I'm Sam Litzinger with Dr. Gary Weitzman of the San Diego Humane Society. Ask your animal-related questions, 1-877-610-3647 or email@example.com. Again, our telephone number is 877-610-3647. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer to do it that way. That's fine by us. Let's take a telephone call from Barbara. Barbara, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
I do. I have actually two questions. I'm hoping to get both of the them in.
Oh, we'll try to make one of them accurate then.
On answers anyway.
We have modest goals here, Barbara. Go ahead.
Well, recently -- well, over time I had found a sort of mass on the back of my dog who is a Goldendoodle.
She's about eight years old and for about, I don't know, six months or a year, I've been feeling this thing and just presuming that it was, you know, innocuous, and it wasn't...
...it was just a little fatty cyst or something.
And I took her in about a week ago for shots and pointed it out to the vet and he was disconcerted by -- he said it felt a little odd and sure enough it said it should come out, but he -- and it did. This past Monday it was removed and they're having it biopsied.
Okay. Okay. Good.
But he explained to me at one point, I think, in an attempt to reassure me, that these things can -- they're seldom invasive and that...
...they're oftentimes basal cell, but under, you know, dogs get them internally versus humans who get them on the skin.
And so we don't, at this point know what it is for sure. She's come through the surgery, she's sitting right here, and she's perfect, and -- but...
Okay. Did he feel like he got it all out, that it was just a separate, you know, mass that he could remove?
He did say that. Yeah.
Okay. Good. Good .
I mean, I didn't actually -- yeah. I think he did feel like he got it out.
But I just want to know is that -- is that your understanding that they're typically not invasive?
Yeah. Yeah. Actually, you know, the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of them are absolutely innocuous in dogs and to some extent cats, but mostly dogs develop them as they get older with vigor and they're not anything to worry about, but the right thing to do is to always have your vet check them out. And if there's any question in any of our minds, we do a little fine needle aspirate and see what kind of cells it looks like and then go to surgery if we need to, or sometimes just go to surgery if it feels funny.
And it's always, you know, better to err on the side of being conservative, but what I would tell everybody out there is that, you know, partner with your vet and discuss it. But your absolutely right, Barbara, I think that was right if he or she was concerned to take it off and find out what it is. But in most of the cases they're absolutely benign. They're called lipomas and they're just a benign mass that's made up of fat cells.
And they do nothing but form large globs underneath the skin. So, you know, it's aesthetic and that's about the worst thing.
If they're not benign, are they then invasive, or they can usually be or you...
Well, it absolutely depends on what the cytology comes back as -- what the histology comes back as.
And if it's -- and that's why it's good to send it off. Your vet's right, of course, basal cell tumors are generally benign in dogs. And honestly, in my experience, if you can go in there and just take it out, it's generally a completely benign, innocuous, you know, mass….
...that you don't have to worry about. In the cases where it actually infiltrates and it goes farther, then we watch them. In a lot of cases, those are not a problem either, but, you know, we know that they might grow back. But you did the right thing to get the histology on it from your vet.
Good for you, Barbara. What's your -- now, what's your...
But I would say don't worry too much right now.
Yeah. Until the results come back, and then you can report back to us...
...one way or the other. Now, what was your second question, Barbara?
My second question I wrote in had to do with heat and there was the article about how to keep your dogs cool, and I read it through...
...and he had always shaved our dogs and now I have the impression that's not a good idea.
It depends on the coat of the dog. There are certainly Huskies and those animals that have the very thick undercoat, Shepherds that you want to get that at least raked out, but seriously, I've seen such a change in a dog's temperament during the summer when they've had a good clip.
And I think it's a great thing to do. Now, you may not have to do it because my real advice on keeping your dog cool is to keep your dog inside in air-condition.
But, I mean, so it just really depends on how much outdoor activity you're expecting from her...
...and what you're, you know, really what her activity is like, and if she's at all overweight.
Well, I'm keeping it very low at the moment.
Yeah. Absolutely. And yours too, I'm sure.
Right. All the human activity is at a low level too.
But, you know, it's the same thing with, you know, obesity too in dogs. We don't want them to get too overweight because we're not, you know, increasing their activity in the summer. On the other hand, if they are overweight, that is even more of a burden on them to stay cool. So I would say if you're dog seems comfortable, i.e. she's not panting or dragging behind you outside and you're keeping it to a brief activity outside, you're probably doing fine just to groom her and get that coat raked out.
