Sunday, September 27, 2009


MEOW, MEOW!!! Helpful Buckeye received a lot of e-mails about last week's discussion of the senses of a cat. Those from cat owners pretty much said the same thing: "Keep the cat articles coming!" The e-mails from dog owners weren't as negative as you might expect. Nope, they all reported that they enjoyed reading about the different capabilities of cats, as provided by their senses. With the good reception for this type of article, Helpful Buckeye will be following it up with a similar treatment of the senses of dogs.

Helpful Buckeye also heard from several readers who promised to do more their quest to lose the estimated 350 calories per day as reported in a recent study. Just think, if you fidget for 10 straight days, that would total 3500 calories...which equals 1 pound! I don't know which is an easier way to lose weight, the fidgeting or having one of your main chewing molars removed like I had to back in early August. I lost 14 lb. from that episode and have only gained back 9 of those. Even with the discomfort I had, I think I'll take that over the fidgeting!

Last week's poll about the desirability of tasting some of the "Cat Poop Coffee" revealed that most of our readers either don't like coffee period or you are afraid to try something new. Only 1 of 12 responses was affirmative. Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.


1) The American Kennel Club Humane Fund announced today the winners of the seventh AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE), which commemorates five loyal, hard-working dogs that have made significant contributions to their communities in each of the following five categories: Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Therapy, Service and Exemplary Companion Dog. Go to: for a description of each dog and what they did to deserve the award. These are pretty impressive!

2) The ASPCA is encouraging all pet owners to actively support the current bill before Congress that would allow income tax deductions for pet health care. They even provide a sample form for you to use when contacting your Representative. If you feel this is a good idea, check out the site:


You’ve just come home from work and you normally expect your dog to run to the door, greeting you with excitement. Instead, you find him cowering in the background, his head tilted to one side. Upon further inspection, you feel, then see, a sausage-like swelling on his ear flap. You and your dog have just entered the “Twilight Zone” of an ear hematoma.


The pinna, which is the visible portion of the ear that projects from the head, is composed of a flared layer of cartilage sandwiched between layers of skin. There are also numerous small blood vessels located between this cartilage and each layer of skin. For various reasons, which will be discussed shortly, your dog or cat can damage these blood vessels, which results in a leakage of blood into the tiny space between the cartilage and the skin. As the amount of free blood increases, a lump starts to form and can actually become almost as big as the pinna itself.

This swelling is known as an aural or auricular (pertaining to the ear) hematoma, or more simply, an ear hematoma. The hematoma refers to a collection of free blood where it would not normally be found.

Of all the domestic animals, ear hematomas are mostly seen in dogs, cats, and pigs. They can affect any breed or sex of dogs or cats, at any age, and at any time of the year. However, they are more commonly seen in dogs than in cats, with the floppy-eared breeds such as Hounds, Setters, Spaniels, Retrievers, and Dalmatians being more highly represented.


Once the blood vessel has been ruptured, this process can happen very quickly. The swelling may complete itself within minutes to a few hours. Once the swelling has become visible, your pet will be experiencing a fair amount of pain. They become visibly uncomfortable, perhaps shaking their head and whimpering from the pain. When you touch the swollen part of the ear, it may feel like a water balloon.

Ear hematomas are usually fairly easy to recognize, due to the swollen and perhaps misshapen appearance of the ear flap. You will most likely also notice your dog shaking its head, scratching at the ear, or holding the head down to one side. Ear hematomas are one of the more common ear problems seen by veterinarians.


OK, what could be some of the reasons for these blood vessels on the ear flap to become damaged and rupture? The actual, underlying cause of ear hematomas is not well-defined at this time. However, there are various factors which definitely do contribute to the disease process leading to this accumulation of blood in the ear flap.

The most common contributing factor appears to be some type of chronic ear infection. This would include infections involving parasites (ear mites), bacteria, and yeasts. The nature of a chronic ear infection is that there is a lot of inflammation in the ear canal as a result of the infection, plus all the buildup of wax, debris, and dead skin cells. Dogs and cats with this type of irritation in their ear canals only know of a couple of things to do-- violently shake their ears and scratch at their ears as if there is no tomorrow. The shaking and scratching produce the forces necessary to rupture some blood vessels in the ear flap and bingo, you have a hematoma!

The second leading cause of ear hematomas is trauma to the ear flap. This can happen as a result of fighting or running through heavy brush, such as a hunting dog might be doing. Either of these activities can produce the same kind of damage as would shaking and scratching their ears.

Less likely causes, but ones that still need to be considered, would be serious skin allergies, allergic reactions, foreign bodies in the external ear canal, auto-immune disorders, and possibly genetic defects involving the ear structure.


There are several different treatment options for ear hematomas. The treatment will depend to a large extent on how quickly the hematoma is identified and treated. Other considerations would be the size of the swelling and the personal preferences of the veterinarian doing the treatment. As stated before, these are commonly seen by veterinarians and your veterinarian will have a certain comfort level for what has worked in the past.

For hematomas that are not especially large and are treated soon after discovery, there is a school of thought for a conservative approach. This involves draining the fluid using a syringe and needle, then injecting a cortisone-type product into the vacated space. Of course, consideration must still be given to any underlying infection or other problem in the ear canal. If the anti-inflammatory properties of the cortisone don’t lead to healing, then surgery would be necessary to allow for better drainage of the blood.

If surgery is necessary, an incision is made in the skin on the underside of the ear flap, the bloody fluid is drained, any clotted blood is removed, and compression-type sutures are placed in the ear flap in order to stop further buildup of blood under the skin. Sometimes, compression bandages are applied after the drainage and sometimes not, again depending on your veterinarian’s comfort level with the results. As before, simultaneous treatment of any underlying infections in the ear canal is a necessity. Even so, this is still not a rapid resolution to the problem. The drainage has to keep ahead of any more buildup of blood and the skin incision has to heal without any infection getting started.

Some pet owners, when confronted with one of these ear hematomas, will inquire about the feasibility of just “doing nothing” about it. On the one extreme, the hematoma will continue to enlarge until it simply ruptures through the skin, drains, and then becomes badly infected. More likely, if left alone, an ear hematoma will usually resolve itself. The fluid will eventually be reabsorbed back into the body and the ear flap will again be flat. The problem with this option is that a lot of scarring is associated with this reabsorption process, blood clots form, and the ear flap will become thickened and crinkly. This scarring leads to the “cauliflower” ear appearance that is not very cosmetically appealing. The most common reason for using this approach is when the dog or cat is an anesthetic risk and the concern of cosmetic appeal becomes secondary.


