Rodent ulcer in cats


The patient was an eight-year-old white female shorthaired cat named Sweetie. Over the phone, Sweetie’s elderly owner told me that something was wrong with his cat’s face. As soon as I saw Sweetie, I knew what the problem was. Sweetie had a rodent ulcer.

Cat rodent ulcer, also referred to as indolent ulcer, is the common name used to describe one of the variants of the feline eosinophilic granuloma complex of diseases.

The label ‘cat rodent ulcer’ is a misnomer. Historically, the name was conceived by farmers whose cats developed facial ulcers after hunting rats. We now know that these ulcers have nothing whatsoever to do with rodents but the name has stuck.

The medical term eosinophilic granuloma complex more accurately describes the condition.

Eosinophils form part of the immune system. They are one of the types of white blood cells that moves around the body of the cat with the specific purpose of seeking out allergies or parasites.

When an allergen is detected, or a parasite invades the body of the cat, the cat’s immune system releases bio-chemical signals that eosinophils detect.

The allergy might be, for example, an allergy to fleas, plastic bowls, pollen, dust, mould and food, while the parasite might be, for example, tapeworms or roundworms. Either way, the eosinophils interpret them as a threat to the health of the cat and home in to the bio-chemical signal to attack the source of allergen or parasite. But sometimes, the eosinophil cells can go into overdrive.

Eosinophil cells may ‘over-react’ to a perceived threat, or the cat may have an auto-immune disease that makes the body attack itself.

Either way, the reaction of the body is highly visible. In some cases, the cells inflame to form a granuloma in the shape a lump, in others they may cause a rash-like reaction, and with the cat rodent ulcer variant, it forms a lesion.

The unfortunate aspect of the cat rodent ulcer is that it usually develops on the face of the cat and it has the potential to permanently disfigure the cat if not treated quickly enough.

The ulcer generally forms on the upper lip of the cat, though it has been known to affect the lower lip, tongue, or inside of the mouth as well. It starts as a yellowish pink spot located on one or both sides of the upper lip. It then develops into a clearly-defined, reddish-brown shiny sore without fur.

The ulcer does not weep or bleed but, as it advances, the lips soon start to look as if they have been gnawed off – hence the historical misconception of farmers.

In very serious cases, the ulcer advances so much that the cat loses its entire lips and nose, leaving the teeth, gums and nasal cavity exposed.

The disease affects mostly in young to middle-aged cats, and more female than male, but there is no specific breed that is more susceptible to the disease.

Perhaps the merciful aspect with this terrible affliction is that cat rodent ulcers are not painful and, while this complex of diseases is not yet fully understood, there have been advances in recent years that have helped veterinarians to control the condition.

Some studies have found that viral infections such as feline leukaemia virus, or genetic predisposition, might be a contributing factor. The important thing is that should your cat develop any unusual facial growth or start to behave differently, for example, all the time licking its nose, you should take your pet to the vet before any real damage is done.

You vet will start by examining the lesion and discussing your cat’s lifestyle and living environment. Depending upon the nature of the case, your vet may also opt to test for Felv/FIV, take a complete blood count, skin scrapings and fungal culture. The vet may additionally opt to take a biopsy or needle aspiration to rule out malignancy.

Treatment will depend upon the cause of the ulcer and may range from anti-flea treatment to food allergy diet trials among others.

Medication will be administered and prescribed to prevent further deterioration resulting from the ulcer. Reversal of the loss of lip flesh very much depends on how advanced the condition is. In its early stages, sufficient scar tissue can develop that restores the cat’s dignity. But when the condition is so advanced that erosion of the face is severe, there is not much that can be done to restore the face.

Sweetie’s condition was thankfully not too advanced and she was spared permanent disfigurement with timely intervention.

