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PETS

Q: I always seem to have a hard time getting my cat into his carrier and closing the front door. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Next time try putting the carrier on its end with the opening facing up. Hold your cat by the scruff of the neck, as a mother cat would carry her kittens, and support his rear legs. Do not worry about hurting them if it's only for a short time. Cats have an instinct to lift their back legs up towards their chest to facilitate their mother carrying them. This will allow you to guide the cat rear first into the carrier and then close the door.

You may also want to look into buying a new carrier. Some of the newer carriers have quick release latches which allows one to take the carrier apart without much trouble.

Medication helps

Q: My vet told me my dog had a "hotspot" where he was constantly chewing. He clipped it up, gave him a shot, and also some medication to use which helped. What is a hotspot?

A: The term hotspot is used to describe a superficial infection of the skin. It starts with a localized irritation or insult to the skin that causes the animal to chew and lick. This may turn into a vicious cycle which is self-perpetuating. These areas are usually red and moist with hair matted over them. The human equivalent might be a mosquito bite that someone scratches until it becomes infected.

Treatment of hotspots may include any or all of the following in combination: shaving the area to allow air to reach it, anti-inflammatories to help stop the itching, topical medication to help dry out the area, oral antibiotics, fatty acids to help keep the skin moisturized and healthy.

Prepared as a public service by the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. Send questions to Pets, P.O. Box 1252, Buffalo, N.Y. 14205 or to the Web site at nfvs.online.org. Sorry, personal replies cannot be provided.