R.S., Houston, TX
Tags: cat Houston TX fleas
Sep 04, 2011
A very basic question: How do I know when my cat has fleas if I do not actually see one crawling on her?
R.S., Houston, TX Sep 05, 2011
The best test is to check for flea droppings on your cat using a fine flea comb. Fleas make poop that is like tiny flecks of shiny, black-brown coal dust in the fur of cats infested with fleas. The flecks turn brownish-red when you flea-comb or brush them off the cat onto a piece of white paper and add a drop of water. It's dried, flea-digested cat blood.
The simplest controls are to flea-comb your cat every day, especially if the cat gets outdoors. (One reason to make cats enjoy life indoors and never want or need to go outside, like my two formerly feral cats, is so they won't keep picking up fleas, and worse, outdoors.) If you trap a flea in the comb, dunk it in a bowl of sudsy water.
Vacuum carpets, all floor surfaces and all furniture where the cat sits and lies every three to five days to gather up flea larvae and hatchling fleas. Sprinkle these areas with Fleabusters borate powder. Put down clean sheets on the furniture for the cats to lie on.
Trap fleas with a low-wattage light suspended over a pan of sudsy water placed on the floor where there is the most cat traffic. Fleas are attracted to the warmth. This flea trap is very good when folks are away on vacation or getting ready to move into a new home.
B.M., Houston, TX
Tags: cat Houston TX
Aug 28, 2011
I have a sweet 4-year-old tabby cat called Mitts. My problem is that she is very shy and always hides under furniture, especially when we have visitors --then she never comes out. Any suggestions to build her trust?
B.M., Houston, TX Aug 29, 2011
Most cats like to get up on things, the higher the better so they can look down on the world. Get your cat a tall, non-wobbly cat condo and also secure some carpeted shelves on the walls so she can be off the ground and not feel so small and vulnerable.
Coax her to play with various cat toys, one of the best being a cane and string like a fishing pole with a bit of fur or feather tied on the end.
Her self-confidence might also be boosted by letting her explore outdoors (provided the neighborhood is quiet). Put her in a harness attached to a leash, so she can't run off if she spooks. Remember, you walk a dog as the leader, but you follow the cat on a leash.
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.
E.F., Houston, TX
Tags: dog Houston TX
Apr 18, 2009
I am a first-time dog owner and have discovered your column in our local newspaper. I''ve been to your Web site and am taking it all in. We want what''s right for our 11-month-old Lab/husky mix. Ella is sweet, friendly and very active. She gets lots of exercise on our ranch, running alongside my horse and me as we ride. She''s great about sitting, staying and coming. Our big problem is that she''s 50 pounds and jumps up on everyone. I''ve tried turning my back on her, putting a knee in her face as she jumps, shouting "no" and trying to keep her in a "stay" position. I refuse to use a shock collar (as some have suggested), but she leaves dirty paw prints and almost knocks people over. How can I get rid of this rude behavior?
E.F., Houston, TX Apr 19, 2009
Welcome to dogdom -- there''s no better enrichment for most of us sedentary folks than to share our lives with one or more dogs. Ella is still an adolescent craving attention, approval and fun and games. She needs to learn her boundaries in terms of what behavior is acceptable and when and where. She''s at the right age to start a school where you will learn how to better communicate your wishes and intentions. Alternatively, ask her veterinarian for a dog trainer or behavioral-therapist referral. Some first-time dog owners overindulge, are inconsistent in rewarding desired behaviors, and may not even know how to play with their dogs. Ella needs to learn self-control, and acquiring such internal inhibition is best accomplished with the help of an experienced dog trainer or behavioral therapist.
V.I.L., Houston, TX
Tags: small pet Houston TX diet food
Jun 23, 2007
I adopted a 6-1/2-year-old cat from PetSmart in Midland, Texas.He is a wonderful cat but has an extreme craving for green plants. I have since gotten rid of all green plants and switched to plastic. He tries to eat the plastic ones, too.He loves ivy and would throw up profusely after eating the leaves. It was severe enough for me to contact a woman from the Midland Adoption Group to ask for help. She took him to the vet and had extensive bloodwork done as well as abdominal X-rays. Everything came back normal. I have since started giving him Nupro natural food (dry) and sprinkling Barley Cat on top. I also mix the Missing Link Omega 3 Feline Formula into his wet food.Since I have made these changes, he hardly throws up anymore, but he continues to try to eat my plastic plants. Any suggestions?.
V.I.L., Houston, TX Jun 24, 2007
Keep your cat away from the plastic plants. Plastic contains chemicals that are both attractive and potentially harmful to cats.Many cat owners set out little pots of sprouted wheat grass and other greens, or sprout their own so their cats can "graze" as they wish. You can also finely chop 1 teaspoon of such greenery and mix it into the cat''s food once a day.Do your best to transition your cat to a moist cat food, because most dry foods, being loaded with carbohydrates and vegetable proteins like wheat gluten, are not good for cats, who are carnivores.
N.J.J., Houston, TX
Tags: small pet Houston TX
Jun 02, 2007
I have a 10-month-old female chow/pit-bull mix who does a lot of digging around the tree in my yard. She''s dug holes all over the yard. Now she''s chewing the edges of the screen door and anything else she can find to chew.She''s well fed and healthy, so why is she acting this way? What is she lacking? What can I do to stop this behavior?.
