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Common side effects when your pet undergoes chemotherapy


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 1. June 2016 02:31

Much like humans, when a pet undergoes chemotherapy, side effects will generally be an uncomfortable part of the treatment regimen. 

If your pet is treated for cancer using chemotherapy, here are some of the common side effects you can expect: 

Diarrhea.  To combat the effects of diarrhea, give your pet foods that are easy to digest, such as hamburger, boiled chicken, or white rice.  For dogs, a small dose of Pepto-Bismol may ease symptoms.  Offer it to them at one tablespoon per 15 pounds of body weight every eight hours.  As your pet begins to stabilize, you can try reintroducing a normal diet in small quantities.  If diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours, contact your vet to seek treatment. 

Dehydration.  Dehydration may occur due to diarrhea, vomiting, fever or excessive urination following a chemo treatment.  The test here is to make sure your animal’s gums are moist and the animal’s skin is soft and supple.  

Vomiting.  Offer small amounts of water 12 hours after persistent vomiting stops.  If your pet keeps the water down, gradually reintroduce small quantities of bland foods and over the course of the next three days, reintroduce the animal’s normal diet.  Contact your vet if the vomiting is severe or is accompanied by a fever of 103 degrees or more for 24 hours or longer. 

Low white blood cell count.  A lower than normal white blood cell count is normal following chemotherapy.  By itself, this is not a problem, but if the count drops too low, the animal won’t be able to fight infections, which may occur up to 21 days after a chemo treatment.  Symptoms to watch for include a poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and fever. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing pet chemotherapy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

Early detection is one of the best defenses for treating cancer in dogs


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 25. May 2016 02:29

Dogs are susceptible to many kinds of cancer, especially as they grow older.  In fact, cancer accounts for almost half the deaths in pets over 10 years old.  Just like in humans, the root causes of cancer are unknown in dogs.  Ensuring prevention against cancer is impossible, and that means early detection is the best defense in treating cancers that take many forms in dogs.  

According to Traverse City veterinarian Dr. Eric Peck, catching cancer early in dogs and combining that with aggressive treatments like these give your pet the best possible outcome of surviving for many years to come. 

Among the most common cancers are: 

Abdominal tumors.  These are common, but hard to diagnose.  They are usually first discovered by a dog who loses a significant amount of weight or shows signs of an enlarged abdomen. 

Skin.  Skin lesions and tumors should be examined as early as possible to determine if they are malignant or benign. 

Breast.  Spaying a female dog before they turn one year old greatly reduces the chances of contracting breast cancer at a later date.  Surgery is often the prescribed treatment for treating breast cancers. 

Head and neck.  Growths in the mouth and nose are common and can often be accompanied by bleeding, swelling, difficulty eating or an odor. 

Dog cancer treatments will vary depending on the type of cancer involved and may include a combination of therapies.  Patients are often times referred to a board certified animal oncologist who may prescribe: 

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Cryosurgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hyperthermia
  • Immunotherapy  

Located in Williamsburg and providing dog cancer treatment services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

Lymphoma in dogs requires immediate attention


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 18. May 2016 02:25

Lymphocyte cells are small white blood cells that play a key role in a dog’s ability to fight against germs and disease.  

Lymphoma is a cancer that originates in these cells and creates an unregulated growth that can affect the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and bone marrow.  It can also affect other areas of a dog’s body as well.  If left untreated, dogs can pass away in as little as two to four weeks. 

“Although there is no cure for dog lymphoma, many treatments can extend a dog’s quality and length of life,” according to Dr. Eric Peck, who has been practicing veterinary medicine in the greater Traverse City area for more than 20 years. 

Dogs with lymphoma can present many symptoms, because the disease is aggressive, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible when any of these occur: 

  • A rapid weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis or eye infections
  • Enlarged lymph nodes under the jaw, chest armpits or groin
  • Increased water consumption and urination

Although all breeds are susceptible to lymphoma, it is especially prevalent in Golden Retrievers, St. Bernards, Basset Hounds, Scottish Terriers, Boxers and Bulldogs. 

The most effective treatment for dogs with lymphoma is chemotherapy.  These drugs, when combined with a steroid such as prednisone can extend a dog’s life for up to a year or more, depending on the type of lymphoma and how early the disease was diagnosed. 

Located in Williamsburg and serving Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

Mast cell tumors are a little known but common form of cancer in dogs


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 11. May 2016 02:24

Despite the fact that you may not know much about mast cells or their function in a dog’s body, almost one in five dogs will develop mast cell tumors in their lifetime. 

Mast cells are blood cells that are involved in a dog’s body’s response to allergies.  The cells contain many chemicals, including histamine and heparin, which biologically modify immune reactions. 

When these cells become cancerous, they can form tumors in just about any part of your pet’s body, although they are most prevalent as skin tumors.  Mast cell tumors, also known as mastocytomas, are also commonly found in the liver, bone marrow, spleen and gastrointestinal tract.  And although any breed may develop mast cell tumors, studies have shown that Boxers, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Pugs tend to have a higher rate of incidence. 

