R.M., Silver Spring Md.
Tags: cat dog coyote
Jun 27, 2011
A big coyote has been spotted in our neighborhood. This is a dangerous animal, and I worry about my grandchildren visiting and it killing my cats who get out on the yard.
Jun 27, 2011
Rest assured that coyotes are fearful of humans, but they have been known to kill small pets who are left out unsupervised.
The war against the coyote, with traps, poisoned bait, shotguns, cyanide guns and the like -- along with state bounties and millions of dollars of public funds misspent in vain attempts to control their numbers -- have not deterred this wily survivor from spreading across much of the United States. Some have crossbred with dogs and wolves. For more details, and ways to live in harmony with this incredible cousin of wolf and dog, visit www.projectcoyote.org.
Many municipalities have found successful ways to reduce coyote and other wildlife-human conflicts. Regarding coyotes, keep all garbage secured or shut away in a shed. Do not put food out unless it is in birdfeeders and never let cats and small dogs outdoors unsupervised. Always keep pets on a leash when off your property, which is an animal- control ordinance in many communities, along with rabies vaccinations and collar tags.
C.C., North Palm Beach, FL
Tags: cat dog North Palm Beach FL diet food
Jun 27, 2011
Like one of your reader's cats, my 10-year-old Siamese used to throw up daily, but has stopped. My cat didn't chew his food thoroughly, and he ate too fast. I now cover his food so he can't eat it for 120 minutes, and I add a half cup of water, which changes the dry to wet mush. Problem solved.
C.C., North Palm Beach, FL Jun 27, 2011
There are many reasons why cats vomit up their food soon after eating. With some dry cat foods, there may be some irritation to the lining of the stomach or esophagus, literally drawing moisture from the delicate mucus membrane and causing irritation that may trigger the vomiting reflex. Dry food that is especially high in cereal ingredients is an unnatural diet for cats and causes various health problems, detailed in the book "Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat and Dog Food," co- authored by myself and two other veterinarians. These problems are compounded in those cats who do not drink plenty of water and who are allergic to corn.
Your practice of allowing the dry food to absorb moisture before the cat eats it is a good one. But to help keep teeth clean, offer your cat some scalded raw chicken wing tips or thin strips of raw beef or turkey gizzard to chew on.
CONSUMER ALERT: PIG-EAR DOG-TREAT HAZARD It seems that the old saying, "You can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear," should be rephrased: "You can't make a safe pet treat out of a pig's ear." These kinds of animal byproducts from slaughterhouses/processing plants cannot always be guaranteed safe, especially when imported from abroad where conditions are often not fit for a pig. Food Safety News (May 18, 2011) reported that two more companies, Boss Pet Products and Blackman Industries, are recalling pig-ear dog treats after a supplier, Keys Manufacturing in Paris, Ill., found that a batch of the pet chews tested positive for salmonella. One dog has been reported to become ill because of contaminated pig ears. If you have any such products for your dog, check with the store manager where you purchased the ears to look into the safety of what you have from the batch number on the packaging. Blackman Industries is also recalling all PrimeTime and KC Beefhide brand dog treats. Dogs with salmonella infections may become lethargic, feverish, vomit and have diarrhea. Both sick and infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals, including humans.
V.O., Fargo, ND
Jun 26, 2011
I have been brushing my cat's teeth almost twice daily for two months with the PetzLife cat formula. I took him to the vet yesterday for his annual, and she found a red bump on a lower-left-side tooth. She said once it moves to the surface it will be painful, and my cat needs an extraction and a full cleaning. Does PetzLife help with this? He still has brown and yellow plaque at the gumline.
V.O., Fargo, ND Jun 26, 2011
PetzLife oral-care products are the best on the market, in my opinion, provided the manufacturer's instructions are closely followed. Applying too much too often could put some cats at risk, especially those with underlying health problems.
