D.O.B., Burnsville, Md
Tags: cat Burnsville MD
May 30, 2009
A recent column in our newspaper caught my attention: "Cats Behaving Strangely." This sounded to me like "gift giver" cats. When I was a child on the farm, we always had several cats who lived in the barn or under various buildings. We fed them milk and food scraps, played with them and interacted with them. From time to time, we would find a dead squirrel or mouse on the porch -- a gift to us from one of the cats.
Our present cat makes us a gift of one of her beloved toys, which she keeps in the basement near her litter box. After we have gone to bed, she comes up the stairs carrying one of her favorite toys and mewing plaintively as she comes. She then sets the toy on the floor just outside the bedroom door and utters very distinctive meows, evenly spaced and of even tone and volume until I get up and accept her gift. Sometimes she goes back down and gets a second one for my wife, similarly announced and duly accepted. After this, she is satisfied and settles down for the night.
D.O.B., Burnsville, Md May 31, 2009
You are absolutely correct. Cats give gifts to their human loved ones, similar to bringing prey to their kittens to play with and consume. As often happens, these toy gifts can also take on other symbolic significance for cats, being carried around and coveted like they would for their own kittens. Larger toys may be treated as prey, sex objects or surrogate mothers that they knead and nuzzle.
C.P., St. Paul, MN
Tags: cat MN diet food
May 30, 2009
We have three cats, all rescues, ages 16, 8 and 4. We adopted the oldest cat when he was 8 years old. Upon his adoption, he was overweight. I put him on what I thought was a "high quality" dry food. After time, we rescued the two other cats, and I began to do more research on feline nutrition.
All three cats ate a cheap canned-food diet, supplemented with very little dry food mixed in. They were fed twice a day. During the course of two years, Toby (the oldest) had to be brought in for two enemas. This was a bad experience for him and us. The vet recommended pumpkin in his diet, which worked well at first, but then it seemed to be an overload of fiber contributed to his constipation. I finally changed all three cats'' diets. They are now on an all-moist and raw-food diet. The changes have been remarkable. They are all incredibly healthy. Their coats are shiny and soft, and they are all high-energy cats -- they chase each other and wrestle several times a day.
I have all cats on a rotating list of canned foods. They will eat one or two types of canned food for a month and then a gradual change to different types. This change in their diet has also seemed to work well at keeping their digestive systems happy. They seem to appreciate the change in the menu. I feed them Wellness, Nature''s Variety and Evo.
C.P., St. Paul, MN May 31, 2009
Many thanks for your informative letter that confirms one of the many benefits of giving cats more biologically appropriate canned, meat-based foods.
For more details and documentation on the multiple health problems linked to far too many kinds of manufactured pet foods in both cats and dogs, check my Web site, www.DrFoxVet.com/info.
W.S., Ponca City, OK
Tags: dog Ponca City OK diet food
May 30, 2009
I travel for my job and was sent to Texas last March. Normally, my 13-year-old Chihuahua, Sammy, is always with me. But on this trip, he stayed behind for a week and then came to meet me. I realized his water dish had been left behind, so I went to the store and bought a new one. Shortly after arriving, Sammy became ill and had all the symptoms of Cushing''s disease, though the test was inconclusive. He could not sleep for more than two hours a night. He was constantly drinking and peeing. He stopped enjoying his favorite foods. He lost weight, and his stomach became bloated, swollen and tender to touch. He found it difficult to find a comfortable position to sit or lie down and did not want to be picked up. I had found a wonderful vet, and he tried everything he could think of. But nothing we did seemed to help. Sammy just got sicker and sicker, and I was worried he was slowly dying.
Sammy and I went to visit my sister last September. While there, I read your column in the local newspaper in which you discussed several pets that had odd ailments and symptoms, all of which were relieved by discarding their plastic water bowls. That day, I purchased a new glass bowl and threw out the plastic one. Immediately, Sammy began to improve. He began to sleep through the night, his thirst subsided, and the frequent urination decreased dramatically. After a few months, he returned to his old self and is doing fine now.
