Along with spring showers and flowers come fleas. It's a sure bet in most parts of the country, but some places have it worse than others. Fleas in Florida and other southern states can be so overwhelming that many pet owners throw in the towel, assuming these pests are inevitable, and simply hire an exterminator when needed.
Veterinary ...Read more
ATLANTA, GA. -- These reader questions were answered at the 2015 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Feline Behavior Conference here, April 11-12. Speakers included veterinary behaviorists and certified cat behavior consultants on issues ranging from the social organization of cats to how to introduce an ...Read more
ATLANTA, GA -- "Cats are not anti-social," says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis, professor of behavior and anatomy at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, speaking at the 2015 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Feline Behavior Conference here April 11-12.
For ...Read more
Q: I live in Chicago, where there's an epidemic of dog flu. My dog is very social, so I was thinking about the vaccine. Now, I've heard that the virus has mutated and the vaccine is no longer effective. Any advice? -- C.G., Chicago, IL
Q: Our dogs play with other dogs all the time. I know about the dog flu in Chicago, but my veterinarian says ...Read more
A dog flu epidemic has sickened over 1,000 dogs and has been responsible for the death of at least five dogs in the Chicago area since mid-March, according to Dr. Donna Alexander, administrator for the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.
Alexander concedes that these numbers may be conservative and are likely to continue to ...Read more
After 20 years of writing this column and answering, on average, four reader questions weekly, that's 4,160 answers! My fingers should be 'dog-tired,' but instead I'm invigorated because each month (sometimes each week) I receive letters and emails saying my answers motivated someone a visit to a veterinarian, or even saved a pet's life.
By far...Read more
Keep those emails and 'snail mail' letters coming. I'm always learning from readers. My knowledge base can't equal the collective expertise of all of you! Also, reflecting back on 20 years of writing this column, I certainly wouldn't have lasted anywhere near this long without your interest and input.
Here's a sampling of recent comments posted...Read more
TAMPA, FLA. -- Your questions are answered this week by experts attending the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Conference here, March 12-15, and a meeting of the Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors directly following the conference.
AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the U.S. and...Read more
TAMPA, FLA. -- What do pet owners want from their veterinarians? According to a 2014 survey, they disdain medical jargon they don't understand, want tests results shared, and expect full transparency regarding their pets' care.
"In other words, pet owners want to be treated as partners," said American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) CEO Dr. ...Read more
TAMPA, FLA. -- Your questions are answered this week by experts attending the American Animal Hospital Association Conference, March 12-15.
AAHA is the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada (and actually most practices, around 85 percent, are not accredited). To be accredited, hospitals must...Read more
Summing up 20 years of work isn't easy. As I begin my third decade of writing this column, I have a wealth of memories to recall.
I was the first journalist to speak with a search-and-rescue dog handler at the World Trade Center, within 48 hours of the Sept. 11, 2001 disaster. After driving overnight from East Carondelet, MO (...Read more
Q: I recently gave my 18-year-old African Grey parrot to a bird sanctuary because he became restless and climbed and squawked a lot. In his huge new cage, he seems happier. I visit him every week, but I wonder if this is actually detrimental to helping him adjust to his new surroundings. I only want him to be happy. Any thoughts? -- N.L., Las ...Read more
I contend that the average monkey, bear or lion in a zoo has a richer life than most of our dogs and cats at home. In fact, all pets require some enrichment, even lizards, and most certainly, pet parrots.
Providing enrichment means manipulating the environment to suit an animal's natural behavior. Over a long winter, and through a wet spring, ...Read more
Q: I appreciated your recent column about declawing cats and your stand against this procedure. But you didn't state what we need to do - namely to ban declaw as some other countries have done. Don't you believe the U.S. ought to act tomorrow? -- V.H., Seattle, WA
A: Certainly, many nations have banned declaw surgery (onychectomy), including ...Read more
The Labrador Retriever continues to hold the title of America's favorite dog breed, (since 1991), according to just released 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) registration numbers.
The AKC began tabulating and comparing breed registration numbers back in 1936, when the crown for the most popular breed went to the American Cocker Spaniel. In 1953,...Read more
LAS VEGAS, NV -- This week, experts attending the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, NV, Feb.15-19, have answered your queries:
Q: My Chihuahua growls constantly at my boyfriend, even snapping at times. My boyfriend does give him treats, or tries to, but the dog is scared. My dog seems to respond this way to all males. How can I get ...Read more
"I don't understand how in a country of animal lovers, puppy mills can be tolerated," says Chicago veterinarian Dr. Scott Rovner. "Now, we've finally begun to speak up and do something about it; we need to."
Rovner and a Chicago colleague, Dr. Jane Lohmar (with this reporter) recently founded a loosely-knit organization called Veterinary ...Read more
Q: I was told that it's possible to humanely declaw cats with a laser. My two kittens are dangerous with their claws. Would this be a good choice? -- C.S., via cyberspace
A: No offense, but I'm unsure how kittens might be perceived as "dangerous." It's true that a kitten's nails can be sharp, especially when they get too long. A veterinary ...Read more
Here's the dictionary definition of a hero: "A person admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities, as achieved with altruistic intent. Typically a hero doesn't boast about his or her achievements."
This definition doesn't mention that only humans can be heroes, but military working dogs and police dogs fit the...Read more
Q: Penny, our beloved tabby, died in my arms last weekend. We loved him (cq) for 9 years and he appeared to be perfectly healthy when he suddenly collapsed. I rushed Penny to the emergency clinic, but nothing could be done. I was devastated. Our veterinarian never warned us of the danger of heart problems in cats. Skylar, Penny's buddy, has ...Read more