Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #36- Skin Tumors- Dogs

Several types of skin tumors can affect dogs.  Most are benign.  However, some skin tumors are malignant.

The benign tumors are usually slow growing, soft, and free moving; meaning that you can grasp them and move them around under the skin.  Benign tumors include: skin tags, warts, moles, and lipomas.  Skin tags, warts, and moles look similar to the ones we get.  They are unsightly, but harmless.  Lipomas are fatty tumors that are very slow growing and soft.  Lipomas are very common in older, overweight dogs.  They typically don’t cause any problems unless they are located in an area that restricts movement; such as under a front limb.

The most common malignant tumors found under the skin are Mast Cell Tumors and Osteosarcomas.  Both of these tumors are usually fast growing, hard, and attached to the tissue under the skin.

Mast Cell tumors are very common and can be found in all breeds.  However, Boxers, Beagles, and Boston Terriers are the breeds most commonly affected.  These tumors can be found anywhere on the body, but are often located on the limbs.  They can change shape and size very rapidly.  Mast Cell tumors are made up of cells the body uses to respond to inflammation and allergies.  These tumors can release high amounts of these cells into the dog’s body and cause damage to the internal organs.  Some Mast Cell tumors remain localized, but others can metastasize to other regions of the body.  It is very important to have Mast Cell tumors removed and sent for a biopsy to determine the malignancy and risk to the dog’s overall health.

Osteosarcomas are bone tumors.  These tumors are highly malignant.  They are most commonly seen at the elbow, wrist, or shoulder.  However, any bone can be affected.  Limping on the affected limb is usually the first symptom.  However, often times the tumor isn’t noticed until it becomes visible.  At the point when it is visible, there is a 90% chance it has already metastasized to another area of the body, usually the lungs.  Treatment of osteosarcoma is very aggressive and usually involves chemotherapy or radiation.

In conclusion, although there are many types of skin tumors that are benign, it is important to have all tumors examined by your veterinarian, so that treatment of malignant tumors can begin as early as possible.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #35- Fatty Liver Disease- Cat

Fatty liver, also known as hepatic lipidosis, is the most common liver disease in cats.  When the body is in starvation mode, it quickly shifts fat cells to the liver.  It does this so the liver can convert the fat into lipoproteins for energy.  However, the cat’s liver is not very good at converting these fat cells.  So, the fat accumulates in the liver.  As the fat builds up, the liver starts to lose its ability to function.

The liver has many jobs in the body.  These include: detoxification, protein synthesis, and the production of chemicals used in digestion.  The liver also helps break down red blood cells and produces clotting factors to aid in blood clotting.  Because of its many jobs, when the liver starts to fail, you will see several symptoms.

Hepatic lipidosis is usually caused by a cat’s loss of appetite.  This can be caused by illness (such as diabetes or kidney disease), stress, extreme diet restrictions by owners, or being lost.

The most obvious symptom is yellowing of the eyes and mucous membranes.  This is referred to as jaundice in people, but is referred to as icterus in animals.  Other symptoms include: anorexia, vomiting, lethargy, neurologic symptoms, and depression.

Treatment will often require hospitalization and includes: fluid therapy, diet changes, and mineral supplements.


The most important treatment is prevention by paying close attention to your cat’s eating habits.  If your cat loses its appetite, it is important to discover the underlying cause and get it treated before the liver starts to deteriorate.  Hepatic lipidosis can be life-threatening, so the earlier treatment is started, the higher chance of your cat’s liver recovering.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #34- Liver Disease- Dogs

There are a wide range of causes of liver disease in dogs.  The most common causes are:

Bacterial infection
Viral Infection- Most common in unvaccinated puppies
Toxins-Insecticides and arsenic
Drugs-NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) used to treat arthritis
Tumors

Early symptoms of liver disease include: weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst.  In most cases, if the underlying cause of the liver damage is found and treated during this early stage, then the liver will heal and return to normal function.

Symptoms of liver failure include: icterus (yellowing of the eyes or gums), ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen), spontaneous bleeding, and neurologic symptoms (disorientation, head-pressing, dullness, and seizures).  Once the liver has advanced to the stage of liver failure, the chances of regaining liver function are very slim.  However, many dogs can survive with chronic treatment, such as IV fluids, medications, and a special diet.


The most important factor in liver disease is to prevent the underlying causes by having your puppy properly vaccinated, keeping your pet away from potential toxins, and using therapeutic drugs according to your veterinarian’s instructions.  Additionally, if you suspect that your pet has been exposed to toxins or has overdosed on NSAIDS, it is important to seek treatment as early as possible.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

SECOND CHANCE HEARTS is now available for pre-order!!!

