Best Dog Ear Infection Treatments

dog ear infection with veterinarian

 

If you’re the proud pet parent to a lovely dog, you’ve probably heard a lot about ear infections by now. They’re uncomfortable for your pet to deal with, and they can even produce some nasty health outcomes if left untreated.

Luckily, just with a little diligence, you can protect your pup from ever having to deal with them in the first place. As the saying always goes, the best offense is a good defense. In order to protect your pooch, you’ll need a quality dog ear cleaning solution at your side. But, with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the best one for your pet.

That’s why, in the following blog, we’ll break down what we like the best about five options available, how to tell when your dog has an ear infection, how to clean your dog’s ears, and how to apply medicated ear drops to your dog’s ears if they do get an infection.

Best Dog Ear Cleaners 2021

Banixx Dog Ear Infection Cleaner

Banixx’s Dog Ear Infection Cleaner can effectively be used to both prevent and treat ear infections in dogs, making it one of the most versatile dog ear infection treatment solutions on the market today. It is most effective when it is used 2-3 times per day.

Best of all, it provides instant, sting-free, odorless relief to your pup without relying on pesky antibiotics or steroids. In addition to this, it’s not oily or sticky like so many ear infection medications. To treat your dog’s ear infection with

Banixx, coat the inside of their ear with the solution and then gently massage it into their ear tissue. If your pup is new to Banixx, it’s a good idea to apply Banixx via a well-moistened cotton ball. Be sure to close the ear flap and keep it gently closed with your hand as you massage it into the ear tissue.

In just a few days, you should notice that any head shaking or discomfort your dog may have been feeling will have subsided – all from just a couple days of applications with our clinically-proven solution. With Banixx, relief really can be that simple. 8oz Av retail $14.99 (June 2021).

 

veterinarian examines dog ear inspection

Zymox Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes

Zymox’s Ear Cleanser with Bio-Active Enzymes is most effective when used on a weekly basis as a preventative measure against the build up of bacteria or moisture. Many owners have reported greater success when pairing this with Zymox’s Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone. Owners say that this solution also leaves a pleasant, fresh scent. 4oz Av retail $11.99 (June 2021)

Zymox Veterinary Strength Dog and Cat Ear Cleanser

Zymox’s Veterinary Strength Dog and Cat Ear Cleanser is most effective at preventing ear infections when used on a twice-weekly basis. It’s made of a unique blend of lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, and lysozyme that help inhibit microbe production within the ear canal. Users also report this solution leaving a mild scent after each cleaning. 4oz Av retail $11.99 (June 2021)

Burt’s Bees for Dogs Ear Cleanser

Burt’s Bees for Dogs Ear Cleanser is primarily used to prevent the development of ear infections. It is most effective when applied to your dog’s ear canals at least once per week. Many consumers laud this particular brand of dog ear cleaning solutions due to its heavy emphasis on using natural ingredients in its formula, particularly witch hazel which has been advertised as being able to prevent the buildup of debris. 4oz Av retail $11.98 (June 2021)

Pet MD Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes

Pet MD’s Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes are primarily used to make your dog’s ear and ear canals an unwelcoming habitat for yeast, bacteria, or other microorganisms. They are recommended for use twice per week. These wet ear wipes are infused with aloe vera and eucalyptus oil to provide your four-legged friend with a relaxing, natural solution for ear care. Additionally, these wet wipes are formulated to deliver lactic acid in order to preserve your dog’s skin’s natural acidity. 100 Wipes Av Retail $12.99 (June 2021)

When Should You Clean a Dog’s Ears?

A thorough cleaning of a dog’s ears is imperative to ensuring they’re in good overall health, but, you don’t have to drop dog ear infectioneverything right now to go spelunking in their ears.
Instead, just make ear cleaning a part of your dog’s routine grooming; that way you’re more likely to be consistent with doing it. A good rule of thumb is to clean your dog’s ears at least once per month, and check them for signs of infection, irritation, or parasites at least every other week.

However, please note that this advice may vary between breeds. Some breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds will require more regular ear cleaning. Their droopy ears allow for less air flow than their counterparts who have much shorter ears, so moisture, dust, dirt and other debris can easily build up in their ear canals which may lead to a yeast infection.

Additionally, dogs that love to spend time in the water should also have their ears checked and dried frequently. The extra moisture from the water in which they swim can create optimal conditions for fungal infections to begin and spread.

Signs That Your Dog Has an Ear Infection

While some dogs may display no signs of suffering from an ear infection, other dogs may exhibit severe discomfort. If dog ear infection with veterinarianyour dog is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice that they’re tilting their head more than usual (note: ignore this advice if you’re holding a milkbone, then they’re tilting their head for a different reason).

You may also notice them shaking their head a lot, or perhaps you’ll see them stumbling around as if they’re unable to get proper footing. Ear infections affect balance with dogs just as they do with humans. Dogs with ear infections may also aggressively scratch or rub their ears against hard objects or show a reluctance to chew.

Of course, dogs with ear infections may also present more…obvious signs of ear infections. The area around their ears may lose its hair or may develop crusts or scabs. This area might also begin to swell or become very red. A foul odor emanating from your dog’s ears is a sure giveaway sign that infection is lurking!

If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, it is advisable to visit a veterinarian. There are three types of ear infections: otitis externa, media, and interna. Otitis externa refers to a type of inflammation that affects the layer of cells lining the outside of your dog’s ear canal. Otitis media and interna, however, refer to infections that affect the middle and inner ear canal.

Given that otitis media and interna can be very serious and result in deafness, facial paralysis, and vestibular disorders,canine ear infection it is important that you seek out professional veterinary advice before treating your dog’s ear infection. While cases of otitis externa can be treated with over the counter solutions, it is difficult for the untrained eye to accurately diagnose the severity or depth of an infected dog’s ear. So, remember: if you suspect your dog has an ear infection, get them assessed by a vet to ensure the infection’s root cause is taken care of.

A visit to your veterinarian is costly and time consuming which is why we advocate for dog owners to take a proactive approach. This involves a focus on minimizing the potential for dog ear infections to occur in the first place by using one of the solutions that we discussed above.

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

For starters, you have to remember that any dog who isn’t used to getting their ears touched may be a bit skittish at you dog ear infection picturegrabbing their ears. You may have to bribe them to embark on this journey with you. And, DO make sure that the solution you choose to use is at least room temperature. If unsure, run the bottle under warn water to warm the liquid. Imagine if some.one put something COLD into your ear? Not Fun! Particularly if your ear was infected??

Offer them treats, toys, belly rubs, or whatever it is that’s going to help them relax. Making this a calm, semi-enjoyable experience for them will make this whole process go much smoother. Also, organize your supplies so that they are close by once you have embarked on the ear cleaning process; this keeps it short and sweet. That’s a winner for every-one!

Once your pup is relaxed, go ahead and proceed with the cleaning. There are two common ways to do this.

First, wet a cotton ball or gauze with an ear rinsing solution and wipe it around the outer flap of your dog’s ear. Be calm and slow with this step. Then, take a freshly moistened cotton ball/gauze and work your way from the outside of the ear in towards your dog’s ear canal, making sure not to go too deep or be too aggressive. Finally, wipe away or clean out any remaining wax or other junk from their ear canal with a third, fresh cotton ball.

long floppy ears infection

The other method involves placing a small amount of medicated ear cleaning solution in your dog’s ears, closing the

ear flap gently with your hand and then massaging the base of their ears. This action induces them to shake their heads, which is both adorable and will loosen the debris inside of their ear canals. Once this waste material has been loosened, you can gently

remove it from the inside of their ear canal with cotton or gauze. Repeat this process with a fresh cotton ball/gauze until you can wipe out the inside of their ear canal and come out with a clean cotton ball.

After you finish cleaning their ears, make sure to spoil them with treats, belly rubs, and lots of “good boys”. Enough positivereinforcement will make even the most skittish dogs receptive to modifications in their grooming habits.

If your dog has an ear infection and requires medication to be applied to their ears, complete the above process before proceeding with the following instructions.

How to Apply Medication for Dog Ear Infections

To apply medication to your dog’s ears, gently grasp the tip of their ear and pull the ear flap straight up to expose their ear canal. Then, administer the number of drops of medication your veterinarian has prescribed.

Next, while still holding the ear flap up vertically, begin to massage the base of the ear below the ear opening for approximately 30 seconds. This will allow the medication to coat your dog’s entire ear canal. Repeat this process with the other ear as needed, being sure to wipe away any debris or waste that accumulates on the flap of your dog’s ears.

To learn more about how to keep your pooch happy and healthy, visit our blog at Banixx.com!

How to Trim a Dog’s Overgrown Nails

 

You’re sitting down in your living room when you hear a very…antique sound.

Click clack click clack.

It almost sounds like a typewriter.

You look around and immediately identify the culprit: Fido. His nails are as long as a limousine and that sound is the sound of him walking around!

You may begin to wonder: is that okay? Should his feet be able to announce his entrance into a room like that? Or should his nails be a touch more prim and proper?

The answer is that trimming a dog’s nails is a MUST to ensure that he remain happy and healthy. We’ll go into the details of why that is, as well as how to trim this overgrown nails, in the quick blog below.

 

Why It’s Important to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

We know what you’re thinking: “I’ve skipped getting my nails done before and it never hurt me! You mean to tell me that my dog might be at risk of some sort of health issues if his nails don’t look good?!”

Yes!   Exactly that, actually!

Veterinarians have warned for decades now that unhealthy nails not only cause pain but can actually lead to irreversible damage to your dog. This is because neglecting to trim your dog’s nails means that the “quick” has time to grow unfettered.

As your dog’s nails get longer, his toes will begin to splay as they hit the ground, putting additional force on his foot and leg which can cause injury to the tendons over time.

Beyond the potential negative health consequences, long nails just make it uncomfortable for your pup to walk!

