Introducing Mama Elephant and Her Baby - National Hairball Awareness Day

IMG_3074 With three cats in the house, we're had our fair share of goopy hairballs suddenly discovered under foot or hidden away in the guest room, only to be discovered when showing your mother-in-law to her sleeping quarters (oops!)

When Furminator asked if I'd be interested in joining in with National Hairball Awareness Day, I thought it a fun way to highlight something that can be quite a problem for people with cats. We've certainly paid out some gastrointestinal claims related to the issue.

Luckily, my cats Rocket, Rosie and Lily all have short fur but:

a) they all still have hairball issues every now and then, and
b) I remember back to when I used to have long-haired cats... which is why I now have short-haired cats

Mama elephant holding baby Here's a creation I made from the fur from 1 day of grooming the 3 cats with our 2 Furminators (one kindly donated to me by Furminator).

Mama Elephant Holding Her Baby

Do you like her? I think she's kind of cute - she just sort of popped out of the fur (that and the fact that my youngest daughter loves elephants.)

My two girls, Ellie and Erin, had a lot of fun helping with the grooming and fur gathering, loading it into ziploc bags for future use (goodness knows what their teachers must think we do in our family for fun).

Seriously though, how do you prevent furballs? I've generally had good success with 2 methods - food and grooming.

IMG_0073 I've found that if I feed high quality cat food with lots of protein and as "natural" as I can afford, that helps keep the cats fur shiny and healthy. Somehow, it doesn't seem to clog up their insides as much as if it's a bit lank and greasy, which I find I get with lesser quality foods.

Also, grooming just preempts the soft underfur that would be shed being swallowed - best to remove in advance. I really do love my Furminator (and you can't beat that name!) and now I am delighted to have a new model that has the ability to push off the fur with a push button instead of grabbing it off. That's definitely a nice enhancement.

Lily By the way, Rocket and Rosie found Mama Elephant after her photo shoot and totally destroyed her, her furry demeanor being much too fascinating to hold back.

The girls were very disappointed but I think I know where I might get some more fur to play with, don't you?

Disclosure: as I mentioned, I got a free Furminator for participating in this fun day. I added it to my growing collection - the purple-for-Embrace is a nice touch


Pet Cancer Stories: Molly a German Shepherd Dog / Husky

Here's Louise, another Embraced pet parent, sharing her dog cancer story:

Molly GSD Husky mix My dog Molly was a 10.5 years old German Shepherd/Husky mix when on January 23, 2010 I brought her in for a check up and asked the vet to examine her anal area, as it didn’t look right.  The vet manually expressed the right anal gland and felt two lumps aside of the gland.  She said the lumps were cancerous and their location made them inoperable, non-resectable. 

She suggested I get a second opinion and soon if I wanted to seek treatment but it was already too late.  A week later, Molly met with a second vet who could feel at least 5 lumps in the anal tract.  An ultrasound showed cancer that had already spread to Molly’s lymph nodes.  I was told to go home and enjoy the time left with my pet.

I opted to bring Molly to a holistic vet.  He changed Molly’s diet to real food, mixed with vitamins and Chinese herbs.  Molly was like a puppy again, playful and happy and full of energy.  The holistic vet had warned me that this was no cure.  The goal was to see if there would be enough time to sort of corral the cancer and give Molly and me more time together.  I was also told that when it was time for Molly to pass, it would come quickly and swiftly.

Two months later, Molly had a very rough night, trying to move her bowels and unable to do so.  I brought her to my regular vet first thing in the morning and she was able to remove the blockage.  She gave me a scrip for lactalose to make it easier for Molly to move her bowels, which she did with ease.  Unfortunately, by that afternoon, she was piddling everywhere so I called my vet again.  The vet examined Molly and with a sigh told me there was nothing more that could be done.  The vet could feel the urethra being pressed upon by the cancerous mass.  She said catheterization was not possible because it might rupture the tube causing terrible pain for my girl.  With great sadness, I let her go.  She passed away March 26, 2010.

What bothered me most was that Molly had an episode of vomiting that was uncharacteristic for her in Fall 2009.  I brought her to the vet but it was deemed gastritis and nothing more was done.  In retrospect, it may have been a symptom of the cancer. 

Now I have a new vet who does wellness exams twice a year.  While my three dogs are young and relatively healthy, those two wellness visits mean everything to me.  It’s a chance to catch anything that may be developing early. 

Thanks for letting me send you my story.  I still miss Molly a year later – she was a wonderful dog!


Related Posts:
April is Cancer Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Claim Example: b cell neoplasm (rectal tumor) in Dachshund
Guest Post: cancer treatment for cats and dogs versus people
Claim example: lymphoma in 3 year old mixed breed cat
Other Pet Cancer Stories

Pet Cancer Story: Boss the Rottweiler with Lymphoma

Continuing our series on our Embraced pet parents sending in their pet cancer stories, here's one from Kay, one of our long-timers at Embrace.

