E.C.R., Minneapolis, MN
Tags: dog Minneapolis MN
Aug 02, 2008
I have read your columns in our newspaper for a long time. Usually, it''s about dogs or cats. I would like to know what you think of pet birds, and if it''s unusual for a pet bird to develop a deep depression.We have a large gray cockatiel, about 15 years old. He''s an amazing guy -- he knows how to converse and do a few tricks. My husband feeds him and cleans his cage. They communicate easily.A few years ago, my husband had serious cancer surgery -- twice. Each time when my husband was absent, the bird became like a zombie -- not eating, just sitting on his perch and staring straight ahead. He wouldn''t respond to anything and seemed oblivious to anything I tried. As soon as my husband returned home, the bird came back to life and was his old self again.This bird seems rigid in his behavior, very intelligent and even humorous. I''ve had cockatiels before but never one quite like this.
E.C.R., Minneapolis, MN Aug 03, 2008
I receive many letters regarding pet birds. In principle, I am opposed to people keeping birds in cages with no opportunity to fly. All pet birds should have a safe-flight room or enclosed screened porch to exercise. And, since most species are highly social, they should also have the company of their own kind or of another compatible species.Your bird''s evident depression when your husband was hospitalized underscores my point that birds are not dumb animals. They are highly intelligent, both cognitively and emotionally. Thank you for sharing this fact, and I hope this will encourage more responsible care and understanding of pet birds. I also hope it will discourage those who want to buy a pet bird solely because they are cute decorator items or fun for the kids.GARDEN PET WARNINGCocoa mulch is widely marketed as a garden fertilizer, but can be attractive to dogs that like the smell and taste. Unfortunately, even in small amounts, it can be fatal if consumed because it contains theobromine.ONTARIO BANS GAR
B.P., White Plains, NY
Tags: cat White Plains NY
Aug 02, 2008
I have a 4-year-old neutered cat that is fed a diet of raw and cooked meats: some cooked corn for treats and some canned cat food (made with byproducts). He also receives a veterinarian-prescribed multivitamin tablet. He stays exclusively indoors.I'm concerned about his teeth. I think he has the beginnings of dental resorption disease. My previous cat had this problem that necessitated many extractions.Would you please suggest a care/feeding regimen that would complement cleanings at the vet and might reduce or reverse this problem? I have read that this is prevalent in cats and that the cause is not well understood. Could it be a calcium deficiency?.
B.P., White Plains, NY Aug 03, 2008
Your cat is quite young to be having such a serious dental problem called periodontal disease.Keep the teeth clean by providing thin strips of raw beef-shank-bone meat, beef heart or raw chicken-wing tips and plenty of skin. Eliminate the corn. Try to get your cat used to your finger, wrapped in wet gauze, rubbing along his gums with a few drops of oil of cloves and thyme soaked in the gauze.Fish oil (up to a teaspoon per day) could significantly subdue and prevent the inflammatory disease. You may wish to have your cat tested for diabetes, feline leukemia and immunodeficiency disease that can lead to chronic infections and inflammatory conditions. A daily nutritional supplement like Platinum Performance Feline Wellness may also help. This is available only via veterinary referral (1-800-553-2400). Inflammatory agents from diseased gums, along with bacteria, can cause serious secondary health problems. As in humans, there may be a similar link in cats between obesity -- where inflammatory molecules are produ
K.M., Humble, TX
Tags: cat Humble TX diet food
Aug 02, 2008
I have a question about a beagle/hound mix that we found earlier this year. He was about 8 weeks old when we found him. We immediately took him for his shots, checkup, etc. At that time, they diagnosed him with kennel cough and pneumonia, and he was put on steroids and a three-times-daily breathing treatment.Once he recovered from the pneumonia, we noticed his back left leg twitching on occasion. When we took him back to the vet, we were told that he probably had distemper and that caused some nerve damage. They recommended a neurologist or acupuncturist, but neither appealed to us.The twitch continues in the back left leg and occasionally shows up in his right front leg. This doesn''t seem to bother him as he runs around, tumbles and plays with older dogs all the time. The twitching also occurs when he''s sleeping, but doesn''t seem to affect his rest. What do you think?.
K.M., Humble, TX Aug 03, 2008
Dogs who survive distemper infection often have persistent chorea (neuromuscular twitches or spasms) that are usually lifelong. They may also become epileptic.From the treatment that was given your pup, I would say that it is not unlikely that the distemper vaccine may well have caused the post-distemper symptoms of chorea. Animals should never be vaccinated when they are ill and their immune systems already compromised. Being put on steroids only makes matters worse.I hope your dog doesn''t develop other neurological problems like epilepsy. A daily supplement of 1 teaspoon of brewer''s yeast in his food or a half a human dose daily of vitamin B complex may help.
S.R., Norfolk, Va
Tags: bird Norfolk VA
Aug 02, 2008
In reference to C.D. of Norfolk, Va., whose miniature schnauzer appears to have impacted anal glands, my wheaten terrier, aged 11, had two situations that were so severe. The vet warned that surgery might be necessary should they reoccur. I referenced a natural-remedy book that recommended a teaspoon of olive oil in the food daily to stimulate anal-gland contraction. I followed this advice and, in seven years, we have yet to see the problem return.I also give her probiotics when I notice sluggish digestion or gas and get immediate results.
S.R., Norfolk, Va Aug 03, 2008
Many readers will appreciate your natural remedy that is certainly worth trying on dogs with chronic anal-gland problems. Olive oil and olive leaves have some remarkable properties as powerful antioxidants and are good for animals'' coats and skin.
D.C., Maple Grove, MN
Tags: small pet
Aug 02, 2008
I am writing in response to the person who has cats with frequent urinary infections.I have an 8-year-old female cat that was experiencing bladder infections. I tried diet changes and litter-brand changes. I then tried bottled spring water. Our city water is high in phosphorus, chlorine, fluoride and lime.My cat has had only one bladder infection since then and that was due to my husband''s forgetfulness -- he gave her tap water.I have four cats, and one bottle of spring water per day hydrates them well. It''s a small price to pay for the health of my cats.
D.C., Maple Grove, MN Aug 03, 2008
Thanks for confirming what I have long advocated, especially for cats: pure water."The alternative is to install a reverse-osmosis water-purification system. Bottled "spring" water is not always what it''s cracked up to be, plus plastic bottles leach toxic chemicals (like bisphenols) into the water."Good-quality water is especially important for cats since, being originally desert-dwelling animals, they concentrate their urine to conserve water and do not have a well-developed thirst mechanism. This can mean that if they do not drink much to flush out their systems, harmful chemicals may accumulate in body tissues and also cause chronic-bladder inflammation (all aggravated when cats are fed dry cat food exclusively).Pure water is now hard to find on this beleaguered planet. Deep-water aquifer reserves are being rapidly depleted and polluted; agricultural pesticides and industrial pollutants contaminate rainwater; and all kinds of pharmaceutical products that sewage treatments do not get rid of are being found