Distichiasis disease (dogs)

Distichiasis is a condition where extra eyelashes (cilia) grow from the glands of the upper or lower eyelid. Hair follicles develop from deep within the glands rather than from the skin surface of the eyelids. As these hairs grow, they follow the ducts of the gland and exit from the gland’s opening along the smooth surface of the eyelid. These eyelashes called distichia, rub against the cornea and cause irritation or tearing, and sometimes corneal abrasions.

Distichiasis is an inherited disorder and are seen in many breeds, including the American Cocker Spaniel, Miniature and Toy Poodles, Golden Retriever, Miniature long-haired Dachshund, Shetland Sheepdog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Bulldog, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu.

Look for: corneal vascularization (blood vessel accumulation), dark coloring of the cornea, corneal ulceration, scarring (which will appear as white areas) on the cornea, conjunctival redness, squinting and excessive tearing from the eyes.

Your vet will diagnose your dog from a thorough visual eye examination to identify the lashes emerging and from where. He may also administer a Schirmer test which will assess tear production from both eyes. He might order a fluorescein staining of the cornea in order to detect any corneal abrasions or ulcers.

Treatments will vary. Some dogs will require no treatment at all, as some dogs have short, fine distichia or if the symptoms presented are mild enough to barely require attention. American Cocker Spaniels are often very tolerant of the extra eyelashes. The next least invasive treatment will be ophthalmic lubricant ointments that will protect the cornea and coat the eyelashes in an oily film. Expect to use this method if your dog is experiencing mild tearing or if he has a few distichia that are short and fine in texture. If your dog isn’t a good candidate for surgery, you’ll be asked to partake of this method.

However, if your dog is extremely bothered by the extra eyelashes or is experiencing corneal damage, your dog will have to undergo surgical correction to remove the distichia and try to kill the hair follicles responsible. Unfortunately, these follicles are difficult to kill. Sometimes portions of the eyelid need to be removed. Other times, the meibomian glands need to be cauterized or frozen with cryotherapy. The obvious worry here is for excessive scarring to occur on the eyelids. Still, regrowth is often common and your dog may need multiple surgeries. It isn’t uncommon for new hairs to spring up in different locations either.

Worse still, there is no preventative care for distichiasis.

Krabbe Disease (dogs)

Krabbe disease (also known as globoid cell leukedystrophy or galactosylceramide lipidosis) is a congenital disease, said to be a recessive hereditary defect. This degenerative disorder affects the nervous system. Symptoms first appear between 2 and six months of age and include muscle weakness and ataxia (a lack of coordination). It often starts with pelvic limbs: legs are stiff or puppies simply fall over onto their sides. Other symptoms include head tremors, blindness, weakened or complete loss of spinal reflexes, muscle atrophy and behavior changes. As a degenerative disorder, the disease progressively worsens and dogs are usually euthanized between 10 months to 2 years of age. Krabbe disease is diagnosed by a clinical evaluation, neurological testing or MRI.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Krabbe disease. The breeds affected are Cairn Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Irish Setter, Bluetick Coonhounds and Australian Kelpies. The interesting thing is each breed has a different mutation that causes the disease, but all breeds have the same result.

Cooper’s Snake’s Operation

Cooper's snake

Cooper loves his squeaky snake toy. His Mommy noticed some of the seams were starting to go so she decided to stitch it back together. Ever the “helper,” Cooper put his head on Mom’s lap to watch the “operation.” When finished, she told him, “Okay, he’s all better now.” Ever so gently, Cooper pulled the 2 foot snake toy off her lap. He sniffed it all over — to ensure his squeaker friend was alright? — and resumed play. Such a sensitive boy!

An Iowa Miniature Schnauzer Proves the Power of Love

This week, Sissy, a miniature schnauzer in Iowa proved just how strong the bonds of love are.

Her human mom Nancy had to go into a Cedar Rapids hospital for some medical treatment and Sissy was missing her. She made the four hour journey to the hospital and walked right in the double doors of the lobby. How Sissy had known how to get there or where she even was is a complete mystery. When Nancy was dropped off at the hospital, Sissy wasn’t in the car. Sissy had never run away before.  The closest possible explanation could be that Nancy works next to the hospital.

What an amazing story! Click the link below for more information and videos.

Iowa dog walks to hospital to find owner.

Bluetick Coonhound

AKC Group: Hound

Bluetick Coonhounds are an American breed several centuries years old. European hounds (namely the Grand Bleu de Gascogne and English Foxhounds) were crossed with American hounds. The result was the Bluetick: combining the scenting instincts of the Old World with the quickness of American dogs. The Bluetick Coonhound is the state dog of Tennessee where it originated to hunt raccoons and small animals.

Size: 21 to 27 inches, 45 to 80 pounds.

Color: Tri-colored and heavily speckled with black over a white body (this gives the coat a “bluish” look).

Life span: 11 to 12 years.

