The veterinarians and staff at the Beach Veterinary Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Cancer In Pets Is Not Uncommon

Cancer is an often life-threatening disease that many people think affects only humans. So, it often comes as a shock to many pet owners when their pet is diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer in animals is unfortunately not uncommon and is very similar to cancer in humans. Like humans, the causes of cancer can either be genetic or environmental. The common types of cancer seen in companion animals are diagnosed more frequently only because we can detect them more easily. These cancers involve the lymph nodes, limbs or skin tumors. Tumors located in organs or inside body cavities are more difficult to diagnose and are often not detected until the animal develops clinical symptoms.

Know the Signs of Cancer in Pets

Know the Signs of Cancer in Pets

There are a number of indications that an animal may have cancer. The best way to detect the commonly diagnosed types of cancer is for owners to carefully feel their animals all over once a week. It is also a good idea for owners to try and look inside their pets mouths once a week. Owners should pet their animals thoroughly once a week and feel for abnormal lumps, bumps, swellings, and any area that's just plain painful. Open, ulcerated wounds that take a long time to heal (or not heal at all) might be another potential sign of cancer.

Some non-specific symptoms of cancer include a lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, or diarrhea. Also, certain breeds are more prone to cancer than others. Breeds such as boxers, Bernese mountain dogs, and golden retrievers are overrepresented in the development of cancer. There have even been studies that have traced the family trees of dogs. These studies have suggested a genetic predisposition in certain families.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

In order to identify the exact type of cancer, aspirates and biopsies are performed. Once the cancer is identified, it is "staged". This is accomplished by performing additional diagnostic tests such as lymph node sampling, ultrasonography and / or radiology examination.

Often, the diagnosis of cancer leaves owners feeling that there is no hope for their pet. However, many types of cancer can be successfully treated and these pets can return to a normal life.

Treatment depends on the type and location of the cancer. If possible, surgical removal of the tumor is performed. Some types of cancer are responsive to chemotherapy, which include a variety of oral and intravenous medications. Dogs and cats tend to tolerate chemotherapy well and rarely develop the same side effects that are seen in humans. Prior to treatment, blood and urine tests are performed to asses the overall health of the pet to be sure they are good candidates for treatment.

Before beginning a cancer treatment, many things need to be taken into consideration. Most important is the animal's quality of life verses the aggressiveness of the treatment. The same types of drugs that are used in human cancer therapy are used in veterinary cancer therapy. The chief difference is that we tend to use lower doses at less frequent intervals.

Chemotherapy is one form of cancer therapy that is offered. The primary goal of chemotherapy is to obtain a cure. If a cure is not possible, the goal of chemotherapy is to provide a better quality of life for your pet. We recommend treatment only if it is appropriate for your pet.

Most chemotherapy protocols are designed so pets don't become terribly ill. In fact, many pet owners don't even realize that their pet has had chemotherapy. Less than 5 percent of the animals develop severe vomiting, diarrhea or a severe drop in their blood counts. Compared to the side effects of chemotherapy in humans, hair loss is very uncommon in pets.

For many people, their pets are more than just animals; they are members of their family. Usually pet owners want to do everything that they can to prolong their pets' lives and keep them feeling healthy. Chemotherapy is an excellent method for treating many types of cancer in pets.

Thanksgiving Tips for Pets

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge (and, sometimes, over-indulge) in delicious holiday treats. You can be sure that if your cat or dog is around for the festivities, they'll want to share some of the goodies, too. But no matter how much your pets purr, plead, whine or whimper, owners should remember that holiday treats that are tasty for people can be potentially harmful for pets.

Thanksgiving foods may look tasty to your pet, but they could be harmful.

The typical Thanksgiving spread is flush with a variety of foods, from savory fare like turkey and stuffing to sweet foods like yams and cream pies. Your pet's diet is much blander and boring, and for good reason—foods with lots of fat, dairy and spices can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. For this reason, it's best to avoid letting Rover dine on the usual turkey day leftovers. If you must give your pet some holiday foods, stick to dishes like boiled potatoes or rice, which will not upset your pet's stomach.

Some holiday foods, however, can cause much more than an upset stomach in your pet. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to burst. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and have been linked to kidney failure.

