November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know?
-Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all disease-related pet deaths each year
-One in four dogs die of cancer.
-Approximately 1 in 4 dogs develops a tumor of some kind during his lifetime.
-Just like in humans, cancer can occur in any part of your dog’s body.

Are you aware that November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month? Run your hands over your pet and feel for any unusual lumps or bumps. If you feel something new or unusual, let’s take a look at it. Dogs and cats can get benign lumps such as lipomas and sebaceous cysts, but they can also get much more serious tumors, like mast cell tumors, melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and many others. Many of these can be diagnosed with a simple in-office procedure involving a needle aspirate and then a microscopic exam of the cells obtained. A fine needle aspirate is generally less painful than a vaccination, so don’t hesitate to get that lump checked out. The importance of annual check-ups regardless of the age of your pet is critical in the prevention of cancer. 

Here are the top 10 early warning signs of pet cancer listed out by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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

Better to be safe than sorry, and much better to catch something sooner rather than later!

My new kitten is beating up on our older cat. Should I stop him?

 This question came hot on the paws of another pet owners question,as to when to stop their rottweiler puppy from playing too roughly.  It is always a difficult decision to make to know when play time is becoming more like a free for all.  Let’s face it, any parent with more then one child knows this dilemma.  So, I tend to use the same guidelines.  Name calling and perhaps physical shoving may be ok, but anything rougher is unacceptable.  How does this translate in the pet world.
            It is vital for both dogs and cats to have physical contact when puppies and kittens, in the form of rough play.  At this time, I have had the unique experience of studying  six week old puppies in our house, from birth, and make note of the different stages of play and temperament building.  There is much growling at this time, and the start of posturing and staring.  However, most interesting, is watching the mother dog step in when things get a little too serious, but use the art of distraction to break up a situation. 
This is what you should do as well.  If nothing else, it should be very much in the front of your pets mind that you do not tolerate fighting in your presence.  This is also a safety mechanism in the wild.  There has to be a leader, and fights within the pack simply weaken it.  A team has to stay together to survive.
You should also be aware that sometimes they may be play fighting.  For example, our ten year old cat will rule over the food bowl and definitely put the twenty two year old cat in it’s place.  But, if there is an argument over a particular chair the older one reigns supreme and the younger one allows him to chase him around the house.  I think the two boys just like the idea of a fight but have learnt that the end result may not be worth it.
Next time your younger pet seems to be going too far, do what a mother would do.  Use distraction in the form of food or a toy to dissipate the impending situation.

Central Florida Vets

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November is National Senior Pet Month

November is Senior Pet Month. Do you have an older cat or dog sharing your home? If so, you know the joys of pets who might have less spunk but more soul. Here are five reasons to love a senior pet.

1. Distinguished look
You know how as we age, we are said to look distinguished? The same is true for our pets. I think senior cats project an air of peaceful dignity. And who can resist the precious gray muzzle of an older dog?
2. Laid-back lifestyle
For kittens and puppies, most any time is play time. Older pets, however, don’t need to release all that youthful energy. They are quieter and often content to just watch what’s going on in the living room or outside the window. Cuddling next to you takes precedence over most anything else.
3. Fewer demands
Older pets still need love and attention, but they don’t require babysitting like a frisky puppy or curious kitten. Some older pets have special medical needs, but after all they’ve given us through the years, it’s an honor to take care of them in return.
4. Wisdom of the ages
When I look into the eyes of a senior dog, I see a world of experience and wisdom. Older pets know what to expect, and are generally reliable and even. They require little training since they already know the rules.
5. They might be just like you!
As we get older, our needs and routines change. We might prefer quiet evenings at home rather than going out on the weekends. We still like to exercise, walk, or even run—but sometimes we go at a different pace. We might even nap in our chair occasionally. If you have a senior dog, you might find that he’s just like you!