Is there such a thing as Cat Acne?


Turns out teenagers aren’t the only ones at risk for acne! Believe it or not, your furry feline friends can get it too. Cat acne is not dangerous but can require lifelong treatment to keep flare-ups under control. Here’s everything you need to know, straight from a vet.

What is cat acne?

Cat acne, also called chin acne, is just that. Acne. Just like the kind people get. It can appear as small blackheads on the chin called comedones or can progress into pimples that may or may not develop a whitehead or rupture. Some cats are unaffected by acne, meaning it doesn’t bother them at all or cause any pain, while others show obvious signs of itchiness or discomfort. There is no one specific cause, but cat acne can be triggered by several things. Stress (kenneling or a move), dirty food bowls, allergies, or oily skin are all known to cause acne flare-ups in cats.

Does my cat have chin acne?

No particular breed of cat is predisposed to chin acne. It is more visible in hairless cats and those with white or light colored coats, so it may be diagnosed more frequently on these types of felines.

Cat acne should be diagnosed by a veterinarian. Many skin conditions present with similar symptoms, and it’s important that your vet rule out more serious problems before prescribing medication or beginning treatment. Some medications, if used incorrectly, can exacerbate skin conditions, and some skin problems are symptoms of a more serious disease process at work. Veterinarians can perform different tests, looking at both skin cells and blood work, to determine if there is anything more serious to worry about.

How to prevent and treat cat acne

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed your cat’s chin acne, there are a few different things he or she may recommend to control and prevent future breakouts. Changing from plastic food bowls to ceramic or stainless steel is the simplest. Plastic bowls have a porous surface and harbor bacteria and dirt. Every time your cat eats or drinks, she recontaminates her skin. Stainless and ceramic bowls have solid surfaces, so they are much easier to clean and are more sanitary.

Your veterinarian will also recommend daily cleaning of the affected area with mild soap and warm water or an antimicrobial solution like betadine or chlorhexadine. Care must be taken using chlorhexadine near the eyes as it can cause severe ocular damage.
For more serious cases, antibiotics (oral, injectible, or topical) or corticosteroids might be used as an adjunct to other treatments.

If you suspect your pet has cat chin acne, make an appointment for a physical exam with your veterinarian before beginning treatment.

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Fight The Flu Like An Elite Athlete



Former Alabama runner Katelyn Greenleaf, now a registered dietitian, competes at the 2015 NCAA DI Outdoor Nationals in the 3K steeplechase


It seems like everyone is getting bit by the flu bug lately and athletes are no exception. Former Florida high school distance standout and University of Alabama alumna Katelyn Greenleaf, now a registered dietitian, delves into the best way to fight the flu.

Did anyone else get the flu this season?

The flu can be a real downer, especially if it hits an athlete in the middle of their competitive season. Even though people try to avoid the sickness by washing their hands and disinfecting surfaces, sometimes it is impossible to come out of flu season unaffected. There are a lot of beliefs and theories of how a person can recover quickly from the flu and get back to their school, work, and training schedule, but did you know that nutrition plays a huge role in this process?

I have recently paid my dues with the flu and have made my recovery. Since I am a dietitian, I would love to share some of my nutrition knowledge with the athletes out there who cannot afford to be sick and take multiple days off. By following these tips, you will be happy, healthy, and back on the track before you know it!

Tip #1: Drink plenty of water and electrolytes. Whether you are drinking Gatorade, Powerade Zero, or Zipfizz, it is important to stay hydrated!  Hydration will help your body carry the proper nutrients to the cells in need.

Tip #2: Eat something. I know (from personal experience) the last thing you want to do when sick is to get out of your bed, but it is essential that your body has fuel. Keep it simple and focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods will provide you with vitamins and minerals that will help your body’s immune system.

Tip #3: Sleep and rest. Sleep has been proven to promote faster recovery and healing. Even though you might want to jump back into practice ASAP, you should listen to your body and give yourself time for a full recovery. Even if you can make it back to practice shortly after your run-in with the flu, communicate with your coach and ask if you can ease back into training with some lighter efforts during your next few runs. 

(Pictured is a bowl of Cheerios with a glass of skim milk. This is an excellent source of whole grains and zinc and a perfect low-maintenance snack for when you are feeling under the weather.)

