Monday, February 8, 2010


Not all diseases and disorders of dogs and cats are of the infectious or contagious variety, as are the skin fungus infections we discussed in last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats. Sometimes things happen to parts of the body that don't involve an infectious process. These can include trauma, genetic abnormalities, chemical imbalances, behavioral disorders, and malfunctions of various organs of the body. In this week's issue, Helpful Buckeye will introduce endocrine glands and how they fit into the overall health of the dog and cat.

Last week's poll question on ringworm and the family pets produced several e-mail responses. Most of the pet owners responding were lucky enough to not have contracted ringworm themselves (10% said yes), but 40% said their pet had been diagnosed with ringworm at some point. Be sure to answer this week's poll question in the column to the left.


A few weeks ago, it was announced that archaeologists had uncovered the remains of an old Egyptian temple that was important to the understanding of the position of cats in historic Egyptian society. "Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that may have been dedicated to the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet," the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt said.

"This limestone feline is among some 600 cat statues from a newfound temple dedicated to the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet. The ancient temple was recently discovered under the streets of modern-day Alexandria, Egypt. Egyptian archaeologists who found the temple say it was built by Queen Berenike II, wife of Greek King Ptolemy III, who ruled Egypt from 246 to 221 B.C.
Cats were important house pets in ancient Egypt and were often depicted in private tombs. In some cases, cats were mummified in the same way as humans and buried at temples."
One source for this story was:


A gland is a structure (either an organ or a group of cells) in the body of a dog or cat that specializes in producing secretions of a substance or substances that are essential and vital to the existence of that animal. There are several types of glands found in the body and the 2 most familiar of these are exocrine glands and endocrine glands.

Exocrine glands are those which have their secretion passed by ducts to the exterior surface of the body or to another surface in the body that is continuous with the external surface. An example of the former would be the sweat example of the latter would be the salivary glands in the mouth.

Endocrine glands also produce a secretion but that secretion is passed directly into the bloodstream for transit to a target gland or organ which it will influence. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries, and testicles.

The activity of all these glands is regulated by chemical or nerve signals, or a combination of both. The endocrine system encompasses a group of tissues that release hormones into the blood circulation for travel to distant target glands or organs. Not all cells in the body are affected by hormones, and only certain cells of a particular organ may respond to a specific hormone. Some hormones control the release of other hormones.

The pituitary gland has been referred to as the "master gland" since it secretes more kinds of hormones than any other gland and because its hormones control the release of hormones from the other endocrine glands. The pituitary gland produces growth hormone, which controls body growth; the hormone prolactin, which stimulates the mammary glands to produce milk for nursing; thyroid-stimulating hormone, which controls the thyroid gland; luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormones, which influence the ovaries in the direction of heat cycles and ovulation; adrenocorticotropic hormone, which causes the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and other hormones; and anti-diuretic hormone, which regulates the metabolism and proper levels of body water.

The thyroid gland produces its own hormone, thyroxine. The ovaries produce progesterone and estrogen. The testicles produce testosterone. The pancreas produces probably the most well-known hormone of all...insulin. The adrenal glands produce cortisone-like steroids, the sex steroids, and assorted other types of vital natural steroids.

If your pet's hormone and endocrine gland system malfunctions, a wide range of serious medical conditions can develop and the overall health of your dog or cat could be severely affected. In coming issues of Questions On Dogs and Cats, Helpful Buckeye will discuss some of the more common endocrine disorders seen in dogs and cats, what they do to the body, and what can possibly be done to treat them. If you have any specific questions pertaining to endocrine disorders, be sure to send them by e-mail to: and Helpful Buckeye will address your concerns at the appropriate time.


1) The American Association of Feline Practitioners, in conjunction with Purina, has produced a very comprehensive and informative booklet titled, Friends For Life: Caring for your older cat. This is a 32-page brochure that you can read at: and, if you want, you can print your own copy for further reference.