If she really seems like she's uncomfortable in the heat...
...yeah. Get her shaved down. They look like puppies.
All the way down to the skin, or...
No. No. No. You know, just a very -- your groomer will know exactly where to go.
But like with a number two clipper and it just goes down so there's sort of a buzz cut around her.
And they're all fuzzy, they look terrific. So I think that's absolutely fine to do. And you know what, your groomer is a really good resource here too.
Because they'll know exactly what to do with your particular mix of dog.
Okay. Well, thank you.
But there's no harm in -- no harm in shaving.
Thank you, Barbara. You're going to have a fashionable dog I think.
Yes. Well, they look like puppies.
She's always fashionable.
She is. (laugh) Thanks, Barbara. Let's take a telephone call from Ann. Ann, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yes. I really like the program.
Well, thank you. It's all Gary. He does all that good work there.
I know. I know.
So, my sister lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., and she happens to be in Montana right now and couldn't be able for this. She called -- we are to stay in very close contact through the phone. And she called me one day when she was sitting in her car. She had pulled in, she stopped. When I asked her why she'd stopped, she said to listen to the end of on NPR program and she said when she looked up, there was a mother -- she knows now it was a mother deer...
... there was this deer, an adult deer staring at her and she stared back and it seemed to go on for a long time.
At that point, she didn't know had fawn. They may have been around. That might have -- but she didn't know that, and she kept wondering...
... what the mother deer wanted, what the deer wanted. She felt she was being asked something and she didn't know how to answer.
Oh, I know. I'm sure the deer was wondering what your sister wanted...
... sitting in the driveway.
You know, it's an issue, you know. It's wonderful to live in an environment that abuts the woods and we've got nature all around us. It's kind of like a Walt Disney moment and, you know, deer are certainly -- they are a beautiful creature to run into, especially if we're in a more urban setting. But it happens more and more and it's a problem. And most communities, urban communities anyway, Chapel Hill being one of them, are looking at ways to control and manage the deer population.
Yes, they are.
And it's incredibly controversial as you'd expect and, you know, to me, it always goes back to the question that we wanted to ask earlier about the gophers underneath Sahi's house, is it a problem? So if your sister is driving into her home and there's a deer there, even if she had fawns with her, is it a problem? And, you know, to me it's just a -- it's a beautiful thing to see, but if she has all of a sudden an entire herd in her backyard, that might be. That might be a problem.
So the question is how do you control it, and there's anything from deer abatement to try and, you know, culling the deer, which is incredibly, as you can expect, controversial, to finding ways to relocate the deer, to -- it's just very difficult...
Trying to sterilize the deer I've heard. Everything.
Sterilize the deer. Right.
People are coming up with all kinds of ideas.
And it's an issue, and I don't know how big of an issue it is for your sister, but if it's not a big issue, I'd just say live peaceably. It's a good exercise for all of us. If it is an issue, then there are wildlife rehabbers to consult with and there are all these products out on the market that have incredibly variable success rates to try to keep deer off your property. There are chemicals and they're usually nontoxic. I would encourage people to make sure they're nontoxic before they put them down and I don't think that they work that well, but she could always try that.
Well, I'll just let her decide that.
Yeah. She's got...
Well, there's a way to have both. That would be probably be the best solution. I think the fence is not a bad idea.
Yeah. That's what -- the way I, Ann, personally out at my place, because we had a vegetable garden for years, and then for the first two seasons it was like a deer buffet, you know, deer came from everywhere.
That's right. That's right.
And this year I said, you know, I'd like to have some of these vegetables that I planted for myself, so I put up a fence in some areas of the garden and that seemed to work out. So it's a kind of compromise.
Well, that makes sense.
I think deer are more beautiful to have on your property than flowers.
Yeah. (laugh) He's an animal kind of guy.
There you go.
But talk to your sister and then report back to us to see what you've decided at the end the day there. Thank you very much, Ann. Our telephone number is 877-610-3647. Our email address is email@example.com. Let's take a telephone call from Kate. Kate, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yes. I have two Wedgie Siamese cats, Dexter and...
What does Wedgie mean? What does that signify?
I don't even know. What does Wedgie mean?
Oh, they're the space alien looking Siamese cats.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Oh. (laugh) Okay.
I know what you're thinking.
Skinny, you know, long...
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Really exotic looking animals, yeah.
With the pointy noses and -- okay. All right. Interesting.
