Sago palms (also called King palms or King Sago palms) are a hardy, ornamental plant found commonly in the Houston area.
Given their prevalence, you or someone near you may even have one of these Sago palms growing in the yard. But did you know that this plant can be harmful to your pets? Dogs in particular are likely to chew on these palms or ingest the seeds/nuts and may become extremely ill as a result. While it is not well understood why these plants are so toxic, we do know that they primarily affect the liver and can lead to liver failure and death.
If your dog has access to these plants, please be sure they are supervised when around them. If your dog does eat or chew on the bark or seeds of a Sago palm, please seek veterinary care immediately. The sooner the exposure is handled, the less likely the risk of long term complications.
April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month! Learn how to keep your pets safe, take a pet first aid or pet CPR class. Learning pet first aid not only can save your companion’s life in an emergency but also will make you a more relaxed and a confident owner. In addition, it can also help you spot less obvious health issues by educating you on warning signs as well as providing information on animals’ normal vital signs.
A pet first aid kit will also help provide an efficient response to an accident or injury. Purchase a pre-made first aid kit or create your own by filling a small container or bag with key supplies, many of which can be found at your local drugstore. Keep one at home and make one to have in the car for when you’re on the go. The first thing to do in the event of an accident or injury is to consult your family veterinarian. Many of the items found in a first aid kit should only be administered under your veterinarian’s guidance, but having them readily available allows for quicker treatment and can minimize pain or discomfort that your animal may experience.
If you make one yourself, use a small plastic tub with a tight fitting lid to store equipment and supplies, bandaging materials, nutritional support, medicines and important phone numbers. Pet First Aid Awareness Month is a great time for you to learn how to protect your pet and keep them healthy!
The transmissible venereal tumor (TVT) has been described since 1876 and is commonly found on both male and female dogs. Transmission is by simple physical contact between an existing tumor on one dog and abraded (irritated) skin on another. It is most commonly spread during mating but can also be spread during routine sniffing or other contact. In most cases, tumor growth is found on the genitals but it can also just as easily affect noses, mouths, anal areas, and other anatomical sites.
The transmissible venereal tumor may be visible as an external fleshy growth or may simply appear as genital bleeding (eventually the tumor will become eroded on the surface). In most cases the tumor is not malignant and simply grows and bleeds at a local site, eventually being rejected by the patient’s immune system. Because there is potential for tumor spread within the body, treatment is recommended to shrink the tumor rather than simply waiting it out.
Strangely, the tumor cells are not the patient’s own cells transformed into cancer cells. This is not a matter of a virus being transmitted that causes normal cells to become cancerous. The TVT is actually a tumor that grafts itself from one dog’s body onto another dog’s body. Unlike the host’s normal cells, TVT cells have a completely different number of chromosomes and do not originate from the host. Developing a TVT might analogous to getting bitten by a mosquito and the few mosquito cells left behind try to grow a new mosquito on the host’s body.
Diagnosis is made either by biopsy (taking a small piece of tumor tissue for analysis) or by cytology (obtaining a smear of the tumor’s cells and looking at it under a microscope). The tumor is classified as a round cell tumor and is related to more malignant round cell tumors such as the mast cell tumor and lymphoma.
There are several treatment options for the transmissible venereal tumor which include surgery, vincristine (the chemo injection Japser received) and radiation. Follow-up treatment with routine check-ups will be necessary and your family veterinarian will discuss these and other treatment options with you.
Renal failure results from damage to the nephrons, causing them to not function properly. Renal failure can be divided into acute (a rapid onset) or chronic (slowly progressive over time). Acute renal failure is often the result of major damage to the kidneys, such as infection, decreased blood flow to the kidneys, drugs that can be harmful to the kidneys, toxins such as antifreeze, or blockage of urine outflow from the kidneys, such as stones lodged in the ureters or urethra. The pet usually becomes sick shortly after the kidney has been damaged. Depending on the cause and if acute renal failure is discovered early enough, it can sometimes be reversed and the kidneys can recover.