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that pets can eat—it's also one of the most prevalent holiday foods. Whether chocolate is found in cookies, cakes, truffles or baking squares, any amount can be dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both methylxanthines that can cause stimulation of the nervous system, increased heart rate and tremors. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

You may also be tempted to give your dog a leftover turkey bone or two once the table is cleared. However, poultry bones are small and easily breakable and can easily shatter and get caught in your pet's throat. These bones can cause damage to your pet's throat or lead to choking.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

During holiday gatherings, it's a good idea to keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. If your pet does get a hold of some Thanksgiving food and experiences mild vomiting or diarrhea, you can help settle their stomach by withholding food for a few hours then feeding small amounts of boiled rice and cooked hamburger. If the symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Inventors Claim Their Device Can Read Dog’s Thoughts

A group of Swedish inventors have unveiled a device they claim will be able to read your dog’s thoughts. Called “No More Woof,” the device reads EEG signals from a dog’s brain and translates those signals into English. The device uses a small computer to make the translation.

“No More Woof” will distill your dog’s thoughts into simple, straightforward sentences, such as “I am hungry” or “I am tired.” Thoughts will also be translated into Spanish, French, and Mandarin. While the project is still in its infancy, the creators have raised over $10,000 so far and hope to begin mass production of the product soon.

Do Cats Care About Their Owners?

A new study suggests that cats have little regard for their owners. Researcher Daniel Mills, a professor of Veterinary Behavior Medicine in the United Kingdom, says that while dogs form an attachment to their owners similar to the one children form with their parents, cats are more likely to see their owners as a provider of resources, not a provider of safety.

The experiment mimicked one performed in the 1970s, where children were briefly separated from their parents and then reunited. When the children saw the parents after the separation, they were immediately drawn to the parent in most cases. The experiment with dogs produced similar results. Cats, however, did not appear to care whether or not their owner was present. “Clearly cat owners love cats,” said Mills. “It’s difficult to say whether or not cats love back.”

Age of Pets and Comparison Table

Everyone has heard the myth about 'dog years,' which often is described to mean that a dog ages the equivalent of 7 human years for every year of a dog's life. This would mean that a 3-year-old dog's age is equivalent to that of a 21-year-old person and a 4-year-old dog's age would be equivalent to that of a 28-year-old person...and so on.

The truth is, the relationship is more complex than that. Dogs of different breed sizes age at different rates and dogs age faster or slower depending on how old they are, as shown in the chart below.

Why Does It Matter?

There are a number of reasons why owners should be aware of this variable aging rate. Among the most important are:Puppies are going through their fastest growth for their first year or even two years. During that entire time, puppies should be fed a complete and balanced puppy food. It may seem strange to call an 18-month-old, 60-pound large breed dog a 'puppy,' but that’s what he is.

Large breed puppies have unique nutritional needs. These needs include the need to manage caloric intake to help a large breed puppy achieve an ideal body condition. Keeping your large breed puppy lean helps keep muscular and skeletal growth rates at an ideal pace.

The rule of thumb is that dogs of breeds that typically weigh 50 pounds or more full grown are large breeds and will be puppies for two full years. In terms of selecting food and providing health care, you should treat them as puppies for that time.

Even though large breed dogs take longer to reach full maturity, they also will show signs of growing older sooner than other dogs. Very large dogs can become canine senior citizens as early as 5 years. Owners should treat their dogs accordingly.

Pets Age / Human Age - Comparison Chart
Pet’s Age
Pet’s Weight
Relative Age in Human Years
Denotes Senior Pet
VIDEO: What's Wrong With My Cat's Mouth?

Many cat owners look at the grace, athleticism and beauty of their pets and think that they have the “perfect” animal. Unfortunately, many of these same cats will have a very “imperfect” mouth, due to a serious and very painful condition that causes teeth to resorb, dissolve and even break! Here’s what we know about Tooth Resorption in cats.

To enjoy the videos on our site please download the latest flash plugin.
Pet Etiquette: Don't Be Rude; Know the Rules

No one appreciates a loudmouth, or someone who chews with their mouth wide open. These things are obvious rules of etiquette we all follow so that we are not rude to others.