N.J.J., Houston, TX Jun 03, 2007
You have a healthy, active young dog who is doing what most dogs will do when left out in the yard -- she''s bored, curious, playful and, like countless other dogs, loves to dig and chew things.Either spend more time with her outdoors or get her a dog companion to chase and wrestle with. For your own peace of mind, it may be best to give the yard over to your dog, but be sure she has a kennel for shade and shelter, and freshwater to drink if she''s out there for any length of time. No dog should be kept tied up in the yard, but too many are, day and night.Attempts by humane organizations and concerned individuals to establish state legislation to limit how long dogs can be tied up outdoors has been opposed by the American Kennel Club, an organization that clearly puts dollars before dogs because any such legislation is seen as a threat to commercial breeders.
L.M-B., Houston, TX
Tags: small pet
Apr 28, 2007
I have a 5-year-old mixed breed -- part Airedale, part spaniel. Molly is a female that weighs 48 pounds.Over the past two years, she has suffered with stomach upset. Our vet did a "scope" and then sent us to Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital. Besides this, she has seen four other local vets. They all found no underlying cause.We have tried multiple veterinary foods, including boiled chicken and rice. She currently eats duck and potato. She hasn''t had diarrhea in two years.Acid reflux is the current diagnosis. She also takes erythromycin ES twice daily (after morning and evening meals). She had taken Pepcid AC, but it did not help. At night (her worst time), I put her head on a pillow to help, but during the night, she moves off the pillow. She has a very difficult time swallowing (and you can hear it) all night long. I fear for her esophagus; stomach acid can''t be safe. Can you help?.
L.M-B., Houston, TX Apr 29, 2007
Presumably, the veterinarians have ruled out mega-esophagus, a common cause of food regurgitation.I advise you to give your dog four small meals a day, the last meal at about 4 p.m.The erythromycin stimulates stomach contractions, but I would ask the vets to consider using ranitidine or nizatidine to help stimulate stomach emptying.If a tumor has been ruled out and medications don''t help, continue feeding her frequent small meals like pasta, rice and cottage cheese. There is probably no cure; though, in some cases, corrective surgery (pyloroplasty) may help.
L.M., Houston, TX
Tags: dog Houston TX
Mar 24, 2007
Do you have a "recipe" for an ear wash for dogs?.
L.M., Houston, TX Mar 25, 2007
Generally, it is not advisable to routinely wash inside a dog''s ears. When bathing a dog, it is advisable to keep the ear canals dry with cotton balls.For ears that have discharge, odor or are red and itchy, consult with a veterinarian. The vet can prescribe a safe and effective ear wash and ointment as needed. Powders are sometimes prescribed, followed by a mild astringent rinse. For emergencies, use one part cider vinegar to three to four parts warm water, or a few drops of olive oil. For regular wiping out, use a soft tissue moistened with witch hazel.
S.P., Houston, TX
Tags: dog Houston TX diet food
Feb 24, 2007
Thank you for your column concerning ridding one''s home of fleas. Off and on, for about a year, we have battled scabies using doctor-prescribed medicine, sulfur, tea-tree oil and flea sprays with some success on our dog. However, the borax you suggested has been very effective. Perhaps you can pass this along to your readers.
S.P., Houston, TX Feb 25, 2007
Yes, many people have found that borax helps keep fleas at bay in the home. Sprinkle where animals live and on carpets and cracks in the floor. Let it sit overnight or for at least one to two hours, and then vacuum thoroughly every two to three weeks. Adding Brewer''s yeast and flaxseed oil to your dog''s food every day can also help repel fleas. Work up slowly to 1 teaspoon of each, daily, per 30 pounds of body weight.Scabies calls for nutritional supplements to boost your dog''s immune system. Your veterinarian can advise you on this. And, if you haven''t tried it, give your dog an injection of Ivermectin. This is very effective against scabies but should not be given to collie-type dogs because the drug can harm dogs with that genetic lineage (see www.awca.net/drug.htm). Alternatively, benzyl benzoate shampoo can do a great job.
K.B., Houston, TX
Dec 30, 2006
You were inquiring if any other readers had found any effective remedies for inflammatory bowel disease. I had a cat that had diarrhea since he was weaned.I read veterinary and herbal books searching for a cause and cure. While experimenting with his diet, I discovered he was allergic to fish. This solved the problem somewhat, but he still had weekly bouts of diarrhea. I read that valerian root could relax and soothe an irritated intestinal tract and that cats like the taste, so I treated him twice a day with this when he had diarrhea and once a day when he showed no symptoms. He lived to be 11 years old, most of the time symptom-free!One other success for herbal medicine was a cat I had with liver problems. He was tested by my veterinarian and found to have elevated liver enzymes, but no treatment was offered. I''d heard of experiments with milk thistle on humans in Europe, so I tried it on my cat. I gave him 1/2 dropper of a diluted solution of milk thistle in water tincture twice a day for 10 days for a mo
K.B., Houston, TX Dec 31, 2006
Many holistic veterinarians are using the kinds of herbal medicines you mentioned (and a host of others) to good effect for a variety of conditions in cats and dogs. I do not, however, encourage people to experiment with these products without veterinary supervision.Cats and dogs suffering from hepatitis benefit from milk thistle and nutraceutical supplements like vitamin E, selenium, L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid and S-adenosylmethionine. They are also excellent supplements for geriatric animals. All animals benefit from fresh, unprocessed whole foods certified as "organic."