Health problems: Relatively healthy, they are prone to cataracts, hip dysplasia and Krabbes disease (a fatal disease that causes the nervous system to degenerate).

Bluetick Coonhounds have a compact looking body, a glossy coat and keen eyes. His head and tail are always up. A Bluetick is gentle with children and a loyal, loving pet. As a small game hunter, bring home a Bluetick if you have a cat, rabbit or other small pets; a Bluetick can NEVER be trusted. Like a true hound, Blueticks are intelligent and have an ability to problem solve. This will not be a good match for you if you have too small a home or yard for a Bluetick’s liking. Blueticks tend to drool. Blueticks are a challenge to train, howl loudly (they are hounds) and frequently bark. When a Bluetick is trained properly, he will listen to your every command. Blueticks are one of the least aggressive breeds of dog. A final word of warning: Never leave your garbage unsecured or food unattended. The nose of your Bluetick is how he earns his bread and butter.

A weekly brushing will collect his loose hairs. Bathing should be avoided and dry shampooing should be attempted only when necessary. Ears (since his are long and hang down) should be checked regularly and cleaned often. Training should be firm, positive and consistent. Independent thinkers, a Bluetick should never be off leash in the community. Squirrels and cats will instantly be chased up trees. Obedience training and early socialization should be the first items on your Bluetick’s To Do List when he comes home with you.


AKC Group: Hound

Bloodhounds are an ancient breed that first appeared in Europe thousands of years ago. They descended from the black St. Hubert and white Southern Hound. Bloodhounds were bred to be durable hunters and make excellent police dogs.

Size: 23 to 27 inches, 80 to 110 pounds.

Color: Black and tan, liver and tan or solid red.

Life span: 10 to 12 years.

Health problems: Gastrointestinal ailments, bloat is common (and a leading cause of death!). Eye, skin and ear problems are frequent. The thick Bloodhound coat helps them to overheat quickly.

Bloodhounds are an easily identifiable breed — just look for loose skin around their head and neck, large hanging down ears and prominent jowls. Bloodhounds have deep sunken eyes, muscular necks and strong shoulders and powerful legs. The Bloodhound tail curls upward. The Bloodhound dog is a profile in dignity.

Bloodhounds get their name from their ability to track wounded prey from the trail of blood they leave behind. Police forces caught on and began using the dogs to track criminals. TRIVIA: the Bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in American courtrooms. (Their ability to follow the blood trail is THAT good!)

These dignified dogs are easygoing and mellow, not to mention endlessly patient. They love nothing more than stretching out and being cuddled, scratched and loved by their family. A Bloodhound will be your child’s constant companion. They will play and goof around together for hours! Nothing is more important to a Bloodhound pet than their loving family.

Outside, your Bloodhound will have endless energy. They love to run and explore. They can be shy at first, but they possess the ability to overcome their natural fears and become a friend to all — other pets included. Though they are protective of their home and family, a Bloodhound’s strength is not guarding. A Bloodhound howls in the face of danger instead of barking.

The smooth, short coat of a Bloodhound is easy to groom. Grooming should be done with a hound glove. A rub with a rough towel or chamois will leave the coat gleaming. Bathing should be kept to the bare minimum. Cleaning of the ears is essential (as are frequent checks of their eyes). Bloodhounds do retain the “dog smell” naturally (there’s very little you can do to get rid of it). Consistency, gentle handling and speech will keep the Bloodhound’s stubbornness out of way while training. Bloodhounds take to training slowly, so you will have to have patience. The great news (or silver lining) is Bloodhounds are intelligent dogs and are eager to please you.

Black Russian Terrier

AKC Group: Working

Black Russian Terriers were bred by the Former Russian Red Army to withstand Russia’s varied weather conditions. They wanted a dog that could work independently, to aid the military and police forces. These terriers were created from 17 breeds, including the Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Airedale breeds and Russian Water Dog.

Size: 26 to 30 inches tall, 80 to 145 pounds.

Color: Black (may have a few gray hairs).

Life span: 10 to 11 years.

Health problems: Hip or elbow dysplasia. Otitis (ear infection or inflammation) if the ears aren’t cared for.

Black Russian Terriers (BRT) are extremely large, powerful dogs used for guarding and military work. Their tousled double coat is coarse to the touch and always black. Looking at them, you’d never guess that they’re light on their feet. BRT walk with a spring in their step. They have dark oval eyes and high-set small triangular ears. Their tails are thick and usually docked. Their feet are large and round.

Brave to a fault, BRT are naturally observant, but not aggressive. When a quick response is needed, they’re there for you. They bark only when necessary. Highly intelligent, they learn quickly and make loyal companions. They are naturally dominant and suspicious, meaning proper socialization is imperative to live in harmony with a family. Handling by anyone outside the family isn’t likely to be successful.