Prevention primarily consists of preventing any trauma to your pet’s ear flaps. Prompt treatment of all ear infections is the best way to eliminate the head shaking and ear scratching. If allergies are suspected, your pet needs proper diagnosis and treatment for those allergies.


As a continuation of last week's column about "Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care," here is the rest of the article from The Humane Society of the United States:

Given the current state of the economy, many pet caregivers are in need of basic necessities such as pet food. If you find yourself in this position, be sure to contact your local humane societies as some organizations have started their own pet food bank program. In addition, you can visit to view a state-by-state listing of food banks that are offering pet food for the pets of the homeless and disadvantaged.

The following is a list of organizations that provide financial assistance to pet owners in need. Please keep in mind that each organization is independent and has their own set of rules and guidelines. Therefore you will have to investigate each one separately to determine if you qualify for assistance:

Please remember that, depending on the severity of your pet's illness or injury, you might still lose your pet even after great expense. Discuss the prognosis and treatment options thoroughly with your veterinarian, including whether surgery or treatment would just cause your animal discomfort without preserving a life of good quality. Also remember that a little preventive care can go a long way. Having your pet spayed or neutered, keeping her shots up to date, and keeping your pet safely confined can prevent serious and costly health problems. If you have trouble affording the cost to spay or neuter your pet, contact your local animal shelter. They might operate a clinic or know of a local clinic that offers subsidized services. Unfortunately, due to our limited resources as a nonprofit animal protection organization, The HSUS does not provide direct financial assistance to pet owners for veterinary or other expenses. If you know of any veterinary assistance programs or services that we have not included here, please let us know by calling 202-452-1100.

Specific Breed Assistance Programs

The American Veterinary Medical Association also has offered a guide for different types of financial assistance in these circumstances:

Some pet owners are seeking temporary assistance to keep their companions through the economic downturn, and veterinary practices can refer them to a patchwork of programs that help with big veterinary bills or routine animal care. The recession has increased demand and diminished resources for these programs, some of which operate through veterinary associations and colleges, but the programs still offer potential relief for pet owners who have lost a job or a home. For the rest of the guide, go to:


OK, this product needs a video to help you understand what is being accomplished. It is called "The Paw Plunger" and it is being marketed for just this reason: "No matter what the season, filthy paws can be a hassle for every pet owner, whether we're dealing with mud, snow, grass, or whatever your furry friend can muster up in the great outdoors (and with dogs, the possibilities are endless)." Go to: and click on the Promo for the video.


1) Helpful Buckeye knows that many of you groom your own pets, with some of you having better results than others. Well, you will enjoy hearing some top professional groomers as they share some of their horror stories of grooming gone "bad":

2) As a follow-up to their poll for a favorite cartoon canine, the AKC is now offering this poll question: "Who is your favorite dog from TV?" Go to: and cast your vote.

3) Here's a question with a bunch of answers: Which are the smartest dog breeds? The AKC has sponsored a dog training guru to answer this question. Read his list of the Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds at: and see if you agree on any of them.

4) Each year about this time, we seem to get a new candidate for the "Ugliest Dog of the Year" award. Now, it's Rascal and you guessed it right! He is at least part Chinese Crested:

5) A recent study of pet shelters and rescue groups suggests that black dogs and cats are being adopted in far fewer numbers than are pets of other colors. Some of the reasons for this are interesting:

6) A woman in Pennsylvania recently found a stray or abandoned cat that had been almost entirely wrapped in duct tape. Yes, you read that correctly! Read the rest of the story and decide for yourself what punishment you would suggest for the perpetrator:

7) Not to be outdone for cruelty, 2 people in New York dragged a Cocker Spaniel for a mile behind their car before letting it go. Several good samaritans looked after the dog and the rest of the story is worth reading:


Helpful Buckeye saw the first 3 tarantulas of the Fall this week while bike riding. This is the season when the males are actively looking for females.

The first flock of Canada geese were spied this week as well, as they made their Fall return to our 7000 ft. elevation.

This quote from Galileo, Italian astronomer, reflects the omnipotence of the sun as we move from Summer into Fall: "The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Cats can hear sounds that we can't hear, see things that we can't see, and smell and feel the world around us in ways that we can never grasp. These amazing abilities actually landed cats in trouble during the Middle Ages, when they were attributed to Black Magic. Today cats are no longer suspected of those supernatural powers. We now know that their remarkable abilities are part of the evolutionary adaptation to the role of a solitary nocturnal hunter.

Be thinking of the basic senses possessed by humans and animals as you read through this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Do cats excel in any of those senses? Do cats lag behind in any of them? Helpful Buckeye will describe those basic senses, how they developed, where their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they all work together to produce one of the most efficient predators on Earth.

Last week's poll question about cat abscesses produced an expected response. The results were: 1/3 never experienced a cat abscess, 1/3 only 1 time, and 1/3 many times. The 1/3 who had never experienced a cat abscess probably were dog owners or had a single cat that never went outdoors! Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.

Carnie, from Austin, TX, sent an e-mail saying how much she appreciated the coverage of cat abscesses last week. She has 6 cats, many of which spend part of their time outdoors. Of course, she's had her share of abscesses to nurse along at home! Well, Carnie, you and all of our other cat-loving readers should like this week's topic featuring cats and their senses.

During last week's round-up of the Working Group of dogs, Helpful Buckeye asked which of the Working Group breeds played a part in the OJ Simpson double murder trial in the 1990s. Several of you sent in e-mails with an answer...but, none of them were correct! The correct answer Akita. You can read the AKC breed description for the Akita at: If you have any comments, send an e-mail to: or click on the word "Comment" at the end of this issue and fill in the form.


