National Canine Cancer Foundation to fund a new innovative Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) Research Project

June 19th, 2014

I have some new exciting news. As you all know we are always trying to find an new edge in the battle against canine cancer. And Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is one of those cancers we would like to get a better handle on since it seems to end up being diagnosed too late to save the dog. In fact, we are so keen on finding out how to deal with HSA that we have actually initiated our own research project on HSA with G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. This is very exciting for the NCCF because this type of research on HSA has never been tried. Let me tell you how it all came about by first talking about a dog name Batman.

Batman was the first dog to undergo a breakthrough experimental treatment for brain cancer, led by doctors, G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. They developed a combination treatment plan for dogs with glioma, a very aggressive and relatively common form of brain cancer. First they removed the tumor surgically. Then, in some cases, they use local gene therapy to attract immune cells to destroy remaining tumor cells, and finally they created a personalized anti-cancer vaccine made from the dog’s own cancer cells to prevent tumor recurrence.

I personally love the thought of taking a cancer that was killing a dog and turning it into a personalized vaccine to kill the cancer!

Dr. Pluhar, a surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center, and Dr. Ohlfest, head of the neurosurgery gene therapy program at the Masonic Cancer Center, gave Batman his initial treatment in August 2008. Batman led a normal life unaffected by his tumor until his death from cardiac failure in February 2010, there was no tumor recurrence. According to the Dean of the College, Trevor Ames, DVM, MS, “the far-reaching implications of this promising new treatment are almost difficult to fathom; not only could these treatments lead to a cure for brain and other systemic cancers in dogs, but because dogs and humans share many physiological traits, dogs could also be the missing link in the cure for brain cancer in humans.”

Then something interesting happened. Almost one year ago, Davis Hawn’s then 8-year-old yellow lab, Booster, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his nasal sinus. Booster was given three weeks to live. Hawn did not want to accept the death sentence and began searching the country for a cure. His search led him to doctors in Florida who removed Booster’s tumor and gave him chemo. An online search then led him to Dr. Elizabeth Pluhar from the University of Minnesota’s canine brain tumor clinical program. Davis asked her to help his dog, but Dr. Pluhar had never made a vaccine for this type of cancer before. But Davis was not going to take no for an answer so she did agree to try. She shipped the vaccine off and ten months later Booster is cancer free.

Then after Davis contacted the NCCF to tell us about how well the vaccine works, we contacted Dr. Pluhar to ask if she would be willing to try the same research that was successful with brain cancer and skin cancer, and use the same protocol to try dealing with splenic HSA. The NCCF’s thinking is that with all these other cancers, the similarities were that the cancer had to be removed and a vaccine needed to be created from the cancer cells. With splenic HSA, one of the more common forms of HSA, the spleen is typically removed so we felt that Dr. Pluhar’s research could possibly work. With that in mind, we asked her if she could try and apply her protocol on splenic HSA. After doing some initial research she agreed to do the study based on reaching certain goals before going on to the next level.

First, she needs to insure that we can culture the cancer cells in the lab,

Second, she needs to insure that the tumor vaccines stimulate immune cells to attack tumor cells. If she can achieve these two steps she can go on to treat the HSA cancer. We could not be happier and are guardedly optimistic over this research project.

The cost for this project will be $55,500. I hope you are all as excited as we are about this research and will help fund the project. If you want to help with funding this new innovative NCCF’s initiated project please CLICK HERE or got to this link

Thank you

Gary D. Nice
President and Founder
National Canine Cancer Foundation

Help pet live a healthy life

October 5th, 2015

While pet owners often think they are providing a healthy and happy life for their furry friends, it is important to know there is much more to raising a dog than feeding it quality pet food and scratching Rover behind the ears.

Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, director of Continuing Education, Extension and Community Engagement at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University, said while a pet owner’s intentions may be good, some practices they are doing may not be in the best interest of their dog.

“Our busy lifestyles can cause us to overlook some simple measures that will help ensure you are taking the best care possible of man’s best friend,” Giedt said. “Just as it’s unhealthy for people to gain too much weight, the same is true for dogs. It’s currently estimated about 53 percent of dogs are overweight. Dogs don’t process foods the way humans do. Closely monitor the amount of pet food and don’t overdo it on the treats. Think of treats the same way you do candy bars. Parents probably aren’t letting their child eat four or five candy bars a day, so don’t give your pet multiple treats each day.”

