My dog was recently diagnosed with a “hotspot.” Can you tell me more about this skin condition?
“Hotspot” is a general term used to describe the angry reaction that your pet’s skin is displaying. It may also be referred to as “acute moist dermatitis.”
Hotspots have many causes, but are usually the result of self trauma and subsequent infection that occurs as your pet tries to relieve himself from a pain or itch. An underlying allergy is most often the cause of the pain or itch. Some breeds are more prone to seasonal allergies, so you may see hotspots at the same time each year.
There are three types of allergies that may lead to hotspots:
- Inhaled allergy (pollens, dust, molds)
- Insect allergy (fleas, bee sting, spider bite)
- Ingested allergy (food)
Please discuss treatment options, which may include thorough cleaning, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents, with your veterinarian.
For more information, see Library Articles Skin Problems in Pets, Allergiesand Spring Allergies.
The holidays are a great time for everyone, including your pet, but take precautions this decorating season. Glass ornaments and tinsel can be harmful if swallowed. Extension cords, if chewed, can electrocute your pet. Keep pets safe while decorating for the holiday season.
Are you stocking up on all the holiday goodies? Beware of guests who may give your pet cookies, chocolate and other sweets. Those treats are not healthy for them. Your pet’s digestive system is not adapted for such rich foods, and chocolate contains theobromine, which can be harmful and sometimes fatal. Keep plenty of treats especially for your pet around so they don’t get the urge to try and sample some of your holiday feast. Just a tip from Brookfield Animal Hospital.
Nearly everyone is aware of dog agility, an exciting sport where sure-footed canines race through an obstacle course comprised of tunnels, weave poles, hoops, hurdles, teeter totters and more. It’s entertaining to watch as they maneuver up, over, through and around the obstacles with lightning fast speed and “dogged” determination. Can you imagine cats being trained to run such a course?
Many people can’t, because they think cats are haughty creatures who would never do anything on command, let along jump through hoops or over barriers. I can picture it though, because I’ve seen entire troupes of cats perform all sorts of tricks at cat shows, on television and in youtube videos. I’ve also looked into training catsand have written about it for this blog. Knowing what I know, that cats are definitely trainable, feline agility competitions are not nearly as farfetched as they might seem.
The History of Cat Agility
When dog agility was first introduced more than 30 years ago, as a spectator event at the Crufts Dog Show in London, it was loosely modeled on equestrian stadium jumpers. Since then, agility has become one of the most popular dog sports, with competitions held worldwide.
Much like dog agility, a cat agility course is designed to display a feline’s speed, coordination, physical prowess and intelligence. It also showcases the trust and depth of the relationship between cats and their owners (handlers) who train them and guide them through the obstacle course.
The first feline agility competition was held in Portland, Oregon in February 2005 as part of a CFA cat show. “Let the Cats Entertain You” had 45 competing felines, both pedigreed and non-pedigreed, from kittens to adults. The novel event was a big hit with exhibitors, participants and spectators alike, and everyone enjoyed cheering on their favorite cat. Because agility events are open to any cat, the household pets compete alongside the grand championship show cats, and often upstage them. When it comes to cat agility, a pedigree is no guarantee of a win.
How Cat Agility Differs from Dog Agility
The obstacles used for cat agility courses are similar to those used for dog agility, but they’re smaller, for obvious reasons. Another difference is that while dogs are expected to navigate an unpredictable obstacle course by following the commands of their handler, cats are led around a circular course by handlers using a toy on a stick or a laser pointer.
Some cats run the course quickly and confidently, while others take their time and thoroughly inspect each obstacle before tackling it. Depending on the curiosity level of a particular cat, they can complete the agility course in just a couple of minutes, to 15 minutes or more.
How to Get Started in Cat Agility
Training cats for agility requires patience, practice, determination, respect and affection, along with a supply of cat treats. The most successful agility cats love to play, have an outgoing personality, and are in tip-top physical condition. You don’t need any special equipment to begin training your cat for agility – you can practice in your home by leading them over the bed and around the table legs, or having them jump from one chair to another.
Take the time to understand the body language of cats, develop good communication with your cat and form a strong bond with them. Most of all, make the agility course fun, like a giant kitty playground. I’ve seen pictures of agility cats in action, and it does look like they are enjoying themselves.
If you’re interested in entering or watching a cat agility event, the CFA show schedule has information on which cat shows will have agility (look for the logo of the three jumping cats). The website for the International Cat Agility Tournament (ICAT) also has information on this cool new sport for felines who are unfazed by crowds, loud cheering and unfamiliar settings. I already know my shy kitties would not put up with any of that, so I guess I’ll have to get my cat agility fix on youtube.
Acrylic bird cages can be mass produced or custom made. They can be found at local pet stores or large chains such as PetsMart or PetCo. They are also available at department stores, such as Wal-Mart. At times, acrylic bird cages can even be found at discount stores, such as Family Dollar or Dollar General.
Congratulations. Youve decided to buy a bird, and you even know what kind. Youve gone so far as to pick out a name for your new feathered friend. The hard part is over, right? Wrong. You still have to find a cage for little Polly. You will be amazed by the number of bird cages to choose from. Bird cages are available in many different sizes, styles, and price ranges. They come in a variety of materials, such as wood, iron, metal, and stainless steel.
