Alphabet Challenge :: X :: Xoloitzcuintli

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge


Hairless and Coated Xoloitzcuintles side by side.

Hairless and Coated Xoloitzcuintles side by side. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Xoloitzcuintli, often shortened to Xolo, is pronounced show-low-eats-queen-tlee. They were removed from the American Kennel Club in 1953 then re-recognized in 2011. For AKC standards click here. Xolos are a rare breed that comes in three sizes; toy, miniature and standard. Hairlessness is a recessive trait, so some members of the breed can come out with a full coat. These dogs were initially used as healers since their intense body heat could soothe some ailments. Health issues for the Xolo revolve mainly around their skin.



Alaskan Klee Kai

English: Bi-eyed Black and White Alaskan Klee Kai

Image via Wikipedia

The Alaskan Klee Kai looks like a miniature version of an Alaskan Husky, which is exactly what it was bred for. Some of the differences between the Klee Kai and the Husky include longer ears and a shorter muzzle. They are a very clean breed and may spend hours grooming themselves. They don’t shed all year round but will blow their coat twice a year. Brushing should be increased during these times. Klee Kais may aid in grooming by rubbing against things.

This active breed is intelligent, and may be wary around strangers, making them a good guard dog. Socialization is key for them. Their prey drive is quite high so small pets and animals may be in danger if the Klee Kai is not introduced to them early. Though, they are a great family dog, they may not tolerate being prodded or mishandled by small children and may respond by nipping.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is pretty free of genetic disorders but may be prone to the following:

  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Liver disease
  • Factor VII Deficiency
  • Pyometra
  • Luxating Patella
  • Chryptorchids
  • Cardiac issues such as PDA
  • Thyroid disease such as autoimmune thyroiditis

Due to the small gene pool, other diseases may exist among the breed that have not been discovered yet.

Here’s an Alaskan Klee Kai being adorable:



  1. Wikipedia – Alaskan Klee Kai

Norwegian Forest Cat

A gorgeous Norwegian Forest cat came in to the vet hospital a while back. He was pretty big, similar to Maine Coon size (another forest cat), and very, very sweet.

Diseases to look out for with this breed include:

Two tabbies norwegian forest cat kittens

Image via Wikipedia

Their lifespan is 14-16 years.


  1. Wikipedia – Norwegian Forest Cat

Abscesses and the Joys of Draining

I’ve determined that, should you want to be in a medical profession, as I do, you have to kind of be a little sick in the head. Case in point: draining abscesses is disgustingly awesome and rewarding. (I held back on including a picture of an abscess since they’re pretty awful).

An abscess is “a collection of pus in any part of the body that, in most cases, causes swelling and inflammation around it” (#1). Pus is composed mainly of neutrophils that have been destroyed by macrophages.

I have helped with restraint of two abscess drainings. The first was a cat with an abscess about the size of a grapefruit. Originally, the plan was to drain with syringes, but the flow was good enough just to palpate the abscess and create a super disgusting towel.

This past monday, I helped restrain the sweetest bunny ever who had been in before to have its abscess drained. Fun fact: rabbits lack an enzyme that allows them to form pus the same consistency of dogs and cats (liquid). Therefore, their pus is more like toothpaste and is evacuated from an abscess as such. I was told by our exotics doctor that due to this type of formation, rabbit abscesses often have to be surgically removed. In order to avoid this, she did several gentle flushes with saline. Manipulating the abscess helps to break up the thick pus and remove it.

If you’re brave, sick in the head, or need to induce vomiting, check this out (cue epic music):

Hopefully one day, I will be on the more rewarding end of abscess draining and will get to palpate one myself. Grossly exciting.


Hospital Updates:

  • Smudge and Symba’s other sister Tara has been adopted and is set to go to her new home today! We’ll miss her but we’re all super happy she has a family!



  1. NIH – Abscess


The Science of Purring

The entrance to the larynx, viewed from behind.

Image via Wikipedia - The entrance to the larynx

My kittens are the princes of purring. They’ll purr for just about no reason at all. One will pad their way on to my lap or lay pretty much on my face and start humming. Usually, it just makes me sleepy but their may be some benefits for me thanks to my kitties purring.