"Second Chance Hearts" is the follow-up to "Scarred Hearts"
Expected release date 6/1/2015


BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Rachel Somerfield has spent most of her life in Whitman’s Orphanage for Young Girls in New York City. As she approaches her eighteenth birthday, her future looks very bleak. Everything changes the day she runs into Mathew Compton, a dashing young man, who sweeps her off her feet and offers her a chance at happiness. However, things don’t turn out as Rachel hopes, and she finds herself accepting a teaching position in Sand Hill, a small western town. She arrives in Sand Hill penniless, scared, and alone. 


Sheriff Chance Scott has been raising his son, John, alone since his wife died giving him birth. He loved his wife very much, and has given up on the idea of ever finding that kind of love again. He’s resigned to raising his son on his own. When the new school teacher arrives, he finds out that she’s in desperate need of his help. Is life offering him a second chance at love? Is it worth risking another broken heart to find out? 





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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #33-Seizures

Seizures in pets can be caused by a number of underlying issues.  The most common causes are:

Idiopathic Epilepsy
Kidney Failure
Liver Failure
Toxins- Insecticides, chocolate, and antifreeze
Brain Tumors
Heat Stroke
Encephalitis- Inflammation of the brain usually caused by an infection such as Distemper
Hyperglycemia

There are several types of seizures.  A grand mal seizure usually begins with a period of altered behavior, such as staring, restlessness, and crying out.  This is followed by the symptoms we usually associate with seizures, such as loss of consciousness, paddling of the feet, urinating, and defecating.  This part of the seizure usually only lasts 1-2 minutes.  It is followed by a period of confusion and incoordination.

Seizures can also be localized in the brain and cause a more localized reaction such as muscle twitching, blinking, and chomping.

Diagnosis is often made based on historical information, such as exposure to toxins, age of the animal, recent illness, etc.  Blood work will also be done to check for liver function, kidney function, and blood sugar levels.

During the seizure, the first impulse is to reach out and comfort your pet by talking to him and petting him.  However, it is best to turn out the lights, keep quiet, and not to touch him.  Sensory input can prolong the seizure.  This includes the period of disorientation that follows the main part of the seizure.  Once the seizure has ended, it is important to get your pet to a veterinarian for a diagnosis.


Treatment is usually based on treating the underlying problem.  For epilepsy, the treatment is based on the frequency and severity of the seizures.  It is important to keep track of when seizures occur and how long they last in order for you and your veterinarian to decide when to start your dog on anti-seizure medications.  Many of these medications have other side effects, so most veterinarians do not want to start anti-seizure medications until the seizures are happening at a regular frequency or the individual seizures are severe.

Friday, March 13, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #32- Diabetes Mellitus- Dogs

Diabetes mellitus, also known as sugar diabetes, affects all breeds of dogs.  However, the most commonly affected breeds are Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Poodles.  Obesity is a predisposing factor that contributes to the development of diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is caused by the pancreas’s inadequate production of insulin.  This causes the cells to be unable to absorb glucose.  The glucose levels rise in the blood stream and will eventually spill over into the urine, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels and glucosuria.

Early symptoms of diabetes include: increased appetite, increased thirst, and weight loss.  More severe symptoms include: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, cataracts, and coma.

Most diabetic dogs will need to be treated with a combination of insulin and dietary changes.  The proper dose of insulin depends on how the dog’s body reacts to it.  Dogs are started on an insulin regimen for about a week.  They will then need to come back into the vet clinic to have a glucose curve run to watch the body’s reaction to the insulin.  The dose will then be adjusted based on this reaction.  The dog will have to make regular visits to the vet clinic in order to monitor the blood glucose levels.  In addition, most dogs will need to be placed on a high fiber and high carbohydrate diet.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SCARRED HEARTS review by Publisher's Weekly

Tiner’s Wild West romance eschews its setting to focus on character. Physically scarred and staunchly independent homesteader Claire Montgomery is known in her unnamed rural town as a woman with healing hands. She has no formal medical training but did provide the Union Army with extensive medical assistance during the Civil War. Claire and her father figure Tobias, a former slave, are doing just fine in the troubled post-war days, living off the land and raising orphaned eight-year-old James. As James takes in wounded animals, Claire takes in wounded people. Enter ruthless but principled gunslinger Nathan Longley, in need of extended care following a shoot-out. Even Claire’s charming little domestic trio may not be able to tame the itinerant gun for hire. As Nathan and Claire overthink their mutual attraction, the local sheriff decides the compassionate Claire will make the perfect wife. Mild tension ensues. Tiner comes close to overstepping the bounds of syrupiness, but her credible characterizations will have readers cheering. (BookLife)
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 03/06/2015



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