Guest Post: Cancer Sucks, For Pets as well as Humans

Dr Riggs talks about cancer and some of the interesting developments in the human world of cancer that might help our pets.

Cancer sucks. It sucks when someone we know gets it. It sucks when our pet gets it. It just sucks. So what exactly is cancer?

We hear the word, but do we understand what is going on? Cancer is the proliferation of cells from any normal tissue of the body that has undergone a transformation into abnormal cells, which grow at a faster rate then the surrounding normal cells. A benign cancer will stay in one area. A malignant cancer spreads to other parts of the body, through either the blood stream or the lymph system.

Cancer causes problem when it crowds out of normal cells and disrupts the organ’s natural functions. Whether it causes a problem just depends on where it is. A benign tumor on the skin often causes little problems if it is small enough to be removed. A small tumor in the brain may cause big problems if it puts pressure on specific parts of the brain.

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Guest Post: fake service dogs

For working dog month at Embrace, Dr Riggs, talks about the impact of fake service dogs and their impact on true service dogs, plus how you can help do something about it.


Service dogs change people’s lives. That is a fact. There are dogs that detect seizures in epileptics before they happen, dogs that are seeing eyes, dogs able to tell glucose levels in diabetics, and dogs that help people with mundane tasks that we all take for granted.

Service dogs can be true lifesavers. There are many great organizations that train dogs to be service dogs. I have been fortunate to be involved with a wonderful organization, Canine Companions for Independence, for almost 20 years now.

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Guest Post: Veterinary Perspective on Pet Insurance

In Pet Health Insurance Month, Dr Riggs weighs in with his veterinary perspective on pet insurance.


If you talk to a number of vets about pet insurance, you will get many different opinions. There are many vets, like myself who have researched and done my due diligence, and see it as a win/win/win situation for the client, the vet, and most importantly the pet.

Some vets think pet insurance is evil, and the industry is trying to control veterinary medicine and tell us how to practice medicine, as it has human insurance.

Then you have the third group…"there’s pet insurance???"

It is true the early pet insurance companies were not very good. I initially had bad experiences with pet insurance myself.  This is where the newer pet insurance companies started to pop up, and thrive.  The newer companies, such as Embrace, have looked at Sweden, United Kingdom, and other parts of the world to see how to develop a new model.  In the United Kingdom, it is estimated around 25% of pet owners have pet insurance as opposed to the United States , where less than 1% have pet insurance.  The newer companies, have great customer service, quick claim payments, and almost nothing for the vet to fill out.  They truly have learned from others' past mistakes.

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Guest Post: a veterinary perspective of disaster preparedness

Do you know how your local authorities would help your pets in times of a disaster? Dr Riggs talks about the PETS Act and how you can take some minimal steps to be prepared should something happen in your area.


It seems we now live in a world of the ever present disasters. (I always wonder, though. if the world has really gotten worse or is it that now we have a million cable news channels, reporting everything, as it happens…..But I digress.) Today, there are currently 5,000 fire fighters fighting some 10 huge wildfires in California. The California fires have burned twice as much acres over last year and the Santa Anna winds, which annually, fan these fires and spreads them, have not hit this year.

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Guest Post: my veterinarian is so expensive!

Here's a hot topic - the cost of veterinary medicine. Dr Riggs calls it as it is from his perspective.


Where is the wing with my name on it? Vets are so expensive!

I have always wondered why people think vets should do things cheaply or charge nothing at all for some things. Shouldn’t we make a good living? So where is the wing? Sorry, we wanted to draw up those plans, but the money went to pay for the electric, or phone, or salaries, or benefits, I don’t know which, but sorry no wing.

Veterinary medicine… are you sitting down as this will come as a shock to some, but... veterinary medicine is a business.

Yes… we all love animals, we really do, but we are like any small business, we do need to make money to survive. We need to make money to be able to diagnose and treat your pets in a professional manner. When we pay our bills to the electric company or our mortgage company, I try to tell them we are very nice people, who care for your pets, and they should cut us a break, but, they don’t really care. They just want our money.

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Guest Post: differently-abled dogs and people

Dr Riggs shows us that dogs help us see beyond the obvious to the human behind the disability.


We live in a world where it seems like we need to put labels on everything and everyone. We need to pigeon-hole people according to race, sex, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, able bodied and disabled. We do the same to animals. Why do we do that? Do we classify animals and people so we can justify our perception of a particular group and expectations of them? I don’t know.  I do know when it comes to “so called” disabled people and pets, many assumptions just are not true.

Canine Companions for Independence girl with new dogI have had the pleasure to have been involved for many years, with a wonderful organization, Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions provides highly-trained assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities, free of charge. The assistance dogs are Goldens and Labradors, specifically bred to be service dogs.

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Guest Post: thinking about the food you feed your pet

Dr Riggs is sure to stir up some controversy with his post on pet food. All I say is educate yourself as best you can and make the decision you deem best for your pets.


It seems every day we hear about yet another recalled pet food. Why is this happening you ask? I really feel there are a number of reasons but here are the few that I think contribute the most.

The first one is actually a good reason. The pet food manufacturing plants are under scrutiny. They are being inspected more thoroughly, not only for our pets, but for better public health. Many of the recalls have been due to salmonella contamination from poor hygienic practices. Other recalls have been due to unbalanced diets that result in toxicities.

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Guest Post: Good Intentions Can Lead to Pet Poisonings

Sometimes our love for our pets and a desire to make them happy or cure their ills can be the cause of other issues we might not have planned for. Dr Riggs explores several areas where an over-enthusiastic pet parent might cause more harm than good.


Just because it is alright for you does not mean it is alright for you pets.

Do we really ever stop and think of what we are giving to our pets as treats? How many times have you heard “Oh, a little piece of this won’t hurt anyone”? The fact is, it could. 

The human food industry is not mandated to inform of the possible problems with their product for people let alone pets, and they don’t. Besides also making you dog or cat fat with that “little bit” of table scrap you might be passing on, it could also be toxic for your pet.

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Guest Post: the importance of dental x-rays for your pets

I can always count on Dr Riggs for sound advice and expressive pictures - how about this one on teeth and how x-rays are the only way to know if your pet has dental issues.


IcebergHave you ever seen an iceberg?  They are immense!  I always wonder how something that big could be floating around in the ocean.  We have all heard about the tip of the iceberg, but did you know only 1/6 of the iceberg is visible above the water? 

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Guest Post: Common Eye Issues as seen by Dr Rex Riggs

Dr Rex Riggs talks today about eye issues in cats and dogs. It's certainly not something I think much about but he's right - we need to do eye checks on our pets too.


“An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.”

This quote by Martin Buber an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher is a favorite of mine. Anyone who has owned a Labrador or Golden, or any dog for that matter, knows what I am talking about.

We all know how important eyes are in everyday life; it is true for us, as well as our pets. Now after saying that, pets have an amazing ability to thrive with what they are given. Blind dogs and cats often live happy lives, as long as you don’t rearrange the furniture every week. They just don’t seem to have the psychological worries and anxieties of being blind. My goal is to give you insight (insight… get it?) into how we can take better care of our companion’s eyes.

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