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.
May 19, 2013
Thank you so much for your answer to the reader who asked how animals feel about being euthanized. I read it the day before my 17-year-old cat Oliver died, and your vision of animals in an afterlife helped me through the next days.
I adopted Oliver from the Humane Society as an 8-month-old kitten as my husband was dealing with alcoholism. Oliver and my three other cats slept with me, keeping me warm and comforted through a very long winter. Oliver stoically accepted my new husband and his two brother cats with only a few disagreements. Oliver was the king of the household, and even in such a lively environment, the house seems strangely empty without him.
I knew he was dying when I read your column. The next day, he hid in the basement and I couldn''t find him, though he called out a few times. When my husband and sons came home, they did a more careful search and found him. We brought him upstairs, put him on a soft blanket on a warm radiator. We all had a chance to pet him and talk to him before he died 15 minutes later. When my husband petted him, Oliver''s back legs pumped a little and we told the boys he was already in another world chasing mice.
Thank you for letting me write about my cat. The day after he died, I talked to my pastor, who had recently lost his beloved dog, and we agreed that God certainly brings our animals into that "life after life" that you mentioned in your column.
May 20, 2013
Thanks for sharing your story about your beloved Oliver. Animals often go off to hide when they are close to dying. That is why it is important to keep an eye on dogs and cats who are terminally ill and might slip outdoors, since I have received a few letters from people whose aged animals have "disappeared," leaving the family to wonder about their fate and to have no real closure. It is a comfort to pets, I believe, to spend their last breath surrounded by their loved ones.
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.
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.
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.
P.H., Brick, NJ
Tags: cat Brick NJ
May 12, 2013
I enjoyed your article about the cost of wart removal. My yorkiepoo had one under his jaw by his neck. The vet charged me $1,000 to remove it. I was upset, but the doctor said I should have it removed. My dog got another one by his eye, and I put Polysporin on top of it, and within two days it was gone. Some vets know how much you love your pets and will take advantage if you are a sucker.
P.H., Brick, NJ May 13, 2013
I share your incredulity that some members of the veterinary profession have evolved in parallel with some human doctors who put profits before ethics. Some even put their patients at risk by doing unwarranted -- but profitable -- diagnostic tests and "supportive" and "preventive" procedures.
A thousand dollars to remove a wart -- that''s a record breaker! Can any reader top that?
K.L., Woodbridge, Va
Tags: cat Woodbridge VA
May 06, 2013
I need help in welcoming a cat to my household. I have two dogs: a 2-year-old Lhasa apso female and a 5-year-old male corgi/sheltie/beagle-mix. The dogs bark enthusiastically at every cat they see.
My father will be coming to live with us in an apartment in the basement of our home. He will be bringing his 12-year-old cat, Harry, who is in good health. The cat has always gone from inside the house to outdoors several times a day. He has never used a litter box. I expect this routine to continue when Harry comes to our house.
My dogs have visited the cat at my father''s current home. They bark and bark. Harry attempts to go outside and disappear until the dogs are gone, or he hides inside the house. He previously lived peacefully with my father''s late lab mix.
Harry will have an entrance to the house separate from the dogs. I should be able to keep the dogs out of the cat''s living area, but I am afraid they will bark nonstop to alert us that there is a cat in the house. I fear, too, Harry will run away from his new home with these dogs in it.
How can I get the animals to exist harmoniously together?
K.L., Woodbridge, Va May 07, 2013
First, I do not condone letting cats wander outdoors unless they are in an escape-proof enclosure with protection from the weather if they are left out. Alternatively, your father should get his cat used to wearing a harness, perhaps initially also with a collar and double leash.
My fear is that in a new place and hearing the dogs bark, the cat will try to get out and probably set out for his old home. It is imperative to keep him indoors for at least four to six weeks, installing extra screen doors for security and never letting him out except on leashes or into a secure cat house.
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.