Scientists postulate that the sound is produced by rhythmic contractions of the larynx and diaphragm. “The rhythmic contractions of the muscles and vocal chords open and close the glottis. As the cat breathes in and out, air hits the vibrating larynx muscles in the throat producing the purring sound” (#1). The frequency of purring is between 25 and 150 Hertz. This range has shown signs of improving bone density and promoting healing (#2). This comfort factor may be why cats purr during stressful situations such as a visit to the vet or giving birth.

All cats purr, including big cats like jaguars and tigers. Here’s a cheetah purring in case you don’t believe me:

Unlike domestic cats, who purr during inhalation and exhalation, large cats only purr while exhaling. “Purring” has also been used to describe “sounds made by civets, mongoose, genets, bears, badgers, hyenas, rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, tapirs, ring-tailed lemurs, elephants, raccoons, and even gorillas when they eat” (#1).


  • Are cats used in a therapeutic sense for osteoporosis patients? Perhaps that solves the mystery of the “cat lady” as opposed to the “dog lady” (ignoring the factor of easier care). – This would assume a great deal of benefit from the frequency and not just a trivial amount.
  • What is triggered in the body in terms of promoting healing?


  1. ABC Science
  2. Scientific American

The Sweet Sugar Glider – Petaurus breviceps

Sugar Glider, climbing down from a plant

Image via Wikipedia

– Scientific Classification –

The sugar glider is a small, arboreal marsupial that can be kept as a pet. They are native to New Guinea, Australia, Tasmania, and neighboring Indonesian Islands. Sugar gliders are only about 5 or 6 inches long in body with their tail being around the same length. This species of marsupial actually does have a pouch for the young. The skin membrane on each side of their body that aids in gliding, is called the patagium (also found in bats).

Gliders are a social animal (so having at least 2 is a necessity) that can live up to 15 years. Being marsupials, they are capable of embryonic diapause (see related articles) and, in 3 or 4 separate litters a year, can have 1-3 joeys, despite the mother only having 2 teats. For breeders, unsuspecting owners and wild populations, this sort of increase in numbers can be a bit of a shock. July – November is the “normal” breeding period so that young are reared during peak food availability in spring and summer. The joeys spend around 2 months in the pouch then another month in the nest.

Gliders can be finicky little things. The first time I heard of a sugar glider, I was watching Emergency Vets (Dr. Fitzgerald was the man) on Animal Planet and one was brought in in pretty bad shape. Sugar gliders are expensive. Upwards of $150 just from a pet store ($300-ish from a breeder). Then, necessities like the cage and toys are also costly. Gliders are insectivorous and also feed on gum and sap from acacia and eucalyptus trees, adding to the difficulties of captive care. Their scent glands are pretty constantly in use, making sugar gliders smelly little things. If you like sleep, this is probably not the right pet for you:

Dang nocturnal animals. So this post won’t be just bashing them in a captive aspect, here are some wild gliders leaving the nest:

Aaaaaand doing a little bit of gliding:



  1. Wikipedia – Sugar Glider
  3. Unique Australian Animals

My Time with Half of the Fantastic Four Kittens


So my job is AWESOME. I can take home kittens for the weekend?!?! Might be a bit different since I’m hoping like all hell that I can adopt them. Of the 4 gorgeous kittens, I chose the 2 males to come home.

The darker orange one (who I like to call “Smudge”) is my faaaaavorite because he’s just so beautiful. Super cuddly too.

His brother’s name is a work in progress. He’s a bit more hyper than Smudge and is usually the one to start play time between the two of them.

All four kittens are incredibly sweet. If I weren’t to keep the darkie with his rambunctious brother, I’d totally match him up with the tortoiseshell, who I call “Princess”. Currently, one boy is curled up on top of the carrier and the other at my feet. Both are purring. Adorable.

As soon as I got home, my sister helped me bring all the stuff in. Of course she just let them out of the carrier without asking -_- so I had to shoo them back in and carry them upstairs to set them up in my bathroom. As I rounded the stairs to the middle floor, my curious little dog darted around just a tad too fast. She scared the kittens and the lighter one even hissed at her. Oddly enough when not being held, he won’t really hiss. My dog decided that, though he’s smaller, she wants nothing to do with the kitten, and pads away. Once in the bathroom, they explored EVERYTHING, prompting me to wonder why I hadn’t “kitten proofed” anything the night before. Little “Smudge” decided to take after his brother and explore the sink and bat a few things around. Brave little things even hopped up into the tub. I expect them to be super duper tired for a little while, but soon I get to move them into my room to hang out (and destroy things). Maybe we’ll even take a little cat nap together. 🙂