D.L.M., Lake Worth, FL
Tags: dog Lake Worth FL diet food
May 29, 2011
My two Cavalier King Charles spaniels are both 10 years old. The female has been prone to bladder infections at times and treated. Recently, the male was diagnosed and treated for a bladder infection, and the vet found that my dog also has bladder stones and he suggested surgery to remove them.
I was unaware of the bladder infection, as I attributed his frequent urination to the medication he takes for his heart condition. His medications are Furosemide (15 mg. twice daily), Enalapril (10 mg. twice daily) and Vetmedin (2.5 mg. once a day). Owing to his age and heart condition, I am hesitant to let him undergo anesthesia and surgery. When I asked the vet if we could ascertain what is causing the bladder stones, he informed me that they would have to analyze the stones after surgery to determine the cause.
Both dogs are eating Beneful Healthy Weight and have been for some time, so I doubt that is the cause. I am guilty of feeding them table food, but would like to seek an alternative to surgery short of changing their whole diet that they've been accustomed to all their lives.
I am not an advocate of medication for myself and prefer holistic methods, if possible. I would like to find an alternative solution to my dogs' problems. Any suggestions?
D.L.M., Lake Worth, FL May 29, 2011
You certainly were not wrong in believing that your dog's heart medication was responsible for his frequent urination, and you shouldn't feel guilty about feeding "table food" because, when properly balanced, it is superior to most of the big-brand dry dog foods on the market.
A high-cereal diet, coupled with genetic (breed) susceptibility, can lead to urinary calculi (bladder stones), often compounded by bacterial infection and animals not drinking sufficient fluids.
Surgery might be avoided if the stones are not too large and the small ones (crystals) can be found in your dog's urine. These can be analyzed and, depending on the clinical composition, might be efficiently dissolved by a change in diet. Have your veterinarian contact the veterinary consultants at Balance IT, (888) 346-6362, for recipes that you can prepare for your dog if a dietary solution is possible.
G.P., Lake Worth, FL
Tags: dog Lake Worth FL
Jan 10, 2011
I have read articles critical of vets prescribing unnecessary shots and topical flea controls that could be harmful. I have also seen reference to holistic vet treatment, but cannot find any indication in any vet ads.
How do I find someone more interested in my pet's health than selling me more shots, flea meds or high-priced dog food?
G.P., Lake Worth, FL Jan 10, 2011
There is an excellent organization called the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), of which I have been a supporting member for many years. The organization offers a professional journal, medical conferences and workshops for veterinarians who practice alternative and complementary medicine in an integrative way with conventional treatments, which is what I've been preaching in my column for many years.
To locate an AHVMA-affiliated veterinarian in your area, go to www.ahvma.org, where a list of practicing members is posted for pet owners such as yourself.
L.B.J., Lake Worth, FL
Tags: dog Lake Worth FL grief
Jul 31, 2010
I'm writing in response to your recent column about how a "dog's devotion to master can lead to the grave." It is similar to what occurred with our golden retriever more than 20 years ago when my husband died at 46 after a four-year battle with cancer. During my husband's illness, Friday laid beside his bed, provided support when my husband walked, and never left his side. He obviously knew something was wrong and was devoted to his master. Before my husband was ill, he was a senior sports-and-news cameraman for a major TV station. Owing to the nature of his assignments, my husband's work hours were unpredictable. Regardless of the hour, Friday always knew when my husband was headed home and ran to the front door, wagging his tail and sitting patiently until my husband's car pulled into the driveway. After my husband's death (in the hospital), Friday sat at the front door all day, every day, whining and waiting for my husband's return. He stopped eating and wouldn't leave the front hallway. He refused to play with our children whom he loved because "guard duty" was his only purpose. He left his post only when he needed to be waked. My heart was breaking for this dog. After one week of watching Friday's vigil, I decided to help him understand what happened. Hesitantly, Friday left his post and got into the car with me. His car behavior was unusual: He paced from window to window, looking everywhere for my husband. I drove to the cemetery, and we walked together toward my husband's gravesite. As we got closer, Friday pulled away from me and ran directly to my husband's grave. He lay down on the grave, closed his eyes, and just stayed there, quietly. I didn't try to talk to Friday or to disturb him -- he needed to grieve, too. After an hour, Friday got up and walked over to me, using his mouth to hand me his leash. He was ready to go home. On the way back home, Friday laid down quietly in the backseat. After we arrived home, he kept kissing my hands as if to say "thank you" and never again sat by the front door waiting for my husband to return home. He now understood. Although obviously sad, his behavior returned to normal around the children and he began eating again. In time, he healed as we did.
