Q.C.C., Central Point, OR
Tags: dog OR Central Point
May 13, 2013
I have been wondering if it''s bad for dogs to sleep under a blanket and comforter at night? It seems to me that the oxygen supply would get pretty low after a couple of hours.
What is your outlook on this?
Q.C.C., Central Point, OR May 14, 2013
Many dogs, and cats too, enjoy having their own blanket to snuggle under. While an animal who begins to experience oxygen deprivation will eventually get out from under the covers, I consider it unhealthy for an animal to keep breathing the same air in a limited space for any length of time. Dogs with pushed-in (or brachycephalic) muzzles, windpipe/tracheal weakness and those with incipient respiratory and heart conditions are particularly at risk.
Encourage your dog to sleep on the top cover of your bed under his own light cotton blanket or bath towel.
L.J., Rogue River, OR
Tags: dog OR Rogue River
Mar 17, 2013
In the paper a couple of months ago, you answered a letter from someone inquiring about black spots on her dog's skin. You said they were probably warts and to spray the spots with apple cider vinegar.
My cocker spaniel, Max, not only had black spots on his back and neck, but also on his stomach. The spots on his back were large and crusty, and the skin flaked off around them. His groomer thought he had allergies and dry spots and bathed him with oatmeal shampoo.
I thought your idea was worth a try, so I sprayed apple cider vinegar on his back a couple times a day -- when I remembered -- for a week or two. The spots not only reduced in size, but soon they were all gone -- even the spots I didn't put vinegar on disappeared. My vet had never heard of such a thing and was amazed.
L.J., Rogue River, OR Mar 18, 2013
Yes, we have much to relearn from tried-and-true folk remedies for a variety of health problems. So many of the medications on the market today can have harmful side effects and are far more expensive than folk remedies. Remedies like apple cider vinegar and baking soda paste for skin conditions; peppermint or spearmint and ginger for nausea and an upset stomach; cramp bark or licorice for gut-ache; and valerian or catnip for anxiety are all great alternatives to expensive prescription medication.
While I do not advocate people making their own diagnoses, I urge more human and animal doctors to adopt a more integrative approach in their treatments. As an added bonus, unlike many prescribed drugs, these products are not an environmental health hazard when excreted.
M.A., Jacksonville, OR
Tags: dog OR diet food Jacksonville
Jan 28, 2013
I am responding to your request for success stories of dietary changes.
We have a beautiful, loved black Labrador retriever, Buddy. We''ve had Buddy since he was seven weeks old. When my husband and I retired, we moved from California to 20 acres in the Oregon countryside. Buddy was about 4 years old. About two months after we moved, he had a seizure. It was frightening for us and for him. It lasted about 10 minutes, and then he was back to normal. We thought maybe something he ate on the property caused the seizure. We didn''t take him to the vet. He wasn''t allowed to run on the property without being on a leash so we could make sure he didn''t eat anything he shouldn''t.
About three months later, he had another seizure. At that time we took him to our vet. Our vet said that a number of things could cause seizures in dogs and that we needed to keep an eye on him. Over the next year, he had four seizures. He had them about every three months, and they lasted 10 to 15 minutes. The vet said if the seizures became lengthy, we would put him on medication.
The vet suggested changing his dry food and periodically giving him raw meat. We started that immediately. We changed his dry food to Blue Buffalo, and we give him 1 cup of raw beef stew meat three times a week. After six weeks on his new diet, he had a seizure. We were dismayed as we hoped the change in diet would do the trick. We decided to keep him on the new diet regardless.
I am delighted to say that after being on the new diet for over a year, he has not had another seizure. I think he had the last seizure because his new diet had not had time to have an impact on his system.
My husband and I are totally convinced that his change in food stopped his seizures.
M.A., Jacksonville, OR Jan 29, 2013
I trust that all dog owners with epileptic/seizure-prone dogs will take note. Dietary change is no panacea because there are several causes, but diet should never be dismissed as a nonissue.
B.F., Medford, OR
Tags: cat OR diet food Medford
Nov 11, 2012
I think my question may be a common one, so I would like your input on it. I have a normal, healthy 3-year-old male (neutered) orange tabby cat who is overweight. He is outside about three hours a day. For the past year I have been feeding him nothing but dry diet food -- different brands -- 3/4 cup per day, which is less than the manufacturer recommends. During this time, he has not lost one ounce!
He stays at 20 pounds every time I weigh him. I know he is not eating any birds or mice, and he never leaves the backyard, so I know no one else is feeding him. He is hungry all the time. Should I be concerned about his weight issue? Is it indicating a potential medical problem, or is he just a big cat? Any advice you can provide would be much appreciated.
B.F., Medford, OR Nov 12, 2012
I am glad you are concerned, because there is a virtual epidemic of obesity in cats and dogs as well as people today, with health complications shared by all three species. These complications include diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart and circulatory problems, arthritis, cognitive impairment -- the list goes on.
Please make every effort to transition your cat onto a grain- and soy-free cat food -- canned, dry or raw. For more details, visit feline-nutrition.org. Many cats on high-fiber, weight-reducing diets suffer from constant hunger and malnutrition. Feed your cat 4 to 6 teaspoon-size meals daily.
M.A.C., Central Point, OR
Tags: dog OR Central Point
Mar 25, 2012
I recently came across your column regarding the quoted price of $400 for a sonogram for a pet. I suggest your reader get a second opinion and quote -- it might prove to be quite a surprise. Our local veterinary clinic gave my husband a quote of $60 for the same procedure.
