N.McC., Burleson, TX
Jul 03, 2011
I have an 8-1/2-year-old female Siamese cat who weighs 13 pounds. She had surgery for bladder stones a little over a year ago. Two weeks ago, she had surgery again for bladder stones.
After the first surgery, the veterinarian put her on Hill's w/d dry food. She likes her cat food and seems to drink enough water. She doesn't eat anything but her cat food, not even treats. She had never been on medication prior to her first surgery for bladder stones and has been on dry food all her life.
She also had problems with vomiting, sometimes pink with blood; she has been given dexamethasone shots (three in the past two years) to calm her stomach. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can prevent the stones from recurring?
I was considering changing her drinking water to distilled water. Would this be harmful? I also thought about trying to give her a little organic apple-cider vinegar daily. I'm at a loss for anything to do that would help her. I would appreciate any advice you can give.
N.McC., Burleson, TX Jul 03, 2011
Your cat's affliction, owing in large part to her diet coupled with gastric sensitivity, is shared by thousands of cats across the United States.
I place the blame on the pet-food industry for manufacturing and selling the kinds of dry cat food that can cause urinary-tract diseases. It is good that your cat drinks plenty of water, considering that she is on a dry prescription diet. Did the veterinarian advise you on this critical issue?
Adding a little milk or no-salt beef or chicken gravy to her drinking water (ideally up to 1 cup daily) or giving her this via a dropper (as one reader does to keep her cat's urinary system "flushed") is the best preventive. Distilled or purified (reverse-ionized) water is preferable to tap water, which does make some cats ill. Your cat may accept a drop of cider vinegar in either her food or water and then increase to a half teaspoon daily for its many benefits. Food acidification is done to help prevent struvite stones/crystals. But if your cat has oxalate calculi in the bladder, acidification will not help.
Your veterinarian should check her urine for bacterial infection and consider pinpointing a food allergy (notably corn) related to her vomiting.
E.B., Grand Prairie, TX
Tags: cat TX Grand Prairie
Mar 14, 2011
We purchased two longhair cats at the local Humane Society, male and female, both 5-1/2 years old. The female started having rectal bleeding, and we found out that she has FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). We've been told that it is terminal. It's so sad because she's so loving, and I see her getting weaker and weaker.
Should we have the male tested? What can I do for my female? The vet gave her a steroid shot and then we tried Interferon, but that made her sick. She is sensitive to any medicine. She also has constipation, but no more rectal bleeding. Is it OK to keep giving Laxatone?
E.B., Grand Prairie, TX Mar 14, 2011
As long as an animal is not suffering and has some quality of life, has a good appetite and enjoys being petted and gentle play, then never give up.
Visit www.feline-nutrition.org, and consider transitioning your cats onto a lightly cooked or raw-food diet. Supplements such as probiotics, aloe-vera liquid (human grade, available in health stores), ginger, lecithin, fish oil, glutamine, n-acetyl-cysteine, L-alpha-lipoic acid and L-carnitine are all worth considering. Such supplements can help boost the immune system and improve digestive processes, both of which are failing because of this viral disease affecting your cat. Your cat should not be given any more steroids or vaccinations.
J.V., Granbury, TX
Tags: cat Granbury TX diet allergies food
Feb 20, 2011
I have a 7-year-old male Persian cat, neutered and de-clawed. He came to live with me 1-1/2 years ago. He has trouble with his ears and itches them all the time. He will scratch, shake his head, and flinch. The veterinarian put him on MalOtic ear medication for seven days, but it didn't help. The vet says he doesn't have ear lice or mites, but may be allergic to something. Blood tests show his white-cell count is low, especially neutrophils, and he is heartworm antibody positive. His dry cat food is Science Diet for hairballs, and his canned is Fancy Feast. His cat litter is Fresh Step, and he is an inside cat.
J.V., Granbury, TX Feb 20, 2011
Because conventional treatment for the ear infection failed, your veterinarian may be right in suspecting an underlying allergy.
Many cats develop itchy ears and skin problems when exposed to the volatile chemicals in scented cat litter and other household fragrances in laundry detergents, room fresheners, etc. So get all such products out of your home. Some cats are allergic to corn and other human-food-industry byproducts and additives in big-brand manufactured cat foods.
You should transition your cat onto a corn-/grain-free diet like Evo's canned and dry cat foods and other good brands such as Wellness, Pet Guard and Evanger's -- some of which are organically certified.
Both cats and dogs will develop ear problems as part of their somatic (body) response to certain substances that, when inhaled, touched or eaten, trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction includes the release of histamine from cells in the body, which cause swelling, redness and itching. Treatment with oral antihistamines or cream can provide temporary relief, but prolonged use, as with most medications, should be avoided.
