Ask the Vet from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 25 Sep 2020 16:41:44 -0700 Ask the Vet from Creators Syndicate 18778806927b9efe744e8f41e22630dd Three Reasons Not to Toilet Train Your Cat for 09/24/2020 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I'm thinking about teaching Cameo, my newly adopted young calico cat, to use the toilet instead of a litter box. Are most people successful at toilet training their cats?</p> <p>A: I don't recommend toilet training cats for three reasons.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 24, 2020</p> 8170976001474e85dd3af3291c1897db Flat-Faced Breeds Prone to Health Problems for 09/17/2020 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My dog Hugo is the cutest, most lovable French bulldog I know. When I submitted a photo of him to a calendar contest, they refused to accept it because he is a brachycephalic dog, and they consider it inhumane to promote unhealthy dogs. I hope you can explain their discriminatory position, because I am mystified.</p> <p>A: Brachycephalic dogs have short (brachy-, BRAKE'-ee) heads (-cephalic) without a pronounced muzzle. French bulldogs are typical of these flat-faced breeds, along with Boston terriers, boxers, English bulldogs, Pekingese, pugs, Shih Tzus and others.</p> <p>Sadly, these dogs inherit multiple life-threatening health problems that accompany the short, flat facial conformation. While other dogs typically survive 12.7 years, brachycephalic breeds live an average of only 8.6 years.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> aad9bf255b5514f265e61cc50285f026 Protect Pet Ferrets From COVID-19 for 09/10/2020 Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I have two ferrets, but the only information I can find about pets and COVID-19 involves dogs and cats. I know ferrets can get human influenza. Can they also catch the coronavirus that causes COVID-19?</p> <p>A: Yes, people with COVID-19 can transmit the coronavirus to their ferrets. Most infected ferrets show mild clinical signs, including decreased energy and appetite, cough and fever. There have been no reports of any ferrets dying of COVID-19.</p> <p>An infected ferret can transmit the virus to another ferret through direct contact or via respiratory droplets in the air. Viral levels are highest in nasal secretions, though the virus is also found in saliva, urine and feces. Research shows that ferrets also produce antibodies to the virus.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 10, 2020</p> 07c72379a5476c1d54ccd4c892e3dd4e Toxic Mushrooms Resemble Harmless Varieties for 09/03/2020 Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: We've had a lot of rain this year, and our yard is filled with a variety of mushrooms. How can we identify those that could poison our dogs, and how will we know if our dogs ate them?</p> <p>A: Animal poison control specialists are receiving twice as many calls about mushroom poisoning this year as last. That's frightening because toxic mushrooms grow throughout the U.S. during all seasons of the year, popping up quickly in moist areas.</p> <p>Toxic mushrooms look a lot like nontoxic mushrooms. Even scarier, one or two toxic mushrooms may grow in a group of harmless mushrooms or beneath your mulch.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 03, 2020</p> c1b65801bc8a0fe530e4a81f47ae819c Nerve Damage Causes Horner's Syndrome for 08/27/2020 Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Hobie, my middle-aged indoor-outdoor cat, awoke this morning with one very abnormal eye. His upper lid droops, and a white film covers the inside corner of the eye. What caused this? Will it resolve on its own, or should I take Hobie to his veterinarian?</p> <p>A: I'd advise a trip to the vet. It sounds like Hobie has Horner's syndrome, which is not a specific disease but the name of a group of clinical signs.</p> <p>Horner's syndrome, which usually occurs in only one eye, is characterized by an abrupt onset of drooping of the upper eyelid; elevation of the nictitans, or third eyelid, the white film you see in the inner corner of Hobie's eye; retraction of the eyeball deeper into its socket; and constriction of the pupil so it remains small.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 27, 2020</p> e9e4a6a32122b821a01be5d269aa02a6 Keep Bread Dough Away From Dog for 08/20/2020 Thu, 20 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I'm doing a lot of extra baking these days since the pandemic keeps me at home more. My family loves my fresh bread, but making it gave rise to a near-catastrophe involving our dog, Bandit.</p> <p>When my back was turned, Bandit stole some freshly made bread dough right off the kitchen counter. I didn't realize it was a problem until he started vomiting.</p> <p>To make a long story short, our veterinarian saved Bandit's life but told us that some dogs die after eating raw bread dough. Please warn your readers about this danger.