Alternatively choose some low-calorie treats such as green beans or carrots. Some dogs enjoy fruits such as banana slices, berries, watermelon or apple slices. Be sure to remove the seeds. Plain rice cakes broken into pieces also can provide a low calorie treat.

Gum disease is common in dogs and it is estimated about 85 percent of canines over 5 years of age suffer from gum disease. This condition develops after food and bacteria collect along the gum line and form plaque in a dog’s mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to other health problems. The solution is to brush your dog’s teeth as often as possible. There also are chew toys and bones that help to reduce plaque. Your veterinarian can assess gum and teeth health during an annual exam. Your dog may benefit from a professional cleaning by your veterinarian.

Just as most people get regular health checkups, dogs also need a health exam, even if they act completely healthy. This exam could very likely diagnose a health problem before any symptoms arise.

“Depending on the illness, it’s sometimes too late to do much to help by the time some symptoms become noticeable,” she said. “Getting treatment started early is one way to improve your pet’s quality and quantity of life.”

Regular heartworm medication, along with flea and tick control, is vital for your pet’s optimum health. Fleas and ticks spread several diseases, some of which can be life threatening. Consult with your veterinarian for the best way to control these pests.

Daily exercise is important for both people and pets. Exercise not only helps keep the weight off, it also provides mental stimulation for your furry family member. It also is a great way for your pet to expel energy.

“You don’t have to load up your dog and go to the dog park. Walk around your neighborhood or toss the ball in your yard,” she said. “Everyone’s schedule is busy, but exercising with your pet is beneficial for both of you. Be aware, however, small and toy dog breeds, along with short-nosed breeds, have different exercise requirements than other types of dogs.”

Second-hand smoke can be detrimental to your pet and cause various ailments. The best option is to quit smoking altogether, but for those dog owners who cannot do this, keep your pet inside while you step outside to light up.

Although it can be cute for Fido or Rover to beg as you are eating your meals, fatty table foods can increase the risk of pancreatitis. Pet owners who have a hard time saying no to those big, pleading eyes may want to consider feeding the dog in another room while the family eats.

“Some foods, such as garlic and chocolate, can be toxic for pets. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of foods that are dangerous for dogs to consume,” Giedt said.

Good parents do not let their children run around unsupervised, and the same holds true for responsible dog owners. Do not let your pet roam free, even if they are tagged or microchipped. When your pet needs to be outside, make sure to enclose them in a fenced yard. Always keep your pet on a leash when out for a stroll.

Giedt said forgoing spaying and neutering can be a danger to your dog’s health. This is still one of the best ways to reduce the risk of various cancers. Each heat cycle a female dog goes through makes her more prone to the development of mammary cancer. In addition, intact males are more likely to develop prostatic diseases and testicular cancer than neutered dogs.

“Keeping these things in mind is the first step to ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life,” she said.

Article reposted from:
By Trisha Gedon

The Link Between Cancer and Your Pet's Size and Color

October 2nd, 2015

There is nothing a dog parent fears more than hearing the devastating words, “Your dog has cancer.” And one of the first questions many distraught pet owners ask is, “Why? Why my dog? How did this happen?” Often, feelings of guilt set in immediately as the person wonders what he or she could have done differently to help their pet avoid this horrible disease.

While there are many things you can do for your canine companion to lower the risk of cancer, the truth is that we can’t discount the role heredity plays in determining whether or not a dog develops the disease.

The Role of Genetics in Canine Cancer

When it comes to genetics, each dog breed is a “closed, isolated population,” according to Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, a board-certified veterinary oncologist.

In order to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other kennel clubs, a dog must be the product of other registered dogs, thereby insuring no new genes are introduced into the breed. That means every purebred dog is a relative, however distant, of other dogs of that breed.

Since the majority of owners of purebreds don’t breed their dogs, the gene pool stays small. Most professional breeders decide which dogs to breed based not on several generations of lifelong robust health, but on a specific set of physical traits they want to reproduce or “enhance.”

The result is that in some breeds, the genes that increase the risk of cancer are reproduced in generation after generation of dogs.

