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      Interesting Cases

      Check out some of these interesting cases!


      There are many causes of itching in dogs and cats; fleas are but one of those causes. Fleas are small dark brown bugs that run through the fur. They have long jumping legs and can leap great distances when placed on a hard surface like a table. The best way to find fleas on your pet is to run a flea comb through their hair. The teeth of the comb are close together, and the fleas don’t fit between them, so they are lifted out and can be seen.

      The arrow in the first featured photo points to a flea next to the flea comb that caught it.

      Below are close-ups of fleas. You can see that they are bugs with moving legs. In life, they jump and leap.

      Live fleas can be hard to find in some cases, but fleas can be diagnosed by the presence of “flea dirt” in the hair coat. Fleas bite and suck blood. Their droppings are small granules of black, digested blood that look like ground pepper. This so-called “flea dirt” is found in the fur next to the skin instead of being on the tips of the hair like regular dirt. The best place to find it is the rump, right over the hips. Flea dirt can be differentiated from regular dirt by placing it on a wet, white paper towel and smearing it. True flea dirt makes a reddish-brown smear. The photo is an extreme example of flea dirt from a heavy infestation, and it was collected with a flea comb.

      So you want a long-haired dog?

      Here’s a Malamute with a fairly typical shedding of the coat that is seen every spring. Note that the black garbage bag, garbage can, and floor are all full of big handfuls of hair, and yet the dog’s coat isn’t even slightly thin. We hope the owner has a good vacuum cleaner!

      Toenail problems caused by owner inattention

      One of the responsibilities of owning a dog is to perform basic grooming, including toenail clipping when needed. Some dogs have long fur covering the nails, and some owners forget to check those nails regularly—all three of these dogs in the photos presented for limping. The dog in the first photo had one nail grown so long it formed a corkscrew shape, got snagged in the carpet, and was pulled partially off, causing bleeding and pain. The same thing happened to the dog in the second photo. This nail had to be removed and measured 1 5/8 inches along the outer curve. That owner was shocked how long the nails were! The dog in the third photo had an overgrown dewclaw. This is the first toe that is like a human thumb. It is a little way up the leg, and as such, the nail doesn’t rub on the ground and grows longer than the other nails. This one grew in a circle and grew right into the pad, causing a hole. The sad thing is that this wasn’t the first time this happened in this dog. Be sure you cut your dog’s nails regularly or have a groomer do it if you can’t.