Q: We rescued a 6-year-old Labrador we found in a parking lot at Wal-Mart. He's a wonderful dog. Our only worry is Wallie's seizures. He's had two seizures in the past 10 months. He was on a heartworm and flea preventative, which we thought might be the cause, so we switched to another product. A second seizure followed. We wonder if our pesky cat, who irritates Wallie, could be the cause. What do you think? -- M.H., Cyberspace
A: "Dogs can be sensitized to certain triggers," says Chicago-based veterinary neurologist Dr. Michael Podell. Therefore, anything from too much exercise to the stress associated with being boarded in a kennel might prompt a seizure in some dogs. If you can determine what the triggers are for Wallie, avoiding those triggers (if possible) may help avoid the seizures.
Podell notes that it is possible -- though very rare -- for a heartworm or flea product to cause a problem. He notes that usually when there's a seizure following use of a product, it's only a coincidence. After all, you also suggest that your cat's irritating ways might be causing Wallie to seize -- and we know that even the most annoying cats don't cause seizures in dogs.
Certainly, if you believe there is a link to seizures, try another heartworm or flea product. Talk to your veterinarian about making a choice that makes sense for Wallie.
Podell adds, "We learned many years ago that seizures beget more seizures, which then can create even more seizures." At some point, before the situation snowballs, he does suggest medication. The magic number for Podell is three seizures over 12 months. Once you hit that number, talk to your veterinarian about possible medical intervention.
Q: My cat's begun to put her butt into the air and cry. I don't have the money to take her to a vet. She rubs and rolls around, seeming cute, but apparently she's in pain because she cries out. There's some blood that looks like it's coming from her butt and her vagina. Although she's an indoor cat, she catches mice -- four, so far. What do you think is wrong with her? -- S.P., Cyberspace
A: It's likely your cat's only pain is that she can't find a mate. Dr. Steve Dullard, a board member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and President of the Illinois Veterinary Medical Association, says that based on they symptoms you describe, he thinks your cat is in heat. The obvious solution is to have her spayed.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 90 percent of cats. What's more, unless she is spayed, your cat will try very hard to get out hoping to find a male cat.
Dullard, of Mendota, IL strongly suggests seeing your veterinarian to confirm Dullard's hunch. As for cost, there are many low cost spay/neuter clinics. However, Dullard is also concerned that your kitty may not be vaccinated, which is in the pet's best interest.
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