One option for materials is acrylic. Acrylic bird cages are relatively inexpensive and readily available. Though acrylic bird cages are popular, some customers report that they are not as durable as metal or stainless steel. Others say that birds are unable to climb on acrylic bird cages. This could keep your bird from getting an adequate amount of exercise.
Acrylic bird cages can be mass produced or custom made. They can be found at local pet stores or large chains such as PetsMart or PetCo. They are also available at department stores, such as Wal-Mart. At times, acrylic bird cages can even be found at discount stores, such as Family Dollar or Dollar General. Another option for buying acrylic bird cages is online pet stores. They can range from about $20 for a small mass produced cage to over a thousand dollars for a large custom designed cage.
Owners, Medical Reports Point to Link Between RFID Chips and Cancers in Canines
Highly aggressive tumors developed around the microchip implants of two American dogs, killing one of the pets and leaving the other terminally ill. Their owners — and pathology and autopsy reports — have suggested a link between the chips and the formation of the fast-growing cancers.
In the town of Paeonian Springs, Va., a five-year-old male Bullmastiff named Seamus died in February, nine months after developing a “hemangio-sarcoma” — a rare, malignant form of cancer that strikes connective tissues and can kill even humans in three to six months. The tumor appeared last May between the dog’s shoulder blades where a microchip had been implanted; by September, a “large mass” had grown with the potential to spread to the lungs, liver and spleen, according a pathology report from the Blue Ridge Veterinary Clinic in Purcellville, Va.
Originally scheduled to receive just a biopsy, Seamus underwent emergency surgery. A foot-long incision was opened to extract the 4-pound-3-ounce tumor, and four drains were needed to remove fluid where the tumor had developed.
When Howard Gillis, the dog’s owner, picked up his pet the following day, the attending veterinarian stunned him with this question: Did you know your dog had been microchipped twice, and that both chips were in or around the tumor?
“While we knew of one chip, which we had put in him at a free local county clinic, we knew nothing of a second chip,” Gillis said. “We believe one of them was put in Seamus by the breeder from whom we bought him when he was about nine months old.”
By December, the cancer was back — and the energetic, playful 150-pound dog was huffing and puffing, struggling to walk. Seamus “was 150 pounds of heart,” Gillis said in a recent interview. “He wanted to live.”
Gillis said he “got the microchip because I didn’t want him stolen. I thought I was doing right. There were never any warnings about what a microchip could do, but I saw it first-hand. That cancer was something I could see growing every day, and I could see it taking his life … It just ate him up.” To keep his beloved dog from suffering further, he had him put to sleep two months later.
In Memphis, a five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier named Scotty was diagnosed with cancer at the Cloverleaf Animal Clinic in December. A tumor between the dog’s shoulder blades — precisely where a microchip had been embedded — was described as malignant lymphoma. A tumor the size of a small balloon was removed; encased in it was a microchip.
Scotty was given no more than a year to live.
But the dog’s owner, Linda Hawkins, wasn’t satisfied with just a prognosis: She wanted to know whether the presence of the microchip had anything to do with Scotty’s illness. Initially, her veterinarian was skeptical that a chip implant could trigger cancer; research has shown that vaccine injections in dogs and cats can lead to tumors.
In a December pathology report on Scotty, Evan D. McGee wrote: “I was previously suspicious of a prior unrelated injection site reaction” beneath the tumor. “However, it is possible that this inflammation is associated with other foreign debris, possibly from the microchip.”
Observing the glass-encapsulated tag under a microscope, he noted it was partially coated with a translucent material, normally used to keep embedded microchips from moving around the body. “This coating could be the material inciting the inflammatory response,” McGee wrote.
Hawkins sent the pathology report to HomeAgain, the national pet recovery and identification network that endorses microchipping of pets. After having a vet review the document, the company said the chip did not cause Scotty’s tumor — then in January sent Hawkins a $300 check to cover her clinical expenses, no questions asked.
“I find it hard to believe that a company will just give away $300 to somebody who calls in, unless there is something bad going on,” Hawkins says.
Having spent $4,000 on medical treatment for Scotty since December, Hawkins accepted the money. But she says it hardly covers her $900 monthly outlays for chemotherapy and does little to ease her pet’s suffering.
“Scotty is just a baby. He won’t live the 15 years he’s supposed to …I did something I thought a responsible pet owner should — microchip your pet — and to think that it killed him … It just breaks your heart.”
Scotty and Seamus aren’t the only pets to have suffered adverse reactions from microchips. Published reports have detailed malignant tumors in two other chipped dogs; in one dog, the researchers said cancer appeared linked to the presence of the embedded chip; in the other, the cancer’s cause was uncertain.
Last year, a Chihuahua bled to death in the arms of his distraught owners in Agua Dulce, Calif., just hours after undergoing a chipping procedure. The veterinarian who performed the chipping confirmed that dog died from blood loss associated with the microchip.
In another case, a kitten died instantly when a microchip was accidentally injected into its brain stem. And in another, a cat was paralyzed when an implant entered its spinal column. The implants have been widely reported to migrate within animals’ bodies, and can cause abscesses and infection.
In 2007, The Associated Press reported on a series of veterinary and toxicology studies that found that microchip implants had “induced” malignant tumors in some lab animals. Published in veterinary and toxicology journals between 1996 and 2006, the studies found that between 1 and 10 percent of lab mice and rats injected with microchips developed malignant tumors, most of them encasing the implants.