Oral-care products, and regular brushing are no substitutes for thorough veterinary dental care so often needed to treat feline stomatitis (a painful oral disease detailed at my article, Dental Problems in Pets) and also to deal with diseased and broken teeth and buildup of tartar or dental scale.
I would hold off on having your cat's tooth removed and see how this bump develops. It could be the beginning of stomatitis, or hopefully simple inflammation that may go away if you take all corn out of your cat's diet, give a few drops of fish oil daily in his food (for its anti-inflammatory properties), and rub rather than brush his teeth and gums with a solution of equal parts of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and aloe-vera gel or liquid (available in health stores).
V.V., Brunswick, Md
Tags: dog MD diet food Brunswick
Jun 26, 2011
I've been making your dog-food recipe coming up on three years. Solid Gold has now quit making the bone meal, and I can't find it anywhere else. I know you mention several other options, but which would you personally prefer? I keep finding calcium tablets plus vitamin D, and that D concerns me -- not sure if it is good for the pups.
We lost our 10-year-old Bichon Frise on April 1 to prostate cancer. He was a castrated male, and it was a true shock. I thought when you get a small dog, they live a lot longer than 10 years.
We are heartbroken. We still have our 2-year-old mixed-breed pup and are spoiling him rotten. He has a terrible anal-gland problem, though. I don't know if you have time to address that, but I wonder if we should consider surgery. His glands release that awful smell at least once a day, and you can tell he doesn't like it, either.
V.V., Brunswick, Md Jun 26, 2011
The cheapest source of calcium is from oyster shells, available in tablet form in most drugstores without vitamin D. In the latest version at my website, I list various kinds of calcium supplements, one of the best being calcium citrate, available from GNC with or without vitamin D, small amounts of which will not harm dogs. Giving about 1,000 mg daily per 30 to 40 pounds of body weight in the home-prepared diet should provide an optimal amount of calcium for a healthy dog.
Growing pups, especially of the giant breeds, need ample dietary calcium. But excessive levels can interfere with the uptake of other essential minerals, so a balanced multimineral and multivitamin supplement is advisable.
As I point out in a review at my website, some sources of calcium, like bone meal and oyster shell, can be high in toxic chemicals such as fluoride and lead. These are best avoided.
Sorry to hear about the death of one of your beloved canines. Anal-gland problems often require irrigation under general anesthetic and packing with antibiotics and steroids, coupled with a hypoallergenic or all-natural single-protein (lamb, venison) diet because one expression of food allergy in dogs can be chronic anal gland and/or ear inflammation and infection.
R.D.R., Winston-Salem, NC
Tags: cat Winston-Salem NC diet food
Jun 26, 2011
We have a female 12-year-old dark-gray cat with white boots and the darkest green eyes I've ever seen. She weighs around eight pounds and seems in general good health. However, for the past two to three years, she has become chronically constipated, and her vet has prescribed 2 to 2-1/2 mg of lactulose USP 10g/5ml that she takes every other day to get a bowel movement. She will not have a bowel movement without it.
She is not a heavy eater, but will eat a Little Friskies Chicken/Tuna and some dry Evo -- a little of both. We did try to feed her the natural diet from your website about two years ago, but she turned up her nose at all efforts to ease her into it. Do you have any other suggestions?
R.D.R., Winston-Salem, NC Jun 26, 2011
Cats can be finicky. One of my own refuses to eat my home-prepared diet and prefers dry food to canned or raw and he was a feral cat, so go figure! He at least drinks plenty of water. (If he did not, I would, of course, moisten his dry food.)
Chronic constipation and megacolon (where feces accumulate and require periodic enemas to remove) are common feline afflictions. These conditions are aggravated, if not caused, by high starch and fiber dry cat foods -- and a lack of physical activity.
An exercise program for your cat is called for. Purchase various interactive toys like a wand, fishing pole, dangling lures and laser lights to get your cat to play, especially early in the evening before her last meal.