At the other extreme, irreversible damage can occur where the kidney is unable to be repaired and the disease can be fatal. Chronic renal failure is often more gradual in onset and by the time the pet is showing clinical signs it is difficult to pinpoint what initially caused the insult to the kidneys. As animals age, the number of functional nephrons begins to decrease. This is especially true in older cats and the decrease in functional nephrons often results in chronic renal failure. There is no way to cure chronic renal failure and it will continue to progress as more nephrons become non-functional. In many cases, pets with chronic renal failure can be treated with medications, fluid therapy and dietary changes to help them feel better and slow the progression of the disease for months or even years.
Blood work and urinalysis are helpful tests for looking at kidney function. With blood work, substances that are eliminated from the blood by the kidney can be evaluated. The major substances evaluated are BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine. These become elevated with renal failure because the kidneys aren’t working well enough to clear them from the blood. There are many other toxins that build up in the body with renal failure. Most of these lead to the clinical signs that we see, but they are difficult to evaluate with tests. Unfortunately, two thirds of the nephrons must be lost before the BUN and creatinine become elevated. Urinalysis can evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate the urine as well as look for any evidence of infection, crystals or other substances such as protein that shouldn’t be in the urine under normal circumstances. Your veterinarian may also suggest other tests such as radiographs or ultrasound to get an idea of the size, shape and architecture of the kidneys.
A diagnosis of heart disease in your dog can be frightening; especially if you also are told that “pulmonary hypertension” (PH) is present as well. However, many dogs live long, normal lives with PH if it remains mild.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a term used to describe pathologically elevated pulmonary arterial pressure (i.e. high blood pressure in the lung blood vessels). This is a separate issue entirely from systemic hypertension (high blood pressure). PH can be caused by heartworm disease, chronic lung disease, or chronic left heart disease. It can also be secondary to any number of diseases that cause pulmonary thromboembolism. Significant PH can cause the right side of the heart to become enlarged. If the pressure on the right side is severely elevated, it can cause a back up of blood and result in fluid accumulation, either in the abdomen (ascites) and/or in the space around the lungs (pleural effusion).
Symptoms of PH include weakness, exercise intolerance, rapid and shallow breathing, weakness, fainting/collapsing, respiratory distress, or abdominal distension. Coughing may also be present if PH is secondary to a primary lung or airway disease. An echocardiogram is typically performed to confirm PH and assess its severity. Thoracic radiographs and lab work are typically performed as well to try to identify the underlying cause of the PH.
For our Referring Veterinarians – don’t miss your last chance to receive CE before the year ends!
A week from tonight, we will be offering CE in 1960/249 part of town. Click here for further details mygcvs.com/events/gcvs-rounds-willowbrook-2012-12-04
We are thrilled to be part of the baseball community with the Houston Astros. In support of baseball and our pet lovers in the community GCVS participates in Dog Day at Minute Maid Park in the fall. Join us this Sunday, September 16th with your companion; for more information on tickets, rules and regulations visit the Astros website at houston.astros.mlb.com. Your pet’s vaccination records will be needed upon entering the park. Be sure to visit our gcvs booth for some useful-fun goodies!
We offer two full days of continuing education to the general practice veterinary community to host up to 150 veterinarians. We offer this comprehensive weekend of 15 hours of CE that includes lectures by a variety of gcvs specialists geared towards the general practitioner. We look at this not only as an opportunity to thank our referring veterinarians, and to get to know new comers, but also as our civic duty to continue to improve the standard of care provided through out the veterinary community.
The Annual Symposium is held at the Marriott Houston – West Loop
GCVS participates in the largest dog show in Texas, at Reliant Park.
Fun activities are scheduled daily from agility, flyball, canine frisbee, musical freestyle to weight pull competition to name a few. Pet adoptions are also available; all this and much more during the five day event. For more information of future dates, visit the Reliant Dog Show website at www.reliantdogshows.com