Successfully Managing Your Horse’s Kissing Spine Syndrome

kissing spines horse

Kissing spine syndrome is a back disorder in horses that causes pain, stiffness and soreness. It’s often complex to diagnose and a challenge to treat because it affects horses in different ways.

Courtney Cooper, a five-star eventer and breeder who is proudly sponsored by Banixx, describes her mare’s “very, very bad kissing spines” in a recent YouTube interview:

“I have a homebred mare and she got to the point where, we could get on her, we could tack her and I could get on her on the mounting block, but when I went to close my leg, she wouldn’t go anywhere with the rider on her back. She was violent about it,” says Cooper.

Kissing spines may invoke behavioral changes as Cooper mentioned, or increase sensitivity to touch or routine care. Horses may have reactions such as:

  • bolting
  • bucking
  • edginess
  • head tossing
  • kicking out
  • lameness
  • rearing
  • reluctance to jump or move forward
  • resistance to training
  • stiffness and soreness
  • unwillingness to be groomed

How Is Kissing Spines Diagnosed?

The medical term for “kissing spines” is overriding dorsal spinous processes (ORDSP). These are bony projections at the top of each vertebrae along the horse’s spine that overlap or touch (hence “kissing”) rather than being spaced evenly. This can cause inflammation, pain or soreness where the bones rub together. Most horses have 54 vertebrae along the spinal column; however this can vary by breed from 51 to 58 vertebrae. Vertebrae that are commonly affected are between (T) 13 and 18, with (T) 15 the most affected. This one is located directly under the saddle and the rider’s seat.

An estimated 40% of horses have the condition but it is more common in Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Warmbloods and dressage horses.
Interestingly, these horses often continue to perform and compete at high levels with the condition. The underlying cause for this syndrome is not known. The role of heredity is unclear or if certain horses are predisposed to the condition. It may be related to external factors such as poor saddle fit or improper training or problems with the rider; however, the research remains inconclusive and there are no known ways to prevent it.

Dr. James M. Hamilton, DVM, an equine sports medicine veterinarian, diagnoses about 50 cases of kissing spines annually at Southern Pines Equine Associates in Southern Pines, North Carolina. He says that some horses are prone to kissing spines due to having a long back and short vertical pelvis which can cause the vertebral column beneath the horse’s topline to take unnecessary stress.

“It is prudent to make as strong an effort as you can to get a specific diagnosis. There are many cost-effective ways of doing appropriate diagnostics that give a clear source of the lameness, how best to treat it, and some sense of prognosis,” says Dr. Hamilton.

highlighted kissing spine

Kissing Spines

To diagnose kissing spines, your horse’s veterinarian will most likely obtain X-rays or radiographs, an ultrasound, bone scan or magnetic resonance image (MRI) to get a complete picture of the severity of the condition. The difficulty with the diagnosis is that some horses do not show any outward clinical signs for kissing spines, while others exhibit behaviors that may be attributed to other health problems unrelated to back pain.

“The radiographic findings are not necessarily indicative of how the horse reacts,” adds Cooper, who operates C Square Farm, a horse sales program and training operations based in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. “And so you can have horses that radiograph poorly but will never have a problem with it. And you can have horses that radiograph well and will have a problem with it. And so I think it really comes down to does the horse show palpable sensitivity and then how do you manage it?”

Effectively Treating and Managing Kissing Spines

The first line of treatment for your horse is to make her feel comfortable. One of the best ways to treat or potentially cure kissing spines is to give your horse an extended rest for a minimum of three to nine months and to incorporate other approaches to maximize comfort and manage kissing spines syndrome in the long term. These medical and therapeutic interventions may include:

  • acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and physical therapies.
  • bisphosphonate drugs, which prevent loss of bone density in horses four years or older.
  • extracorporeal shockwave therapy, a noninvasive, nonsurgical approach for chronic and painful orthopedic problems.
  • mesotherapy which stimulates the middle layer of the skin on the horse’s back that can help stop the pain and spasms.
  • steroidal injections at regular intervals to reduce inflammation.
  • surgical methods such as:
    • inter-spinous ligament desmotomy (ISLD) which relieves pressure and increases space in the affected areas.
    • bone shaving, trimming or removal of the problematic areas to allow for more room and movement.

In addition, you may need to add to these initial and ongoing treatments to support your horse with massage blankets, tack fit to ensure that the saddle, girth and pads are fitting properly and a daily physical therapy routine.

rock star akd

Courtney Cooper and Rock Star. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

At one time, kissing spine syndrome was considered a career ending condition. But great strides have been made in digital imaging and surgical and medical treatments. Cooper’s horse had surgery, underwent rehabilitation and made a full recovery. The mare resumed her career, competing at the two-star level. Cooper says horse owners can feel confident about doing a good job finding effective treatment and managing the condition.

“You know there are always extreme cases, it’s sort of like anything. But for the most part I think people have gotten to the point where they can manage and it’s inspiring them to do massage or riding work or mesotherapy, or injections, or shock wave or surgery. I don’t think it is like it used to be,” Cooper says.

Different treatment modalities with ongoing maintenance may take time and persistence until you find the right regimen for your horse. It is estimated that 85% of performance horses that are treated for this condition recover and continue on with successful careers. It is important to remain patient and try different methods until you find what works for your horse.

Your horse will be free from pain — and she just might kiss you for it!

Find Banixx at a store near you.

Brought to you by BANIXX – The #1 trusted solution for equine and pet owners!

We hope you found this article helpful and if your horse ever gets any cuts, abrasions, scratches or white line disease, we hope you keep Banixx Horse & Pet Care in mind.


  •; Young, Amy (2019, July 29). What are kissing spines? UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Center for Equine Health.
  •; Oke, Stacey (2019, April); reviewed by Contino, Erin; Fact Sheet – Kissing Spines. – Your Guide to Equine Health Care.
  •; Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. (2019, September 4); Surgical management of kissing spines. Cummings School News Center.
  •; Hill, Jackie (2018, February 14) Kissing spines in horses: More than back pain. – Your Guide to Equine Health Care.
  •; Hill, Jackie (2018, February 14) Kissing spines in horses: More than back pain. – Your Guide to Equine Health Care.
  •;Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. (2019, September 4); Surgical management of kissing spines. Cummings School News Center.

Smartest Cat Breeds In The World

cats peanuts

It’s pretty easy to tell if a cat is smart. Most intelligent cats can remember their name when called, greet their owners upon arrival, survive a couple of hours independently, learn basic tricks, and effectively emote their moods. While we may have this mental image of cats only being concerned with sunning themselves on the windowsill or occasionally climbing a cat tree, some want more from their lives. It may strike you as strange to imagine your cat playing fetch or walking by your side on a leash, but you’d be surprised how many cats love doing these things.

The reason for this is simple: cats are a very smart species! Their brain structure resembles that of some of nature’s most intelligent animals (including humans). However, that’s not to say that cats will always be able to school their neighborhood pooch. Just like with any other species, some cat breeds are smarter than others. Below, you’ll learn more about eight of the most clever cat breeds around.

The Eight Smartest Cat Breeds


abyssinianMany people point to the Abyssinians’ resemblance to paintings and sculptures of cats found in Ancient Egypt as evidence that they’re among the oldest cat breeds in existence. However, this royal history is often disputed and it is believed that the modern iteration of the breed comes from Great Britain (so still potentially royal!).

Regardless of whether they’re the purry pals of Ramses II or Queen Victoria, one thing is for sure: these are some wickedly smart cats. Abyssinians are among some of the most naturally curious and independent cats out there. Once they’ve decided to pursue something that’s piqued their interest, there’s no stopping them. This same intense inquisitiveness can also lead to them making a fool of themselves in front of you, which can be highly entertaining.

If you’re going to own an Aby, you’ll want to keep their highly active brains and bodies stimulated, or else risk them getting restless. Pairing them with another Abyssinian or giving them lots of puzzle toys to play with are easy ways to keep their minds busy. But don’t worry – your Aby isn’t going to be too busy thinking to give you some love. In reality, they’re some of the cuddliest cats around, too!


bengal catPerhaps best known for its exotic, almost Jaguar-esque coat, this breed wishes it got more props for its brain! Originally bred as the result of crossing a domestic cat with a wild Asian leopard cat, the Bengal breed is a highly active, curious, and social cat. They love the high energy that children bring and revel in any amount of playtime you give it. However, be warned that their love of play and boundless excitement can also lead to a few broken items if you’re not careful.

Bengals’ high degree of intelligence also makes them highly trainable, with some Bengal owners reporting that they’ve been able to teach their cats basic commands including “sit” and “stay”. This can also be a double-edged sword, as some Bengals have even been reported to learn how to open doorknobs or turn on the faucet just by watching their humans do those things. However, these kinds of annoying behaviors aren’t something you have to worry about so long as you keep their brains occupied.

Another area where Bengals like to flex their superior IQ is hunting. Due to their wild backgrounds, Bengals are extraordinarily efficient at both hunting small creatures and fishing. This may be a behavior that you want to tamp down on quickly, as this is not a behavior that your Bengal will easily unlearn. In order to curb this behavior, try introducing your Bengal to small animals and fish frequently while they’re still kittens.

Cornish Rex

cornish rex catUnusual to the eye but surprisingly elegant in their silhouette, the Cornish Rex breed is known for being an active cat that loves being around its family members. These fun-loving cats are known for an easy-going temperament which makes them exceptionally trainable, with some learning to wave, shake, sit, and even play fetch! That last one is par for the course for this breed, as they love physical exercise.

The breed is also renowned for its affability with both children and other pets, making them great family pets. However, Cornish Rex cats aren’t going to be happy if they feel like they’re just a pick of the litter housecat; they crave one-on-one time with their humans. So, if you intend on getting one, make sure you’re giving them plenty of space to run, jump, and climb as well as plenty of cuddles to enjoy.


singapura catCan you guess where these cats hail from? That’s right: Singapore! Currently the world’s smallest domestic cat breed, these frisky little critters are balls of fun and companionship. Thriving on attention and always looking for more, the Singapura loves to bound up, down, and around, playing whenever and wherever possible (so make sure to provide ample vertical space for them!).

Sometimes referred to as “little lions of love”, the Singapura often wants to be in the middle of whatever it is their family is doing – every activity is an opportunity to play, after all. Additionally, every new item that comes across their saucer-like eyes is an item that’s ripe for keen inspection…and playing with. That means any unimportant objects you might use once in a blue moon, such as pens, a computer keyboard, your shoelaces, or kitchen utensils are all fair game for them to become intrigued by and tamper with.

With their insatiable curiosity evident, consider keeping your Singapura’s little head busy by teaching them tricks or providing them with puzzle toys that reward them for each successful attempt.


korat catThis isn’t just another blue cat. Beneath their striking silver coloration is a cat that’s uniquely emotive and intelligent. While they share a similar lineage to the Siamese breed, they’re not nearly as talkative as their Siamese cousins are. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t let you know what’s up. Ask any Korat owner and they’ll tell you that you can tell what a Korat’s thinking just by looking at them. What’s more surprising is that an equal proportion of Korat owners will tell you their cat seems equally aware of what their owner is thinking.

This is probably because Korat’s are especially observant cats, often employing a “watch, then do” approach to everything. So, don’t be surprised if you come home to find your Korat opening containers or trying to unlock a door! However, Korats’ fondness for closeness also means that they’re not very keen on being left alone. In fact, their observational nature lets them quickly pick up which tactics gain them the most attention for the longest amount of time. Once they have your attention, they’ll also jump at any opportunity to play and express great interest in whatever toys are in front of them. So, we’re not saying that Korats are master manipulators, but they sure do know what tricks keep us wrapped around their little paws!


burmese catKnown by some as the “dog of cats” due to the strong bonds they form with their owners and enjoyment of various games like fetch, Burmese cats thrive on attention from their owners. Their shared ancestry with Siamese cats makes them an especially vocal breed, albeit with softer and sweeter voices.

Like dogs, Burmese cats are uniquely equipped to learn tricks (which they enjoy thanks to the additional attention it brings them), with some being able to learn how to sit, roll over, fetch, and walk on a leash. However, not all Burmese cats are the same! Male Burmese cats tend to be a bit more demure in their personality, while females are much more openly demanding of their owners’ attention. Nonetheless, both sexes of the Burmese breed are curious animals who thrive when given proper mental stimulation.