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 20, 2020</p> ad282665709d4ff6a0520bc0aaf484cc Fleas Transmit Plague Bacteria for 08/13/2020 Thu, 13 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I caught the end of a news report about pets and the plague. I thought the plague was eradicated ages ago, at least from the U.S. Do I need to worry about my indoor-outdoor cats getting infected? Is this the next pandemic?</p> <p>A: The deadliest pandemic in history was caused by the plague in the mid-1300s. While I doubt that will be repeated, the disease is still present in the U.S.</p> <p>Plague, caused by bacteria called Yersinia pestis, occurs throughout most of the world. In the U.S., the disease has been reported in every state west of the 100th meridian &#8212; in other words, from Kansas, west.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 13, 2020</p> 285946eebf52a9591480fd22a7217138 Dog's Cold, Wet Nose Doesn't Guarantee Good Health for 08/06/2020 Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I'm confused about why my dog Sam's nose is occasionally warm and dry, even though he seems fine. I thought a dog in good health always had a cold, wet nose.</p> <p>A: Sam's nose is usually cold and wet for two reasons.</p> <p>First, nasal glands inside his nose produce a watery liquid that cools and dampens the lining of his nasal passages and the surface of his nose. Scent molecules stick to this nasal moisture, enhancing his sense of smell. Nasal gland secretions also contain antibodies that protect him from disease.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 06, 2020</p> b83342874c5f3212f1833db5667d78a9 Even Indoor Cats Need Rabies Vaccination for 07/30/2020 Thu, 30 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My cat BarB &#8212; so named because I found her as a kitten hiding under my barbecue grill &#8212; now lives in my house and doesn't venture outdoors. Her veterinarian insists she needs rabies vaccination. Why is this necessary, if she's a committed homebody?</p> <p>A: BarB should be vaccinated for rabies to protect herself and you from the deadly disease.</p> <p>In the U.S., the cat is the domestic animal that most often tests positive for rabies, and the bat is the most commonly infected wildlife species.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 30, 2020</p> 5589e47ff02dfdbc5ad31242f63246ae Heatstroke Causes Brain Damage and Multiple Organ Failure for 07/23/2020 Thu, 23 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My sister, who lives in the South, turns her air conditioning up from 75 to 90 degrees when she leaves for work. She reasons that she's saving money while still cooling her home enough for her 10-year-old pug, Fiona.</p> <p>Please explain what happens to overheated dogs so I can convince my sister that 90 degrees is too warm for Fiona.</p> <p>A: Any dog can develop heatstroke, but the risk is particularly high for pugs and other flat-faced breeds, dogs with heavy coats, puppies and seniors, overweight dogs, and those with health problems such as breathing troubles or heart conditions.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 23, 2020</p> 242e421f3055d97f6bdfe0164c843777 Dangerous to Transport Dog in Bed of Pickup Truck for 07/16/2020 Thu, 16 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I was driving behind a pickup truck that swerved to avoid a deer. A dog in the bed of the pickup was thrown out and badly injured.</p> <p>Thank goodness he didn't strike my windshield and I didn't hit him. Still, the experience taught me that it's dangerous to transport a dog in the bed of a pickup. Is it also illegal?</p> <p>A: Regrettably, it's illegal in only a few states to transport an unsecured animal in an open vehicle, such as the bed of a pickup truck or a top-down convertible. Regardless, the practice is unsafe for animals and drivers.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 16, 2020</p> b7bc7500544168c878ad04e7b2f4b3a8 Excessive Drooling May Signal Medical Problem for 07/09/2020 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My cat Myrtle sometimes drools. Should I be concerned?</p> <p>A: It depends. Many cats drool while purring. I can't tell you the number of times I've stood up, after one of my cats lay purring on my lap while I pet her, to find my slacks soaked with cat saliva.</p> <p>Conversely, some cats drool when they're stressed.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 09, 2020</p> fb757bf726f73869781c945e14829109 Prepare Dogs Now for Post-Pandemic Lifestyle for 07/02/2020 Thu, 02 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I have been working at home during the pandemic, and I expect to return to my regular workplace soon. My two dogs have become accustomed to having me home, and I'm concerned that their stress will increase when I'm again away 40 hours every week. What can I do to make the transition easier for them?</p> <p>A: Your concern for your dogs' emotional health is compassionate. Fortunately, you can do several things now to lessen their stress when you return to your regular office.</p> <p>Start by maintaining a consistent routine. Get up and go to bed on the same schedule you'll use when you return to the office. Feed and walk your dogs at the same times you'll feed and walk them when you're away all day at work.