February 06, 2017

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey, folks, welcome to DocTalk. We’re going to have a great show. Dr. Emily Reppert from Kansas State University is here today. We’re going to talk about something that a lot of people deal with in their cowherds, and that’s the old cancer eye, or squamous cell carcinoma. We’re going to talk about different things as far as predisposing factors, what to look for in clinical signs, how to treat them and much more. Thanks for watching DocTalk, and stay tuned for the show.

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(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey, folks. Welcome to DocTalk. Dr. Reppert, welcome to DocTalk. (Dr. Emily Reppert) Thank you. Nice to be here. (Dr. Dan) It’s a pleasure to have you. Dr. Emily Reppert here. She’s a veterinarian. She’s boarded in Internal Medicine. She’s an Assistant Professor here in the Livestock Services Department, where she serves as an internist and does a lot of the specialty cases of referrals. Probably even some primary care that’s brought in. (Dr. Emily) Absolutely, yes. (Dr. Dan) Many different types of cases with cattle, food and fiber type animals. Today we’re going to talk about something that we’ve seen a lot of within our industry. It always takes time to come back and let’s get everybody squared on cancer eye is. (Dr. Emily) Sounds good. Yes, when we’re talking about cancer eye, we’re talking about tumors that are associated with the eye. The type of cancer that we’re talking about is squamous cell carcinoma. Something we see in humans, horses, variety of other species. (Dr. Dan) Yes, skin cancer, a lot of squamous cells that people get too much sun, things to that nature. You got to get them burnt off. Why the eye? Is there a reason of why the eye is… (Dr. Emily) Yes, I think that when we look at predisposing factors or why is that the location that they tend to form. Things that are associated with cancer eye or any of the lightly or no pigmented areas on the body; one of the more common places in cattle is going to be around the eye. That in combination with being in an environment where there are exposed to a lot of light. Environment of a lot of sunshine is a predisposing factor as well. (Dr. Dan) Outside grazing… (Dr. Emily) Outside grazing, yes, that sort of thing. It’s more commonly seen in our light-faced breeds or black baldies that don’t have… (Dr. Dan) Herefords. (Dr. Emily) Yes, Herefords. Those are the poster child for cancer eye to develop. Beyond that, I think we don’t really know why. (Dr. Dan) It would make some sense that you got light-faced cattle and as they are grazing, it’s no different than flies attract in pink eye, and some of those types of things as well– irritants. Outside of genetics, are there any environmental conditions outside of sunlight? (Dr. Emily) Yes, I think sunlight is the big one really. Just exposure to sun and that’s our primary problem. (Dr. Dan) When we look at cattle within, obviously, has anybody done research to see if there are some of the Herefords lines that are more predisposed than- or is it – because not all white-faced cattle get it? (Dr. Emily) Right. Not to my knowledge. I think there are definitely certain families, but I don’t know of a specific study that has looked specifically at that. (Dr. Dan) I know when I was in practice, we would see some herds of cattle that would constantly be bringing us animals in the summer time verses the some of the herds who have the same breed type that we wouldn’t see any. (Dr. Emily) Yes, I don’t know that we know the exact gene that’s associated with it. You’re absolutely right. There definitely is really no known trends. (Dr. Dan) Probably will in the future. (Dr. Emily) Yes, absolutely. (Dr. Dan) We’ll going to take a break. It’s a great start to cancer eye with Dr. Emily Reppert here from Kansas State University. When we come back, we are going to talk about some of the things you can look for in clinical signs with cancer eye in cows.