2) The American Veterinary Medical Association has produced another podcast, this one dealing with pet cats that are active at night. Enjoy listening to this entertaining and informative interview at:


From: are intelligent and naturally curious creatures. Without daily challenge and mental stimulation, they'll quickly become lethargic and bored, leading to depression or unwelcome behaviors. The simplest way to prevent boredom in cats is with a variety of stimulating toys. Playtime ensures your cat will engage its hunting instincts or allow it to solve challenges, all while getting its daily exercise. A well-stocked cache of toys will include a selection of self-play opportunities for your cat to entertain itself while you're away, as well as interactive toys for when you and your cat can play together. Check out these Peek-A-Prize cat toys from:, these Cheesewedge Plush Mice cat toys from:, and these Cat Track cat toys from:

That should help keep your cat happy and occupied for some time!


1) The Smithsonian Channel has put together a 47-minute "dogumentary, " titled Unleashed, about a lot of really special dogs in Santa Barbara, CA. Granted, this is quite a bit longer than the videos we normally recommend for your viewing. However, it was intended for a 1-hour TV time slot and Helpful Buckeye knows that each and everyone of our readers will waste more than an hour each week "channel surfing" the TV. So, set aside 47 minutes and watch this's worth your time! Go to:

2) Since we're in a video/educational mode this week, take a look at this exciting video of adult heartworms being removed from a dog in order to save its life: This video was sent to Helpful Buckeye by his former business partner...he's also a very helpful Buckeye! If you're also looking for a nice review of heartworms in the dog, go to one of our previous issues at:

3) In our January 17, 2010 issue, we included a listing of the ASPCA's Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2009...and one of the items was avocados. The ASPCA has since offered this explanation for why avocados were put on the list: According to the ASPCA, the avocado plant contains a substance called persin. "Different species of animals have different toxic reactions to avocados," said Dr. Tina Wismer, the senior director of veterinary outreach and education at the ASPCA. "Animals such as birds can develop respiratory distress, fluid build-up around the heart, and death. Horses, rabbits and goats can develop both mastitis [inflammation of the mammary glands] and cardiac problems. They also get a build-up of fluid under the skin in the face and chest.""In dogs, cats and ferrets there are no reliable reports of poisoning," she added. "However, dogs commonly ingest the pit and it can get stuck in the digestive tract." 4) For some pet owners, dealing with the loss of a cherished animal companion is as emotionally difficult as losing a human member of the family. Fortunately, there are many ways to help in coping with the mourning and grief surrounding your loss, whether the animal was euthanized, lost, stolen or had to be placed in a new home. The University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching School runs a hotline, Companion Animal Related Emotions (C.A.R.E.) Pet Loss Helpline (877-394-CARE), that helps pet owners deal with their heartbreak. To read more, go to:

5) Enjoy this really short video, simply titled, "Surprised Kitty": The kitty has surely learned the routine!


It was great to see the New Orleans Saints show everybody that the Colts aren't unbeatable! Not only did the Colts lose, but also Peyton Manning threw a costly interception...and then, in typical Peyton Manning style, he went over to the intended receiver and ripped into him. As a final classless act, Manning left the field without ever congratulating the Saints' QB, Drew Brees, the real MVP of the league. Helpful Buckeye was sitting in the cat-bird seat, dreaming of the can of salted Virginia Diner peanuts that will be making its way across country, from my former partner and really good friend. Trust me, good buddy, this will be easier on you than a chunk of desert ironwood would have been for me!

Well, those of us who are football fans have watched the last game for this season. Those of you who don't follow other sports will have to wait until August when football training camps begin again, both at the college and pro levels. Others, like Helpful Buckeye, will be able to smoothly transition into what's left of basketball season, both college and pro, in addition to awaiting the opening of Spring Training for Major League Baseball.


John Steinbeck, American writer, had this to say about dogs: "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes...and I am convinced that basically dogs think that humans are nuts." Anyone out there dispute that???

~~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.~~

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