The good news, such as it is, is that limited genetic diversity within dog breeds can help scientists identify the genes responsible for cancer and other inherited diseases.

“Once the genes are identified, tests can be developed and used to help avoid breeding individual dogs with the ‘bad genes’,” says Dr. Hohenhaus.

Researchers are just beginning to identify these genes.

Several Breeds in the Mastiff Group Have a High Incidence of Cancer

The fact that all dogs have a common ancestor, the wolf, plays a role in the perpetuation of gene mutations that increase the risk for cancer.

Dr. Hohenhaus uses the example of the Mastiff group, which includes several breeds with a high incidence of cancer. These include the Boxer (mast cell tumors), the Bernese Mountain Dog (histiocytic sarcoma), the Golden Retriever (lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma), and the Rottweiler (osteosarcoma).

When researchers compare the DNA of Golden Retrievers with hemangiosarcoma and other breeds with the disease, the genetic abnormalities are different. Interestingly, Golden Retrievers in the UK, where the breed originated, rarely develop cancer.

Their genes are significantly different from those of US Goldens, which indicates the risk of hemangiosarcoma in American Goldens is the result, in part, of a fairly recent gene mutation.

Golden Retrievers are also at significant risk for lymphoma, and researchers studying cancer in Goldens have identified genetic alterations common to dogs with either type of cancer. These gene mutations “modify the regulation of the immune system’s surveillance for tumor cells,” according to Dr. Hohenhaus.

Genes for Size and Coat Color Also Play a Role

Scientists believe that there are multiple genes that play a role in the development of cancer in dogs. Since many large and giant breeds develop bone cancer (osteosarcoma), but dogs under 55 pounds rarely do, it appears genes that program the size of a dog are also involved.

Dr. Hohenhaus uses the example of Greyhounds and Whippets, two breeds that are very similar both physically and genetically. However, Greyhounds develop osteosarcoma at a high rate, but in Whippets, the disease is rarely seen.

Dogs with black coats appear to have a much higher incidence of squamous cell carcinoma affecting the nail bed of one or more toes than lighter coated dogs of the same breed, for example, Poodles.

The gene mutation that produces the cancer is present in dogs of both coat colors, but the Poodles with white, apricot, and brown coats also have a variation in a different gene that provides a protective effect against the squamous cell carcinoma mutation.

According to Dr. Hohenhaus, two other black-coated breeds with a predisposition to this type of cancer, the Briard and the Giant Schnauzer, also have the gene mutation.

10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Pets

Sadly, cancer is the leading cause of death in pet dogs (and cats) in the US. Up to 50 percent of pets will die of cancer.

According to Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center, the top 10 warning signs of cancer in pets are:

  1. Unusual swellings that don’t go away or that grow. The best way to discover lumps, bumps, or swelling on your dog or cat is to pet him.
  2. Sores that won’t heal. Non-healing sores can be a sign of infection or cancer and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.
  3. Weight loss. Illness could be the reason your pet is losing weight but isn’t on a diet.
  4. Loss of appetite. Reluctance or refusal to eat is another sign of possible illness.
  5. Bleeding or discharge. Bleeding can occur for a number of reasons, most of which signal a problem. Unexplained vomiting and diarrhea are considered abnormal discharges, as well.
  6. Offensive smell. An unpleasant odor is a common sign of tumors of the anus, mouth, or nose.
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing. This is a common sign of cancers of the mouth or neck.
  8. Reluctance to exercise or low energy level. This is often one of the first signs that a pet is not feeling well.
  9. Persistent lameness. There can be many causes of lameness, including nerve, muscle, or bone cancer.
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating. These symptoms should be evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you see any of these signs in your dog, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many of the symptoms of cancer are also present with other diseases.

Blood tests to detect certain kinds of canine cancer are available and continue to improve. Veterinary Diagnostics Institute (VDI) makes both canine and feline cancer panels, plus a test called InCaSe designed to be used during wellness checkups in apparently healthy animals.

There is also the Tri-Screen Canine Lymphoma Assay Kit.

The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better your pet’s treatment options may be. It’s also important to take your canine companion for regular wellness exams – I recommend twice annually for young, healthy dogs and more often for older pets and those with chronic conditions.