(Dr. Dan) Hey, folks. Welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Emily Reppert where she’s a Boarded Internal Medicine Specialist here for cattle, food and fiber animal, at Kansas State University’s Veterinary Health Center. You can refer cases to Dr. Reppert; work through your veterinarian. If you are in the area, we see primary care. Bring them on in, we’ll take care of your cattle and others. Dr. Reppert, talking about cancer eye, what are some of the things that a producer needs to be looking for? What are between early, full-blown…different stages of it? (Dr. Emily) Sure. The most important thing, like a lot of different types of cancer, this typically is a disease we see in older animals. Again, the ones that have had more exposure to sun, more time for the cancer to develop over time. Typically this is something we see in our older population of animals. That would be the ones that I would be wanting to pay particular attention to. The other thing is just like any type of cancer, there’s progression of the disease. In the early stages of the disease maybe before it becomes really invasive, things to look for the places on the eye that the cancer really likes to go is at the junction between the dark part of the eye and the white part of the eye. That’s one place. The other place is the actual eyelids themselves. The other place is the medial portion or the part towards the nose of the eye. They have actually an extra, what they call a third eyelid. That’s another place that they can get a lesion. The early lesions tend to be flat almost plaques. They’re usually very pale. Those lesions are easier to treat than the ones that are more malignant or more troublesome. The ones that are more invasive can be more difficult to treat, are the ones that are larger, more prolific, really pink. Even portions of them can start to die and have a foul smell to them. Certainly, if there’s any plaque or spot on the eye– especially if the eye is starting to water where it’s bothering the animal, that would be the one that I would want to take a closer look at for sure. (Dr. Dan) It’s probably something too if you have a breed that’s susceptible or white pigmented faces, that something you could probably do a quick scan when you have them in the chute whether it’s for preg check, or for branding and pre-breeding shots. If we can just have a quick look and…can’t these animals if we catch it early enough, can’t they stay fairly productive on our farms? (Dr. Emily) Yes, especially if we get them in that pre-cancerous lesion before it’s huge mass that’s hanging off the eye. The smaller ones can be treated. They often will go on to be okay. It’s the ones where they are getting big and are involving other parts of the face that are really problematic. Yes, absolutely. (Dr. Dan) Just make sure that you’re look in three areas of the eye. Look in at the junction, the coloration in the white sclera, the eyelids and then that third eyelid are going to be the three areas for cancer eye. Get it caught soon, get it treated early, the cow has an opportunity to stay in production. When we come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about cancer eye, some of the treatments, some of the outcomes, prognosis of these cases with Dr. Emily Reppert from Kansas State University.
(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Emily Reppert. We’re from Kansas State University. Thank you for joining us. We’re having a great discussion with Dr. Reppert on cancer eye. She serves as an Internal Medicine Specialist here in our Veterinary Health Center in the Livestock Services Department. Teaching students, seeing cases, teaching classes, doing a lot of different things, don’t you? (Dr. Emily) Yes, run the gamut. (Dr. Dan) We’re very lucky to have her here on faculty. Emily when we talk about treating these animals, what are some of the different ways that we can treat them? If someone brings an animal in to you, what are some of the things that we’re going to do here in K-State? (Dr. Emily) The first thing that we try to determine is, is it one of the more smaller pre-cancerous lesions or is it a large mass that’s going to be needing to be removed? The smaller pre-cancerous lesions, those are going to be those small plaques of abnormal tissue. Those can be treated relatively easily with a variety of different therapies. One is basically just freezing them off. Using what they call cryotherapy, applying cold to the mass. Allowing it to thaw and applying cold again. There’s also some laser therapy that can be used to– thermal almost– we can use extremes of temperature; either extreme hot or extreme cold. (Dr. Dan) Freeze it up, or burn it off. (Dr. Emily) Burn it off, yes. The trouble comes when we have some of those larger, what we call malignant types of tumors. Not only can they involve large portions of the eye, but they can actually involve local lymph nodes associated with the head. That’s when you get into real problems. With some of those larger lesions, we can actually excise a portion of just the affected tissue. Unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t catch them until other structures are involved. Sometimes, the entire eye actually has to be removed. (Dr. Dan) The enucleation of those cows can…you can remove the eye and the cow will get along okay. (Dr. Emily) Yes. I would say that my only caution there is that even if we have to remove the eye we want to make sure that we’re removing the eye before we have involvement of the bone associated with eye. If the bone is involved even taking the eye out is not going to solve the problem. If we have just have severe eyelid involvement or something and the mass is too big to be taken out just itself, we have to take the whole eye out often times those animals will do okay. (Dr. Dan) Other things as far as treatment. What are some of the things that when people take those animals home, would do they need to do? Is there anything to cover the eye or things to that nature? (Dr. Emily) Certainly at least in the immediate time after we’ve done cryotherapy or removed a smaller mass, kind of keeping them a protected environment either putting a patch on just for a small period of time so they don’t have direct sunlight on the eye. Certainly, fly control if it’s that time of the year where flies might be wanting to irritate the area. Finally I think the most important thing is that a certain percentage of those masses that are frozen off or burned off will come back. The recurrence rate is anywhere between 30% to 40%. If you have any animal that has cancer eye, it would just be prudent to continue to keep an eye out on it so that we can freeze them off as they come back if that happens. (Dr. Dan) Absolutely. All right folks great information and understanding of cancer eye. You can see why we’re lucky to have Dr. Reppert here on our faculty at K-State. When we come back we’re going to talk about some of those case outcomes and things to think about when dealing with animals that have cancer eye in your cowherd.
