L.A., Naples, FL
Feb 13, 2011
My 2-year-old female toy fox terrier was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). I've been feeding her your recommended recipe without the wheat germ, which seems to quell her symptoms. I also give her vitamins, probiotics and Viokase.
Is the diet enough for her, or does she need something more? Kibble reactivates her diarrhea. The meds are expensive. She went from 13 pounds to eight pounds in just four months.
L.A., Naples, FL Feb 13, 2011
This is one of the more common endocrine diseases in dogs. The jury is still out as to the specific causes of this important gland not producing digestive enzymes. Infection, diet and genetic background can all play a role, as well as autoimmune disease possibly associated with adverse reactions to vaccinations.
Keep your dog away from all fatty foods, treats and leftovers. In addition to the good nutrition you are already providing (using meats low in fat content), you can also give a little beef liver and beef heart, lightly boiled, and a daily dose of probiotics and digestive enzymes that your veterinarian or local health store can provide (giving about one-quarter the daily human dose).
R.K., Naples, FL
Tags: dog Naples FL allergies
Dec 13, 2010
Suzy, a 12-pound schnoodle, is my most recent rescue. We have no idea of her background other than she had at least two pregnancies and was deserted in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The vet determined that Suzy is between 8 and 9 years old.
She did have some medical problems. First, she needed a stone removed from her bladder from which she recovered nicely. Then she needed extensive dental work and three surgeries for glaucoma.
Suzy also has allergies. To determine if food was the cause, Suzy was switched to the Primal complete raw-food diet (1-ounce nuggets) of either chicken or lamb. I add 1/8 teaspoon of plant enzymes and probiotics; 1/8 teaspoon of Royal Coat Express (100 percent wild fish oil and borage oil) organic pumpkin puree; organic plain yogurt; and some freshly pureed cooked squash. She adores and laps this up, and the vet says Suzy is extremely healthy. For her sake and ours (we also have allergies), we have no carpeting except in the bedrooms; no chemicals are used at any time for cleaning anywhere except laundry, and she drinks filtered water, too.
After all of this, she rubs her eyes, scratches her muzzle, licks her pads, sometimes to the point of raw and red. The vet has checked Suzy, and no physical problems were found. I am at my wits' end and open to any suggestions.
R.K., Naples, FL Dec 13, 2010
You have done much to give Suzy a good life. Good for you! But allergies, especially in states such as Florida, can undermine the quality of life for animals.
Central air conditioning with an ionizing air purifier (that removes pollen, dander, bacteria and other potential allergens and pathogens) can make a big difference. We have the Bryant system in our home, which significantly improves the air quality.
Bathing every two to three weeks in a shampoo containing skin-soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, lavender, calendula and other beneficial herbs may do wonders. Discuss a rotation diet with your veterinarian, giving your dog a different single animal protein (buffalo, duck, venison, lamb, etc.) for one week, then switch to another. The fish oil could be problematic, so give none for three to four weeks then try Nordic Naturals for dogs and cats. Also discuss with your veterinarian giving your dog immune-system-boosting antioxidants such as CoEnzyme Q and N-acetylcysteine. The antioxidant resveratrol has recently been found to have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties and may help your dog. Also daily supplements of probiotics (giving your dog a higher dose than in live yogurt or kefir) are often prescribed to help in cases like yours.
In some instances, dogs suffer from multiple allergies, including contact with certain upholstery materials, wool blankets and even toxic dog-bed and pillow-stuffing material. So spreading cotton sheets laundered in a scent-free detergent where the dog lies down most often may also be helpful.
N.G., Naples, FL
Tags: dog Naples FL
Oct 24, 2010
We have a 9-year-old female German shepherd who is generally healthy. However, about a year ago, I had to start her on Proin for bladder seepage while sleeping. After several months, she began to lose fur. Her coat is thin, and she has no hair on her tail at all. We feed her a diet of hamburger, brown rice and green beans that I prepare myself.
N.G., Naples, FL Oct 24, 2010
Proin is an antihistamine-like drug, the long-term use of which is questionable. I have learned from one of my dogs that even short-term use can cause panting, heart acceleration and anxiety.
The effective (and for older dogs, relatively safe) alternative drug is DES (diethylstilbestrol), starting at a daily dose for five to seven days, moving to weekly intervals. Stop usage, and the dog may be fine for months.
There are many conditions that may be responsible for your dog's poor coat, notably thyroid and Cushing's disease. A multivitamin/multimineral daily supplement, along with up to a teaspoon of fish oil, may be all that is needed. You may also want to add probiotics and digestive enzymes that your veterinarian can provide.
