D.L., Cheverly, Md
Tags: dog Cheverly MD diet food
May 16, 2011
We have a sick dog named Gidget, a 2-year-old boxer adopted from animal rescue. We have two other 10-year-old dogs in the house, plus a foster -- these are in good health.
Gidget escaped from her crate and ate glass Christmas ornaments and a metal hook in January. She spent a week at the vet but was able to avoid surgery, and the hook cleared. (X-rays were taken.) Since then, she has lost almost 15 pounds and now weighs 41 pounds. She has had periods of vomiting (no blood), diarrhea and blood in her stool. She was diagnosed with colitis and then IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). She has been de-wormed multiple times, done two courses of metronidazole, and is now receiving vitamin B12 injections. Blood work and several GI panels have been done, in addition to fecals. She has taken tests for her thyroid and pancreas. Gidget has also been to a holistic vet, experienced acupuncture, and seen a chiropractor.
We just saw a specialist who did an ultrasound and said the intestines are thick throughout, her lymph nodes are enlarged, and her adrenal glands are unusually small. The specialist does not think the ornaments and hook are the cause of the problems. Gidget is being tested for cortisol levels to see if she has Addison's disease. If that comes back normal, the specialist is recommending an abdominal exploratory with biopsies, followed by steroids for the inflammation of the intestines.
Do you think we should do the exploratory? At this point, what choice do we have on the steroids? We are afraid that if Gidget continues to lose weight at this rate, she will not survive.
D.L., Cheverly, Md May 16, 2011
You and your poor dog have indeed gone through the proverbial mill. It does seem that she has inflammatory bowel disease and/or "leaky gut" syndrome.
Before abdominal biopsies and ruling out Addison's disease, your veterinarian should consider oral treatment with various supplements that can help alleviate intestinal problems. These include aloe-vera liquid, sangre de drago, glutamine, lecithin and Fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
To help prevent her developing food hypersensitivity, adopt a "rotation diet," providing a single protein (lamb, fish, venison or lentils, etc.) in the diet for four to five days, then switch to another single protein source. Check "Balance It" veterinary-formulated recipes from Davis, Calif. (888-346-6362).
S.P., Urbana, Md
Tags: dog Urbana MD
May 15, 2011
Loud noises such as thunderstorms never bothered our 4-year-old bichon, Lily, until recently.
We were on a walk a few weeks ago, and some kids were setting off firecrackers a couple of blocks away. Her tail went down immediately, she shook uncontrollably and frantically pulled us home. To further the problem, our neighborhood is new and homes are still under construction. Every day, explosions ring in the distance, as rocks are being blasted. Needless to say, it is a struggle to get Lily to walk. What can we do to help her with this fear?
S.P., Urbana, Md May 15, 2011
Putting on the radio or a CD to fill the room with soothing music for Lily may act as a sound barrier. There is a purportedly calming music CD for dogs called Through a Dog's Ear that may help. Sound phobias in dogs can be difficult to treat, especially because most dogs are resistant to the usual phobia-reducing desensitization and behavior-modification treatments.
The underlying anxiety could be alleviated with a 10- to 14-day trial of Xanax, a psychotropic drug proven beneficial, especially for dogs suffering from "thunderphobia." In some cases, treatment with melatonin is effective. Discuss these options with your veterinarian.
A non-drug approach is to wrap the dog tightly with a T-shirt taped around the chest and abdomen. A special anxiety wrap tailored to fit dogs of different sizes is also available commercially. Such wraps help many dogs feel more secure prior to a thunderstorm or a night of fireworks. Thousands of birds in several states died this past New Year's Eve after being startled out of their roosts by fireworks and colliding with solid objects in their flight path. Personally, I find fireworks a childish abomination.
J.M., Fairfield, CT
Tags: cat Fairfield CT allergies
May 15, 2011
I'm writing for help with my cat's 10-month-long skin condition of two 50-cent-size sores that never heal. She does not go outside and has been eating Wellness Salmon dry and Wellness Turkey moist food. I'm now gradually introducing Natural Balance Duck & Green Pea.
She has had Clavamox and prednisone, and now receives clemastine ointment and Neosporin daily. The dermatologist says it's probably a flea allergy, but there haven't been fleas for months. She wears a Victorian collar and a shirt, but one scratch opens the sores again despite all the protection (which isn't foolproof).
Would omega-3 help her skin? Is there an allergy test for her?
I have nine animals in a split-level house. The dogs are not with the five cats. The cats have four rooms downstairs (vinyl flooring). All the other cats are fine. I put Advantage on them to prevent fleas, although I don't like using it. The vet said that I should use it in case the affected cat has a flea allergy and one bite will cause her distress.
