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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio® for November 3, 2012  

Groomers Are The 1st Line of Defense Against Cancer
Dr. Gerald Post, The Veterinary Cancer Center

Dr. Gerald PostDr. Gerald Post is the owner of the Veterinary Cancer Center (The VCC), in Norwalk, CT, which is a specialized veterinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in animals.

Some estimates suggest that greater than 50% of dogs over 10 years old will die of cancer. Dogs get cancer a little bit more frequently than humans, while cats get cancer less frequently than humans. There are about 6 million new cases of dogs and cats diagnosed with cancer every year. The earlier you detect cancer, the better your chance of effective treatment.

This is where your groomer comes in. Dr. Post can't tell us how many times cancer has been detected first by the groomer. The groomer then advises their client, who will brings their animal to their veterinarian.

Dr. Post feels that groomers are a great resource for health maintenance and detecting cancer at a very early stage.

Animal Radio's own Joey Villani, who has been grooming dogs for many years, explains why groomers can help detect cancer. He states that they look at our dogs more closely than we do, and are looking at areas where we might not always see. These include closely looking at the private areas and feeling under their arms and legs. They do this because they will be working in those areas and want to make sure they are free and clear of any lumps or bumps. What they sometimes find are lumps and bumps and even moles that don't look right. If they do find something odd, they will tell the guardian to take the dog to their veterinarian and have it looked at. Joey also mentions that he can't remember how many times a guardian has come back to him with tears in their eyes and told him, "Thank you very much. This was the beginning of cancer. You saved my dog!"

While groomers find these lumps and bumps, they still need to be examined by a veterinarian. This is a whole team approach to detecting cancer in our pets.

Cancer can be caused by a variety of things, such as diet, environmental factors and genetic factors.

Unfortunately different breeds of dogs are more prone to certain types of cancers. For example, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Flat-Coated Retrievers and Boxers, have a 60% of getting cancer at some point in their lives.

Below are 10 warning signs of cancer in both dogs and cats. Please understand that these are just potential warning signs and should not panic you, but prompt a visit to your veterinarian.

Chart showing dog's lymph nodes1. Swollen lymph nodes: These "glands" are located all throughout the body but are most easily detected behind the jaw or behind the knee. When these lymph nodes are enlarged they can suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis.

2. An enlarging or changing lump: Any lump on a pet that is rapidly growing or changing in texture or shape should have a biopsy. Lumps belong in biopsy jars, not on pets.

3. Abdominal distension: When the "stomach" or belly becomes rapidly enlarged, this may suggest a mass or tumor in the abdomen or it may indicate some bleeding that is occurring in this area. A radiograph or an ultrasound of the abdomen can be very useful.

4. Chronic weight loss: When a pet is losing weight and you have not put your pet on a diet, you should have your pet checked. This sign is not diagnostic for cancer, but can indicate that something is wrong. Many cancer patients have weight loss.

5. Chronic vomiting or diarrhea: Unexplained vomiting or diarrhea should prompt further investigation. Often tumors of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Radiographs, ultrasound examinations and endoscopy are useful diagnostic tools when this occurs.

6.Unexplained bleeding: Bleeding from the mouth, nose, penis, vagina or gums that is not due to trauma should be examined. Although bleeding disorders do occur in pets, they usually are discovered while pets are young. If unexplained bleeding starts when a pet is old, a thorough search should be undertaken.

7. Cough: A dry, non-productive cough in an older pet should prompt chest radiographs to be taken. This type of cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Please remember there are many causes of coughs in dogs and cats.

8. Lameness: Unexplained lameness especially in large or giant breed dogs is a very common sign of bone cancer. Radiographs of the affected area are useful for detecting cancer of the bone.

9. Straining to urinate: Straining to urinate and blood in the urine usually indicate a common urinary tract infection; if the straining and bleeding are not rapidly controlled with antibiotics or are recurrent, cancer of the bladder may be the underlying cause. Cystoscopy or other techniques that allow a veterinarian to take a biopsy of the bladder are useful and sometimes necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis in these cases.