Since walking with long nails puts more pressure on their nail bed with each step, he’ll have to distribute his weight differently to be able to comfortably proceed. If you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, then you should know exactly the kind of discomfort we’re talking about.

 

How Often Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

There’s no absolute, right answer to this question. The amount of time you should let pass between each trimming depends entirely on how quickly your dog’s nails grow and how quickly they wear their nails down. Lapdogs who’s nails hardly touch the ground may need more attentive grooming, whereas dogs who are constantly out and about and grazing their nails on hard surfaces may need relatively little trimming.

However, it’s estimated that the average dog should have their nails trimmed between every three to five weeks. Similarly, some veterinarians like Dr. Whitney Miller, Head of Veterinary Medicine at PetCo, recommends that you cut your dog’s nails at least once per month.

That being said, we like to operate under a more reliable rule of thumb: you should absolutely trim your dog’s nails when their nails touch the ground while your dog is standing. We view this as a reliable indicator of when your dog’s nails are probably too long for them to walk comfortably.

Trimming a dog’s nails is not for the faint of heart.  If trimming your dog’s nails strikes fear into your heart, then– DON”T do it.  Simply take your dog to a reputable groomer or your local Veterinarian and have them do this for you.  It will be less stress and trauma for both you and your dog.

 

How to Trim Your Dog’s Overgrown Nails

“Okay,” you say grabbing your guillotine cutter, “Let’s do this!”

Woah, woah. Slow down there.

You can’t just chop off your dog’s overgrown nails!

At the center of their nails are a collection of nerves and blood vessels referred to as “the quick” and, since your dog’s nails are long, their quick is quite long as well. If you just go wantonly chopping off their long nails, you’ll inevitably hit the quick and cause noticeable pain to your pooch.

According to Dr. Karen Gellman of Dogs Naturally Magazine, the key to effectively and safely trimming your dog’s overgrown nails is to encourage the quick to recede by trimming your dog’s nails gradually. After making the initial trims, you should then continue to trim a little, over the course of a regular cadence, until the quick recedes to a safe length.

However, not all pups enjoy having an at-home spa day. If your dog hates having his nails trimmed, you’re going to have to teach him to overcome his fears of nail trimming. In order to do this, you’ll have to engage in what can be weeks-long desensitization training.

Start by taking out the necessary nail trimming tools and letting your dog investigate them. As your dog begins to show more comfort with the tools, reward them with treats. Repeat this process over a few days until it’s clear your dog has developed a positive association with the tools.

Once a positive association has been established, it’s time to trim. Get your dog into a comfortable position where they can be relaxed. It often helps to have a second person there to hold, pet, and distract your dog. And remember, keep those treats handy! Once he’s relaxed, lift your dog’s paw and hold it close to their body to prevent them from pulling away.

Now it’s time to locate the “quick”.

To do this, look at the nail under a good light. For dogs with lighter colored nails, you’re looking for a darker, pinkish section of the nail. When you extend your pet’s “finger” by pressing lightly on it, one at a time, his nail will protrude further and you will see the pinkish Quick WITHIN the nail tissue.

For dogs with darker colored nails, locating the quick may be difficult. According to the Washington State University Veterinary School, the quick on dark colored nails can be identified after making an initial, shallow cut.

After you’ve located the quick, it’s time to start cutting.

Once the initial cut is made, you should be able to see either a grayish-pink oval or a small black dot in the center of the nail. If you see either, you’re close to the quick so it’s time to stop cutting. Moreover, if ever in doubt as to how close you are to the quick…..STOP!

With your preferred tool in-hand, trim a very small bit of nail at a time.

You want to cut at a slight angle across the tip while following the natural shape of the nail.

While you’re cutting, be calm but confident! Trim the nails in a fairly quick and safe motion, but not too fast – you don’t want to cause any accidents.

Then, repeat with each nail!

Do, however, remember —that there’s no real rush to get all nails done at once. More skittish pups may only let you get one or two done at a time, so– be happy with that.  Please don’t rush it.

You want to make sure your pup is as comfortable as possible to avoid any sudden movements, on his part, such as pulling his paw away from you, that may cause an accident.  So it’s okay if you have to take several minutes between each nail or several days to get the whole job done.

Most importantly, make sure to offer your dog lots of praise and treats throughout the process! You want to reward their cooperation and bravery during this undoubtedly stressful moment!

Using a Dremel Tool to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

For some dogs and their owners, using a Dremel tool seems to be a safer option to trim nails..  Yes, it’s a more noisy technique and that’s something you’ll need to get your dog used to but it’s a more gradual procedure than a dog nail cutter.  It’s a process that you can use on your dog, say, once a month to keep his nails in constant, good shape and can be considerably less risky than using dog nail cutters.

 

What to Do if You Hit the Quick While Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

So, you’ve done it. You hit the quick.

Sigh

It’s okay. It happens to the best of us.

First thing’s first: quickly reassure that scared pup who’s in pain that everything is all right by giving them lots of pets and affection.

Then, jump into First Aid mode.

You’ll want to immediately compress the wound for a minute or two with a clean cloth or paper towel to stop any bleeding that may be occurring.

If the bleeding is minor, you can rub a bar of clean, unscented soap on the wound to begin cleaning it.

If the bleeding is steady, you’ll want to wrap the wound with a compressed cloth containing ice to stave off the blood flow.

After, you should then dip the affected nail into a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda. This step induces the blood to coagulate and stop flowing. You can also purchase a mixture from your pet store designed specifically for this task—stopping the blood flow.  You can compare it with a nick or cut that a guy gets on his face when shaving.

Once bleeding stops, continue to slightly compress their wound with the iced paper towel or cloth. Then, wash the affected nail with lukewarm water and bandage it to prevent the possibility of infection.

If bleeding does not stop after 20 to 30 minutes following the above treatment steps, a veterinarian must be consulted as this indicates that proper blood clotting is not occurring.

However, if after a few days you notice that the affected nail is beginning to show signs of an infection, don’t fret: reach for Banixx!

Banixx is a clinically-proven treatment that provides instant, sting-free, odorless relief to your four-legged friend without relying on pesky antibiotics or steroids. Simply identify the affected area, apply Banixx twice daily, and wait. Within minutes, your dog should be happily bounding up to you ready to go to the vet for a more serious evaluation.

With Banixx, relief really can be that simple.

For more tips on how to keep your dog happy and healthy, be sure to visit our blog at Banixx.com!

My Dog Ate A Bee

Oh no.!!

Fido comes bounding up to you …only…he looks hilarious. No, scratch that! He looks bloated. Only in his face, though.

You know what this means: he ate the bee.

In between stifling your laughter, the responsible pet parent in you comes back. You begin to wonder: is he going to be okay? Is there anything I should be doing to help him right now?

We’ll explore all these questions, as well as tell you some quick tricks to prevent this sort of thing from happening again in the following blog.

Why Do Dogs Eat Bees?

As natural hunters, dogs often have their interest piqued by fast-moving objects they see out in nature. For certain classes such as retrievers or pointers, they’ll excitedly begin chasing after anything they see that moves, such as large animals such as sheep or tiny insects… like bees.

Some pups are also just naturally curious by the buzzing and bumbling of bees and, as all smart animals do, decide to investigate with their mouth.

Other dogs just might enjoy it! Much like humans enjoy trying to capture butterflies with nets, some dogs may just get a kick out of capturing bees….with their teeth.

Unfortunately, many of these forays into mouth-based detective work can lead to some unpleasant (albeit hilarious looking) consequences – getting stung. As a result, some dogs who get stung may develop a phobia of bees and other flying insects. Dogs who are afraid of bees may retreat at the first sound of buzzing or they may freeze in fear at the sight of a bee.

Dogs who have been stung by bees may also develop an obsessive-compulsive behavior known as fly-snapping, which is where dogs snap at imaginary flies that aren’t there. Interestingly, some breeds such as the Bernese Mountain Dog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are more liable to develop this disorder.

Can Bee Stings Hurt Your Dog?

The short answer is that it depends on whether or not your dog is allergic.

Bees are a species of insect that belongs to the order known as Hymenoptera. When these types of insects sting another animal, they inject venom through the skin via their stinger.

For most animals, these sorts of incidents will only cause mild discomfort and pain.

However, if your dog is allergic to bee venom, a single sting can induce severe systemic reactions including anaphylaxis.

What are the symptoms of a bee sting?

If you’ve ever been stung by a bee, then you know how unpleasant and annoying it is. Your furry friend will likely experience many of the same symptoms that you would if you were stung by a bee.

They may begin whining in response to the pain and even start pacing as a means of trying to escape the discomfort. If they ate the bee and ingested it, they might also begin involuntarily drooling as their mouth tries to cope with the irritation.

You may also notice the affected area begin to swell or become red. It may also become hot to the touch. Your pup might also begin to paw at their face. It’s pitiful, we know!

What are the symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction?

If your dog is allergic to bee stings and has been stung, they may begin appearing very weak and woozy as they walk.

Additionally, you may notice that their breathing has become labored or heavy-handed.

Dogs who are allergic and have been stung may also experience severe swelling around their mouth, throat, neck, or head.

Finally, and most worryingly, your dog may collapse as a result of the shock.

If you notice your dog displaying any of these symptoms following their ingestion of a bee, get them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Prompt medical treatment may be the difference between them surviving or not.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Bee

my dog ate a bee

First and foremost, you have to figure out whether or not your four-legged friend actually ate the bee. This is especially important if you didn’t see them swallow the bee.

To figure this out, open up their chompers and give their mouth a thorough look all around.

We mean it. Get in there.

Inspect their gums, tongue, the back of their throat, the top of their mouth, everywhere. What you’re looking for is two things: the bee carcass, and their stinger.

If you find their stinger, for goodness sake– do not pull it out – that can actually push out more venom into your dog’s system. Instead, gently scrape the stinger with a flat surface by sliding it in a single direction out of your dog’s mouth.

