J.C., Florissant, Mo
Tags: dog Florissant MO diet food
May 19, 2013
Our dog, Ellie, is an 11-year-old English setter rescue who we have had for about three years. About six months ago, she began to have fecal incontinence.
We have a doggy door and she goes in and out many times a day, but she seems to have no awareness that she is defecating. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed as having arthritis of the spine.
Our vet said there isn''t much that can be done for the incontinence, but said we could try giving her Proin (used for urinary incontinence) to see if it would help at all. This seemed to offer no relief, so we discontinued it. We have been giving her Pepto Bismol to make the stools firmer and easier to pick up, but that seems to not work any more. Do you have any other suggestions? Other than this problem, she is an active, happy girl. She survived a double mastectomy two years ago.
J.C., Florissant, Mo May 20, 2013
Old dogs do have this condition quite frequently, and it takes some patience and forbearance to be on the alert to get the dog outdoors in anticipation of the next evacuation.
Keeping the stools firm for easier indoor pick-up is best accomplished with 1 teaspoon of soaked psyllium husks (not the seeds) per 40 pounds of body weight every day, mixed in with the dog''s regular food. Regular massage along the back and around the abdomen may also be helpful.
There are disposable doggy diapers that may make life easier for you and be quite comfortable for your old dog to wear.
L.S., Kansas City, Mo
Tags: cat MO diet food Kansas City
Apr 21, 2013
I got two beautiful 4-month-old kittens in August 2011 from a Humane Society foster home (they were from different litters). About two months later, one of the cats, Brody, developed sores on the back of his legs and a swollen lower lip.
I took him to our vet, who diagnosed him as having eosinophilic granuloma. Brody was given a steroid shot to suppress the outbreak. The vet then prescribed 5 milligrams of prednisolone twice a day for two weeks with instructions to wean Brody off of it slowly. Since this is an autoimmune disorder, I was instructed to take him off store-bought food, and I switched him to Hill's Prescription Diet z/d canned and dry food, which is quite costly.
The research I've done indicates that a majority of kittens outgrow this condition, but the prognosis is poor for cats who don't outgrow it. Unfortunately, every time I try to wean Brody down to a lower dosage, the condition reappears. I know that being on a steady dose of steroids, even a low dosage, can cause other problems down the line.
Do you have any suggestions? Thanks very much.
L.S., Kansas City, Mo Apr 22, 2013
My first concern is that there may be some other underlying health problem such as round worms or herpes virus that is impairing your cat's immune system.
The prednisolone treatment suppresses the symptoms, but won't cure the condition. Explore with your veterinarian putting your cat on a course of doxycycline oral antibiotics, which can be of benefit in treating cats' suffering from eosinophilic granulomatosis. Your cat should be weaned off the prednisolone and given no further vaccinations. Local applications of hydrosols of frankincense, myrrh and lavender may prove beneficial thanks to the soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of these plant extracts. Adding a few drops of fish oil to his food may help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
J.G., St. Charles, Mo
Tags: dog MO St Charles
Apr 07, 2013
I have a mature 13-year-old poodle who has warts all over his back, and I don't know how to treat them.
My vet said he could freeze some -- three at a time for $500 each visit -- but they may grow back. If there is anything I can do to help dry them out, I will. I was going to get some medication from the drugstore, but I'm afraid it might hurt him.
J.G., St. Charles, Mo Apr 08, 2013
I wonder what is happening to the veterinary profession. To give you a price of $500 to remove these harmless growths, so common in older dogs and small breeds like yours, is outrageous.
One of my readers painted her dog's warts with organic cider vinegar, twice daily for several days, until they disappeared. Other readers have used over-the-counter human wart-removing ointments with good effect. Other herbal remedies include garlic juice, fresh nettle juice and thuja tincture.
You should, of course, keep any wart-removing application away from your dog's eyes. A veterinarian should be consulted concerning any growths that are especially irritating and have a reddened base -- they may have a bacterial or fungal infection. If this could be an issue with your dog, seek a second opinion from another animal doctor.
P.D., Washington, Mo
Tags: cat Washington MO
Mar 24, 2013
Some time ago, I lost my diabetic cat. He had a stroke and became blind and confused. I took him to the vet, and the vet had to put my cat down. I was in such a state that I failed to ask what caused the stroke.
