J.A.W., Annandale, Va
Tags: cat Annandale VA allergies
May 06, 2012
My two female cats, Angel and Melon, have been constantly licking and biting themselves for a number of years, creating bald areas and sores on their legs (and on Melon's stomach).
They have had blood allergy tests that indicated they are allergic to ragweed, goldenrod, birch and mulberry trees, June grass, penicillium mold, fleas and black ants. Since they are strictly indoor cats, their contact with any of these is extremely low. In foods, they tested at high levels for milk, pork, potato, wheat and barley.
Over the years, their vets have prescribed various medications (amitriptyline, Xanax) that had no effect. A combination of prednisolone and Clavamox has worked in the short term, reducing the amount of licking and healing sores, but when they're finished, they revert back to licking.
I vary their foods among Natural Balance duck and green pea, Wellness Core turkey and chicken, Evo turkey and chicken and California Natural chicken and rice. Because they are allergic to potato, I will eliminate the Core from their diet.
I would appreciate any suggestions on how to treat Angel and Melon. My male cat (Melon's brother) does not have this problem.
J.A.W., Annandale, Va May 07, 2012
I realize you have spent much time and money trying to find a cure for your two cats. When allergies like these are diagnosed, it is surprising how many allergens in a cat's environment and diet may be identified. There could be one particular trigger that impaired their normal immune system function, opening the door to allergic reactions to an increasing number of substances.
Contact allergies to various floor cleaners, scented products from cat litter and wool in materials such as upholstery and blankets -- these are all worth addressing. An air ionizer may help.
I would also advise getting your cats used to a few drops of fish oil in their food, increasing the amount to about 1 teaspoon daily -- this is a supplement with almost miraculous benefits for many cats with skin problems. With older cats, a blood test for thyroid disease is advisable since hyperthyroidism can be associated with skin hypersensitivity and excessive licking. Giving them clean cotton sheets to lie on may also give some relief.
G.G., Annandale, Va
Tags: dog Annandale VA
Jun 06, 2011
I have a Pomeranian who is 11 years old. She has halitosis, and I've been brushing her teeth every morning with a poultry-flavored toothpaste. Is there anything you can think of that will help me better control the halitosis?
G.G., Annandale, Va Jun 06, 2011
Halitosis can be a sign of general poor health rather than dirty teeth and infected gums. In Pomeranians especially, chronic kidney disease is often associated with dental problems and halitosis. So I advise you to have your dog thoroughly examined by a veterinarian. Older dogs like yours should have a routine wellness exam at least once a year.
Remember: Prevention is the first medicine, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
J.M., Annandale, Va
Mar 27, 2011
My 11-year-old male cat has arthritis that causes him to limp in one of his back legs, especially during the cold months. Can I give him MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) to manage the inflammation and discomfort? If so, what dosage do you recommend?
J.M., Annandale, Va Mar 27, 2011
Many cats suffer from arthritic diseases because of similar causes of this epidemic affliction in the human population -- poor diet and lack of exercise -- often compounded by being overweight.
Chronic arthritis is more noticeable in dogs than in less active cats, for whom the painful condition can progress and lead to changes in temperament, house soiling and night restlessness.
Consult with your veterinarian, and go to another one if only cortisone (prednisone) is offered as a treatment. Supplements such as chondroitin, glucosamine and MSM, along with fish oil, a daily massage and a warm pad to sleep on, can help many cats. Playing with your cat to make him more active would be wise, but he's probably too old if he has never had interactive play with you before. You could get a second playmate cat; two cats living together are generally happier and healthier than those who live alone. They give each other comfort, resting together, engaging in reciprocal grooming, and during bouts of play get the short bursts of exercise to help keep them in good condition.
S.D., Annandale, Va
Tags: dog Annandale VA diet food
Mar 20, 2011
My 8-year-old female English cocker spaniel has recently developed an obsession for eating paper and other things. My displeasure does not seem to stop her for long.
Could she be lacking something in her diet? She eats high-quality dry food, maintains a healthy weight, and is in overall good health. Is there anything I can feed her to keep her from craving these forbidden things? I am afraid she may get a blockage.
S.D., Annandale, Va Mar 20, 2011
Any time a dog develops a compulsion to chew and swallow non-food matter (a condition called pica), a thorough veterinary checkup is called for. Chronic oral inflammation, abdominal discomfort (as from internal parasites or cancer) and nutritional-deficiency diseases (such as anemia) can lead to pica.
It is important to rule out possible physical/medical causes before considering behavioral/psychological reasons. The latter includes boredom, no available safe chew toys, addiction to the taste or texture of certain materials, and displaced "cleaning up" behavior.
Certainly the possibility of intestinal obstruction following the ingestion of a lot of paper, which could require surgery, is something to avoid. Many years ago, we had a dog that enjoyed snacking out of the cat litter box, and one day he broke down the barrier and consumed at least a pound of the litter. An early diagnosis and emergency enema saved his life!
C.M., Annandale, Va
Tags: dog Annandale VA
May 29, 2004
My husband and I are expecting our first child in five months, and we are concerned how this will affect our 14-year-old cat and two 4-year-old dogs. The cat has been around babies and seems happy to avoid them, but the dogs have never been around a baby. We socialized the dogs with children early in their lives and the dogs like children. What can we do to best prepare all of our pets for the new addition to the household?.
C.M., Annandale, Va May 30, 2004
Purchase a life-like baby doll that cries when tilted, swaddle it, pretend to nurse it and get your companion animals well-habituated before the real baby arrives.When that day comes, let them see and sniff the baby, praise them, and always give them extra attention between diaper changes and feedings so that they don''t feel displaced.Let them into the baby''s room only when you are there and keep a net over the top of the crib for good measure to keep the cat out. Some animals do get upset when babies cry, so keep your cool and reassure the animals that the baby is OK.Never leave the baby (or, when he or she is older, the toddler) alone with any animal, since accidents can happen.