If you suspect that your dog ate a bee but don’t have the evidence to prove it, the best thing you can do is closely monitor them over the next few hours. If you notice your dog spontaneously vomiting or having trouble breathing, take them to your veterinarian for further evaluation.

If you suspect your dog is going into or is about to go into anaphylactic shock, get them to a veterinarian immediately. While some people on the internet claim that just giving your dog an antihistamine is sufficient, please–do not listen to this advice. Your veterinarian should evaluate your furry friend so that they can prescribe the right medication given your dog’s condition.

In the meantime, give them lots of love! Remember how painful and frightening your first bee sting was? Now imagine how tough that would have been if your mom or dad hadn’t been there to comfort you!

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Bees

my dog ate a bee

Luckily, it’s not as though bees are just invading our homes. There’s plenty of things you can do to minimize the chances of your dog having a second lunch made entirely of bees.

The first is to eliminate any environmental factors that are encouraging bees to gather near your home. Remove any plants that attract bees such as lavender or roses, or better yet, plant some flowers or herbs that naturally repel pests such as mint or rosemary.

Additionally, consider changing your walking routes! We know – Sparky loves that one col-de-sac with the kids playing outside all the time. But if that particular route is just littered with bees or even beehives, it’s maybe best to avoid it.

Also, you may need to invest some time in teaching your furry buddy how to not be afraid of bees (which is something we all could use some work on). Counter-conditioning may be of particular help in training them to remain calm around these buzzy pests.

However, if your dog just thinks that eating bees is the bee’s knees, then you may need to muzzle them when they’re going to be in environments where they can eat them.

The best thing to remember is to be patient with your dog after they eat a bee.

Being stung by a bee can be traumatic enough, so imagine how scary accidentally eating one of those suckers must be!

If your dog eats a bee, monitor them for any especially nasty reactions, give them lots of love while they recover, and remember to take a photo of their hilariously inflated face to get those sweet, sweet likes on Facebook.

For more tips on how to keep your dog happy and healthy, visit our blog at Banixx.com!

Sources

Dog Park Dos and Donts

dog park

 

Your dog is giving you that look again, isn’t he? He keeps staring at this leash, then at your car keys, then at the window, back to your car keys, back to his leash, then back to you. It’s clear what he wants: he just wants to go see his friends at the park, mom.

While you’re sympathetic to his want to socialize, you may also be wondering what going to the dog park means for you. Are there certain rules you have to follow? Are there there ways your dog is expected to behave? What does being a good dog park goer entail?

We’ll break all that down and more in the following article. Let’s get started!

Dos

Make Sure Your Dog is Vaccinated

dog park etiquetteBefore you even consider bringing your dog to the park, you have to make sure that he’s gotten his shots. This is both for the safety of other dogs in the park as well as their owners. In order to be considered fully up-to-date, your dog will need to have been vaccinated for rabies, kennel cough, leptospirosis, dog flu, hepatitis, parvo and and distemper. Additionally, the American Kennel Club recommends that dogs spending time in dog parks should be treated for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

This may seem like an exhaustive list, but we can never be too safe when trying to keep our fellow four-legged friends and their pet parents safe from infectious agents. Before taking Sparky to the park, consult with your veterinarian to hash out a treatment plan that’s right for your dog. They may also suggest further steps to keep your dog and everyone else at the park safe.

Leash Your Dog (When Indicated)

dog in parkThis is a no-brainer, but it needs to be said: when you’re at a dog park, your dog and the other pups are all guests that must respect the rules of the park. That means, when you’re in a designated leash area, you must leash your dog. Beyond being compliant, it’s also just a common-sense safety measure. You don’t want your unleashed pup to go up to dogs who don’t feel comfortable enough with that level of friendliness. It can get ugly – fast. Not even mentioning the potential for dog-dog confrontation, an unleashed dog can pose a hazard to themselves by running away from the park and into the street.

To maximize safety, keep your dog on a leash when you first get to a dog park. Let your dog become acquainted with their surrounding area (and other dogs) from afar. Plus, you can stop them from picking up and eating any trash or litter from the ground. However, once you’re in the off-leash area, you should absolutely remove their leash so long as you feel it’s safe to do so. Off-leash dogs can more easily distinguish body language cues in other dogs that indicate their willingness to play than on-leash dogs,

Go In With a Preventative Mindset (but Know How to Take Charge)

While knowing how to take charge in a situation that is spiraling out of control is paramount to guaranteeing your dog’s safety, you should really aim to minimize the chance of such a situation from occurring in the first place. Luckily, there are a variety of ways for you to do this.

dog park rulesThe first step is to keep moving. This (hopefully) forces your dog to keep checking your position and follow you. However, it’s also important to be able to recall your dog if they’re too busy smelling the grass. In the event that they don’t come when called, don’t be afraid to go up and grab their collar. Be warned: if you have not trained them to be receptive to having their collar grabbed, this can quickly become a hassle.

That being said, you may want to let Fido go off and play with other dogs without mom and dad right there at his side. We understand. But that doesn’t mean that you can let Fido out of your sight. In fact, it’s imperative that you keep a close eye on your furry friend at all times. You need to moderate your dog’s interactions to ensure that any play remains friendly and to make sure your pup isn’t bothering some dog who just came to enjoy his one day off from.. Being a dog at home.

Speaking of interactions with other dogs: you need to know the signs of when play has turned sour if you’re going to keep your dog safe. It doesn’t matter if your dog is the hap-hap-happiest dog in the whole wide world – chances are, he might just catch another dog when they’re feeling ruff or just not in the mood to socialize. There are a few tell-tale signs that a strange dog is not in the mood to play with your dog: their stature will be tensed up, their head will be held high and lurched forward, their lips may be snarled, and their ears will be pointed up or forward.

If your dog begins to scrap with another pooch, you need to also know how to put a stop to it immediately. One of the most successful methods of breaking up two fighting dogs is known as the “wheelbarrow method”. This method sees two people grab the back legs of their dogs and pull them away from one another in a curving motion; this second part keeps the dogs from biting the person holding their legs.

CHowever, if one of the dogs has latched onto the other, it’s important that you break their grip before pulling them apart as this can harm the injured dog. To break a dog’s grip, slide a break stick into their mouth and towards the back of their throat and then twist. This should make them release their grip and make it safe to separate the dueling parties.

Clean Up After Your Pup

dog with diarrhea but acting fineLook, it’s common courtesy: if your dog poops, please clean up after him. Just come prepared to scoop, bag, and dispose of his waste. Not only is leaving his waste everywhere really unpleasant to look at (and smell), but it’s also unsanitary!

Just be a good steward of your local dog park and help keep it clean. If you wouldn’t want someone to just leave their dog’s feces on your yard, why on Earth would you think it’s okay to leave an entire park infested with your dog’s droppings?

Just pick it up! A blog shouldn’t have to tell you this!

Be Packed

Like any day you might spend at the human park, you should come prepared with the appropriate supplies to ensure a good, safe time can be had by all. That means coming to the park equipped with a travel bowl and water and even some dog treats (just keep them in the car and out of sight of the other dogs, lest you be swarmed by hungry eyes).

Also, bringing along a doggy first aid kit isn’t a bad idea, either – you never know what sorts of shenanigans your pup might get up to that require you to render aid. Finally, given that more and more dog parks are being built with dog wash stations, you might want to bring along some dog shampoo and a towel too if your pup likes to get dirty and play around in the muck with his other four-legged companions.

Don’ts

Take Puppies

puppy treatment for ringwormsWhile socialization is an important part of raising any well-adjusted pooch, the dog park is not the place to do it. Puppies experience a critical socialization period from birth until they’re about four months old. During this time, they gain their first impressions of the world around them and will take these lessons into adulthood. It’s crucial that you expose them to many different kinds of dogs, people, and really as many other new animals as possible during this time so that they’re not afraid or skittish around them when they’re older. However, you must introduce them to these new beings in a controlled setting where he can be comforted and assured that what’s being introduced to him is good.

At a dog park, there’s very little you can control. Sure, most dog parks are filled with responsible pet parents who would know better than to let their hulking Great Dane trample over your fur baby. However, it only takes a handful of bad experiences with dogs who weren’t being watched correctly to transform the dog park into a torturous place for your pup.

Allow Your Dog to Pester or Bully Other Dogs

dog running to burn off energyThere’s a whole lot we can say about this, but we think it’s best to keep it simple: if you wouldn’t want your kid to behave a certain way with another kid, chances are you shouldn’t let your dog behave the same way. When you see your dog and a pal ganging up on another, smaller or older dog, stop them immediately! Dogs who bully other dogs kill the vibe of the whole park and ruin the experience for other dogs.

Similarly, if you see your dog about to mount another dog, stop them! While it may be just another behavior in their repertoire, this move isn’t likely to be welcomed by all dogs in the park. If you notice your dog is trying to mount another dog, body-block them to stop the behavior and repeat as many times as it takes them to get the message. You may even have to take your dog outside the park to calm down for a minute if they’re too excited. However, don’t be afraid to do this: the other dogs and their parents will appreciate it greatly!

Take Unneutered Dogs or Dogs Who Are in Heat

Happy DogUnneutered or intact male dogs who are over the age of one shouldn’t come to the dog park. At this point in their life, dogs are becoming fully mature and may begin displaying more dominant, aggressive behavior rooted in their desires to attract a mate. This same behavior can then begin to show up in unwelcome settings, such as at a dog park with dogs who are just trying to play. If you notice your dog is beginning to act aggressively towards other dogs, consider getting them neutered as soon as you can.

In that same vein, it is extremely ill-advised to take an in-tact (unspayed) female dog who is in season (in heat) to a dog park. For starters, you probably aren’t looking to breed your female with an unknown dog who can’t control himself. Also, if other in-tact males are in the dog park, your female may cause them to stir up trouble and cause fighting. When in doubt, just remember: if your dog has not had their baby making capacities reduced, keep them away from the dog park.