Being a pet owner also comes with its own etiquette rules and while some may seem obvious, it is always helpful to remind ourselves what we should do to be considerate pet owners. After all, you want people to view you as a responsible pet owner and your furry friend as a well behaved companion.

So, without further ado, here they are:

City vs. Rural Living – The importance and rigidness of pet etiquette are in direct proportion to the population density of where you live. If you live in an urban area there not only will be more etiquette rules, but greater importance placed on them than if you live in a rural area.

Know the rules of pet etiquette

Leashes – Many municipalities require all dogs that are walked in public or are taken to specific areas such as parks, beaches and other public places have a leash. People may enjoy seeing dogs at the park, but also may not appreciate them running wild. The ASPCA also recommends that leashes—particularly those in urban areas—be kept to six feet or less and be thick enough for walkers, people on rollerblades, bicyclers, and joggers to see.

Get a License – Being sure to purchase a license for your pet is not only a legal requirement in many communities, but could help identify a lost pet and pays for animal control efforts. A license also shows that you take being a pet owner seriously and participate in your community’s efforts to document pet ownership.

Scoop the Poop – Seems obvious, but there are those sidewalks and parks with a ridiculous number of landmines. Also, animal feces can have parasites and present other health issues, especially for young children.

Peeing – Gardeners often put a lot of effort into their flower beds, bushes and trees, so be respectful and try to avoid letting your dog pee on them.

Train dogs with four commands

Commands – Being in control of your pet is more than simply having a leash. From an early age it is important to train your dog to obey what have become known as the Four Basic Commands: sit/stay, heal, leave it, and come.

Noise – If loud noises cause your dog to become scared, nervous and/or act out in some way, stay aware of the potential for a loud noise such as a car horn or siren to occur. Also try to avoid having your dog surprised by a sudden movement or commotion near him or her such as a bicyclist or jogger passing from behind.

Tying Your Dog Up – Leaving your dog tied to a tree or post while you get a drink or shop means others have to avoid your dog. This is worse if your dog has trouble when it can’t see you or becomes anxious when tied.

Bad Apples – Even though most pet owners are responsible and considerate, there are always a few bad apples out there that give all pet owners a bad name. If you see someone not picking up after their pet or allowing their dog to be a nuisance, find a way to politely remind them that manners and pet etiquette are important.

For more, visit: the ASPCA's website on urban dog etiquette.

Veterans and Dogs: Companions of Hope

With Veteran's Day quickly approaching, it is an opportune time to commemorate not only our soldiers and veterans- but those important canine friends that help our servicemen and servicewomen’s reentry to American life.

Engaging in military battles or conflict can create anxiety in even the hardiest of soldiers. Unfortunately, sometimes that anxiety permeates their emotional state in such a way so as to disrupt their attempts at a "normal" life once they return home.

Oftentimes, returned soldiers can suffer not only from anxiety but also from depression, fear and substance abuse. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can include reliving the experience through memories, nightmares or flashbacks. PTSD can also cause a victim to avoid situations that remind him/her of the event, create negative feelings, and initiate hyperarousal (living with a chronic state of fight or flight). These hard-to-overcome emotions can paralyze veterans, dismantle family life, and prevent an individual’s chance at happiness.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Pawsible Help

A specially trained PTSD dog can give its owner a sense of comfort, security, calm. Like all service dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the owner’s disability. With PTSD, some of these mitigating tasks may involve:

  • Providing environmental assessments (entering a room prior to the owner and making sure “the coast is clear”)
  • Interrupting an owner’s repetitive or injurious behavior
  • Reminding the owner to take medication
  • Guiding the handler away from stressful situations.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Creature Comforts

Much research has been performed that demonstrates dogs’ ability to serve as good companions, elicit feelings of love and affection, and reduce stress in humans. These and other natural canine virtues make dogs the perfect therapist for a PTSD survivor. These well-trained service dogs draw individuals out of their shells and help them overcome their emotional numbness or fear. Researchers have also concluded that human-dog bonding has biological effects such as adjusting serotonin levels, lowering blood pressure and overcoming depression.

If you or someone you care about has been affected by PTSD and could benefit from special canine companionship, contact either of the following organizations for more information: