S. and G.F., Collinsville, IL
Tags: dog IL diet food Collinsville
May 20, 2013
We adopted our white standard poodle from a rescue shelter in 2003. We think she was about 2 years old at the time, so that would make her 12 years old now. She has been a very healthy dog all these years. However, in the past year, she has had a discharge from her eyes. The vet said that it was not uncommon in older dogs and even if he were to open the eye glands, the discharge would soon return. He suggested that we just use a warm washcloth with clear water to wipe off the eyes. We have been doing this and it does help to get rid of the crusty eye gunk, but I am wondering if there are any over-the-counter products that would help. We have to do this every day to keep up with it, and even then she looks like she has two black eyes all the time. We had a black standard poodle years ago, and he didn''t seem to have this problem. Does it cause any infections or loss of eyesight? Do you have any other suggestions?
S. and G.F., Collinsville, IL May 21, 2013
Provided there are no in-curling eyelashes, blocked tear ducts or chronic conjunctivitis, which need special attention, simply clipping the long fur under the eyes and wiping daily with diluted boric acid or liquid vitamin C should suffice.
In many cases of staining tears and saliva, the culprit is a pigmented chemical called porphyrin, which animals secrete normally -- in gerbils it can look like dried blood in the corners of their eyes. Short-term antibiotic eye ointment may be needed if a bacterial infection is causing reddening of the conjunctiva, which may also produce staining porphyrins, possibly in conjunction with a fungal infection called malassezia. This is all too prevalent in dogs'' ears. (Zymox Otic can provide effective relief for the ear.)
Oral treatment with a supplement such as Tearlax can help clear up dogs'' eyes. Another oral supplement, Angel Eyes, contains the antibiotic tylosin, and I agree with other veterinarians who contend that this should not be given without strict veterinary oversight and should not be sold over the counter.
I have proposed that pet food dyes can also cause staining -- and more serious health problems -- and so one should seek pet foods without these artificial coloring agents.
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.
Tags: dog diet food
May 19, 2013
I need some advice for my nearly 5-year-old cat. He is constantly scratching himself. He seems to be especially sensitive from about his mid-back to the base of his tail. He does not have fleas.
He is a somewhat large cat, so it is difficult for him to reach his lower back area. When he tries to do this, he loses his balance and tumbles over. He is also very insistent on someone petting him in this area. He will purr, mew, turn his head all around, and then he will start trying to bite at something on his leg. I''ve noticed that he''s now managed to scratch a bald patch on his back.
We took him to the vet a couple of weeks ago, and he was diagnosed with dry skin. The vet had an oil product that could be placed on his food. My cat will not eat anything that is put into his food. How would you get a cat to consume something like this? The vet also recommended trying a humidifier.
He was given a steroid shot, which seemed to help for about a week. The vet did not think this problem was food-related. He eats Pro Plan Indoor Care Salmon and Rice. He is free fed and has five-eighths of a cup a day and never eats the entire bowl. I am not sure why he is so large.
May 20, 2013
One of my cats had the same problem, and after considering hyperesthesia syndrome (hyperthyroidism and food allergy/intolerance), he greatly improved after I removed salmon from his diet. For other cats it could be corn, beef, dairy products, eggs or even rice -- you have to do some detective work.
Check the archives of my column on my website, DrFoxVet.com for more insights. Let me know the outcome.
Tags: cat diet food
May 13, 2013
I took my cat to an animal behaviorist because of inappropriate marking. We went through all the causes, and I have changed a few things.
The cat is neutered. The vet recommended Royal Canin Calm. I purchased the dry cat food, and noticed it has corn and wheat products. I also feed my cats canned food, which I believe is better for them. I have also been feeding them Merrick Before Grain dry food.
Do you have any suggestions for a dry cat food that would be similar to the Royal Canin, but with better ingredients? What about giving cats milk? Does milk have a calming effect?
I have five cats, all fixed, and I do animal rescue. I do not intend to foster any more cats. Right now my cats just tolerate each other.
May 14, 2013
These specially formulated, prescription-only (i.e. available at a marked-up price from a veterinarian) diets are part of the new wave of adding various supplements to manufactured pet foods and deleting other ingredients. The formulations are marketed as holistic veterinary medicine and nutritional therapy.
While some of these special diets can provide some benefits, many are a moneymaking scam.
