Current Concepts

Oral Malignant Melanoma in Dogs and Cats

Melanoma is a tumor of melanocytes, which arise from neural crest cells and function to synthesize melanin. Melanocytes are commonly located in the oral cavity, haired skin and eye, making these the most common locations where melanomas arise. Biologic behavior of melanoma depends in part on tumor location. The majority of melanomas that arise in the oral cavity are classified both histologically and biologically as malignant. Histologic features that support a diagnosis of oral malignant melanoma include a mitotic index greater than 2 mitoses per 10 high-powered fields, nuclear atypia, vascular or lymphatic invasion and ulceration. Malignant tumors may be variably pigmented or amelanotic (one third of cases). Since melanocytes are derived from neural crest cells, which ultimately give rise to both glandular tissues and connective tissues, melanomas can resemble both carcinomas and sarcomas morphologically. Given these challenges to diagnosing a malignant melanoma, several immunohistochemical stains have been developed to aid in the diagnosis.  Melanomas typically stain positive for vimentin, melan A, S100, and neuron-specific enolase (NSE); these stains can be helpful in diagnosis. Continue reading

Current Concepts

Cataracts in dogs: what are the options?

The term cataract refers to any opacity of the optical lens that causes abnormal light scattering or prevents light from reaching the retina. Cataracts affect multiple species and if left untreated often lead to progressive blindness.  In fact, according to the World Health Organization, cataract disease is the most frequent cause of visual impairment in humans, effecting 18 million people worldwide and causing 48 percent of all blindness. Continue reading

Current Concepts

How to Keep Your Clients & Prevent Shelter Relinquishment

by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, DACVB

When your clients lose their patience with their pet, you may lose your patients. In fact, behavioral issues account for 15 percent of veterinarians’ annual client loss. By incorporating elements of behavioral medicine into your practice, you can provide a great service to your clients, help save pets’ lives and help prevent professional “burnout.” It makes good business sense from several aspects.

Did you know that more puppies die from behavioral causes than infectious disease?

By incorporating behavior into your practice, you'll keep more clients–and save animals from shelters.

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Current Concepts

Lymphoma in Dogs & Cats

Every veterinary student knows that lymphoma is the most common hematopoietic neoplasm in dogs and cats.  However, we are now recognizing that lymphoma isn’t a single clinical entity.  Rather, it is a collection of neoplastic disorders triggered by a myriad of genetic mutations and epigenetic factors that culminate in uncontrolled proliferation of lymphocytes.  Multi-institutional collaborative efforts are underway to illuminate the molecular fingerprints of canine and feline lymphomas that will allow for better understanding of the biology of lymphoma as well as improving treatment strategies and outcomes.  These benefits are likely to extend across species – even to humans as the field of comparative oncology grows.

Presentation of canine lymphoma

Figure 1. Lymphoma in dogs typically presents as generalized peripheral lymphadenopathy. Mandibular swelling due to lymph node enlargement, as shown here, often is a sign that leads clients to seek evaluation.

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