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Ask the Vet About Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Cancer in Dogs and Cats
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treatment
Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet About Cancer in Dogs and Cats
MichaelDym, V.M.D.
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
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As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Showing 1 - 15 of 81
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Showing 1 - 15 of 81
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Date: Oct 20, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: What medicine to give

Question:If my 11yr old lab has either intestinal disease or cancer, first will she feel any sort of pain due to the sickness? And lastly, if she feels pain what medications should I give her to relieve her from any pain? Appreciate much thanks

Answer:It is hard for me to tell what is actually going on with her : "intestinal disease or cancer" is kind of . . . . vague for me to go on. What are her symptoms? How long have they been going on? What did your veterinarian diagnose her with? What treatments have you tried and did they help? etc etc

Date: Oct 19, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Mammary Cancer in cat

Question:Hello, We have a 7 year old female cat. We brought her to the vet 2 weeks with a mass under her upper right teat. It was darker in nature and the teat was swollen. The vet was 90% sure it was mammary cancer because the cat was from a shelter and was spayed later in life. They took x-rays to see if it had spread, and based on 2 suspicious areas (lung and heart) we were told that most likely it had spread and she had just a few weeks left. They gave us pain medication and said to make her comfortable the remainder of her life. We left absolutely devastated. The following the week the vet called with the radiologist reading and said that the area by the heart turned out to be a bowing shape and was part of the heart. The other area showed a mild diffuse pattern with no apparent spread (although no guarantees). I also asked how big the mass was and was told 3 cm. We scheduled for a radical mastectomy on the right side because we understood from the research that this kind of cancer does not carry a good prognosis, and tends to be aggressive. While waiting to have the surgery done, we made many calls to other vets, a University hospital for animals, and also spoke with a personal friend who is a vet in another state. Everyone agreed that the radical mastectomy was the best path to increase the odds of survival. Also, her blood work was good and her breathing was good, as well. Fast forward to her surgery. They called us and gave us an update. In it, they said they had done a palpable examination after shaving the entire area, and they did not find any other lumps in her breast area, lymphnodes or swelling of any other teat. Because of that, they opted to remove the tumor and a considerable margin around it. I asked again how big the mass was, I the story changed to 1.5 cm. I am not happy that they made a unilateral decision to NOT remove the entire line without getting us n the phone for 5 minutes to discuss. It seems from all the information available to us that the recurrence rate is as high as 60%, and that it is very possible that the cancer could have traveled to the other glands and simply not be showing yet. I feel they should at least have done needle aspirations to send in to pathology with the mass itself, as well. Furthermore, I read that only 21% of cancerous lymphnodes show up as swollen. The entire experience has me not trusting the vet anymore, because the information has shifted many times:. It went from our cat is going to die within a few weeks, to the radiologist said there is most likely no spread, to not removing the entire line and to the mass is nowhere near what was told to us just a week earlier. When the vet tech called today, the last thing she said: "We are sending this cyst like mass to have it tested." Cyst like mass?? What do you think about this line of inconcistencies? It is not as if they even had to talk us in to doing any surgery. We said we would get it done if it did not look like it had spread. But now, I don't even know what to think anymore. Thank you for your time. It has been two weeks of emotional and mental anguish.

Answer:Cancer is very frustrating and unpredictable - in people and in animals. It's no where near as "black and white" as people, including and especially veterinarians, would like it to be. You need to be comfortable with your veterinarian and be able to trust him or her and get a good open dialogue going with them. It really sounds like they are taking good care of your cat. A radical mastectomy is a huge surgery to recover from and has a lot more complications than a lumpectomy so if your veterinarian felt that was best for your cat at the time of surgery, it probably was. It would've been ideal to explain that to you but trying to get in touch with people and talking to them while an animal is under anesthesia isn't ideal either.

Date: Oct 18, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Lipoma?

Question:My dog is getting a byopsi of two masses. One of the lumps is fairly new and very small. An aspiration was not possible due to the location and my girl not being helpful. That one is located on her chest. The other is slightly larger than a marble and the aspiration determined it was a lipoma but will still get byopsied to ensure those results. This one is located on her upper front leg. The smaller lump is being removed. Since anesthesia is being administered should both lumps just be surgically removed instead? The reason for the byopsi is to get a closer at the smaller lump that wasn¿t able to get checked. I am concerned about her having to go through anesthesia twice if the byopsi comes back abnormal and surgical removal is necessary. Please help. Thanks

Answer:That's a great question and one that you'll want to ask your surgeon. I almost always end up removing the entire mass if I already have them under anesthesia but it depends on many things: overall health of the animal and whether I want them under anesthesia for very long, if I can easily close the skin and feel like it will heal well, etc. etc.

Date: Oct 10, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Thing underneath dog's chest.

Question:Hello. My 12 year old Miniature Pinscher has a tumor underneath his chest. It keeps getting bigger and at times he will lick at it. We do not have the money to take him a veterinarian and i'm wondering if he will be okay. What should we do?

Answer:Ideally have your veterinarian check it out even if you can't afford to have it removed. It may be infected (if he licks at it) and a round of antibiotics may help. Keep it clean with something like dilute betadine.

