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Why cats have whiskers

albuquerque cat

albuquerque catWhiskers are such fun things that stick off your cat’s face in all direction. As a kid, we often loved to pet them or touch them to watch the cat twitch. It was almost like they tickled. But whiskers are more important than just tickling devices.

How They Work

Each thick whisker is filled with tiny, super sensitive nerves that help your cat judge distance and space. Is this box too small to get inside? How far do I need to jump to reach that counter?

It’s also how she detects what’s around her. Cats that are blind can walk around a room just fine by using their whiskers to sense the space.

The follicles are little sacs that hold the whisker hairs. These are deeper than regular fur and these sacs have nerve endings that send messages to the brain. There is also a sensory organ at the tip of each whisker that picks up environmental vibrations which give more information about her surroundings.

Most whiskers are in the cats upper lip, but there are smaller ones in their eyebrows and around their chin. There are even whiskers near their feet. The ones on the sides of the nose are the same width as your cat’s body; they help her figure out whether a space is wide enough to squeeze through. Whiskers on the back of the legs help your cat climb trees.

Whiskers the feline mood ring

Whiskers have complex muscles attached to them. By watching what their whiskers do you can tell what mood yoru cat is in. If she is curious, they will be angled forward. If she is relaxed they will stick straight out. If she is nervous or upset she will pin them back towards her face.

Don’t cut her whiskers!

Whiskers do not need to be trimmed. They will shed, and this is normal. But cutting their whiskers changes their ability to sense their surroundings properly. It can cause them to become anxious and disoriented. It is similar to blindfolding them.

If you have questions about your cat’s whiskers or their health, please call our Albuquerque veterinary clinic: 505-292-3030.

10 Tips to Stay Safe from Ticks

albuquerque spring fleas

10. Ticks crawl up

Unlike fleas and other parasites, ticks crawl up. They tend to attach to your feet and hen climb up. They are trying to reach your head where the skin is thinner and easier to get blood. They will try to climb up your whole body.

9. All ticks (including deer ticks) come in small, medium and large sizes

If you see a big tick it is likely full of blood. Most of the time when you see a tick it will be smaller, and therefore waiting to eat.

8. Ticks can be active even in the winter

It is not just a summer issue. For instance, Deer ticks don’t become active until after the first frost. They are also not killed by cold temperatures. In New Mexico, it doesnt get that cold, so ticks that go dormant in the winter in other areas of the country may not go dormant here. This is why you need to have active flea and tick prevention year round.

7. Ticks carry disease

There are a number of diseases carried by ticks such as Lyme disease bacteria, Babesia protozoa, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and other rickettsiae, even encephalitis-causing viruses, and possibly Bartonella bacteria. Back in the day, tick bites were more of an annoyance but now a bite is much more likely to make you sick.

6. Only deer ticks transmit Lyme disease bacteria

The only good news about Deer ticks is that they are the only tick that carries Lyme disease. So if you have been bitten by a tick, it is important to find out what kind it is. Because if you get sick, knowing the kind of tick can help identify what disease you may have contracted.

5. For most tick-borne diseases, you have at least 24 hours to find and remove a feeding tick before it transmits an infection

Most ticks take 24 hours to infect you. That means they have to be attached to you and feeding for 24 hours before you are at serious risk of infetion. This is why it is important to do a thorough tick check after walking in areas where you could have picked some up, and remove them immediatly.

4. Deer tick nymphs look like a poppy seed on your skin

Ticks usually climb up under your clothes…yes under. They like to hide in hard to find places, like in hair, or behind your knee’s. They are often very small, about the side of a seed. So look very closely when you are checking yourself because they are easy to miss.

3. The easiest and safest way to remove a tick is with a pointy tweezer

You may think you can pluck a tick with your fingers, but you are at risk of squeezing out all their bacteria into you by doing that. The best way is to use tweezers, that way you can grab them right next to the skin and pull them out like a splinter. If you successfully remove it, try to save it for identification.


2. Clothing with built-in tick repellent is best for preventing tick bites

For your pets the best prevention is Frontline Flea and Tick treatment. One treatment will keep your pets free of ticks for a month! For people, getting some clothing with built in tick repellent is a good idea. These clothes keep your skin protected and will last a long time.

1. Tick bites and tick-borne diseases are completely preventable

The best way to avoid a tick disease is to avoid being bitten. If you have them in your yard, get your yard treated for ticks immediately. Keep your pets safe by treating them with Frontline.

Remember these 10 things and you’ll stay safer.

What is a cherry eye?

If you have owned a Cocker Spaniel, Bulldog, Beagle, Bloodhound, Lhasa Apso, or Shih Tzu, then you are probably familiar with Cherry Eye. It affects these breeds the most. A cherry eye is a prolapsed gland in the dog’s third eyelid. It is called a cherry eye because of how it looks.

It can affect both cats and dogs, but is more typical in younger dogs.


  • Oval mass protruding from the dogs third eyelid
  • Swelling
  • Irritation




The most common treatment for cherry eye is surgery in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce swelling.

Treatment often includes surgical replacement of the gland in the dog’s eye, or removal of the entire gland if the condition is severe. Conversely, if medications are recommended, they are typically topical anti-inflammatory drugs that are effective in reducing swelling.


If you think your dog has cherry eye, or is developing it, bring them into your vet. If you catch it early enough, you may be able to treat with just medication.

At Vetco at our Albuquerque veterinary clinic and our Los Lunas veterinary clinic we offer low-cost cherry eye removal surgery. If you are concerned, call to make an appointment with one of our qualified vets.

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.