Disobey Size Regulations

types of dog earsWe get it. Your little floof got his name, Scrappy, because he’s able to hold his own against your bigger dogs during playtime. Thus, you reason, it makes no sense that he should be partitioned away from his bigger brothers during their visit to the dog park. However, there’s plenty of valid reasons why your small dog shouldn’t mingle with the beefier canines in the park.

For starters, even small dogs who are friendly with all the other big dogs can easily get hurt if they’re in and around a group of much larger dogs who are playing. Not every big dog is agile enough to leap out of the way of a small dog who is bouncing around, and not every small dog is aware enough of their surroundings to get out of the way of inbound big dogs. It’s naive to believe that strange animals will accommodate our pets’ size.

Additionally, and perhaps more crucially, small dogs don’t really stand a chance against larger breeds if a fight were to break out. Bigger dogs are simply stronger and more able to seriously and quickly damage a small dog. This is not to say that big dogs are inherently prone to preying upon and harming small dogs. It simply means that big dogs have numerous advantages in a fight.

Regardless of whether you practically live at the dog park or it’s about to be your first time, we hope that this short explainer of dog park etiquette helps make your experience safer and more joyful.

We know that, as a caring pet parent, you want what’s best for your pup. That’s why we hope you’ll visit our blog at Banixx.com/blog to stay up to date on how to keep your dog happy and healthy!

Sources

  • https://www.fitbark.com/blog/dog-park-dos-and-donts/
  • https://www.wvlt.tv/content/news/The-vaccines-your-dog-needs-before-going-to-a-dog-park–480539161.html
  • https://www.dogsavvylosangeles.com/blog/dog-park-etiquette
  • https://sitmeanssit.com/dog-training-mu/austin-dog-training/how-to-tell-if-a-dog-is-being-aggressive/
  • https://www.ccspca.com/blog-spca/education/how-to-break-up-a-dog-fight/
  • https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/why-puppies-and-dog-parks-don-t-mix/101482
  • https://shewhisperer.com/dog-park-etiquette/

Why Does My Cat Get Hairballs?

cat asthma

Oh no. You hear it. The tell-tale signs of a hairball coming on. Your cat is hacking, gagging, and retching. Almost as quickly as it began, your cat goes back to their business, and a nice, shiny hairball awaits you. “Great…” you think to yourself.

As you go to scoop it up and put it in the trash, you may begin to wonder: “why does my cat get hairballs? What causes them? Is my furry pal okay? I know I wouldn’t be okay if I just hacked up what looks like a small animal…”

In this short article we’ll review what hairballs are, why cats get them, whether or not you should be concerned by them, and how to prevent them altogether!

What Are Hairballs?

coughing catHairballs, technically called trichobezoars, are clumps of hair that accumulate in the stomach or esophagus that go undigested. They’re almost certainly going to match the color of your cat’s fur, only they’ll likely be a bit darker because of food and other gastric secretions in her digestive system.

Despite their name, hairballs are rarely round like little balls. Instead, they’re often slender and cylindrical, almost like a cigar or a sausage. They’re usually about an inch long and half an inch thick, though some can grow to be up to five inches in length! Talk about a hairy situation.

Why Does My Cat Get Hairballs?

sneezing catThey may be unsightly and a tad nauseating to think about, but it’s important to know that hairballs are really just a part of life. As your cat grooms themselves, tiny, hook-like structures on their tongue latch onto loose and dead hair. Then, that hair is swallowed and the majority of it passes without problems through their digestive tract. However, some of that hair can also sit in the stomach where it begins to accumulate more and more hair and voila: you’ve got yourself a hairball.

According to Dr. Guglielmino, an associate veterinarian at The Cat Doctor feline health clinic in Seattle, kittens and young cats are less likely to develop hairballs than mature cats. This is because young cats and kittens are less experienced with grooming, whereas mature cats spend a good portion of their days licking their coats. Unfortunately, it follows then that cats with long hair – such as Persians and Maine Coons – are at a substantially higher risk for developing hairballs than short-haired breeds.

Are Hairballs a Health Concern to Your Cat?

Again, it’s important to remember that hairballs are common occurrences with cats. In fact, Dr. Richard Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, claims that it’s common for cats to regurgitate hairballs once every week or so. However, regular hairballs or daily hairballs may be signs of an underlying problem.

cat in blanketIf you notice your cat is producing an inordinate amount of hairballs, it’s best to get them checked out by a veterinarian. Your vet will likely want to run some blood tests that can make sure your cat’s kidneys and liver are working correctly, as well as to make sure there are no underlying conditions that may be causing your cat to produce more hairballs than normal.

Any number of health disorders may cause excessive hairball production. Conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or stomach / intestinal cancer can negatively affect the movement of things through the digestive tract, which may result in excessive hairball production. Additionally, conditions that affect the fur or skin can cause your cat to feel itchy and thus groom more often which can produce more hairballs than normal.

When you’re at the vet, they may also want to conduct imaging tests like x-rays or ultrasounds to ensure there’s no blockages. This last point is especially important, as hairball blockages in the intestine or esophagus can quickly become life-threatening to your cat. The treatment plan your vet recommends will be based on the cause of your cat’s hairballs.

If there is no clear underlying condition that is causing your cat to produce excessive hairballs, your veterinarian may recommend that your cat start taking a hairball treatment gel known as laxatone. These gels serve as a lubricant that can help move things along in your cat’s digestive tract.

Additionally, your veterinarian may suggest your cat begin on an over-the-counter diet formulated to prevent hairballs. A diet focused on controlling hairball production will be rich in fiber that helps hair move through your cat’s digestive system while also nourishing your cat’s luscious coat. However, if the problem persists, your vet may also propose that your cat begin a specialized, prescription diet that will more aggressively treat the problem.

If a minor intestinal blockage is present, your vet may recommend that your cat take a veterinary-grade laxative. However, you should never give your cat a laxative without first being recommended to by a veterinarian. Your vet may also recommend surgery if they believe no other methods will be sufficient in removing the blockage.

Can You Prevent Hairballs?

cat sneezingAbsolutely! There are three methods we know of that can help prevent the development of hairballs. The first is to groom your cat very regularly with a quality de-shedding tool. Combing or brushing your pointy-eared buddy each day can not only effectively minimize the amount of loose hair your cat can lap up, but it can also be a fun bonding experience. Second, you may also want to train your cat to partake in other activities in their down time rather than licking their coat, such as playing with new toys.

Finally, if you notice that your cat is beginning to show signs of irritating skin infections that may cause them to excessively groom themselves, consider reaching for Banixx! This clinically-proven solution provides fast-acting, sting-free, odorless relief for a variety of unpleasant maladies without relying on pesky steroids or antibiotics. Simply identify the affected area, apply Banixx once or twice daily, and in no time your cat will start feeling better. With Banixx, relief really can be that simple.

For more information on how to keep your cat happy and healthy, visit our blog at Banixx.com!

Sources

  • https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/what-to-do-about-hairballs-in-cats
  • https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/healthcare/why-hairballs-in-cats
  • https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/hairy-dilemma
  • https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/danger-hairballs
  • https://www.preventivevet.com/cats/are-hairballs-normal-for-cats
  • https://www.chewy.com/vetoquinol-laxatone-lubricant/dp/109717
  • https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/healthcare/why-hairballs-in-cats
  • https://banixx.com/for-cats/

How Old is My Dog in Dog Years?

Quick. How old is your dog?

No, not in human years. In dog years. You probably thought— well, compute whatever their human-years age is and multiply by seven.

And we totally understand where the instinct to use that formula comes from. Unfortunately, recent scientific research reveals that this handy rule-of-thumb is more pop wisdom than actual science.

In reality, calculating your dog’s true age in dog years requires some pretty intense math, but the reward is being able to know how far along in their life your four-legged friend really is.

In this article, we break down where the myth of comparing seven dog years to every human year comes from, how to accurately measure a dog’s age, and how to tell your dog is getting older.

Where Does the 7:1 Ratio About Age in Dog Years Come From?

happy willyIn reality, nobody really knows for sure where this idea comes from. There are multiple potential origins of this mythological 7:1 ratio. The first potential genesis of this ratio comes in the form of an etching on the floor of Westminster Abbey completed in 1268 that postulated a ratio of dog-to-human years that was closer to 9:1. This theory was then bolstered in the eighteenth century when French naturalist Georges Buffon noted that dogs lived between ten and twelve human years compared to the human life span of 90 to 100 years.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that a rhetoric emerged about dog years even being a subject of interest. In the 1950s, it became a rule-of-thumb that most humans lived to 70 while most dogs lived to about ten years old. As a result, a shorthand ratio of 7:1 entered pet owners’ lexicons. This ratio was then enshrined in popular media through a variety of mediums, most notably through a series of Alpo commercials in the 1970s that ran the tagline: “Duchess is 13. That’s like 91 to you and me.”

However, almost as soon as it entered the collective brain, this ratio came under intense scrutiny from veterinarians, animal researchers, and gerontologists. In 1953, French researcher A. Lebeau categorized life-stage markers that humans and dogs share in common – those being puberty, adulthood, and maximum lifespan. His work also uncovered the remarkable fact that, in a dog’s first year of life, a dog will age between 15 to 20 times faster than a human, a ratio that shrinks considerably thereafter to a ratio of about five to one (human to dog years).

So, that still leaves the question: if science has exposed this common saying as nothing more than popular mythology, why is still so persistent?

Well, according to Assistant Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University William Fortney, it’s likely because of advertisers. “My guess is it was a marketing ploy,” says Fortney, “a way to educate the public on how fast a dog ages compared to a human, predominantly from a health standpoint. It was a way to encourage owners to bring in their pets at least once a year.”

How Should We Measure Age in Dog Years?

So, now that we know that the 7:1 ratio isn’t based on…anything at all, how should we, as pet owners, go about guessing the age of our pooch pals? Well, the first step is to remember that not all dogs are the same.

