Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

2 Common Cat Cancers & What to Watch for

A cat with cancer has pet insurance to help with veterinary bills.By Dr. Tracy McFarland. Dr. McFarland has been a practicing veterinarian for 30 years, focusing exclusively on cats for the past 20 years. She also writes for Pets Best, a cat insurance agency.

Cats tend to hide their illnesses, making it difficult to detect cancers as early as possible. No one wants to admit their pet may have cancer, but the most surefire way to sense an illness is simply to observe. Ultimately, owners know their cat’s daily routine and behavior traits, so keeping an eye out for changes, is encouraged. If you feel there might be something wrong, trust your instincts and schedule an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Two common types of cancer in cats:

The most common type of cancer found in cats, Lymphoma affects almost every part of the cat’s body including the kidneys, stomach, intestines, liver, spleen and even the spine. Besides weight loss, other symptoms include weakness, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes. The standard treatment is chemotherapy, while that’s not an option for all cats, palliative therapy with injectable or oral cortisone can temporarily help achieve better quality of life for the cat.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This type of skin cancer is most commonly found in white haired cats, because they are more susceptible to significant sun exposure. Symptoms include sores and scratches, typically found on the nose, eyelids, or ears. If diagnosed early, this form of cancer is extremely treatable and is usually cured with surgery. Squamous cell carcinomas can be found in the mouth, which can be much harder to detect. This can occur when a cat is grooming and comes into contact with cigarette smoke particles. Look for signs of drooling, facial swelling, weight loss and difficulty eating.

What to watch for:Read More…

What Breeds Are Your Mutt? Georgie’s Genetic Test Reveal

A mixed breed dog.

In July we asked our over 40,000 Pets Best Facebook fans to share photos and stories of their adopted mixed breed dogs for a chance to win a genetic test in honor of National Mutt Day, which is celebrated bi-annually in both July and December. The winner was a spirited, three-legged dog named Georgie.

Mixed breed dogs are by far the number one insured dog breed with the pet insurance agency, Pets Best, accounting for about 30% of all the dogs insured. Many pet parents guess or assume the breeds of their mutt, but actually discovering what breeds the dog is can be surprising!

Prior to receiving the genetic test, we interviewed Georgie’s pet parent, Lisa, to see what her thoughts were before learning of his results.

What breed(s) do you think Georgie is?
I’m guessing Georgie is a pit bull/Labrador/German shepherd mix. My husband thinks there may be some Rhodesian Ridgeback and my veterinarian is leaning towards Boxer.

When did you get Georgie and do you know anything about his history prior to you adopting him?
Georgie was left in front of the Terre Haute Humane Society, overnight in an outside kennel with his back left paw cut off and no explanation. With the help of community donations and a generous fourth-grader selling t-shirts and raffle tickets, they raised enough money to cover the cost of Georgie’s amputation surgery. He entered foster care, but was still unable to find a home in Indiana. At five months old, he was rescued by S.A.F.E. Sanctuary, here in Minnesota. We then adopted Georgie through PetFinders in 2005.

What are some of your favorite things about Georgie’s personality?
He is so darn happy all the time. He loves everyone and is such a sweetheart. Anyone who meets Georgie falls in love with him. Georgie really loves life on the farm. He enjoys riding in the Kawasaki Mule with me and finding a shady spot in the vineyard while I’m working. He is crazy about broccoli, green beans, and carrots and thinks having his teeth brushed is so much fun, probably because I get excited about it. He also loves to run around in big circles as fast as he can.

How has Georgie impacted your life?Read More…

Dog Breed Guide: Bloodhound

A Bloodhound puppy with pet insurance from Pets Best.

A Bloodhound.

Dr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Bloodhound

Height (to base of neck): females 23-25″ males 25-27″
Weight:  females 80-100 lb, males 90-110 lb
Color: Black and tan, liver and tan or red.
Origin: Mediterranean
Coat: Smooth, short and hard hairs with softer texture hair on the ears.
Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
Energy level: Moderate to high
Exercise needs: Moderate to high

Is a Bloodhound the Right Dog Breed for You?

The bloodhound was bred to follow scents for hunting and they continue to excel in tracking, often used by the military and police force for search and rescue.  They are determined and hardworking.  They tend to be even tempered, docile and can be a little shy.  They are friendly with other dogs and people.  Puppies are highly curious and have been known to eat inappropriate objects.  They are not trust-worthy off leash because of their tendency to follow scents.  They are high energy outside, but tend to be pretty quiet indoors. Bloodhounds are droolers, and can be vocal and prone to howling, baying and whining.

Common Illnesses, Medical Conditions and Accidents for the Bloodhound 

Read More…

Dog Paws & Santa Claus 2014, Photo Event Recap

A dog poses with Santa Claus.

The 2nd annual Pets Best “Dog Paws & Santa Claus” photo event was held this past Tuesday evening on November 18th at the Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC office in Boise, Idaho. Community members came to pose alongside Santa with their family members and pets for a $10 donation. The event raised $630, which will be donated to two local Boise-area animal shelters: the Idaho Humane Society and the Meridian Valley Humane Society.

Despite the local Boise, Idaho roads still being covered with packed snow and ice from a recent storm, the pet-loving community turned out to support the two local animal shelters. People and dogs of all ages showed up to pose with Santa, the youngest being a 7 week-old baby boy who was accompanied by his 8 month-old puppy brother, a very large Bernese Mountain Dog!

Many of the dogs that came to get their photo with Santa were adopted from the Idaho Humane Society or the Meridian Valley Humane Society, demonstrating what amazing companions shelter pets can make. Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats is a strong supporter of pet adoption. Over 40% of Pets Best customers adopted their dog or cat from an animal shelter. Not to mention the many Pets Best employee adopted dogs (and occasional cat) who regularly come to work with their pet parent at the Pets Best office.Read More…

Cat Breed Guide: Bombay

A bombay cat with pet insurance from Pets Best.

By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the  Bombay

Weight:  6 -11 lb

Points of conformation: The Bombay cat is heavier than the Burmese with a proportionately larger head and longer body.  Muzzle is short and ears have a rounded tip.

Coat: Very glossy close laying short single hair coat.

Color: Jet black. Some tabby markings may be seen in kittens that usually fade.

Grooming needs: Low

Origin: Kentucky, USA

Behavior Traits: Gregarious, calm and friendly.

Is a Bombay cat right for You?Read More…

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