1) The National Institutes of Health and Mars Inc., that's right--the candy bar folks--have joined in supporting a research project that "could provide concrete evidence on how children perceive, relate to, and think about animals and how pets in the home impact children's social and emotional development. In addition, research is needed on the impact of pets in the home on children's health, allergies, the immune system, asthma, and mitigation of obesity. On a practical level, research is needed on such issues as when and how parents select pets for their families/children and how best to prevent injuries from pets." A more detailed description of this project can be found at:

2) In advance of World Rabies Day, later this month, the Center for Disease Control has released the disturbing news that rabies incidence in cats in the USA actually increased by 12% in 2008 over the previous year, while that in dogs decreased by 19% during the same period. The whole report is available at: The American Kennel Club celebrated its 125th birthday on 9/17/2009. Take this opportunity to see some of the most popular breeds over that 125 years. The changes in which breed was most popular at a particular time probably provide a pretty decent reflection of our changing society in the USA. Go to this web site and click on the arrows to see the changes:


This is the point at which Helpful Buckeye normally discusses a disease, ailment, or a medical condition of dogs and/or cats. For this issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats, however, Helpful Buckeye will devote this space to having a better understanding of your cat's 5 senses and how those senses contribute to your cat's behavior patterns. Learning about cats' senses can help us see the world the way they do. Cat senses are adaptations that have allowed cats to become highly efficient predators.

Senses are described as any of the faculties, such as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body. There are some folks who believe in a 6th sense, a form of extra-sensory perception, although Helpful Buckeye feels that when all 5 senses are working properly, the animal should be even more keenly aware of its environment. Then, there are the cats which seem to have an exaggerated sense of entitlement or self-worth. This seems to be almost a running joke amongst cat owners as to which of their cats is the more haughty. The New Yorker had a couple of cartoons illustrating this:


As hunters, cats have great visual ability to detect motion. They can see movements that are too fast for our eyes, yet they experience difficulty focusing on very slow movement. In fact, many tests have shown that cats have a lot of trouble seeing objects that don't move at all. Some species of prey have taken advantage of this by staying motionless for long periods of time until the predator cat moves on. Another visual weakness of the cat is that it cannot distinguish separate objects (visual acuity) very well...actually, only 1/10 that of humans. The final visual deficiency compared to humans is that cats don't have well-defined color vision. They do have the capability of distinguishing between some of the colors but not all of them. As it turns out though, color is not as crucial in the lives of cats as it is in ours. With cats being mainly nocturnal predators, their eyes are much more developed toward seeing in very dim light, where they only need 1/6 of the light we do to pick out the same details of movement and shape. Their excellent night vision comes at the expense of daytime vision...cats are relatively shortsighted and during the daytime tend to rely more than humans on their senses of smell and sound.

Night vision is where cats excel, compared to humans. Helpful Buckeye has already discussed the topic of Tapetum Lucidum in a previous issue: and a review of that will provide some background. Cats, like dogs, and many other animals, have this tapetum lucidum, which is a reflective layer behind the retina that reflects light that passes through the retina back into the center of the eyeball...essentially allowing the cat to "use the same light more than once." This reflection is what produces the eerie glow you see in animals' eyes at night.

The other visual advantage cats have over humans is that cats don't need to blink their eyes on a regular basis to keep their eyes lubricated. Unblinking eyes are most likely an advantage when hunting, allowing the cat to not miss even a slight sudden movement of its prey.


Cats and humans have a similar range of hearing on the lower end of the scale, but cats can hear much higher-pitched sounds. Humans generally hear about 8.5 octaves whereas a cat hears about 10 octaves, which is why some high-pitched noises, such as certain types of music, may agitate your cat.

Cats' ears are sharply-shaped, always erect above the head, fairly large for the size of the head, and have the ability to move sideways, forward, and backward so that sounds can be captured more accurately. In effect, your cat's ears function like a mini-satellite dish as they rotate to pick up sounds and funnel them to the brain.

The acuteness of a cat's hearing is even more keen than that of the dog. It is particularly sharp in the noise ranges that mice and other small rodents use. Cats can in fact use just their ears for hunting, as when deciding whether a mouse hole is inhabited or deserted. Cats will sometimes even come to a pause when chasing prey so that they can listen and determine the prey's new position.


Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell. For instance, a cat will always sniff its food before eating. They will use their sense of smell rather than their sense of taste to determine whether the food you've offered is appealing enough.

A cat's sense of smell is considerably better than that of humans, but not quite as good as that of dogs. Your domestic cat's sense of smell is about 14 times more sensitive than a human's, which means that they can smell things humans are not even aware of. Because of their astonishing olfactory (sense of smell) acuity, cats can detect the presence of other cats even outside the home.

Apart from its nose, the cat has another olfactory organ in its mouth. Along the roof of the mouth, there are a pair of "Jacobsen's Organs" that allow the cat to analyze air that is inhaled through the mouth rather than the nose. When a cat uses these organs, it curls back its lips, opens its mouth, and seems to grimace with a smile. This is called the "flehman reaction" and it is seen mainly in connection with special scents that the cat wants to check out more thoroughly.


In spite of their reputation for being finicky eaters, cats have less ability to differentiate between various tastes than humans do. While we have about 9000 taste buds on our tongue, your cat has less than 500. Your cat's taste buds are found along the edges, back, and tip of its tongue, while those of dogs and humans are spread all over the tongue.

Since cats are true carnivores, their sense of taste is geared toward identifying protein and fat, but not carbohydrates. Taste tests have shown that cats have a very weak preference for sweetness, making them much less interested in sweets than humans or dogs. Recent studies indicate that cats are lacking one of the genetic proteins necessary for properly tasting sweetness and scientists now believe this might be related to the cat's family being extremely specialized as a hunter and carnivore. Their highly-modified sense of taste would cause them to ignore plants, which can contain high levels of sugars, in favor of a high-protein carnivorous diet.

The most powerful reaction of all to a cat's food is the smell, or aroma, of the food. To a cat, when approaching a meal, the aroma is the only important information they are receiving. That's why a lot of cats will sniff at their food and then walk off without even trying it. If the cat happens to take a mouthful, then the tongue also has a sensitive reaction to the temperature of the food. The wild ancestors of our domestic cats chose to eat freshly killed prey (which would still be warm), rather than being scavengers of already dead animals. The ideal, preferred temperature for cat food is 86 degrees F, which happens to be the same temperature as the cat's tongue. Food taken directly from the refrigerator is detested by a cat, unless it is extremely hungry. From The New Yorker:


Like humans, cats have touch receptors all over their body. These nerve cells transfer sensations of pressure, temperature, and pain from any point on the body to the brain. The most sensitive places on a cat's body, where nerve cells are concentrated, are the face and the front paws. This is because these are the most important body parts the cat uses while hunting.

