Halloween contest

What do a goblin-headed greyhound, a Pekingese pirate, a chicken kitty and a "grape" Dane have in common? They've all entered The Petango Store's "Howl-o-ween 'n Win" pet photo contest.

The online pet meds store is looking for fun photos of 'lil critters in costumes as part of its Halloween contest, where pet lovers can win weekly prizes and a chance to win a new iPhone 4.

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Entrants can submit their funniest, most ghoulish photos on Petango's Facebook Fan Page and share it with friends and other fans. The more Petango Facebook fans "Like" a photo, the more "Likelihood" it has of winning.

The "Howl-o-ween 'n Win" contest runs until midnight Oct. 31. For contest details and to view current entries, visit www.thepetangostore.com

Black cats are lucky

Halloween conjures images of mysterious black cats that cross paths and bring bad luck. According to Petplan pet insurance, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Among the cat population, black cats are the least accident-prone, resulting in the lowest number of pet insurance claims.

Based on Petplan's insurance claims, black cats are

15 percent less likely to be victims of an accident or injury compared to their colorful kitty counterparts. By contrast, orange cats are twice as likely as their inky cousins to be involved in a mishap. These unforeseen accidents can cost a small fortune.

While black cats may be lucky in avoiding accidents, they are not as fortunate when it comes to being adopted. According to a study by the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, black cats are often the last to be selected at an animal shelter.

National honor

A once-abandoned dog that helped save lives after the Haiti earthquake and a three-legged cat that inspired a series of children's books have received national honors.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced its dog and cat of the year awards earlier this week. Both are one-time California castoffs.

Pearl, a 4-year-old Labrador retriever, was abandoned at a shelter, then trained and sent this year to Haiti with a rescue team from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The county's seven rescue teams helped bring 12 people to safety.

Cat honors went to Henry, a stray, injured kitten found near San Diego in 2004. After his leg was amputated, he inspired the children's books that have generated more than $50,000 for animal causes.

Bladder stones

Bladder stones are fairly common in dogs.

They are less common in cats, and also occur in tortoises and iguanas. Bladder stones in dogs are most often composed of struvite or calcium oxalate crystals.

The difference between them is that calcium oxalate stones like a more acid urine, struvites prefer a more alkaline urine.

Bladder stones can be treated with a surgical procedure called a cystotomy, which involves opening up the bladder and extracting the stones.

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