Papillon needs new vet
Dear Dr. Fox: I am concerned that my healthy 2 1/2 -year-old papillon may be getting too many vaccinations and unnecessary dental cleanings. He is now due for his regular six-month Bordetella vaccination and six months later for a three-year DHPP...
Dear Dr. Fox: I am concerned that my healthy 2½-year-old papillon may be getting too many vaccinations and unnecessary dental cleanings.
He is now due for his regular six-month Bordetella vaccination and six months later for a three-year DHPP vaccine. His veterinarian recommends that he now be injected with a new canine-influenza vaccine (H3N3) -
two doses, two to four weeks apart, followed by annual vaccinations. He also recommends dental cleaning to remove tartar.
Because my dog's contact with other dogs is limited to trips to the veterinarian for wellness exams and vaccinations, I am thinking the Bordetella and influenza vaccines may be unnecessary and may have undesirable side effects.
I would prefer to control tartar with home dental care and diet control, rather than dental cleaning at the animal hospital. Any advice would be appreciated. - H.H.H., Vienna, Va.
Dear H.H.H.: For your dog's sake, go to another veterinarian. For a list of veterinarians in your area who practice holistic, integrative medicine, visit www.ahvma.org .
The federal authorities have given conditional approval for veterinarians to use the canine-influenza vaccine for dogs at risk, such as those going on the dog-show circuit. Your indoor dog would be at greater risk from the vaccine that many health experts consider potentially harmful.
The Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccination is another scam, unnecessary for your dog's situation. Ditto on the dental cleaning. Appropriate nutrition and in-home dental care is the safe and healthy procedure. Safe chew toys and products such as PetzLife Oral Care (also good for cats) are the best preventives for gingivitis and other dental problems. This is not to deny the fact that far too many dogs and cats are in urgent need of immediate dental surgery - periodontal disease is a pet pandemic.
Dear Dr. Fox: I would like your opinion about a growth on my 12-year-old pug. I am not sure of my vet's evaluations.
It is a soft growth at the inside of his right front leg. Our vet calls it a "fatty tissue" that hangs down about two inches. My dog has had it for about a year, and I'm wondering if other dogs experience this as well. It appears that he is not in any sort of pain. I would appreciate your thoughts. - W.M.G., Florissant, Mo.
Dear W.M.G.: Your veterinarian is most likely correct in diagnosing your dog's growth as a lipoma (benign). Be thankful that you are not being charged a bomb for unwarranted diagnostic tests such as biopsies and chest X-rays.
You should see one of my dogs, 16-year-old Lizzie (a rescued street dog from Jamaica). She has several large fatty tumors and should probably be renamed Bubbles.
Provided these benign tumors are not seriously interfering with a dog's mobility and ability to lie down comfortably and are not getting rubbed or ulcerated, they are often best left alone, especially in older dogs. Even with careful surgery, they tend to grow back quickly if there are a few fatty tumor cells remaining; and they can pop up elsewhere on the body as independent (not metastasized) growths.
My conservative approach is to let things be and feed the dog a wholesome, low-calorie (no cereals) diet of basically lean meats and vegetables.
Why dogs get these fatty tumors is a mystery, though I believe that endocrine-disrupting, estrogen-mimicking chemical contaminants in our environment, drinking water, food, even food and beverage containers, and especially in prepared foods high in soy products, play a significant role.
Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox's website at www.twobitdog.com/DrFox .