Feed her three to four small meals a day, adding a drop of fish oil or olive oil, gradually working up to 1 teaspoon daily. Get her used to a daily abdominal massage. Several readers have told me this helps cats that are constipated or have megacolon. Another cat to play with is probably the best medicine for a variety of maladies.
S.D.Q, Alexandria, Va
Tags: dog Alexandria VA
Jun 20, 2011
I have a Great Pyrenees named Avalon (185 pounds). Two years ago, Avalon had an episode of heat stroke/heat exhaustion. It was a spring day in May, around 75 to 80 degrees. She was vomiting repeatedly and drooling excessively. We took her to the vet, and her temperature was 108.
They immediately started cooling her down, shaved some of her hair and laid her on the tile floor with IVs and ice packs. They advised me to get her hair cut to help keep her cool. I had previously read about not cutting a Great Pyrenees hair all the way down, because they could get burned. Last year, in an attempt to avoid what happened the year before, I took her in early April to get a haircut. As spring progressed into summer, Avalon had several incidences of heat exhaustion -- vomiting, panting excessively and a 105-degree temperature. Should I be worried about the disguised mild mitral valve regurgitation, as stated in the vet's report? What symptoms should I look for to let me know there is a serious problem? Could there be another reason for her total inability to tolerate heat other than being overweight? Is there something to put on her skin to try to get her hair to grow back again?
S.D.Q, Alexandria, Va Jun 20, 2011
Shaving a dog's thick coat can help prevent overheating, but can damage the hair follicles; and sunburn can be a problem, so keep Avalon in the shade and don't allow her to be active in the park because she is metabolically compromised.
She must lose weight since this is stressful on her heart. Supplements such as Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, magnesium, selenium, fish oil, selenium, vitamin E and Brewer's yeast are worth exploring with the attending veterinarian because of the possible benefits to the dog heart, skin and general condition.
Cold water poured on her back will have an evaporative, cooling effect and would be a good preventive when she goes out. Also try using a wet towel over her in your air-conditioned vehicle. Over-excitement (e.g., seeing other dogs) and being physically active are to be avoided until she sheds those excess pounds.
M.C., Central Point, OR
Tags: cat OR Central Point
Jun 20, 2011
My neighbor puts out beds and food for feral cats and has at least 20 of them. She has caught and spayed/neutered some of them, but there are still new litters every year. On hot summer days, we cannot use our barbecue because of the horrible smell and millions of flies.
I have contacted the health department, humane services, the pound and animal control, and it seems none of these can do anything about this unhealthy nuisance. I want to landscape my front- and backyards. I have already had to rake up and haul away over $100 worth contaminated ground cover. I covered the front yard with black tarp to keep the cats off, but as soon as a bare spot of earth appears it becomes a litter box.
How can I keep the cats away? I've tried pepper, mothballs, motion detector sprayer. I am told I can trap them and take them to be euthanized, but that is a sad solution. My other neighbors have the same problem with these cats. What can we do?
M.C., Central Point, OR Jun 20, 2011
I sympathize with you and your difficult situation. A decorative wood trellis or wall of tall bamboo canes stuck at intervals apart, narrow enough to keep out cats, could be a solution. Cheaper chicken wire could also be a deterrent.
C.M., Cumberland, Md
Tags: cat Cumberland MD diet food
Jun 19, 2011
While I have the utmost respect for my vet, I find myself frustrated with the treatment of my 14-year-old female American shorthair feline.
I noticed in June that she was losing weight. I blamed it on the actions of my 15-pound male shorthair, who would eat his food and then go after hers. She would not fight for it. I tried feeding them apart, but that didn't work. In September she started acting strangely, climbing into cabinets looking for food and she once tried to take a cookie out of my hand as I was eating it.
I took her to the vet and she was tested for worms. It was positive and she was treated. She was only 4 pounds at the time of treatment. I thought that was the end of it, but she developed chronic diarrhea and kept throwing up. She refused to use her litter pan and had accidents all over the house. I took her back in October and she was tested for FELV and FIV, as well as diabetes. All tests were negative.
