Bear’s paw sign - refers to a distinctive cross-sectional imaging appearance of the kidney in xanthogranulomatous pyelonephritis.  In this chronic granulomatous disease the kidney is progressively replaced by a mass of reactive tissue appearing like the pads of a bear’s paw. The disease is almost always incited by staghorn calculi as was the case for this patient.

Red Flags by System

When you are taking a history based around a presenting complaint, it is very useful to eliminate ‘red flags’ that might indicate serious underlying pathology. 

Here are some red flags for a variety of systems:


Pain, Palpitations, SOB (on exertion, at rest, orthopnoea, PND) Ankle Swelling, Dizziness, Smoking, Exercise, Diet


Wheeze, SOB, cough, sputum, haemoptysis, chest pain, calf pain/swelling, Smoking


Loss of appetite, Weight loss, nausea/vomit, dysphagia, reflux, pain, change in bowel habit, blood/mucus PR, blood in stool/vomit, jaundice, itching, darkened urine, pale stool


Frequency, Urgency, Pain/tingling, Haematuria, lower back pain, Discharge, Menstrual problems, last Sexual Health check 


Collateral hx of GCS/Cognitive change, Visual Disturbance, Hearing Loss,  Speech/Swallowing probs, Headache, Neck/Back Pain, Weakness, Parasthesia, Balance/Coordination, Bowel/Bladder Control


Morning stiffness, joint pain/swelling/stiffness, deformity, malaise/fatigue, weight loss, arthralgia, myalgia, rash, raynauds, hair loss, red/sore/dry eyes, dry mouth, Oral/Genital Ulcers


Polyuria, polydipsia, fatigue, weight loss, neck swelling/tenderness, tremor, heat/cold intolerance, sweating, changes in appearance – hair, skin, voice, hands, feet, pigmentation.


Ear Pain/Discharge, Nasal Discharge/Crusting, Sore Throat


Fever, sweats, fatigue/malaise, loss of appetite, weight loss, lumps

Healing with Aventurine 

Color: Green, blue, red, brown, peach

Appearance: Opaque, speckled with shiny particles, all sizes, often tumbled

Rarity: Readily available

Source: Italy, Brazil, China, India, Russia, Tibet, Nepal

Healing: Aventurine benefits the thymus gland, connective tissue, and nervous system; it balances blood pressure and stimulates the metabolism, lowering cholesterol and preventing arteriosclerosis and heart attacks. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps ease skin eruptions and allergies, relieves migraine headaches, and soothes the eyes. Aventurine heals the adrenals, lungs, sinuses, heart and muscular and urogenital systems. As an elixir, it relieves skin problems. 

Position: Hold or place on appropriate point. 

(Source: The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall)

Environmental changes connected to spike in infectious disease

National Museum of Natural History scientist Bert Van Bocxlaer and an international team of researchers revealed that anthropogenic changes in Africa’s Lake Malaŵi are a driving force behind the increase of urogenital schistosomiasis, a debilitating tropical disease caused by parasitic flatworms. Scientists estimate that 250 million people are affected by schistosomiasis worldwide, and 600 million more are at risk of contracting it. In some villages along the shorelines of Lake Malaŵi, 73 percent of the people and up to 94 percent of the schoolchildren are infected with urogenital schistosomiasis, one of several forms of the disease. Van Bocxlaer’s research suggests that this spike in infection is directly linked to an increase in human populations and agricultural activities near Lake Malaŵi, and may include a change in the dietary preferences of mollusk-eating fishes. Details from this study and recommendations to reduce the prevalence of urogenital schistosomiasis are published in the May 2014 issue of Trends in Parasitology.

Bert Van Bocxlaer, Christian Albrecht, Jay R. Stauffer. Growing population and ecosystem change increase human schistosomiasis around Lake Malaŵi. Trends in Parasitology, 2014; 30 (5): 217 DOI: 10.1016/j.pt.2014.02.006

Pairs of adult schistosomes mate inside humans infected with schistosomiasis when a thin female worm nestles in the body groove of a sturdy male. Credit: Courtesy of Beltran et al. (2008), PlosOne 3(10): e3328

MY BABY BRUCE IS GOING TO LIVE! I’M SO BESIDE MYSELF WITH HAPPINESS! i unfortunately, heartbreakingly, brought bruce into the vet tonight with the expectation that he would have to be put to sleep because of a reoccurring urogenital emergency. the staff here have literally worked magic and are saving his life for almost nothing. i’m so thankful. many tears have been shed today and this perfect, absolutely wonderful kitty is going to be out of pain and comes home tomorrow! so many thanks to @jwkepler and @spookyfemme for staying with me and keeping bruce and me company.

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