Her owner has taken steps to treat the house for the flea invasion that flared up during the warm summer months and he has promised to keep an eye on Sweetie. read more


Prepping pets for the coming cold


As we head into the winter months, the cold weather is going to be a bit of a shock and adjustment for a pup who, until now, has only lived in the South. To ensure we all stay safe and healthy during our daily walks and trips out in the snow, ice and bitter winds, here are five things to remember when preparing your fur baby for the cold.

They’re like us

While some breeds are bred for colder climates with their naturally thicker coats and longer hair, no pet should be left outdoors for long periods of time in freezing temperatures. Ever. Dogs and cats, just like humans, have varying tolerances for the cold. It’s important to know your pet’s individual limit. Short-hair and short-legged animals (those whose bellies hit the snow and ice when walking), get colder much quicker. Invest in a sweater or coat for these breeds and avoid putting a wet one back on before going out again, as a wet sweater will actually chill their core faster.

Wipe them down

Salt, sand and other de-icing agents on roads and sidewalks are easily picked up on paws, legs and bellies. These chemicals can be harmful if left on their coats, and especially if your fur baby licks them off. When returning home after a walk, be sure and wipe down, if not wash, these areas to remove the chemicals. Wiping down also removes wet snow and ice particles and helps dry their coat, causing them to warm up faster upon their return home.

Signs of concern

Pets need annual check-ups, too. And just like in humans, colder weather can exacerbate chronic health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, kidney and heart disease. A checkup now is as good a time as any to make sure they’re healthy and can regulate their body temperatures.  They can also be susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. If you see signs of whining, shivering, anxiety, or weakness and lethargy, immediately get the animal inside. Frostbite can be difficult to detect on an animal, so if you have any worries or concerns, get them checked by a vet.

When they’re outside

Again, many of the precautions we take when heading outdoors also applies to our animals. When walking them, avoid stepping directly on ice. They can slip and fall too, causing injury. And frozen lakes or ponds may not support their weight. Snow and ice also mask recognizable scents that help animals find their way home. Be sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with identification tags and contact information on at all times.

When they’re inside

Offer up a couple sleeping options at night. Most homes have colder and warmer areas, and multiple places to sleep allows them to go where they’re most comfortable. With pets staying indoors more, also take a look around to pet-proof the interior. Use space heaters with caution, as they can be knocked over and be a fire hazard. Keep medications and chemicals out of reach. And always keep fresh water available. Pets need to drink water just as much in cold weather as they do in hot weather. read more

#Dog Vitals – Normal Heart Rate, Body Temperature, & Respiration


What is a dog’s normal resting heart rate? What should a dog’s body temperature be? Is your dog breathing too fast? These are questions you may be wondering about if your dog is feeling under the weather and your need a frame of reference or if you notice that your dog’s pulse, temperature, or respiration aren’t what you think they should be. A dog’s regular vitals are different from a human’s, so while your normal temperature might be 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog’s might be completely different. Here are a few normal stats that you should expect to see in healthy dogs.

Normal Heart Rate For Dogs

Healthy Dog

The normal pulse rate for dogs can vary depending on the dog’s age and size. The resting heart rates of small dogs and puppies are faster than the heart rates of large or adult dogs. Puppies can have resting pulse rates of 160 to 200 beats per minutes when they are born, which can go as high as 220 beats per minute at two weeks of age. Up to 180 beats per minute may be normal until a year of age. Large adult dogs can have a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute, while small adult dogs can have a normal heart rate of 100 to 140 beats per minute.

Heart rate can increase with normal exercise or emotional responses like excitement or stress. This is not often a cause for concern unless it results in health complications or worsens an existing condition. When there are changes in the resting heart rate when a dog is relaxed, it could be a problem. It could be a sign of many serious heart or blood conditions, or it could be a sign that your dog is out of shape and at risk for health issues. If your dog’s resting heart rate is outside of the usual range, it is a good idea to see a veterinarian.