Date: Sep 26, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Piroxicam dosage

Question:The oncologist said to give my dog 9mg of piroxicam once a day, but I have a prescription for 10mg piroxicam. Is that 1mg harmful for my pooch or she will be alright. She was also put on Famotidine 20 mg. Thank you.

Answer:Call your oncologist just to be sure but that should be fine.

Date: Aug 28, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Is it anything other than cancer?

Question:Our dog was taken to the vet for his check up, but he was lately having dry coughing fits, and sometimes a string of foam would come out of his mouth at the end of his coughing fits. A few months ago, he was outside with us sniffing the air, and he got up very quickly, then collapsed, peed himself, and foamed. It was scary. Then, about 3 weeks ago, he got up very quick again and fell. Recently, if you moved around the house, or came back inside from doing his business outside, or after eating, he would have his coughing fits and try to vomit, but nothing comes out. (Sometimes he would vomit, but rarely). We took him to the vet, and his doc took x-rays. She showed us his x-rays, and it appeared that these small white dots were at various places in his lungs. She says its lung cancer, but could it be anything else? The reason I ask is because his blood was taken, and everything was perfect. He is on steroids, and he seems like his normal self.

Answer:From what you have said, it sounds like cancer if his heart was totally normal. Before you mentioned what his x-rays showed, I was thinking it might be heart failure, but your veterinarian would be able to see that on his radiograph (and probably hear abnormalities with the stethoscope) and with the white dots in his lungs, the number one rule out is cancer. It is actually not entirely unusual for his blood work to be normal with cancer - especially early in the course of the disease. With something like a weird fungal infection or lung worms or even heartworms, there would more than likely be changes in his bloodwork. There are more tests you can do to try to confirm the diagnosis (transtracheal wash, etc) but they are not without risk. Don't lose hope though because, just like with people, there is benign, malignant and everything in between - and some cell types respond pretty nicely to steroids and give him some good quality of life for hopefully a while.

Date: Aug 14, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Tumor behind my dog's front left leg

Question:Hello doctor, there is a lump behind my dog's left front leg, and it is about the size of a quarter, which feels larger than the last time I felt it. It feels like it is above the bone but it is firm and doesn't move much. How can I determine if it is dangerous? And my dog is quite overweight if that could be a factor. Thank you!

Answer:It is really hard for me to say without looking at it. It may just be a callus forming on the outside of his elbow because he has so much weight rubbing there when he lays down. Any mass should ideally be checked by your veterinarian to be sure it isn't anything to worry about. They can usually do a quick test on it while you wait.

Date: Aug 7, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: a lump on my dog

Question:hey , i have a yorkie terrier and i was petting her and i recently noticed a bump on her side back . the lump was smooth but i couldn't find it she's really hairy either the lump was covered up or it's under her skin and i think it's under her skin . she weighs about 9 pounds and she not overweight but kinda bigger than a normal yorkie (she's still a small dog) . she eats fine , has a lot of energy , and when i was petting it she didn't snap or bite or yelp in pain . i also checked over her body and that's the only one . im kinda scared and i don't know if i should bring her to the vet . im scared she has cancer or something . but she recently went to the vet to get shots a week ago . maybe it's an allergy to the stuff they gave her i don't know . thanks for your help , -Veronica

Answer:Call your veterinarian and see where they gave her the Rabies vaccine in particular - it will often make a little knot like that that will go away after a few days.

Date: Jul 24, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: parathyroid

Question:Is threre medication for a parathyroid tumor other than surgery??

Answer:Surgery is the treatment of choice for primary hyperparathyroidism and is often important in establishing the diagnosis. If a tumor is found, the best resolution is often surgical removal of the tumor.

Date: Jul 13, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: pain medicine

Question:Is oxycodone , gabapentin ,ibuprofen 800mg type pain killers good when your 12 year old dog is in a lot of pain and crying? If so what one is most preferred and what dosage for a 100 pound dog?

Answer:Definitely do NOT give Ibuprofen to your dog - it can cause serious kidney damage. Most of our human NSAIDs (Advil, Tylenol, etc) are toxic to dogs. You can give aspirin but, as you can imagine, if s/he is "in a lot of pain and crying", it's not going to help much and can be tough on their stomach lining, so having your veterinarian check out your dog and get him on some stronger medications that will really help him. (You can give a 325mg aspirin to a 100# dog - feed with food)

Date: May 9, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: high calcium/kidney disease/cancer

