Zander, a 14-year-old neutered male Domestic Shorthair, presented to Hinsdale Animal Hospital for evaluation after the owners noticed Zander’s breath had become foul smelling. A dental cleaning and examination was scheduled and Dr. Plomin was able to perform a complete oral examination with the patient under anesthesia. Not only was Zander found to have significant dental disease but also, in the back corner of his mouth, a large oral mass was seen. A biopsy of the mass was performed and it was identified as an invasive oral squamous cell carcinoma.
The squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral malignancy in cats, and unfortunately for Zander, it has one of the poorest outcomes. In most cases, the goal is to minimize infection and pain until the tumor has advanced to a state where the patient is no longer comfortable. Zander lived his life in a smoking household, one of the most important risk factors for developing this tumor. In fact, the risk of oral squamous cell carcinoma in cats goes up four times when the owner smokes 1 to 19 cigarettes daily.
Sadly, treatment options are limited for oral squamous cell carcinoma and less than 10% of cats survive for one year following diagnosis. Depending on the location of the tumor, surgery +/- radiation and chemotherapy may be used to help increase survival times, with the highest success rates being in patients where the tumor is found early in its course.
Unfortunately for Zander, his tumor was not detected until it was too late. Early detection can be achieved by bringing all cats into the veterinarian’s office for yearly oral examinations and dental care.
Help Save Pets was originally founded as the Humane Society of Plainfield in 2000. Since then we have placed over 14,000 animals into loving homes. Each one of these animals was given shelter, food, medical aid and vaccinations and time to find the right home. Our doctors mended mutilated limbs and cured many illnesses so that these animals could get a second chance at good lives. We have grown and now operate out of 6 locations, not all of them in Plainfield. In 2008, we changed our name from the Humane Society of Plainfield to Help Save Pets, still HSP.
Dr. Tony Kremer owns 8 veterinary hospitals in the Chicagoland area and two in Ohio. He is the founder of Help Save Pets, an animal shelter which has saved more than 14,000 pets since 2000. Dr. Tony’s knowledge, insight, and advice are shared regularly with major media outlets across the nation and in the third largest market. Dr. Tony is also a member of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Public Education Committee that routinely gets the word out about responsible pet ownership.