According to Traverse City area veterinarian Dr. Eric Peck, there are many ways to treat mast cell tumors. “The course of treatment depends on several factors including where the tumors are located and what stage the tumors are at.  Tumors are staged, meaning they are graded, from Stage 0 up to Stage IV.  Once they are graded, we decide best how to treat them.” 

Most mast cell tumors are treated by being removed surgically.  This is effective for tumors up to Stage II and will provide a cure for your pet.  In cases where surgery is not an option, where lymph nodes are involved, or if tumors have not spread throughout the body, radiation is the preferred course of treatment.  Chemotherapy is reserved for the most aggressive forms of mastocytomas and is generally combined with surgery and radiation.  Unfortunately, mast cell tumors do not always respond to chemo drugs as well as with other kinds of cancers found in canines.  However, there are many variables that play into whether or not a dog will find relief and an extended life when treating mast cell tumors. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing veterinary services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

A primer on osteosarcoma in dogs


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 4. May 2016 02:22

Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer that occurs in dogs.  Although primarily associated with giant breeds, and occurring most commonly in dogs between 7 and 10 years old, osteosarcoma can strike any sized dog and at any time during their lives. 

Statistics show that giant breed dogs can be as much as 200 times higher at risk than small breed dogs.  Among this high risk group are breeds such as Scottish Deerhounds, Rottweilers, Great Pyrenees, Greyhounds and Great Danes. 

“A primary tumor that develops on a dog’s skeletal system is aggressive and metastasizes at a rapid rate, so it is not uncommon to find tumors have spread to other parts of a dog during an initial diagnosis,” says Traverse City veterinarian Dr. Eric Peck.  

Because the primary tumor is so aggressive, the standard protocol in treating osteosarcoma involves surgery to remove the primary tumor, combined with chemotherapy to kill the remaining cells at the site.  Chemotherapy is an essential component of treatment due to the fact that many dogs experience the microscopic spread of the cancer cells before treatment ever takes place.  Chemo has been shown to be very effective in stopping the spread when detection takes place early on. 

For dogs, where the tumor has spread and destroyed a significant amount of the bone, the dog’s limb may need to be amputated.    

Unfortunately, because of the overall nature of the disease, only about half of all dogs treated live beyond one year after being diagnosed.  That survival rate falls to about 30 percent after two years.  That’s why early detection and aggressive treatment are key to extending the life and the quality of life of your dog. 

Located in Williamsburg and treating cases of osteosarcoma for dog owners in Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

Doggie dental care involves more than just brushing your pet’s teeth


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 27. April 2016 02:21

Just like a pet owner brushes their teeth every day, it’s important to provide good dental care to your pet on a daily basis.  But good canine dental hygiene extends far beyond a good daily scrub. 

Oral disease is the number one health problem in pets and can lead to a variety of health related issues.  Dogs rarely get cavities, but dental diseases, such as periodontal and gum diseases can have a profound impact on your pet’s well being. 

When bacteria and food particles build up along a pet’s gumline, they form plaque.  If plaque is not removed, minerals in a dog’s saliva combine with the plaque to form tartar.  Tartar can form in as little as a week, and when it does, a dog’s gums can become irritated and inflamed, leading to gingivitis.  If your dog has “bad breath” there’s a good chance they have tartar, which must be removed with a special tool before the teeth can be polished. 

“When tartar builds up under the gums, it separates the gums from the teeth and forms pockets, causing permanent damage to a dog’s teeth,” according to Traverse City veterinarian Dr. Eric Peck.  “The resulting periodontal disease can cause loose teeth, infections and bone loss.  And when the infection is bad enough, it can enter a dog’s bloodstream and cause damage to a dog’s heart, liver and kidneys.” 

Preventing these types of problems in your dog means following a relatively simple course of action.  Dogs should have their teeth brushed on a regular basis at home (daily if possible) and undergo a routine examination to look for signs of dental disease.  This should be supplemented by regular oral exams and cleanings by your vet.  Teeth cleanings are done under general anesthesia, but are extremely thorough and can prevent costly and painful dental issues for your pet for years to come. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing pet chemotherapy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

The causes of knee injuries in pets


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 20. April 2016 02:19

Just like great athletes or weekend warriors, dogs can and do get injured on a regular basis.  And much like their human counterparts, one of the parts of the body most susceptible to injury is the knee. 

“A dog’s knee is also known as a stifle, and there are two common types of injuries to the stifle that may require surgery,” says Traverse City veterinarian Dr. Eric Peck. “We see dogs with dislocated kneecaps and torn or stretched cruciate ligaments on a regular basis.” 

In dogs, the stifle is the joint that connects the upper leg bone with the lower leg bone.  The ligaments connecting this joint are very strong and because they are attached in a crisscross fashion, provide a wide range of motion and stability for your pet.  

“Dogs can suffer torn cruciate ligaments primarily in two ways.  Athletic dogs really test their boundaries by over-exerting themselves which can lead to injury, but other dogs can sustain ligament damage if they are overweight, neutered and middle-aged,” added Dr. Peck. 