P.L., Keller, TX
Tags: dog TX Keller
Nov 08, 2010
Recently, my 5-1/2-year-old Shih Tzu, Molly, quit eating on a Wednesday and was dead on Sunday. The animal hospital said she died from IMHA (immune mediated hemolytic anemia). This was determined after a complete blood workup.
I had never heard of this horrendous disease before. Is there anything I could have done to prevent this from happening? I am devastated.
P.L., Keller, TX Nov 08, 2010
My condolences to you over the sudden death of your dog. Emergency treatment with a blood transfusion, Prednisone and human gamma globulin might have provided some temporary relief from this disease. Immune mediated hemolytic anemia afflicts certain breeds and may be triggered by an adverse reaction to vaccination from various medications and by a generalized form of lupus erythematosus.
Female dogs are more susceptible than males, and Old English sheepdogs, American cocker spaniels and Irish setters are particularly more vulnerable than other breeds.
L.G., Arlington, TX
Tags: dog Arlington TX
Oct 18, 2010
Recently, I began to cough during a nap. My dog Honey, a red heeler, was reclining at the foot of my bed, as always. She heard me coughing and got up close to the middle of my back (though she never usually goes that high) and she began to push against my back. I have asthma, and this is a touchpoint for me when I cannot breathe. I spoke to her and said, "Honey, move." But she just kept pushing and pushing against me. She was warm, and I finally realized what she was doing. She was helping me breathe. At that point, I just relaxed and let her stay there. I finally began to breathe better, and she moved down to the foot of the bed. I get chills just thinking about this. I know she knew what she was doing.
L.G., Arlington, TX Oct 18, 2010
Perhaps your dog Honey should set up a canine healing center and help train other dogs to keep their human companions safe and well. It's possible such sensitive dogs (and cats) can sense body auras or energy fields and know where physical problems lie. But how? And how do they know what to do? I have many letters from readers detailing how their animals respond to them when they are ill and have various injuries, and it is a fact that animals do possess a basic, possibly empathy-based, ability to recognize when and where a loved one is suffering, and in many instances provide healing relief. Additional letters from readers about this topic are always welcome!
J.D.N., Granbury, TX
Oct 10, 2010
This letter is in response to an article you recently published concerning pet sensitivity. My wife had lung cancer for 13 months and was very ill. We let our two teenage dogs in at night, and they would lie on the couch with my wife. Toward the end, she was in the hospital and passed on. When I arrived home, our poodle was dead. The body was still warm, which would put the time of death at about the time my wife passed. Then next morning, the other dog, a Chihuahua, went missing. Everyone searched but never found her. As an added happening on that same morning, a pecan tree in our yard literally filled with robins (50 to 100) and stayed for some time. In Denver City, Texas, this occurrence is a rare. I took it as a message from my dear wife or the Good Lord that things were OK.
J.D.N., Granbury, TX Oct 10, 2010
It may be more than pure coincidence that devoted dogs die around the same time as their human companions. In some other cultures, it is believed that dogs will take on our illnesses and may leave this plane of existence to join their departed loved ones as companions and guides. Your missing Chihuahua could have gone off to find a secluded place to die. As for the rare gathering of birds in your yard, the same thing happened in our yard, with dozens of different species singing and playing in the sprinkler that I had directed on the branches of a tree. They had never gathered like this before when I had watered the tree. Their joyful display coincided with the death of my mother and reminded me of her loving communion with nature's creatures. It could have been pure coincidence, of course, but the association was comforting for me. I would like to hear of other readers' experiences with similar phenomena that were once regarded as omens -- aspects indeed of the miracle and mystery of life.
L.S., Burleson, TX
Oct 04, 2010
When my little dachshund Penny was 6 months old, she spent five days in the hospital. She was losing weight and would not eat or drink. She seemed to improve after a while, but then she started having vomiting spells. The vet did blood work, exams, etc., and couldn't find anything wrong. These vomiting spells went on until she turned 4 years old. This week, she had a bad spell that scared us. I took her to the vet, and when he took a different blood test, he said she has pancreatitis. He put her on a special diet food that I buy through him. I want to know if there is any kind of food or treat she could have apart from the Royal Canin.