As stated by aging expert David J. Waters, “Eight years in one breed is not equivalent to eight years in another.” And we know this already. It’s common knowledge at this point that small dogs tend to live longer than big dogs, meaning that a Dachshund who is one human year old is likely younger in dog years than a one year old Great Dane.

So, if we’re trying to get an accurate understanding of our dog’s age that can account for the variable of their breed, we should try and utilize calculation methods that take these differences into their methodology. One such method like this was crafted by researchers at the University of California – San Diego School of Medicine.

After comparing changes in DNA over time between groups of humans and Labrador Retrievers, the researchers concluded that the most accurate method of translating a dog’s age into human years was to multiply the natural logarithm of the dog’s age by 16 and adding 31 to that figure. The formula looks like this: (human_age = 16ln(dog_age)+31).

“[This research] validates what a lot of other researchers have been saying,” said Casal, a professor of medical genetics, pediatrics and reproduction at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Luckily, you don’t need to pull out your old graphing calculator from high school calculus. There are plenty of handy online calculators that utilize this formula already and are much more intuitive to use. What even is a natural log anyway? Aren’t all logs natural?

Of course, if computation isn’t really what you came to a pet blog to do (I mean, who can blame you?), then there is an even simpler formula you can use. Just remember that the first year of a dog’s life is equal to roughly 15 human years. Then, their second year of life is equal to about nine human years. Every year after is equal to about four or five human years.

Why Do Small Dogs Age Slower than Big Dogs?

This is another one of those questions where there are plenty of answers that sound right, but there’s just no conclusive evidence on the matter.

According to evolutionary biologist and Professor of Biosciences at the University of Melbourne Mark Elgar, “Large dogs die young mainly because they age quickly.” Professor Elgar’s theory is backed by research, particularly a study of 74 dog breeds in North America which concluded that the driving force behind the trade-off between size and lifespan was a strong positive relationship between size and the rate at which the dog ages.

But why? Why do big dogs actually age faster than their micro counterparts?

Well, according to evolutionary biologist and researcher Cornelia Kraus at the University of Gottingen in Germany, it may have something to do with their hormonal system. Kraus and her team analyzed demographic data, including age and cause of death, for more than 50,000 dogs across 74 breeds.

What they found was that small dogs have lower concentrations of the growth hormone IGF-1, which has been linked to higher likelihood of death from age-related diseases in organisms with high concentrations of it in their blood. However, this finding alone isn’t enough to cement this theory as fact.

Cynthia Kenyon, a researcher on aging at the University of California at San Francisco, suggests that one way to test the hypothesis that greater concentrations of IGF-1 cause large breeds to die younger would be to take a small dog and give it high levels of IGF-1 while it’s young so that it grows to be large. Then, while it’s an adult, try to extract the excess IGF-1 and see if it has a long life.

Of course, there are other theories about why small dogs live longer and age slower than big dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, some researchers believe that bigger dogs are more susceptible to diseases caused by abnormal cell growth like cancer due to the fact that they progress from puppyhood to adulthood much faster.

Whatever the reason is, it’s important that you as a pet owner be able to identify signs of aging in your pup. Just as it’s important to be able to identify nasty skin infections, ringworm, mange, hot spots, or other uncomfortable maladies that may be making your pooch feel ruff. Luckily, if you spot any of the above, you have access to one of the most powerful, clinically-proven antidotes to common ailments: Banixx Pet care!

If you notice your furry friend suffering from any of the above afflictions, just identify the affected area, apply Banixx twice daily, and wait. Soon after application, your dog should feel significant or total relief from whatever fungal or bacterial infection they’re suffering from without needing to rely on pesky antibiotics or steroids. With Banixx, relief is simple.

What Are the Signs of Aging in Dogs?

Everybody ages, including your four-legged friend. The adorable puppy you snuggled has now become a fully-grown dog, and they may have even begun to show it. Their muzzle grays. Their gait becomes a bit more stilted. Their endless walks have been replaced by short jaunts. Eventually, the evidence may become undeniable: they’re a senior dog.

Of course, some signs are a bit more subtle and, to the untrained eye, may not be identified as signs of aging. For example, some senior dogs’ eyes may become cloudy or milky looking. While this symptom of old age is relatively common and often doesn’t affect their vision, it’s still important to take note of as this may be a sign of cataracts.

Also, you may have heard of puppy breath, but wait till you smell elderly dog breath. More common in dogs who have poor dental health, sudden awful-smelling breath can be a sign of any number of oral maladies including gum disease, tooth decay, or oral infections. As dogs age, their immune system weakens and thus makes them more susceptible to infections. If your dog suddenly presents with truly rancid-smelling breath, it may be time to take them for a dental cleaning and dental exam.

Additionally, you may notice that your dog’s body becomes dotted with new lumps and bumps. Thankfully, many of these randomly-appearing bumps are likely to be benign, fatty tumors known as lipomas. However, it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion on any newly-sprouted lumps. Remember: many cancers can be effectively treated if caught early enough.

Finally, there’s also the changes that may come to your dog’s mental faculties that you should watch out for. According to a study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, between 14% and 35% of dogs over eight years old suffer from a type of dementia known as canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Changes that may occur as a result of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome include fear of familiar people, increased barking, house soiling, or a marked change in activity levels.

If your dog is eight years old or older and presenting any of the above symptoms, consider getting them evaluated for canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. While there is no cure for this disease, your veterinarian may be able to provide you with therapeutic options and medications that can help your dog.

Of course, maybe your dog isn’t even near eight. Maybe they’re just now entering their early twenties (in dog years) and old age is a long time away.

Regardless of whether they’re twenty or 120 in dog years, one thing’s for sure: they’ll always be your fur baby.

For more info on how to keep your pet happy and healthy, be sure to read our blog at Banixx.com!

Sources

Q & A with Ariel Grald

ariel grald

In 2019, Ariel Grald, an international 5* event rider and her horse, Leamore Master Plan or “Simon,” finished in the top 10 at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in Stamford, United Kingdom. This finish earned the pair the distinction and recognition as the highest placed finish for Burghley first timers. They also had success in 2019 at their 5* debut at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event finishing in 12th place. Ariel and Simon’s plans to return to international competition in 2020 were put on hold as the worldwide pandemic took center stage. As equestrian events and competitions cautiously and optimistically move forward in 2021, Ariel and Simon are working to successfully return to international competition.

ariel grald horse

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo Credit: Britt Gillis

Q. You did very well at Burghley. Tell us about your experience.

A. Competing at Burghley was an incredible experience. It’s a massive venue. Burghley House is stunning and the estate is so scenic. But there’s a lot of terrain. Even just hacking from the stables up to the dressage and show jumping arena is a decent workout. The cross country course is pretty relentless. You’re going up and down hill a lot. You’re always riding over changes in terrain so that was very challenging. When I competed at the Kentucky 5*, I wasn’t as aware of the people watching along the ropes of the cross-country course because it was a bit more open. There are way more people at Burghley, that was the biggest thing I noticed. Some of the galloping lanes are a bit narrow and some parts are a little bit more twisty and there are spectators everywhere. They don’t have a big grandstand like at the Kentucky Horse Park, but there is stadium seating that goes all the way around all four sides of the grass arena where the dressage and show jumping is held. It’s pretty intimidating!

Q. Do you have a horse you are going to take to the Land Rover Kentucky event this year?

A. We are not going to Kentucky this year, unfortunately. With the uncertainty with Covid and everything I had made a different plan for my top horse, Simon, because I’m really trying to get him back overseas. We are aiming him for another event a little later in the spring hopefully, in Germany.

Q. Why are you pointing him towards Europe? What’s the difference?

A. It’s for his experience and for my experience and for the international scene. Just looking ahead, we are trying to make the U.S. Championship teams and you’re always going to be traveling, either to Tokyo or to the World Games that are in Italy in 2022. Anytime I can go to a new venue and deal with the stress of traveling for both of us riding in arenas that we haven’t been to, riding on cross country and show jump courses that we haven’t been to is to keep building our experience.

Q. Every industry was impacted by Covid last year. Some things implemented out of this worldwide emergency, such as Zoom and working from home, are most likely here to stay. Is there anything in the equine industry impacted by Covid that’s also here to stay?

A. After horse trials were shut down for several months at the start of the pandemic, we were fortunate to resume competitions in the summer. While major 5* events such as Burghley and Fair Hill were cancelled, I feel very lucky that we were able to finish out most of the event season. As we all hope to return to some version of normal, I think the enhanced use of technology for communication will stay. For example, show venues send out mass texts to riders, grooms, and others regarding schedule updates and other important information. Also, many professionals turned to virtual lessons to allow people in different areas to train together and I imagine this may continue in the future. Many trainers share tips and ideas on social media by uploading videos and giving educational talks. I’m impressed at how many people throughout all aspects of the sport used technology to overcome logistical issues caused by Covid.

Q. Everybody has their own riding styles, especially when you get to upper levels. You like to work with each horse as an individual. How does that make a difference in your riding?

A. I feel like I am able to really get to know all the horses that I have. I spend so much time with each individual horse that I think I end up developing a really good partnership with each one. Some like a little more rein pressure, others like little more leg pressure. I know what support they need from me and how they like to be ridden or the warm up routine for dressage. So I’m lucky that I get to spend enough time with each horse every day when we’re training at home and to really learn about their personalities. I like sort of quirkier horses. I don’t mind ones that are a little bit fresh or a little bit higher energy. I actually prefer that ride. So in having some that are a little more sensitive you really have to spend that time to get to know them.