If your dog belongs to one of the breeds predisposed to cancer, you might want to consider more frequent checkups as well.

Article reposted from:
By Dr. Becker

7 Signs Your Dog Definitely Needs More Exercise

September 30th, 2015

Sufficient exercise is important for all dogs, but some require more than others. Toy breeds are fine with a regular daily walk, while working breeds might need an hour or so of running. Regardless of your dog’s breed, their individual needs will vary as well. If you think your dog is getting enough exercise but you’re seeing some of the telltale signs of inadequate activity we’ve listed here, your dog probably needs to get out a little bit more.

#1 – Obesity

Probably the easiest sign that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise is their weight. Overweight dogs need more exercise (and probably less food intake), because maintaining a healthy weight is very important. Just like people, obesity in dogs causes a wide range of health problems.

#2 – Destructive Behavior

Most destructive behavior happens when dogs are bored. A tired dog is a good dog, as the saying goes, and a bored dog that needs to burn energy will likely take it out on your furniture, walls, gardens and precious belongings. If you have an overly destructive dog, consider that a lack of adequate exercise might be the sole cause.

#3 – Excessive Barking

Many dogs will begin barking when they are bored, especially if you aren’t home. Dogs only have so many ways to communicate their feelings with us and constant barking is a great way to get our attention. Often, all they want to tell us is that they want to go outside and play! Bottled up energy almost always comes out in the form of vocalization.

#4 – Constant Rough Play

Do you have a dog that just can’t play nice? While some owners enjoy wrestling with their dogs, a dog that can’t play without being overly active is often a sign of a dog that has extra energy to burn. If they have too much cooped up energy, they’ll likely have too little self control to play softly.

#5 – Restlessness & Anxiety

Many owners note that their dogs never sleep through the night or constantly keep everyone awake as they wander around the house. Any dog that doesn’t get enough exercise is likely to be restless and if they aren’t given the opportunity to burn their energy, they will get overly anxious and begin pacing. A lack of exercise is just as bad for your dogs mind as it is their body.

#6 – Pulling On Leash

You might have a nice, obedient dog inside the house, but if their overly excited and out of control outside you might not be taking them out enough. Pulling on leash isn’t always bad behavior, it could mean that your dog just really has a lot of energy to burn and needs a nice run rather than a slow stroll. While dogs can and should be trained to behave themselves outside, it’s often not fair to ask them to be controlled when they aren’t given the opportunity to burn their energy elsewhere.

#7 – Attention Seeking

While most dogs will bother their owners from time to time, some dogs are overly obnoxious and are constantly bugging their owners. Whether they’re pushing their nose into you, dropping toys in your lap, whining and barking or just wandering around aimlessly, a dog that is actively seeking attention all day long is likely a dog that isn’t getting enough exercise.

Article reposted from:
By Katie Finlay

Indiana couple makes emotional video of dog's final days on earth

September 28th, 2015

You may remember Sheridan – an Indiana dog who received national attention over the last year!

In July 2013, Sheridan was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an extremely aggressive bone tumor. In order to slow down the spreading of the cancer and reduce his pain, Sheridan’s right forelimb was amputated.

His owners, veterinary students Morgan and Zach, created an emotional video following the life of Sheridan before and after his amputation. Even while enduring chemotherapy for six months, Sheridan continued to act like his energetic self, rolling around in the sand, jumping into pools and chasing tennis balls.

The video went viral, and Morgan and Zach used this opportunity as a platform to talk about Bone Cancer Dogs, a non-profit organization that works to exclusively to fund research for canine bone cancer.

Sadly, Sheridan passed away on Thursday, September 17.

Sheridan lived to be 8-years old, and amputation and chemotherapy extended his life for 14 months after diagnosis.

Morgan and Zach say they miss him dearly and hope his story continues to inspire others.

After 14 months of chemotherapy and an amputation, Sheridan the dog passed away from bone cancer.

His owners created a tear-jerking video of his final days.

Two Indiana veterinarian students created a very emotional video of their dog’s final days on earth and his fight against bone cancer.

