Ask the Vet from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 08 Mar 2021 11:21:51 -0800 Ask the Vet from Creators Syndicate 50be17b74cca79b3639a0d49e06274ce Protect Dog From Intestinal Parasites With Monthly Dewormer for 03/04/2021 Thu, 04 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: My dog Frankie and I were at the dog park when another dog had diarrhea and the owner did a poor job cleaning up. Now I'm worried that every time we visit this dog park, Frankie may be exposed to parasites. Is this a valid concern?</p> <p>A: Yes, so be sure you give him a broad-spectrum chewable or topical dewormer every month throughout the year. Since the monthly dewormers do not kill all intestinal parasites, take a fresh sample of Frankie's stool to your veterinarian twice yearly for testing.</p> <p>Research shows that as many as half of fecal samples from dogs that visit dog parks are contaminated with intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms and Giardia. Some parasites' microscopic eggs survive in the environment for many years.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 04, 2021</p> d0edcddf642a28ffa6ed5ff747d28399 Cat Scratching Posts Must Be Tall, Stable and Numerous for 02/25/2021 Thu, 25 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: We read your column about the importance of not declawing cats &#8212; or, as you put it, amputating their toes. We're convinced! Now our question is: What can we do to prevent our cats from scratching our furniture?</p> <p>A: Multiple toe amputation, euphemistically called declawing, causes long-term medical and behavioral problems in cats. Readers who missed the column you cited are welcome to contact me for a copy.</p> <p>The best way to teach cats not to scratch furniture is to attract them to more appropriate surfaces through behavior modification and pheromones. Punishment is not effective.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 25, 2021</p> 3b8b9e3c54dfbe3b74af02dab257061f Probiotic May Reduce Dog's Tear Staining for 02/18/2021 Thu, 18 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Cosette, my 5-year-old white toy poodle, has always had bronze staining beneath both eyes. Every year, her veterinarian examines her eyes and says they look fine, so I assume the bronze staining isn't a medical problem. What causes it, and what can I do about it?</p> <p>A: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Tear staining is the most common cause of bronze discoloration of the hair under the eyes of light-colored dogs. You are correct that it is not a medical problem but a cosmetic issue.</span></p> <p>Tears contain porphyrins, substances that bind iron and darken to red-brown when exposed to light. When tears overflow the eyes, the porphyrins stain the fur.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 18, 2021</p> edb899d139bf0fddddbf9b3f4e8252f0 Many Treatment Options for Feline Hyperthyroidism for 02/11/2021 Thu, 11 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Codi, our 13-year-old cat, needs methimazole for his hyperthyroidism, but he won't take it. I've tried crushing his quarter-tablet and mixing it with pilling treats and various wet foods mixed with a flavor enhancer, but nothing works. I'm at my wit's end trying to get him to take his medicine. Any suggestions are welcome.</p> <p>A: Hyperthyroidism, the most prevalent hormone imbalance in cats, becomes more common as cats age. Overactive thyroid glands produce excessive thyroid hormone, which revs up the metabolism, causing weight loss despite heightened appetite, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, and behavior changes.</p> <p>Fortunately, many treatment options are available.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 11, 2021</p> 539ed359c2beb1581927460ab7e359b2 Aflatoxins in Pet Foods Sicken and Kill Dogs for 02/04/2021 Thu, 04 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: My neighbor's healthy, young dog died suddenly of liver failure. The vet thinks the cause was aflatoxins in a new bag of dog food, since the food was later recalled. How can I prevent something similar from happening to my dog?</p> <p>A: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Aflatoxins are poisons produced by molds, particularly Aspergillus molds, that grow on grains such as corn and rice, as well as soybeans, tree nuts, peanuts and cottonseeds. These molds flourish under warm, moist growing and storage conditions.</span></p> <p>Aflatoxins are not affected by heat, so they persist after food is processed. In December and January, Midwestern Pet Food recalled its Sportmix, Sportstrail, Nunn Better, Pro Pac and Splash pet foods after many dogs became ill or died after eating it, and testing showed very high levels of aflatoxins in the food.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 04, 2021</p> ed79d15f7942797842e0f9012c0f1bd9 Prevent Cats From Using Potted Plants by Making Litter Boxes Appealing for 01/28/2021 Thu, 28 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: At least one of our cats has been urinating and defecating in the large potted plants in our family room. Fortunately, no one is eliminating elsewhere outside their litter boxes. How can we stop our cats from using our large planters as their litter boxes?</p> <p>A: You'll need to take two steps to solve this problem. First, make your cats' litter boxes so appealing that the cats prefer to eliminate there. Next, modify the planters so they are less attractive to your cats.