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Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS  
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Specialties: surgery

Interests: Pet Owner Education
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Don’t try this at home (part 1)

Oct 03, 2009 - 3 comments

A client felt horrible because she gave a human product to help her constipated 10 year old cat.

She gave a Fleet enema.  It sounds pretty benign, as it is described as a “saline enema.” In fact, it contains sodium phosphate, which can be toxic, or possibly deadly in cats.

This type of enemas works by pulling water from the body into the colon, which softens the stool and causes a bowel movement.

A Fleet enema will also pool electrolytes into the colon, which leads to a severe electrolyte imbalance. Signs of toxicity include lethargy, incoordination, seizures, fast heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting and possibly death.

I am thankful that this client had the kindness to inform me of what she did, and asked me to share her story with my readers!

The moral of the story is:

. Never use a medication without first consulting with your vet. That’s what we’re here for.

. Be especially careful when you feel tempted to use a human drug in your pet.

. As a reminder, other human drugs that can be toxic or deadly in cats include acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and Pepto-Bismol.  As a general rule, cats are extremely sensitive to human pain killers.

Vets have access to safe drugs for cats (and dogs), whether it is for pain or constipation or other conditions, so please take advantage of it!

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com


Interview with a cancer specialist (part 2)

Sep 29, 2009 - 3 comments
Tags:

Dog

,

cat

,

PET

,

chemo

,

chemothe

,

Radiation therapy

,

radiotherapy

,

Cancer

,

nasal cancer

,

Bladder Cancer

,

Prostate Cancer

,

Oral Cancer



Here is another question I recently asked Dr Sara Fiocchi, a cancer specialist (aka oncologist) at the Veterinary Cancer Group in Tustin, CA.


When would you recommend radiation therapy for a dog or a cat?

"There are 2 different reasons we use radiation therapy.

One reason is to try to obtain long-term tumor control (i.e., to kill cancer cells).  This is called “definitive radiation therapy.”  Whether or not definitive radiation therapy will work depends on a number of factors, including the tumor type and how rapidly it is dividing.   With definitive radiation, there are usually varying degrees of side-effects, such as skin burns.

The other reason to use radiation therapy is to relieve pain or improve function, and therefore improve quality of life.  When used in this setting, it is called “palliative radiation therapy.”

Palliative radiation has been used most often in dogs with painful bone tumors.  Many oncologists have also used palliative radiation to improve comfort or function in pets with a variety of other tumors including nasal, bladder, prostate and oral tumors."


Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com

Interview with a cancer specialist

Sep 19, 2009 - 5 comments
Tags:

Dog

,

cat

,

PET

,

chemo

,

Chemotherapy

,

side-effects

,

Cancer

,

specialist

,

oncologist



Here are 3 questions I recently asked Dr Sara Fiocchi, a cancer specialist (aka oncologist) at the Veterinary Cancer Group in Tustin, CA.

* Do pets get sick from chemo, like people do?

The majority of pets do not get sick from chemotherapy.  This is very important to me because my goal in treating pets with cancer is to prolong a good quality life.  In my experience, about 15% of dogs and about 5% of cats will get sick temporarily.  Fortunately it is rare (less than 1% in my practice) that they become sick enough to need to be hospitalized.  In the few pets that do get sick, we change their treatment to try to make sure they don’t become sick a second time.

* Do pets lose their hair, like people do?

Most pets do not lose their hair, but shaved areas may grow back slowly.  Cats may lose their whiskers.  Terriers, Sheepdogs, Poodles and other dogs who get hair cuts are likely to have some degree of hair loss, but I have yet to see a pet go completely bald!

* What are the most common side effects of chemo?

Gastrointestinal (tummy) upset including nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting or diarrhea may occur in about 15% of dogs and 5% of cats.  If this happens, it is typically mild and can be treated by feeding a bland diet or giving oral medications at home.  Some pets’ white cell count may become low, and antibiotics or other medications may be recommended if that happens.  Side-effects usually resolve within a day or two if they even occur.


Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com


A common disease in anal sacs

Sep 13, 2009 - 5 comments
Tags:

anal sac

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adernocarcinoma

,

carcinoma

,

sacculectomy

,

Cancer

,

anus

,

calcium

,

hypercalcemia



Bailey is a 10 year old Lab.  His owner brought him to a local colleague.  At her practice, a yearly exam rightfully includes full blood work. This means a CBC (Complete Blood Count) which looks at red and white blood cell counts, and a chemistry, which analyzes the levels of kidney values, liver values and some minerals.

Bailey’s calcium level was high (aka hypercalcemia).  That prompted his vet to perform a rectal exam.  This is the wonderful test where a gloved finger is introduced you-know-where.

And guess what, a walnut-sized mass was found in place of the right anal sac.  It probably should be about the size of a sweet pea in a Lab.  Bailey was referred to us to have surgery to remove the mass (this is called anal sacculectomy), which we of course sent to the lab to be analyzed.

One week later, the biopsy confirmed anal sac carcinoma, the most common type of cancer in that area.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com