The special diet to which you refer, which is also formulated for dogs, has added tryptophan, vitamin B3 and hydrolyzed milk protein as claimed calming ingredients. Tryptophan is what makes people drowsy after a meal of turkey. A glass of warm milk before bed can help people sleep better. I would opt for a healthy raw food diet for your cat, or use turkey as the single protein in my cat food recipe posted on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
There are many reasons why dogs and cats can become anxious/fearful, and these kinds of remedial diets do not address the root cause unless a nutritional deficiency in the regular food has been proven. Catnip can be a great feline calmer, and Feliway spray can work wonders for some cases.
For many dogs, a bandanna with a few drops of lavender oil on it tied around the neck can be calming, especially when riding in the car.
J.M., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: cat Poughkeepsie NY diet food
May 12, 2013
A year ago, I decided to take care of a stray cat in my backyard. When I saw him running around with a piece of bread I had thrown out for the birds, I knew there was a problem.
I would put food down in my garage, and it would be gone the next day. This went on for several days until I finally got to meet him. I call him Jack.
He''s a very handsome rogue with beautiful tortoiseshell coloring. After weeks of working with him, I was able to get him close enough to me to sniff the fingers of my outstretched hand. All I wanted to do was to help the little fellow make it through the winter, and I did.
Jack has been with me ever since. But there are two problems:
First, he''s a feral cat who has pretty much reverted back to the wild.
Second, he has worms. I''ve observed this from his insatiable appetite and his hyperactive behavior. I also saw a worm he passed.
I''ve called several local animal clinics, and they all want me to bring Jack in for tests and the works. I can''t afford to do this. Also, I could never get Jack into a pet carrier, and I am afraid of how he would react around strangers. Have I any other alternatives? I''d like to be able to make him well by adding something to his food.
J.M., Poughkeepsie, NY May 13, 2013
You do not give enough details in your letter as to what kind of worm you saw Jack pass. If it was long and thin, it could be a Toxocara roundworm. If it was a white, oblong, rice-grain-sized wiggly thing, it''s a tapeworm segment. If that''s the case, he''ll need to be treated for fleas, which carry tapeworm eggs.
While it may seem shocking that no veterinary hospital will give you some worming medicine to put in his food, without a stool sample and/or a sample of the worm you saw, the proper treatment cannot be determined. Get these samples and you won''t need to take Jack in unless it turns out he requires flea treatment. Not having had a rabies vaccination may make these animal clinics worry about dealing with Jack, and I urge you to rent a humane trap and get someone to help you catch him and take him in. He may need to be neutered, which will make him easier to handle. If you have a spare room, put him in there when he''s given a clean bill of health, and he may soon become sociable.
S.W., Brooklyn, NY
Tags: cat NY diet food Brooklyn
May 06, 2013
Six months ago, I rescued a young male cat from the city street near my apartment. I thought he would be a good companion for our 5-year-old male cat who is home alone during the day, and he is indeed very sweet.
I took the new kitty to be neutered and was told he was in good condition considering he came from the street. He and our older cat have gotten to be very close and enjoy playing together. The problem is, these cats wake us up early in the morning, and it''s killing us.
They tear through the apartment, running up and down the hall, tackling each other. They scratch and knock things off the dressers, as if they were trying to make as much noise as possible.
I feed them consistently at 9 a.m. (when I like to get up) and 10 p.m., yet they wake us up at 6 a.m. I am at my wits'' end, and I am considering giving up the second cat. I know our older cat likes the companionship, but the lack of sleep is ruining our lives. And I cannot bear the idea of letting the cats win by feeding them whenever they wake up. If I close them out of the room, they just scratch on the door, which is even worse. Please help.
S.W., Brooklyn, NY May 07, 2013
Sleep interruption and sleep deprivation are serious issues, and by all accounts, a common malady -- not just among those who live with early-to-rise cats. Cats love to make noise when they are playing together, and I think it would be tragic if they have to part forever. Is there no separate room with lightproof, covered windows where they could spend the night together? You could try making the bathroom cozy for them and shut them in with soft (i.e. quiet) toys to play with, along with food, water, catnip and all breakable things put away. As a last resort, there may be another person in your apartment complex who would take the new cat and they could get together for playtime early evenings and weekends. If you are feeding them only at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. (a dog''s feeding schedule), you need to change that to at least four smaller feedings daily.
J.V., Gainesville, Va
Tags: cat Gainesville VA diet food
May 05, 2013
I recently took my cat, Mr. Puss, to the vet. He''s having a problem with peeing. He''s not blocked, but will empty his bladder and then go to the litter box, squat and do a little bit. I thought it might be a urinary tract infection.