J.M., Fairfield, CT May 15, 2011
Because a conventional approach to dealing with your cat's skin disease has not proven effective and because your cat has been to a veterinary dermatologist (who presumably ruled out any specific fungal or bacterial infection), an unconventional approach is called for.
This means a more holistic, environmental perspective that considers co-factors other than fleabites as contributors to your cat's malady. Several readers with cats showing symptoms like your poor cat improved their pets' lives by avoiding scented cat litter or tissues, cleaners, detergents, room fresheners and other household products. Others found success transitioning their cats onto grain-free or single-protein raw cat foods, or by giving their cats supplements such as fish oil and brewer's yeast. I advise against treating all cats with the Advantage flea-killer drug because that is a shot in the dark, and, without fumigating your home (cats out!), is too risky and costly.
F.B.F., Portsmouth, Va
Tags: dog Portsmouth VA
May 09, 2011
We have a 9-month-old mastiff who likes to eat lots of things. He usually vomits after a while. He recently ate a small squeaky toy.
How long should I wait for him to poop it out? Or should I induce vomiting? If so, what can I use? And how can I prevent him from chewing on things?
F.B.F., Portsmouth, Va May 09, 2011
Your young dog probably developed this habit when he was teething from licking and chewing people's hands and ears to shoes and kids' toys. In a situation like yours, treat it as an emergency and go to a veterinary hospital without delay. Such swallowed items can cause potentially fatal intestinal obstructions, and may also contain toxic metals and plastic. As a first-aid measure, try to immediately induce vomiting with diluted hydrogen peroxide or a weak baking-soda solution poured down the dog's throat. This should not be done if any caustic substances may have been swallowed.
T.K., High Point, NC
May 09, 2011
My 8-year-old female cat was diagnosed with ringworm eight months ago. My vet treated her with what I believe was griseofulvin for three months. During that time, she grew worse. She has now lost about 30 percent of the hair on her body, and the bald patches are covered with scabs and scaly patches.
According to my vet, antifungal medications are somewhat dangerous and likely to harm or kill the cat. However, if I do nothing, she will almost certainly continue her slow decline. She is currently lethargic, but her appetite and her bowels are normal. She doesn't appear to be in any pain, although the dry and scaly skin has reduced her to limping along on three feet and spending most of her time curled up asleep. I'm at a loss as to what to do next. Any advice will be appreciated.
T.K., High Point, NC May 09, 2011
Cases of feline ringworm (not a worm but a fungus) that do not respond to conventional treatment call for drastic measures. Discuss with your veterinarian giving your cat supplements such as omega-3, vitamins A, D and B-complex; shaving the cat to remove fungus-infected fur; and applying an Elizabethan collar to stop the cat from self-grooming and allowing you to safely apply an emulsion shampoo containing essential oils such as tea tree, rosemary, lavender and myrrh. These have antifungal properties, but because they can be toxic to cats when ingested, they should only be used as a last resort.
Your cat should be on a zero-carbohydrate diet, high in good-quality animal protein and fat. Probiotics in her food may help boost her immune system along with the above supplements.
A few days after the first medicated shampoo treatment, have a veterinarian check her to assess the effectiveness of the essential oils. More cat-safe hydrosols are available via Internet suppliers, which you should use if repeated shampooing is needed.
G.P.T., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: dog Poughkeepsie NY allergies vaccinations
May 08, 2011
I own a small beagle. In keeping with his health shots, I brought him to the vet for his distemper shot last April. I have had him for three years, and he is now 6 years old.
When we arrived home from the vet, he was fine for a short time. He then became excitable, running through rooms, jumping on furniture, and rubbing his face and head on the cushions. I called the vet, and he told me to bring him in for a shot to counteract the obvious allergic reaction. They gave him dexamethasone and Benadryl. He quieted immediately and remained calm that way until the next evening. His behavior became irritable again, running around and only resting for a few minutes at a time. His tongue got quite red; he panted and drank a lot of water.
I am concerned that he may have gotten a bad batch of serum. Is that possible? This is the first shot of that type since I first took him in.
G.P.T., Poughkeepsie, NY May 08, 2011
Please follow up with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog's adverse reaction to this new type of distemper vaccine was reported to the manufacturers and to the FDA's Bureau of Veterinary Medicine.
If your dog had received a distemper vaccination between one and three years ago, this shot was probably not called for. I am deeply concerned about the cavalier attitude toward vaccinations because I receive many letters like yours. Acute anaphylactic/hypersensitive reactions, as with your dog, may or may not mean seizures, allergies, cancer and other health problems later in life.