BRT are late bloomers and mature slowly (about two years). As puppies (until they mature) they will have endless curiosity and get into EVERYTHING! They are great with kids. Female BRT play more with child companions than males do. They are even tempered and tolerant. They desire — no, more like crave — human contact. Due to their slow maturity, patience and firmness in training is required to give your BRT success in later life. BRT tend to get along well with other animals but shouldn’t live with other large dominant dogs. Amazingly, BRT avoid fighting.

Black Russian Terriers need a professional trim 2 to 3 times a year. Brush your BRT once a week. This regular brushing will keep your BRT from shedding. Remove hair from the ear ducts and cut the hairs under their paws.

Black and Tan Coonhound

AKC Group: Hound

Black and Tan Coonhounds are an American breed bred from the Bloodhound and black and tan Foxhounds. They came with English settlers to hunt raccoons, opossums and bear! Their Bloodhound ancestry gives them scenting ability while the Foxhound gives them adeptness and speed. They were bred to travel mountainous, rugged terrain and to be able to hunt at night.

Size: 50 to 75 pounds, 23 to 27 inches tall.

Color: Black and tan. (Any other color is a different breed of Coonhound.)

Life span: 10 to 12 years.

Health problems: Hip dysplasia is common. Their long ears require regular checks for infections or problems. Less common are eye problems. Black and Tan Coonhounds gain weight easily, so don’t overfeed.

Black and Tan Coonhounds hunt by scent only. They commonly chase raccoons up trees, but can also run prey down. Capable of withstanding winter temperatures and conditions, they can also endure the high heat of summer. This is great for the all season outdoorsmen.

Black and Tan Coonhounds are so easygoing and friendly. They adore other hounds and do better with an older companion dog. Black and Tan Coonhounds are not naturally aggressive. They are extremely tolerant, gentle, sensitive and independent. They love people! But they can be stubborn.

They require lots of exercise and enough space to roam. A restricted Black and Tan Coonhound is a nightmare to live with. Frequent brushing will keep the Black and Tan Coonhound’s short but dense coat from ending up on your furniture. The only real maintenance this dog needs is eye and ear checks.

The Black and Tan Coonhound’s reputation is they’re hard to train. That’s not necessarily true, if you’re training them the right way. A Black and Tan Coonhound will do anything for food. They have a tendency to be distracted; new scents drive them absolutely wild! Patience is required to train a Black and Tan Coonhound. Any form of physical punishment will cause this dog to shut down and they won’t retain anything you’re trying to teach. Proper training is essential with this breed. Most Black and Tan Coonhounds end up in pounds and it’s so unnecessary because these are great dogs. Before you take on the challenge on living with a Black and Tan Coonhound, you need to know what you’re doing. Previous dog experience is a must.

Amazing Anatomy of Cats

A cat’s ears contain 32 muscles. This allows cats to rotate their ears 180 degrees and be able to pinpoint where sounds originate. Cats are able to detect higher pitches than us and tiny sound variances better than dogs. A cat’s ability to land on its feet is due to the vestibular apparatus in its inner ear.

Cats have more rods in their eyes than humans do. The rods and a layer of tissue called the tapetum lucidum allows eyes to detect more light. The tapetum lucidum is what reflects the light that comes into the eye back out and makes cat’s eyes shine in the dark. Cats have vertical pupils. This gives the pupil the ability to change sizes faster than human eyes. Small pupils allow less light to enter and protects the cat from being blinded by sudden bright lights.

A cat has 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavities. (This is a very good thing because cats don’t have as many taste receptors as humans, so this is how a cat compensates.) Cats hunt with their nose. This also explains why when a cat develops a respiratory infection that they often lose their appetite. Cats noses leave behind unique patterns of bumps and ridges, much like a fingerprint. No two cats have the same nose print. (Now you know how to identify a cat burglar.)

Whiskers send information about the environment back to sensory nerves. Whiskers can also respond to air vibrations. Shorter whiskers above the eyes, on chins and on the back of their lower front legs allow a cat to “see” their environment in ways a human can’t fathom.

Whiskers are also indicative of a cat’s mood. Relaxed whiskers (when they’re sticking out sideways) convey that a cat is calm. Whiskers that are pushed forward indicate alertness or excitement. Whiskers that are flattened back against the face signify fear or aggression.

That “sandpaper” your cat rakes over your skin is your cat’s papillae (keratin hair-like barbs). These papillae help cats to groom themselves and to eat. The papillae allow a cat to pick up their food and to lick the meat off bones. The papillae also helps a cat drink. The tongue barely grazes the liquid. The papillae pulls the liquid upward and before gravity can push the liquid back down, the cat’s jaws close. Cats lap at water four times per second and is too fast for human eyes to see.

Paw pads are tough enough to protect from rough terrain, but sensitive enough to detect temperature or texture changes. The pads also act as the body’s natural cooling system thanks to the sweat glands found there. Other glands secrete oil which leaves behind a unique scent that only cats can detect. (Scratching also releases this scent.)

You may notice that your cat has different colored pads on each foot. The same pigment that are responsible for your cat’s coat color is linked to the color of his pads. Typically paw pads are the same color as the coat.