This isn’t the most pleasant topic of conversation, but if your veterinarian has ever asked for a stool sample, this is what he/she is looking for:
The normal color for a cat’s stool is chocolate brown. If the stool is red or streaked with red fluid, it’s an indication of blood. If the stool is black, it may indicate bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. If the stool is light in color, your cat may be suffering from liver disease or a lack of digestive enzyme production. If you’re sifting through the litter and your cat’s stool isn’t chocolate in color, it’s time to head to the vet’s.
Normal stool looks like a log and is formed yet moist enough that litter clings to it. It should have an odor, but the paint shouldn’t be peeling off the walls. Stool that is hard, dry or misshapen, your cat may not be drinking enough water, he may have a kidney disease or diabetes. If the stool looks more like a cow pie or pudding, your cat has diarrhea and may have an intestinal problem, a food intolerance, parasites or a bacterial or viral infection.
His stool should be consistent with the amount of food he eats. Smaller sized poop signals a reduced appetite, which may indicate an illness.
A cat’s stool should be free of mucus, blood, undigested food, large amounts of hair and parasites. A large amount of hair in the poop can contribute to constipation.
If you see anything abnormal in your cat’s litterbox, make an appointment with your vet immediately.
A yeast infection is very easy to spot: A dog will rub his ear or tilt his head often. There may be waxy residue or scabs around the ear openings.
Yeast may develop from an ear infection, allergies, a bacterial infection, a ruptured eardrum, a tumor or polyp within the ear canal or a trapped object. Trapped water (from swimming or frequent bathing) or trapped debris (mold, dust, feathers or smoke) in the ear can also lead to the development of yeast.
An infection found in the dog’s outer ear is very easy to treat. If the infection reaches the middle ear or inner ear, deafness may result. A yeast infection may also manifest itself on the dog’s skin as a scab or a red, crusty (yucky) blotch.
Other signs to look for: brown, yellow or bloody discharge from the ear, odor, redness or swelling of the ear, crusted skin on the ear flap, loss of hair around the ear, head shaking, loss of balance, loss of hearing, walking in circles or unusual eye movements.
Typical treatments for an outer ear infection will include a topical antifungal ointment. A middle ear infection may require systemic (tablets or injections) medications. Surgery may be required and can take up to six weeks to fully recover from. The ear will be fully cleaned and if it becomes a persistent problem, you may need to find special cleansers or ear drying solutions you can use at home.
Dogs with floppy ears seem to be more prone to ear infections. Also dogs, like Schnauzers, that have hair that grows in the inner ear canal are often prone. Any dog that has allergies can develop ear infections regularly too.
Preventions include routine inspections of the ears for discharge, odors or swelling. After playtime (or bathing) in water, thoroughly drying the outer part of the ears can help. If your dog has hair in or around his ears, ask your groomer to trim it frequently.