Scottish Fold

scottish foldIf you’re looking for a cat with the most adorable ears you’ve ever laid your eyes on, then the Scottish Fold is the cat for you. Though most of their popularity comes from their distinctive folded ears (and from the YouTube-famous Maru), Scottish Folds have become famous among cat lovers for their extraordinarily gentle and intelligent nature.

Scottish Folds love being as close to the action as possible, often closely following behind their humans as they walk around the house. Unlike many breeds, Scottish Folds are uniquely adaptable to changes in their environment, making them well-suited to homes that are planning to introduce other cats or young children to the house. The Scottish Fold also loves to learn tricks that will keep its humans entertained and amused, such as opening doors or playing fetch.  Don’t worry about them becoming pests for attention, either – Scottish Folds are still cats, and they enjoy regularly exercising their independence. However, once they’ve decided to come back after an afternoon of sleuthing, they’ll be all over you. Enjoy!


siamese catQuick: what’s black, white, and blue all over and doesn’t stop talking? A Siamese cat! Characterized by their stunningly blue eyes and their tendency to chat up everyone about everything, these cats are known for their cunning wits and their affectionate, playful nature. When they’re not curling up on their human’s lap or carefully watching their every move, you might find them playing with their housemates including other cats, dogs, and children.

They are also quick to boredom, which can lead to unwanted destruction if you’re not careful. Luckily, you can avoid having them come up with their own entertainment by training them or providing puzzle toys to keep their minds busy. Getting them a companion (like another Siamese cat) is also a good way to keep them from feeling bored or, worse, lonely. Siamese cats are especially social creatures, so you don’t want to leave them alone for too long or else they can quickly become distressed. If left alone for too long, you may come back to find your faucet running, your cabinets swung wide open, or your toilet roll cut to pieces!

“Well, that’s great,” you might say to yourself, “but cat isn’t any of these breeds! Is she just destined to be my little dope forever? Or can I train her to be more intelligent?”

How To Train Your Cat’s Brain

As any animal ages, their brain functions begin to naturally decline. This process is accelerated when the animal lives in an environment that isn’t mentally and physically stimulating. As cats reach old age, they can develop a disorder known as feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD): a cat version of Alzheimer’s disease. Cats with FCD can begin displaying a variety of troubling symptoms, including acting disoriented, missing the litter box, and even rejecting affection.

Unfortunately, once FCD strikes there’s no curing it. That’s why it’s critically important to begin focusing on amping up your kitty’s brain health long before FCD has its chance. With that in mind, here are just a few ways you can help keep your cat’s brain sharp.

Give Them a Puzzle

It’s been shown that having pets complete problem-solving activities has dramatically slowed down mental decay. Luckily, there are toys on the market that both enrich your cat’s brain while filling their bellies: food puzzles. The idea behind these toys is that they force your pet to use their brains in order to access the reward inside.

Food puzzle toys are available for purchase in a whole assortment of shapes and sizes. A common example of a food puzzle is The Kong, which is a rubber shape that has a hollowed out cavity where you can stuff food into. You can also turn every mealtime into a puzzle by buying a puzzle feeder. Popular among dogs and cats who are ravenous while they feed, these bowls and dishes often have raised obstacles on their feeding surface in order to force the pet to tease out bits of kibble. If you’d rather keep things low-cost, you can even create a puzzle for your cat by simply dispersing their kibble in the grass! This achieves the same goal as the puzzle feeders while also getting your cat outdoors and mobile!

Play With Them

cat toyLike dogs, cats love to play with their owners. They’re just as easily perplexed by simple, everyday items as their canine counterparts and they’re just as antsy to start toying with anything that intrigues them.

For example, while most of us have probably used the dangling feather toy to laugh at our cat, these toys are actually incredibly useful for stimulating their brain. Not only will they expend some calories trying to catch the feather, but they’ll also have to figure out how to actually catch the feather. It helps their minds and body stay active, all while strengthening their innate hunting instincts. Sounds like a win to us!

Speaking of stimulating their hunting instincts, have you ever considered letting your cat hunt you? Okay, maybe not the best wording, but have you ever thought about how mentally taxing a game of hide and seek is? Well, your cat sure knows! In order to find their prey in the wild, cats would have to think about where their prey might hide and then carefully scope out those locations without alerting anyone.

There’s no reason they can’t replicate this experience in the comfort of their own home, so consider incorporating short games of hide and seek into your play routine. However, remember that you have to remind your cat it’s a game and that you haven’t actually disappeared. Make sure to continue calling out to them so they can hear your voice, and eventually they’ll get the hang of it.

Also, we know that it’s a common belief that cats mix with water about as well as oil does, but this isn’t a universal rule by any means. In fact, some cat breeds tend to love playing in and with water. If your cat loves splishing and splashing around, here’s a fun game for you to try: fill up a large bowl with colorful marbles and then place some ping pong balls on the top of the water. Your cat may become fascinated by the shiny balls at the bottom and will work to fish them out without getting too wet.

However you choose to play, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is to keep playing as part of your cat’s normal routine in order to keep them active into their later years.

Keep Their Bodies Active

cat playing shoesThe science is clear: there are clear mental benefits gained by keeping physically active, and there’s no reason to believe that’s exclusive to humans. Keep your cat active by installing cat trees in your house. These fun additions will incentivize your cat to climb to the top of their perches. Or, you could build one yourself by assembling a collection of empty boxes, cheap ramps, old wooden planks, and tons of other component parts! You may also want to encourage climbing by placing their food dishes at the top of stairs or on top of these cat trees. Not only will this keep their physique in check, but it will also facilitate problem solving.

Finally, you may even want to explore taking your cat for a walk! Some cats are going to be more enthusiastic about donning a leash than others, but there’s nothing to worry about. If your cat simply refuses to step foot outside in that thing and you have a backyard, get them to come out in the yard with you! Even just leading them around by dropping treats behind you for 15 minutes everyday can do wonders for keeping them active.

We know that most cats are pretty particular about their behavior, but we promise that the tips above should capture their attention without too much trouble. So, next time you’re thinking about just letting Whiskers hang out all day for the 117th day in a row, consider spending just a little time engaging them and their brains. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with a cat whose mind has aged wonderfully and who’s just as willing and capable of chasing the feather as they were when they were younger.

Whether your cat is the Feline Einstein or they forget their own name, we know that you love them dearly and would do anything to keep them and their brain happy and healthy. We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.



250+ Japanese Cat Names

cat japan

As part of our growing, global society, it’s natural to become curious about how we can incorporate other cultures into our everyday lives. We might take up yoga, listen to Chinese pipa music in the morning, or take up a new cuisine that uses ingredients we are unfamiliar with.

japanOne fun way that we can gain perspective onto different cultures is by observing and respectfully adopting their names for things, including our beloved pets! Nowhere is this more evident than by the wide array of available cat names that come from Japan.

Once revered for the supposed luck they bring and now beloved for their cuddliness, cats are the dominant pet of choice in Japan. As a result, there are so many Japanese names for cats that us Westerners can look to for inspiration when trying to name our own kitties.

Cats in Japanese History and Folklore

Cats have an undoubtedly special place in Japanese culture, with an interesting history to boot. In the modern world of cat cafes, Hello Kitty and ‘cat islands’ (islands where there are more cats than people…infinite cuddles, anyone?), it can be surprising to learn that cats were not always a part of Japanese society. In fact, cats aren’t even native to the island nation.

Rather, they (along with Buddhism) were imported by way of China in the mid-sixth century. On the voyage from China to Japan, Buddhist monks and traders would bring their cats as a means of protecting important scriptures and wares from being destroyed by rodents. But almost as soon as they arrived, cats were absorbed into the cultural fabric of Japan, soon becoming the subjects of art, literature, folklore, and Japanese Buddhist tradition itself.

Japanse CatWe find the first definite mention of a domestic cat in the diary of Emperor Uda, who described that he kept a black cat which was brought from China in 884. In his diary, Emperor Uda writes:

“On the 6th Day of the 2nd Month of the First Year of the Kampo era. Taking a moment of my free time, I wish to express my joy of the cat. It arrived by boat as a gift to the late Emperor, received from the hands of Minamoto no Kuwashi.

The color of the fur is peerless. None could find the words to describe it, although one said it was reminiscent of the deepest ink. It has an air about it, similar to Kanno. Its length is 5 sun, and its height is 6 sun. I affixed a bow about its neck, but it did not remain for long.

In rebellion, it narrows its eyes and extends its needles. It shows its back.”

Clearly, cat owners have not changed in a millenia. Like Emperor Uda, we understand that it can be hard to not talk about your cat (even when they’re exposing their….needles).

We can see this adoration of these fuzzy felines continue throughout Japanese history. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), for example, cats were the subject of multiple works of art from some of Japan’s most esteemed authors and illustrators. Utagawa Kuniyoshi, a prodigy illustrator, famously depicted cats taking the place of kabuki actors during a time of artistic censorship.

During the later Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the famous author Soseki Natsume wrote the popular fiction novel “I Am a Cat.  Decades later, Hiro Arikawa would build off of the success of Natsume’s story by authoring “The Travelling Cat Chronicles”.

Perhaps one of the most famous cats of Japanese culture is Maneki-neko, or the beckoning cat. Commonly seen waving his golden hand back and forth in storefronts, this ubiquitous cat has its origins in two tales from Japanese folklore. The first tells the story of a brave, lucky cat that saved the life of a samurai during a lightning storm. The other tells of a poor, elderly woman whose cat came to her in a dream and instructed her to craft a clay sculpture of a cat to sell at the market. Following the advice of her cat (as one does), the woman eventually sold more and more statues until she finally retired rich. While these stories are obviously fiction, that doesn’t stop the sales of thousands of these waving cats from rolling in, year after year.

japanese catsHowever, cats are not exclusively the subject of adoration in Japan. While their “kawaii” (cuteness) cannot be overstated, cats in Japan have also been viewed for centuries as potentially magic creatures. Their physical characteristics don’t help this skepticism – if you learned of the existence of an animal that could dilate the pupils of their glowing eyes, stretch out to very long lengths, walk without making sounds, and seemingly understand and respond to human language, you’d probably be pretty spooked. The fact that cats are not native to Japan and came from “the outside world” only further fueled this skepticism.

The first reported instance of supernatural cats in Japan dates back to the 12th century, when farmers and woodsmen reported that a massive, two-tailed cat had begun snatching up locals and eating them. Tales of supernatural cats continued to flourish during the Edo Period, when stories of shape-shifting bake-neko (monster cat) emerged. According to these new legends, cats could transform into anything you could think of; including human shapes.

The lore goes on to say that cats who live long lives (how about nine of them?) would go on to kill their owners and assume their place. Eventually, these legends morphed into stories about cats who lived entirely alternative, humanistic lives at night, including activities such as acting, playing games, drinking sake, smoking tobacco, etc, before slinking back home at dawn. It’s not so hard to see how a musical like Cats came to be now, is it?

The catlore of Japan is as fascinating as it is detailed, and we’ve only just begun nibbling on the surface kibble here in this article. With such a rich (and fantastical) history behind them, it’s no wonder why Japanese people have so many unique names for these adorable little critters.

Japanese Cat Name Conventions

There aren’t really any hard and fast rules one should follow when picking a Japanese name for their cat, aside from remembering to be respectful of Japanese culture. Much like Westerners, Japanese people often take inspiration from their cat’s physical appearance, objects, names in popular culture, and various other sources when deciding on a name for their little furball.

japan cat namesAdditionally, the Japanese names of other animals and plants can serve as inspiration for naming your pointy-eared pal. For example, the Japanese word for tiger, ‘Tora’ (虎) is a solid name for male cats. Meanwhile, plenty of female Japanese cats are named after flowers such as the names ‘Hana’ (flower, 花) and ‘Ume’ (plum, 梅).