10. Oral odor: Oral tumors do occur in pets and can cause a pet to change its food preference (i.e. from hard to soft foods) or cause a pet to change the manner in which it chews its food. Many times a foul odor can be detected in pets with oral tumors. A thorough oral examination with radiographs or CT scan, necessitating sedation, is often necessary to determine the cause of the problem.

Now with the powerful tool of Genome X, we will soon be able to look at the genetics of a dog and tell if a particular dog has a high or low risk factor for certain types of cancer.

Doggie Shrink
Dr. Rachel Malamed, Behavior Dogtor

Dr. Rachel MalamedDr. Rachel Malamed is a Veterinarian and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and an International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants certified member.

Dr. Malamed states that behavioral problems are a leading cause of animal relinquishment. Many guardians go through a lot of guilt because they feel they have tried everything and don't know what to do. Often the behavioral problems are so severe, they end up taking their pet to their local shelter, and ultimately those pets may be euthanized.

Dr. Malamed's goal is to keep the pets in the home while improving animal and human welfare. Ultimately, this saves lives! The truth is that behavioral problems are often preventable and treatable but many people don't know where to find reliable resources to help with basic or more severe problems.

Oftentimes behavioral problems can be the result of a medial issue. When a pet is ill or not feeling well, typically behavioral changes are the first things to show up. If your pet has a sudden, or subtle, behavioral change, please have your veterinarian look at your pet to make sure that there isn't anything physical going on.

Behavioral problems in dogs may include:

Dog chewing on shoe with separation anxiety1. Aggression towards dogs and people
2. Separation anxiety
3. Fears and phobias
4. Excessive vocalization
5. Inappropriate elimination
6. Repetitive behaviors
7. Pica
8. Destructive/escape behavior
9. Unruly behavior (e.g. jumping up, garbage raiding, leash pulling, etc.)
10.Self-mutilation (e.g. Acral Lick Dermatitis)

Behavioral problems in cats may include:

Cat with hair loss from over grooming1. Aggression towards cats and people
2. Eliminating outside the litterbox
3. Excessive vocalization
4. Anxiety/fear
5. Excessive or over-grooming

Dr. Malamed will use medications on pets with behavioral problems, although they aren't the first line of treatment. A lot of the anxiety medications used on animal are the same medications used on humans. Medications are not given on their own, but are only given with a behavioral modification plan to help facilitate that process to make it go a little smoother.

However, there is no magic pill, and without addressing the underlying cause through behavioral modification, medications may not be very helpful.

Dr. Malamed believes that sometimes humans can be the cause of behavioral problems in their pet. People may not be aware that certain stressors in their environment, or things that they do, may affect their pets.

You can avoid some behavior problems from the start by selecting the right pet for you. For example, if you live in a small apartment and work 10 hours a day, you might not want to get a large, very energetic, active breed that requires a lot of exercise. By talking to an animal professional, they can help you select the right pet for you and your family.

If you do need assistance, the American College of Veterinary has a list of veterinary behaviorists who are available for consultations around the country.

The Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Joey VillaniHow To Soften Those Rough Pads
A common problem with dogs is that the pads on their feet are often rough. Not only is it uncomfortable for them, but also when they jump up on you they can snag your clothing and stockings.

As long as there is nothing medically wrong with your dog's feet, no irritation, no swelling, and its just cracked pads, there is an easy solution for you to do at home.

Dog with dry, cracked padsYou can use ordinary bag balm. You can find bag balm in most drugstores, as it is for severely dry and cracked hands. It comes in a can and will last you a lifetime!

Apply a generous amount to your dog's pads and rub it in good. Be aware that it can be oily and may stain your carpets and furniture. If your dog sleeps in a crate at night, you might want to apply this just before he goes to bed. This will give it a chance to soak in overnight.

If you apply this every day for a week, you will notice a big difference. Not only will their pads be softer, but it will also keep their feet healthier! You can also use this on your dog's dry, cracked nose.

Other things that work well are coconut and olive oils. However, the problem with these oils is that your pet likes them and may lick or chew them off, causing even more irritation to their pads.

Animal Radio® News with Stacey Cohen

Nature's Recipe Oven Baked BiscuitsNature's Recipe Treat Recall
Nature's Recipe brand is voluntarily recalling a limited supply of Nature's Recipe® Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken, manufactured in one of its U.S. production facilities. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.

