effects and is also a good option if you decided not to treat especially in the case of a very poor prognosis. Complementary therapies can help keep your pet seeming healthy and pain free. If later when your companion cannot be kept comfortable or has a questionable quality of life then it is important that you recognise this and make the decision to let go. Often people say that they simply know inside themselves that their pet is tired and needs to rest.

Barbara devotes a chapter in her book to cancer and makes some recommendations as to possible treatment plans. We offer these combination formulas for sale on this site and if for any reason a consultation is not possible, you could try one of these as general tonics for your pet.

Conventional Treatments:
It may be in your interest to consult a veterinary oncologist – a specialist in animal cancers. Conventional treatment usually increases survival time. While The Natural Vet Company can offer you new and natural ways to improve your pet’s health, it is important not to disregard any of the advice that your regular veterinarian provides you with.

Lymphoma, osteosarcoma, malignant breast cancer, lung cancer, mast cell tumours and other forms of cancer can be treated in a humane way if they are caught early enough.

When you receive a diagnosis, it may be advisable to set a date for a second appointment with your vet to further discuss the available options once the news has sunk in. Take your time and get a second opinion if necessary. Do as much research as you can and perhaps ask some questions such as: Would it be helpful to get an oncologist to examine your pet? What is the life expectancy with and without treatment? What are the costs involved? What will your pets quality of life be with and without treatment? What side effects can be expected? What can I do to improve my pets quality of life? What other alternatives are available?

Consult one of our vets:
For more information and guidance feel free to contact The Natural Vet Company directly. You can sign up for a consultation using our online ordering system. One of the many trained veterinarians will be more than happy to guide you through a personalised treatment plan to ensure that your pet receives the best possible treatment. Another option is to post your question to our online forums where other members can perhaps help you with advice and guidance (please note: we do not have any control over the advice given in our forums). Please feel free to suggest a topic for a factsheet and we will be happy to put one online.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS FACTSHEET IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL BACKGROUND READING AND NOT AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL VETERINARY ADVICE. A VET CAN NOTICE SUBTLE CHANGES PERHAPS NOT OBVIOUS IN YOUR PET AND HAS MANY YEARS OF TRAINING TO PROVIDE THE BEST TREATMENT. WE DO NOT ADVISE YOU FOLLOW ANY OF THIS ADVICE WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH OUR VET OR YOURS.

Copyright & Credit:
Source:  The Natural Vet Company | http://www.naturalvetcompany.com
Photo copyright and courtesy: www.123rf.com

Cancer and Chemotherapy

| March 1, 2013
Cancer is a mass of tissue that is characterized by persistent, excessive, and disorganized cell growth that is unresponsive to normal control mechanisms.

Cancer is a mass of tissue that is characterized by persistent, excessive, and disorganized cell growth that is unresponsive to normal control mechanisms.

INTRODUCTION

Cancer is a mass of tissue that is characterized by persistent, excessive, and disorganized cell growth that is unresponsive to normal control mechanisms. Why this happens, in most cases, is not yet known. In a normal situation healthy cells grow, divide and replace themselves in a systematic fashion. This natural process helps keep the body in good repair and slows the effects of daily wear and tear. Cancer cells, on the other hand, do not develop normally. They continuously multiply and divide and never mature properly to reach a resting state. In short there is no order or system to their replication. Many cancers do not directly cause problems to the body but merely occupy more space than they are naturally allotted. They crowd out the vital functions of other parts of the body and may cause complications due to this interference. Other cancers are “functional” in that they produce hormones or other substances that affect the body.

The following are commonly used terms in cancer medicine:

 

  • Tumour: simply means a “swelling,” which may or may not represent cancer.
  • Benign tumours: have many normal growth characteristics. They do not “spread” or invade other organs. They may, however, compress body organs or tissues by virtue of their size. Surgical removal is usually curative.
  • Malignant tumours: often have rapid, irregular growth characteristics. These tumours can invade normal, local tissues, as well as spread to other tissues (especially the liver and lungs). New tumours can grow at these secondary sites, eventually causing the demise of the patient.
  • Metastasis: the process whereby a tumour spreads to secondary sites. These new tumours are referred to as “”metastatic”,” or “metastases.”
  • Oncology: refers to the study of cancer, including biological behaviour and treatment.
  • Remission: denotes a decrease in tumour size (often called “tumour burden”) over time. Remission time is the length of time in which the cancer is under control. Currently, treatment of cancer in animals can often result in fairly lengthy, good quality remission times. That still means that for many types of cancers, their return is inevitable.

