Intestinal Parasites


Internal parasites can be found in many different organs and tissues of an animal’s body. One area commonly targeted is the intestines. Parasite infections can occur through a number of possible routes, depending on the parasite species and the stage of the parasite’s life cycle playing a role in transmission. A primary route of infection is ingestion of infective eggs from the environment. Typically this happens when a dog or cat ingests fecal matter or soil that contains fecal …

Nuclear Sclerosis vs. Cataracts in Companion Animals

Nuclear sclerosis is a very common eye defect in older animals and is commonly mistaken for cataracts in companion animals. Nuclear sclerosis results in a cloudy appearance to the lens of the eye but is less harmful than cataracts because it does not greatly affect the vision of your pet. With no other outside contributor responsible, this disease appears as a normal part of the aging process and is often unavoidable. Nevertheless, if your pet’s eyes appear cloudy, it is …

Remove a Tick from Your Pet in a Few Simple Steps

To remove a tick from a pet in just a few simple steps, please do the following. We have included a video from the TickEncounter Resource Center for your convenience.

  1. You will first need a small pair of tweezers or forceps. 
  2. Next, grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the tick’s head as possible, but be careful not to pinch the skin. 
  3. Pull gently, and avoid twisting or crushing the tick, until it frees. Be sure the mouth parts

Hairballs in Cats


Hairballs are a classic feline ailment.  Cats are meticulous groomers, and their tongues have tiny barbs that pull out loose hairs while grooming.  These barbs make it difficult for a cat to rid the tongue of the hairs, so the cat usually ends up swallowing them.  Usually, the swallowed hairs pass through the body and end up in the feces, but they can also accumulate in the stomach and form a mass of fur.  The technical term for this mass …

When my cat hisses at me, I notice her breath smells bad. Is something wrong?

Bad breath is common in cats and is generally termed oral malodor (halitosis). In general, it can be attributed to the protein-rich diet leaving food debris in the mouth, or products of metabolizing protein called volatile sulfur compounds. These volatile sulfur compounds are made up of food debris, saliva, blood, and exfoliated epithelium. However, malodor can also be a sign of a larger problem. Gastrointestinal, lung, and systemic diseases can all result in oral malodor. Also, gingivitis, an inflammation of …

Pet Food Labels: Terms Used to Describe Pet Food Types

There are a variety of terms used on pet food labels that appear to indicate the quality of the product. These terms are primarily used on dog and cat food labels, but may apply to other companion animal foods as well. Terms such as “generic,” “premium,” and even “super premium” are among those commonly used, as are “natural,” “holistic,” “organic,” and “grain-free.” But what do these terms really mean? Often, the definition is unclear even to pet food experts. This …

Taurine Requirement of Cats

While cat owners may have heard that they need to feed their cats a diet containing taurine, the reason may be unclear. Taurine, an amino acid found naturally in animal proteins, is not needed in the diet of most animals because it can be synthesized or produced in the body from other amino acids or compounds in the diet. However, cats have a limited ability to synthesize taurine and, therefore, require a dietary source of this amino acid.

Cat looking in mirror

Why cats

Weight-Control Diets for Dogs and Cats: Reading the Label


When choosing a weight-control or low-calorie pet food, pet owners are faced with a large number of products and product types. Understanding what products are best for your dog or cat can be confusing. Evaluating product calorie and nutrient content, as well as pricing, are important in choosing the correct diet.

One challenge is that the weight-control diets available represent a wide range of calorie concentrations and recommended calorie intakes for dog and cat weight-control diets. For example, one published …

Ectoparasites: Sarcoptic and Demodectic Mange Mites

Mange is a skin condition caused by mange mites – arachnids that live in the skin and cause irritation for our companion animals. There are two types of mange that affect companion animals – sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange. Regardless of the type, mange tends to more frequently affect dogs than cats; therefore, this article addresses the condition in dogs.

Sarcoptic mange

Sarcoptic mange, also occasionally referred to as scabies, is a highly contagious skin disease caused by mites that …

Ectoparasites: Fleas

The most common external parasite of the dog and cat is the flea. Fleas love warm, humid environments and do not survive for long periods in extreme heat, cold, or low humidity. Depending on where you live, fleas can definitely be a year-round concern, though we tend to have heightened awareness during warmer weather. Fleas are wingless insects and cannot fly, but they are capable of jumping as high as 2 feet. Adult fleas feed exclusively on the blood of …