Three years ago, we adopted an adorable 12-year-old toy Yorkie who was in very bad shape. At barely 3 pounds, she could walk only a few feet before having to stop and rest. She was so tiny we started calling her Little Bit. Immediately after getting her, we took her for a thorough check up. After two months with us, Little Bit gained 2 pounds and was running to her favorite park.
Recently I found what turned out to be a cancerous lump in Little Bit's tummy area. She had never been spayed, and we were told that she would also need to have that done at the time of the surgery or the cancer would return with a vengeance. Knowing that any surgery on a very small 15-year-old dog is extremely risky, we decided to get a second opinion. That opinion confirmed the first, and we were quoted a price of $700 to$800 for the surgeries. The surgeries were done at the clinic we always use. We never asked about the cost and were amazed when we got the bill -- it was less than $200!
I am happy to report that Little Bit survived the surgeries with no problems, like the little trouper she has always been. She is doing well and is once again running in her favorite park, though she has slowed down a tad. The best thing we ever did for ourselves was to adopt that tiny little dog.
M.A.C., Central Point, OR Mar 26, 2012
Three cheers to Little Bit and to you for adopting such an old dog in the first place and seeing her through what sounds like breast cancer. Some dogs do have an amazing will to live, which, along with good nutrition and a strong immune system, help speed recovery from surgery and illness. But just as with human patients, prolonged hospitalization for animal patients can delay recovery. So this is avoided by enlightened veterinarians who know that instructed care in the animals' familiar home environment is less stressful, especially in terms of separation anxiety and associated fears.
If a dog's breast/mammary tumor is caught and removed early enough (before it spreads to the lungs and other organs), she will have a good prognosis. The best thing to do is spay your dog at 5 or 6 months, before her first heat.
With toy breeds such as Little Bit, special attention must be given to their teeth and gums because dental problems are common. If neglected, these problems can lead to the spread of disease to the kidneys, heart and other internal organs. Toy breeds need diets relatively low in carbohydrates and fiber.
I would like to hear from other readers who have shopped around and found very different price quotes for the same veterinary procedures. Such extreme disparities need to be addressed by state veterinary regulatory agencies.
D.D., Medford, OR
Tags: dog OR Medford euthanize
Feb 20, 2012
Our 19-year-old terrier has many problems, and we need to know our options. He is 80 percent blind and totally deaf, and he recently started defecating on our rear deck, where his doghouse is located. We cannot let him in the house for more than a few minutes at a time because he will relieve himself on the carpet.
What makes the decision to put him to sleep a difficult one is that when he is allowed into the house, he behaves like a young pup. On these occasions, he is full of vigor and joy and, in his happiness, manages to run into objects.
In short, he has many maladies and creates cleanup problems for his owners, but maintains a youthful vigor.
D.D., Medford, OR Feb 21, 2012
It is always a challenge, clinically and emotionally, to determine when it is time to consider euthanizing a beloved animal whose quality of life is declining and increasing the burden on his caregiver.
At this time of writing, my wife and I are wrestling with this issue with our 17-year-old dog Lizzie, who sleeps most of the day, is stone-deaf, going blind and often gets up in the morning with poop under where she was lying. We take her outdoors to evacuate many times during the day, and often she seems disoriented or forgets and wants to go back out again as soon as she has been brought inside. She usually enjoys short walks, has a good appetite and has occasional bursts of play, chewing and shaking one of her stuffed toys. She used to enjoy car rides, but now panics. She is also evidently afraid to be left alone for any period of time in the home on her sofa. Like your dog, in the wild she would probably have been long gone, with the exceptional accounts of a wild dingo caring for a blind companion, and members of a wolf pack bringing food to an injured packmate. But our dogs are not in the wild -- and it's time to make a decision.
I would say that your dog is suffering from being separated from you while outdoors, and the evident relief and playful joy when allowed in confirms this. Try using doggy diapers, which come in various sizes and which many incontinent dogs readily accept. Take him for frequent walks so he can evacuate before you bring him indoors and put on a diaper. He may need supplemental heat for the winter in his outdoor kennel, but, ideally, he should be brought to live his remaining life indoors, especially if he used to be an indoor pet.
Give this a try, and then, in better conscience, euthanasia could be considered after some time spent on indulgent, affectionate bonding and seeing if his quality of life improves.
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.
B.H., Eugene, OR
Tags: small pet Eugene OR diet food
Feb 11, 2006
Our dog Rex has a pedigree that includes Labrador, blue heeler and German shepherd. He is now about 6 years old. When he was about 3, my son noticed a cloudy-looking film developing over Rex''s eyes. Our veterinarian, who has had extensive training and experience dealing with canine disease, diagnosed the problem as pannus (inflammation of the cornea). She prescribed a 1 percent prednisone acetate ophthalmic suspension and 0.2 percent Optimmune ointment for treatment. At the time, she indicated that there was no cure for the disease but that daily treatment might keep it under control.Over the years, Rex''s pannus appears to have worsened somewhat. I don''t think his vision is as acute as it once was, even though we continue to treat his eyes daily.Do you know of any recent developments (e.g., medications or treatment regimens) that can cure pannus? If not, are you aware of any other medications or treatments that may be more effective than the ones we are now using?.
B.H., Eugene, OR Feb 12, 2006
Your dog''s condition will require lifelong therapy. It might flare up during the summer and winter, with increased ultraviolet radiation.Pannus is thought to be an immune-system disorder and is prevalent in certain breeds such as German shepherds, Border collies, Australian shepherds, golden retrievers, rottweilers and greyhounds.The prednisone may need to be injected into the subconjunctiva (the soft tissues around the eyeball). Supplementing your dog''s diet with some powerful antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, zinc and selenium might also help.