Q. What’s your approach when competing in straight show jumping versus to the show jumping phase of eventing?

A. I like to bring my dressage saddle and I still go do flat work with the horses to get them ready at the show venue. Some of my event horses can be strong and unfocused if I go straight to jumping them. They are used to having their dressage test and then either going to cross-country or show jumping next. It’s a good time to practice different warm up strategies– which jumps I’m going to jump, how many and how high before I go in the ring. A lot of eventers take their event horses to jumper shows to work on how to best prepare them and it’s a good way to work on those technical show jumping skills. It’s useful to go to a jumper show for several days, jump multiple courses and not have the pressure of being at a horse trials.

Q. What do you like most about Banixx products for your horses’ routine care?

A. I’ve used all of them but I think we use the shampoo the most. The wound care cream and spray I use to treat particular issues of course if a horse has a cut. The wound cream we use a lot on their legs. Often if they have some irritation on their heels or anywhere on their legs we use the spray for that. So those two products I use to treat certain issues. The shampoo we use routinely. If their skin is in pretty good condition we wash their legs a couple times a week with it. We just got back from Florida where the horses are always getting leg scurf and funk. So being able to use the shampoo on their legs and do the full leg soak for 10 minutes and wash it off, that’s a really important part of daily care of the horses in those environments like Florida where it’s humid and where the horses are quite likely to get skin irritation.

Q. Why do you choose Banixx versus other products?

A. I think their products are effective and I have many horses with sensitive skin. My top horse, Simon, has four white socks. His pink skin is very easily irritated. I like that Banixx has the collagen in it and the way the formula is made it doesn’t over dry or doesn’t cause further skin irritation. It actually helps soothe their skin. My horses wear boots daily for either schooling and competition, and are often bandaged or poulticed after they gallop and jump. This means we wash their legs frequently so I have to be careful which shampoos we use. Some other products are harsh and make their skin worse and more angry. But Banixx really, really helps.

Ariel Grald is based out of Setters’ Run Farm owned by Annie Eldridge in Vass, North Carolina. For more information, visit arielgrald.com or settersrunfarm.com.

To learn more about Banixx, visit banixx.com.

Wolf Teeth in Horses

wolf teeth in horses
If you take a quick peek into your horse’s mouth, you’ll immediately be struck by just how different their teeth are from our own. All the typical types of teeth including incisors, premolars, and molars are there. However, just in front of the premolars you may notice there are stubbly, blunt teeth that don’t seem to have too much reason for being there.

These are known as equine wolf teeth. And, before you ask, no: they don’t have any relation to dogs, wolves, or other canines. Regardless of why they’re called wolf teeth, one question persists among horse owners: what are you supposed to do with wolf teeth? Leave them in? Pull them out at first sight?

To help settle this question, we’ve written up the following blog where we’ll explore what wolf teeth are, what problems they cause, what you should do about them, and how to ensure a safe, comfortable recovery.

What are Equine Wolf Teeth?

While “wolf teeth” might sound like some sort of horrible disfigurement or disorder, they’re actually completely natural. Wolf teeth are small, often pointed or peg-shaped teeth that grow just in front of a horse’s first premolars. Technically, they’re known as a horse’s first premolars since they erupt in the mouth between five months and twelve months of age.

wolf teethWolf teeth belong to a category of teeth known as brachydont teeth, meaning they erupt all at once and stop growing upon full eruption. This is different from the behavior of the other class of teeth, known as hypsodont teeth, which erupt gradually throughout a horse’s lifetime. A horse’s incisors, premolars, and molars are hypsodont teeth.

However, unlike their incisors, premolars, and molars, wolf teeth don’t really have any use for modern horses; they’re a vestigial structure left over from horse’s ancestors. Fossil records show that equus caballus, the much smaller, ancient precursor to the modern horse, survived on a very different diet than today’s horses, often eating low bushes and shrubs. As a result, their mouths were built to hold seven teeth in each dental arcade.

As their diets evolved to include more grass, horses grew bigger and, consequently, their teeth increased in size to provide larger surface area for chewing and grinding. When this happened, the 1st cheek tooth, known today as the wolf tooth, was no longer necessary and gradually disappeared across successive generations. However, as with humans’ wisdom teeth, many horses still develop wolf teeth to this day. While more commonly reported in male horses, they can develop in both sexes.

Additionally, while it’s more common to see wolf teeth develop on the upper jaws, they can erupt on the lower and upper jaws. A wolf tooth can erupt on a single side of the mouth or both, and they can be uni- or multi-rooted. Sometimes, wolf teeth can even fail to erupt at all (this is known as blind wolf teeth).

What Problems do Wolf Teeth Cause?

horse teethAs with humans’ wisdom teeth, many horses live just fine with their wolf teeth fully intact and without the need for extraction. However, similarly with young humans, many horse parents want to disable the potential development of biting issues that may arise from leaving wolf teeth in place.

Furthermore, as horse owners want to maximize their horse’s comfort with a bit placed in their mouth, it may seem advisable to remove wolf teeth. This is because wolf teeth contain nerves and are situated in and around highly innervated gums and bone near the periodontal ligament. If the bit makes contact with the tooth, it might induce pain which may cause the horse to act up in response. In fact, any pressure that’s placed on a horse’s cheeks is capable of rubbing against these teeth and causing pain.

What Should be Done About Wolf Teeth

Because wolf teeth are both not necessary and may interfere with bit placement in performance horses, many horse trainers opt to have them removed as early as is feasible. However, according to Glennon Mays, DVM and Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM), one should not just jump to extraction as the only viable option once wolf teeth are noted.

wolf teeth horse“Even with this reputation as a negative, unneeded component of the mouth, owners do not always remove the teeth, especially in horses that do not have erupted wolf teeth or in horses that are not used for performance purposes,” says Mays. “Removing wolf teeth is a decision you should make with your veterinarian. The procedure is not particularly dangerous, but there are risks with any surgical procedure. There is the possibility of severing or damaging the palatine artery which can cause a great deal of blood loss. Or in horses with large, curved wolf teeth, the curvature of the tooth increases the possibility for complications.”

If you and your veterinarian decide to leave your horse’s wolf teeth in, you should remember that the recovery process from extraction will become substantially harder on your horse as they age. However, if you do decide to extract the teeth, you should feel comfort in knowing that the procedure is relatively quick and easy.

What is the Extraction Process Like?

The process of removing wolf teeth is relatively simple and usually requires sedation with a local anesthetic applied to the affected area. During extraction, the mouth will first be cleansed and then flushed to lower the chance of infection. Then, the gums and ligaments around the tooth will be loosened with a tool called an elevator which allows the tooth to be removed with forceps. Due to the variety of shapes and sizes of wolf teeth, the procedure time can vary from just a few minutes to an hour.

horse wolf teethBecause of how minimally invasive most wolf teeth extraction procedures are, aftercare tends to be just as minimal. However, some reports on wolf teeth extraction advocate for not feeding hay, straw, or grain concentrates for up to twelve hours after removal. Additionally, some equine veterinarians may recommend that owners irrigate the extraction site twice daily for a few days after the teeth are pulled to maintain a clean oral environment and minimize the chance of infection. Also, it is advisable that you do not ride or train your horse for at least 24 hours after extraction to minimize their discomfort.

To ensure an easy, complication-free recovery process, make sure that your horse is up to date on their vaccinations, most specifically tetanus. Horses are highly susceptible to the toxins from the tetanus bacteria, clostridium tetani, leading to many tetanus infections in horses becoming fatal.

The types of wounds in which the anaerobic tetanus bacteria thrive are small, hidden puncture wounds where there is little to no oxygen. This means that the many small cuts or gashes that may be present after a wolf tooth extraction offer the perfect environment for this nasty infection to sprout. Adequate protection against tetanus infections includes an initial vaccination, followed by a second booster four to six weeks later, and then recurring vaccinations every two to four years.

Thankfully, the process for protecting your horse against an opportunistic infection such as tetanus is as easy. In that same vein, so is protecting your horse against a variety of fungal and bacterial infections. Just reach for Banixx Horse & Pet care products!

Banixx works to provide instantaneous sting-free, odorless relief without relying on pesky steroids or antibiotics. If your horse is suffering from Scratches, Rain rot, Thrush, White line disease, or another infection, just identify the affected area, apply Banixx twice daily, and wait. In no time at all, your horse will be trotting along, ready to be taken to the veterinarian for a more comprehensive evaluation. With Banixx, relief really is that simple.

For more information on how to keep your horse happy and healthy, be sure to visit our blog at Banixx.com!

Sources

  • https://www.bwequinevets.co.uk/130/wolf-teeth/
  • https://equimed.com/health-centers/dental-care/articles/wolf-teeth-in-horses
  • https://evds.net.au/tips-and-info/wolf-teeth
  • https://thehorse.com/118149/equine-wolf-teeth/
  • https://www.vetfolio.com/learn/article/from-the-horses-mouth-an-extraction-of-the-first-premolar-teeth
  • https://banixx.com/rain-rot-horse-how-to-treat/
  • https://banixx.com/thrush-horse-how-to-treat/
  • https://banixx.com/horse-chronic-white-line-disease/

My Horse Is Too Fat

fat horse

We’ve all heard the phrase “I’m as hungry as a horse.” But we never really stop to think about what that means.

Horses eat a lot.

Like… a lot.!!

Like so much that someone came up with an idiom to make how much they eat synonymous with a ton.

Unfortunately, sometimes horses eat too much and, as a result, can wind up unable to comfortably work and even develop some seriously worrisome health issues.

Luckily, chunky horses don’t have to stay that way. There are a variety of tools at the horse owners’ disposal that can help horses shed weight without too much hassle.

Assessing Your Horse’s Body Weight

big fat horseBefore any treatment plan can be recommended, you must first get an accurate understanding of your horse’s weight. There are several methods available to help you determine whether or not your horse is overweight.

If any of the following methods indicate that your horse if overweight or obese, you should consult with an equine nutritionist and veterinarian to develop a weight loss program.

Weight Scales

The gold standard for getting an accurate weight measurement of your horse is to use a scale, likely available with your nearest equine veterinarian.