Tip #4: Probiotics have been associated with positive effects on health. In multiple different studies, probiotics were seen to reduce infection compared to those who did not take probiotics. You can find probiotics in supplements or common foods at the grocery store such as yogurts (I especially recommend Greek yogurt for the extra protein benefits).

Tips #5: Zinc can help the immune system work properly. It has been shown in research to significantly decrease the severity of the flu and common colds. Significant sources of zinc include poultry, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds, and nuts. Zinc supplements have also proven effective.

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The Truth About Skin, Hair, And Nail Supplements



Spoiler alert: Some work while others are a total waste of money.




Can a powder or pill really give you a glowing complexion, strong, shiny strands, or nails that grow quickly and never crack?

Sure, there are plenty of products out there promising to do these very things. And we’ve all seen a celebrity or beauty blogger who swears by her daily collagen smoothie or biotin supplement. But despite the hype, there’s actually not much science backing up the validity of beauty supplement claims.

“Most of us dermatologists just don’t recommend oral supplements to healthy people,” says Sheryl Hoyer, MD, a dermatologist with Northwestern Medicine.

But does that mean all supplements are a waste of your money? Or are there any that might actually be beneficial? Here’s what you need to know about things like biotin, keratin, collagen, and other popular pills, straight from the experts.

​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?

Also known as vitamin B7, biotin plays an important role in helping the body metabolize proteins—which are needed to produce healthy skin, hair, and nail cells. People who are severely deficient often end up with hair loss, eczema, and brittle nails, and supplementing can help correct those problems, explains Melanie Palm, MD assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Diego and founder of The Art of Skin.

But if you already get the recommended 30 mcg of biotin daily, loading up on extra won’t give you a beauty boost, according to a reent review of 18 studies.c And as long as you eat a balanced diet, you’re almost certainly getting your fill. The nutrient is found in eggs, salmon, pork chops, hamburgers, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, almonds, broccoli, and spinach.


​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?

Prenatal vitamins

Pregnant women are known for having thick, lustrous hair that grows really fast. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not because they’re taking prenatal vitamins. “It’s more likely the hormones of pregnancy, not the vitamins, that are enhancing hair growth,” says Hoyer.

In fact, there’s zero evidence that prenatals do anything for hair growth—whether you’re pregnant or not, she adds. So unless you’re having a baby (or trying for one) don’t bother buying these.

​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?
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Keratin is the structural protein that makes up the outermost layer of hair, skin, and nails. Our bodies make plenty of it on their own, but beauty buffs often claim that supplementing can make hair stronger and shinier.

Again though, there’s no evidence to back this up. In fact, keratin is highly resistant to the digestive acids in your stomach—so taking a supplement could cause more harm than good. “Cats who regularly groom themselves with their tongues often form hairballs in their intestines that they eventually vomit, because they can’t ingest the keratin in their fur,” Hoyer says. You don’t want to end up like that, do you?

​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?
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Like keratin, collagen is a naturally occurring structural protein that gives skin its smooth, plump appearance. And when production dips with age, wrinkles start to form.

So is supplementing the fountain of youth? One industry-funded study did show that women who took about three tablespoons of a collagen-based product for 60 days experienced less skin dryness and fewer wrinkles. (Independent studies are far and few between.)

But it’s not a surefire solution. “In your gut, collagen [that you consume through food or a supplement] is broken down into amino acids. And it’s at your body’s discretion how those amino acids are used,” Palm says. “It could become proteins to help your blood vessels, repair your liver, or stimulate your brain—not necessarily amino acids to produce collagen.” In other words, collagen might be a beneficial anti-ager, but there’s no guarantee.

​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?
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Vitamin C

It’s an antioxidant—and a potentially potent one at that. Vitamin C has been shown to protect against aging and skin cancers by boosting the production of collagen, preventing collagen from degrading, and fighting the formation of melanin (skin pigmentation), Hoyer says.

The problem? Even at high doses, only a fraction of that vitamin C supplement actually makes its way into your skin. Topical products that contain vitamin C are more effective—but even then, there’s not a ton of evidence to support their use, says Hoyer. “Because of all this, I’m not a big proponent of vitamin C yet. But I don’t think there’s much harm in it.”