Speaking of food, there’s plenty of food-based names you can pick from! Although, since we’re talking about Japanese names, you may want to use the names of foods that are commonly consumed in Japan such as ‘Matcha’ (green tea, 抹茶), Saba (mackerel, サバ), ‘Katsuo’ (bonito flakes, 鰹) and others for a more authentic name. However, tailoring the name to Japanese-specific dishes isn’t really necessary! The Japanese word for apple, ‘Ringo’ (林檎), is a common name for male and female cats alike. Similarly, the word for bean, ‘Mame’ (豆) is commonly used as a diminutive to describe cats who are small.

Plus, there are plenty of names from Japanese pop culture that can be lifted for naming your furry friend. One of the most famous cats in Japanese pop culture was the subject of a hit manga series titled ‘What’s Michael?’. The cat’s name? Michael. Drawing from the deep well that is anime and manga, there are a dowry of character names from multiple movies, television shows, and comics that you can pick from. Some might include Jiji (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) or Mello (from Death Note).

In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a Japanese cat name is to have fun with it! After all, we’re talking about naming creatures that get scared when they see cucumbers – it only makes sense that they might end up with a silly or tongue-in-cheek name!

Male Japanese Cat Names

cute catsA

Aki – Born in autumn

Akihiro – Great brightness

Akio – Bright boy

Arata – New

Asahi – Morning sunlight

Atsushi – Kindness


Banzan – Indestructible mountain

Bassui – High above average

Bento – Boxed lunch

Bishamon – Buddist god of war and fortune

Botan – Peony

Byakuya – White night


Chimon – Wisdom gate

Chotan – Deep pool


Dai-In – Hidden greatness

Daichi – Great land

Daijiro – Great second son

Daiki – Shining

Daisuke – Great helper

Doryo – Generosity

Dosei – Saturn


cute Christmas catEbisu – Shinto god of luck, wealth, and prosperity

Eiji – Eternity

Endo – Roadside

Enkai – Deep sea

Eryu – Dragon wisdom


Fuji – Unsurpassed

Fujin – Shinto wind god

Fuku – Lucky

Fumihiro – Large sentence

Fumio – Scholarly hero


Genkei – Honored

Giichi – One rule

Goku – Aware of emptiness

Goro – Fifth son


Hajime – Beginning

Haruto – Soar to heaven

Haya – Falcon

Hiroki – Vast timber trees

Hiroshi – Prosperous

Hiroto – Big flight

Hisa – Long life

Hisoka – Secret

Hitoshi – Motivated person

Homura – Fire

Honcho – Leader


Inoue – Above the well

Isamu – Vigorous

Ishii – Stone well

Issey – First-born son

Itachi – Weasel

Ito – String

Iwai – Celebration

Izanagi – First male, the god of creation


sleeping catJikai – Ocean of compassion

Jiro – Second son

Joben – Enjoys cleanliness

Judo – A martial art form

Junichi – Obedient first son

Juro – Tenth son


Kage – Shadow

Kaito – Between pear trees

Kakashi – Scarecrow

Kaname – Vital point

Kane – Gold

Kangiten – Buddist god of bliss

Katsu – Victory

Kazan – Fiery volcano

Kenichi – Strong, healthy first son

Kenshin – Modest

Kenta – Thick

Kichiro – Lucky son

Kitsune – A fox spirit

Kiyoshi – Purity

Koji – Little one

Kotaro – Plump

Kouta – Great peace

Kuebiko – Shinto god of knowledge and agriculture

Kunio – Countryman


cat droolMamoru – Earth

Manzo – Third-born son

Masaru – Victory

Matsui – Pine

Michio – Man on a journey

Mitsuo – Shining hero

Mokusei – Jupiter

Mugen – Infinity

Myojo – Venus


Naoki – Tree of truth

Naruto – Maelstrom

Natsuo – Birth of summer

Nintendo – Leave luck to heaven

Nobu – Faith


Oki – Blue water

Osamu – Discipline


Raiden – Shinto thunder god

Reo – Wise gentleman

Riku – Clever tiger

Rikuto – Person of land

Ringo – Apple

Rokuro – Sixth son

Ryota – Great refreshment

Ryouichi – Clear one

Ryuunosuke – Noble herald


Sake – An alcoholic drink made from rice

Sanji – Praise

Sanjiro – Admired

Satoshi – Fast learner

Seiji – Lawful

Shimizu – Pure water

Shiro – White

Sho – To fly

Suijin – Shinto god of water

Sushi – A bite-sized Japanese food

Susumo – Advance


cat looking with eyesTajimamori – Shinto god of sweets

Takeo – Strong as bamboo

Takumi – Artisan

Taro – Big boy

Tatsuo – Dragon Man

Tenjin – Shinto god of scholarship

Tetsu – Iron

Toshiro – Talented

Touma – Mountain top

Tousen – Otherworldly

Tsukikage – Moonbeam

Tsukiya – White moon


Umi – Sea

Unkan – Cloud valley

Usaku – Moonlit

Usui – Mortar well


Washi – Eagle

Wataru – Navigation


Yamaha – Mountain Leaf

Yamato – Old Japan

Yami – Darkness

Yasu – Peace

Yoshi – Silent

Youta – Great sunlight

Yuji – Courageous second son

Yukio – Snow boy

Yuma – Calm truth

Yuuto – Gentle person


Zinan – Second-born son

Female Japanese Cat Names

why do cats purrA

Ahmya – Black rain

Ai – Love

Aika – Love song

Aiko – Little love)

Aimi – Beloved

Airi – Jasmine flower

Aiya – Beautiful silk

Akane – Brilliant red

Akemi – Beautiful Sunrise

Akina – Spring flower

Akira – Bright and clear dawn

Amabie – A type of mermaid in Japanese mythology

Amaterasu – Shinto sun goddess

Amaya – Night rain

Ameonna – A female spirit that makes rain

Aneko – Older sister

Anzu – Apricot

Asami – Morning beauty

Asayo – Generation of the morning

Asuka– Fragrance or beautiful perfume

Aya – Colorful

Ayame – Iris

Azume – Safe space


Bankei – Ten thousand blessings

Bashira – Joyful

Benten – Buddist goddess of everything that flows

Bunko – Literary child


Ceiko – A splendid creature

Chia – Thousand loves

Chibi – Tiny

Chie – Wisdom

Chihiro – Thousand questions

Chika – Scattered flowers

Chinshu – Calm place

Chiyo – Thousand generations

Chizu – One thousand storks

Cho – Butterfly

Chorei – Transparent spirituality


chubby catDai – Great


Eiko – Eternal child

Emi – Blessed with beauty

Ena – Gift from God

Eri – Blessed gift

Eshima – True intention

Etsuko – Child of joy


Fumiko – Child of treasured beauty

Fuyuko – Winter child


Gen – Spring

Gina – Silvery

Gyo Shin – Heart of dawn


Haiku – A form of Japanese poetry

Hana – Flower

Hannya – A female demon

Hayami – Rare beauty

Hekima – Wisdom

Hikari – Radiance

Himari – Ball of light

Hina – Good vegetables

Hiromi –Abundant beauty

Hoshi – Star

Hotaru – Firefly


Ichika – One thousand flowers

Ima – Present

Ino – Wild boar

Iva – Yew tree

Iwa – Rock

Izanami – Shinto goddess of creation and death


Japana – Ambitious

Jin – Tenderness

Junko – Pure child


Kabuki – Japanese dance/drama

Kaiyo – Forgiveness

Kannon – Goddess of mercy

Kaori – Perfume

Kasumi – Mist

Keiko – Adored one

Kichi – Lucky

Kiko – Hope

Kimi – Righteous

Kohana – Small flower

Koko – Here

Koto – Beautiful harp

Kukurihime – Shinto goddess of meditation and negotiation

Kumi – Nine seas

Kura – House of treasure

Kyoko – Mirror


cat in blanketMai – Brightness

Maiya – Rice valley

Mana – Affection

Megumi – Blessing

Midori – Green

Miki – Flower stem

Minako – Beautiful baby

Mio – Waterway

Momo – Peach


Nami – Surf

Nana – Green vegetables

Nara – Flower from heaven

Nari – Thunder

Nishi – West

Noriko – Child of law

Nozomi – Hope


Ohara – Small field

Orino – Worker’s field


Rei – Spirit

Reiko – Thankful child

Rini – Little bunny

Risa – Growing flowers at home

Ruri – Semi-precious stone

Ryoko – Bright child

Ryuji – Dragon child

Ryuk – Gift from God


Sachi – Blessed

Sachiko – Child of bliss

Sai – Intelligent

Sakura – Cherry blossom

Sango – Coral

Sara – Music

Sato – Sugar

Satome – Beautiful

Sen – Fairy of wood

Shinju – Pearl

Shion – Aster

Shiori – Poem

Suki – Beloved

Sunako – Dark side

Suzu – Bell

Suzume – Sparrow


Takara – Treasure

Takashi – Noble

Taki – Waterfall

Tamayo – Generation jewel

Tamiko–MeansA beautifulCreature

Taru – Barrel

Tatsu – Dragon

Tennin – An angelic being in Japanese Buddhism

Tora – Thunder

Tori – Bird

Tsuki – Moon


Ukemochi – Shinto goddess of food

Umeko – Plum blossom child

Umiko – Child of the sea

Utano – Field of songs


Wakana – Harmony

Wakumi – Spring of water


catYasuko – Child of peace

Yoko – Positive

Yori – Public servant

Yoru – Dark

Yōsei – A fairy

Yuka – Friendly blossom

Yukari – Destiny

Yumi – Archery bow

Yuri – Lily

Yuriko – Lily child

Yuuna – Gentle


Zakuro – Pomegranate

Zen – Peace

We know that you’re the type of pet owner who goes above and beyond to make sure that your cat has everything they need to remain happy and healthy (and cultured, clearly). That’s why we hope you’ll keep coming back to learn more about how to best care for your cat! We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.



Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

cats and peanuts

cats peanutsIs there any bar food more satisfying than a bowl of lightly salted and peppered peanuts? Their crunchy texture pairs wonderfully with their smooth, creamy taste that delivers a satisfying, filling snack with each handful (or handfuls, if you’re like us).

That’s not even mentioning peanuts’ high concentrations of protein and healthy fats! With these facts in mind, they almost seem like a superfood that should be eaten whenever we can. But what about for our cats? If you’ve just popped open a can of new peanuts and the kitty is staring right at you, is your best course of action to offer a nibble or two? Or are you better off shelving the peanuts and trying to find some Friskies?

Can Cats Have Peanuts?

Rest assured: if you spill some peanuts on the floor and your pointy-eared buddy scoops some up, they’re probably going to be just fine. But just because cats can have peanuts doesn’t mean they should.

Are Peanuts Healthy for Cats to Eat?

It can be easy to assume our pets are able to enjoy many of the same benefits of eating some of our favorite foods, like peanuts (Pad Thai, anyone?). But, unfortunately, this is a misconception borne out of ignorance to our pets’ digestive systems. When we think about giving our cats peanuts, for example, our minds might quickly jump to thinking of them as an easy, protein-dense snack.

peanuts and catsWhile the high protein content of peanuts is undeniable, peanuts unfortunately contain the wrong kinds of proteins for our cat’s bellies. Unlike omnivorous dogs and humans, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their digestive systems are built to break down proteins that are derived exclusively from animal sources. And while peanuts are certainly rich in certain nutrients and amino acids that are essential for a healthy life such as taurine, Vitamin E and biotin, these same nutrients can be gained in higher concentrations from meat.

Perhaps even more important to discuss is peanuts’ high fat content. While cat food tends to already contain lots of fats, it’s best not to complement this with high-fat snacks like peanuts. Gary Richter, DVM and owner of Montclair Veterinary Hospital, agrees with this opinion, stating: “Nuts and nut butter are high in fat so, even if cats will eat it, it’s best not to give a lot.” If you’re looking to supplement your cat’s diet with fat-rich foods, consider giving them treats that contain high concentrations of essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and arachidonic acid.

It must also be stated that under no circumstances should you feed your cat peanuts which have been salted, seasoned, dipped, or flavored in any way. While certainly delicious, these accoutrements can seriously upset their tummy and cause a whole host of issues ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy, lack of appetite, and even disruption to the function of their kidneys, liver, and pancreas.

