C.S.M., Fort Myers, FL
Tags: small pet
Jul 01, 2006
I have a female black Lab. I had her on diet dog food, but she kept gaining weight. My vet did a thyroid test, but it wasn''t a full-panel thyroid test. The dog was losing hair on her pressure points and had what looked like a baboon-butt for a backside. She was put on fungus medication, and finally my vet suggested I take her to a dermatology-and-allergy specialist. He ran a full-panel thyroid test, and the dog was found to have a poorly functioning thyroid. Her zinc levels were very low, also. Thank goodness for zinc! Maggie''s hair is coming back, and she''s feeling fine.If a vet doesn''t know how a rare problem can be solved, I suggest they recommend a doctor of dermatology.
C.S.M., Fort Myers, FL Jul 02, 2006
Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland, which can result in hair loss, reduced activity, weight increase and chronic skin infections and other complications) is common in dogs today and should not take a veterinary dermatologist or other specialist to diagnose correctly. Many factors can play a role in the onset of this disease, from adverse reactions to vaccinations to drugs like deracoxib and aspirin (often given to arthritic dogs) and chemical contaminants in the dog''s food and water.I see this disease as primarily man-made. Dogs can be like canaries in the coal mines -- indicators of a potentially toxic environment. Other environmental and genetic factors can alter animals'' nutrient requirements, with some breeds requiring more zinc or vitamin A, or less copper. Hence the need for full-panel diagnostic tests. They are costly but essential before appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
E.J., Matawan, NJ
Tags: dog Matawan NJ diet food
Jul 01, 2006
I have a 9-year-old female basset hound. Other than having skin allergies, she is in very good health. We feed her an all-natural dog food with no preservatives. And, yes, she does get "people food," too.Why does she like to eat soap? She will go into the garbage can to get out soap boxes and slivers of soap. She even got a new box that was on the floor and ate half the bar. Although she will lick at any brand, she seems to be quite fond of Dove soap. Please advise.
E.J., Matawan, NJ Jul 02, 2006
Dogs and cats often develop an addiction to soap. This is because most soap is made from tallow, which is animal fat. Aside from synthetic aromatics in soap (which may not be safe to eat and, in some instances, not good to put on one''s skin), the tallow in soap can be harmful.This is because dioxins, PCBs and pesticides (which can be extremely toxic in small amounts) accumulate in animals'' fat. So keep your dog away from your soap. You may want to try a safer soap, like one based on coconut or glycerine.PET FOOD RECALLPeople who have recently purchased Ol'' Roy canned dog food, sold only at Wal-Mart and Sam''s Club, are advised there is a recall on this product because the inner lining of the can has become separated from the metal and may contaminate the food. All returns will be reimbursed.Chemicals in pet-food can linings have been linked with thyroid disease, so caution is called for, and this recall is well-advised.
J.D., Northfield, MN
Tags: small pet Northfield MN
Jul 01, 2006
Approximately two years ago, I put an immersion heater in the birdbath''s water. By chance, one day in January, I happened to glance out the window just in time to see a bird drinking and then splashing around in the birdbath. I watched the bird splash around for a while, and when it decided to fly away, it suddenly dropped straight down into the snow. I saw it flutter a bit, then remain still. I ran out into the yard, scooped the bird up and gave it a toss in the air. It almost immediately dropped back down into the snow. I repeated this action, and this time the bird managed to fly to a tree branch, where it remained for a while.It wasn''t long after that I read an article strongly discouraging the use of immersion heaters in birdbaths during the winter, especially when it''s very cold, probably near 0 F. The article stated that many birds will splash around in the water, but when they start to fly they can''t because they have ice on their wings. This leads to problems with flying that can even cause death.Si
J.D., Northfield, MN Jul 02, 2006
Thanks for your lifesaving advice. Birds need water, especially during the cold winter months, when their metabolism increases. On the basis of your observations, I advise covering the birdbath with 1/2- or 1/4-inch wire mesh. The birds can drink the water but avoid being immersed in it to the point of freezing body parts.
K.McN., Minnetonka, MN
Tags: cat Minnetonka MN diet food
Jul 01, 2006
Based on my experience with two long-haired cats, I think more emphasis should be given to how severe a hairball problem can become. It can result in a life-or-death situation.Last year, my 4-year-old cat was letting out meows that indicated he was in some pain. These continued frequently for about nine months, and I had him examined, but it was dismissed as just a behavioral issue. Then, one day he let out a very loud meow and was in such pain that he couldn''t be touched. He was operated on, and a mass was removed from his intestines -- a 5-inch hairball that was obstructing his digestive system. Without the operation, he would have died. He is now on Laxatone, daily, but I am not confident there won''t be a recurrence. I am going to incorporate the greens into his diet that you recommended.A second example was my 10-year-old cat, which had always strained when trying to have a bowel movement. One day he was in such distress that he couldn''t move his bowels even though it was obvious that he needed to, and h
K.McN., Minnetonka, MN Jul 02, 2006
Thank you for your letter, which I hope all people with cats will read.Cats normally swallow some fur while grooming themselves. Several precautions to prevent swallowed fur from accumulating inside the cat''s digestive tract are called for. These include a daily brushing and some fiber in the food (like a tablespoon of mushed lima beans, pumpkin or chopped wheat grass; or 1 teaspoon of psyllium husks). A teaspoon of olive oil (which will not harm a healthy cat''s liver) or safflower oil will also help.