Story reposted from:
By Kylee Wierks

9-Year-Old Perfectly Sums Up Why Rescuing A Dog Is So Worth It

September 25th, 2015

You don’t have to be a grown-up to get why adopting a shelter dog is such an incredible (and important) thing to do – or why rescues make the best pets.

Nine-year-old Sadie Bettendorf summed it up perfectly last week, explaining why she and her family adopted their new pit bull, Maxx, from the Siouxland Humane Society in Sioux City, Iowa. “They need homes,” Sadie told local outlet KTIV, adding that Maxx “makes our family complete.”

The Bettendorfs were brokenhearted in June after their pittie, Blue, died of cancer — they were desperately searching for a new dog to help them feel whole again.

They asked the Siouxland Humane Society to give them a call if any new pit bulls were brought in. They wanted a dog who would remind them of Blue.

Maxx arrived at the shelter a month ago, assistant shelter director Kelly Erie told The Dodo, but he needed surgery to fix a painful case of bladder stones before he could be adopted.

Erie realized, though, that Maxx could be a perfect fit for the Bettendorf family when he was ready for a home. “He’s very nice, well mannered, loved to be around people,” Erie said.

Sioux City, where the shelter is located, has a discriminatory city-wide pit bull ban. But the Bettendorfs live nearby in Minnesota, in a town with no pit bull ban — yet another reason they were a great match for Maxx.

Sadie, her dad and one of the Bettendorfs’ other pitties, Sugar, drove the six hours from their home to Sioux City last week to meet Maxx — and it was love at first sight.

“Sadie fell in love instantly,” Erie said. That same day the Bettendorfs made it final, and brought Maxx home with them for good.

“Maxx is now our newest ‘tribe’ member,” Patrick Bettendorf told The Dodo. “And we are soooo happy to have him!”

Adopting a dog from a shelter doesn’t just bring families joy — it also teaches valuable lessons and helps kids become animal lovers for life.

“Anytime someone adopts a pet at an animal shelter, it’s teaching their kids responsibility,” Erie said.

If you’re ready to add a shelter pet to your family, find waiting dogs at

Story reposted from:
By Anna Swartz

Tiny Beads Cause a Revolution in Cancer Treatment in Dogs

September 23rd, 2015

New options for cancer treatments in dogs don’t exactly occur every day. Around 2008, I heard of a new option to complement cancer surgery. So far, my results using this option have been very impressive.

Until recently, my “follow up” treatment after removal of cancerous tumors included chemotherapy and radiation therapy, just like in people. Both options have potential side-effects, and their cost can reach thousands of dollars, that’s why I’m excited about the new option of chemo beads.

About chemo beads

Chemo beads cost a fraction of any other option. Using chemo beads, veterinarians are now able to place tiny cisplatin-impregnated beads around the tumor site. Cisplatin is then slowly released from the beads, which are reabsorbed by the body over 4-6 weeks. Cisplatin is a common chemo drug, normally used IV in our canine cancer patients. One of the most common side-effects of this method is kidney damage. Now, by including a minuscule dose of cisplatin in the beads (instead of IV), we are able to drastically decrease, if not eliminate, the side-effects.

The beads measure 3 mm in diameter, or about 1 tenth of an inch.

The limitations of chemo beads

Although cisplatin beads seem to prevent the cancer from coming back, they do not prevent spreading (metastasis), e.g. to the lungs. Luckily, some of these tumors do not spread readily to begin with.

When are the beads placed?

The best time to place the beads is at the time of surgery, when we know exactly where the tumor was and where cancer-free “margins” (i.e. edges) are questionable. Implanting beads after the surgery (e.g. after the biopsy report reveals narrow margins) has 3 drawbacks:

  • It is difficult to know where margins were
  • It requires another surgery under anesthesia
  • There are additional costs.

The number of beads varies with the size of the tumor. They are typically placed every 1-2 cm. However, to decrease the risk of complications, we try to limit the number of beads to 15 in dogs. This means that the tumor can’t be too big, if the patient is to be a good candidate.

Side-effects of chemo beads

Side-effects are rare and typically local. They occasionally include swelling, irritation and skin drainage. Although IV cisplatin is toxic to the kidneys in dogs, general side-effects have not been observed after bead placement in dogs.