To measure your dog’s heart rate, you’ll need a stopwatch or clock that can show you a count in seconds. You can feel your dog’s heart beat with your hand on your dog’s left side behind the front leg or you can check the inside of the top of your dog’s hind leg. Count the beats you feel for 15 seconds and multiply the result by four to get the beats per minute. You should take the measurement multiple times, as it can vary a bit. You should also do this when your dog is healthy and at rest to establish a normal baseline so you can tell if something is wrong.

Normal Body Temperature For Dogs

Young female veterinarian with a dog

Like humans, the temperature of a dog’s body can vary a bit while still being completely healthy. The usual temperature of a healthy, normal dog is 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which averages out to about 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Puppies have a bit cooler normal body temperature between 94 and 97 degrees Fahrenheit until they are about a month old.

There are many health issues or environmental factors that can cause a dog’s body temperature to vary outside of the normal range. When a dog’s body temperature goes above 103 or below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it is cause for concern. If your dog’s temperature is that far out of the normal range, it is time for a vet visit. Fevers can be symptoms of a variety of conditions that range from mild to life threatening, and overheating can easily occur if a dog is exposed to a hot environment for too long without the chance to cool down. A low body temperature can also be a sign of serious complications or can be the result of hypothermia from exposure to extreme cold.

You can measure your dog’s temperature with a thermometer. Depending on the type of thermometer, you will need to measure rectally or by ear. Rectal thermometers should be used with medical lubricant to avoid injury or discomfort. A traditional glass thermometer should be inserted one to two inches into the rectum for two minutes for an accurate reading. Digital thermometers are easier to use, especially if they are able to read temperature in the ears.

Normal Respiration Rate For Dogs

Dog and Timer

The normal rate of breathing for dogs at rest can vary a lot. On average, a dog will take 24 breaths per minute, but it can be as low as 10 breaths per minute or as high as 35 breaths per minute and still be considered normal. This is for resting respiration rate only. Any physical activity or change in emotional state can result in increased breathing rate and still be a healthy response.

There are many conditions that can change the resting respiration rate for dogs. Anemia, heart failure, lung disease, or any other respiratory disorder can cause high breathing rate, as can simply being out of shape and overweight. Shock, poisoning, physical injury, and many other health problems can cause slower or shallower breathing. You should see a veterinarian if you notice a change in your dog’s resting breathing rate. If your dog is panting, breathing very quickly, and has glassy eyes, it can be a sign of overheating, and you should get to the veterinarian immediately.

To measure your dog’s breathing rate, use a stop watch or clock that shows a count in seconds. Count the number of times your dog’s chest rises in 15 seconds and multiply by four to get the breaths per minute. Do this multiple times to get an accurate reading and check while your dog is healthy and at rest to establish a baseline that you can use to measure against later. read more…

Glucosamine For Dogs?


Glucosamine is a compound that is produced naturally in dogs’ bodies and is mostly found in healthy cartilage. It can also be given to dogs in the form of supplements, or it can be present in the food that dogs eat. Generally, it is used to treat arthritis in dogs, though it can be used to treat other painful joint and bone conditions, as well. If you are considering supplementing your dog’s glucosamine intake, there are several things you should consider, including the delivery method of the glucosamine, the dosage, and the possible side effects. Here is what you should know about glucosamine for dogs.

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound that is made up of the amino acid glutamine and sugar, called glucose. It is produced by dogs’ bodies and aids in the formation of molecules that make up cartilage in the joints. The compound is necessary for repairing the wear and tear that happens to the joints over time. When the body ages, it produces less glucosamine, which can lead to joint problems like arthritis. Supplementing glucosamine for dogs can help maintain the body’s ability to repair joints.

There are three major types of glucosamine. Glucosamine sulfate is the most commonly used in supplements. It is extracted from shellfish shells or produced synthetically and contains sulfur, which helps in cartilage repair. Glucosamine hydrochloride also comes from shells, but doesn’t have sulfur and has been shown to be less effective. N-acetyl-glucosamine is the the third type and is derived from glucose, which helps in the production of the synovial fluid that lubricates joints.

