Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all our friends a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday.  We are grateful to be able to help save the lives of beloved family pets … thanks to our wonderful veterinary partners…

…and generous friends and supporters.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends, near and far!

 

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November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Has your pet been diagnosed with cancer?  One in four dogs and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes.  Experts say that the number of pet cancer cases is rising, as advances in veterinary medicine are increasing the lifespans of our companion animals.

Here are a few important facts about cancer for all pet owners.

Common symptoms of cancer in pets

  • Abnormal lumps or swollen areas
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Bloody discharge
  • Difficulty breathing or eliminating
  • Lameness

Most common pet cancers

  • Mammary gland tumors. These are more common in dogs than cats.
  • Skin tumors. Tumors in cats tend to be more malignant than in dogs; some canine tumors can be benign.
  • Head and neck cancer. Especially common in the mouth and nose.
  • Lymphoma. A common cancer in both dogs and cats.  Lymphoma in cats is linked to second-hand smoke exposure.
  • Bone cancer. Older, large breed dogs are especially at risk.

Pet cancer prevention tips

  • Spay and neuter your pet. This greatly reduces the risk of cancer in the mammary glands and sex organs.
  • Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Obesity can cause many health problems, including cancer.
  • Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise.
  • Brush your pet’s teeth and visit the vet for regular oral exams.
  • Keep pets, especially those with white fur, out of the sun to avoid the risk of skin cancer.

For more information, check out this article from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

 

How to Safely Store Your Pet’s Medicine and Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has great food and drug safety tips for humans, but did you know they also have a whole section on pets?  It’s important to store your pet’s medications in a secure place to avoid the hazards of an accidental overdose.  Your pet’s food and treats should also be stored properly to avoid spoilage and contamination.

Here are a few practical tips on pet food and drug storage from the FDA:

Pet Medications

  • Keep pet medications in their original containers with their original labels. This is important for drug dosage and identification information, as well as pet ID in a multi-pet household.
  • Keep pet medications safely out of reach. Remember that cats can jump onto high places and dogs have a good nose for flavored meds.
  • Child-proof drug containers are not necessarily pet-proof, especially if your dog is a chewer.
  • Store pet meds in a completely different place than human meds to avoid an accidental mix-up.
  • Keep medications for other animals such as horses and pocket pets away from dogs and cats.
  • Dispose of expired or unused pet medications in the same way you dispose of human drugs. Mix them with an unappealing substance (used kitty litter or coffee grounds), and place in the trash in a sealed bag.

Pet Food and Treats

  • Store your pet food in the original container. You will need the information on the container in the event of a pet food recall.  Having the lot number is especially important in a recall.
  • If you use plastic containers to store kibble or treats, it’s a good idea to store it in the bag, or at least keep the bag around so that you have the important information on the label.
  • Storage containers for pet food should be clean and dry, with a tightly-fitting lid.
  • Wash and dry the container before you add another bag of food. Fat residue can become rancid.
  • Store all pet food in a cool, dry place. The temperature should be under 80 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid spoilage.
  • Refrigerate or throw out uneaten wet food.
  • Wash and dry pet food and water bowls (and utensils) daily.
  • Keep food and treats in a safe location so your pet won’t get into it and binge.

 

Early Childhood Exposure to Cats Reduces the Risk of Asthma

Scientists have known that children who grow up around cats, dogs, and other animals tend to have stronger immune systems than children who have little exposure to pets and farm animals.  But a recent Danish study of 400 toddlers has found that early childhood exposure to cats can greatly reduce a child’s risk of developing asthma.  The research was summarized by The Telegraph newspaper.

Researchers studied a group of young children from birth to 5 years.  A third of the children had a genetic variation that predisposes them to developing asthma in childhood.  One in three people in the general population have this genetic variation.  The researchers found that exposure to cats at a young age significantly reduced the likelihood that these high-risk kids would develop asthma.

Why?  The researchers believe that the presence of a cat somehow prevents this particular gene from switching on and triggering asthma.  They suspect it might not be the cat itself, but possibly bacteria or other microorganisms the cat brings into the home.

This asthma gene is also thought to be associated with bronchitis and pneumonia.  Toddlers exposed to cats also showed a decreased risk for developing these two diseases, in addition to asthma.

While exposure to dogs in early life also can reduce the risk of asthma in children, exposure to cats had the most significant impact on children with the genetic variation that is the strongest risk factor for the development of childhood asthma.

 

UPS Drivers Celebrate the Dogs They Meet on their Routes

Does your dog get excited when the UPS truck comes around?  Chances are your neighborhood UPS driver is just as happy to greet your dog too!

The adorable Facebook page UPS Dogs is full of great pictures of the dogs UPS drivers meet along their routes.  Turns out, the open doors on those iconic brown trucks are perfect for a little canine meet and greet session.

A recent article on the website Bored Panda introduced us to Sean McCarren, a UPS driver who started the UPS Dogs page.  Drivers have been posting adorable pictures of their four-legged welcoming committees ever since.

While the majority of pets on the site are dogs, other animals like cats, goats, and even deer get their chance to shine, too.

Be sure to check out the page for more sweet pictures of good pups like these!

 

Images via UPS Dogs Facebook page.