Winnie The Pooh Impersonator
A beekeeping company in Washington State is trying to recover after an unexpected visit from a Winnie the Pooh impersonator. Ballard Bee Company founder Corky Luster tells a pair of bears destroyed 36 hives at their farm. He says the hungry animals ate about $1,200 worth of honey, and that doesn't include all the damage they did to the actual hives. But Luster isn't too mad at the bears, who had never previously invaded the Ballard Bee Company. Luster says it just comes with the territory, but that doesn't mean he isn't working to make sure it doesn't happen again. He and his fellow beekeepers have since reinforced the wire fence surrounding the hives, and added an energizer to shock any potential thieves.

Giant eyeballGiant Eyeball Washed Ashore
A wildlife expert says a giant eyeball that washed ashore on a Florida beach belongs to a swordfish. The creepy, softball-sized eye was picked up at Pompano Beach. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission expert says based on the size, color and structure of the eyeball, it's probably from a swordfish. She says straight-line cuts around the eye indicate a fisherman cut it out and discarded it. The eyeball is still going to be genetically tested, just to make sure. Swordfish can grow to more than 1,100 pounds and are commonly found off the coast of south Florida this time of year.

Dolphins trained to attackDon't Swim With These Killer Dolphins
Folks who like to swim with dolphins may want to watch out if they happen to be in the waters near Ukraine. The Ukrainian Navy has restarted its marine mammal program and is reportedly training dolphins to attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or guns that are being attached to the animals' heads. A Ukrainian news agency reports the unusual tactics are being put in place to defend ships in port. The dolphins are also being trained to search for mines and mark them with buoys. It's apparently not the first time a country has armed dolphins in the name of national security. The Soviet navy once deployed dolphins with hypodermic syringes and also allegedly trained the animals to attach mines to ships.

Singing mouseBirds May Not Be The Only Animals That Can Sing
Mice are now next in line. Not only can mice sing, they also may be able to learn vocalizations from hearing other mice. Only humans, songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds have so far been thought capable of vocal learning but a new study suggests that "Mice have limited versions of the brain and behavior traits for vocal learning that are found in humans for learning speech and in birds for learning song," this according to Duke University neurobiologist Erich Jarvis. The study looked at the ultrasonic sounds that male mice make when they are wooing a female and found that the mice's vocalizations contain some features similar to those of birds. Moreover, the scientists found that male mice actually rely on "auditory feedback" to make their songs and in contradiction to earlier studies, mice sing in pitch (and you thought all they could do was squeak).

Eric ProkopiA One-Man Black Market In Prehistoric Fossils
Federal officials have arrested a Florida fossil dealer who is embroiled in an ownership dispute over a dinosaur skeleton, charging him with crimes related to a scheme to illegally import dinosaur fossils into the United States. The dealer, Eric Prokopi, was arrested at his home in Gainesville, Florida, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney has announced. The U.S. Attorney had earlier filed a civil claim on the skeleton of a T-rex-like dinosaur, which Prokopi attempted to sell at auction earlier this year. The Mongolian President interceded, saying the fossils were almost certainly taken illegally from his country, a claim that has been supported by paleontologists. Now the legal battle has moved into criminal territory. In the statement, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara referred to Prokopi as a "A one-man black market in prehistoric fossils." The charges against Prokopi also include those related to the sale of two other dinosaurs native to what is now Mongolia, according the U.S. Attorney's office.

Pronghorn Antelope crossingThese Guys Get A Pass…. So To Speak
The fastest land animal in the U.S. now has safe passage across a Wyoming highway, extending a seasonal migration that's been going on for 6,000 years. Pronghorn antelope have started using two overpasses atop Highway 191 that were completed this fall, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced. Eight-foot high fencing channels lead the animals to the crossing points. "The importance of these overpasses and their use by pronghorn cannot be overstated," Joel Berger, a Wildlife Conservation Society scientist, said in a statement announcing the first successful crossings. "They eliminate the danger of collisions and will help to preserve a spectacular element of our natural heritage - the longest mammal migration in the 48 contiguous United States." The entire $10 million project includes six underpasses used by deer, moose, elk and other animals. Pronghorn got the overpasses because they don't like going into tunnels.

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