</p> <p>To accomplish step one, keep in mind the cardinal rules of litter boxes. Have at least one box more than the number of cats in the family. Place the boxes in quiet areas where the cats won't be disturbed, with at least one box on each floor of your home.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 28, 2021</p> f6884f6a41dadddc02e03907a58c5292 No Dog Breed Is Hypoallergenic for 01/21/2021 Thu, 21 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I recently got a Havanese puppy, Marcos, who was supposed to be hypoallergenic. However, every time I'm near him, I break out in hives, sneeze and get itchy eyes. Would modifying his diet make him less allergenic?</p> <p>A: I'm sorry to hear you are allergic to your new pup. Unfortunately, no dog is hypoallergenic, and no dietary modifications, supplements, medications or vaccines have been shown to change that.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">All dogs produce at least six allergens, substances that can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible people. These allergens are present in dogs' skin, hair, saliva and urine.</span><p>Updated: Thu Jan 21, 2021</p> e2317f71fd42f9e1ab93bdb773c8316a To Prevent Bites, Teach Children to Respect Dogs for 01/14/2021 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: We recently adopted Tucker, a young, neutered, mixed-breed dog. We don't know how he behaves around children, because our kids are adults and we've remained distanced from our neighbors.</p> <p>As soon as the pandemic is over, our grandchildren will visit. What can we do to prevent Tucker from biting one of them?</p> <p>A: Start by taking Tucker to a group training class that uses treats, praise and other rewards to positively shape behavior. Socialize him with other dogs, adults and children who know dogs, and familiarize him with unusual noises and places. Dogs that are well socialized and trained are much less likely to become aggressive.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 14, 2021</p> 46368d421decad5c5cd87185e1e94610 Adopting 'Special Needs' Cats Can Be Rewarding for 01/07/2021 Thu, 07 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Ever since my cats died, my home has felt empty and lonely. The local cat rescue is offering for adoption some cats that tested positive for the feline leukemia virus and/or the feline immunodeficiency virus.</p> <p>I want to share my home with two of these "special needs" cats, but I don't know much about these viruses and what's involved in caring for infected cats. Please explain.</p> <p>A: The feline leukemia virus, or FeLV, and feline immunodeficiency virus, FIV, are more prevalent than many people think.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 07, 2021</p> b97bed9f1bb4a14d0352aa9f32cbca3c Secondhand Smoke Causes Cancer in Cats for 12/31/2020 Thu, 31 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Tao, our 11-year-old part-Siamese cat, was diagnosed with lymphoma. He has always been an active, healthy indoor cat, so I don't understand how this could have happened. What causes lymphoma in cats?</p> <p>A: I'm sorry to hear about Tao's lymphoma, also called lymphosarcoma. It is the most common cancer in cats &#8212; and the incidence is higher in cats than any other species.</p> <p>Lymphoma develops when lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, proliferate until they are out of control. As with most cancers, the cause in a given patient is usually unknown.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 31, 2020</p> 5e5f52158139ba3c0c2e4f9e9e4dd976 Battery Ingestion Can Cause Severe Damage for 12/24/2020 Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: We're pretty sure our dog, Holly, ate a remote control with its batteries, because we can't find it anywhere. She seems normal. What should we do?</p> <p>A: Take Holly to her veterinarian immediately for a physical exam and radiographs, often called X-rays.</p> <p>If Holly did eat the remote, or even just a battery, she could develop severe medical problems. Treatment is most successful if begun early.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 24, 2020</p> c3c007aae8dbf9122010701f1c5ada90 Ear Mites Contagious to Pets, Not People for 12/17/2020 Thu, 17 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: My new kitten Nala has ear mites, for which my veterinarian prescribed treatment. I know from reading your column that some animal parasites also infect people. Can Nala's ear mites jump to me? What about my other cat?</p> <p>A: Ear mites, the most common cause of ear infections in cats, are highly contagious among cats and dogs, particularly kittens and puppies. Ear mites prefer pets, so it's unlikely Nala's will venture into your ears.</p> <p>Ear mites live in the cat's ear canals, where they feed on ear wax and surface skin cells. Sometimes, the mites wander out of the ears to the nearby head and trunk.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 17, 2020</p> 2d6571c2e38a9f51c8522cb0972a67b8 Don't Give a Dog a Bone for Christmas for 12/10/2020 Thu, 10 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Sirius, our adult son's new pit bull, is the first dog in our family, so we need some advice about gifts. We're thinking of giving him a big, fresh marrow bone for Christmas, but would a sterilized bone be healthier?</p> <p>A: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Bones are harder than teeth, so whether fresh or sterilized, chew bones can break a dog's teeth.</span> Other treats that commonly fracture teeth are antlers, cow hooves, nylon and hard plastic bones, and even ice cubes.