Of course, we also understand that not everybody has easy access to this tool. If you’re unable to get your horse weighed on a scale, proceed with using one of the methods described below.

Girth Height Ratio

feeding fat horseWho ever said you wouldn’t use math outside of the classroom? Okay, besides you that one time. The girth-height ratio is a reliable, easy-to-implement method of getting a quick snapshot of your horse’s weight.

To put it into practice, first take a flexible tailor’s measuring tape and measure the circumference of your horse’s girth in inches by running the tape behind both elbows and straight over their withers. Record this measurement.

Next, take a carpenter’s measuring tape or a sturdy six-foot ruler and measure the length of your horse’s torso on one side, in inches, from the point of their shoulder to the point of their hip. Record this measurement as well.

Next, you want to apply the two measurements taken to the following formula:

[(girth)2 X length] / 330 = body weight

By using this formula, you should get at least a semi-accurate picture of your horse’s current weight.

Body Condition Score

A horse’s body condition score is a numeric value assigned on a scale from 1 to 9 that measures the amount of fat deposited across six areas – their neck, withers, spinous processes and transverse processes, tail head, ribs, and behind the shoulder.

standing horsesThis score allows horse owners to have a reliable overview of their horse’s general health. A score of 1 would indicate that a horse is far too thin to be healthy, while a score of 9 would indicate that a horse is far too fat to be healthy. Generally speaking, a horse’s body condition score should fall between 4 and 6 to be categorized as being of normal weight.

To evaluate a horse’s body condition, start by visually assessing their ribs. If the ribs are easily seen and felt, then the score for the ribcage will be below a five and vice versa if the ribs are not easily seen or felt.

Next, look at their shoulders. A horse’s shoulder with a body condition score of greater than five will be bulging with little deposits of fat behind it. A bonier shoulder indicates a score that will likely be below five.

A visual assessment of their withers should follow. A very thin horse with a body condition score of below five will have little to no fat deposited between the top of the shoulder blade and the spinal vertebrae, making them easily discernible. A horse with a body condition score of five, however, will possess withers that are slightly rounded.

You should then spend some time looking at their loin, which is the area of the back just behind where a saddle sits. If the horse has a body condition score of five, the loin area will be relatively level with no bumps, dents, or creases along the spine. As the score begins to increase, fat will begin to build up on either side leading to the formation of visible creases.

Next on your list should be the tailhead. A horse with a very low body condition score will exhibit an easily discernible tailhead, while a horse with a body condition score of seven or greater will have a tailhead that feels soft and plush.

horse standingFinally, look at their neck. If your horse is a proper weight, the neck should blend smoothly into the rest of their body. If your horse is overweight, however, their neck will look and feel quite thick with fat deposits at the crest.

As you assess each area of their body, remember to assign them a score of 1 to 9. You can consult this chart as you assess each area to get a better understanding of what each score means.

After each area is evaluated and assigned a score, you then want to average the scores together to get a final overall body condition score. If your horse has an overall score between 4 and 6, they’re likely to be able to perform almost any activity you give them without too much trouble.

However, if your horse scores above 6, they may be less tolerant to high levels of activity. A score of 6 or above will likely require consultation with an equine nutritionist to begin contemplating ways to bring their weight down.

My Horse is Overweight – What do I do?

So, you’ve determined that your horse is a bit husky and you’re wondering what the best course of action is. We understand completely. Not only are horses with a high body fat percentage less capable of comfortably working, but they’re also predisposed to a number of concerning health issues including mainitis, hyperlipidemia, orthopedic stress, and less effective body temperature regulation.

With the stakes set so high, it’s only natural that caring horse owners like yourself are determined to help your hooved friend get back down to their target weight. Noting that most horses gain weight the same way that all animals do (via taking in more calories than they expend), the target of any worthwhile weight loss program must be to either reduce their calorie intake without sacrificing essential nutrients and vitamins, increase their exercise levels, or both. However, caution must be used if increasing exercise is the route taken, as overweight horses can quickly become overstressed by a sudden jolt in activity levels.

Set Realistic Expectations

sorrel horse runningThe first step in getting your horse to lose some weight is to set realistic expectations. Just like with humans, weight loss is a journey, and a difficult one at that. It can take many months for your horse to reach his target weight, and he may plateau or even experience a mild regression of progress along the journey.

If any of the above happens, don’t fret. Just revisit the feeding and exercise program you’ve crafted and consult with your equine nutritionist and veterinarian about whether changes ought to be made. Remember: patience and consistency are key to successful, healthy weight loss.

Re-Evaluate What You Feed Your Horse

smallest horseNext, you need to think about where the horse’s excess calories are coming from. It’s well understood that horses consume their calories from pasture, hay, grains, and/or concentrated feed. However, most people underestimate the importance of hay and pasture in a horse’s diet – if your hay and pasture are of good quality, your horse can likely derive much of their needed caloric intake from these two sources alone. Concentrates, while certainly beloved by our galloping buddies, have the most calories per pound of feed. Therefore, it can be assumed that a reasonable first step in reducing total caloric intake is to reduce the amount of concentrate/feed being fed.

It’s important to remember that the average horse requires about 2% to 2.5% of their body weight in forage in order to maintain their weight. Overweight horses who are receiving this amount of forage or more can benefit from a slight reduction in the amount consumed each day. However, remember that it is critical that the amount of forage given each day makes up at least 1% of a horse’s bodyweight. With regards to what type of feed is best, it’s recommended that horses consume forage that is high in fiber and low in sugars and starches such as mature grass hay. Not only is mature grass hay high in fiber, but their thick stems require more chewing and, as a result, uses up more calories to eat.

In addition to feeding hay, you may want to consider giving your horse a daily dose of ration balancers rather than a regular horse feed.. Ration balancers deliver high concentrations of essential vitamins, minerals, and protein that are otherwise missing in most forages but, caloric “fillers” are missing from these feeds. Consequently, a ration balancer help your horse get their necessary nutrients without extra unnecessary calories being consumed.

Restrict Pasture Feeding

It may just seem as though the issue is due to all of the additional calories that we provide to our horses. Maybe the best solution is to just let them eat exclusively from the pasture, right? After all it’s all just grass… right? …Wrong! In reality, horses evolved from eating on pastures that were much less calorically dense than the lush pastures that horses often graze on today. Pastures today can provide a seemingly limitless supply of calories to especially hungry horses.

horse legsWith that in mind, it may be advisable to limit your horse’s access to pasture. The best way to do this is to put your horse in a dry-lot where you can limit the amount of food your horse has access to. However, confining your horse to a dry lot presents a picture of them just standing around, a little bored, just waiting for more food. This does not help to burn off calories!. To combat this, consider pairing your horse with a younger horse who will keep the older horse mobile.

If this solution is untenable, either due to the lack of a dry lot or because dry lot placement is not working, consider fitting your horse with a grazing muzzle. Muzzling your horse will allow them to eat very little at a time, thus reducing the likelihood of them gorging themselves on all that sweet, sweet pasture..

However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can just muzzle a horse for a few hours and that this will solve an overeating problem. A horse who is used to having more calories and is only muzzled for four hours per day will try and find ways to make up for those lost calories in the remaining twenty hours of the day!. You must keep the muzzle on whenever they’re at pasture to see real progress. Remember: consistency is key.

Get Your Horse Moving

While you’re finagling the diet portion of your horse’s weight loss program, you need to also be thinking about ways to get your horse active. Regular exercise is the single best way to increase the total number of calories used per day. Horses who are deemed capable of exercise should work out three to four times per week for a duration of between thirty minutes and one hour.

how much horse costBeneficial exercises include, but are not limited to, lunging, trail riding, walking, trotting, participating in riding lessons, and competing. However, any forms of exercise must be introduced slowly and gradually increase in intensity as the horse demonstrates greater capability. Slow increases in exercise levels will prevent the development of metabolic issues or exhaustion. Remember to never simultaneously pair an increase in exercise intensity with an increase in exercise duration, as this can quickly overwork your horse and potentially lead to injury.

While guiding your horse through weight loss may seem like an arduous, perhaps even overwhelming, task, just remember that you’re not alone! Remember to lean on the expertise of your equine nutritionist and veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about the progress your horse is making.

Simultaneously, don’t forget to be attentive to any other developments in your horse’s health. Neglecting to treat certain disorders or ailments like White Line Disease or skin infections such as Scratches can stymie your horse’s ability to comfortably proceed with any exercise regimen or dietary adjustments.

If you notice your horse is beginning to show symptoms of either of the above, reach for Banixx Horse & Pet Care! This topical antimicrobial solution delivers instant, odor-free, sting-free relief for a variety of fungal and bacterial maladies without relying on pesky steroids or antibiotics. Simply identify the affected area, apply Banixx to it twice daily, and wait for your neighing buddy to feel better. Delivering relief to your horse really can be that simple.

For more tips on how to keep your horse happy and healthy, stay up to date with our blog at Banixx.com!

Sources

  • https://stablemanagement.com/articles/equine-obesity-31969
  • https://www.extension.iastate.edu/equine/body-condition-score
  • https://thehorse.com/164978/body-condition-scoring-horses-step-by-step/
  • https://www.purinamills.com/horse-feed/education/detail/body-condition-scoring-your-horse
  • https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/horses/Trimming%20the%20Fat%20-%20Weigh%20Loss%20Strategies%20for%20the%20Overweight%20Horse.pdf
  • https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/2805/2805-1002/2805-1002.html
  • https://thehorse.com/165233/my-horse-is-too-fat-what-should-i-do/
  • https://banixx.com/scratches-injuries-horse-how-to-treat/
  • https://banixx.com/horse-chronic-white-line-disease/
  • https://banixx.com/blog/

Can I Pet a Cat with Ringworm?

cat with ringworm

There’s nothing quite as lovely and fulfilling as sharing our hearts and homes with our cats. They provide endless entertainment and even cuddles. However, it’s not like we want to share everything with our cats (though they clearly think differently, given their propensity for bringing us dead rodents).