L.S., Burleson, TX Oct 04, 2010
Many dogs suffer from pancreatitis. It can be brought on by feeding too many fatty treats at Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with too much protein, which harms dogs with poor kidney function. Pancreatitis may also be associated with liver- and digestive-tract disorders, so one must be alert to other health problems in association with diagnosed pancreatitis, which can be either acute or chronic in nature. While genetics may play some role in breed susceptibility to pancreatitis, smaller breeds like yours are especially susceptible because they are too often fed the "gourmet" canned dog foods that are too high in fats and only list the fat content as a minimum rather than maximum percentage. The pet-food industry is not going to rectify these problems as long as it continues to profit (along with many veterinarians) from the sale of expensive "prescription" diets. They do nothing to prevent diet-related diseases like what afflicts your dog. For details, see my book "Not Fit for a Dog." A simple, home-prepared diet of lean meats and vegetables (and zero fats) would do wonders for your dog. Adding probiotics and digestive enzymes to her food would also be advisable, and your veterinarian should be on the ball with these kinds of supplements; he should not simply rely on a prescribed diet like the one he has provided for your dog.
M.S., Irving, TX
Sep 13, 2010
I have a female cat that will soon be 16-years-old. I feed her Authority cat food for sensitive skin, and she uses clumping cat litter and doesn't go outside. She is constantly grooming, licking and scratching. Is this a sign of something wrong with her environment, food or health? Since she is grooming all the time, she is also throwing up fur balls. She has licked her tail so much it is bare up close to her rear. The Authority cat food is made up of turkey and oatmeal. I used to feed her Purina ONE, and one time I used that new one with vegetables mixed in. It seems she started the grooming after the new food. The vet thought she was probably allergic to something in the food. So I changed her to Authority, but she is still grooming all the time. She does have some allergies because, every once in a while, her eyes start running. I would appreciate any advice you may have.
M.S., Irving, TX Sep 13, 2010
Judging from your cat's age and the fact that because most cats are exposed to chemicals in their environments, food and water that can damage their thyroid glands, your veterinarian should check your cat for hyperthyroidism. Common signs are increased grooming, often to the point of self-mutilation, increased irritability and aggressiveness, and increased appetite and weight loss. Considering her age, I would advise no more vaccinations, which could further impair her immune system. Visit FelineNutritionEducationSociety.org for advice on transitioning her onto a more natural, biologically appropriate diet. She may well be allergic to certain ingredients in her diet, such as corn, soy and fish. Some cats have shown to be allergic to synthetic fragrances found in the litter or elsewhere in your home, including laundry detergents. Cats are very chemical sensitive, and simply treating them with steroids or antihistamines without doing some in-home detective work to identify possible allergens is not the best solution.
B.C., Fort Worth, TX
Tags: cat Fort Worth TX
Aug 23, 2010
My mother was bedridden the last few months of her life. She had been taking care of my dog Heidi and said if anything ever happened to Heidi, she would love to get a cat. Well, Heidi died about a month before my mom passed away. The morning after Heidi's death, a beautiful Siamese cat came to her front door. We let him in. He walked through the house to mom's bed and curled up by her feet on the bed, where he stayed until she died. He just took up residence there. We had never seen him in the neighborhood before.
B.C., Fort Worth, TX Aug 23, 2010
This touching story makes me wonder about the metaphysical dimensions of animal communication and awareness. But coming back to earth, I hope you kept this wonderful feline and made every effort to find his original owners in your community. I have received a few letters like yours over the years where a strange cat or dog has come into a home right after the resident animal has passed on. Is it coincidence? I call it part of the Great Mystery.
C.G., Fort Worth, TX
Aug 01, 2010
In one of your syndicated articles, you recommended some high-quality dry foods for cats. You mentioned the brand Evo, which has no corn or grain products. I switched my two neutered indoor male cats (ages 2-1/2 and 5) to Evo, mixed three-to-one with their usual food (Royal Canin for neutered males aged to 7 years). After three weeks of doing this, my cats were still having loose stools, although they were eating this mixture without any complaints. I spoke with the owner of the pet-food store, and she said Evo was too rich for her cats and she recommended switching my cats over to Innova Cat and Kitten Food, which is made by the same manufacturer as Evo.
In that article, you made certain comments about the Innova dry food that implied it might not be proper nutrition for cats. Do you think it''s a bad source of nutrition? What do you recommend other than the Evo that my cats don''t tolerate well?
C.G., Fort Worth, TX Aug 02, 2010
I should make it clear that Natura''s Innova dry cat food is definitely one of the brands I recommend for cats who prefer dry over moist food. Natura''s Evo line of dry and canned cat (and dog) foods is also excellent. But always read the label -- some animals do better on lower-fat content or a different animal protein (e.g., turkey instead of beef). It is also important when changing over to a new diet or adding a supplement to do so gradually over a period of several days because cats can be picky. A slow transition also helps the digestive system adapt, and giving probiotics at this time may also facilitate this process.