For more than 12 years, I kept my cat alive by giving him his insulin shots and taking him to the vet for blood tests. Is there something I didn't do right, or did I do something to cause the stroke? I have not gotten over this feeling that maybe I did something that caused the stroke. I still miss him very much.
P.D., Washington, Mo Mar 25, 2013
I sympathize with you over the loss of your poor cat who was afflicted by diabetes.
Many diabetic cats develop various complications, just as human sufferers of this disease do. These complications are often compounded by liver and kidney problems.
Blood clots and burst blood vessels from high blood pressure can cause strokes, partial paralysis and blindness. These complications are no fault of yours, and you could have done nothing to prevent them -- it's just the luck of the draw. The only consolation is that your cat did not suffer long, and he enjoyed the security and pleasure of your loving care.
K.W., Imperial, Mo
Tags: dog MO Imperial
Dec 23, 2012
I lost my German shepherd/chow mix and my Great Dane/Lab mix to cancer within months of each other last year. I immediately adopted Buddy, a 4-month-old golden retriever/Lab mix, from a no-kill shelter because I love big black dogs, and I know they have a horrible time finding homes.
I took him to the vet because he had a sore on his back leg and one on his penis. I wanted to make sure that he did not have ringworm. (He didn't.) The vet looked at some skin scrapings under a microscope and told me that he had a bacterial infection. She prescribed cephalexin. Buddy got diarrhea almost immediately after taking the medicine. His stool wavered between soft and loose. I stopped the cephalexin and called the vet. The vet put him on PVD FortiFlora Canine. The next day, his vet was off duty, but another vet put him on metronidazole. The stools were firmer after five days, so I stopped the pills.
After 24 hours, the soft/loose stools returned. I put him back on the metronidazole for several days. I called the vet to renew the prescription, and this vet informed me that the normal dosage should have been four times the amount I had been prescribed, so she changed that for him.
He was perfectly fine until the cephalexin. One of the vets suggested he be examined again, but I am not sure what good this would do. I seem to get different answers depending on which vet I speak to that day. I gave Buddy probiotics all of this time. Can you help?
K.W., Imperial, Mo Dec 24, 2012
I am shocked that the veterinarian prescribed such a powerful oral drug as cephalexin rather than treating the skin infection with a topical ointment.
Clearly, the cephalexin wiped out some of the beneficial bacteria in your dog's digestive tract, causing dysbiosis or bacterial population imbalance. The corrective treatments prescribed were appropriate.
I would give your dog a good-quality probiotic twice daily, along with a prebiotic such as inulin (not insulin) and digestive enzymes. Herbal preparation of marshmallow root, chamomile, aloe vera and cramp bark may help alleviate the diarrhea. Glutamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, lecithin and montmorillonite clay or calcium aluminosilicate are all potential remedies for this kind of diarrhea.
Avoid food with soy or grain. For more details, including my home-prepared dog food and treat recipes and a dog food quality scoring system, check my website, DrFoxVet.com.
M.D., Labadie, Mo
Nov 18, 2012
I was disappointed in your recent response to G.L. in Washington, D.C., the feral cat colony caretaker. Instead of providing him with a link to Alley Cat Allies (alleycat.org), a nonprofit group dedicated to helping cats, you persisted in providing antiquated arguments for the death of cats. The website has an entire section that would have answered G.L.'s questions much better than you did, which was to advocate he euthanize his cats.
You also maintain that cats kill birds and other wildlife. My feral cat takes out the moles that destroy my yard, kills copperhead snakes and keeps down the mouse and other rodent population. Take out the cats through your plan, and these creatures have no natural predator and their populations explode.
I would suggest you educate yourself before giving the public outdated information. You have lost credibility with me for perpetuating stereotypes. I hope you can inform the public in a future column that there are better ways and better answers than what you wrote.
M.D., Labadie, Mo Nov 19, 2012
While I appreciate what Alley Cat Allies is doing to help increase public awareness about the plight of free-roaming lost and feral cats, I am not alone in my opinion. Many in the veterinary profession, as well as other wildlife biologists, question the wisdom and humaneness of TNR (trap-neuter-release) and people maintaining colonies of feral cats. Your statement that I advocate only euthanasia is incorrect.