E.T., Naples, FL
Sep 19, 2010
I need your advice regarding my 4-1/2-year-old Chihuahua. I have been preparing his food for a while now, and most of the time he enjoys eating it. Lately, however, I've noticed that he has been eating dirt when I take him outside. I wonder if he needs vitamins.I make him 1 pound of ground chicken, turkey or beef with a medium-baked sweet potato, two eggs, one teaspoon of cinnamon and about 15 blueberries -- all fried with two tablespoons of olive oil. I freeze 1/4 cup of this mixture and thaw it before he eats (twice a day). Do you think this formula is good enough for him? Does he need a vitamin each day to supplement his food?
E.T., Naples, FL Sep 19, 2010
DEAR E.T.: Many animal species engage in dirt-eating (geophagia) as a way to compensate for a nutrition deficiency in their regular diets. Readers often express concern over their dogs eating dirt, which can be a sign of digestive problems, anemia (iron deficiency) and possibly calcium-, magnesium- and other deficiencies. Home-prepared diets that do not include a good-quality calcium supplement are all too common, and yours is probably deficient. Your dog should also have 50 to 100 mg daily of calcium citrate with magnesium: crush up and measure out one human pill or capsule. You could even use finely pulverized eggshells as a calcium source. A half a human dose twice a week of probiotics may also help his little digestive system. Also try a teaspoon of plain organic yogurt or kefir daily.
PURCHASE THIS PROBIOTIC FOR YOUR DOG!
C-Biotic (9 oz. bottle)
C.A.M., Naples, FL
Sep 12, 2010
I want to tell you about Candy Morse, our elderly, blind American Cocker Spaniel. She usually slept on her bed alongside my side of our bed, so I could haul her up in case of thunderstorms (she felt the change in the air). After awhile, she started sleeping on my husband's side and stayed by his side wherever he went, even foregoing a walk around the block and slipping in and out so she could be next to my husband again. Then my husband developed breathing difficulties and went to his doctor who ordered oxygen and referred him to a lung specialist. The specialist treated him. I knew he was on the mend when he no longer needed oxygen and Candy resumed our evening walks. How did Candy know my husband was ill when he didn't know himself?
C.A.M., Naples, FL Sep 12, 2010
Your letter is one that I saved, and thanks to many readers like you, I have collected several similar accounts of dogs' and cats' awareness of illness and pending death in one of their human companions. Candy Morse being blind, how could she sense something was wrong with your husband? Bodies are sensitive to sound vibrations and possibly to electromagnetic (biofield) emanations. Dogs'noses can detect infrared and also changes in people's body chemistry/pheromone scents, aberrations of which might cause empathetic souls like Candy to show concern. For many accounts of amazing "empathosphere" sensitivities in our companion animals, visit my website DrFoxVet.com/info.
H.A., Naples, FL
Tags: dog Naples FL
Aug 22, 2010
We purchased our second male West Highland white terrier from a respected breeder. This male puppy came from a litter of two -- the other pup was stillborn. We brought the pup home at 11 weeks to our 12-year-old neutered male Westie. The older dog was quite tolerant and even played with the puppy regularly. At three months, the puppy displayed some aggressive behavior, not allowing objects to be taken out of his mouth, jealousy of the other dog, and biting anything that came between us and the other dog. We shared this information with the breeder, and he said we were not being firm and forceful enough. We tried to be more firm and seemed to manage, but there were still incidents of the puppy getting very snappy, growling and biting. We have taken the puppy to kindergarten, and he goes to daycare with other dogs and always behaves himself there -- no aggressive behavior noted. Perhaps of note: Apart from not having had littermates, the puppy's mother was taken away early. As the breeder told us, "She didn't like him anymore."
H.A., Naples, FL Aug 22, 2010
My guess is that this poor dog had a bad start in life, and I wonder why he was not placed in a home at the optimal age for socialization (between six to eight weeks of age). Emotionally traumatic experiences can permanently harm puppies, especially when they are affected between eight to 12 weeks of age. First, he should have a full physical to rule out any medical condition, notably craniomandibular osteopathy, not uncommon in this breed, which can make it painful to open the mouth and lead to behavioral problems. Barring any such medical condition, he may do better in a home with no other dog to compete with, because his aggression may be dominance-motivated, at least in part. There may also be complications related to fear or a quasi-psychotic conditioning for which treatment with Xanax or Valium may help. Ask your veterinarian for a referral to a good, qualified animal-behavior therapist -- not some psychic communicator -- who will help you see how possibly some of your own behavior and reactions to your problem pup contribute to his difficulties.
B.C., Naples, FL
Aug 08, 2010
Our 6-year-old purebred toy poodle has had a periodic gasping cough since he was a puppy. During these episodes, it seems his throat is constricted and he can't get enough air. The episodes last a few seconds and happen daily. Our veterinarian says he has a collapsible trachea and nothing can be done. It is worrisome to hear our dog gasp for breath. And the episodes have become more frequent and last longer. Is there anything that can be done for him? He is otherwise an active, smart, sweet dog. His only other health issue is a reaction to a vaccination when he was a puppy -- he lost the hair around the injection site, and it took a long time to grow back.