As a result of improved owner and veterinary care, pets are living much longer and are thus more susceptible to diseases of old age, such as tumours. If your pet is thought or known to have cancer, a consultation with a veterinarian experienced in oncology can provide you with valuable information regarding treatment options and expectations.

Cancer can often be diagnosed on the basis of a procedure called fine-needle aspiration. This is a minimally invasive, non-painful, technique that involves inserting a needle into the tumour, aspirating a few cells out, and smearing the cells on a slide for a pathologist to evaluate under a micro­scope. When cancer is diagnosed (or suspected), further diagnostic tests can be performed to stage the cat’s cancer. Staging allows your veterinarian to educate you further about your cat’s disease, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding treatment. A thoracic radiograph will be performed to look for metastasis. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urine analysis will be obtained to assess your cats’ overall health status. An ultrasound examination of the abdomen may also be performed to search for metastasis. Other tests may be recommended, depending on individual circumstances.

TYPES OF CANCER TREATMENTS

Chemotherapy and/or surgery are the two most important treatment modalities in veterinary cancer medicine. A combination of therapies may also be indicated in certain cancers. Some cancers require a specific, brief number of treatments, while others require ongoing treatment to maintain remission.

Surgery
Surgical removal of tumours is a very common and valuable approach for solid tissue tumours. It can sometimes be curative on its own, if the disease process is localized and detected very early.

Radiotherapy
This consists of the use of a radioactive beam to damage and/or kill malignant cells in a localized area. It can offer good quality remission times for many types of tumours, but usually not a cure. Animals are surprisingly tolerant of radiation therapy

Chemotherapy
The use of a drug or chemical to treat any illness is chemotherapy, but this term commonly refers to the use of drugs in the treatment of cancer. The goal of chemotherapy in companion animals is either to increase the life span or to improve the quality of life for the animal with cancer. All of the drugs currently given to animals are human anti-cancer drugs. Fortunately, many of the negative consequences of their use in human medicine are not experienced in veterinary medicine.

Commonly asked questions about chemotherapy:

  • How does chemotherapy work? Anti-cancer drugs work by blocking cell growth and division. Different drugs interfere with different steps in these processes. In many cases, a combination of drugs is the most effective way to kill cancer cells.
  • How is chemotherapy given? Most anti-cancer drugs are given by mouth or by injection. The route chosen depends on the type of drug and the type of cancer.
  • How long will my pet receive chemotherapy? The length of time and frequency of drug administration will depend on the kind of cancer being treated and how well the therapy is tolerated by the patient. Treatment may be given daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Am I at risk of exposure to these drugs? Yes. Most anticancer drugs are very potent and must be handled with care. Some are “carcinogens’” and can cause cancer with prolonged exposure. With orally administered drugs, it is important that the pills or capsules are kept out of reach of children in childproof containers. When handling these drugs, the owner should wear latex or polyvinyl gloves to avoid unnecessary exposure. With oral and injectable drugs, the cat’s urine and faeces may be contaminated with active drug compounds for several days after administration.
  • Will my pet experience side effects? Maybe. Veterinarians try to choose drug doses and combi­nations that cause the fewest side effects. Ideally, the animal receiving chemotherapy does not even realize that he or she is ill. The drugs used in chemotherapy, however, are ex­tremely potent and side effects can occur. The potential for side effects must be balanced against the benefits of the chemotherapy and the side effects of the cancer if left untreated. Choosing chemotherapy for your pet is an individ­ual decision.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHEMOTHERAPY PATIENTS?

Veterinarians who treat animals for cancer use many of the same chemotherapy agents that human oncologists use. Yet, in many ways the experience for pets seems very different. Why? For one thing, dosages of chemotherapy agents used in animals tend to be much lower than those used in people. Humans are given the highest doses possible, the consequences of which may require bone marrow transplantation, extended hospitalisation, and numerous costly medications-all with good cause. However, for veterinary patients, this process would be unacceptable and cost prohibitive for most owners. The general quality of life for many veterinary cancer treatment patients can be surprisingly good and very close to normal. Most of the time they can maintain their normal activities and have fun with the families that love and care for them.