I just want to share my experience in case it could help another sick pet. I tell every pet owner I meet: "Do not use a plastic bowl!"
W.S., Ponca City, OK May 31, 2009
Your veterinarian tried every conventional approach to your dog''s Cushing''s disease-like symptoms, but they disappeared once you stopped using a plastic water bowl. This should be a lesson for all.
Thank you for confirming what I have long advocated: Never use plastic food or water/beverage containers because of the prevalence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in their composition that leach into foods and drinks -- more so when heated. This includes plastic heating pouches. Other neglected sources of endocrine- and immune-system-disrupting chemicals are in most room fresheners and scented products, from detergents and kitty litter to floor cleaners and deodorizing sprays.
J.L.L., Naples, FL
Tags: dog Naples FL
May 30, 2009
Our cocker spaniel has an itchy skin problem. We make his food with special oats, fresh vegetables (usually broccoli or cauliflower) and sweet potato with hot water. We also supplement this with Life''s Abundance from HealthyPetNet. He has been to our veterinarian on many occasions, had a year''s worth of shots from an allergist, and we''ve given him two Benadryls a day. The itching seems no worse, but not much better. Can you help Homer?
J.L.L., Naples, FL May 31, 2009
One of the most common skin problems in cocker spaniels is linked to deficiency in Vitamin A and essential fatty acids. I strongly advise that you give your dog up to a tablespoon of cod-liver or flaxseed oil with Vitamin A supplement capsules daily. Consult with your veterinarian about possible concurrent thyroid disease that could be aggravated by feeding cauliflower and broccoli. Trace-element supplements of zinc and selenium may also help, as well as twice-a-month bathing with medicated (human) Selsun Blue shampoo.
J.E., Bonita Springs, FL
Tags: cat Bonita Springs FL
May 23, 2009
Have you ever addressed cauliflower ear? My 4-year-old cat has it. The vet told me I could just wait it out, and the fluid would go down. It is going down slowly, but, of course, her ear is shrinking. Could you please share your thoughts on this and how she got it in the first place?
J.E., Bonita Springs, FL May 24, 2009
Cats (and dogs, too) can develop a "cauliflower ear" that essentially means a disfiguring, crumpled and thickened ear.
It is caused by trauma -- sometimes a bite, more often by a violent and repeated head shaking and ear scratching due to inflammation caused by ear mites and/or infection in the ear canal. A large blood blister develops under the skin of the ear. If drained, it may fill up as bleeding continues. If left alone, the blood forms a hard, fibrous clot. If seen to immediately, plastic surgery on the pinna (earflap) can be effective; this will drain the blister and prevent the space that it created from filling up with blood and serum and stop the pinna from becoming permanently deformed.
C.H.G., Suffolk, Va
Tags: cat Suffolk VA
May 23, 2009
I have a cat who likes to play in water. We are not talking about an occasional little splash with his paw, but 2 inches of water to wade through on the kitchen floor every morning. He does this first thing in the morning before I get up. I have tried different bowls and splashing and squirting water on him, to no avail.
I have three other cats and three dogs who use the same water bowl. The latest water bowl lets out a certain amount of water at a time. It is smaller than the last water bowl I used of the same kind. Sometimes I''m lucky enough to catch him and slosh him around in water myself. But he''s right back at in the next morning. I''m about ready to give up. Can you help?
C.H.G., Suffolk, Va May 24, 2009
You are not alone having an aquaphiliac feline in your home. Try setting a large, no-spill, stainless-steel or ceramic (never plastic!) water bowl in a large (24 inches by 18 inches) piece of synthetic sponge padding, at least 3 inches thick. This will deter your cat, since part of the cat''s water game is to see the water puddle on the floor. This measure will have to be abandoned if the animals are fearful of the sponge. In this case, cut a portal or indentation in it so they have easy access to one corner of the bowl.
