Q: We recently adopted Tucker, a young, neutered, mixed-breed dog. We don't know how he behaves around children, because our kids are adults and we've remained distanced from our neighbors.
As soon as the pandemic is over, our grandchildren will visit. What can we do to prevent Tucker from biting one of them?
A: Start by taking Tucker to a ...Read more
Q: Ever since my cats died, my home has felt empty and lonely. The local cat rescue is offering for adoption some cats that tested positive for the feline leukemia virus and/or the feline immunodeficiency virus.
I want to share my home with two of these "special needs" cats, but I don't know much about these viruses and what's involved in ...Read more
Q: Tao, our 11-year-old part-Siamese cat, was diagnosed with lymphoma. He has always been an active, healthy indoor cat, so I don't understand how this could have happened. What causes lymphoma in cats?
A: I'm sorry to hear about Tao's lymphoma, also called lymphosarcoma. It is the most common cancer in cats -- and the incidence is higher in ...Read more
Q: We're pretty sure our dog, Holly, ate a remote control with its batteries, because we can't find it anywhere. She seems normal. What should we do?
A: Take Holly to her veterinarian immediately for a physical exam and radiographs, often called X-rays.
If Holly did eat the remote, or even just a battery, she could develop severe medical ...Read more
Q: My new kitten Nala has ear mites, for which my veterinarian prescribed treatment. I know from reading your column that some animal parasites also infect people. Can Nala's ear mites jump to me? What about my other cat?
A: Ear mites, the most common cause of ear infections in cats, are highly contagious among cats and dogs, particularly ...Read more
Q: Sirius, our adult son's new pit bull, is the first dog in our family, so we need some advice about gifts. We're thinking of giving him a big, fresh marrow bone for Christmas, but would a sterilized bone be healthier?
A: Bones are harder than teeth, so whether fresh or sterilized, chew bones can break a dog's teeth. Other treats that commonly...Read more
Q: I recently adopted a kitten named Joy from a rescue that prohibits declawing. When I signed the adoption agreement, I planned to have her declawed anyway. Now that it's time to make the appointment, I feel uneasy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of declawing?
A: The term "declaw" is a euphemism for the elective amputation of all ...Read more
Q: Gretchen, our 9-year-old German shepherd, recently developed hind leg weakness. Her veterinarian recommends testing for degenerative myelopathy.
Many years ago, another of our shepherds had degenerative myelopathy. His condition deteriorated quickly, because there was no treatment for the disease.
Is effective therapy available now? If so, ...Read more
Q: Our 12-year-old cat, Chia, is matted over her low back, just above her tail. What is causing the mats, and how can we remove them? She nips at us when we try to brush or comb them out.
A: Cats groom themselves to clean their coats and remove loose fur. When they don't groom, their fur mats. Mats cause discomfort and block air to the skin, ...Read more
Q: Jasper, my 2-year-old Labrador retriever, often jumps on me. His feet sometimes muddy my clothes, but I'm more concerned that he might jump on someone else, knock them down and injure them.
A friend advised me to step on his toes or knee him in the chest when he jumps, but that advice isn't working. What do you recommend?
A: Jasper is ...Read more
Q: Can cats develop diabetes? Our cat, Fred, is drinking and urinating more than usual, very much like our son did before he was diagnosed with diabetes.
A: Yes, cats and dogs can develop diabetes mellitus, sometimes called sugar diabetes because the disease is marked by increases in blood sugar levels. Diabetes is most often seen in older cats...Read more
Q: Harley, my 3-year-old bulldog mix, doesn't go to the veterinarian often because he gets aggressive whenever he does. During his most recent visit, the vet recommended we consult a veterinarian who specializes in behavior problems to help Harley feel less anxious at the animal hospital. My question is why bother, since the vet was able to give...Read more
Q: Monty, our indoor cat, often tries to escape from the house. We know he's safer inside, where he won't be attacked by another animal or hit by a car, but he's determined to explore outside. Is there some way we can let him venture outdoors safely?
A: One way is to take him for a stroll with you. Fit him with a cat harness and a thin leash, ...Read more