Are Peanuts Safe for Cats?

cats snugglingIt seems like a funny question to even ask. When you hold a bunch of peanuts in your hand, it’s easy to think that these little legumes (that’s right, not nuts) couldn’t hurt anything. And you’d be right, for the most part: peanuts do not contain any compounds that are inherently toxic to cats.

However, just because eating peanuts doesn’t pose a guaranteed risk to cats doesn’t mean that they’re all that good for them, either. For starters, due to their small size and easily breakable form, peanuts may pose a choking hazard to cats if not properly chewed. Additionally, some of our furry friends can suffer from serious allergies to some foods, including peanuts.

Can Cats be Allergic to Peanuts?

Like with any food that they’ve been exposed to, cats can develop mild to severe allergies to peanuts at every stage of life. And, while legumes and nuts are not innately harmful to them, nut allergies are not uncommon in cats, either. The process by which a cat becomes allergic to foods is a rather unfortunate one, too.

When a cat eats something that they’re allergic to, like peanuts, her immune system will mistakenly recognize that food as harmful. Once this identification has been made, the immune system releases the immunoglobulin-E antibody to neutralize the allergen. From this point on, your cat’s immune system will begin releasing a concoction of chemicals, including histamine, into the bloodstream every time it encounters that food to mount a defense against the supposed threat. The result? A whole lot of uncomfortable symptoms.

What are the symptoms of peanut allergies in cats?

peanuts catsUnfortunately, trying to discern a food allergy from symptoms alone is something of a fool’s errand. For some cats with peanut allergies, they’ll only display mild skin irritation. For others, eating a few peanuts will only cause some minor gastrointestinal distress (and an unseemly litter box). For some truly unlucky kitties, they may present with both skin and gastrointestinal discomfort. Though the list below is by no means an exhaustive list, the most reported symptoms of peanut allergies in cats include:

  • Itching and scratching at their heads and neck
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Irritated ears and eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

However, there are also more than a dozen other reasons why your cat may be afflicted with these same symptoms. That’s part of what makes pinning down a food allergy in cats so frustrating: there’s just no easy way to test for it. If you suspect your cat has an allergy to peanuts, your best course of action is to take them to a veterinarian for an official diagnosis.

But, if you notice that your cat is developing skin infections, don’t fret! There’s a no-sting, no-odor, antibiotic product on the market that provides on-contact relief that lasts: Banixx Pet Care! Just liberally apply Banixx to the affected area two or three times every day and let it go to work. In no time at all your furball’s…skin should begin clearing up, allowing you the opportunity to get them to the vet for a proper diagnosis without having to see them in pain.

How are peanut allergies diagnosed in cats?

Currently, the most reliable test for uncovering and diagnosing food allergies in cats is a food trial. This test involves placing your cat on a special diet as prescribed by your veterinarian that contains very few ingredients. Depending on your cat’s medical history, this test may last from a few weeks to several months.

cute catsTypically, the prescribed diet will allow for a single protein, a single carbohydrate, and only necessary fats, vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian will likely also recommend excluding all flavored medications and treats to ensure that the results are not affected. A food trial diet may take a variety of forms, with the two most common being a hydrolyzed-protein diet and a home-cooked novel protein diet.

A hydrolyzed-protein diet involves feeding your cat commercially available food with proteins that are so tiny that their immune system can’t recognize them and trigger an allergic reaction. A home-cooked novel protein diet, on the other hand, involves exclusively feeding your cat a form of protein which they’ve never encountered before.

If your cat’s symptoms drastically improve throughout the course of the trial diet, then it can be assumed that something in their old diet was to blame for their previous discomfort. However, the only way to be sure if that’s the case is to (you guessed it) slowly reintroduce old foods into their diet.

If Whiskers begins to feel like a million bucks after being on one of the above diets, but quickly suffers a relapse in symptoms after you let them crunch on some peanuts, then it’s safe to say that peanuts are a food they’re allergic to.

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

In the same vein of thought that cats technically can eat peanuts but probably shouldn’t, the same is true for cats and peanut butter. While certainly delicious (who doesn’t love Reese’s?) and nutritionally incredible, peanut butter may actually pose more potential problems for cats than their crunchy counterparts.

peanut butterAs is the case with peanuts, it can be easy to fool ourselves into thinking that giving peanut butter to our kitties might pass on some of the health benefits that we love it for. However, this is a mistake. According to the University of Missouri Small Animal Clinical Nutrition Service: “The simplest and most convenient way to meet the nutrient requirements of a cat is to provide them with a complete and balanced commercial diet formulated by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist or an individual with a PhD in animal nutrition.” This means that, so long as your cat is already eating a balanced diet, there are no nutritional benefits for peanut butter to bestow.

Additionally, like peanuts, peanut butter is high in fat. Specifically, trans-fatty acids. The addition of these trans-fatty acids help to give peanut butter its beloved long shelf-life. However, these same fats are harmful to cats’ hearts. Peanut butter is also rich in sodium which, if consumed in high enough quantities, can cause your cat to present with symptoms such as excessive thirst, weakness, behavioral changes, and even seizures.

Then there is the calorie question to consider. Part of the reason that peanut butter is so cherished by body-builders and moms alike is because of its high caloric density. While this makes it a great, filling mid-day snack for us, this also makes it potentially harmful to give to your feline friends. Indoor cats are already prone to weight-gain, and feeding them something as calorie-dense as peanut butter may only exacerbate this issue. If they’re giving you the ole kitty-cat eyes to try and get a treat from you, consider feeding them something with fewer calories like small amounts of cooked fish or bite-sized carrots instead.

Plus, some peanut butter manufacturers have chosen to eschew adding sugar to their formulas in response to growing demands for low-sugar products. Instead of sugar, they’ve opted for xylitol: an artificial sweetener that is extremely toxic to all domesticated animals. So, if you even think about giving your purry pal a lick of peanut butter, make sure it’s the xylitol-free stuff.

Of course, as responsible pet parents, we know that you’ll look at the product labels before giving your furball anything to eat. That’s why we hope you’ll visit our cat page to learn more about how to keep your cat happy and healthy.



DIY Dog Grooming at Home

Dog being combed

Tools and Tips for a Successful Grooming Session with Your Dog

Grooming your dog is important to your pet’s overall health. It is a great way to check for skin issues and an excellent means to bond with your pet. Try to brush your dog each day and longer once per week.

Combs and brushes to groom a dog

tools for a successful grooming session with your dog

Look for tangles or mats in the coat and external parasites such as fleas and ticks. Check the skin for flaking, sores and oily patches. When you inspect the coat or hair, be observant if there are layers of different textures. If so, your dog probably sheds. If it seems similar in texture or thickness throughout, then your dog probably does not shed.

Typical grooming tools include curry, slicker and combination brushes, shedding blade, combs and stripping combs, blunt-ended scissors, dog toenail clippers and rotary tools. Note: if you search for Dog grooming tools on the web, you will likely encounter many different ones. The tools listed here are the most common, easiest to use.


Watch professional groomer from Win-Star Bed & Biscuit line brush a long-haired dog.
Video courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA –

For medium and large dogs, it is best to get eye level with the dog to brush. Smaller dogs can be put on a slip-free table. Never leave the dog unattended. Start brushing your dog where you normally pet him.

Brush in the direction the hair grows. Pay particular attention to your dog’s ears, armpits, tail, neck, and between the toes.

Grooming Dog with metal comb

German Shepherd being groomed with a metal comb

Regular brushing removes the undercoat or fluffy layer of hair under the topcoat of dogs that shed. Short-haired dogs that shed are best groomed with a soft bristled brush or a rubber glove or mitt. For dogs that do not shed, brushing removes tangles. This technique is called line brushing. Hold a section of hair with one hand and slowly brush the hair away in a straight line. When you encounter a mat, start at the outer edges, and gently work your way back through the mat.

You may be able to use your fingers to untangle the mat. If the mat is large or thick or your dog is sensitive, you may need to clip it. Use only blunt-end scissors so that you do not accidentally puncture your dog. Gently cut the mat in half, starting with the portion closest to your dog’s skin. Cut in a direction away from the skin. If your dog’s skin has an irritation or infection, use Banixx Pet Care Spray or Banixx Wound Care Cream to treat the skin issue. It is important to detect mats and deal with them in their early stages. Mats hold in moisture and warmth that provide a fertile environment for the development of a Hot Spot.

*Some professional groomers feel that a large percentage of hot spots begin with a simple matted hair issue.

Nail Trimming

Watch a dog Groomers clip a dog’s nails
Video courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA –

If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s toenails take her to your veterinarian or a reputable dog groomer. Even if you take your dog to a professional for nail trimming, inspect her feet regularly. She can pick up debris or cuts to her paws, splits or broken toenails. In-grown toenails will occur if not clipped frequently.

If you choose to trim your dog’s nails, you need nail clippers designed for dogs. An alternative to nail clippers is a Dremel tool.

Clip back or Dremel back to just before the “quick” or the blood supply to the toenail. If the quick is compromised, then the toenail will bleed, and cause pain. The quick is visible from the underside of the toenail on almost all toenails. On clear or white toenails, the quick can often be seen through the opaque toenail; it is red in color. Avoid cutting back to the quick. If the quick does bleed, put that toenail in some baking soda or corn starch to cause the blood to coagulate. You may need to apply mild pressure to stop the bleeding.

Cutting, Clipping and Shaving

If you are considering cutting, clip or shave your dog’s hair, it is best to take her to a reputable dog groomer for a couple of good reasons:

  • Pro dog groomer trimming dogs fur

    Professional Dog Groomer cutting a Yorkshire Terrier’s fur

    Dogs that shed should NOT be shaved. Dogs that shed have layers of different topcoats and undercoats. The undercoat serves as a layer of insulation which keeps warmth in and heat out. Dogs that shed and are shaved may remove her natural ability to regulate body temperature and natural insulation. Instead, a thorough brushing will have the coat and skin in healthy condition.

  • Dogs that do not shed need their hair shortened approximately every two months. If you choose to clip your dog, exercise caution! Go slowly and watch videos on proper clipping techniques so you do not accidentally clip your dog’s skin. If there is a cut or burn, immediately apply Banixx Pet Care Spray or Banixx Wound Care Cream for relief and healing on contact.


The safest places to bathe your dog are the sink, tub, walk-in shower, wash stall in a barn, or with a hose hooked to a utility sink for temperature control. Use warm water for bathing your dog as cold water can affect his core body temperature and cause hypothermia or other problems, even on a hot day.

Bathing your dog in bath tub

Dog getting a bath

Choose shampoo formulated for pets, like Banixx Medicated Shampoo; avoid products made for humans or autos.

To keep water out of his ears and avoid infection, gently insert cotton balls and be sure to remove them after his bath, water in a dog’s ears may lead to an ear infection. Thoroughly wet your dog’s coat and be careful around his eyes, ears and mouth. Massage the shampoo into his coat and skin and rinse thoroughly.

Brush your dog often and bathe occasionally. Bathing can remove the natural oils from your dog’s coat and skin. In contrast, brushing stimulates the skin and brings the oils up, working them through the hair in a healthy fashion.


dog grooming blow drying

Dog getting dried

Dogs naturally shake off excess water while bathing. If indoors, hold a large bath towel over your dog while he shakes. It is best to use a blow dryer specifically for dogs but if you only have a personal one, make sure to run it on a low setting because the high heat can burn the dog’s skin. Air drying is the best option at an appropriate level for the season (when it’s not too cold or hot).

Before & After

Doodle dog dirty needs a bath and grooming

Doodle before bathing and grooming

Doodle dog after he was groomed

Doodle after a bath and grooming.




Photo courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA –




Happy Grooming

Overall, take time to groom your dog and enjoy getting to know his or her preferences. If your dog is excitable and can’t relax, take it slowly and in shorter but more frequent intervals. In time, you and your dog will look forward to your daily sessions to bond and spend happy tail wagging time together!

We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or hot spots, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.

Are You Using Acupuncture as Part of Your Horse’s Wellness Campaign?

horse acupuncture

What Is Equine Acupuncture?

Equine Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medical treatment that dates back 2,000 years. It is a therapeutic method that uses stimulation of specific areas (points) on the horse’s body to promote balanced function and enhanced energy flow in your horse. Better balance and flow in your horse results in positive physiological changes.

