Have lump checked by vet

Pete Keesling

Q: My best friend and I each have a puppy from the same litter. They are 9 months old and very healthy. Randolph (my dog) has a small, smooth lump on the side of his shoulder. It’s been there for about two weeks and seems to be staying the same size. His brother, Willie, doesn’t seem to have any lumps or bumps. I’m worried about skin cancer. Do young puppies get cancer?
A:
Anything’s possible, but this just might be a benign skin lump. Histiocytomas are small, flesh-colored bumps that are usually smooth and hairless. They’re most often seen in young dogs, and the good news is that they are benign (sometimes these tumors even disappear spontaneously without need for surgical removal). Of course, there are some other more serious tumors that can look the same. So you should have Randolph’s little lump checked by his veterinarian. If it is a malignancy, early treatment can sometimes be curative. A visit to the vet will give you some real peace of mind.
Q:
Our handsome bichon, Maurice, has a skin problem. His white fur has turned reddish brown in two spots. The worst area is on his back near his tail. But he also has some color change on his right front foot, too. Is this an infection? My neighbor thinks he has a fungus.
A:
Fungus, no. I’ll bet he has allergies. And I’ll bet he’s been busy licking that foot and that area on his back. Those brown stains are a tell-tale sign. Saliva contains some enzymes that easily stain white fur. Any time a dog repeatedly licks one spot, the fur in that region starts to change color. It’s easy to see the change on a beautiful white coat like Maurice’s. Color change near the base of his tail makes us suspicious he has a few fleas wandering around on his back. Salivary staining in this region is a strong indication of flea allergy dermatitis because that’s where fleas congregate. If you’re not using a prescription monthly flea control medication, talk to his vet about which would be best for him. Foot-licking, on the other hand, can be caused by different allergies or injuries. So a thorough check of his foot for sores or thorns would be a good idea.
Here’s one other interesting fact. Tears also have enzymes that stain white or light colored fur. Brown staining below the eye of a dog indicates excessive tearing or possibly a blocked tear duct. Either way, this could indicate an infection, perhaps an allergy or even an aberrant eyelash rubbing against the cornea. The bottom line is this: any discoloration of the fur is a good reason for your dog checked by his or her vet.
Q:
My friend has some chickens and she gets fresh eggs every morning. (She says the hens actually sing when they lay an egg. Is this possible?) She gave me some of her eggs recently. They have a much darker yolk. Is this because her hens are a different breed?
A:
Anyone who has chickens will tell you that the yolk of home-grown eggs is a richer yellow. I believe this is related to the feeding and housing that backyard chickens enjoy. They really have it good, especially compared to their commercially raised cousins.
One other fun fact: fresh eggs have a firmer yolk that won’t break as easily as a store-bought egg. You can flip a fresh egg in the pan and rarely worry about turning a fried egg into an unwanted scrambler. Those yolks just don’t break! And that’s just one other reason to have hens in your backyard.    
And do they sing when they’re happy? Oh yeah, the melodic sounds of laying hens while they finish their “morning duties” is music to the backyard farmer’s ears.
Special Note
You’ve heard it so many times recently … imported dog and cat food and treats making pets ill. Many have been implemented in cases of salmonella infection and other health-related problems. Now there’s a new warning. This time it’s not about food, but the stainless steel food and water bowls sold at Petco. Chicago’s Herald News reported that some of these bowls recently contained traces of cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope that has several uses (one of which is to detect structural flaws in other products). Reports say there’s no imminent danger from exposure to this stuff; the amount of radiation is minimal. But these products were pulled from the shelves of Petco as a precaution. Nonetheless, this makes us wonder … what next? What’s the next product that might be recalled off the shelf? Remember, most of these recalled products are imports, made in China or other countries where quality control is very poor. Avoid these imports when you shop for your pet.

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