Depending on the severity of the injury, sometimes a dog can be fitted with a leg brace, placed on strict rest and given anti-inflammatory medicines to heal the stifle.  However, and especially in larger breeds, knee surgery is the best option to help your pet make a full recovery.   

Just as with humans, each case is different and relying on your vet’s best judgment is always the best way to approach finding the best way to heal knee issues in your pet. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing pet chemotherapy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

What are the best and most effective pet allergy treatments?


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 13. April 2016 02:17

While there is no absolute cure for pets with allergies, there are still many effective steps you can take as a pet owner to lessen the impacts that allergies can have on your dog or cat: 

Avoid allergens.  Reducing dogs’ and cats’ exposure to mites, pollens and mold can be a simple but effective way to bring relief to your animal.  If your animal stays indoors most of the time, then you can vacuum more frequently using a HEPA filtered vacuum, keep windows closed and run air filters on a regular basis.  Avoid using perfumes or laundry detergents with scented elements and whenever possible, keep your pet on hard floors instead of carpeting. 

Use Yucca and Fatty Acids.  Yucca is a natural anti-inflammatory that can resolve symptoms without the side effects that steroids might produce.  Concentrated liquid forms are available to add to your pet’s diet, or that can be applied directly to their skin.  Fatty acids decrease the possibility of your pet’s immune system over-reacting.  Although it may take several weeks for the fatty acids to build into your pet’s cells, the impact may be significant over the long term. 

Use medicated shampoos and conditioners.  Shampoos that contain oatmeal, pramoxine and Omega-6 fatty acids can stop itching and alleviate allergic symptoms.  Some dogs and cats also react well to using antihistamines, but this is not always the case. 

Steroids and Immune Modulators.  Oral steroids prescribed by a veterinarian are initially highly effective and can suppress allergy symptoms but lose effectiveness the more often they are used.  Topical steroids used on skin and in eyes are also available.  Immune modulators stop histamines from being released into a pet’s system and work more often than not to relieve allergy symptoms.  

Consult with your veterinarian.  Allergy relief is an ongoing issue and your best course of action at some point is to consult with a trained professional to help your pet get the best possible treatment over the long term. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing effective pet allergy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

What to expect when your dog needs surgery


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 6. April 2016 02:16

As your dog advances through life, there’s a very good chance that he/she will require some kind of a surgical procedure.  Surgeries involving dogs are quite common and are generally classified as either soft tissue surgeries or orthopedic surgeries. 

Soft tissue surgeries can include the removal of tumors or skin lesions, cardiovascular surgeries, or surgeries on organs such as the stomach, intestines, colon, liver or gall bladder among others. 

Orthopedic surgeries involve bone and muscle repair and focus on repairing fractures, ligament and tendon injuries, or dealing with degenerative diseases such has hip dysplasia or leg abnormalities. 

“The most common surgical procedure is spaying or neutering your dog.  Doing so improves the overall health of your pet and minimizes behavior problems which is the primary reason many dog owners take their pets to shelters,” according to Dr. Eric Peck, who serves pets and their owners in Elk Rapids and surrounding communities. 

Sex drives in dogs are strong and by neutering your dog at an early age, you will remove much of the aggressive behavior that is associated with the dog’s desire to reproduce. 

Overall, pet surgeries are very safe and follow much of the same protocols as human surgeries.  Your vet will conduct a complete examination and do blood work prior to surgery to determine if any pre-existing conditions are present.  On the day of, your vet will use the same anesthesia agents used in human surgeries in a sterile environment with continual monitoring throughout the procedure.  Post-operative care will include closely regulated pain medications and follow-up visits until your dog is fully recovered. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing canine surgical services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

State-of-the-art pet care you can trust in Elk Rapids


by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 30. March 2016 02:13

Dr. Eric Peck and the staff at Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital have been providing a full range of veterinary services for families in Elk Rapids and surrounding communities for many years now. 

A graduate of Michigan State University, Dr. Peck has been practicing locally for more than 20 years and has owned Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital since it opened in 2009.  His philosophy of personalized care has been augmented by a drive to stay abreast of advancements in veterinary medicine throughout his career.  

For proof, look no further than Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital being the first veterinary facility in the region to introduce MLS Laser Therapy.  This state-of-the-art treatment is highly effective in treating arthritis pain, tendonitis, joint pain, back pain, sinusitis and for more rapid healing of wounds and in post operative situations. 

“Laser Therapy increases circulation to joints and affected tissues which lessens inflammation and pain.  Because we use a Class IV laser, the photon energy is able to penetrate down to deeper tissues, providing even greater relief for pets,” says Dr. Peck. 

“In addition to dramatic results after just a couple of sessions, using Laser Therapy is non-invasive and does not require a pet to be sedated.  And, the average treatment takes no more than 12 minutes, at absolutely no risk to our patients,” he added. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing pet chemotherapy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

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