Dear Dr. Fox: I read the letter from the woman from Falls Church, Virginia, who is concerned about giving meds to her 9-year-old female cat for travel distress. I wanted to share my personal information with you, as it may help her. Our female indoor cat is 17 1/2 years old and doing very well. Because we're retired, my husband and I have started to travel weekly between our home and a lake cabin two hours away. In the beginning, it was an awful trip whenever we took our cat! She yowled the entire time, and it was distressing for all of us.
Dear Dr. Fox: Six months ago, my family got an 18-month-old Husky rescue. We all think he's the world's best dog: friendly and happy, with a great temperament. He wags his tail, greets and licks everyone (strangers included) that come near him. I'm the grandpa and have my own apartment in the house. Three months ago, he started loudly barking at only me and running away as if I were coming after him with an ax whenever I came near him.
Dear Readers: While we celebrate winter festivities, people in most states hear no crickets or other singing and buzzing insects, so vital for our pollinator-needing crops and for a healthy environment. The winter cold silences them. It is my New Year's wish that people will realize the urgent need to stop the unnatural "silent spring" that follows. It was predicted by the late Rachel Carson, and we are now deeply immersed in it.
Dear Readers: The recent article by R. Scott Nolen in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association concerning the multi-state legislation prohibiting people keeping certain kinds of dogs is a clarion call to end such discriminatory, "breedist" legislation. Many good dogs, and their caregivers and families, have suffered the consequences of this biologically and ethologically absurd legislation.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have had lots of friends whose cats lived to be well into their 20s, but mine all die in their teens. And two of them barely made it that long. For years, I used flea collars on my cats, then graduated to flea meds on the back of their necks. In 1999, my beloved 13-year-old Sureshot began showing symptoms from what turned out to be a tumor in her chest. She died shortly after diagnosis. Three years later, her brother Christopher, a most amazing, soulful, beloved cat, developed a tumor in his jaw.
Dear Readers: In addition to pointing out the risks of giving dogs leftover bones from cooked meals, the government has posted a warning about the processed bones sold in pet supply stores. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has received dozens of reports of dog illnesses related to processed "bone treats," and that the risk of such treats goes beyond that of regular bones. A wide range of bone treats were listed in the FDA statement, including items described as "ham bones," "pork femur bones," "rib bones" and "smokey knuckle bones." According to Dr.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have an indoor-outdoor cat, and I have noticed that he is overeating somewhere else while he is outside. I put a tag on him that reads "Please don't feed me" and includes my phone number. And, sure enough, a woman was soon calling me, saying that my cat is eating the food that she sets out for feral cats. This woman lives a half-mile away from me. I went to her house to pick up my cat, and learned that she puts out food for cats in the morning and at night—about 5-6 pounds of the cheapest cat food.
Dear Dr. Fox: I hope you can help me; I'm out of ideas and options for my 7-year-old giant Alaskan malamute. In the past couple of years, he gets diarrhea off and on, plus a lot of gas, but he rarely vomits. He also has idiopathic seizures once or twice a year. The vet did every blood test you can think of. It's all normal. They did tests on his stool sample: no parasites or protozoans. They put him on metronidazole and probiotics; it seems to do the trick, but in a couple of weeks, the problems start again.
Dear Dr. Fox: I am having a problem with my dog. He's a 2-year-old Lhasa Apso/poodle mix and is neutered. He constantly licks our tile floor. The floor is kept very clean and has no food residue. I have talked to our vet about this and they don't have a clue.—L.E., West Palm Beach, Florida Dear L.E.: I find it quite incomprehensible that the veterinarian with whom you consulted could offer no treatment suggestions for your little dog. The behavior that you describe is an anxiety-driven obsessive-compulsive disorder that is actually quite common, especially in small breeds.
Dear Dr. Fox: My wife and I are now in our mid-70s. We live comfortably in a beautiful home and neighborhood on the New Jersey shore. Except for my time away in college and the Army, I've always had a dog. The last three lived over 16 years since puppyhood. Living close to the beach and having a good-sized backyard, the dogs got lots of healthy exercise, health care and love. Our last dog, a wonderful mixed-breed Lab, died two years ago.