Chemo bead safety for people

Ironically, chemo drugs can cause cancer. Therefore, the pet parent should not touch any drainage with their bare hands. It is important to wear disposable, single-use gloves to clean any oozing. The patient should wear an E collar 24/7, and should be separated from other pets.

FDA on chemo beads

Cisplatin beads have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in dogs. However, there are almost no FDA chemotherapy drugs approved for pets! Most often, what veterinarians must use are actual human drugs.

Which cancers might chemo beads be used for?

Cisplatin beads do not work on all tumors. Your veterinarian or a veterinary surgeon is in the best position to decide if they are appropriate. Indications include tumors removed with “thin margins” such as:

  • Soft tissue sarcomas (nerve sheath tumor, fibrosarcoma, hemangiopericytoma)
  • Melanoma (in the skin or the mouth)
  • Some carcinomas (squamous cell carcinoma, salivary gland carcinoma, thyroid carcinoma, anal sac carcinoma)

I have used the beads in a variety of cancerous tumors with impressive results, including:

  • After the removal of a cancerous tumor (carcinoma) of the anal gland in dogs (most common)
  • Multiple soft tissue sarcomas, e.g. a nerve sheath tumor in the upper thigh, a fibrosarcoma in the tongue, hemangiopericytomas in the legs
  • Several thyroid cancerous masses (carcinoma)

My view of chemo beads

So far the beads have been remarkably well tolerated, and I have not seen any toxicity at all, in the kidney or anywhere else. They can, however, have local side-effects, around the surgery area. Based on informal conversations, other surgeons who use the beads have been as impressed as I have with the results.

So what’s my take? Overall, the beads are keeping their promise: they are effective, cost far less than all other options, and have had few side-effects.

Chemo beads have changed the way I deal with cancer surgery. Sadly, few colleagues have even heard about them. Hopefully, more surgeons start to use them, so that more patients can benefit from the tiny beads nationwide.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Article reposted from:
By Dr. Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ

UW researchers testing drug as 'fountain of youth' for pet dogs

September 21st, 2015

Merlin is a black lab who works wonders as Leila Jones’ service dog. If there was a pill that could magically make Merlin live longer, Jones is buying.

“If I could extend his life a couple more years that would be great,” said Jones, who considers Merlin her only child.

Merlin may be in luck. Researchers at the University of Washington Medical Center are looking for the fountain of youth for dogs, trying to increase their lifespan by 1 to 4 years.

“We’re not turning back time, what we’re really trying to do is slow the aging process,” said Professor of Pathology, Matt Kaeberlein who is heading up the Dog Aging Project.

Bella is an 8-year-old rescue dog, a mix of Australian Shepard and Border Collie. She is among 32 older dogs participating in clinical trials, receiving doses of a drug called Rapamycin.

The pets will be monitored to see if the drug delays diseases that come with age. “Dogs also get a lot of the same diseases as people do when they get older, dogs get cancer, they get heart disease, they get dementia,” said Kaeberlein.

Researchers have studied Rapamycin’s impact on worms, yeast, fruit flies, and mice and say it’s extended the lifespan in several organisms with few side effects.

What would take 30 years to test in humans, takes 3 years to identify in dogs.

“What we’ll learn from this study will be important in applying these discoveries to human aging, but the primary goal for me personally is to improve the quality of life for pet dogs,” said Kaeberlein, who has two dogs of her own.

Bella’s owner says she signed up for clinical trials out of selfish reasons. A pet’s quality of life has a direct impact on the owner’s quality of life.

“If she didn’t greet me at the door saying it’s time to play, I probably wouldn’t go out running every night,” said Lynn Gemmell.

Article reposted from:
By Elisa Jaffe

Life lessons I learnt from my dog

September 18th, 2015

I’ve had a few ‘aha’ moments in the past few days observing my adorable yellow lab, Daisy. Seriously, I’m not joking; she’s definitely taught me some essential life lessons.

Don’t roll your eyes! Let me elaborate.

1. Living in the moment:

Nope, I’m not going to spew out any words of wisdom from Eckhart Tolle’s book- The Power of Now and a New Earth.

But dogs really do live in the moment. They have no clue of what’s coming next (the future), and they easily forgive you for the deeds of the past.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve taken a short road trip and organised a picnic with friends. Of course Daisy went with us everywhere. But every time we loaded her in the car, she had no clue where were going, for long we were going to be away or when we’d come back home. She was just happy to be with us and went with the flow wagging her tail.