Side effects arise because the normal cells in the body are also exposed to the anticancer drug. The most sensitive normal cells are found in the blood, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and reproductive system. The good news is that the normal cell lines can almost always regenerate themselves, while the less well-organised malignant cells suffer great damage. Potential side effects include infection, bleeding, decreased appetite, vom­iting, diarrhoea, thin hair coat or skin colour changes, and sterility. Hair loss, in contrast to humans, is uncommon in cats on chemotherapy. Rare side effects associated with specific drugs include bladder discomfort, kidney damage, and heart fail­ure. The most serious side effect is overwhelming infection leading to death.

There are various reasons why chemotherapy is better tolerated in pets, but probably the most important factor is psychological. Your cat does not know he has cancer. He also does not know the drugs make people sick, so he does not anticipate that he will be sick. Human cancer patients suffer from a phenomenon called anticipatory vomiting, but cats do not have this problem.

It is not a “given” that untoward side effects will occur in any one patient. In fact, the majority of patients complete their therapies without major complications. However, if they do occur you should be prepared to recognize them and take appropriate action. Over time, the tendency is to have less frequent side effects, as the individual animal’s sensitivity to the drug agents become known, the treatments are less frequent, and the cancer is in remission.

The most common side effect reported by owners is that the pet seems to be “off” for a day or two. This might mean that the pet has slightly less energy or seems less excited than normal about eating. Less commonly, the pet may skip a meal or two, have one episode of vomiting or diarrhoea, or seem lethargic. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict which pet will develop the most serious reactions. The animal receiving chemotherapy needs to be watched closely and taken to his veterinarian at the first sign of illness. Chemotherapy will suppress your pet’s immune system and make him more susceptible to infections. These infections generally arise from bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract and on the skin and not from the environment. Signs of an infection may include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased activity, or depression. Phone your veterinarian immediately if your pet appears ill while receiving chemo­therapy. These signs are usually only brief reactions to the drugs but prompt treatment can often prevent more serious side effects from developing.

CARE AND FEEDING OF THE CANCER PATIENT

One of the most important goals of cancer treatment in animals is to maintain as much of the pet’s normal lifestyle as possible. This can often mean that once a pet has recovered from cancer surgery, and/or passed the initial phase of chemotherapy, restrictions on activities are very few, and will be discussed by your veterinarian.

It is now known that cancer results in significant alterations in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Research findings have lead to the creation of a specific dietary program that depletes cancer cells of their required nutrients. A specific prescription diet is available from your local veterinarian and is comprised of limited quantities of simple sugars, modest amounts of complex sugars, modest amounts of highly digestible proteins, and calculated amounts of certain types of fat (including omega-3 fatty acids which have a negative effect on tumor growth, and improve survival times).

IS IT WORTH IT?

This is a difficult question to answer. Every situation and client-pet relationship is different and must be dealt with individually. If it were ever obvious that therapy was not working, or that the pet was indeed experiencing pain or discomfort, then your veterinarian is ethically obligated to inform you. Most pets do indeed appear to enjoy their extended life period and do not even realize that they are “ill.” The owner must, however, believe that they are doing the right thing for their pet and realise that this therapy is unique in that it can successfully prolong the cat’s life

COMMON TUMOURS

Some of the common tumours that affect the cat are lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and mammary gland tumours.

Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer of a specific white blood cell called the lymphocyte. Lymphocytes are found throughout the body in blood and tissues and act to protect the body from infec­tion. Lymphocytes are the major cells found in lymph nodes or “glands.” In lymphoma, the cancer cells invade and destroy normal tissues. The most common site for lymphoma is the lymph nodes, but lymphoma cells, like lymphocytes, can grow anywhere in the body. In most cats with lymphoma, the cancer cells are present in multiple lymph nodes and tissues.

Of all the tumours, lymphoma accounts for approximately 30% of all feline malignancies and may be associated with either feline leukaemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus infection. Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for lymphoma. Surgery and radiation therapy are less useful in lymphoma because these treatment methods attack cancer cells at only one site.

