S.E.B., Norfolk, Va
Tags: cat Norfolk VA
Apr 01, 2012
I have a 16-year-old female Persian cat who started pooping everywhere. I gave her a new litter box, but it did not help. Then one day, I decided to hide her litter box under a big desk, and I put a cover over the entrance.
Now she uses the litter box exclusively. Wow, who knew she wanted privacy when she pooped?
S.E.B., Norfolk, Va Apr 02, 2012
As I detail in my book "Cat Body, Cat Mind," there are many reasons why cats poop outside of their litter boxes. The most common reason is chronic constipation, especially in older cats.
A less-common reason not always considered is precisely what you have discovered. Some cats like privacy, and I always advise putting litter boxes in low-traffic spots in the home. It is natural for animals to feel vulnerable when pooping. One of my dogs would always choose to hide in the bushes to poop rather than do it by the side of the road so I could easily pick up.
Getting old, losing eyesight and hearing and painful arthritis in the back can make cats have difficulties evacuating. Give your cat a few drops of fish oil in her food every day, and give her a good evening massage along her back and around her abdomen.
A.G., Norfolk, Va
Tags: cat Norfolk VA
Jan 01, 2012
My male Persian cat (a rescue cat) was neutered when he was over 2 years old. He has had oxalate stones removed twice in the past two years. He was thoroughly examined by a veterinarian internist/specialist. My cat's vet did both surgeries. What seems to be working to keep the stones away, so far, is a daily dose (0.5 cc) of liquid hydrochlorothiazide. I use a syringe and squirt it into his mouth.
His dry food is Royal Canin Feline Nutrition PRO Persian 30, which is formulated to help with his urinary tract -- he likes it. He drinks plenty of water but is a bit finicky about moist food. I've offered him Hill's Prescription Diet c/d, minced turkey in gravy, chicken pate and homegrown grass (he likes that), but he prefers his kibble. He's an indoor cat. He loves being groomed several times a day. I monitor his litter boxes and clean them several times a day.
So far, the prescription is keeping the bladder stone problem in check. I hope this helps others with this awful problem.
A.G., Norfolk, Va Jan 02, 2012
Cats and dogs develop calcium oxalate crystals, or sand, and larger calculi, or stones, in their lower urinary tract for a variety of reasons. The acidification of manufactured pet foods -- to help lower the incidence of struvite crystals -- is believed to be one factor. Not drinking enough water, being given only dry food and too much sodium in the diet may also play a role in this all-too-common malady.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic, making the recipient produce more urine. This essentially keeps the urinary tract regularly flushed, preventing the accumulation of oxalate crystals that might grow into larger stones or calculi. A moist diet and ensuring the cat drinks plenty of water (even seasoned with salt-free chicken gravy or a little milk) or getting the cat used to 5 to 10 cc of water given orally in a syringe if the cat does not drink much -- these are the best preventive measures. I do not advise giving cats more salt (sodium chloride) to get them to drink more. Starting kittens out on a moist, home-prepared or raw food diet will do much to stop urinary tract problems from developing.
C.D., Norfolk, Va
Tags: cat Norfolk VA thyroid
Aug 28, 2011
I am writing because my otherwise very healthy 13-year-old male cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
He has been seen by my vet and went to the emergency vet and spent last night in an oxygen cage. He seems to be doing better now. His breathing is still somewhat rapid, and his heartbeat is around 150. They have him on 5 milligrams of thyroid medicine and have recommended that he be seen by a feline cardiologist for possible heart damage. Both vets found that he has a heart murmur.
I am so distressed about this, as I should have recognized the signs a long time ago: increased water consumption, loss of muscle mass and change in behavior. I even mentioned to my vet that he was feeling "bonier," and she said it probably was just his getting older. I also mentioned to her that he was drinking more water, so we were keeping an eye on his kidney functions. This diagnosis threw me for a loop.
Regardless, what is the best course of action to maintain his health? I am not ready for him to leave me. Does the thyroid medication work? What if he does have heart disease?
He eats Fancy Feast wet, grilled variety, with occasional raw chicken livers as a treat. What supplements would you recommend? Also, he is neutered.
C.D., Norfolk, Va Aug 29, 2011
Whenever an older cat develops symptoms like your cat, the possibility of thyroid disease and diabetes should be considered.
Cats, dogs and humans are exposed to environmental chemicals, from bromide-based flame retardants in carpets and other household materials to fluorides in drinking water and chemicals in plastic and canned food containers. These are endocrine disruptors, and they can play a significant role in thyroid disease, diabetes and even abnormal sexual development in boy babies.