Cats have evolved a specialized type of whisker known as a vibrissa (plural--vibrissae) that is a modified version of ordinary cat hair. Vibrissae are more than twice as thick as a regular cat hair and their roots are three times deeper than other hairs. They have many more nerve endings at their base, which then give the cat extraordinarily detailed information about nearby air movements and objects with which they make physical contact. These highly-developed hairs are found mainly on the face, but also over the eyes, on the chin, and at the backs of the front legs. The ones on the face are, of course, the whiskers that we have come to associate with all cats. A cat usually has about 24 of these facial vibrissae, arranged in four rows on each side of its nose. Cats can move the vibrissae forward when being inquisitive, examining something, or for intimidation. A backward movement is more of a defensive motion or for purposely avoiding touching something. A cat with perfect whiskers will be able to kill flawlessly both in daylight and at night, while a cat with damaged whiskers can kill cleanly only in the light. In the dark, it misjudges its killing-bite and plunges its teeth into the wrong section of the prey's body.
That completes the overview of a cat's 5 senses. Hopefully, this will help cat owners understand their cats' actions a little better, although, as we all know, we can only hope to understand cats just so much.


1) What You Can Do If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care, Part 1

Many pet owners, at one point or another, are faced with unexpected veterinary bills. Veterinary medicine has advanced to such a degree that caregivers have new, and often expensive, options for the care of their ailing pets. Although the cost of veterinary care is actually very reasonable in comparison with the much higher cost of human health care, an unexpected medical emergency can present a major financial dilemma for an unprepared pet owner.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends that, in addition to preparing for routine pet-care costs, you regularly set aside money to cover for unexpected veterinary bills or consider pet health insurance. For example, create a special "pet savings account" and contribute money to it on a regular basis. Another great option is to purchase a pet health insurance policy. The important thing is to have a plan and stick to it. If, despite your planning, your pet incurs major veterinary expenses that you have trouble affording, consider these suggestions:

  • Ask your veterinarian if he or she will let you work out a payment plan. Many veterinarians are willing to work out a weekly or monthly payment plan so that you do not have to pay the entire cost of veterinary care up front.

  • Contact your local shelter. Some shelters operate or know of local subsidized veterinary clinics or veterinary assistance programs. You can find the name and number of your local shelter in the Yellow Pages of your phone book under "animal shelter," "animal control" or "humane society," or by calling Information. You can also go to and enter your zip code to find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community.

  • If you have a specific breed of dog, contact the National Club for that breed. (The American Kennel Club,, has a list of the national dog clubs.) In some cases, these clubs offer a veterinary financial assistance fund. Additionally, The HSUS has a list of breed-specific assistance groups.

  • There are some organizations that offer assistance locally (by state or community). See our state-by-state (including Canada) listing.

  • The HSUS also has a list of organizations that provide assistance to senior, disabled or ill pet owners.

  • Ask your veterinarian to submit an assistance request to the American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) "Helping Pets Fund." In order to qualify, your animal hospital must be AAHA accredited. To learn more about the program visit the AAHA web site. To find an AAHA accredited hospital in your area, search online at

  • If you bought your dog from a reputable breeder, check your contract to see if there is a health guarantee that covers your pet's ailment.

  • Check with veterinary schools in your state to see if they offer discount services to the public. You can find a list of veterinary schools in the Education section of the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) website,

  • Use your credit card. Ask for a higher credit limit or a cash advance.

  • Call your bank. Ask about loan programs or other options they can suggest that might be helpful in your situation.

  • Ask your employer for a salary advance.

  • Alert family and friends and ask them each for a $25 loan.

  • Consider taking on a part-time job or temping.

  • Contact Care Credit at

  • Apply for a Citi Healthcard at

  • Start your own fundraising collection at

These are all very good suggestions from the Humane Society of the United States. Next week, in Part 2, the whole list of states and organizations that offer assistance will be included in the issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats.

2) Over the past 10 years, pet rehabilitation has emerged from a boutique service to what is fast becoming a mainstream treatment option within veterinary medicine. With animal rehabilitation services becoming increasingly commonplace, more and more clients are recognizing that physical therapy is not just for people but can also mean pain relief, increased mobility, and an improved quality of life for pets as well.

Pet rehab becoming mainstream practice

Physical therapy for animals increasingly seen as viable treatment option

Go to this site from the AVMA for more information about pet rehabilitation, including thoughts from practitioners of rehabilitation medicine for animals:


Vintage T-shirts for your dog are available at:


1) People and their dogs need physical activity to fight obesity, a U.S. veterinarian said. However, Dr. Susan Nelson of Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, said there are many benefits besides weight loss when humans and dogs exercise together. "Exercising with your pet also promotes the human-animal bond," she said in a statement. "People like dogs because of their unconditional love, and dogs are going to be very pleased to have their owners do something with them." Exercise benefits mental health for both. Nelson said dogs need an energy outlet and dogs receiving adequate exercise will be happier, more content and less likely to develop destructive behavior. Ideally, dog and owner should get out twice daily for exercise. "Medium and large dogs typically make better long-distance running partners. If your dog can run longer than you are able, you may want to consider biking while having your dog run beside you on leash," Nelson said. "Pay careful attention to safety if you choose this option. Smaller dogs are better suited for shorter distance running or walking." Words of wisdom for all of us!

2) Like many other web sites, you can now sign up for the ASPCA Cute Photo of the Day by going to: and submitting your e-mail address. The recent photos have been a really nice selection of cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies, with something new each day.

3) The AKC is running a poll in which you can vote for your favorite cartoon canine. Do so at: and go back to the site periodically to see how your choice is doing in the voting.

4) Cat declawing is at the forefront of discussion in San Francisco as both sides wage their campaign of pro and con. Read some of this interesting story at:

5) OK, most of our readers are aware that Helpful Buckeye is a coffee drinker, favoring some of the stronger blends. Well, in the interest of "science" and the expansion of knowledge, Helpful Buckeye may have to look into this new blend of very expensive coffee. Yes, Cat Poop Coffee will be sold in Ft. Myers, Florida later this month on the 29th, National Coffee Day. Read the story of how this coffee gets its's very interesting and the first person to have tried it had to be pretty adventurous!