​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?
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Here’s the one supplement that might actually do you some legit good. These essential fatty acids provide must-have nutrition for healthy hair and skin cells. “Our skin cell membranes are composed of a cholesterol-derived layer, and omega-3s are needed to help maintain that. In the same way, they help with the integrity of the hair,” Palm says.

In other words, getting your fill just might contribute to a glowier complexion and shinier strands. If you don’t regularly eat fish like salmon and tuna, aim for 500 mg of DHA and EPA (the most potent types of omega-3s, which are found in fatty fish) daily, Palm recommends. Nature Made Fish Oil Pearls will help you hit the daily mark.

​ Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Vitamins Actually Work?
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Link between gut bacteria and brain’s memory function


Can probiotic bacteria play a role in how well your memory works? It’s too early to say for sure, but mouse studies have turned up some clues worth remembering.

Preliminary results suggest that giving mice the kinds of bacteria often found in dietary supplements have a beneficial effect on memory when it comes to navigating mazes or avoiding electrical shocks.

One such study, focusing on mazes and object-in-place recognition, was published last year. And researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., are seeing similarly beneficial effects on memory in preliminary results from their experiments.

PNNL’s Janet Jansson provided an advance look at her team’s yet-to-be-published findings here today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The experiments gauged the effects of giving normal mice and germ-free mice a supplement of Lactobacillus bacteria — a type of bacteria that’s already been linked to improved cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

To measure how the presence of the bacteria affected memory, Jansson and her colleagues used a standard memory test that involved giving the mice a foot shock in a darkened part of the chamber, waiting several days, then seeing how well the mice knew to avoid the chamber’s dark place.

“The longer it takes for them to go back, the better memory they have,” Jansson explained.

She said the mice that were given the bacteria showed “much improved memory.”

The PNNL team then focused on the mechanism linking gut bacteria to brain function. The mice with the Lactobacillus boost showed elevated levels of mannitol, a sugar molecule that has some therapeutic applications.

And when the researchers looked at color-coded images of the hippocampus, a brain region that’s associated with memory, they found higher concentrations of GABA, a chemical that previous studies have linked to working-memory capacity.

“We’ve gotten some pieces of the puzzle, but it’s not complete yet,” Jansson said.

Joseph Petrosino, a microbiologist at Baylor College of Medicine, said that the link between Lactobacillus and memory improvement made sense, but that lots of details remain to be filled in.

“Lactobacillus is like the Swiss army knife of the microbiome. … The challenge is that, as with any microbial species, strain-to-strain variation can be as much as 40 percent,” Petrosino told GeekWire. “So not all strains are made equal. We have to understand which strains are doing what.”

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Pet Dental Month


Poor dental health for your pet can lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease, common dental issues for your best friend. It is estimated that most pets show signs of periodontal disease as early as three years old. Regular checkups and good dental care can help to insure that your pet stays healthy, and keep you both smiling.

This past week we saw the crowning of a new champion at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Out of more than 2,800 dogs representing about 200 different breeds, a little Bichon Frise named “Flynn” pranced away with the Best In Show title. If you watched any of the judging on television you may have noticed that a judge would examine each contestant, beginning by pulling back its lips to check its teeth. In part, they compare the animal’s physical attributes to the standard for that dog’s particular breed, but they are also checking to confirm the dog’s age and health.

A pet’s teeth are a good indication of its general overall physical condition. While some ailments can cause dental problems, it’s very possible that poor dental health can cause internal disease affecting other parts of the animal’s body.

Dental issues usually result from a build-up of tartar, which begins in pets the same way it does in people, as food particles and other elements accumulate around the teeth. The teeth take on a brownish-yellow appearance and often the animal develops what many of us call “doggie breath”. That odor may be an indication that your pet has – or is developing – periodontal disease. As it progresses, periodontal disease can cause pain and discomfort for an animal. But untreated, infection in the gums could eventually spread to vital organs like the kidneys, heart and liver.

One way to keep your pet’s teeth healthier is have them checked by your veterinarian. The vet may recommend a teeth-cleaning procedure, which usually involves anesthesia, because most animals won’t sit still and open wide. Your vet may also recommend things you can do to help keep your best friend’s teeth, and its whole body, healthier.

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Dietary changes to help reduce the laminitis risk with your horse

Horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) are at a greater risk of developing laminitis than healthy horses. Dietary changes can help reduce that risk and are one of the most important aspects of keeping affected horses healthy.