Now I am such a big sucker for planning and organizing my day/ week- that this way of being just blows my mind away! I know in my mind that I need to let go more and experience the flow of life- but observing Daisy being so happy go lucky really drove the point home for me.

2. Unconditional love:

Dogs don’t hold onto any grudges. They just love you for who you are never expecting you to change for them.

They just want to be with you and are happy in your presence. Whether you cuddle them, play with them, discipline them, teach them tricks or scold them for being naughty; they take it all in a good stride! I remember my first dog Timmy would wait by the door at 3.00pm and 7.00pm every day, as those were the times I and my dad would return home from school and work respectively. She was ready to receive us rain or shine.

Imagine how different our lives would be, if only we humans could love so unconditionally!

3. Complete surrender/ faith:

Our dogs completely trust and surrender to us ‘masters’. They trust us with their life! They trust that we will feed them, protect them, care for them and love them. And in return, they do exactly the same for us, every moment of their lives- whether or not we carry out our responsibilities towards them.

So why am I, a nutritionist, writing about this ‘dog philosophy’ instead of nutrition? Because holistic nutrition is about the mind, body and spirit! Eating healthy, nutritious food is one pillar of your wellbeing. But mental peace and calm is the other important pillar. The high stress lifestyles we lead these days ruin our health, even if we eat healthy.

If only we can learn a lesson from our pets and learn to live in the moment, offer unconditional love and have faith that all will be well- then indeed ‘all will be well’.

Try it for yourself, just like me!

Article reposted from:
By Tanuja Dabir

Dog at death's door with cancer bounces back to win top competition

September 17th, 2015

An 11-year-old dog has bounced-back from an aggressive form of cancer to win at the world’s most prestigious dog show.

Nakura, a basenji, has been best in show and champion at a number of dog shows over the years.

But her family feared the worst when a trip to the vet revealed she had a massive tumour last year.

After surgery to remove the lump – which weighed almost a kilogram – Nakura made a full recovery, before going on to win in the Best Veteran Bitch class at Crufts.

Nakura’s owner, Victoria Miller, 37, has been overwhelmed by her dog’s recovery.

Victoria, from Oban, said: “She had to rest for the six weeks following the surgery – but she was desperate to get out and run about.

“Nakura has a bounce in her step and is like a new dog since the surgery – it’s been like having a puppy again.”

Victoria had no idea there was anything wrong with her pet until her husband picked her up and she yelped in pain.

She said: “The tumour came as such a shock to us, looking back her weight had probably dropped quite a bit – but at the time there didn’t seem to be any symptoms.”

The canine was taken to the out of hours vet in Oban before being referred to a surgery in Glasgow.

A scan revealed the mass had grown so large it was starting to drain the blood supply from from the pooch’s stomach, and was eating away at the fat layers of the stomach.

If left untreated, Nakura would likely have died within weeks, but the operation also presented risks due to her age.

She said: “We were given options because they didn’t know if they would be able to operate or not.

“Chances were she would only survive a couple of weeks.

“They could cut her open and discover they could do nothing and finish it there or take her home.

“Or they could open her up discover they could operate and everything was fine, so we went for it. It was worth taking the chance.

“It was a nervous couple of hours waiting.”

After the operation, Nakura was so keen to go home Victoria had to pick the dog up a day early.

She said she looked “really good” despite having gone through a major operation.

She added: “I thought she would be really unstable or maybe unable to walk but she was straight out wagging her tail.”

The old dog is continuing to thrive and Victoria has no plans to stop showing her yet.

She has won three more shows since having the operation.

She said: “She’s definitely got a few more competitions left in her – maybe even Crufts again next year.”

Dr Liz Welsh, from the Vets Now surgery in Glasgow, said: “Nakura was diagnosed with a large liver mass.

“It was so big it could be easily felt through her body wall and an ultrasound scan confirmed it was attached to the liver.

“It was removed at surgery and found to weigh just under a kilogram.

“She is a very brave dog and we are so proud of her for bouncing back and winning such a prestigious prize.”

Story reposted from:
By Martin Little