6) "In case you thought that Garfield, the lasagna-lovin' kitty, only existed in animation, we're here to assure you that's not the case. Meet the real-life Garfield. His name is Humphrey and he's from North London. His owner, Sophia Atrill, said the cat's pasta obsession began when she let him take bites off her plate, and now it's all he'll eat." Go to: 7) Whoever said that cats do not like to get into water never saw Woody, the cat, and his version of getting a drink and taking a shower at the same time:

8) Since we're obviously featuring cats this week, Helpful Buckeye will close this section with a little humor from David Letterman. A few months ago, Peter, from Omaha, suggested a Letterman's Top Ten List about cats, but it took me a while to find it. Here is David Letterman's Top Ten Signs You Have a Dumb Cat (From "David Letterman's Book of Top Ten Lists," 1995):

  • Only seems content when suction-cupped to your car's rear window

  • Wastes 8 of his 9 lives in a single afternoon walking into the same electric fan

  • Baffled by yarn

  • Doesn't purr; just makes sound like a stalling Cessna

  • Always confusing "litter box" with "carton containing Mom's heirloom wedding dress"

  • Covered with mouse graffiti

  • Asks to be neutered by Bob Barker personally

  • Seems hypnotized whenever Ross Perot is on Larry King

  • No matter what position you drop him from, he unerringly lands on his head

  • Frequently tries to mate with the Dustbuster

Never fear, we also have found the corresponding list for dogs...which we will include in an upcoming issue!


The LA Dodgers started to solidify their best-in-the-National League record by winning 5 of 6 games this week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave away a game to the Chicago Bears by giving up 10 unanswered points in the 4th quarter...very uncharacteristic for the Steelers.


Monday, 13 Sept, 35-45 MPH gusts

A recent study has shown that: "Fidgeting can burn about 350 calories a day." Wow, Helpful Buckeye can visualize our readers mastering the art of fidgeting!

"In everyone's life at some time our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."--Albert Schweitzer...Helpful Buckeye is very thankful for a few of those human beings who stepped up on the last day of July to help rekindle my inner spirit. Thanks a know who you are!

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Helpful Buckeye has discussed the topic of pet poisonings in several issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats, as well as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Our readers can review these discussions at: and

The reason I'm bringing up this subject again is because of a submitted comment after last week's issue. Ahna Brutlag, DVM, Assistant Director of Veterinary Services, of Pet Poison Helpline wrote:

"Thanks for spreading the word on pet toxicities on your blog. It's so important for pet owners to be aware of the lurking household poisons in (and outside of) their house! As a veterinarian at an animal poison center, I speak to so many dog and cat owners who realize the perils of poisoning when it's too late. When in doubt, call an animal poison control center early on! I wanted to make you aware of another important resource out there--Pet Poison Helpline. Pet Poison Helpline is an animal poison control center and is the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA's new $60/case) control out there. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federally or state funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7. We provide a similar service to that of the ASPCA's center, but have the added benefit of veterinary specialists (in internal medicine and emergency and critical care) as part of our staff. Please visit our website for more info and helpful tips! Our 24/7 phone number is 800-213-6680. Thanks for spreading the word!"

As Dr. Brutlag pointed out, the Pet Poison Helpline is a competitor with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and their web site is ...take a few minutes to browse the web site, look at their available options, and decide which one might be best for you. Helpful Buckeye would suggest keeping the phone numbers and web sites handy for both of these poison hotlines. When it comes to your pet being poisoned, more options for quick help will be much better than less.

Last week's poll question on which breeds of dog did NOT belong on the list of the AKC's "Working Group" produced a lot of wrong answers and some interesting discussion in e-mails. The AKC includes the following breeds in their Working Group: Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Black Russian Terrier, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Dogue de Bordeaux, German Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Komondor, Kuvasz, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Portuguese Water Dog, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Standard Schnauzer, and the Tibetan Mastiff. Therefore, the Labrador Retriever, Irish Wolfhound, and Border Collie did not belong on the list. They represent the Sporting, Hound, and Herding Groups respectively. From your e-mails, many of you felt these 3 breeds performed the work of a "working dog" and that may well be true. However, the AKC has strict guidelines as to which group a breed belongs, and they make the rules! Helpful Buckeye will cover the defining characteristics of these other breed groups in future issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Do any of you remember which one of these working group breeds played a part in the OJ Simpson double murder trial back in the 1990s? Either send an e-mail to: or post a comment at the end of this issue. Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to your left.

A note to "Anonymous," who submitted the comment, "So, there YOU are," this week: I know where I am, where are YOU?


1) The American Kennel Club is sponsoring Responsible Dog Ownership Days during the month of September. There will be many events and programs around the country to help educate dog owners about their responsibilities. To find out what's going on in your state, go to this web site and enter your state in the appropriate box:
2) The Humane Society of the United States has sponsored this pretty cool music video to help call attention to the need for adoption of shelter pets:


One of Helpful Buckeye's lunch buddies has a cat which developed an abscess this past week. An abscess is a localized accumulation of pus in a body tissue. Cat abscesses are fairly common, especially among cats that spend at least part of their time outdoors. Abscesses often appear as a lump or a mass which can show up quite rapidly. They are usually painful to the cat due to the swelling of the affected area. They may feel full of fluid or they can feel fairly hard to the touch. The cat may show signs of being in pain, especially if the abscess is on a leg or if in a location likely to be petted by the owner. Even the most friendly cat may react aggressively to having an abscessed area touched, bumped, or rubbed.

Most cat abscesses will be located around the face, neck, front legs, tail, and rump. The reason for this is that tooth or claw punctures almost always are sustained when cats face off with each other or when they are trying to run away. Most owners may not even notice the injury until it has reached the stage of an abscess since many cats will appear to be normal and hide their pain until the infection begins to advance. Signs you might then notice would be:

  • Sluggishness and lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever

  • Swelling and/or redness at the injury site

  • Fur missing around the injured area

  • Unwillingness to be picked up

If the early stages of the abscess formation are not noticed or are neglected, it will continue to swell as more pus and dead tissue builds up. This just serves to make it even more painful to your cat. At some point, most abscesses will burst, followed by an outpouring or drainage of foul-smelling pus. For some cat owners, this might be the first indication that something is wrong with their cat. This all can happen within a couple of days, depending on whether or not the puncture closes over.

As mentioned before, an abscess typically forms around a bite or claw gash, as bacteria are deposited below the skin into the underlying soft tissues. The most common bacteria to be involved are Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, and E. coli, all of which are common contaminants of cat teeth and claws. Foreign bodies, such as cat teeth and cat claws, can also be found within an abscess.

