I don’t normally talk products on this blog. After all, it’s kind of tacky to wax evangelic on something as pedestrian as a plastic-and-metal fur-defying implement. But this one gets special consideration for its ability to prevent disease—really!

Lest you think I hold stock in this product, let me first disclaim: Neither I nor any member of my friend and family network is affiliated with this tool. It just so happens that I think it’s magnificent for its unparalleled ability to extract undercoat loosies and flyaways that might otherwise end up on your floor—in one form or another.

And here’s where it gets medical: pet hair is not just a home-defiling substance formed of dead cells and keratin. In some cases it’s more notable as a gastrointestinal hazard and/or a dermatological liability than the provenance of glorified dustbunnies.

Hairball vomition, colonic impaction and matted fur-related dermatitis are but a trio of the many possibilities the excess of fur can provoke. While skin ailments are obvious and usually attended to, this is not always so with the common hairball. For some reason, we humans seem to have adopted the view that to be feline is to ingest fur and throw it back up when enough has been internally amassed. But I have another take:

Not only are hairballs truly disgusting (especially when they hit the floor in stool-sized plops of fuzzy food and stomach juice) they’re also uncomfortable, potentially life threatening (though rarely), and don’t exactly paint a splendid picture of feline well being (despite their ubiquity).

And so here enters the Furminator, a mundane tool (manufactured in China for all I know) which serves the dual purpose of shredding loose, unwanted undercoat likely to be ingested (or generate mats) and keeping a modern, pet-owning household from looking like a barnyard.

How it does it I’m not so sure, but its mechanism involves lots of little metal teeth (as in an electric bead-trimmer) which must remain unchipped to remain effective. Whatever the technology, it works wonders. I find myself dragging the thing out every time I’m confronted with an unholy mess of a haircoat or a hairball concern.

Not that I’m trying to sell you anything (Lord knows I sell no Furminators out of our hospital), it’s just that every once in a while I feel the need to help solve the most ordinary issues in vet medicine.

And who knows? Perhaps our friend the Furminator has already saved lives through its ability to prevent the dreaded feline trichobezoar. Short of that, it may well be in a position to save marriages when shedding season really gets going.