V.H., Glyndon, MN
Tags: dog Glyndon MN
Feb 27, 2010
I recently have acquired a 6-month-old female Great Pyrenees. I wanted to make sure that she was spayed right away, so I took her to the vet and also told them that she was licking her privates continually and wanted to know if it was a possible UTI. The vet spayed her and then called to tell me that she has an inverted vulva and that she would need corrective surgery to avoid ongoing UTIs. When I did research on this condition, it was strongly advised that spaying should be put off until after the first heat that would help this condition and possibly correct it. My Pyrenees is already spayed, so what are my options? Do I need to pursue an expensive surgery? Or is there another method to manage this condition?
V.H., Glyndon, MN Feb 28, 2010
It is true that delaying the spay surgery might have helped to rectify the inverted vulva. But if this congenital anomaly was severe, I doubt postponing the surgery would have helped. As you have discovered, this condition causes urine burns, secondary infection and considerable discomfort. So corrective surgery is called for, and your dog will have to wear an Elizabethan collar (like a lampshade around her neck) to prevent her from licking until the area is completely healed. This condition is not uncommon in dogs and can become problematic, especially when they put on too much weight or they are obese and cannot engage in normal cleaning behavior.
L.T., Fort Worth, TX
Tags: dog Fort Worth TX
Feb 27, 2010
I adopted a female Chihuahua from the Humane Society. She was rescued from a puppy mill and had a bad odor, but only on her neck and chest. The vet said she was malnourished, which was the reason for the odor, but it would get better. The problem is that my other dog will get into the crate with her. Not only does my first dog have the same odor; he is scratching all the time now. When I give them an oatmeal bath, it helps for a day or two and then the smell returns. If I keep the new dog out of the crate, she will cry all night. I need some advice.
L.T., Fort Worth, TX Feb 28, 2010
Puppy mills are an abomination, a blight on the human soul. Efforts to close the worst and to enforce humane-care standards rarely succeed in a culture where money rules and dogs, like other creatures, are treated as mere commodities. The American Kennel Club, which runs the pedigree registration and certification "papers" for pure-breed dogs, is notorious for defending such enterprises.
Because the smelly "breed stock" Chihuahua that you so caringly adopted has made your other dog smell and itch all the time, your dogs most likely have mange. Secondary bacterial and fungal infections often develop. The most likely factor is the skin-burrowing mite called Sarcoptes. Have your veterinarian test both dogs, and treat accordingly. Both dogs will benefit from daily fish oil or flaxseed oil and multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Severe cases benefit from wrapping the dog tightly in a towel, which can have a calming effect.
J.L., Fort Myers, FL
Tags: dog Fort Myers FL
Feb 27, 2010
We have had a 3-year-old cairn terrier since she was a pup. She is a loving animal who seems happy, and is friendly to anyone she meets. However, her first trip to the vet, to have her nails trimmed, caused a lot of trauma. Since then, the professional groomers can groom her all over except for her backside and her nails or she snaps and snarls. I have always been able to trim around her eyes and ears and comb and brush her, but she has gotten more and more reluctant to allow me to do that. The last time, after working on this normally docile dog, she suddenly snapped and bit my hand. Lately, she seems to be snapping at small incidents, like stepping too close or touching her crate. She has free rein of the house and yard, but loves to sleep in her crate. I am becoming fearful of trying to either brush or trim her at all. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.
J.L., Fort Myers, FL Feb 28, 2010
our dog has developed a conditioned aversion to physical contact that has generalized after the initial psychophysical trauma to her paws. Her age may also play a role in the genesis of this behavior, because she has reached full maturity and may be playing alpha bitch, especially if she has been overindulged and not learned any boundaries.
Many dogs have too much unnecessary nail trimming. Exercise on rough terrain is a natural, abrasive nail-growth regulator. Lay off all the usual grooming treatments, and get your dog to regain her trust and lose her fear by rewarding her intermittently for sitting still and allowing you to stroke her all over. Then begin gradual massage therapy. This will help her relax and become more trusting.
Use a muzzle next time she needs her nails trimmed. This will inhibit her defensive-aggressive behavior, just as I must do with one of my own dogs who is phobic when it comes to trimming his front-paw nails.