What Does Glucosamine Do?

Supplemental glucosamine can be used to provide relief from a number of health concerns in dogs. In addition to aiding in the repair of cartilage, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to further reduce the pain caused by the degradation of cartilage in the joints.

Glucosamine can be used to treat conditions in dogs such as hip dysplasia and spinal disc injury in addition to arthritis. It can also be used to aid in recovery after joint surgery and slow the aging process in joints. N-acetyl-glucosamine in particular can be used to improve and maintain gut health. It does so by aiding in the creation of connective tissues in the gastrointestinal system. This form of glucosamine can reduce inflammation in the digestive system and improve the symptoms of irritable bowel disease.

How Should You Give Your Dog Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is available for dogs in the form of supplements that can be tablets, pills, powders, or liquids. These are usually meant to be given daily. They can be expensive and are sometimes made synthetically, rather than naturally extracted from shellfish shells. Synthetic supplements can sometimes lose their effectiveness more quickly than natural sources. If you decide to give your dog supplements, you should ask your veterinarian about proper dosage. Some dog foods claim to be a source of glucosamine, but the amount they contain is often far less than what your dog needs to maintain joint health.

Glucosamine supplements are often given to dogs along with chondroitin sulfate, which is extracted from the cartilage of cows or sharks, or methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). Chondroitin helps cartilage retain water, and MSM improves joint flexibility and reduces pain and inflammation.

Another way to give glucosamine to your dog is through the food they eat. Foods that are high in cartilage often contain high levels of glucosamine. Trachea, chicken feet, ox or pig tails, beef knuckle bones, bones that have a lot of cartilage, shellfish shells, green lipped mussel, and bone broth are all great sources of glucosamine. You should ask your veterinarian before making any dietary changes for your dog.

Are There Side Effects?

Some side effects have been seen in dogs that take glucosamine supplements. These are generally uncommon and mild, though if you see symptoms that are concerning, contact your veterinarian right away. Here are a few common side effects of glucosamine.

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive thirst or urination

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Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease with Dietary Calcium Supplement


A recent article in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that dietary calcium intakes can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in Korean women while having neutral effects on stroke and fracture risk.

Nutrition specialists are now recommending calcium supplements for everyone. Calcium is one of the essential minerals which have been shown to be effective in so many cases including preventing osteoporosis and other conditions.

Although some research has demonstrated protective properties of calcium supplementation in cardiovascular disease, this role is not completely understood, and there remains some controversy in the cardio protective effects of calcium.

This study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has evaluated the effect of calcium supplementation on prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, and fractures in a Korean population.  The Korean population has a much lower natural intake of dietary calcium than in the populations of the previous research.

The researchers, using data obtained from the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study, have performed a prospective cohort study with an enrollment of 2,158 men and 2,153 women in Korea. Participants filled out a questionnaire to evaluate their dietary habits and were followed up for a mean time of 9 years. Overall cases of deaths, cardiovascular diseases events, fractures and strokes were recorded during the follow-up period.

Based on the obtained results, during follow-up, 242 and 100 deaths, 149 and 150 cardiovascular diseases events, 58 and 82 stroke events, and 211 and 292 incident fractures occurred in men and women, respectively. Dietary calcium intake was associated with a higher intake of fat, protein, sodium, phosphate, vegetables and fruits. High calcium intake was correlated with a lower cardiovascular diseases event in women.  There was no correlation between calcium intake and stoke, fractures, or all-cause deaths.  In men, there was no correlation between calcium intake and any of the medical events, including cardiovascular disease.

Mechanisms regarding the association between dietary calcium intake and risk of CVD or stroke are not clear and indicate the need for further research before recommendations can be made for calcium supplementation.