Now that your cat's condition has been diagnosed, there are various treatments your veterinarian will decide on to put the brakes on his hyperactive thyroid. Whatever heart condition is diagnosed (such as cardiomyopathy), supplements such as fish oil, magnesium, potassium, CoQ10 and l-carnitine, as well as a low-salt diet, will help. Gradually transitioning your cat back to a raw food diet would be worthwhile. I am surprised that the veterinarian adopted a "keep an eye" approach, guessing at a possible kidney problem, and did not do any blood tests to help determine what might be going on.
E-R.G., Norfolk, Va
Tags: cat Norfolk VA
May 22, 2011
My 8-year-old male Russian Blue cat was recently diagnosed with fibrosarcoma. He also has a round open wound on his right haunch that is clean and doesn't seem to bother him, but it drains and is quite messy. Two separate vets have told me that this wound can't be closed and that it has something to do with the blood supply to the tumor that, at this point, is helping to keep him alive.
He doesn't appear to be in any pain and is eating, pooping, playing, and sleeping normally. His brother from the same litter is well. I don't understand why this wound won't heal itself or why it can't be closed. Is there anything I can do to make him feel better?
E-R.G., Norfolk, Va May 22, 2011
It is good to know that your cancer-afflicted cat is still enjoying life and showing no other symptoms. Because fibrosarcomas in cats are linked to the place in their skin where they were injected, veterinarians vaccinate cats down their legs rather than behind the neck. Surgical removal of the cancer, often involving limb amputation, is more likely to eliminate the cancer (which can spread into surrounding tissues and internal organs) than surgery around the neck or between the shoulder blades.
Because frankincense oil has been shown to kill melanomas in horses, I would like to see clinical trials with this and other essential oils such as myrrh and helichrysum in cats with fibrosarcoma, noting that for cats (unlike dogs and humans), these oils are not without some risk to their livers. Also, discuss treating the non-healing lesion with your veterinarian using a mixture of organic honey and sangre de drago, the red-colored healing sap from an Amazon tree.
C.G., Norfolk, Va
Apr 17, 2011
We've had a collie pup with colitis from the time he was little. The vets gave him pills, which didn't help, so I ended up cooking for him for 9-1/2 years. When he had stomach cramps, the only thing that would help his diarrhea was Kaopectate about two to three times a week.
We didn't know that he was inbred until we had to put him down from a combination of things -- his immune system wouldn't kick in, no matter how many antibiotics we gave him from the vet. We discovered he was inbred when we got another dog from a rescue site. The woman there said our collie was probably inbred if he was sick from his earliest years. I know there were 10 puppies at the time we got ours and wonder how many owners went through what I did. After that, I decided never to go to a breeder again. So we went to a rescue site and we got a dog that is half Australian shepherd and half border collie. She is a great, healthy dog.
Thanks for bringing attention to this horrible situation. No one should go through what I did.
C.G., Norfolk, Va Apr 17, 2011
I appreciate your letter sharing your financially and emotionally costly personal experience with a sickly, highly inbred purebred dog. Because of these problems, commercial breeders (many of whom operate abominable puppy mills) are now producing "designer" half-breeds like Labradoodles and cockapoos that are not without problems. Rescue sites and animal shelters fudge a bit when they guess that a great-looking mutt is half shepherd and half Labrador or half schnauzer and half poodle (a schnoodle) when they don't know the animal's ancestry for sure. But does that matter? I'm not quite sure of my own. People who want a particular breed of puppy should never go online or purchase from a pet store. Visit the breeder, and assess conditions at the facility and the temperaments of the pups' parents. If such visits and evaluations are denied, you should look elsewhere. I have been to puppy-breeding factories that would make you weep, and many states still resist stricter legislation and oversight. Money rules to the detriment of good dogs and our own humanity.
C.A.S., Norfolk, Va
Tags: dog Norfolk VA
Dec 05, 2010
I have a male Grand Champion Shetland sheepdog. I recently went on a trip and left him with a friend. She was walking my dog when another dog came over without a leash. She asked the owner of the other dog to put it on leash, but he didn't. My dog got overly fearful and squirmed his way out of the collar and ran away. He was gone for about two weeks. We finally trapped him almost 10 miles from where he started, in another township. When I got him back, he was covered with ticks. I took him to the vet, and they shaved him. In this condition, you could see on his skin that he had bruises. This happened in July 2009.
Ever since, he has been a changed dog. I've taken him to classes, but he's afraid of people coming up to pet him. He makes it look as if I've hit him. When I take him to shows, I can barely get him to stand still. He used to be just fine at shows and would let anyone show him. What can I do to get him back to his more trusting self?