Hello everyone at Embrace,

100_0004 Your article couldn't have said it better. After loosing our last rottie to cancer, I knew before getting my next pet, I would invest in insurance.

I found a lump in Boss' rear leg and took him to the vet and they took a fluid sample and it came back positive lymphoma and the most aggressive kind. We were sent to an specialist to see about treatment. We did not have insurance on Boss, but with or without it, I would not take back one dollar I spent. Some pets are lucky enough to have full remission, Boss' remission lasted for 2 years before the cancer came back and we lost our battle. We got to enjoy 2 more wonderful years with him and have never regretted it.

Boss on couch As all pet owners know, their pets are special, but I have always told everyone, Boss was not my pet, I was his human. The technicians at our oncology clinic could really tell some stories to confirm that.

Take care,

Proud parent of one spoiled Bullmastiff, Amos

Related Posts:
April is Cancer Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Claim Example: b cell neoplasm (rectal tumor) in Dachshund
Guest Post: cancer treatment for cats and dogs versus people
Claim example: lymphoma in 3 year old mixed breed cat
Other Pet Cancer Stories

Cancer story: update on Cadence the Pug with an oral mast cell tumor

Cadence and wrigley We profiled Cadence the Pug with an oral mast cell tumor on our website but I thought it worth revisiting Cadence's continued progress with this cancer.

First, some great news from Christine, Cadence's mom:

Cadence gets 6 month check ups to look for recurrence including occasional blood work and xrays.  So far she's checked out A-Ok :). No cancer has been found!

Cadence_4_20_2011 I am so grateful for everything Embrace has done to make sure Cadence got the best care. It saved Cadence's life. :) I can't say thank you enough!

Here is a picture of Cadence and our other pup, Wrigley (also insured with Embrace) as well as one of Cadence on her own.  If you notice Cadence's face, her right side is white.  She is bald with white whiskers there now from her radiation treatment.  Adds character :)

Here's an update on the cost to treat Cadence, including surgery to remove the tumor and radiation treatment:

Date Claim Status Diagnosis Claim Amount Paid Amount
11/4/2008 Deduct suspected URI or allergy 68.91 0.00
5/6/2009 Paid Mass Removal, mast cell tumor 1,167.70 932.95
5/14/2009 Paid Oral Mast Cell Tumor 203.00 182.70
6/3/2009 Paid Oral Mast Cell Tumor 469.50 422.55
6/4/2009 Paid CT for Oral Mass Cell Tumor 682.00 613.80
6/16/2009 Paid Tumor Radiation Treatments 2,572.00 2,314.80
7/13/2009 Paid Tumor Radiation Treatments 2,200.00 1,980.00
8/27/2009 Paid Recheck Post Radiation Therapy 49.00 44.10
9/4/2009 Paid Lethargic and Decreased Appetite 175.40 157.86
2/25/2010 Paid Oral Mast Cell Tumor recheck 110.00 99.00
Total     7,697.51 6,747.76

Cadence is now 5 years old and looks great considering what she's gone through, don't you think?!

Related Posts:
April is Cancer Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Claim Example: b cell neoplasm (rectal tumor) in Dachshund
Guest Post: cancer treatment for cats and dogs versus people
Claim example: lymphoma in 3 year old mixed breed cat
Pet Cancer Stories

Pet Cancer Story: Rex and Maddy, mixed breed cats

Another pet cancer story in our series, this time from Beth D, Havertown PA.

Rex  Maddy 2 Rex and Maddy came to me as litter mates almost 16 years ago.  They were born in Limerick PA, home of a nuclear power plant.  We always wondered if that would have any bearing on their lives.   At around age 12, Maddy began to have a weepy eye, but was otherwise still her normal self.  I eventually took her to our vet who referred her to an ophthalmologist.  He couldn’t find any major problem, had me put drops in her eyes and had me follow-up with my vet in a week.  At her follow-up visit, my vet insisted that there was a problem and called to consult with the ophthalmologist.  Back to the ophthalmologist we  went where he took a closer look to find a malignant tumor under her eye.  It was decided to take her eye within days.   It took just a few weeks for Maddy to adjust.  The hardest part was dealing with the collar and taking her medicine!  And as my vet predicted, she is just as beautiful as ever!

About 1 year ago, Rex started acting lethargic and was cold to the touch.  Again, a few trips to the vet, but when it was decided that we just couldn’t keep him warm, I was sent to the University of Penn emergency room.  Within 24 hours, and many tests later, they found a cancerous tumor on his brain.  The prognosis was not good.  My vet, the specialist and I decided it wasn’t fair to Rex and the decision was made.  I cannot say enough about how kind and compassionate my vet and the staff at UP were.  As a matter of fact, if you were to hold a best vet contest, mine would win paws down! 

I guess spending the first few weeks of your life near a nuclear power plant really does have an effect.

 Related Posts:
April is Cancer Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Claim Example: b cell neoplasm (rectal tumor) in Dachshund
Guest Post: cancer treatment for cats and dogs versus people
Claim example: lymphoma in 3 year old mixed breed cat
Pet Cancer Stories

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