Friday, March 29, 2013

Lump on your pet

Dr. Jane, from the Life's Abundance March 2013 Newsletter regarding lumps on your pet:

"Skin problems rank high among the most common reasons that pets go to the veterinarian. Chief complaints include unexplained lumps and bumps that develop on the surface of the skin, under the skin, or even inside the mouth. The good news is that most of the time these swellings are simply benign (non-cancerous) growths. However, it is imperative to have any suspicious growths examined by your vet since they could lead to a more serious condition that may require treatment. There are a few things that you can do at home if you spot a ‘bumpy lumpy’ on your pet. You should immediately inspect your companion to see if there are multiple bumps or just one. Your pet could be acting fine, the lumps not sensitive to the touch but they can still be serious. The size of a lump is not an indication of its severity.

If your pet is acting normally, the lump does not appear painful, and it's not accompanied by a bad odor, then you probably aren't facing a dire emergency. Benign growths can include fluid-filled cysts, fatty tumors, warts, skin tags and histiocytomas. Don’t make yourself crazy by trying to diagnose the malady at home. Simply schedule a vet appointment and find out what’s going on. On the other hand, if you do notice a change in your pet’s behavior then this should be an immediate red flag. Other red flags include fatigue, food avoidance, or inexplicable limping. Symptoms of an infected lump may include red swelling, foul odor coming from the lump, and obvious pain or tenderness associated with the area. Bumps that appear overnight could be due to an abscess, an infection in a wound. Of course, the ‘worst case scenario’ for many is that a bump will prove to be a cancerous tumor. If left unchecked, malignant tumors can grow and spread to other parts of the body. It probably bears repeating … if there’s any question about what’s going on with your dog or cat, take them to the vet for testing.

When you bring your pet in to see your vet, he or she will ask you some questions regarding when you first noticed the lump or swelling, whether you've noticed any changes in its appearance, and more. These questions are necessary for your vet to start narrowing down the possible causes and treatments needed. Don’t be alarmed if your vet uses the terms mass, tumor, or growth when referring to any bumps. These are simply medical terms used to describe any swellings and does not automatically mean a cancerous diagnosis. Additionally, your vet will likely perform a physical examination from head to tail. This exam is critical for the assessment of your pet’s health state, and to determine whether there are multiple lumps present (i.e., any that you might've missed in your home exam). The look and feel of a bump can give your vet a lot of insight towards what could be wrong. Further testing may be needed to successfully establish the source of the trouble. After the physical exam, your vet will either offer some immediate treatment options if nothing serious is going on, or ask for permission to conduct further diagnostic testing.

A simple test, known as cytology (Greek for ‘the study of cells’) of the lump, may be initially recommended. During this test, a needle is inserted into the bump or swelling, and cells are extracted. The sample will be studied under a microscope for further analysis. The only problem with cytology is that the results can provide only a limited amount of information. If this procedure does not provide a sufficient explanation for the problem, your vet may recommend a biopsy. There are two types of biopsies: incisional and excisional. With an incisional biopsy, a small amount of the lump is sampled and sent out for analysis. An excisional biopsy requires the removal of the entire mass or swelling, also sent out for analysis. Your pet may need local anesthesia or general sedation before a biopsy is performed, dependent upon the size and location of the mass, as well as the behavioral temperament of your companion.

 Ultimately, treatment options will depend on the results of the lump’s analysis. Your vet may determine that the lump or swelling is only cosmetic and poses no threat to your pet kid’s health. In this case, you will want to keep a close eye on the area and notify your vet of any changes. If the diagnosis is more serious, your veterinarian will discuss all available treatment options to address, and hopefully heal, whatever is going on. If you remember nothing else, the take-away here is that your greatest resource in diagnosing and treating any skin problem is your vet.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals."

Dr. Jane Bicks

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recall: Some Cat Food Diamond

Premium Edge, Diamond Naturals and 4health Dry Cat Food Formulas Voluntarily Recalled Due to Possibility of Low Levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Please visit the FDA page for this recall below:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 10, 2013 - COLUMBIA, S.C. - Diamond Pet Foods is voluntarily recalling limited production codes of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat Formula dry cat food, Premium Edge Senior Cat Hairball Management Formula dry cat food, Premium Edge Kitten Formula dry cat food, Diamond Naturals Kitten Formula dry cat food and 4health All Life Stages Cat Formula dry cat food. Tests conducted by the company indicated the products might have a low level of thiamine (Vitamin B1). There have been no complaints regarding thiamine levels, or any other health issues, related to these products. In association with this voluntary recall, Diamond Pet Foods has tested all other Diamond brands for thiamine deficiency to ensure the safety of the cat food it manufactures. No other product manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods is involved in this voluntary recall.
Only product with the following Best By dates and Production Codes are included in the voluntary recall. Further distribution of these affected production codes has occurred through online sales. It is best to check the production code to determine if the product has been recalled or not.
Product Size Production Codes Best By States
Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat Formula 18 lb. bags NGF0703 10-Jul-2013 Massachusetts
Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat Formula 6 lb. bags NGF0802 15-Aug-2013,
Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia
Premium Edge Senior Cat Hairball Management Formula 6 lb. and
18 lb. bags
NGS0101 03-Jan-2014,
Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma
Premium Edge Senior Cat Hairball Management Formula 6 lb. and
18 lb. bags
NGS0702 10-Jul-2013 Florida, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia
Premium Edge Kitten Formula 6 oz. samples,
6 lb. and 18 lb. bags
MKT0901 26-Sept-2013
Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia
Diamond Naturals Kitten Formula 6 oz. samples and 6 lb. bags MKT0901 30-Sept-2013 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina
4health All Life Stages Cat Formula 5 lb. and
18 lb. bags
NGF0802 14-Aug-2013,
Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