N.F., Chesapeake, Va
Tags: dog Chesapeake VA
May 23, 2009
My husband and I share the love and attention of our 4-year-old Scottish terrier. Lucy is our third Scottie, so we are accustomed to their stubbornness and independent nature.
Lucy is full of life. She gets lots of exercise in our fenced-in backyard and has the company of an Australian herding dog named Chloe, with whom we share our yard. Lucy has never been yelled at or hit. We use positive reinforcement while training her. She comes to our command when she feels like it, or if we have a treat for her. In the house, when we call her to come, she lowers her head, her ears are back, and the tail is wagging in a down position. You would think she had been abused. We are the original owners and purchased her from a breeder that kept her and her littermates in the house. Lucy loves people and other animals. When visitors arrive, she''s all over them. If sitting, she sits on their laps or lies next to them. What could be the reason she practically crawls to us? Our vet is baffled, too.
N.F., Chesapeake, Va May 24, 2009
Some people are embarrassed in public when their dogs grovel submissively as though they had been abused. Your sweet Lucy is clearly no alpha-dominant canine. Rather, she chooses to display the highly ritualized characteristics of a subordinate animal. This is most likely motivated by the desire to make contact and to show affection and allegiance. Terriers are usually more outgoing, but I have met a few Scotties who are like yours, and my guess is that in the old days such temperaments, especially combined with poor rodent-catching abilities, were eliminated by simply not breeding such "wee timorous, cowern beasties."
J.C., Hendersonville, NC
May 23, 2009
My 6-year-old miniature schnauzer has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. His nails repeatedly come loose, bleed, and have to be removed under anesthesia. Almost all of the nails, except for the front right paw, have been removed and have returned disfigured or hollow only to be removed again. He has been on prednisone for more than 18 months. His food has been switched to a natural fish-based formula, and his treats are hypoallergenic. He also gets omega-3 soft chews. Nothing has worked, and I find myself at the vet''s on a regular basis, paying more than $100 to have the nails removed -- to say nothing of the pain and distress it causes him. The vet is now considering having each paw de-clawed. I hate to think of having this done. Not only do the pain and expense ($800 per paw) concern me; I worry how being a de-clawed indoor dog will affect him. My major fear is that the autoimmune disease will return to the nubs where the claws have been removed or start attacking some other part of his body. The disease would still be present, correct? Is it life threatening?
J.C., Hendersonville, NC May 24, 2009
Your dog's condition, known as SBD (subepidermal bullous dermatoses), can take various forms. It is a complex of diseases associated with the destruction of the tissues where there are skin junctions, as at the base of a nail or the edge of the lips. Removing all the dog's nails will not make the problem go away. It may never. However, the symptoms may be considerably reduced by more careful attention to diet and the judicious use of anti-inflammatory and immune-system-modulating herbs and nutraceuticals.
First, I would opt for an organic, whole-food diet, homemade or manufactured (see www.DrFoxVet.com/info for details), and special supplements like ProtectaCell (fatty acid and antioxidant formula from www.animalhealthoptions.com, 800-845-8849). Applying Sangre de Drago two to three times daily to affected areas may help the healing process. (This "dragon's blood" is available from Amazon Herb Company, 800-935-0850.)
DR. FOX'S BEST DOG-COOKIE RECIPE
- 4 cups buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup shredded nonsweetened Coconut
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup good-quality canned dog food or fresh ground meat
- (or 2 eggs, 1/2 cup peanut butter, shredded white cheese or sardines in oil)
- 1 tablespoon powdered calcium or multimineral supplement or four Tums.
- 1 tablespoon brewer''s yeast
- 1 tablespoon powdered kelp or other seaweed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- rice milk or pure water
Mix all ingredients, slowly adding rice milk or pure water, and knead well to make a stiff dough. Roll out 1/4-inch cookie thickness on a flour-dusted baking tin and incise into bite-size, 1-inch squares. Cook at 375 F for 25 to 35 minutes, until crisp. Store in an airtight container.
