Pet news across the world

Pete Keesling

There’s a few interesting news items worth mentioning this week. First comes word from China that Chinese pet owners have started importing pet food and treats made in the United States because of concerns about contamination in their own domestic products. Seems they won’t buy their own stuff ever since reports surfaced about salmonella contamination and other problems. Perhaps now they’ll see better quality control from these companies. I still say we should all avoid pet products imported from China.
Back home, United Airlines has published new criteria for pets “flying the friendly skies.” Part of this is a breed specific list of dogs that will not be allowed to travel with United. Included in their list are pit bulls, presa canarios, American Staffordshire terriers and mixes (crossbred dogs) of these breeds. Some owners are threatening legal action to stop United from enforcing these rules. United is walking a fine line with this new set of guidelines, although it’s easy to see why they’re attempting to be so careful.
And finally, here’s something that should make you smile, at least a little. A recent study out of the University of Texas has confirmed what many have said for a long time; dog lovers have a different personality than cat people. The personalities of these two groups can be sharply contrasting. In general, cat lovers can be quiet and introspective, while dog people tend to be more outgoing. (Yeah, I know. There are a million exceptions to these rules. But read on.)
All this begs the question about that large number of people who have both felines and canines for pets. What about people like me who have furry felines and canines in the same home? Well, there’s a new one-word term describing all of us. It isn’t in the dictionary … yet. But someday, you’ll be able to look in Webster and find it. We are “bipetual.” And I never even knew it.
Now for this week’s question.
Q:
Eldridge is our very own black panther. Actually, he’s just a small, black kitty we adopted seven years ago from the shelter. But he thinks he’s a big tough dude. Lately, he’s been acting really weird and skittish. He seems to be compulsively licking and grooming at some little scabs on his back. Is this an infection? What should we do?
A:
Take a close look at Eldridge and see if he has any scabs on his tummy or anywhere else on his body. I’ll bet he does, and these black scabs are mostly on his backside. Further, I can imagine that he’s really sensitive when you pet him over his back. He probably doesn’t like being scratched there.
Those small scabs are milia (named because they look like millet seeds). Some people refer to your panther’s condition as “scabby cat disease” or “miliary dermatitis.” It can be caused by a number of different problems, but usually it indicates an allergy. And yes, cats can get allergies just as easily as people or other animals. They can be allergic to pollens, food, or just about anything in their environment. But the number one cause of miliary allergic dermatitis in California kitties is fleas.
Spring is the time of year that the flea population is growing rapidly. Warm weather like we’ve recently had makes these blood-sucking parasites more active. They’re out there, in your backyard and even in your house, just waiting to jump aboard and get a quick and easy blood meal.
Flea control is simple these days. There are several different medications that can effectively prevent fleas from ever biting your panther. But be very careful. Some over-the-counter flea products are very toxic to cats. And some are more effective than others.
Best advice? Talk to Eldridge’s vet about which flea control would work best for him. And if the itch is too much for the little guy, his vet can also prescribe medications that can quickly make him feel comfortable again.

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