Question:I have a 14 ¼ year old yorkie. He has chronic kidney failure (started about 1 ½ years ago) and severe arthritis and basically blind most of the time from cateracts. A little over a week ago for 3 days he had a weird cough 1-4 times a day followed by yellow bile. Then that stopped and he stopped eating and I had to work really hard and tried numerous times a day with different homemade diets to try and get him to eat. He finally did start to eat and he was looking like he was feeling a little better. I even fed him his regular k/d food today and he ate it right up so I thought he was doing better. However, yesterday I noticed he now has blood in his stool. It is mainly formed, but there is a blood mucus that comes out. Then today it happened again so I went to the vet today. I went to the vet today and his concerning out of range numbers were below: BUN 64.7 (38.3 in 1/17) Creatine 1.2 which she said was on the hire end of normal (1.1 in 1/17) Phosphorus 5.1 (4.6 in 1/17) Calcium 12.6 (11.3 in 1/17) Globulin 4.3 (3.7 in 1/17) Blood in the stool (most likely she said from colon or rectum) Electrolytes all good. His CBC came back fine and just a few numbers barely out of range. The vet feels considering the symptoms and the high calcium that he most likely has cancer. She said we can go exploring trying to figure out where the tumor is, however, the prognosis even if finding it is not good because of his other issues. I felt confident in what she told me. She gave him a fluid shot and some steroids to take for 7 days to hopefully make him feel better. I completely forgot about this until now. I think that is the one thing I forgot to tell her! Since he hasn¿t been eating his k/d food and I have been making him homemade food for a few days. I added calcium carbonate (about as a binder to reduce the phosphorus in his diet. Is there any chance that the calcium carbonate (350mg/day for about 6 days) I gave him is getting absorbed into the blood and causing his calcium level to rise and perhaps this isn¿t cancer? And since he does have elevated calcium already, I am thinking maybe I should stop giving him that even if he isn¿t eating a k/d meal? Also, I read after I got home that elevated calcium could be a result of kidney failure. Is that correct? And if that is the case, does that mean it could still go down or maybe stabalize if it is from kidney¿s vs. cancer? I recently got some new supplement (Azodyl) that I am hoping helps him. Also, have you heard of milk thistle for dogs? Sorry for so many questions.

Answer:The calcium carbonate could be causing his blood calcium to be high (or at least increasing it a little). I would stop it for now, but confirm that with your veterinarian - and call and tell them that so they can note it in his record. We use milk thistle more for liver disease.

Date: May 6, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: mass/eye tumor

Question:Our Yorkie Paris is 14. Her one eye has been slightly red for almost 2 years. After examining her for the appearance of a slight protrusion, the eye specialist diagnosed it as a mass & proposed 2 options; 1) remove as much of the growth as possible (testing it for cancer), followed by a 2nd surgery, including removal of the eye if necessary 2) a single surgery to remove the growth & the eye, precluding the need for 2 surgeries/2 recoveries. Or, no surgery, eye meds & monitor, decide later. We prefer to minimize surgeries/recoveries/discomfort. Do you feel surgery is warranted & sooner than later? Paris is in fairly good health, sleeps well, yet does have arthritis and a limp. The vet feels she has some eye discomfort, yet we see no signs (never rubs it or seems bothered). She has had puppies, hernia surgery years later, & slight skin issues (better now). She is easy going and happy. Don¿t want to subject her to discomfort if no guarantee it will extend her time with us, yet looking for idea of risk/reward and alternative thinking.

Answer:If you are seeing an eye specialist, you should really rely on his/her recommendation. They went to veterinary school like we did, for 4 years, but have years of specialty training in only eyes after that. Try asking which option they would be leaning toward if it was their own animal or a family member's animal.

Date: May 6, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Fiv & Leukemia cat

Question:Please help me.. 8 years ago i found a tiny orphaned kitten, i took him in and bottle fed and raised him and we are so close. Suddenly in the last 9days he started to breathe fast.. We went to the vets and done alot tests and the blood show my cat is positive to FIV and has alot of cells abnormal to a cat, Leaukmia they say 90%.. He is breathing to fast and sleepy, His hair not growing so healthy and i can not sit here watching him suffer.. I can not see him die like this without giving him a chance, he has so much love and life left please help me.. Is there anything i can gove him to help him live longer.? He still eats and wants to go out in the gardens..!

Answer:FIV and feline leukemia are tough. I bet they started him on some medication when his veterinarian saw him so I would see how he does on those medications - depending on what he has going on, they may make him feel a good bit better, like if he has a secondary bacterial infection and they started him on antibiotics, etc. What I worry about with him is that he is having trouble breathing - if that worsens much at all, I would have your veterinarian recheck him immediately.

Date: Apr 25, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: anl sac Inflammation

Question:Hello, I have a dog name kilo, thats about 4 years old. and he is having issue with his anl its red and swooning I'm very worried can I do this whole anl sac Inflammation at home??

Answer:Anal glands that are just full and need to be expressed aren't red and swollen, so you ideally need your veterinarian to take a look at him because it sounds more like an abscessed anal gland. You would need someone to show you how to express them anyway, so they can do that while you are there.

Date: Apr 5, 2017
Category: Cancer
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: fatty tumor

Question:hi, i have recently noticed that my 7 year old female black lab has a lump on her side down by her stomach. it moves around and is kinda big about 2 inches maybe. I was wondering if it could be a tumor. Im hoping not and hoping you can help me out

Answer:Labs are very predisposed to benign fatty masses, so it may be nothing to worry about at all - but, you definitely want your veterinarian to check it and make sure that's what it is. It is usually a really quick, easy fine-needle-aspirate that they can usually just look at under the microscope right there in the office while you wait.


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