When presented with a cat showing signs of an abscess, your veterinarian might deem it necessary to do some tests. These tests may include aspirating (withdrawing by way of needle and syringe) some of the liquid from the lump for further analysis, X-rays to find out if there are any teeth inside the swelling, and taking blood samples for evaluation of white blood cells. Sometimes, however, the physical exam provides all the clues necessary to determine that this is an abscess and the treatment can commence right away.

Once the diagnosis is made, treatment usually consists of ensuring adequate drainage for the build up of pus inside the abscess, along with providing an appropriate antibiotic for the actual bacterial infection. If the abscess has already opened by the time your veterinarian sees the cat, the cat should be feeling somewhat better. As the pus drains away, the swelling decreases and the fever generally starts to go down. If the abscess has not already burst, then your veterinarian will need to make a small incision into the lump to facilitate drainage. This may often have to be done under anesthesia so that all the dead tissues can be properly removed. Sometimes a drainage tube will have to be inserted into the abscess to allow for further evacuation of the pus. The worst thing that can happen to a healing abscess is that it closes over before all the drainage is finished...and the tube is to assure that not happening. Occasionally, the draining abscess will be left as a gaping wound, being allowed to heal as an open wound, depending on the location and size of the damaged area. There are several broad-spectrum antibiotics available for treating the bacterial component of the abscess. If an abscess breaks open for you at home, you should try to encourage further drainage by gently applying warm-water soaked compresses. As mentioned earlier, when an abscess opens up, the pain level diminishes and your cat will most likely tolerate the compresses. Try to keep the draining area as clean as possible, then get the cat to your veterinarian for further treatment.

Usually the outcome (prognosis) for cat abscesses is favorable for the majority of cats, as they respond well to appropriate treatment within 7-10 days. Almost always, when the skin heals over and the hair grows back, you'd hardly know there had been a problem. There will occasionally be some scarring and even patches of skin on which the hair won't grow any more. The few exceptions to this fairly rapid healing pattern would be cats that already have a compromised health status, such as Feline Leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Diabetes Mellitus, or being on steroids for an immune problem.

The big question now is how to keep these abscesses from happening in the first place. Almost ALL cat abscesses happen to cats that are outdoors, so the first step is obvious--KEEP THE CAT INDOORS! Furthermore, if your cat just has to get outdoors a little:

  • Neutering your cat will help since intact cats are much more likely to be bitten in a fight.

  • Most cat fights occur at night, so keep your cat indoors at night.

  • Abscesses are much more common during spring and fall since these are the usual breeding seasons for cats. Even neutered/spayed cats outdoors during those times can be victimized. Keep your cat indoors as much as possible in the spring and fall.

  • If your cat does spend time outdoors, you should get in the habit of giving the cat a head to tail rub once a day so that you can spot or feel a wound or abrasion promptly. Timely and appropriate treatment after your cat sustains a puncture wound just might help avoid the formation of an abscess.


Last week, when talking about Chanel, the 21-year old dog that had just recently died, there were some questions generated about the concept of 1 dog year equaling 7 human years. One of those questions, sent in by Butter Bean, in Arizona, went, "How has that 1 dog year=7 human years developed? What's the science, if any, behind it?"

OK, Butter Bean, be careful what you ask for because you might get it! As you said, it has been commonly accepted that 1 dog year is equal to 7 human years. However, due to the way the aging process of dogs differs from that of humans, this is not very accurate.

In general, dogs age in a manner somewhat similar to humans. Their bodies begin to develop problems which are less common at younger ages, they are more prone to serious or fatal conditions, they become less mobile and may develop joint problems, and in old age often become less physically active. Aging begins at birth, but its manifestations are not noticeable for several years. The first sign of aging is a general decrease in activity level, including a tendency to sleep longer and more soundly, a waning of enthusiasm for long walks and games of catch, and a loss of interest in the goings on in the this for dogs or humans?

The main factor causing a difference in the aging process for dogs is the breed of the dog. It has been well established that the smaller breeds have a longer life expectancy than a larger breed. It's not uncommon for smaller breeds to live beyond 15 years, while the giant breeds may only live 7-8 years. From this, you can see that 1 year of a small dog's life definitely does not equal 1 year of a giant dog's life. And, to make the leap to what that equals in human years has no basis in fact. However, as some people have suggested, it might be possible to compare the stages of maturation between dogs and humans. In all but the large breeds, socio-sexual interest arises around 6-9 months, they become an "emotional" adult around 15-18 months, and reach full maturity around 3-4 years, although as with humans, learning and refinement continues thereafter. In comparative terms, the human equivalent of a 1-year old dog would then be about 10-15 years. The second year for a dog would be equivalent to another 8-10 years for the human.

Helpful Buckeye suggests that somebody many years ago decided that the average dog lives 10 years and the average human lives 70 years. From that, the math is simple: 1 dog year equals 7 human years. However, by that same math, a pet fish that lives 2 years would then have 1 fish year equaling 35 human years. You can see the foolishness of this proves nothing. Since there is no scientific basis for this comparison, dog owners would be better off to compare the juvenile, adolescent, adult, and geriatric years of their dog to the same time periods of themselves.


1) For those of you who are known to hit a cue ball around the green felt from time to time, here's a great video of Halo, the Doggy Pool Shark, sinking some pretty decent shots: He can be on my team any time!

2) This past week, we saw a Tibetan Mastiff (yes, one of those "working group" dogs) sell for almost $600,000 to a Chinese woman. No matter how you look at it, that makes him a very expensive dog...actually the priciest on Earth:

3) Well, the myth of the hypoallergenic dog may be just that...a myth. Schering-Plough, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies and maker of many human allergy medicines, has published their disclaimer about such a dog. Read their explanation at:

4) The ASPCA has been running a "Dog Days of Summer Video Contest" and now is featuring the top 5 entries for you to vote on. Go to their web site, take a few minutes to watch all 5 videos (they're all pretty short), and vote for your favorite:

5) Sable, a German Shepherd mix, has been stirring up attention in Michigan for his talent and aptitude for sniffing out raw sewage and other illegal toxic discharge. His owner has been staying busy with Sable after a 6-month training period:

6) Dr. Mary Burch, of the AKC, provides some tips on how to keep your dog comfortable on long car rides:

7) Perhaps the dogs on the long car rides would benefit from practicing some Yoga positions, huh? Check these dogs out: Helpful Buckeye's favorite is Sammy.

