Saturday, April 8, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Good News for Dogs Diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma, Perianal Fistulas, and more ...

Odds Improve for Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Hemangiosarcoma is one of the nastiest cancers dogs can get. It can quietly brew under the radar until it explodes with a major disaster. There is no effective screening for it other than ultrasound. And there hasn't been anything one could consider a successful treatment either.

Studies on Golder Retrievers and Vizslas showed that there is a link between spay/neuter and the risk of hemangiosarcoma in these two breeds. Does the same rule apply to other breeds as well? Large-breed dogs are those the most likely to get this cancer. The assumption that spay/neuter affects all of them just as it does the Goldens and Vizslas would be quite reasonable though studies would need to show this conclusively. The evidence is piling up that premature removal of sexual organs is detrimental to health.

There is some good news. The University of Minnesota has developed a new chemotherapy drug that seems to be showing significant promise in extending survival.

Read Dr. Kay's thoughts about the new drug and hemangiosarcoma.

Perianal Fistula in Dogs – A Major Pain in the Butt!

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

A couple of my friends had been battling with perianal fistula. It is quite a painful and frustrating problem.

What the heck is a perianal fistula? In simple terms, it's a tunnel where one doesn't belong. Think escape from Alcatraz type of a deal; all the way to the surface at the anal region. It seems unclear what causes it, the present theory is abnormal immune function. Interestingly, breed does seem to play major role; the vast majority of affected dogs are German Shepherds.

Not only this is a smelly, ugly problem, but it is also a painful one. When you suspect your dog might be suffering from this problem, do not ignore it and don't jump to conclusions either. There are other problems that can look much like this, including things such as anal cancer or anal gland issues. Don't mess around and have it diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.

I Can’t Afford Heartworm Treatment

Dr. Anna Coffin/Guthrie Pet Hospital

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to heartworm, this is true on many levels. Yes, the preventive is relatively expensive, particularly if you have multiple dogs. It is, however, way cheaper and way safer than treatment for actual heartworm infection.

The heartworm treatment can cost anywhere between $500 and $1500 depending on the size of the dog. Your dog could die during the treatment. Untreated, the heartworm infection will cause irreversible damage to the heart, leading to congestive heart failure.

If there were just one thing I could afford regarding veterinary care for my dogs, I would choose heartworm preventive.

Check out Dr. Anna's article on heartworm infection and treatment. Perhaps it will help you make up your mind about the importance of HW prevention.

Vaccines and Dogs

Dr. Greg Martinez

Dr. Martinez's experience and insights on puppy vaccines.

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