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 02, 2020</p> a36c8321ca68d043768e6aac435e607a Feed Commercial Cat Food, Not Just Tuna for 06/25/2020 Thu, 25 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: My elderly cat Tater Tot is losing his appetite for dry cat food, but he loves the tuna I eat. Now that he's eating only tuna, I guess I should ask if that's OK for him.</p> <p>A: It seems you have two concerns: Tater Tot's recent disinterest in dry food and his all-tuna diet.</p> <p>I'm suspicious that Tater Tot may be experiencing mouth pain that makes crunching dry food uncomfortable, so I suggest he see his veterinarian as soon as possible.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 25, 2020</p> c77909e5eb1ef247eb619e0cf0f0fa81 Many Ways to Help Calm Dog With Noise Phobia for 06/18/2020 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: Our dog Hunter is terrified of loud noises, so I'm concerned he'll panic during Fourth of July fireworks and summer thunderstorms. How can we help Hunter remain calm?</p> <p>A: I'm sorry Hunter has a noise phobia. It's understandable, considering a dog's acute hearing.</p> <p>When fireworks are expected or a thunderstorm is predicted, modify Hunter's environment to minimize his stress.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 18, 2020</p> 96b82f2904321e00d9d542f240fce42f Some Houseplants Harmful to Cats for 06/05/2020 Fri, 05 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I want to brighten my home with some new houseplants, but they need to be safe for my cats, who explore everything. Are philodendron and spider plants harmless if cats eat them? If not, can you suggest some cat-safe houseplants?</p> <p>A: Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals that burn a cat's mouth and throat, cause drooling and swallowing difficulties, and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. So, don't add them to your indoor garden.</p> <p>Spider plants, on the other hand, are safe and even fun for cats, who love to bat at the babies that dangle from the mother plant. Other common houseplants that are safe around cats are the African violet, bamboo palm, Boston fern and Christmas cactus.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 05, 2020</p> 6ec28365f85e350e7342978937d7269a Punishment After Misbehavior Ineffective, Instills Fear in Dog for 06/04/2020 Thu, 04 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: When Dobby, my roommate's family dog, visits us, he sometimes gets into the trash. My roommate says scolding him after I find trash on the floor is not effective. Is this true?</p> <p>Yesterday, I found Dobby knee-deep in trash on the kitchen floor. Even though I didn't yell, Dobby rolled over and showed his belly, so I'm sure he knew what he'd done was wrong. How do we deal with this problem?</p> <p>A: Your roommate is correct. Scolding Dobby after he's raided the trash only confuses him &#8212; he has no idea why this crazy human is yelling at him &#8212; and that makes him fear you.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 04, 2020</p> 6a9a2ef952e07ce2b388d3ef16c3c13a Pets Can Develop Compulsive Disorders for 05/28/2020 Thu, 28 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Q: I was recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I live with two normal cats, but I've been wondering whether cats can have OCD, too.</p> <p>A: Yes, though veterinarians who specialize in behavior refer to the abnormal repetitive behaviors as "compulsive disorder," or CD, since the word "obsessive" refers to thought patterns we can't objectively evaluate in cats.</p> <p>Feline compulsive disorder manifests most often as either excessive grooming to the point of baldness or sucking on, chewing or ingesting fabric or other nonfood items. Additional CD behaviors include pacing, tail chasing, sucking the tail tip and chewing the claws.<p>Updated: Thu May 28, 2020</p> 7621070d7fa3ba7d9a689fc581841a4f Distract and Redirect Dog That Marks Furniture or Mounts People for 05/21/2020 Thu, 21 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: I recently adopted a dog, Chester, who will be neutered when the pandemic subsides enough to allow the shelter's veterinary staff to resume sterilizing pets. Chester is sweet and fun, but he also lifts his leg to mark his indoor territory with urine, and he humps people's legs.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">I know these bad behaviors will stop after he's neutered, but what can we do now to manage them?</span><p>Updated: Thu May 21, 2020</p> 29e193b295082ad6202c6955c474b5a4 See Veterinarian for Pet's Red or Cloudy Eye for 05/14/2020 Thu, 14 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Q: My cat was diagnosed with uveitis after I noticed that the iris of one eye had turned red, its pupil was small, and a foggy haze filled the normally clear front of the eye. My veterinarian prescribed steroid eye drops and sent a blood sample to the lab for further testing.</p> <p>What is uveitis, and what causes it? <p>Updated: Thu May 14, 2020</p>