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Cancer & Tumors

  • Pituitary macroadenomas are large tumors of the pituitary gland that are either functional (secrete hormones) or non-functional (do not secrete hormones). The clinical signs depend on the type of macroadenoma, though become severe over time in either case. Diagnosis requires specialized CT or MRI imaging. This handout explains the effects of macroadenomas in cats and the treatment options available.

  • Pituitary macroadenomas are large tumors of the pituitary gland that are either functional (secrete hormones) or non-functional (do not secrete hormones). The most common functional pituitary macroadenoma in the dog secretes the hormone ACTH, causing increased cortisol levels and Cushing’s disease. Non-functional macroadenomas cause clinical signs through compression of nearby structures resulting in vision changes, diabetes insipidus, and neurologic disorders. This handout explains the effects of these tumors on dogs, how they are diagnosed, and the treatment options available.

  • Clinical signs of pituitary tumors depend on whether the tumor is functional or non-functional. Functional tumors can cause Cushing's disease in dogs and can cause acromegaly and insulin-resistant diabetes in cats. Non-functional pituitary tumors can enlarge to cause neurological signs. Diagnosis is based on the history, bloodwork, urinalysis, and sometimes a CT scan or MRI. Medical therapy is often the treatment of choice for functional tumors. Radiation therapy is another option and is usually the primary treatment for non-functional tumors.

  • Plasma cell tumors develop as a result of dysregulated production of plasma cells and are relatively uncommon in dogs and cats. Some plasma cell tumors are benign and the most common locations for these tumors are the head, feet, lips, mouth, and ears. The treatment of choice for benign plasma cell tumors is surgical removal, with little to no recurrence if completely excised. Conversely, multiple myeloma is a very malignant cancer that is usually treated with chemotherapy.

  • Pleural effusion refers to the abnormal accumulation of fluid within the chest cavity. The fluid is not found within the lungs, but instead within the pleural sac, essentially meaning the lungs are floating in a chest that is full of fluid. Several conditions can cause pleural effusion, including chylothorax, heart failure, and tumors in the lungs or chest wall. Immediate treatment often requires oxygen support and the removal of the excess fluid by thoracocentesis, which can also then be tested to diagnose the cause of the pleural effusion. Treatment and prognosis vary depending on the underlying cause of the pleural effusion.

  • The definition of a pneumothorax is an accumulation of air outside the lungs, but inside the chest wall. The air outside the lung prevents the lungs from inflating normally, and can lead to lung collapse. There are several variations of pneumothorax.

  • This handout explains post-vaccination sarcomas (also called injection-site sarcomas) in cats. They are a rare consequence of vaccine injections (and other drugs or materials) that can cause a very aggressive form of cancer at the site of the injection. The incidence of this condition, as well as precautions you and your veterinarian can take, are highlighted.

  • The American Animal Hospital Association and American Veterinary Medical Association have established guidelines to standardize preventive health care for dogs, helping them to live longer, healthier lives. This handout provides an overview of the recommendations within these guidelines and why they are so important.

  • Tumors of the prostate are relatively uncommon in dogs and extremely rare in cats. Clinical signs include bloody urine, or straining to urinate or defecate. Metastasis to the pelvic bone and/or lumbar spine is likely. Diagnosis and treatment options are discussed. Prognosis is considered poor.

  • Prostatic disease can be uncomfortable for a dog, particularly if it causes compression of the urethra or colon. Because there are many diseases of the prostate, it is necessary to perform several tests to determine the exact cause of a patient's condition. This handout provides explanations of the seven most common conditions affecting the prostate and the corresponding approaches to treatment.