Regarding study findings, authors have concluded that in Korean women, an increased dietary calcium intake was associated with decreased cardiovascular diseases events with no influence on the risk of fractures and strokes. read more…

A #dog can make a family feel complete


Spending More Time with Your Dog as a Busy Mom

It’s easy to say that your dog is your best friend, but have you ever stopped and wondered whether you’re being the best friend to your dog? With your to-do list all filled up every day, you might forget to set aside at least a few minutes for your furry companion. Remember that your dog relies on you to train its body and mind, so it’s only fair to spend some bonding time with your best pal despite being a full-time mom. Dogs require mental and physical stimulation. If all they do is wander around the house waiting patiently for you to take them out, and then they might suffer from boredom and surplus energy. This might very well explain why your dog tends to chew and bark relentlessly. Thankfully, some simple things can help your dog have a wonderful time at home even if you’re the busiest mom out there.

Use a wireless dog fence

As the name implies, you don’t have to deal with any wires when using this pet containment system, making the installation process a breeze. This virtual fence works by using a transmitter which sends a radio signal to an electric dog collar. When your dog goes beyond the designated radius, it will receive a warning in the form of stimuli. Depending on the manufacturer of the invisible dog fence, the stimuli to be used varies.

Why switch to a virtual fence when your physical fence does the job just fine? One benefit is that it gives your dog more space to roam and play around. You have probably seen your dog trying to make its way out of the fence by digging under, jumping over, or chewing through the fence. With a wireless dog fence, you and your dog can move around more freely without worrying that it might leave your property. Just remember to train your dog so that it understands the warning signals sent by the electric dog collar.

Make it work for food

When your baby is crying, the household chores are piling up, and the deadline is sending shivers down your spine, it’s tempting just to grab some dog food and let your dog eat so you can get back to work. However, studies show that animals prefer working for food. One simple trick is to let your dog do some tricks before putting down the bowl.

You can also use a dispensing machine to allow your dog to work its mind a bit before getting its reward. Scattering these toys around the house encourages your pet to hunt for food, which is a good way of simulating the outside environment.

Change routes regularly

It gets boring when you drive along the same route every day. Your dog feels the same way when it walks the same streets. A change of scenery can go a long way in keeping your dog engaged. With new surroundings to please its eyes and stimulate its mind, your dog will surely be grateful for this simple change. read more…

What To Look For In A #Probiotic Supplement


When people think about bacteria, the first few things that typically comes to mind are dirt, germs, disease and illness. There is not much positive that springs to mind at the mention of the word. However, our bodies are home to trillions of microorganisms that are essential to our everyday health and overall well-being.

Think about this; the human body is made up of approximately 30 trillion human cells and anywhere between 30 and 50 trillion bacterial cells. Essentially, we are made of just as much bacteria as we are human cells. When you consider this important information, it is easy to understand why bacteria are important to our health.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the bacteria and yeast that live within our body, and are responsible for keeping us and our guts healthy. These are very different to the pathogenic bacteria that cause disease and illness. In fact, this friendly flora travel through our digestive system, protecting us from pathogens, producing vitamins that we need, and making sure all digestive processes are running smoothly.

Probiotics are particularly useful after an illness where you were prescribed antibiotics. These medications can severely deplete the levels of good bacteria in our systems as well as the bad. When the levels of friendly bacteria are reduced, pathogenic materials are able to flourish, causing digestive problems and a whole host of other illnesses.

Choosing The Best Probiotic

Given the importance of the digestive system to overall health, maintenance of the bacteria levels is critical. A poorly functioning gut can mean loss of nutrients and minerals that we need. Because the gut and your brain are in constant communication, the health of your gut is integral to your well-being. A healthy digestive system can therefore mean improved cognitive function, appearance, and reduced depression.

There are so many strains of probiotics, each with their own set of particular benefits, and there is still room for more research. Some can be found in your genital or urinary systems and also in fermented foods, whereas others live as lactic acid in your intestines. When choosing a probiotic, you need to consider your specific conditions as well as what each strand is beneficial for.