By your own admission, your cats are killing wildlife. The moles are part of the natural environment you occupy, and I, for one, welcome them. They were here on Earth long before we humans became an infestation, and in many cases, they benefit the soil. Copperheads and other snakes are natural rodent controllers, which helps control the viruses rodents transmit, such as the hantavirus.
According to the American Bird Conservancy, only about one-third of the 77 million pet cats in the U.S. are kept indoors exclusively, while free-roaming cats kill an estimated 500 million birds annually -- a staggering figure. Fledglings who have just left the nest are especially vulnerable to these domestic and feral predators.
Domestic cats have no place outdoors, and our compassion for these homeless animals should not trump common sense and sound science.
My home is enriched by two feral cats my wife and I trapped and saved from Minnesota winters. One took six months to venture out from a safe corner he chose as his refuge. Neither shows any desire to go back outdoors, and both are now wonderful companions who I can kiss on their tummies and play wild games with at night. Trap-neuter-rehabilitate is my TNR mantra, with release through euthanasia being the very last option.
D.L, Maryland Heights, Mo
Tags: cat MO diet food Maryland Heights
Oct 28, 2012
I have two littermate cats whom I adopted as kittens in 1997. One was diagnosed with chronic renal failure (CRF) last March when he stopped eating dry cat food. He didn't eat much at all through April until I gave him Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diet chicken. He ate one to two medallions per day along with some Temptations treats and a little milk. He tried to eat high-quality canned food by licking the liquid, but he always went back to the raw. Now my non-CRF cat also prefers frozen raw.
Are my cats showing that frozen raw is a better cat food, especially for the CRF cat? Is it better for the kidneys?
D.L, Maryland Heights, Mo Oct 29, 2012
You can thank your cat for showing you what will help improve his health. He is exercising what I call his "innate nutritional wisdom," which is so often thrown off when cats become addicted to certain manufactured cat foods, especially dry kibble. Dry food has been implicated in some kinds of CRF and lower urinary tract problems. For more details, see the new paperback edition of "Not Fit for a Dog."
I have long advocated whole foods for cats and dogs, and that includes frozen raw and freeze-dried raw foods. Always give your pet probiotics, and transition him or her slowly over a seven- to 10-day period from conventional diets to the better ones, like those on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
Some believe that because of its close ties with some of the big pet food manufacturers that see the raw food movement as a threat, the American Veterinary Medical Association, of which I am an Honor Roll member, has come out in opposition to raw food diets because of alleged public health concerns over bacterial contamination. But the fact is that cooking does not kill all these potential pathogens, and most pet food recalls due to salmonella and other bacterial contamination are with dry foods and treats, and rarely with the frozen raw foods!
R.G., Weldon Spring, Mo
Oct 22, 2012
A few years ago, I adopted a senior cat and was amazed by the number of sounds she had in her vocabulary -- about 10 or 12. Sombra looked like a petite, miniature Maine coon (she was only 5 pounds), and I have been told they can be quite vocal -- trust me, she was!
The funniest sound: She would stroll into the kitchen and grumble at me. We would then hold a conversation as follows: "What?" More grumbling. "What?" More grumbling. We'd do this several times, at which point she would turn and stroll back out of the kitchen.
The eeriest sound: In the middle of the night, she would jump off the bed, go downstairs and start howling for all she was worth. It scared me to no end the first time she did it, and she kept it up until I went to see what was wrong. Well, nothing was wrong: She was standing at the foot of the stairs, looking up. As soon as she saw me, she shut up, came back upstairs and was good the rest of the night. She would do this sporadically, and I never found out why.
When she saw birds, she had a mean growling sound. For getting me out of bed, she would sit right by my ear and scream "meow" (just once, but it was effective). She also had a deep purr when she was content.
I no longer have Sombra, but those few years with her were wonderful. I would definitely recommend senior animals to anyone.