The diagnosis was that she had pancreatitis and was prescribed Paakare and Delta Albaplex for the inflammation in her bowel. To date, this treatment has not worked. She still has accidents and is throwing up, but not as much. I have put other litter pans in the house that she uses, but I still find her surprises. I do not understand why she is not better.
I know the medication works, because I ran out while I was out of town for three days and she was a lot worse. The vet tells me she'll have to be on the Panakare for the rest of her life. Do you agree with this diagnosis?
C.M., Cumberland, Md Jun 19, 2011
Without checking your cat out myself and evaluating blood and other test results, I cannot rule out possible thyroid and kidney disease, especially in an older cat like yours.
Prolonged malnutrition could also have harmed her liver. You need to coax her appetite back, even hand- or spoon-feeding her crunchy dry cat foods like Evo or Wellness and Gerber baby food such as turkey or chicken in gravy. Keep the other cat in another room while you are encouraging this ailing feline, offering food briefly every two to three hours. For some cats, a spoonful of canned fish like mackerel gets them going. The Panakare helps your cat digest her food. It is a pancreatic enzyme concentrate (from pigs), fortified with fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E.
N.K., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: dog Poughkeepsie NY
Jun 19, 2011
We have a female German shepherd that we rescued four years ago. She was kept in a cage in a garage almost 24 hours a day before we got her.
She has many problems; the main one being that she licks her private parts all of the time. She also gnaws and scratches herself. We have had her to three vets that want her on Prednisone and/or Cyclosporine, but we refuse to keep her on these. One vet did a blood test that they said shows she is allergic to Brewer yeast, corn, kelp, milk, poultry and flax. I was cooking her food with one of your recipes for chicken. Even switching to beef, I am unable to cook her food as part of the ingredients she is allergic to. We do not know what else to do. She is now on Eukanuba Wild, either salmon & potato or duck & potato. We also give her 1/2 can of New Balance venison and sweet potato or duck. Her treats are California Natural salmon meal formula. Is there any advice you can give us?
N.K., Poughkeepsie, NY Jun 19, 2011
Good for you for providing a loving home for this abused and neglected dog. Such stress could well have impaired her immune system.
Along with her genetic background (German shepherds top the list for breed-linked health problems: food allergies expressed as skin and digestive diseases are all too common), the compulsive licking and chewing could also have been developed in part because of boredom and confinement in a cage.
So a holistic approach integrating various treatments on a trial/short-term basis is called for. Discuss these options with your veterinarian. Avoid all vaccinations and steroids until your dog is well.
Begin with an elimination diet (which your veterinarian can advise), followed by a rotation diet giving a different single protein (that the elimination diet indicates is OK) such as salmon, duck, rabbit, lamb or venison. Give probiotics and a prebiotic such as aloe vera juice. A soothing oatmeal, calendula or other herbal shampoo every ten to 14 days may also help. You can also try an oral antihistamine, with our without a low dose of Valium or valerian when she gets itchy. Clean cotton sheets or towels to lie on are a check against contact allergy.
K.McD., Arlington, Va
Tags: dog Arlington VA
Jun 19, 2011
Our bull terrier mix Sam has spells of chasing his own tail. He acts like he's crazy, and it scares us. He usually snaps out of it when we yell and clap our hands, but that now seems to make it worse. What can we do?
K.McD., Arlington, Va Jun 19, 2011
This is one form of obsessive/compulsive behavior (OCD), more common in some breeds than others, which can lead to tail-biting and self-mutilation.
Some dogs may become more aggressive when one tries to stop them from chasing their own tails. There may be an underlying anxiety disorder, and many dogs seem to go into a trance-like state while they chase their tails. Some veterinary behaviorists have likened this OCD and associated other symptoms with infantile autism. Distraction and re- motivation/reward therapy rarely work; but some success has been reported with Clomipramine.
Consult with your veterinarian who can prescribe this psychotropic medication under the brand name Clomicalm.