Acupuncture points are locations on your horse that have special electrical and anatomical attributes. The points have lower electrical resistance and a higher electrical conductivity than the surrounding tissue. The points are found in areas of concentrated free nerve endings, small arteries, lymphatic vessels and mast cells.

Several stimulation techniques may be used to activate acupuncture points including needles, injection of the horse’s own blood or using other agents such as laser, electro-acupuncture and moxibustion. Moxibustion uses burned herb close to the acupuncture point or close to a needle at the point for stimulation.

How Does It Work?

The immense therapeutic results are achieved using a combination of mechanisms in the body. “A multimodal mechanism of action involving a cascade of events in the body” is the current description used to explain acupuncture. Participation from the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system are all required to achieve the desired physiological results.

horse acupuncture needle

How does it feel to the horse? Do the needles sting?? During acupuncture needle placement, many horses show subtle responses to the needle insertion at reactive points. The reactivity of the point varies in each patient and depends on the patient’s general sensitivity as well as the point. Some points are generally thought to be more reactive than others. Point reactivity is unique to the patient’s condition as was observed in our geriactric horse (see below). Once all the needles are placed, some horses relax, chew, body shake, yawn and/or sleep. Some horses experience a phenomenon called De-Chi translated as the “arrival of Chi.” Human patients describe this experience as tingling, warmth, pressure and so forth. Your horse may respond to similar sensations subtly or with bucking and excitement followed by licking/chewing and subsequently–a deep exhaling breath. Each patient is unique; the level of response may vary from horse to horse.

What Can It Be Used To Treat?

horse acupuncture workhorse acupuncture needle inserted“… Acupuncture can directly and indirectly treat many equine disorders. Using TCVM (Traditional Chinese veterinary Medicine) theory, acupuncture is unique in its ability to aid in prevention of illness and disease. It is also a non-invasive therapy with few contraindications and low incidence of side-effects” says Dr Nikki Byrd DVM who is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) and veterinary medical manipulation practitioner (CVMMP). “There are special considerations taken by veterinarians when selecting treatment points for a few conditions such as pregnancy. For example, some acupuncture points and point combinations are useful in inducing parturition, so those points would be avoided in early term pregnancy. A few of the most common uses of acupuncture in horses are:

  • Lameness
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Poor performance
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Inflammation
  • Immunomodulation
  • Reproductive disorders
  • GI disturbances
  • Stem cell release into circulation
  • Anhidrosis

Moreover, it’s a powerful adjunctive therapy in numerous illnesses and injuries to promote health and healing”

Acupuncture To Treat an Equine Sarcoid

Healing a Sarcoid with Acupuncture

Healing a Sarcoid with Acupuncture

Lyford presented as a healthy 10 year old Thoroughbred. All systems looked great apart from a suspected sarcoid on the inside of his right front knee. It precariously close to the cephalic vein and near the medial carpal joint (inside knee). Dr. Nikki Byrd DVM examined and treated with three treatments of acupuncture and a minor (one needle) follow up at conclusion over the course of two months. The sarcoid was approximately the size of a half dollar. See picture. Banixx spray was used am and pm to keep the area clean. The sarcoid “shed” or “peeled” after the second treatment revealing healthy pink tissue indicative of good blood flow and evidence of healing. During fly season Banixx Wound Care Cream protected the area. It acts like a medicated Band-aid and contains oil of peppermint that is a natural fly repellant.

As the treatments progressed, the sarcoid rapidly shrank. Two months later, hair was growing vigorously at the site, and the horse was pronounced healed. See picture. Today, there is absolutely no visible or tactile evidence of any Sarcoid.

Sarcoids do not commonly respond well to surgery. It seems to “disturb’ the adjacent tissue resulting in additional lesions and proliferation. Acupuncture is 100% non-invasive; it requires no “recovery time or stall rest and has no side effects. The “side effect” or additional benefit for this horse was improved jumping style!

Acupuncture To Aid a Geriatric Horse

Devlin presented as a 32 year old. quarter horse with chronic severe Recurrent Airway Obstruction (Heaves). Hydroxyzine and steroids had been administered for several months but were not providing a material improvement in his condition. Acupuncture was performed with the goal of improving his appetite, respiratory condition and overall quality of life. Acupuncture points were selected for his specific pattern (TCVM diagnosis) to support his respiratory system, nourish his constitution and support his geriatric condition. Dr Byrd commented ..”Measurable improvements were observed within one day despite Devlin’s age and advanced condition. His appetite doubled, interaction with his herd improved and his general demeanor was brighter.”

How To Find a Good Horse Acupuncturist?

Clearly, talking with your veterinarian about acupuncture is an excellent approach. If your veterinarian doesn’t offer acupuncture services, many general practitioners have excellent relationships with colleagues who can offer provide local referrals. Horse owners who cannot obtain referrals from their veterinarians can find a local CVA by searching online on the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society website [] or on the Chi University website []. Both websites also offer additional information about acupuncture and its application in veterinary medicine.

Dr Nikki Byrd DVM,CVSA, CVMMP, Byrd Equine, is located in Fair Bluff, N.C. but she practices from Kentucky to Florida

We hope you found this article helpful and if your horse ever gets any cuts, abrasions, scratches or white line disease, we hope you keep Banixx Horse & Pet Care in mind.

Why Is My Cat Peeing Blood?

cute Christmas cat

Imagine this: you’re scooping the litter box and you notice drops of blood mixed in with the typical clumps. Your eyes go wide. Your heart races a bit. You may even start to panic as you wonder about what this could mean for Whiskers and his health.

What’s even more alarming is how unalarmed your cat might be. While you’re sitting there panicking over what ultimately constitutes a medical emergency, your kitty might just be happy as can be, sunning themselves on their perch. So what does this mean? Should you worry if you find blood in your cat’s litter box? Should you wait and see?

Before we go any further, we feel the need to be right upfront about something: seeing blood in your cat’s urine should be enough to schedule a visit, sooner rather than later, with your vet. This is because blood in your cat’s urine can be due to a variety of issues, and you want to make sure you don’t leave anything serious undetected.

What is it Called When Cats Pee Blood?

When a cat’s urine contains traces of red blood cells, that cat can be diagnosed as having hematuria. When you can see flecks of black, brown, red, or pink in your cat’s urine with your naked eye, this is called gross hematuria (and we agree – it is gross). On the other hand, some forms of hematuria are only detectable with highly advanced equipment; this is called microscopic hematuria.

Causes of Blood in Cat Urine

It’s important to remember that blood in your cat’s urine is usually a symptom of an underlying condition, rather than being a condition in and of itself. But noticing bloody urine isn’t sufficient enough on its own to make a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, a variety of diseases and conditions can cause your cat to pee blood. That means, once it’s noticed, blood in your cat’s urine must be taken seriously and investigated by a veterinarian.

Urinary Tract Infections Causing Blood in Cat Pee

cat quarantineUrinary tract infections arise after bacteria makes its way from the urethra up into the bladder. The microorganisms then begin to reproduce within the urine that’s stored inside, leading to inflammation of the bladder and downstream in the urethra. This inflammation causes spasms in your cat’s urethra and makes them feel the urge to pee more often. The inflammation can also cause irritation in the lining of your cat’s bladder and urethra which can result in mild bleeding.

Luckily, urinary tract infections are a relatively uncommon ailment for most cats. They tend to affect mostly senior cats who are more than ten years old and cats who suffer from diabetes. The presence of certain small bladder stones, called uroliths, may also increase your cat’s risk of developing a urinary tract infection and subsequent irritation of the lining of the organs that facilitate urination.

Pandora Syndrome Causing Blood in Cat Pee

Much more common than urinary tract infections is Pandora Syndrome, otherwise known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis. Pandora Syndrome is the most common form of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which itself is a broad term used to describe a range of conditions that affect the lower portion of a cat’s lower urinary tract. As the name suggests, Pandora Syndrome has no easily identifiable single cause. Instead, it’s a term that’s used to describe varying degrees of inflammation of the bladder or urethra that may be caused by a number of different conditions.

It is important to note that Pandora Syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that it is only diagnosed once all other common or known causes of your cat’s symptoms have been eliminated. Unfortunately, Pandora Syndrome is often a chronic condition that waxes and wanes in severity, making it a very frustrating disorder for cats, pet owners, and veterinarians alike.

Physical Obstructions in the Urinary System Causing Blood in Cat Pee

diarrhea catMostly seen in male cats (though not exclusive to them by any means), urinary obstructions are a self-explanatory condition: it’s when something is literally preventing your cat from being able to effectively empty their bladder. Like with many diseases related to the urinary system, urinary obstructions can come from a variety of underlying issues including swelling caused by inflammation in the urinary tract, urethral plugs, urethral or bladder stones, urinary strictures, or even tumors.

However, make no mistake: a urinary obstruction is a life-threatening emergency that must be taken care of immediately. A cat with an untreated urinary obstruction is at significant risk of mortality as being unable to pee causes a buildup of urine within the kidneys. This buildup of waste products in the kidneys leads to kidney failure which can kill you cat. If you notice your cat is really straining to pee and only produces a little blood instead of…well, pee, take them to a vet immediately.

Bladder or Urethral Stones Causing Blood in Cat Pee

Stones can develop anywhere along a cat’s urinary tract but will most often form in their bladder or urethra. Stones form via the accumulation of minerals, crystals and other natural substances within an organ. Once they compact and form into a stone, these pesky little things may start rubbing against the walls of the bladder or urethra. As the stones move around in the bladder or down through the urethra, they can cause inflammation, irritation, and eventually bleeding.

Some cats who are afflicted by bladder or urethral stones may have blood continually appear and disappear in their urine. This can make it especially hard for their owners to know if something is wrong and whether or not their cat requires veterinary attention.

Malignant Kidney Neoplasm Causing Blood in Cat Pee

cat christmas treeNeoplasia is a catch-all term to describe a number of different abnormal growths that can occur in cats. These growths, caused by an uncontrolled division of cells, live longer and divide faster than normal cells. Neoplasms can be either benign or malignant, though it’s common to see the terms neoplasia, tumor, and cancer used interchangeably. The key difference between benign and malignant neoplasms is that benign neoplasms do not invade normal tissue, while malignant neoplasms destroy the tissue around them.

Neoplasms can occur anywhere in the body, and can even spread to distant regions (also known as metastases). When a neoplasm forms in a cat’s kidneys, it can cause a sudden and sharp reduction in kidney function. After it first forms, its blood vessels are fragile and may begin to lightly bleed. As it grows and invades surrounding tissues, it may grow into nearby blood vessels and the bleeding may worsen. This blood will work its way down from the kidneys into the bladder, where it will mix with urine being produced. Besides causing blood to appear in the urine, malignant neoplasms can also cause weight loss, difficulty breathing, loss of stamina, listlessness, and a loss of appetite.

How is Blood in Cat Urine Diagnosed?

The first step in obtaining a diagnosis for why your cat is peeing blood is a complete physical examination. During this procedure, your vet will examine your cat’s belly, listen to their heart and lungs, and inspect their genitals and urethra. They may also check for any physical abnormalities like bumps or tumors. The physical exam will also clue your vet into your cat’s body condition score and physical fitness levels.

quarantine cat with ringwormAfter the physical exam concludes, your vet will ask you a series of questions aimed at better understanding of your cat’s complete medical history, home life, and stress levels. The reason for this is that, like all animals, cats can respond psychosomatically to external stressors. If something at home is causing them to feel anxious, their stress can physically manifest itself in the form of urinary troubles.

Next, your vet may order a series of labs or tests to gain deeper insight into what could be causing blood to appear in your cat’s urine. These might include a urinalysis, urine culture, complete blood count (CBC), and imaging.

Urinalysis is a lab that’s used to discover if any crystals, bacteria, red blood cells, white blood cells, cancer cells, or even sugar are present in your cat’s urine. Likewise, your vet can use urine culture tests to uncover bacteria in your cat’s urine if they suspect that a bacterial infection is to blame for any blood in your cat’s pee. They may also conduct a complete blood count with a chemistry profile to gauge how well your cat’s organs are working and to detect signs of heart disease, immune system disorders, or other medical conditions that might cause bloody pee.