8) Helpful Buckeye didn't want all of our cat lovers to feel cheated this week, so we'll finish this section with a peek at some cats which like to curl up in sinks. That's right, sinks! Cat owners will tell you that this is fairly common among our feline friends:


The Pittsburgh Steelers started the season with a big win over a tough Titan team.

The LA Dodgers took 4 of 6 games on the road against the D'Backs and the Giants, but our lead over the Rockies still got smaller. This next 2 weeks will be interesting!

The Ohio State Buckeyes disappeared in the last 7 minutes of their game against Southern Cal. Our players played their hearts out for the first 53 minutes of the game, pretty much controlling the momentum. Helpful Buckeye suggests that it's time for a total change of the coaching staff in Columbus. This coaching staff seems to be content with being competitive within the Big-10 conference while the premier programs around the country have their focus on the national championship every year. Buckeye fans all over the USA have to feel cheated by our leadership! On a brighter note, Helpful Buckeye and good friend Casey, a Southern Cal grad, exchanged 21 e-mails during that last 7 minutes of the game. Needless to say, Casey's went from despair to near-giddiness at the end. I'm happy for him, but....


Desperado and Helpful Buckeye had a very rewarding hike along the West Rim trail at the Grand Canyon on Labor Day. The views were even more thrilling and impressive than those from the South Rim. The weather was beautiful, sunny, temperature of 72 degrees, 15% humidity, and a 5 MPH breeze out of the southwest. We feel fortunate to be able to experience so many of Nature's wonders so close to home! We started out early that morning with this thought from Joseph Priestley, English scientist and discoverer of oxygen, "I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning...."

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~

Sunday, September 6, 2009


While most of us take a few days off to observe the Labor Day holiday weekend, we should remember that not everyone gets to kick back and relax for those 3 days. All of our police, fire, and emergency workers will be on duty. Likewise, many veterinarians and their hospital staffs will be available for those pet owners needing veterinary care. Lastly, a group you might not have thought of will probably be working as well. That would be the Working Class Dogs.

The American Kennel Club currently recognizes 161 dog breeds, which it divides into 7 groups, based on similar characteristics. Admittedly, many of these breeds might seem like they could be included in more than one group. Dog breeds of the Working Group, as categorized by the AKC, were originally bred to assist their human counterparts in performing labor-intensive tasks. Humans have relied on working dogs to perform difficult jobs, some of which humans can’t do, for centuries. They generally have a large, physically robust stature, and a high level of intelligence that has historically allowed them to specialize in guarding property and personnel, sled-pulling, helping to transport materials or other goods, locating hidden bombs and drugs, retrieving fishing nets, assisting the blind, deaf, and disabled, and performing water and disaster rescues. Due to the size and weight of these working breeds, you would not expect to find “little” dogs among this group. This Working Group contains a total of 26 breeds. They have been invaluable assets to man throughout the ages. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. Their considerable dimensions and strength alone, however, make many working dogs unsuitable as pets for average families. And again, by virtue of their size alone, these dogs must be properly trained.

Most of our readers will recognize many of these 26 breeds, such as the Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Mastiff, Portuguese Water Dog (especially now that one lives in the White House), Rottweiler, St. Bernard, and Siberian Husky. Be sure to answer the polling question this week in the left column to show how much you know about "Working Class Dogs."
From The New Yorker:

According to the results of last week's poll question, most of our readers have been spared the inconveniences of having a pet with a urinary problem...or else you were just too embarrassed or shy to say so. Helpful Buckeye suspects a little of the latter, simply because statistics tell us that most dogs and cats will have a urinary problem at some point in their lives.

Last year, our Labor Day issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats featured several song videos with a "working" theme. Many of our readers sent in e-mails commenting on those songs and most of you favored this one as most representative of the sentiment of Labor Day weekend. Enjoy Loverboy, from Canada, with their big hit: while kicking back and relaxing in your hammock this weekend!


1) The American Veterinary Medical Association and Ft. Dodge Animal Health have announced that National Pet Wellness Month this October will focus on educating pet owners about wellness examinations, disease prevention, and pet health insurance. Read more about what this program has to offer at:

2) Teva Animal Health halted manufacture of veterinary drugs in August in response to an injunction filed by the Food and Drug Administration, which says the company failed to adhere to current good manufacturing practices. Teva is a major manufacturer of generic animal drugs and also makes products under the DVM Pharmaceuticals brand name. This news release by the AVMA provides the details:

If you have any of their products at home, you should contact whoever prescribed them for your pets for further advice.

3) The state legislature of California has passed a law, that was signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, that allows veterinarians throughout the state to perform any surgical procedures deemed legal by the state. This bill was intended to eliminate any localities being able to pass local ordinances that forbid certain procedures, such as the declawing of cats. At this point, any locality that already had such an ordinance in effect would be able to retain that ordinance. For the whole explanation, read:


1) The ASPCA has put together a list of "good advice" ideas for those of you who will be celebrating this Labor Day weekend with your pets.

Labor Day Dangers to Avoid

Labor Day weekend marks summer’s unofficial end, and many families are heading out—with their companion animals—for end-of-season getaways. The ASPCA hopes you enjoy the last days of summer and reminds you to make sure your four-legged friends enjoy a safe holiday, too. By following these simple safety tips, you can rest assured your pet will remain happy and healthy during his last summer blast!

  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

  • Always assign a dog guardian. No matter where you’re celebrating, be sure to assign a friend or member of the family to keep an eye on your pooch—especially if you’re not in a fenced-in yard or other secure area. With all the festivities, it’s easy to overlook a dog on the run!

  • Made in the shade. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water, and make sure they have a shady place to escape the sun. Be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.

  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested, can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.

  • Keep your pet on its normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that people foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, salt, yeast dough, grapes and raisins can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingesting any of these items can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression in your pets, and if inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia.

  • Never leave your pet alone in the car. Traveling with your dog or cat means occasionally you’ll make stops in places where a pet is not permitted. Be sure to rotate dog walking duties between family members, and never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time, even with the windows open—not to mention it’s illegal in several states!

  • Make a safe splash. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

2) The ASPCA, which sponsors the 24-hour pet poison hotline, has provided this update of a poison that is showing an increase in the number of reported cases to their hotline:

Pet Poison Alert: Accidental Ingestion of Wood Glue on the Rise

Our country’s new-found thrift has led many homeowners to save a penny by tackling do-it-yourself home improvement projects. But take care, pet parents—you may be exposing your furry friends to dangerous tools and tricks of the trade. Polyurethane glue, a water-resistant adhesive and favorite of woodworkers, is highly toxic if ingested by cats and dogs.