</p> <p>Dogs chomp using their carnassial teeth, large, multirooted teeth near the back of the mouth. If a carnassial tooth breaks, bacteria can enter the pulp canal and cause a painful tooth root abscess.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 10, 2020</p> 86ba032ba1015468381f102cc0d6bc63 Declawed Cats Suffer Chronic Pain for 12/03/2020 Thu, 03 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: I recently adopted a kitten named Joy from a rescue that prohibits declawing. When I signed the adoption agreement, I planned to have her declawed anyway. Now that it's time to make the appointment, I feel uneasy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of declawing?</p> <p>A: The term "declaw" is a euphemism for the elective amputation of all toes of the cat's front paws or front and hind paws.</p> <p>If you look at your own fingers, you'll note that your nails emerge from the third bone of each finger. A cat's claw also grows from the third bone.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 03, 2020</p> f88dc61064d27c84f16f8a7fdd60ace7 Treatments Help Dogs With ALS-Like Disease for 11/26/2020 Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Gretchen, our 9-year-old German shepherd, recently developed hind leg weakness. Her veterinarian recommends testing for degenerative myelopathy.</p> <p>Many years ago, another of our shepherds had degenerative myelopathy. His condition deteriorated quickly, because there was no treatment for the disease.</p> <p>Is effective therapy available now? If so, we will undertake the recommended testing and treatment.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 26, 2020</p> b47515d3532e7131b5da7e3fc3f7e75f Matted Cat May Be In Pain for 11/19/2020 Thu, 19 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Our 12-year-old cat, Chia, is matted over her low back, just above her tail. What is causing the mats, and how can we remove them? She nips at us when we try to brush or comb them out.</p> <p>A: Cats groom themselves to clean their coats and remove loose fur. When they don't groom, their fur mats. Mats cause discomfort and block air to the skin, increasing the risk of skin infection.</p> <p>A cat that stops all grooming usually doesn't feel good. I suspect Chia is not sick, though, because she grooms everywhere except her low back.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 19, 2020</p> 5034210da24d425a31074c70f22b6ada Turn Away From Dog Jumping on You for 11/12/2020 Thu, 12 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Jasper, my 2-year-old Labrador retriever, often jumps on me. His feet sometimes muddy my clothes, but I'm more concerned that he might jump on someone else, knock them down and injure them.</p> <p>A friend advised me to step on his toes or knee him in the chest when he jumps, but that advice isn't working. What do you recommend?</p> <p>A: Jasper is jumping on you to get attention. So, teach him what to do instead.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 12, 2020</p> 1649d437531b551c061b25a2f2b98fd7 Drinking and Urinating Excessively May Signal Diabetes for 11/05/2020 Thu, 05 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Q: Can cats develop diabetes? Our cat, Fred, is drinking and urinating more than usual, very much like our son did before he was diagnosed with diabetes.</p> <p>A: Yes, cats and dogs can develop diabetes mellitus, sometimes called sugar diabetes because the disease is marked by increases in blood sugar levels. Diabetes is most often seen in older cats, particularly those that are overweight or male.</p> <p>You are correct that cats with diabetes drink more water and fill their litter boxes with more urine clumps. Many diabetic cats also eat more, although some lose weight and muscle mass. Eventually, they lose energy, and some walk low on their hind legs because of diabetes-induced nerve damage.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 05, 2020</p> 09b81936663ba1bc3c05b1e30cbff8d5 Don't Ignore Dog's Animal Hospital Aggression for 10/29/2020 Thu, 29 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Harley, my 3-year-old bulldog mix, doesn't go to the veterinarian often because he gets aggressive whenever he does. During his most recent visit, the vet recommended we consult a veterinarian who specializes in behavior problems to help Harley feel less anxious at the animal hospital. My question is why bother, since the vet was able to give him his rabies vaccination.</p> <p>A: First I'll explain "why," and, if I do that successfully, I hope you'll read on for the "how."</p> <p>Most dogs that react aggressively at the animal hospital are actually anxious or frightened. Do you really want Harley to feel stressed when he could instead feel confident and happy when he visits his veterinarian?<p>Updated: Thu Oct 29, 2020</p> 2dddbdd1d4da66189cce842f237b5593 Treat Cat to Outdoor Adventure With Cat-Safe Enclosure for 10/22/2020 Thu, 22 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Monty, our indoor cat, often tries to escape from the house. We know he's safer inside, where he won't be attacked by another animal or hit by a car, but he's determined to explore outside. Is there some way we can let him venture outdoors safely?</p> <p>A: One way is to take him for a stroll with you. Fit him with a cat harness and a thin leash, and invite him to accompany you on your walks.</p> <p>If you want to give Monty the full experience, there are a few ways to offer him an independent but safe outdoor adventure.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 22, 2020</p>