Some grocery stores have flu-shot drugs for customers, just as the big-box pet stores have constant vaccination promotions for cats and dogs. Repeated, unwarranted and potentially hazardous vaccinations primarily benefit the manufacturers and distributors. In principle, I am not opposed to vaccinations, having seen as a child the devastating consequences of a distemper outbreak in dogs and more recently epidemics of parvovirus, especially in young dogs here in the United States. I have also faced rabies and foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks while working in India. Vaccinations play an important role in preventive medicine, but should not be relied upon as the only solution.
M.S., West Palm Beach, FL
Tags: cat West Palm Beach FL
May 08, 2011
I have two cats who are both 10-1/2 years old. They are completely indoor cats.
Last January, I adopted a 9-month-old feral cat. Her name is Dolly. A vet checked her out and gave her shots. I have kept her separated from the others in another room for about five months. She is now in the main room of my home. She eats and drinks water from the same place as the other two. The first two (male and female) have been fixed and de-clawed.
When the male cat goes near Dolly, she hisses. And she has now started to "go" on the floor, near where she hides. I keep a clean litter box and always praise her when she uses it, but she's making more and more mistakes. Can you think of anything else I might do to stop her?
M.S., West Palm Beach, FL May 08, 2011
Congratulations on your integrating a homeless third cat into your two-cat home. And hats off to all involved with taking in a rescued animal.
As you know, this can take much time and patience; the trick is to keep the new cat (veterinary-checked and with a clean bill of health) separate but close enough to the other cats so they can become scent-, sound- and sight-habituated toward one another.
Because your new cat is under some stress, and because cats often develop cystitis when they are stressed, I would have a veterinarian examine her to rule this possibility out. Otherwise, try the cat pheromone Feliway room diffuser and give them all a pinch of catnip as an evening cocktail.
S.U., West Palm Beach, FL
May 02, 2011
My 5-year-old sheltie has had surgery for cystine bladder stones and has to be on the Prescription Diet u/d -- he eats canned and dry u/d. The vet told me that this diet is the only food the dog can eat that will prevent formation of these stones in the future. The stones were numerous and blocked his entire urethra. The surgery removed the large ones in his bladder.
I would like to give him something in addition to this u/d diet or something more nutritious instead. He also has low thyroid and is on thyroxine. Any information or help you can give to improve his diet is much appreciated.
S.U., West Palm Beach, FL May 02, 2011
Many veterinarians prescribe specially manufactured diets for cats and dogs. Profits notwithstanding, some of these brand prescription diets still have questionable ingredients, and many are quite unpalatable for the poor recipients. Have your veterinarian check out veterinary-formulated recipes for healthy and sick dogs and cats with Balance IT in Davis, Calif. (888-346-6362). For a small fee, veterinarians specializing in dog and cat nutrition will develop and provide healthful recipes.
M.J.E., Manassas, Va
May 02, 2011
My Scottie has high liver levels - over 500. Can you provide me with a diet that I can make for her at home? I've looked on the Internet, and much of the information is confusing.
M.J.E., Manassas, Va May 02, 2011
Some individual dogs and certain breeds have higher-than-average liver enzymes and appear otherwise healthy.
Scottish terriers have a different body chemistry that makes them apparently more susceptible to herbicide toxicity, especially those used on lawns and gardens, which should be outlawed in every state because these chemicals end up in our drinking water and in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women.
Dogs with diagnosed liver problems do well on a natural, home-prepared diet (as per my recipe on my website) and with such supplements as brewer's yeast (or vitamin B-complex), milk thistle and S-Adenosylmethionine.
N.P., Springfield, Mo
Tags: dog Springfield MO vaccinations
May 01, 2011
I received a call from our groomer (also a boarding facility and clinic), saying it would not groom our dogs unless they were vaccinated for canine influenza at an expense of $50 per dog. I contacted another boarding facility that I occasionally use, and it said this shot was not required. In your opinion, is this a necessary vaccination?
N.P., Springfield, Mo May 01, 2011
It concerns me deeply that many uninformed people, usually with the best intentions (including healthcare professionals), erroneously believe that vaccinations are some kind of risk-free panacea. They are a big moneymaker for manufacturers and providers. Their unnecessary overuse is to be deplored. Many autoimmune and other vaccine-associated diseases have been reported in humans and animals. For details, see my review in my new book, "Healing Animals & The Vision of One Health," now available at www.Createspace.com ($29.95).
Certainly, an unhygienic, poorly ventilated dog-grooming facility that has no restrictions on taking in sick animals is a canine- and public-health risk. Go to another groomer.
There are many groomers who do not fear liability or who insist on vaccinations as some kind of professional business practice.