B.C., Naples, FL Aug 09, 2010
Regrettably, this condition (along with other cartilage and tendon weaknesses, especially involving the knees) is all too common in toy poodles. Vaccinations could play a role. There is evidence of post-vaccination production of antibodies against connective tissue in dogs who then acquire an autoimmune disease. Some breeds and pedigree lineages may be more susceptible to vaccinosis than others. I would at least advise no more vaccinations and give your dog a daily multimineral/multivitamin human-infant supplement and glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and horsetail (for silica).
P.G., Naples, FL
Jun 19, 2010
This is in response to the letter about the 3-year-old beagle in Arlington, Texas, who is allowed to chase rabbits for exercise and entertainment.
I work in a wildlife rehabilitation clinic and see so much suffering of these defenseless, harmless creatures at the mouths and claws of dogs and cats. Rabbits can literally die of fright or run in front of a car while trying to escape this senseless harassment. We humans need to respect the lives of all animals.
P.G., Naples, FL Jun 20, 2010
I embrace your sentiment and respect your concern. Recently, I politely chastised an acquaintance when he told how much his dog had just enjoyed chasing ducks and geese resting on the edge of a nearby lake. It was midwinter, and wintering wildlife, including deer and rabbits, cannot afford to expend energy as a source of canine entertainment. The extreme shortage of food and the metabolic demands of winter (and later demands of pregnancy and care of offspring) indicate that dogs should not be allowed to routinely harass wildlife. Occasionally chasing (without physically harming) a rabbit flushed out during an off-leash outing could be bad for dogs, many of whom cripple themselves by tearing their cruciate ligaments or by impaling themselves on broken branches. This can cost their uninformed owners thousands of dollars in veterinary treatment. Respecting the lives of all animals, as I document in my book "The Boundless Circle," is enlightened self-interest. Frequently disturbed and stressed wildlife can actually become a serious public-health problem.
J.K., Naples, FL
Tags: cat Naples FL diet food
May 22, 2010
My friends call me a health nut, which seems to me unfair because everyone should be interested in nutrition. But as I say that, I wonder if I'm feeding my two cats healthy food.
I do not give them byproducts, and I read labels. I've sent you two labels of the food that I use. Could you please send a list of pet-food companies that produce good diets?
J.K., Naples, FL May 23, 2010
Everyone should be concerned and informed about achieving optimal nutrition for themselves and their animal companions. Having a computer can be a great help in this regard. Because many of my readers don't have Internet access, I urge them to get books such as "Not Fit for a Dog" by Drs. Fox and Hodgkins, Anitra Frazier's "The New Natural Cat" and "Natural Dog" by Deva Khalsa. Those with computers can visit FelineNutritionEducationSociety.org to find a wealth of information.
Cats are picky and often prefer crunchy dry kibble; but the best is homemade, raw and/or lightly cooked. There are frozen, freeze-dried, baked and canned cat foods, many organically certified, which are better than most of the pet foods being sold in grocery stores, big-box pet stores and far too many veterinary hospitals. Here is a list of some of the better cat-food manufacturers: Evanger's, PetGuard, Merrick, Natura's Evo, Castor & Pollux and Stella & Chewy's. Visit your local health store and ask them. You may find a local provider of good cat food, raw or cooked. Remember, when transitioning to a new diet, accomplish it slowly over five to seven days, beginning with just a morsel of the new food. This will enable the animal's digestive system to adjust.
M.K., Naples, FL
May 01, 2010
This is to the lady with the Pekingese that was difficult to potty train.
We acquired a poodle puppy who, as he grew, wouldn''t housebreak. We also had a 2-year-old son I was potty training. Between the two, I was tearing my hair out in frustration. Finally, the day came that I became angry and I put the dog on a leash and walked for blocks and blocks. I came home calm and discovered I enjoyed the walk. Thereafter, I walked the dog daily and achieved two things: 1) the dog became housebroken; and 2) I lost weight and firmed up. No crates or newspapers, just walking the dog every day. My 2-year-old boy took longer, but he eventually got it right, too. Life was good.
M.K., Naples, FL May 02, 2010
Many readers with house-soiling dogs will appreciate your experiences and learn from what you had to go through to find a solution. Yes, get out and walk the dog on a regular basis. Dogs aren''t potted plants to keep indoors all the time. Getting out is good for you and your dog, both mentally and physically. Stimulated by the outdoors, dogs'' internal systems get fired up, especially the circulatory and digestive systems. I always take my dogs out for a long walk (even in winter) about a half-hour before their regular meal. Irregularity fosters toilet irregularities.