L.B.J., Lake Worth, FL Aug 01, 2010
Many readers will join me in thanking you for this remarkable example of giving a dog closure with regard to your husband whom Friday thought was perhaps still alive. Your devoted dog clearly advances our understanding of how much some dogs really do know and feel. We should never underestimate their ability to comprehend and make every effort, as you did, during such difficult times of bereavement to help them when they are grieving.
J.K., Lake Worth, FL
Tags: cat Lake Worth FL diet food
May 01, 2010
I have an 18-year-old tabby cat that has developed hypothyroidism. What do you suggest I feed her? Should she be taking supplements?
J.K., Lake Worth, FL May 02, 2010
There are various treatments for your cat, from medication to radiation. These need to be considered in relation to your cat''s age and cost of treatment.
If your cat only has mild signs of this all-too-common feline endocrine disease, consider trying her on various supplements such as kelp, chlorella and spirulina and transition her, if possible, onto a no-cereal diet. High-cereal-content diets can disrupt normal carnivore metabolism and trigger abnormal endocrine gland responses, especially thyroidal and pancreatic. Give her catnip to nibble on and inhale (if she likes it -- some cats don''t). It can have a brief, feel-good stimulating effect and then sedating effect not unlike valerian or Valium.
D.R., Lake Worth, FL
Jan 02, 2010
My 15-pound Bichon trembles whenever there''s a thunderstorm. Holding her doesn''t seem to calm her down. Is there something I can give her to help? Someone suggested baby Benadryl, but what dosage?
D.R., Lake Worth, FL Jan 03, 2010
Ten to 15 mg of Benadryl may make your dog a bit drowsy and thirsty, helping subdue thunderphobia. But there are other, safer treatments. Try wrapping your dog in a light cloth, binding it tight with Velcro or duct tape. An "Anxiety Wrap" is marketed for this specific purpose, having a calming effect on many sound-phobic dogs. Some readers have told me that giving their dogs Melatonin before a storm (and on July 4!) had a calming effect. PetzLife''s @-Eaze is a fast-acting calming remedy that may prove helpful for your dog. Ingredients include L-Theanine, tea and chamomile extracts that are safe and purportedly help animals relax without making them drowsy.
H.H., Lake Worth, FL
Tags: dog Lake Worth FL
Sep 12, 2009
This is not exactly your area of expertise, but I am hoping you can help. I am a widow living in a condo that does not allow pets. I am lonely and depressed, having lost both of my children to cancer and my husband to Alzheimer''s. Someone told me that if a doctor writes a letter to the condo board stating that owning a pet can help his patient, the law says it is legal. I would love to acquire a small dog. Do you know if this is possible?
H.H., Lake Worth, FL Sep 13, 2009
I sympathize with your situation and your loss of loved ones. If you are physically active and able to get out and about for the next several years, a dog could be a good prescription for loneliness. Adopting an older, house-trained dog would be easier than housebreaking a puppy and dealing with teething, training, etc. Alternatively, a cat could be ideal, and I would opt for two littermates. They would need less care in terms of house-training and being walked (dogs should be walked at least three times a day), since they will instinctively use a litter box for their evacuative needs. Have your doctor write an advisory note (like a prescription) for an animal companion to help relieve your loneliness and depression (as documented in scores of scientific and medical reports and books). Present this to your condo board. Cats don''t bark, so they may prefer you don''t get a dog. If that fails, hook up with a local pet-sitting agency. There''s a great need for in-home pet sitters, and active retirees who have had experience caring for animals should sign up.