And very loving and very friendly and just -- they're even more people oriented, all things being equal than the apple-head Siamese cats are.
Well, they -- they're names are Dexter and Jack, and they're 17 years old.
Oh, wonderful. Okay.
And they need their teeth cleaned.
Always fun with a cat, isn't it? Yeah.
Yes. They're in good health pretty much. Jack's kidney numbers are just a little bit off...
...and Dexter apparently has developed a heart murmur.
And I am worried about anesthetizing such old guys.
Yeah. Yeah. I understand that, and I would agree, and I would be concerned too. Have you talked to your vet about this?
Did they recommend the dental?
Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah.
Okay. All right.
They've got to have their teeth cleaned. That's -- a thing about wedgies is they seem -- their teeth seem to get to need dentals more often than other cats.
Oh, right. Because it's that's narrow -- like a Greyhound. It's that narrow mouth, and...
Yeah. You're right. There's more (word?) bacteria, they do tend to buildup more tartar and plaque.
Okay, Kate. Here's the thing that we always tell people, and I think this is a conversation that you need to have -- really sit down with your vet and talk to him or her about the next steps.
But age itself is not a disease, so your 17-year-old cats can be very healthy...
...and Siamese we know have extraordinarily -- or can have extraordinarily long lives.
So they could live to be 22, 24. I even had a friend who had a Siamese who was 27 years old.
And that's, of course, not the norm, but they are long-life cats. So you're doing the right thing to get them checked up, get blood work done, get a urinalysis, because we know that the, you know, rate limiting factor in cats is the kidneys, and kidney function.
But I think I would talk to your vet about can they stand the anesthesia. So there's two issues. One is the kidney starting to slow down a little bit on Dexter?
And then Dexter has the heart murmur.
So, I would say that -- I would evaluate both of those. I am a little worried to here about kidney, you know, numbers going up, and then you're thinking about anesthesia...
...so that's the -- that's the conversation with your vet. And then for the -- for Dexter, there being a heart murmur could mean that there's actually underlying heart disease and it may be totally and probably is manageable, but you need to get a diagnosis on that before doing anesthesia, unfortunately. Because if there is any compromise with the heart, you do not want to knock him out until you get that evaluated. So those are two things that I think the answers unfortunately need to come from your vet examining those animals.
But the questions for you are, can Jack's kidneys withstand anesthesia...
...and for Dexter, what's the underlying problem with the heart, because you need to get that diagnosed regardless.
Two conversations or one long conversation with your vet...
Okay? A lot to take in.
...coming up, Kate.
Yeah. Pretty basic questions.
Go back to the vet.
If you can do it, and everything proves to be okay, honestly animals could use their teeth cleaned when they get older, because -- especially if there's a heart murmur...
...you don't want that, you know, that bacteria and that plaque...
...getting down into the heart. So it's -- it's very helpful.
Can they suddenly develop a heart murmur? Because this is the first time it's come up.
Yeah. Yeah. They can. And generally if it comes up this late in life, it's probably nothing too serious.
So don't, you know, don't be terrified. I think, you know, always good to have information and it's an echocardiogram. It does not require anesthesia, just a cardiology visit. You know, really even just once to get the diagnosis, but it can happen as they get older and it can be nothing and that's what you -- we're going to cross our fingers and hope.
Good luck, Kate.
Thank you very much, and thank you Dr. Gary.
Your welcome. I'm Dr. Gary Weitzman with an "Animal House" pet care tip. It's summer and the heat is on. If your animals have white coats or pink noses, keep them indoors or out of the sun, especially if they happen to be cats. White coated cats with bright pink skin or very susceptible to squamous cell carcinoma. That's a nasty little cancer that can cause them to lose ear tips or worse. Use sun block if you can, and keep your white cats away from the windows on bright days. For "The Animal House," I'm Dr. Gary Weitzman.
This edition of "The Animal House" is almost finished, but first, here's the answer to our Animal of the Day quiz. Earlier we asked if you knew the name of the species that is its modern-day descendant of Indricotherium, considered the largest mammal ever to walk the earth. The answer is the rhinoceros. Thanks to our guests, Rebecca Katz, Ingrid Newkirk and Douglas Lawson for their contributions today. We also thank Bob James, Acoustic Alchemy and Camille (word?) for their music today. Special thanks to Dr. Gary Weitzman for his work, and thanks to you for joining us in "The Animal House." I'm Sam Litzinger.
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