Most of these ingredients you can find in any health store or good supermarket, and ideally, all should be organically certified. One of the most nutritious grains, buckwheat is naturally lacking in gluten.
You can also add unsweetened shredded coconut, minced dog grass or wheat grass. Try some ginger for carsick dogs and turmeric for arthritic ones. Both will help dogs with digestive problems.
R.B., Houston, TX
Tags: dog Houston TX diet food
May 23, 2009
My 10-year-old male German shepherd was diagnosed with low thyroid and put on Thyrosyn -- 0.8 milligrams, one tablet twice a day. I noticed he was panting heavily, so I reduced the dosage to one time a day. He was checked on Dec. 1, 2008, and now takes half a tablet once a day with his breakfast. The panting has stopped, but he''s shedding a lot. Sometimes, hair comes out in clumps. He eats yogurt, 2 percent cottage cheese, string beans, raw carrots and dry Nutro Natural Choice Chicken, Rice & Oatmeal, swapping with Lamb and Old Mother Hubbard dog biscuits. He gets 3,000 units of fish oil daily. Once a week, he gets a scrambled egg. He does not get the exercise he needs, but I do play in the yard with him, chasing Kong balls and a rope toy. He has a bad habit of eating his poop on occasion. For this, I sprinkle Lawry''s meat tenderizer on his food when I notice him doing this. Can his shedding problem be solved? I am desperate to improve this.
R.B., Houston, TX May 24, 2009
Your dog''s diet plus supplements seem satisfactory, but I would rotate with other quality dog foods that are organically certified, like some of PetGuard''s and Natura''s dry and canned dog foods. There are other fine dog foods available, including raw and freeze-dried, that I have profiled at my Web site www.DrFoxVet.com/info. Look under Special Reports for my review and list of beneficial supplements. Your dog may well have some malabsorption of nutrients with a faulty digestive tract that is underlying the hair loss and makes him want to eat poop. Under veterinary supervision, I would advise giving your dog daily supplements of digestive enzymes, probiotics, kelp (seaweed) and L-glutamine, along with a good-quality daily multivitamin and multimineral supplement.
D.S., Catheys Valley, CA
Tags: cat Catheys Valley CA diet food
May 16, 2009
I have a female cat that is about 9 years old. Recently, she started to lose weight, and now she is skin and bones. When we pet her, she slides along the table. She lost some hair on her back, but I think that''s because I put a sweater on her to keep her warm. The hair is growing back a bit now. I have other cats, and they have none of these problems -- they''re completely healthy. This female eats and drinks more than the others. She acts normal and is very playful. But she also seems to have problems going to the bathroom. We checked her feces, and there were no worms. I would take her to a vet, but I simply can''t afford that right now (and I feel terrible about it). We''ve tried to keep her on the dosage of worm pills, but they seem to have no effect.
D.S., Catheys Valley, CA May 17, 2009
There are many reasons, other than having worms, why cats lose weight and eat more. Pet owners like you should not guess what might be wrong and give the sick animal worming medicine. Such drugs could make things worse. From the symptoms you describe, your cat probably has an endocrine disease like diabetes mellitus or thyroid disease. These diseases are extremely common in cats today, especially in those fed dry, high-carbohydrate junk cat foods. Sorry, it is too late to offer any cost-saving preventives that proper nutrition early in life would have provided. Your cat should be taken to a veterinarian, and you should explain your financial situation while making the appointment. Many people are facing hard financial times right now, and caring veterinarians will make some concessions and payment arrangements for the sake of both their clients and animal patients. They should not end up in the animal shelter, where they are likely to be killed, simply because owners could not afford to feed them anymore. There are economical ways of feeding and treating pets that people in hard times need to learn.