(Dr. Dan) Hey, folks welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Emily Reppert we’re from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where Dr. Reppert is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and is also a Boarded Internal Medicine Specialist for our Livestock Services in the Veterinary Health Center. We’re talking about cancer eye. There has been some great information talking about what to look for, what causes it and how we’re going to treat it. Now let’s get into some of that, some of the case outcomes or things that producers need to be thinking about if they do heal or maybe more importantly if they don’t heal. (Dr. Emily) Sure. I think from a production standpoint this is one of those diseases that can be pretty costly. That can either come in the cost of having to continually treat the lesions or the cost of the animal itself. Reason being at least there’s been a recent study that looked at reasons for condemnation of carcasses at slaughter; just over 12% of carcasses were condemned because of cancer eye lesion. I think that’s an important thing for producers to recognize. If you’ve got cancer eye in your herd, you want to catch it early so that you don’t end up shipping something that’s going to get pulled off the line. (Dr. Dan) Folks if you see something on the surface of the eye you don’t know, lymph node involvement and things to that nature, we really recommend from the Beef Quality Assurance side of things, let’s not send those cancer eye cows to slaughter or through market channels. (Dr. Emily) Yes. We know some people recommend culling those animals just because they don’t want to deal with having to repeatedly treat those or have a carcass that’s going to get condemned. Other things that we recommend as far as prevention strategies would be obviously breeding for those animals that in our white face breeds that have some pigment around the eye that’s been shown to decrease the incidence squamous cell carcinoma. Short of that just being vigilant about seeing any of those early indicators of disease, again, catching it early is really when we’re going to be most effect. (Dr. Dan) What about fly control and just irritants and things to that nature? Obviously I would think that if the squamous cell from the sunlight obviously if we have more irritation and things to that nature probably need to stay on top of pink eye prevention? (Dr. Emily) Sure. I think fly control, pink eye and all of that’s really important; what role that plays directly with the development of cancer, I think we don’t know. Certainly, anything that’s going to irritate the eye could be… (Dr. Dan) I really think we go to get back to, if you have a herd that has a high prevalence of squamous cell carcinoma in the eyes verses herds that don’t within the same lines, probably it behoove us if someone’s watching this that does that kind of genetic research that we start to get on top of that. (Dr. Emily) Sure. (Dr. Dan) Lining out some of these signals. (Dr. Emily) Yes, absolutely. (Dr. Dan) Well, I sure appreciate you being on the show. (Dr. Emily) Absolutely, a pleasure to be here. (Dr. Dan) You do a great job. You do a great job with our students. A great job with our referring veterinarians and with our faculty. Folks, thank you for watching DocTalk. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. If you want to know more about what we do here on DocTalk, you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. Thanks for watching DocTalk today, folks. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson, and I’ll see you down the road.

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