Imaging tests like x-rays or abdominal ultrasounds can also reveal whether bladder or urethral stones or neoplasms are to blame. Even if growths or tumors aren’t the cause, these imaging tests can still be useful in detecting the presence and severity of inflammation in organs involved in urination.

How is Blood in Cat Urine Treated?

The exact plan that will be prescribed to treat blood in your cat’s urine will be entirely dependent on what the underlying condition is. There is a broad spectrum of treatments that may be recommended, and they vary greatly in intensity. For example, a simple course of antibiotics might be prescribed if a bacterial infection is determined to be the cause of your cat’s bloody urine.

cat veterinarian bladderHowever, something like a urethral blockage will necessitate surgery in order to properly correct the issue. On the other hand, some severe-sounding conditions like bladder or urethral stones may be resolved with a special prescription food or medication that can dissolve the stones if they’re small enough. Larger stones, however, may still require surgical removal.

If a neoplasm is found to be the cause, your veterinarian will likely request to take a biopsy of the site to determine whether or not it is cancerous. If it’s determined to be benign, they will likely want to monitor the area for the foreseeable future so they can detect and react to any changes as they occur. If the site is cancerous, treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or palliative care.

Idiopathic causes for bloody urine like Pandora Syndrome, as well as generalized urinary disorders like Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, will likely yield a treatment plan focused on comfort management and lifestyle modification. Your vet may prescribe pain medication to deal with any discomfort caused by inflammation or irritation. They may also recommend using feline pheromone diffusers to aid with relaxation and minimize the chance for your cat to feel stressed in your household (cats are literally so self-absorbed that they calm down when they smell other cats, isn’t that funny?).

How to Care For Your Cat with Hematuria at Home

Once you’re back from the vet’s office, you’ll want to closely monitor your cat for the next couple of weeks. Keep them inside where you can keep an eye on them, and make sure that they’re eating properly and drinking plenty of fluids. Additionally, keep them on schedule with any medications that they’re prescribed. If the medication is an antibiotic, remember to make them finish the entire course regardless of whether or not they appear to be getting better.

Christmas CatThere are a number of environmental and routine changes that you might want to consider to limit your cat’s stress and to aid your cat’s recovery. For starters, make sure that your cat has plenty of choices in where they rest, play, drink water, eat, use the restroom, and sleep. This will minimize the chance that they come into conflict with other cats they live with. Likewise, be sure to provide adequate litter box space (conventional wisdom dictates that you have one for every cat you have, plus one) and clean them daily.

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating anyway: proper hydration is key in preventing urinary problems. Consider getting a circulating water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more water. And, if you haven’t already, you might want to think about switching your cat over to wet food. Not only will they appreciate the scrumptious treat, but these watery, canned delights can help prevent the formation of crystals that would develop into stones. Moreover, make sure to give your cat wet food that is formulated for their specific life stage to ensure they get all of the essential nutrients and vitamins they need.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that seeing blood in your cat’s urine is never a symptom to dismiss. Even if your cat is otherwise behaving just fine, you need to take them to a veterinarian. Cats are masters at hiding things that are wrong until it’s too late. Taking the time to rule out potential, treatable diseases can save your cat’s life and give you many years of great cat cuddles together!

We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.  For more information on how to keep your cat happy and healthy, head on over to our cat page.



How To Stop a Cat From Spraying Indoors

cat spraying

As cat owners, it can be difficult to remember that our beloved furballs have roots in the wild. Way back when, cats used to have to exclusively hunt for their food. As competition developed between them, cats eventually learned that they could claim hunting territory by marking surfaces with their urine.

While we can appreciate the genius of this idea, it gets remarkably less cool when it starts happening in our houses. We don’t know about you, but we want to minimize the amount of cat pee we have to smell at any given point in time. So, when you realize that Whiskers is spraying all over your furniture, what are you supposed to do?

What is Cat Spraying?

cat bedBefore trying to understand why cats spray or how to stop spraying, you first need to ask whether or not your cat is actually spraying or just urinating. It seems like a silly distinction (they’re both pee, after all) but it’s an important one to make because a cat spraying problem has distinct causes that dictate how it should be treated.

Spraying is when a cat ejects a small amount of urine onto a vertical surface, such as a wall, table leg, couch, curtains, or other areas of your household. When a cat decides to spray, they’ll stand up, raise their tail, shake, back up, and spray the targeted surface. They may even happily rub the surface with their behinds if they’re feeling extra spry. Hoo-ray! 😑

This is different from regular urination, which is when the cat squats down in a selected area and voids their bladder with a steady, constant stream of urine.

Why Do Cats Spray?

There are several things that might cause a cat to spray. These range from spraying to exert territorial control, to using spraying as a communication method, or is the result of an underlying medical condition that induces spraying. Regardless of what is causing it, getting to the root of the issue is the first step in effectively stopping the behavior from continuing.

Cat Spraying as a Form of Territorial Control

Any cat lover knows that, while adorable, cats are control freaks. They find all sorts of little, loveable ways to show you that they’re in charge. But having such large desires for control means that cats don’t have an innate mechanism to handle face-to-face disputes with other cats in their vicinity.

cat in rainAccordingly, what do they do when they feel conflict or anxiety caused by the presence of other cats? They may deal with it by staying as far apart from one another as possible! And, instead of running the risk of being caught in a potentially dangerous cat fight, cats may communicate indirectly with one another via messages– written in urine – which is pretty catty behavior, honestly.

By marking a surface in urine, a cat can communicate to other cats nearby that the marked area/surface is theirs, it’s been theirs for X amount of time, and this is when nearby cats can expect to see them again. In essence, it’s like a much smellier way of puffing out their adorable little chests to competing cats in the house or neighborhood.

Cat Spraying as a Form of Communication

Cats aren’t limited to only being able to communicate territorial feelings through their pee. Some cats may begin spraying as a response to the introduction of any number of environmental stressors. Environmental stressors that can induce spraying include: a new animal in the home; a change to your working hours; boredom with its feeding or playing regimen; construction going on in or outside; or they may just feel generally stressed out! But, when environmental stressors are the cause, the cat who’s spraying isn’t trying to communicate with other cats; they’re trying to communicate with you! in other words, they are trying to get the attention of the human who can actually help them change up their environment! Of course, we’d probably prefer that they would just meow differently. But —that’s just us.

Additionally, cats can use urine spraying to indicate to other cats that they’re looking for a mate. How very romantic! The distinctive and acrid odor of adult male cat urine tells any potential lovers nearby “Hey! I’m looking for a good time!”. After taking a good whiff, an adult female cat will be able to identify that scent on the sprayer’s body and decide whether or not they want to participate/mate.

Cat Spraying Caused by Medical Conditions

As one can imagine, any medical conditions that might cause a cat to spray are likely to concern the organs that facilitate urination; namely the bladder and the urinary tract.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases That Can Cause Spraying

cat urinationA very common medical condition that can cause cat spraying is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). This is a broad term that’s used to describe a number of urinary tract disorders and conditions that affect the urinary organs.

Besides spraying, cats who have any disorder related to FLUTD may present the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty or pain while urinating
  • Straining while urinating
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Urinating in small amounts
  • Crying out in pain while urinating
  • Excessive licking of the genitals
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Urinating in odd places such as on the floor or on furniture
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability (more so than usual)
  • Vomiting
  • Hard, distended abdomen

Idiopathic Cystitis in Cats

The most common form of FLUTD is idiopathic cat cystitis, which is a diagnosis of exclusion used to describe generalized inflammation of the bladder. The name idiopathic indicates that this condition can arise spontaneously and without any singular, traceable cause. This is partially because any number of inflammatory conditions affecting a cat’s urinary tract or bladder can produce the same symptoms. Oftentimes, young and old cats are affected by idiopathic cystitis as a psychosomatic response to being unable to handle stress rather than as a result of underlying medical troubles. Unfortunately, idiopathic cystitis is often a recurring problem for cats, which makes it a very frustrating condition for the pet, owner, and veterinarian alike.

Bladder Stones in Cats

Cat Ringworm TestimonialCats who suffer from bladder stones may also begin spraying. Bladder stones are small deposits of minerals, crystals and other substances that build up in your cat’s bladder. After accumulating, these materials can begin to rub against their bladder walls and cause inflammation. Over time, this inflammation can cause immense discomfort which can force your cat to adjust their urinary behavior, resulting in spraying.

Some unlucky cats with this form of FLUTD may even have proteins and blood leak from their inflamed bladder and accumulate in their urethra, resulting in a blockage. These blockages prevent them from peeing altogether and present a life-threatening complication which must be treated immediately by a vet.

Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

Typically affecting senior cats who are more than ten years old and diabetic cats, urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that makes its way up the urethra and into the bladder. Once inside the bladder, these microorganisms begin to interact with and reproduce inside of the urine that’s stored in the bladder, causing infection and inflammation. The presence of certain small bladder stones, called uroliths, may increase the risk of your cat developing a urinary tract infection. Besides being uncomfortable for your kitty, the resulting infection can also induce spraying.

How to Stop Cat Spraying

In order to effectively stop your cat from spraying, you’ll need to first determine what’s causing them to spray in the first place.

Neutering Your Cat to Stop Spraying

cat not peeing in litter boxFirst things first: if you haven’t already done so, get your cat neutered. The earlier the better. While urine marking isn’t a behavior that’s exclusive to unneutered male cats, they have the most (romantic) reason to engage in the behavior of all their feline counterparts. By removing the romantic reason why your cat might spray urine via neutering your male cat – you cut down on the likelihood of the behavior ever even occurring. Makes pretty good sense, right?

Getting Medical Conditions Treated to Stop Cat Spraying

If your cat is already neutered, the next step is to determine if there are any medical conditions that may be causing your cat to spray. If you suspect that a disorder affecting the urinary tract, the bladder, or kidney may be to blame, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Once you’re at the vet’s office, they’ll likely begin by conducting a full physical exam. The purpose of this exam is to check for any abnormalities on their body function, as well as to determine their body condition score and physical fitness.

After the physical exam is complete, your vet may order a series of tests or labs such as a urinalysis, urine culture, complete blood count (CBC), or imaging tests. A urinalysis will be used to uncover crystals, bacteria, or blood that are present in the urine. A urine culture, on the other hand, will expose specific bacteria that may be infecting your cat’s urinary tract or bladder. A complete blood count will tell your vet how well your cat’s organs are functioning and help them determine if they’re likely to be suffering from diseases such as chronic kidney disease or diabetes. Imaging provided by procedures such as X-rays or ultrasounds can provide critical insight into whether blockages in the kidney, bladder, or urethra are causing the problem.

quarantine cat with ringwormIf an underlying medical condition is determined to be the cause of your cat’s spraying, your vet will craft a specific treatment plan aimed at eliminating the condition. The kinds of treatments that may be recommended depend entirely on what the cause is determined to be. Potential treatments may range from something as simple as an antibiotic course to treat a urinary tract infection all the way to surgery for urethral blockages. Additionally, your veterinarian may recommend certain diet or lifestyle changes, such as exercising or going on a special low-calcium diet, to limit the potential for recurring urinary or bladder irritation. Many cat foods are especially formulated to deal with cats that are prone to various FLUTD conditions.

Other Methods to Stop Cat Spraying

If no medical condition is determined to be the cause of your cat’s spraying, then environmental conditions and external stressors must be considered. If your cat has already begun spraying, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the chance of recurrence.

The first step is to keep your cat as far away as possible from the area they sprayed on. Next, you’ll want to vigorously clean the area using a quality enzymatic, bio-based cleaner to eliminate leftover urine from the space. And don’t be afraid to really get in there and scrub. You don’t want to leave a single trace of urine for your cat to sniff out. If they catch a whiff of the spot, they may be encouraged to spray there again. But do remember: do not use ammonia-based cleaners. Urine is partially composed of ammonia, so using an ammonia-based cleaner may instead attract more attention to a spot instead of deterring a cat.

treatment for cuterebraOn the subject of cleaning, be sure to keep your cats’ litter boxes sparkling clean. In the words of Dr. Cathy Lund of River Valley Veterinary Services, you should “make the litter box like the Ritz Carlton”. (PetMD) This is because a dirty or unkempt litter box can make it an unattractive spot for your cat to do their business. This then causes them to seek out other areas to do their business – such as your curtains, couch, dirty laundry, your bed and more!