Of the things we’d most like to not share with our feline friends is ringworm. Both highly infectious and unsightly, ringworm is a common, persistent problem among cats. Not only does this infection end up costing pet owners money, but it often steals away time that could have been spent bonding with your purr-fect buddy.

Today, we’re going to outline what ringworm is, how it’s spread, what an official diagnosis should entail, how to treat it, and answer the most pressing question pet parents have when they discover it: can I handle my cat if they have ringworm?

What is Ringworm?

ringworm catFirst things first: the name ‘ringworm’ is misleading. Ringworm has nothing to do with worms at all. Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the superficial layers of your cat’s skin, hair, and nails. Its name comes from the circular shape of the symptomatic hair loss of the infection.

It’s caused by a specific group of fungi known as dermatophytes. Once they make a home for themselves in their host’s body, they thrive by digesting keratin, the main protein structure of hair and nails. As they feast on keratin, they begin to rapidly multiply into millions of single-cell spores that can perpetuate the infection.

Some species of dermatophytes only infect one species, while others can transfer between different species of animals or between animals and humans. Cats who are infected with ringworm are likely infected with the dermatophyte variant known as Microsporum canis. While other variants exist, they’re not nearly as common.

How do Cats Get Ringworm?

There is no shielding your cat from ringworm. Ringworm spores can live just about anywhere in the world, from soil to surfaces to the skin of animals and humans. Cats often become infected with ringworm via coming into contact with infective spores from other infected animals, contaminated surfaces, and contaminated objects.

ringworm cat legIt should be noted that the mere presence of ringworm spores on a cat’s coat isn’t sufficient enough to spark infection. Rather, there are a minimum number of spores that must be present to establish an infection. However, there is no set minimum number that applies to all cats; it varies depending on a variety of factors.

That being said, some cats are predisposed to ringworm infection, such as long-hair cats. Long-hair cats are believed to be more predisposed to ringworm because their long hairs protect the spores from being effectively groomed away. Similarly, Geriatric and young cats are also particularly susceptible to developing ringworm due to their inability to properly groom themselves. Kittens, in particular, are a target due to their immature immune system that has trouble fighting any infection.

Even still, it’s not necessarily as simple as just: minimum number of spores present = cat is infected. Cats have evolved a number of natural defense mechanisms, such as grooming and sunbathing, to protect against these sorts of nasty skin infections. But should those defenses fail, the spores will begin invading and germinating.

What are the Symptoms of Ringworm in Cats?

kitten ringwormAn especially frustrating fact about ringworm for veterinarians, pets, and pet parents alike is that it can be quite difficult to even detect in the first place. Some cats who are infected with ringworm present no clinical signs at all, while others present a cornucopia of unsightly symptoms.

The classic symptom of ringworm is the appearance of one or more areas of patchy or circular hair loss accompanied by some form of crusting. A sort of “cigarette ash” scaling in the depths of the coat may also be visible. Other cats may develop alopecia in spots where the spores have infected the hair shafts. The scale of hair loss can range from mild to dramatic, and can be symmetrical or asymmetrical depending on which sites are infected. Most areas of hair loss will also often present with varying degrees of redness.

Other symptoms can include alterations to the color of your cat’s skin or hair, as well as the emergence of broken or stubby hair. Some unfortunate felines with ringworm may even develop a secondary condition known as onychomycosis, which is where the claws become rough and develop a scaly base. Many cats who develop ringworm will also begin grooming themselves in an excessive amount to stave off the irritating itching that may follow.

Regardless of whether your cat presents with all of these symptoms or none, any suspicion of ringworm should be immediately met with caution and a trip to the vet.

Is it Safe to Pet a Cat with Ringworm?

petting cat with ringwormAnswering this question is a bit tricky. Is it safe? As in, will you die if you pet a cat with the tell-tale red rings? No, probably not. But should you pet that ringworm riddled cat? No, probably not.

What you must keep in mind is that ringworm transmission occurs via direct contact with the fungal spores. While some species of ringworm are only transmittable between specific animal species, some are zoonotic and can thus infect humans. Unfortunately, it’s not like our eyes can immediately distinguish between variants of ringworm as safe or unsafe for humans.

But you shouldn’t necessarily jump to donning your hazmat suit if you suspect your cat has ringworm. Most healthy human adults are resistant to ringworm infection unless they make contact with a spore through a break in the skin like a scratch, scrape, or cut. However, as with cats, most elderly and young humans, as well as adults with weak immune systems, are susceptible to ringworm infection.

Moreover, in summary, there are a number of precautions you can take to protect yourself against infection if you suspect that your cat has ringworm.

How to Protect Yourself from Ringworm

Humans are thankfully just a tad more thorough with our hygiene than our pointy-eared buddies. For one, we have access to soap and the means to apply it whenever we want without issue. This makes the likelihood of just picking up ringworm from our cats a little bit lower than the risk they have of contracting it themselves.

cat toy ringwormHowever, it’s always good to be cautious, especially when you suspect one of your cats has become infected. First, remember to wear gloves, long sleeves, and an apron when handling a cat who has ringworm. Also, remember to wash your hands and clothes thoroughly each time you handle your pet if you suspect they have ringworm. If you have even the slightest abrasion or open wounds, even if it’s covered by your favorite superhero Band-Aid, minimize any contact of that spot with the infected surface.

Additionally, you’ll want to throw out all bedding, toys, supplies, and other paraphernalia that is possibly contaminated and buy new ones. (We know, it’s already expensive enough having a cat.) Some recommend simply washing all cat bedding in a good bleach solution followed by a plain water cycle in the wash machine. The regular washing and disinfecting your pet’s new bedding, toys, and dishes with a disinfectant spray can also reduce the risk of surface-to-skin transmission. Do not use Lysol, it’s not friendly to our felines. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent cleaner and its acidic nature repels fungal infections such a ringworm. You’ll also want to diligently vacuum your floors, and not just because you want to actually see your carpet again. Ringworm spores can still survive even on loose hairs, so vacuuming is an easy way to be thorough with your disinfection efforts. Follow this by disposing of the vacuum cleaner bag.

Perhaps most unfortunately, you may also want to consider isolating any infected cat during their treatment. If you have multiple cats, it’s safe to assume that they’re all infected if one is. In that case, you should aim to have each of them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, a suspected ringworm infection necessitates that you regularly deep clean and disinfect your cats’ environment. Since spores can linger for long stretches of time, you may need to remain vigilant against possible reinfection for a long period of time, possibly up to two years after the initial infection.

How is Ringworm in Cats Diagnosed?

There are a variety of diagnostic procedures your veterinarian can deploy to uncover the presence of ringworm in your purry pal.

veterinarian giving a cat a blood test due to blood in cat stoolOne of the most common tests is what’s known as a Wood’s lamp procedure. This is when affected hairs are placed on a surface known as a dermatophyte test medium. Then, the hairs are examined beneath a special ultraviolet light known as a Wood’s lamp. Hairs that begin to glow with a yellow-green or apple-green fluorescence are typically thought of as being infected by Microsporum canis.

However, the Wood’s lamp test is by no means definitive in diagnosing ringworm. Veterinarians often need to conduct what’s known as a fungal culture to completely discern whether or not an infection is present. During this procedure, scrapings of the skin and samples of the hair are taken and studied for signs of fungal growth in a laboratory.

If the technicians begin to see evidence of fungal growth consistent with Microsporum canis or other variants of ringworm, they will be able to officially diagnose the afflicted cat as suffering from the infection.

How is Ringworm in Cats Treated?

So, your cat’s got the bad news. He has ringworm. His hair is patchy, his skin is irritating, and he is just dying to get back to how things used to be, when he could cuddle up on you without you recoiling in fear.

Luckily, ringworm is by no means a fatal or even a debilitating disease. Modern veterinary science has innovated a cocktail of topical and oral treatments that are especially effective at eradicating ringworm when done in conjunction with aggressive clipping of the coat and environmental disinfection.

shave cat with ringwormThe first step in any effective treatment plan for feline ringworm is to determine whether the coat needs to be clipped. If your cat has long hair or lives with any humans who are immunocompromised, it’s likely they will need their coat clipped. Rest assured that this measure alone will save lots of money and time spent at the vet by reducing the chances for spores to continue spreading via shedded hairs.

After the clipping commences, your veterinarian will likely start your cat on a 1-2 treatment plan consisting of daily oral antifungal medication and twice-weekly topical therapy. Oral antifungal drugs that have been shown to be particularly effective at combating ringworm include griseofulvin, terbinafine, and itraconazole. Please keep in mind that itraconazole frequently has to be compounded into a liquid solution for administration.

There are a variety of effective topical products to choose from including medicated ointments, creams, and shampoos. If symptoms seem to encompass large parts of your cat’s body, a periodic full-body dip or rinse in whatever medicated solution is chosen may be necessary.

One topical treatment that is exceptionally effective at alleviating the discomfort of ringworm’s symptoms is Banixx Pet Care! Due to its remarkable anti-fungal properties, Banixx is capable of providing immediate, soothing relief to your kitty while delivering a damaging blow to fungal spores. While wearing disposable gloves, gently massage a cotton ball soaked in Banixx to your cat’s skin two to three times daily. Within minutes, your cat will begin feeling relief without having to rely on pesky antibiotics or steroids or some stinky, oily topical treatment.

Once your cat is feeling a bit better, you can take them to the vet and begin the process of eradicating this awful infection once and for all! In the meantime, you can learn more about how to keep your pointy-eared buddy happy and healthy through our blog!

Sources

  • https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/ringworm-serious-readily-treatable-affliction
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/keratinase
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  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/ringworm-in-cats-4175211
  • https://banixx.com/faq/faq-cats-kittens/115-how-to-treat-ringworm-in-cats-ringworm-in-kittens-solutions-from-banixx-pet-care/