The Lactobacillus Family

L. Acidophilus: Great for Acne and Vaginal Health

This probiotic has been used for decades originally as a treatment for constipation and diarrhea in the 1920’s. They are able to colonize in the intestines and promoting intestinal health. Additionally, this flora can treat vaginal infections and inflammatory acne as well as reduce lactose intolerance and the risk of colon cancer.

L. Rhamnosus: Great for Eczema

Studies have found that this probiotic is able to colonize in the gut and is therefore great for treating diarrhea. Also, this particular strain has proven to be beneficial in combating eczema. Studies showed that when taken during pregnancy, children were half as likely to develop atopic eczema as the children of mothers who did not.

L. Plantarum: Great for Inflammation

This probiotic helps to regulate immunity and control inflammation in the intestines. They are particularly useful in providing relief from bloating and abdominal pain in patients suffering from IBS.

L.Casei: Great for Brain Function and GI Support

Another probiotic that shows support for gastrointestinal health, this strain also helps to regulate diarrhea. Recent studies have surprised scientists and health professionals alike as they discovered that this strain helps to relieve anxiety. Supplements of L. Casei have been linked to a significant reduction is anxiety and depressive symptoms.

The Bifidobacterium Family

B. Lactis: Great for Immunity

When you are looking to give your immune system a little boost, this choice has a lot of potential. Research has found that when B. Lactis supplements are taken there is an increase in antibody levels, indicative of a strengthened immune system.

B. Longum: Great for Constipation and Brain Function

A bacterial strain that again helps the brain and the gut, showing just how linked these two systems are. This strain actually colonizes in our bodies from birth and is responsible for producing lactic acid from sugars to stabilize the acid levels of the gut. Regular bowel movements are a product of a stabilized GI tract. Additionally, these supplements have shown an ability to lower stress levels and increase memory.

B. Bifidum: Great for Immunity and GI Support

Over time, stress, diet and antibiotics deplete your natural source of B. Bifidum which will have a negative impact on your immunity. This strain is directly responsible for regulating your body’s innate immune response, so when the levels fall too low, you leave yourself open to infection. Additionally, this flora helps to prevent pathogens from flourishing in the gut, maintaining optimal bacterial balance.

B. Breve: Great for Anti-aging

Spending too much time in the sun not only increases your risk of skin cancer but also prematurely ages your skin. Studies with B. Breve have shown that increased levels actually prevent the UV induced aging and can help to keep your skin looking younger and more hydrated.

The Streptococcus Family

If the mention of this name caused you to gasp, you would not be wrong. Although typically associated with the dangerous bacterial infections, this family does contain some beneficial strains. Streptococcus Thermophilus has shown to possess antibacterial qualities and can prevent certain diseases.

Recent research indicated that the benefits of this flora also reach the skin by improving the levels of ceramides. These are the natural lipids in our skin that protect the underlying tissues from damage. Streptococcus Thermophilus helps to support the ceramides by trapping antioxidants that dry and prematurely age skin.

What to Look For

Now that you know the benefits linked with some of the most common probiotics, you can choose what best suits your needs. Be sure when you are shopping that you always check the label. You want to get ‘live’ bacteria with CFUs (colony forming units) in the billions to ensure you get a potent amount. Additionally check the expiration dates and best by dates. This tells you that your bacteria will be viable through and able to reach your gut while they are still live. There is no substitute for quality, so you need to be prepared to spend a little extra for good probiotics. A typical high-quality supplement will run between $45 and $70.

Once You Are Home

Be sure to keep your probiotics away from heat and moisture, which can kill microbes. A cool, dark place is recommended, especially the fridge. Many strains are delicate and easily damaged by heat, which makes refrigeration ideal. When it comes to taking your probiotics, it is recommended to take on an empty stomach; the earlier in the day the better, with the ideal time being right after you wake up.

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