According to data from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), pet poisonings from wood glues—and other adhesives containing the substance diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI)—are on the rise. In the past 12 months, the APCC handled more than 170 cases of pets who ingested expanding glues. Of those incidents, the majority involved dogs and were evaluated at high or medium risk for developing severe, life-threatening problems.
Polyurethane glue—also known by brand names like Gorilla Glue and Elmer’s Pro-Bond—is prized for its ability to bond to wood. If eaten, however, the glue expands in the stomach’s warm, moist environment and forms a softball-sized lump. A dog who eats even a small amount of MDI-based adhesive can experience severe gastrointestinal problems resulting in blockages and requiring emergency surgery to remove the mass.

Pet parents should treat any expanding adhesive as a potential hazard, since the offending chemical MDI is not always listed on product labels. Like all toxic household products, wood glue should be stored in a secure cabinet to prevent your furry beloveds from coming into contact with it. If you suspect your pet has ingested polyurethane glue, please call your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison hotline at (888) 426-4435.


As mentioned earlier, the Labor Day weekend is considered to be the "unofficial" end of Summer, when a lot of us start to get into the mind-set for Fall and its activities. One of those traditional activities is hunting, so Questions On Dogs and Cats turns its attention to the care of hunting dogs, plus some health tips for hunters. The AVMA has offered this worthwhile advice:

Prior to Hunting Season

  • Make sure hunting dogs are up-to-date on their vaccines, especially rabies.

  • Begin (or continue) heartworm prevention medications.

  • Be sure to eliminate any intestinal worm infestations.

During and After Hunting

  • Do not hunt if you are ill.

  • Minimize insect bites.

  • Avoid abdominal shots when possible.

  • Report any sick wildlife or wild bird die-off (West Nile Disease?)

  • Avoid wearing the same clothes on consecutive days.

  • Conduct frequent body checks for ticks.

Handling and Cleaning the Carcass

  • Do not eat, drink or smoke while cleaning wild fowl or game.

  • Wear heavy rubber or latex gloves.

  • Do not use the same utensils to clean different species.

  • If abnormalities are seen in the intestines, abdominal cavity or chest cavity during cleaning, consider disposing of the entire carcass.

  • Remove wide margins of tissue around all wounds.

  • Remove the intestines as soon as possible.

  • Minimize contact with brain or spinal tissues.

  • Discard meat that has come into contact with intestinal contents.

  • Protect carcass from flies.

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Processing the Meat

  • Wear heavy rubber or latex gloves.

  • Thoroughly wash tools, equipment and working surfaces after use.

Cooking and Storing the Meat

  • Do not eat meat from wild game or fowl that appeared ill or abnormal.

  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat.

  • Do not keep meat at room temperature.

  • Thoroughly cook meat.

  • Promptly refrigerate or freeze uncooked meat.

  • Properly wrap and store wild game meat separate from other foods.


1) Who says that cats don't need toys??? Cat lovers will tell you their cats welcome toys...sometimes! Check out these offerings for your cat:

2) A new design for a cat litter pan has an interesting concept. The CatGenie claims to make litter-pan cleaning a "hands-free" proposition:


1) The AVMA has a new podcast available to help you understand why E. coli can be such a problem as a contaminant:

2) A novel approach to the idea of searching for a lost cat might include the use of a "cat-detection" dog if you live in the Seattle area. A company there has adapted the behavior of certain dogs toward cats in order to let those dogs help find a lost cat. For the whole story, go to:

3) Most of our readers already know that there are NO male tortoiseshell in, NONE! Read about "Eddie," the male tortoiseshell cat that was born in England:

Cats of this coloration are believed to bring good luck in the folklore of many cultures. In the United States, these are sometimes referred to as "money cats." Eddie, being as rare as he is, could end up being a "money cat."

4) If you haven't already seen the video of the cat in Indiana that came back home with an arrow sticking through its head, take a minute to read the story, then click "play" on the video: The reward for catching the culprit continues to grow....

5) Since we're on a roll here with cat stories, here's a video of an "unlucky" guy trying to restrain an unwilling cat: Wow...been there, done that! Anybody want to adopt Pinky???

6) A new study suggests that dogs arose from wolves about 16,000 years ago in China:

7) Chanel, the world's oldest living dog, passed away recently at the age of 21. The people at the Guinness Book of Records have verified the claim, although Helpful Buckeye suspects this type of "title" could be in dispute. Read the story about Chanel, a part-Dachshund mixed breed: This story aroused a few e-mails to Helpful Buckeye, mainly involving the concept of 1 dog year equaling 7 human years. Stay tuned for next week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats and Helpful Buckeye's discussion of this interesting topic.


The Ohio State Buckeyes opened their season yesterday with Navy. Either we were looking ahead to next Saturday's big game against Southern Cal in Columbus or we're not as good as we thought we were. Navy played a really good game and the Buckeyes were lucky to win by 4 points! Helpful Buckeye sends his compliments to the Navy team....

The LA Dodgers seem to have adopted a "cruise control" mentality with a month to go in the regular season. Either the Giants or the Rockies could hit a hot streak and really make things interesting by the end of September!

The Pittsburgh Steelers open the NFL season this Thursday night, in defense of their recent Super Bowl championship. Let's go, Steelers!


How many of you find yourself sitting there, scratching your head, wondering what you're going to do for the next few hours? As in, "I'm bored"....Well, Helpful Buckeye has always felt sorry for people who expressed boredom in the midst of so many things to do. As Mary Renault, English writer, wrote: "...had always considered boredom an intellectual defeat."

Desperado and Helpful Buckeye will be celebrating Labor Day by hiking along the less-traveled West Rim of the Grand Canyon, a hike we've wanted to do for several years. Labor Day should be a good time to do so, with it being a get-away day for a lot of tourists.

As the last days of summer drift into the past, the sentiment of Mark Twain on friendship remains: "When we think of friends, and call their faces out of the shadows, and their voices out of the echoes that faint along the corridors of memory, and do it without knowing why save that we love to do it, we content ourselves that that friendship is a Reality, and not a Fancy--that it is builded upon a rock, and not upon the sands that dissolve away with the ebbing tides and carry their monuments with them."- Letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks

A final thought to ponder, from Frederick L. Collins: "There are two types of people--those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.' " Which type are you?

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~