The goal of chemotherapy for animals with lymphoma is to induce a complete ‘remission” by killing the cancer cells. Animals with lym­phoma that are in complete remission look like normal animals by all accounts. They do not have any signs of cancer, and all masses or lumps have disappeared. They eat, drink, and play just as they did before they developed cancer. Unfortunately some of the cancer cells can survive in an animal in complete remission, but the numbers are too small to detect. Eventu­ally, these few cells will grow and the cancer will become evident again. When this happens the animal is said to be “out of remission.” Sometimes a second remission can be achieved with additional chemotherapy. Eventually, the can­cer cells will become resistant or insensitive to all drugs and results in the death of the cat.

Although chemotherapy does not cure cats with lymphoma, in most cases it does extend the quantity and quality of life. About 80-90% of cats with lymphoma attain a complete remission with an average survival of I year, and 25% live for more than 2 years.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has two distinct presentations in the cat. The first is a lesion of the nasal plane, ears, or facial skin in white or lightly pigmented cats and is associated with sunlight-induced damages. Diagnosis of facial SCC is often delayed for months after lesions appear because the owners or veterinarians assume they are healing fight wounds. Facial SCC occurs in outdoor cats and is prevalent in South Africa because of our sunny location. These tumours are locally invasive and slow to metastasize. Regional lymph nodes are the most common site for metastasis but pulmonary metastasis is extremely rare. Treatment options include surgical excision, radiation therapy, or local chemotherapy. Adequate surgical resection requires very wide margins and recurrence is common despite seemingly aggressive surgery. Radiation therapy and local chemotherapy can result in complete remission if used early on in the disease.

The second common presentation is oral SCC and is the most common oral tumour of the cat. It often occurs on the floor of the mouth precluding surgical excision. It is locally invasive and slow to metastasize, however cats often stop eating, due to the presence of the tumour or secondary bacterial infections. Radiation therapy in conjunction with chemotherapy has been described for oral SCC, however survival times are usually less than 4-6 months. Palliative therapy, including analgesics, tube feeding, and antibiotics for secondary infections, allows many cats to thrive in spite of advancing local disease. In cases where the tumour is small and can be treated with aggressive surgery, the prognosis is better.

Mammary Gland Tumours
Mammary gland tumours (MGT) are reported to have a prevalence of approximately 25/100,000 female cats making MGT the third most common tumour of cats. Unlike dogs, where only 50% of MGT are malignant, almost all feline MGT are malignant. Clinical signs are attributable to presence of the MGT, which typically affect the cranial or caudal mammary gland pairs. One study reported that cat MGT were present 7 months before the owners consulted with a veterinarian. Client education to allow early intervention is thus very important.

Treatment is aggressive surgical resection. The surgery of choice is bilateral radical chain mastectomy. Cats undergoing radical chain mastectomy have a significantly longer median disease free interval (575 days) compared to cats undergoing conservative surgery (325 days). The most significant prognostic variable may be tumour size at the time of surgery. Cats with tumours > 4 cm in diameter have a median survival of 6 months, whereas cats with tumours < 2 cm in diameter have a median survival of approximately 4 years. The role of chemotherapy from MGT is unknown in cats, but because of the aggressive nature of feline MGT, it may prove to be beneficial.

Vaccine Associated Sarcoma
Vaccine associated sarcomas (VAS) are recent phenomena in cats. The first descriptions of vaccine site inflammatory reactions came in the mid-1980s in North America. This coincided with mandatory rabies vaccine laws for cats and a change from the use of intramuscular rabies vaccines to subcutaneous preparations. The types of VAS may include fibrosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma and undifferentiated sarcoma. A common feature of these rapidly growing tumours is the presence of a necrotic centre and prominent inflammation. VAS may develop from 3 months to 3 years after vaccination. The incidence has been estimated to be as high as 1/5,000 cats vaccinated.

 

Copyright & Credit:

Source: Dr Remo Lobetti
BVSc (Hons) MMedVet (Med) Dipl. ECVIM (Internal Medicine) Veterinary Specialist Physician

Dr Remo Lobetti Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Bryanston Veterinary Hospital
6 Ballyclare Drive
Bryanston
Johannesburg

Tel: +27 11 706-6023/4/5
Fax: +27 11 706-5801
Emergencies: +27 11 706-6023e
Mail: bvh@global.co.za

Photo copyright and courtesy: Portraityogi

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