"At Diamond Pet Foods, we have a process where we continuously test our products, and this process allowed us to find the undesired levels of thiamine in some of our cat formulas. Our food safety protocols are designed to provide safe food on a daily basis," says Michele Evans, Ph.D., Diamond Pet Foods Executive Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance. "In the event an error occurs, we have the data to quickly alert pet owners, giving them the confidence they demand of a pet food manufacturer."
Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like replacement product or a refund, may contact the Pet Food Information Center at 1­888­ 965 ­6131, Sunday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST. Consumers also may visit Website - for additional information.
Cats fed product with the previously listed Production Codes and Best By dates exclusively for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is essential for cats in maintaining normal nervous system function. Symptoms of thiamine deficiency displayed by an affected cat can be gastrointestinal or neurological in nature. Early signs of thiamine deficiency may include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting and weight loss. In advanced cases, neurological signs can develop, which may include ventriflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, wobbly walking, falling, circling and seizures. Pet owners should contact their veterinarians immediately if a cat is displaying any of these signs. If treated promptly, thiamine deficiency typically is reversible.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New bag of Life's Abundance!

This is one of my favorite videos and I am glad I got to video tape them - too cute!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feline FeLV and FIV

Feline FeLV and FIV by Dr. Jane from the Life's Abundance February 2013 Newsletter:

"The great thing about cats is that they are superb at being independent and social companions. Most cats enjoy spending time outside playing with other felines. As a pet parent, it is very important that you are aware of some possible dangers associated with having your cat freely roaming outdoors. Since the 1960’s, Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) have been spreading amongst the feline population worldwide.

While these two diseases are preventable, they are contagious and potentially fatal if they are not detected early enough. The good news is that vaccines are available to decrease the chances that your feline will catch FeLV or FIV. FeLV is commonly referred to as the ‘friendly cat disease’ since it’s transferred via saliva. Your cat can catch FeLV through sharing water bowls or even grooming an infected cat. On the other hand, FIV is transmitted through bite wounds and cat fights. Since males tend to be more involved in territorial fighting they are at an even higher risk of catching FIV. It is imperative to note that these viruses cannot be passed on to humans, dogs or other pets.

 Feline immunodeficiency virus closely resembles HIV in humans. The virus attacks your cat’s immune system and may not show any signs until several years later. Another sinister aspect of FIV is that the symptoms can mimic other common illnesses, making it even harder to detect. FeLV is somewhat different in its plan of attack. Feline leukemia virus goes after your cat’s genetic coding. This maneuver allows the virus to continue to reproduce infected cells at an alarming rate. Some cats are able to eliminate the infection before becoming sick. Other cats will carry and spread the disease despite never getting sick themselves. This virus can hide in bone marrow until it eventually surfaces in the form of many general symptoms. There are several warning signs associated with FeLV and FIV; however, not every infected cat will exhibit the same red flags. Your cat may initially develop a fever or become suddenly and extremely fatigued, important indicators that something may be wrong. Other chronic issues include respiratory infections, dental and gum infections, bone marrow issues and certain cancers. Also, if your kitty starts losing weight, having chronic diarrhea, or develops chronic infections of the skin and eyes, make an appointment to see your vet immediately. Your vet will perform a SNAP test to accurately determine if your cat is infected with FeLV or FIV. The test is quick and requires only a small blood sample.

 FIV is predominantly diagnosed through this blood sample alone. A bone marrow sample, in addition to the initial blood sample, may be required to successfully determine a positive FeLV result. Since FeLV and FIV are so complex, re-testing may be necessary. For example, if a kitten’s mother is infected with FIV or FeLV, the kitten may test positive at a young age. However, over time, their immune systems may be able to fight and overcome the infection, eventually resulting in a disease-free kitty. In contrast, if the FeLV virus is in the early stages and has not fully developed, it may not show up in the initial results. Later tests, further into the virus’ progression, will ultimately lead to a clear diagnostic result. Early detection, treatment, and proper nutrition are essential for your cat to live as long and comfortably as possible. If your feline does test positive for FeLV or FIV, then they will require premium nutritional support since their bodies will be stressed and weakened from the virus. Make sure that the food you feed provides an optimal balance of vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants, to give your feline the best chance at maintaining strength and general well being. In cases like these, pet parents should strongly consider augmenting meals with nutritional supplements to further boost health and vitality.

If your cat tests positive for FeLV or FIV, I recommend that they make the transition to strictly indoor living. When immune systems are compromised, going outdoors could increase their risk for catching other viruses, parasites, or infections. Your cat will also be in harm’s way if they sustain any wounds from cat fighting or other traumatic events. Resulting injuries may not heal properly and might even become infected. You should isolate any infected cats or kittens from other cats to avoid further contamination. It is essential to test any new cats or kittens that you may be bringing home for FeLV and FIV. As a feline pet parent it is great to provide your cat with the independence that they crave. However, you should pay close attention to any changes in the overall health or physical appearance of your outdoor cat. Early detection could be the key to saving your cat’s life.

 Thank you so much for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals."
Dr. Jane Bicks