C.A.S., Norfolk, Va Dec 05, 2010
Your poor dog is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As with humans suffering this affliction, treatment includes the judicious use of anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax, and either total immersion/intense exposure to the fear-invoking stimuli or gradual repeated exposure of increasing duration and intensity. Verbal praise and treats for staying calm help dogs dissociate from conditioned fear to positive expectation when, for instance, they are trained to sit and stay still while people walk by or while they are watching children playing in a park or playground. Keeping your dog in a harness while on the leash may provide more comfort and better security than a collar. A few drops of lavender oil on a bandanna around his neck may also be calming, and the dog-appeasement pheromone (DAP) may be worth a try. Remember, he is sensitive to your reactions. Ignore his cowering, and don't tense up or try to force him to be friendly, which should come with time and patience. PTSD is the modern name for shell shock, and certainly after air raids during World War II, some dogs in the United Kingdom would develop a psychotic "fly snapping" behavior.
D.S., Norfolk, Va
Tags: dog Norfolk VA
Jul 25, 2010
I own a beautiful 3-year-old chocolate miniature dachshund. He weighs 10-1/2 pounds, is well-behaved, and is a very close friend. Mooky has only one testicle. I assume the other one is somewhere in his stomach area. Two vets have recommended that I have him neutered, as both testicles need to be removed. What should I do? Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.
D.S., Norfolk, Va Jul 26, 2010
My opinion, I am sure, echoes what the other two vets have said. The undescended testicle, which is somewhere inside his abdomen, should be removed. It could turn into a cancerous, Sertoli-cell tumor. This kind of tumor can produce a lot of female sex hormone, essentially feminizing your dog. This situation will reach the point where his pheromones attract male dogs, and their noses will take him to be a receptive female. He will then, most likely, get into fights and detest being courted and mounted. There is evidence that this problem, called cryptorchidism, is hereditary, so removing both testicles to make sure that the condition is not passed on to male offspring is advisable.
J.B., Norfolk, Va
Tags: small pet
Jan 30, 2010
We have a red bird that has been pecking at our window for about a month now. He repeatedly flies at the window. Sometimes I hear the flutter of his wings, as if he is trying to come through the window. This started at our bedroom window, then he began to alternate between there and an adjacent window on the same side of the house. Lately, he has been flying around to the back side of the house and doing the same thing.
We feel sorry for the poor bird. He must be terribly frustrated. He''s very persistent. We have tried opening the windows to change the reflection angle, making a sound to scare him away, etc., but nothing seems to deter him.
Do you have any idea what this bird is trying to do?
J.B., Norfolk, Va Jan 31, 2010
I appreciate your concern, but I assure you this bird, most likely a male Cardinal, is simply jousting with what he believes is a rival male in his reflection. He should eventually habituate, but you may want to cover the windows that he is drawn to with sheets of paper secured with masking tape. This may end his fixation. Placing a piece of material about the same size and color of a male bird''s plumage on a branch may elicit aggressive responses in a variety of species. The behavior is most likely in response to a perceived territorial intruder and rival.
D.S., Norfolk, Va
Tags: dog Norfolk VA
Nov 14, 2009
I have a beautiful 3-year-old chocolate miniature dachshund named Mooky. He weighs 10 pounds, is well-behaved and is a close friend. Mooky has only one testicle. I assume the other one is somewhere in his stomach area. Two vets have recommended that I have him neutered, as both testicles need to be removed. What should I do?
D.S., Norfolk, Va Nov 15, 2009
My opinion, I am sure, echoes what the other two vets have said. The undescended testicle should be removed. It could turn into a cancerous, Sertoli-cell tumor. This tumor produces a lot of female sex hormone, essentially feminizing your dog. This will reach a point where his pheromones will attract males. He will then, most likely, get into fights and detest being courted and mounted.
S.R., Norfolk, Va
Tags: bird Norfolk VA
Aug 02, 2008
In reference to C.D. of Norfolk, Va., whose miniature schnauzer appears to have impacted anal glands, my wheaten terrier, aged 11, had two situations that were so severe. The vet warned that surgery might be necessary should they reoccur. I referenced a natural-remedy book that recommended a teaspoon of olive oil in the food daily to stimulate anal-gland contraction. I followed this advice and, in seven years, we have yet to see the problem return.I also give her probiotics when I notice sluggish digestion or gas and get immediate results.
S.R., Norfolk, Va Aug 03, 2008
Many readers will appreciate your natural remedy that is certainly worth trying on dogs with chronic anal-gland problems. Olive oil and olive leaves have some remarkable properties as powerful antioxidants and are good for animals'' coats and skin.