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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.

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