C.S., Plymouth, MN
Tags: dog Plymouth MN
Feb 27, 2010
We have a 5-year-old border collie whom we rescued two years ago. When we initially got her, her nose was completely black. She started to lose color in the nose area about nine months ago, and it is getting progressively worse. Now her nose has many pink spots on it. Our vet said it is nothing to be concerned about and was a condition many dogs develop. Is there anything we can do to reverse this? I heard that eating out of a plastic dish could contribute to this situation, but she has never eaten out of one. We feed her Evanger''s or other good-quality dog food, along with yogurt, sardines, liver, pumpkin, ground turkey, sweet potatoes and green beans. She eats about everything. I give her a fish-oil capsule daily as well as a pet vitamin.
C.S., Plymouth, MN Feb 28, 2010
This condition is so prevalent in border collies that it is called collie nose. But it is also seen in dogs with white muzzles. It may be an autoimmune disorder triggered by hypersensitivity to sunlight. Routinely apply sunscreen when outdoors, and give a daily anointing with pharmaceutical-grade aloe-vera gel or ointment, ideally with calendula herbal extract. Strong chamomile or green tea (organic) may also help subdue inflammation and promote healing.
L.S., Monroe, CT
Tags: cat Monroe CT diet food
Feb 20, 2010
My 8-year-old male cat developed crystals is his bladder. I took him to the vet. They catheterized him and gave him pain meds and IV fluids. They removed the catheter, and I took him home on a Friday. Saturday, he did not void. I gave him a Prednisone pill, and he started voiding and bleeding. The blood got heavy. By Sunday, I had to put him down -- he was in a lot of pain.
He was an indoor cat who ate only Innova (dry) and Fancy Feast (can). He was my buddy and companion for eight years. He would fly with me four times a year. He enjoyed the plane ride, but was glad to get home.
I will never get another cat -- he cannot be duplicated. I loved and miss him. Please tell me if I did anything wrong.
L.S., Monroe, CT Feb 21, 2010
First, you did nothing wrong. Second, while your beloved cat was unique and could never be duplicated, I am sure that when you have overcome much of your grief, your heart may open to adopt and love another unique cat from your local shelter.
There are many factors leading to cystitis and urinary-tract blockage from crystals and mucous plugs. A major culprit is dry cat food high in cereals that make a more alkaline urine that, when combined with low fluid intake, results in urinary-tract inflammation and crystal or sand formation in the urine. Complicating factors include bacterial infection, diabetes and neutered males having narrow urethras. Emotional stress, corn allergy and ingesting mineral particles from clay-type cat litter can also play a role in this common feline malady. You are not to be blamed because you were not informed as to the best preventives, beginning with proper nutrition.
D. & V.Y., Springfield, Mo
Feb 20, 2010
We have an 8-month-old female basset mix. When she greets visitors at home, she wets. During walks in the neighborhood or in public parks, she greets both friends and strangers with no wetting problem. How can we train her to cool it at home?
D. & V.Y., Springfield, Mo Feb 21, 2010
Young dogs, especially females, have "social incontinence," urinating as a puppyish display of submission. Such behavior is best ignored, as making a fuss or chastising the submissive piddle will only make matters worse. Most dogs grow out of this with maturity.
She probably only wets when visitors come into your home -- as opposed to greeting people outside -- because of the excitement factor. She is more apprehensive and aroused when someone enters her personal space from which she has no escape and that she probably feels she should also defend. So she may be less conflicted in open space and neutral territory outdoors, but when intimidated by another dog, she is likely to roll over and urinate -- a canine ritual display of submission.
M.J.K., Rogersville, Mo
Feb 20, 2010
We read your article about "empathosphere" in our local paper. It was fascinating because we have a similar story. Four years ago, a dear close friend of ours was confined to a nursing home, because diabetes had led to the amputation of both legs. She was an extremely likable person, humorous and, even in that situation, enjoyed visitors. Our daughter Julie, at that time, had a sweet, obedient, affectionate Shih Tzu/poodle mix named Chrissie. Dogs were welcome at Sharon''s nursing home, and Julie took Chrissie when she visited. Chrissie would unerringly run through the maze of hallways to get to Sharon''s room, where she would jump up on the bed and lie close to Sharon. We know these visits were bright spots for Sharon.
Sadly, Sharon died suddenly around Easter in 2006. After the funeral mass the next Tuesday, many of us made our way to a pretty little cemetery where she was to be buried. Julie took Chrissie with her. Julie took the leash off and Chrissie explored a bit, then went to that platform, jumped up on the narrow ledge, and lied down beside the coffin. She stayed there until the ceremony was finished and we started to our cars. It was a precious, sweet memory that we talk about to this day.