After cleaning the sprayed surfaces and tidying up your litter box, you’ll need to determine if your cat is anxious due to other cats in the house or animals outside.

If the latter, close the blinds or shades to reduce the chance of your cat seeing other animals. If the problem persists, you may have to move your cat’s perching areas away from the window (though we know she’ll miss the view). Also, if you notice another cat mozying into your yard from time to time, shoo it away and out of your yard. If you recognize it as a neighbor’s cat, diplomatically let them know that their cat is causing your cat to feel anxious.

If your other cats are causing one of their siblings to spray, you should aim to minimize the chance for conflict between them. In general, the mantra of “More cats, More space” is a good rule-of-thumb to follow.

For example, if there are too few litter boxes for each cat to use, this may cause silent conflict which can lead to spraying. Make sure to have one litter box in your house for each cat you have, plus one more. Be sure to place any additional litter boxes in spots by where the marking cat spends the majority of his time. It’s also a really good idea to place the litter boxes away from food bowls, water dishes, or other areas that might spark territorial behavior.

In that same vein, making multiple perching areas available ensures that all your cats have their own spaces to rest. Cats also should also have multiple sources of food, water, and things to keep their minds busy like toys or scratch posts with a little catnip sprinkled on it from time to time, as well as multiple ways to access them. Moreover, don’t forget to spread the love! Each of your kitties craves a certain amount of affection and attention from you. Lay the snuggles on thick with your cuddliest cats and give your more aloof buddies some good head scratches. And play with them, too! My cat loves to play hide-and-seek with me—honestly!

Finally, if your cat’s spraying is caused by general anxiety, you may want to consider bolstering all of the efforts above with an anti-anxiety medication treatment plan. You may, with your vet’s help, want to administer supplements such as L-theanine, whey protein, or colostrum to calm your cat’s nerves. It’s also been shown that spraying certain pheromones within your cat’s living spaces may help them feel safer and more secure. Pheromones are a variety of a chemical communication between members of a particular species. The vomeronasal organ, found between your cat’s nose and mouth, receives pheromones. Jacqui Neilson, DVM, DACVB, owner of the Animal Behavior Clinic (Portland, OR) says “certain pheromones, called calming or appeasing pheromones, can sometimes help relieve stressed pets. Pet pheromone products are said to mimic natural cat or dog pheromones and come in various forms, including sprays, plug-in diffusers, wipes, and collars.”. These are just some ideas; be sure to involve your Vet in any of these treatment options.

We hope you found this article helpful and if your dog ever gets any cuts, abrasions, ear infections or ringworm, we hope you keep Banixx Pet Care in mind.



How Much Weight Can Horses Carry?

horse weight

When we think of horses, we imagine large and powerful animals that are awe inspiring in their resilience and their endurance.

Heck, we call individuals who are always plowing ahead with their goals “work horses”. It might seem natural to assume horses are a sort of super animal that can always bear more and more weight without issue.

This assumption, however, is wrong. Each horse has their own upper limit to how much weight they should ever be expected to carry and you, as their owner, need to be able to recognize what that level is and when they’ve reached it.

Why Should We Limit How Much Weight Horses Carry?

Like humans, horses (and their bodies) react negatively to being put under too much pressure or weight. Horses who carry more weight than they can comfortably handle can be faced with a number of short- and long-term consequences including rub-sores from the saddle, strained and/or inflamed muscles, pinched nerves, swayback, or even arthritis. A horse tasked with suddenly carrying lots of weight can also quickly begin to feel uncomfortable and forget its training, which can be a potentially dangerous situation for the horse and her rider.

weight of horseThe secondary health effects that too much added weight has on your horse can be significant. Researchers at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona found that horses who trotted on a flat-surfaced treadmill at different speeds – 5.05 miles per hour, 7.4 miles per hour, or 10 miles per hour – with weights on that were equivalent to 19% of their bodyweight displayed an average increase in metabolic rate of 17.6% at all speeds. Over time, this increase in metabolism in response to increased weight burden can lead to a need for increased calories and nutrition.

Those same researchers found that horses bearing a load equivalent to 19% of their bodyweight moved an average of 6% slower than they did without weights added. They also found that the same load weight caused horses to shorten their strides, leave their feet on the ground for longer, and increase their step length with each stride. Horses are forced to make these adjustments to reduce the impact of forces on their individual limbs throughout their gait, which can cause damage in the form of microfractures over time.

The researchers also noted the magnitude of forces applied to a horse’s individual limbs during the heavy-weight portion of the study were significantly higher than the observed magnitude of forces at the lower weight and no weight portion. This could indicate that, even with proper adjustment, a horse’s body can still be at risk of developing some forms of microdamage from carrying too much added weight. Likewise, a 2008 study completed by Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute found that horses who carried more than 20% of their body weight displayed noticeably faster breathing and higher heart rates during the study, as well as substantially tighter muscles the day after, than horses who carried lighter loads.

In short, we ought to limit the amount of weight a horse can carry so we can keep them comfortably riding and working for as long as possible.

How Much Weight Can Horses Carry?

horse in snowAs with most questions regarding the health and safety of our hoofed partners, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of “How much weight can a horse carry?”. In reality, determining the ideal amount of weight for your horse to carry depends on a variety of factors.

That being said, a generally accepted rule of thumb is that a horse’s weight-carrying capacity should never be greater than approximately 20% of their bodyweight. This means that a 1,000 pound horse, for example, should never be expected to bear more than 200 pounds of weight on their back.

What Affects How Much Weight a Horse Can Carry?

There is a combination of many variables that determine how much weight a horse will be able to comfortably carry.


Conformation is the horse’s outline as dictated by its bone and muscle structure. More specifically, a horse’s conformation is determined by the length of its bones, the angles of its joints, and the overall proportions and balance of its build. Researchers have found that horses with greater loin width and cannon bone (CB) circumference had a higher weight carrying capacity on average than horses with lower loin widths and CB circumference.

weight of horse in snowIn their research, they compared the carrying capacity of Icelandic horses and Arabian horses. They found that Icelandic horses, with their compact build and thick cannon bones, were able to work aerobically up until they carried more than 23% of their body weight. As a result of their increased ability to use reserved energy and oxygen, the Icelandic horses displayed lower levels of lactic acid buildup.

This led to less muscle soreness and fatigue than that displayed by the lankier Arabian horses, who could not work aerobically when carrying up to 20% of their body weight. They concluded that horses with short, well-muscled backs and thick cannon bones were more likely to be able to capably carry weight that amounted to more than 20% of their body weight than horses with narrow backs or smaller cannon bones.

Dr. Deb Bennett, an equine anatomist and conformation analyst, has even provided her conformation “wish-list” for weight bearing to Path International. This list attempts to outline what traits a horse should have to comfortably and safely bear additional weight. It reads as follows:

  • An excellent loin coupling (the span from the last rib to the hip) – broad, short, smooth, and strong, yet flexible for rounding up the back in order to oppose and neutralize the weight of the rider.
  • The circumference about the loin and groin should be about the same as the heart-girth;
  • A short to medium-length back;
  • A bone-tendon circumference (measured just below the knee) of 8 inches or more per 1000 lbs. of weight. The heavier the horse (or horse + rider + tack) the more bone density the horse needs in order to stay sound;
  • A neck set high on the shoulder, with a shallow vertebral curve at the base of the neck;
  • Moderately high withers, with a peak that lies well behind the horse’s elbows;
  • A pelvis that constitutes at least 30% of the body length and slopes from 18-22 degrees;
  • A total body weight of less than 1,450 pounds (658 kg).

General Health and Fitness

horse snowGenerally speaking, healthier horses are more capable of carrying additional weight than horses who are unhealthy. Unfit or unbalanced horses often lack the strength or agility to adequately lift their back and support additional weight while simultaneously maintaining balance. Horses who are obese (defined as having a body condition score of over 8) may even struggle to carry up to the recommended weight limit of 20% of their body weight. In fact, a study of 366 horses concluded that body condition score was more important in determining whether or not a horse could finish their assigned task than the weight of its rider and tack.

Horses with more developed and muscular toplines are less likely to exhibit signs of muscle soreness or tightness after carrying weight. Using the guidelines prepared by a research team at the Cargill Animal Nutrition Innovation Center, we can define a horse with an ideal topline as displaying a full and rounded athletic appearance without any sunken-in areas. The Horse Feed Blog has more information on how to evaluate your horse’s topline.

A number of physical ailments and disorders can reduce a horse’s total weight carrying capacity. Horses who have a history of chronic lameness or musculoskeletal issues (especially those involving the back) should never be expected to carry as much weight as a healthy horse. Horses who have been out of work for an extended period of time or who have had insufficient conditioning will have a harder time carrying weight than horses that are continuously active.

Very young and very old horses will also be less able to comfortably carry additional weight than their mature, more athletic counterparts. This makes sense, as young horses’ bones are still developing. On the other hand, older horses have a lifetime of work and play behind them, which can make their bones a bit more fragile or even arthritic, both of which can make them susceptible to damage from added weight. Old horses may also have issues with balancing effectively, so it’s important to go easy on them.

Hoof Health

The health of a horse’s hoof cannot be understated when it comes to determining how much weight they can carry. Without healthy hooves, a horse can’t carry anything – not even itself! Be sure to continually check your horse’s hooves for signs of any injury, infection, or abscesses. If you notice signs of any of the above, schedule a visit with your farrier or equine veterinarian right away.

banixx horse spray on thrushIf you notice evidence of certain fungal or bacterial infection like white line disease in your horse’s hoof, don’t horse around! Act quickly and apply Banixx to the affected area to disinfect it and provide instant no-sting, no-odor relief that’s free from steroids or anti-biotics. Then, remember to follow up with your local farrier to evaluate and treat the underlying cause for infection.

Horses should have their hooves routinely trimmed to ensure that they’re walking on a balanced, flat surface at all times. If your horse seems to constantly wear down their his hooves, consider asking a quality farrier to craft protective shoes or boots.

When looking for a farrier, you want to choose someone who understands the necessity of minimizing unnecessary stress on your horse’s joints and who will keep your horse’s hooves properly trimmed and cared for. The more well-cared-for your horse’s hooves, the better chance they have at being able to safely and comfortably carry additional weight for longer periods of time.

Rider and Horse Experience

horse wreathWhile this may seem less important than, say, rider weight, it’s worth remembering just how heavy and awkward an inexperienced rider can feel to a horse. New riders often don’t know how to carry their own weight and this leaves the horse confused as to how to effectively compensate. As a result of the added work they must do to keep the rider on top, the horse may quickly fatigue and become unable to comfortably continue carrying the added weight.

However, as riders get more experience, they grow to understand how to effectively shift and balance their weight once they’re in motion. Until they learn how to do this, they’re about as graceful and light on a horse’s back as a sack of potatoes.

Likewise, a horse that doesn’t have much experience with riders or extra loads on their back should be given lighter weights to start out with. They need time to develop the muscles on their back that allow them to comfortably carry riders or extra weight.

Type and Intensity of Work

horses carrying people weightThe type and intensity level of the work you expect your horse to do both play into how much weight you should expect them to be able to carry. For example, racehorses should only be expected to hold very lightweight saddles and an experienced jockey who moves in motion with the horse in order to reduce drag or feelings of unnecessary weight on their back.

Certain types of workhorses, however, are often perfectly capable of bearing near 20% of their body weight for short periods of time. However, you should aim to keep their loads relatively light if you’re going to work them constantly. Even for the beefiest horses, extended heavy load bearing can still result in negative health consequences down the line.

Additionally, horses that work on rough terrain or are required to complete their work at increased speeds will likely be able to carry less weight. In other words, don’t make a horse’s work harder than it needs to be. That makes sense, right? Would you want to help someone move apartments if they required you wear ankle weights and run the whole time? Probably not!

How Can I Tell My Horse is Carrying Too Much Weight?