Those changes are not necessarily cut and dried—they require planning, sourcing of proper feed products, and management shifts. Teresa Burns, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, an associate clinical professor of equine internal medicine at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in Columbus, reviewed how veterinarians can use nutrition and medication to help manage endocrinopathic laminitis cases at the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas.

“EMS is prevalent in equine populations, and we’re learning more about how to manage it,” she said. “PPID is also very common.”

All EMS horses and roughly 30% of PPID horses suffer from insulin dysregulation (ID, excessive insulin response to oral sugars, evident as postprandial hyperinsulinemia, fasting hyperinsulinemia, or insulin resistance based on when it occurs), she said. As such, managing ID can help reduce the likelihood of complications—such as laminitis—from arising.

Burns said nutritional EMS and ID management currently involves three steps:

  • Reducing dietary nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs; essentially, the sugar and starch component of the horse’s diet);
  • Restricting pasture access until ID is under control; and
  • Restricting calorie consumption to encourage weight loss.

She offered practitioners several feeding tips to help achieve these goals.

Aim to keep the total dietary NSC concentration to 10% or less, and base the horse’s diet on low-NSC grass forage. Burns said that while there’s no clinical research to back up the 10% figure, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s an appropriate target. Achieve this by providing most of the horse’s calories via structural carbohydrates—the fibrous portion of plants. Hay typically constitutes the greatest percentage of structural carbs in a horse’s diet. Horses cannot digest structural carbohydrates without the help of billions of microorganisms in the hindgut. This microbial fermentation breaks down fiber into volatile fatty acids, a usable energy form. Nonstructural carbohydrates, on the other hand, are broken down into glucose, which can contribute to obesity and ID. It’s advisable to test hay prior to feeding to ensure low NSC levels; find more information on hay testing at

Feed forage at 1 to 2% of body weight. Avoid going above, to encourage weight loss, or below, which could lead to gastrointestinal issues as well as boredom.
Avoid feeding cereal-grain-based concentrates. This means no sweet feeds, corn, oats, and the like, she said. If your horse needs more calories (not all ID horses are overweight), consider a commercially available low-NSC product (such as a high-protein ration balancer) or adding a fat source (such as oil), which produces a lower glycemic response than NSCs.

Reduce or eliminate pasture access, which can be unpredictably high in NSCs. Turn your horse out in a drylot with low-NSC hay access, if possible. If pasture turnout is essential, use a grazing muzzle or strip grazing (cordoning off small areas to graze at a time, using temporary fencing), or turn horses out in the early morning (pasture sugar content peaks in the late afternoon) for a short period.

Consider soaking hay. Burns said soaking hay for 30 to 60 minutes can leach some water-soluble carbohydrates out of hay, but it also removes some important minerals. She advised still starting with a low-NSC hay and working with a nutritionist or your veterinarian to ensure your horse’s mineral needs are being met.

Don’t rely on supplements. While some owners report that certain supplements seem to help their ID horses, Burns said most supplements aren’t backed by research. As such, she advised not basing your feeding program around a particular supplement.

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Is your cat sleeping too much?



Cats sleep for long hours and experts advise cat parents not to freak out until and unless they see some stark changes in the pattern.


Cats love alone-time and often get visibly annoyed with excessive attention, especially when they are resting. However, some cat parents stress out when their feline companions sleep too much.

In many animals, sleeping excessively can be a sign of some disease, stress or depression, but with cats, that is not the case.

Biologists say this habit of cats comes from two things. The first is their protein-rich diet, which needs long hours of rest to be fully digested. The second is their crepuscular predatory pattern, according to

Crepuscular creatures are those that are most active at dawn and dusk. Creatures with a crepuscular predatory pattern mostly hunt during dawn and dusk and rest in between.

According to experts, cats sleep around 15 hours a day and you need not be worried until and unless you notice a stark difference in the timing. You should also keep in mind that kittens and seniors tend to sleep more, around 18 hours a day.

Breed, temperament, and health are also a few factors that determine a cat’s sleeping pattern. These felines also tend to sleep more in winter, especially if they have a warm cozy place to snuggle.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica urge cat parents to keep a track of their pets’ sleeping pattern. During usual catnapping, a cat should be able to quickly react to stimuli, such as other people walking into the room or cat food being prepared. read more…