M.J.K., Rogersville, Mo Feb 21, 2010
Many readers will appreciate your story of the dog''s loving concern and evident awareness of your friend''s illness and death. We should never underestimate the emotional intelligence of our animal companions who often know more than we can ever know. Just because they cannot talk, doesn''t mean that they are not as aware of our environments as we are. While recently giving in-home hospice care to my father-in-law Jim Krantz, our dog Batman was clearly concerned and lay quietly across his body on the bed. The attending nurse said that many dogs are especially attuned to what is going on at such times.
L.V., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Louis
Feb 20, 2010
I have a story regarding empathetic dogs. My husband's parents lived in East Chicago, Ind. My mother-in-law's brother, John, lived with them. He was diabetic. They had a dog named "Shosty" (short for Shostakovich, the Russian composer). John became ill and died. Immediately after the funeral, Shosty disappeared. Several days later, a friend of the family found the dog, hungry and haggard, lying on John's grave!
The remarkable and unbelievable part is that the cemetery was many miles outside the city and Shosty had never been there before. They had no idea how he had been able to find it.
I believe dogs have some special abilities that we humans cannot comprehend.
L.V., St. Louis, Mo Feb 21, 2010
Thanks for this important letter that adds to the cases that I have published on my website, supporting my theory of animals' awareness and connection to the "empathosphere." Readers with no computer access can find some accounts of these seemingly psychic phenomena in my books "The Boundless Circle
," "Cat Body, Cat Mind
" and "Dog Body, Dog Mind."
At a recent talk I gave in Minnesota, a woman shared with me: When she was a student, she moved into an apartment seven miles away from her parents, who lived on the other side of Los Angeles. One day, she could not believe her eyes -- her beloved cat that was living with her parents but one day disappeared and was waiting for her outside her apartment. The cat had never been there before.
E.G., Palm Beach, FL
Tags: cat Palm Beach FL
Feb 13, 2010
When my cat has fleas, I use what I call my "flea light" -- it always gets fleas.
I have a small spot lamp that I place on the floor at night near the cat''s sleeping area. I place a saucer of water with a small cake of soap near the lamp. I turn off all lights in the room, except for the small lamp that shines only on the saucer. In the morning, you would be surprised at how many fleas there are in the water. I counted them one morning -- I had caught 121 fleas in one night. My cat thanked me.
E.G., Palm Beach, FL Feb 14, 2010
Many thanks for reminding me of one of the best methods for trapping fleas. A warm light-bulb trap does work and is an excellent way to help control the flea population, especially if you have an indoor/outdoor cat and/or live in one of the warmer states.
Use a clip-on lamp with aluminum shade and a 25-watt light bulb on a chair leg about 12 inches above a wide dish of sudsy water. The fleas will be drawn to the warmth of the lamp and try to hop to it, but will fall short and into the suds.
Homeowners with pets going on vacation may find this a good way to cope with flea larvae hatching out while they are away. This is much safer than bug sprays, fumigants and those hazardous year-round anti-flea drugs that make too many pets sick.
J.S., Rockville, Md
Feb 13, 2010
My 6-year-old neutered cat has a long history of urinary-tract inflammation. He sometimes urinates around the house and makes frequent trips to his box, where he crouches, moves his tail, and cries. He has had two cultures and X-rays. The vet can find nothing wrong. He is taking Valium, Clomipramine, fish oil and only wet food. This has helped, but what should I really be feeding him? Homemade food?
J.S., Rockville, Md Feb 14, 2010
I take that your veterinarian could find "nothing wrong" to mean no evidence of urinary crystals/calculi or bacterial infection. Your cat may have a food hypersensitivity that is causing inflammation in the urinary bladder and tract. Corn is the most common culprit, and corn-sensitive cats on a corn-free diet can still have a flare-up when a corn-based cat litter is used. A not uncommon form of feline cystitis, which has elements of an autoimmune disease but the exact cause is unknown, is termed interstitial cystitis. This condition involves a chronic thickening and inflammation of the wall of the urinary bladder. Affected cats behave like yours does and may have blood in their urine. Stressors such as a new pet, houseguest or change of season can trigger an attack between stress-free quiescent periods.
A cat drinking and urinating more often could have diabetes, and showing pain and discomfort while evacuating may well have impacted anal glands. Both possibilities should be considered.
Your veterinarian may wish to explore herbal remedies, including astragalus, dandelion, couch grass, juniper berry and plantain. I would also give cranberry powder or capsules, probiotics and glucosamine, which has been shown to be beneficial for animals with cystitis.