Luckily, our horses’ bodies will give us several indicators that they’re probably carrying too much weight for it to be comfortable or safe. For example, horses who are carrying too much weight may have a much faster heart beat after they’ve completed work or a ride.

horse costHorses who are carrying too much weight may also display an unusual degree of muscle soreness, tightness, or stiffness a few hours after they carried the load. Horses who bear heavy weight might begin to breathe very rapidly or sweat more after the fact. In some cases, horses may begin to show signs of fatigue such as lethargy, panting, or loss of muscle coordination. In these instances, the horse may literally become incapable of continuing their task.

If your horse begins displaying any of the above symptoms while working or carrying a rider, immediately unpack some of their load or have the rider dismount and see if their symptoms improve. If they do, then the added weight is likely the culprit. If their symptoms do not improve, they may be the result of an underlying condition that should be examined by an equine veterinarian.

We know that you just want to keep your horse happy and healthy. We hope you found this article helpful and if your horse ever gets any cuts, abrasions, scratches or white line disease, we hope you keep Banixx Horse & Pet Care in mind.


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Why Is My Cat Peeing So Much?

cat peeing toilet

With temperatures outside beginning to steadily drop, we know better than anyone that the best antidote to wintertime chills is to pour some coffee, find a good book, and snuggle up with our cats for a purr-fect day inside.

But while you’re thrilled to have Puss inside with you providing much-needed kitty love, you may realize one day that you’re spending a lot more time scooping litter than normal.

And if you notice that they’re either at the litter box or coming back from the litter box every time you see them, you may find yourself wondering: “What the heck is going on?! Why is my cat peeing so much?!”

But, before we answer that question, we have to attempt to answer one thing first: how much is too much?

How Much Pee Should Cats Produce?

cat peeing litter boxIt’s an odd thing to consider, but every living thing with a bladder has a “normal” amount of urine that they produce in a given day. When an organism produces more urine than normal, this is called polyuria.

But how much urine should a cat be producing in a single day, anyway?

Well, according to a study conducted by Dr. Delmar R. Finco at the University of Georgia’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, the average cat produces somewhere between 10 and 20 milliliters per kilogram of body weight in a 24 hour period.

This is a little less than the amount proposed by conventional wisdom, which states that cats produce an average of 28 milliliters per kilogram of bodyweight every 24 hours. Using these figures, this means that a 10 pound cat should produce roughly between a quarter-cup and a half-cup of urine per day.

How Often Should Cats Pee?

cat litter box problemsHowever, unlike when we evaluate the amount of urine a cat should produce, there’s not necessarily a “normal” amount of times a cat should excuse themselves to go use the “little kitten’s room”.

The amount of water they tend to drink, the average amount of wet food they consume, the heat and humidity of the climate they live in, their size, their age, and so many other factors influence the average frequency with which they’ll tinkle.

With that in mind, it’s important for pet owners to have a rough idea of both how much their cat tends to drink in a day and how often they use their litter box. This is because you want to be able to quickly pick up on changes to your cat’s thirst patterns and subsequent urinary habits, as changes in either can be indicative of more serious underlying health concerns.

How To Measure a Cat’s Daily Water Intake

Measuring your cat’s daily water intake can offer clues as to whether or not they’re experiencing a sharp increase in thirst levels, otherwise known as polydipsia. For cats who drink from bowls, this can be done easily.

cat drinks waterPour a standard cup of water from a measuring cup (equivalent to roughly 237 millimeters) into their water dish at the beginning of the day. At the end of the day, pour the remaining water from their dish back into the measuring cup. You’ll want to see that your cat has consumed between 20 and 30 milliliters of water per pound of body weight throughout the day. Remember that the key word here is “consume” and not “drink”. Your cat is capable of filling their daily water intake needs through other sources such as wet food. Using the numbers above, a cat who weighs eight pounds may drink the entire cup of water throughout the day or leave up to one-third of it remaining, depending on if they got adequate hydration from other sources.

For cats who prefer to drink their water from running sources like a spigot, measuring their daily water intake becomes a bit more challenging. You may have to rely on just keeping an eye on them throughout the day and trying to compare how often they’re drinking from the tap against how often they’d normally do that. If it seems like they’re climbing up to the kitchen counter every time you look at them, they may be over-hydrating and there may be an underlying cause.

How to Measure a Cat’s Daily Urine Production

Measuring your cat’s daily urine production relies less on precise measurement and more on your familiarity with your cat’s average urine clumps in their litter box. Next time you go to scoop your cat’s litter, you’ll want to evaluate all the…. stuff that they left you (yuck) for size, weight, and number.

If any of these factors present in significantly different ways than you’d expect – such as the clumps feeling much heavier than normal, there being less clumps than normal, etc – this may indicate that there have been changes to how much urine your cat is producing.

What Medical Conditions Cause Excessive Urination in Cats?

treatment for cuterebraJust like with humans, the amount that cats pee and the frequency with which they pee can be affected by a variety of health conditions or disorders. In most instances, excessive urination in cats is a product of their body having a difficult time regulating urine formation and expulsion. This can be caused by a number of medical conditions that range in severity and seriousness.


For some cats, excessive urination is caused by a condition known as hypterthyroidism. This is caused by their thyroid glands, located around their neck, producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. Normally they help regulate your cat’s normal bodily processes. However, an excessive production of thyroid hormones can increase your cat’s metabolism and begin to negatively affect the function of critical organs including the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

When the kidneys become impacted by hyperthyroidism, they can begin to have difficulty concentrating urine. This results in the kidneys flushing water out of the system with greater frequency, which leads to a subsequent increase in thirst levels to compensate for the lost hydration.


fat catDiabetes is a most common medical condition in humans and cats alike that deals with the body’s production of and response to insulin: a crucial hormone for regulating blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes: Type-1 and Type-2. Type-1 diabetics are afflicted by a pancreas that is incapable of producing an adequate amount of insulin. Type-2 diabetics, on the other hand, have bodies that do not naturally respond to insulin.

In both cases, the lack of insulin response in the body poses an enormous amount of work for the kidneys to process the excess sugar. As a result, the leftover glucose that the kidneys couldn’t process is siphoned out of the body through urine. Unfortunately, this also leads to the loss of other valuable, hydrating fluids. This can create a vicious cycle where diabetic cats begin to urinate more only to feel more progressively more parched, followed by more and more frequent urination.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats is a self-explanatory condition: it’s the gradual decline in kidney function over the course of a cat’s life. This is a very serious medical condition, as kidneys carry the responsibilities of filtering the blood, eliminating waste, balancing electrolytes, producing certain hormones, and maintaining the balance of water within the body. When they begin to break down, the effectiveness of these vital functions decreases as well.

And while it primarily affects older cats, cats of any age can be affected by CKD in either or both of their kidneys. Cats can begin to present a variety of clinical signs of CKD as the disease progresses. They may begin to appear lethargic, unkempt, or thinner as waste products and other compounds continue to accumulate in the bloodstream. More relevant to the current discussion is the increased urination that CKD can cause. Besides increasing the amount you spend on cat litter, excessive urination can cause your feline friend to miss out on several important vitamins and minerals that are present in their pee.

Urinary Tract Disorders

woman finds blood in cat stoolDr. Arnon Gal, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Urbana, notes that urinary tract disorders like feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) are a very common problem in cats. Cats who are frequently voiding small amounts of pee may be suffering from some form of inflammation or infection of their urinary tract. In some cases, this may be caused by certain microorganisms which induce the stimulation of muscle fibers in their urinary tract and force those structures to contract, leading to inflammation. According to Dr. Gal, however, urinary tract infections in cats tend to be stress-induced.

You should treat cases where your cat is attempting and seemingly failing to adequately dispense urine as a medical emergency. If your cat is straining or even just visibly uncomfortable while using the restroom, take them to get evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Bladder Stones

Okay, you got us. Bladder stones do the exact opposite of make your cat pee excessively, but they’re still an important medical complication that you need to be made aware of. And, hey, they still affect how your cat pees. So we’re not too far off topic!

A bladder stone, or bladder blockage, is a hard, rock-like crystal that can get caught in the neck of your cat’s bladder. They’re the product of certain minerals crystallizing and getting stuck together with mucus that it interacts with as they move through your cat’s body. For some cats, developing bladder stones only takes a few weeks, while other cats’ bodies may take months to form them. The exact cause of bladder stone development is dependent on a number of factors including the pH of your cat’s urine, the presence of certain proteins within the urine, and the concentration of water in their urine

Regardless of why or how fast they formed, a blockage like this is a medical emergency. Stones and blockages can lead to your cat’s bladder becoming distended and eventually their kidneys may begin to fail. If you see blood in your cat’s urine or you witness them straining to urinate, get them to a veterinarian to be checked out right away.

How to Treat Excessive Urination in Cats

cat urinationExcessive urination in cats must be treated on a case-by-case basis, with the exact course of treatment depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Any changes you notice in your cat’s urination habits should be immediately investigated by a veterinarian.

Once you get to the vet’s office, they’ll begin a thorough physical examination. During this exam, your veterinarian will ask you a bunch of questions to better understand your cat’s diet, activity levels, behaviors, habits, thirst, and general lifestyle. Your vet will also check your cat’s body to look for signs of any physical deformity or abnormality. Additionally, they’ll want to check your cat’s body condition and muscle condition to look for signs of proper weight control and muscular maintenance. Your vet may also order labs such as a urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC), biochemical screen, or a urine culture to uncover any hidden causes of your cat’s inappropriate urination.

A complete blood count will check for signs of infection or inflammation by evaluating your cat’s blood chemistry, while a biochemical screen will attempt to determine how well your cat’s organs are functioning. The urinalysis lab will offer an in-depth look at your cat’s kidney’s ability to concentrate urine and will help your vet determine if an underlying kidney infection is to blame. Finally, the urine culture will allow your vet to rule out an underlying bacterial infection in your cat’s urinary tract. Any underlying conditions that are determined to be causing changes in your cat’s urinary behaviors will dictate the recommended treatment plan.

A cat with a urinary tract infection may be prescribed an antibiotic to rid its body of all microorganisms. Other medications may be prescribed in conjunction with antibiotics for pain or inflammation management. Your vet may also recommend that you give your cat more wet food to increase their daily water intake. They might also recommend that you think of ways to keep your cat’s stress levels low, such as by giving them more head scratches!

Bladder stones, on other hand, may require more invasive treatment such as surgery in order to remove any obstructions. Your vet may follow up surgical procedures with a specialty, recovery-focused diet that’ll help ensure your kitty won’t have to deal with bladder stones again. Some cats are lucky enough to find relief from bladder stones by having a catheter passed through their urethra… though we’re not sure if “lucky” is the most apt word, come to think of it.

A condition that will require a much more long-term treatment plan is diabetes. Just like with humans, a diabetes diagnosis necessitates a concoction of simultaneous treatment components including medications, diet modifications, increased exercise levels, and emotional support. The goal in an effective diabetes treatment plan should be to manage your cat’s blood sugar levels and increase their cells’ utilization of glucose with daily injections of insulin.

quarantine cat with ringwormHowever, the ideal treatment plan for a number of potential diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, must be tailored for the extent of the disease and its cause. Cats whose kidneys are only slightly damaged as a result of an infection, for example, should be able to avoid any long-term damage by completing an antibiotics course. Additionally, some cats may find relief by taking medications that balance out low potassium levels or high calcium levels in their blood. On the other hand, cats with advanced stages of the disease may have to switch to a kidney-friendly diet, take anti-nausea medications, or even consider kidney transplantation.

A cat whose excessive urination is caused by hyperthyroidism has a number of treatment options at their disposal. Daily antithyroid medication, such as Methimazole, works to inhibit the formation and coupling of iodotyrosine in thyroglobulin and reduce thyroid hormone production levels over a course of two months. Unfortunately, somewhere between 10% and 15% of cats who take this sort of medication may experience a host of unpleasant side effects including loss of appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. Some cats with hyperthyroidism may even undergo surgery to remove the thyroid gland if it’s found that a tumor is causing their thyroid troubles. Luckily, most cats who undergo this procedure have few complications.

Regardless of what’s causing them to rush to the litter box so often, one thing is for sure: you need to take them to a veterinarian if you want them to get better.

And you should visit our cat page to stay up-to-date with information on how to keep your pointy-eared friends happy and healthy!