Three years ago, Mr. Puss had some crystals, but no stones. The vet kept him overnight and did a urinalysis on him and found struvite crystals and a possible infection. He was put on Simplicef, on which he did not do well. He was running around the house like crazy. He was then put on Baytril, but that did not go well, either. He kept shaking his head and rubbing his eyes, he was restless, he would not eat and had diarrhea. I stopped that medication also.
The vet wanted to put him on the Royal Canin Urinary SO diet food. Mr. Puss was on it for about two years, but because it has all the corn and other undesirable ingredients in it, I took him off it about a year ago. I believe he was allergic to it because he would bite and scratch. I give him UT Strength Everyday chews that are supposed to keep his pH balanced, but he won''t eat them.
He eats Innova Evo canned food and Natural Balance dry food. He also eats some canned Wellness. I think he drinks enough water. He is an indoor cat who has been with us for five years. He could be 7 to 10 years old. He weighs about 20 pounds, but he''s a big boy, not overweight.
Is there anything I should be doing differently to keep Mr. Puss healthy?
J.V., Gainesville, Va May 06, 2013
I cannot understand why the veterinarian had to hospitalize your cat overnight to do a urine test. This is a stressful experience for cats. It would be far better to take the cat in first thing in the morning with a full bladder after keeping his litter box out of reach after 8 p.m. the night before.
Please visit feline-nutrition.org for information about transitioning your cat onto a grain-free, raw food or lightly cooked diet. Try flavoring his drinking water with some salt-free chicken stock. The more fluids he drinks, the better, since this is the best preventive of blockage by urine crystals or stones. Try feeding him plain organic yogurt or kefir or a probiotic supplement that may help him fight infection and heal from the antibiotic side effects.
A.R., Washington, DC
Tags: cat Washington DC diet food
May 05, 2013
I have adopted a rescue dog who is about 15 months old. One vet said it''s possible he has irritable bowel syndrome. I am not committed to supporting a sickly dog, so I hope to get this problem corrected if possible. Two vets have suggested canned pumpkin. This works if the dog eats his entire bowl of food; however, if he doesn''t, the problem is assured to manifest immediately.
The first bowel movement of the day is normal. The second -- if the pumpkin has not been eaten, and often even if it has -- is characterized by straining (which include yelping that I assume indicates discomfort/pain), a mucus texture and concludes with further straining, resulting in wet droplets. This is frowned upon at the dog park because I think it is interpreted as evidence of an owner who is lax in providing medical attention for her dog.
Note: Regardless of the number of walking/dog park opportunities he is presented per day (usually four), the dog''s bowels move on average only twice a day. Is there some kind of fix for this condition?
A.R., Washington, DC May 06, 2013
If your veterinarian ran no fecal tests to rule out parasites and did not try a short course of treatment with metronidazole or Tylosin and only suggested you give your dog canned pumpkin, I would take your dog to another animal doctor, especially if what kind of food you are giving him was not discussed.
Check my website, DrFoxVet.com, for details on the various factors that can trigger this common canine and feline condition, as well as treatments. These can range from a diet free of grain/cereal and GMOs to giving psyllium husks in the food along with digestive enzymes and probiotics. Peppermint tea, mixed with his food if he won''t drink it or accept it syringed into his mouth, can be beneficial for dogs and humans alike.
N.H., Middleburg, Va
Apr 28, 2013
I'm writing in response to a letter by F.A.V. of Honolulu, who had a 13-pound, 6-year-old Brussels griffon with oxalate crystals in his bladder and urethra. The dog had to have surgery every two years.
Three years ago, our 9-year-old female Jack Russell terrier had the same problem, but only one surgery. After surgery, our vet prescribed Royal Canin Urinary SO dog food. This has solved the problem and keeps her urine clear. She has not had any problems since going on this prescription food. I give her both dry and canned servings of it.
This prescribed dog food might be something that F.A.V. may want to explore as an option.
N.H., Middleburg, Va Apr 29, 2013
There is a confounding combination of genetics affecting dogs' metabolism and kidney function. The artificial acidification of some manufactured dog foods, done to help prevent struvite crystal formation, may make dogs prone to developing oxalate crystals in their lower urinary tracts. High dietary calcium and low fluid intake when a dog is fed dry food only may also be contributing factors.
The best prevention is a home-prepared diet, as I offer on my website, DrFoxVet.com. Alternatives to the costly, and for some dogs, unpalatable, prescribed diet foods are available at secure.balanceit.com.
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.