R.G., Weldon Spring, Mo Oct 23, 2012
Many people with cats will enjoy your vivid account of Sombra's vocal repertoire. The loud yowling (which old cats suffering from dementia will often do) was probably to call you out for a night prowl. My friend the late professor Paul Leyhausen, a German animal behaviorist, described this calling-out vocalization and many other remarkable sounds domestic cats can make. My e-book "Understanding Your Cat" details some of his and other scientists' studies of the complex feline psyche.
One of our formerly feral cats gives a chirp-meow whenever I pass by -- his way of saying "hi." He gives a similar call every time he jumps off a chair or cat condo. Our other ex-feral cat has a loud purr when content, which is often coupled with a high note that sounds like a bird trilling -- his song of secure happiness, no doubt.
J.R., Villa Ridge, Mo
Tags: dog MO diet food Villa Ridge
Sep 10, 2012
We have two Boston terriers, Kash and Carrie. About a month ago, Carrie started leaving feces around the house. (The bits are small -- about 1 inch in size.)
We took Carrie to a vet who prescribed Prion and metronidazole. Neither of those medications helped her. The vet didn't know what was wrong with her. Her food (Purina Fit & Trim) didn't change. She is 8 years old.
Since the first vet couldn't help her, we made an appointment with another vet. He prescribed Previcox. That didn't help either. We switched vets again, and this one prescribed phenylpropanolamine. After 10 days, I called the vet and told him the medicine was not helping, so he said to stop the medication. After taking the medicine, she was constipated, so I am now giving her a tablespoon of pumpkin once a day.
Carrie always slept in bed with us, but she started pooping in the bed while sleeping under the covers. She goes outside first thing in the morning (6:30 a.m.). She walks every day for at least a mile. Weather permitting, she plays outside for 30 minutes. She is a very active dog.
She doesn't have any problems other than dropping feces, and sometimes I think she doesn't even know she is doing this.
I hope you can help her. She doesn't mean to go. As soon as she does, she leaves that area and doesn't come back until we dispose of the evidence. Please help! I don't know what else I can do. We love her so much, but cannot go on like this forever.
J.R., Villa Ridge, Mo Sep 11, 2012
Fecal incontinence is not uncommon in older dogs, but Carrie is not all that old, so I would not put her condition down to any age-related cognitive or neurological deterioration.
I find all the prescribed medications you listed questionable; the third one -- phenylpropanolamine -- is categorically absurd.
I would phase out feeding her the high-fiber dry dog food and instead give her three or four small meals daily of a low-fiber, grain-free dry dog food with equal parts organic canned food. Give her a sprinkling of digestive enzymes and some plain, raw, organic yogurt or kefir -- 1 tablespoon per meal -- as a source of probiotics.
Many of the manufactured weight-loss dog foods have high fiber content (such as peanut hulls and beet pulp). This means more fecal material is produced, possibly compounded by malabsorption of nutrients, so the poor dog is hungry, eats more and suffers painful bloat, contractions and constipation.
I trust that all the veterinarians you consulted ruled out any infection, impaction or cancer of her anal glands, which can impair sphincter control.
B.K., Washington, Mo
Tags: cat Washington MO diet food
Sep 03, 2012
We have a cat who is 9 years old and weighs 19 pounds. We have her on Purina Pro Plan weight management food trying to get her to lose some weight. The biggest problem we have is her throwing up.
She just started this about two years ago. We have been to three vets, and each says something different. Her stomach has been X-rayed. They think she vomits because of hair balls. She gets one Capilex pill every morning to try to digest her hair balls, but she still throws up several times a week -- and sometimes more.
B.K., Washington, Mo Sep 04, 2012
You have a middle-aged, overweight cat who is probably suffering from the same related health problems we see in overweight people. These health issues include diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver and heart disease. A veterinarian should check this out.
The most common reasons cats throw up after eating are not only hair balls in the stomach, but eating too quickly -- usually because they are so hungry and are fed only twice a day -- or being allergic to one or more ingredients in their food.
I would transition your cat to a cereal-free cat food such as Organix or Wellness. Give 2 teaspoons of food six to eight times daily, along with probiotics or a little plain live yogurt or kefir. Try to get her to play more; physical activity is good therapy. This is one of the reasons I advise people to keep two cats. They stimulate each other and are more active and healthier than live-alone cats.