Posts Tagged ‘california’

Morris Animal Foundation 2010 K9 Cancer Walk

April 14, 2010

I am gearing up for Morris Animal Foundation’s 2nd annual K9 Cancer Walk to be held in Elk Grove, California ( on Saturday, April 24th.  Just as was the case last year, I will be a speaker at this fabulous event along with Dr. Michael Kent, a staff oncologist at the UC Davis veterinary school.  The actual walk will begin at 10:00 am and the speakers program will be at 11:30 am.

Care to join me there?  If you cannot participate in person, I hope you will consider joining my virtual Speaking for Spot Team (   And if you are able to attend, please come introduce yourself to me.  I would love to meet you!

Here is the blog I posted one year ago after the very first K9 Cancer Walk.

Walking to Cure Canine Cancer

This past Saturday, I saw four three-legged dogs- each one having lost a limb as part of their treatment for bone cancer.  I met another sweetie pie with a shaved patch over one side of his chest.  His mom told me this was the site where her pup’s chest cavity was drained of fluid produced by a cancer growing at the base of his heart.  Yet another dog I encountered had an orange-sized tumor on the bridge of his nose. 

Believe it or not, I met none of these dogs in a veterinary hospital setting; rather, we were all gathered in Elk Grove, California, the site of the very first Morris Animal Foundation Walk to Cure Canine Cancer. Morris Animal Foundation has launched an unprecedented $30 million fundraising effort with the following goals in mind:

1.  Provide new treatments for dogs currently suffering from cancer
2.  Establish a high-quality tumor sample bank that can be used by cancer researchers
3.  Develop prevention strategies so that cancer might one day be eliminated or, at the very least, drastically reduced in incidence and severity
4.  Train new researchers who will work towards discovering preventions, treatments and cures

An important part of the fundraising effort will be in the form of “Walks to Cure Canine Cancer.”  The Elk Grove Walk raised $17,945!  I had the honor of speaking at this fabulous first-of-its-kind event-what a thrill to be part of it all!  More than 300 dogs and their humans gathered together in the fight against canine cancer.

As unfathomable as it sounds, cancer will be the cause of death in one out of every four of our beloved canine companions.  There’s so much we don’t yet know about what causes canine cancer and how best to treat it.  I’m thrilled with the Morris Animal Foundation plans.  They are an incredibly ethical and effective organization, and I am expecting great things. To learn more about the Morris Animal Canine Cancer Campaign, please visit I encourage you to participate in any way you can.

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health, 

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

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Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

The Evil That Lurks in California

October 2, 2009

You’ve heard it in the news.  There’s the gazillion dollar budget deficit, declining academic test scores, state park closures, and never-ending heated discussion about gay marriage and illegal immigrants.  What you may not know is that there is something even more sinister lurking in California.  It is of the ilk that science fiction writers fantasize about- alien creatures that penetrate body cavities, migrate through tissues, and wreak havoc!

Take the recent case of Emma Louise, a darling four-year-old residing in northern California.  One minute she was a healthy, happy, go-lucky little girl.  The next minute she was writhing in pain.  Doctors could not figure out what was wrong.  Little did they know that an alien had invaded her being and poor little Emma Louise was incapable of describing the evil that lurked within…….

Hmm, as I write this I’m wondering if I’ve been denying in inner desire to write science fiction!  I met Emma Louise just a few days ago.  She came to me for a second opinion to try to figure out the cause of her abdominal discomfort. Emma Louise is undeniably adorable- part hound dog and part Brittany Spaniel- and there’s nothing she enjoys more than running through fields with her nose to the ground.  The problem is, the fields are loaded with foxtails- awful little bristly weeds that grow rampantly throughout California in the late spring and summer months.  They seem hell bent on finding their way into dogs’ noses, ears, eyes, mouths, and just about every other orifice.  Not only is the dog’s body incapable of degrading or decomposing them, the foxtails are barbed in such a way that they can only move in a “forward” direction.  Unless caught early, they can migrate through the body causing infection and tissue damage.  Once foxtails have moved internally, they are notoriously difficult to find- they become the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Apparently Emma Louise was a “foxtail magnet” having accumulated several in her ears and nose over the years.  Her current symptoms were different than any she’d experienced before- she appeared to have abdominal pain and was straining to urinate and have bowel movements.  Other than a mild fever and some abdominal splinting, her physical examination findings were unremarkable. I performed abdominal ultrasound and discovered a gigantic abscess tucked up under Emma Louise’s spine and extending back (towards her tail) into the pelvic canal.  Given this girl’s history, I just knew there had to be a foxtail somewhere in that huge abscess pocket.  The question was, would we be able to find it.

I prayed to the “god of foxtails” and turned Emma Louise over to one of my esteemed colleagues (a surgical specialist) for abdominal exploratory surgery. After approximately two hours of me biting my nails and some expletives heard in the operating room, there was a shout of “Hurray!” My colleague had located and removed the foxtail!  Now with some post-op exercise restriction and a course of antibiotics, Emma Louise will be good as new.  Not finding the foxtail would have meant lifelong antibiotics, unless the foxtail migratory course happened to exit the body.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to experience the unique flavors and marvelous beauty of California.  After reading this, you might just have a change of heart- now that you know of the evil that lurks there!

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged family members much good health!

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

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