Q: When our house caught fire, the firefighters rescued our cat, Jinx, so all of us were safe. They gave her oxygen using a child's face mask and she recovered. They recommended we bathe her and take her to her veterinarian. She seems fine now, and the fire has given us a lot to do, so we're wondering if it's really necessary to follow their ...Read more
Q: We live in an apartment complex where many dogs bark. Some of the tenants want to require the owners of these dogs to have them debarked. What do you think about this?
A: I am against it, and because it's widely considered to be inhumane, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association have ...Read more
Q: Sheba, my 7-year-old spayed female mixed-breed dog, has been licking the floors constantly for the past month. What do you think is happening?
A: Research in dogs shows that stomach and intestinal problems can trigger ELS, or excessive licking of surfaces, including floors, carpeting, walls, doors and furniture.
In one study, researchers ...Read more
Q: We discovered poison ivy in our woods. If our cats and dogs touch it, can it cause them problems? What if they rub up against us humans?
A: Neither cats nor dogs suffer from poison ivy rash, but their coats easily transfer the oil in poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac to humans. This oil, called urushiol, causes the common poison ivy ...Read more
Q: While hunting, I accidentally shot my dog, Buck, with lead shot. He seems to be OK, but I'm worried he might develop lead poisoning and die. I'm too embarrassed to take him to the veterinarian, so I'd appreciate your advice.
A: Take Buck to his veterinarian, who has undoubtedly seen dogs and cats with similar injuries. At the very least, ...Read more
Q: My friend adopted a kitten she named Clown because she's so funny to watch. Clown has a condition called CH, which makes her wobble like a drunk and sometimes fall over. What exactly is CH?
A: CH is cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition caused by incomplete (hypo-) development (-plasia) of the cerebellum, the part of the brain that coordinates ...Read more
Q: Whenever my partner and I treat ourselves to roasted garlic on warm French bread, our dog begs for some. Is garlic safe for dogs?
A: No, so please don't let him snack on it. Garlic, onions and related vegetables are members of the genus Allium, and all are toxic to dogs.
Garlic is more toxic than onions, which are more toxic than shallots, ...Read more
Q: I heard that byproducts are bad for pets, so I want to buy cat food that is free of them. What brands do you recommend?
A: Actually, byproducts are full of nutrients, and it would be unwise to forgo them.
A byproduct is something produced or left over when something else is made. In the U.S., most people who eat meat consume only the animal...Read more
Q: Grayson is my first dog now that I'm an adult living on my own, though I did grow up with dogs. When I was a kid and our dogs got old and arthritic, they were euthanized.
Gray is aging and, I think, developing arthritis, but I am reluctant to take him to his veterinarian because I'm not ready to discuss euthanasia. Are there treatments these...Read more
Q: Can cats that stay indoors get parasites? My veterinarian recommends that I apply a parasite preventive to my cat Seymour's skin every month, but I don't understand why it's necessary.
A: While cats that spend time outside are more likely to encounter parasites, even indoor-only cats can become infected. Three types are common.
The first is...Read more
Q: We recently adopted Rufus, a young adult dog who becomes anxious every time he's in the car. He pants, whines, drools, licks his lips and sometimes even throws up. What can we do about this?
A: The most effective way to help Rufus feel calm in the car is behavior modification. Through a series of small steps, you'll teach him that car ...Read more
Q: We have several cats, and we provide foster care for kittens from a rescue organization. I am pregnant with my first child, and we don't want our child to grow up allergic to cats. While our child is young, should we stop fostering and limit access to our family cats?
A: Quite the opposite. For years, physicians have recognized that ...Read more
Q: Our Yorkshire terrier Bentley has a dry, honking cough. His veterinarian said he has a collapsing trachea and recommended we walk him on a harness rather than a neck collar to take the pressure off his throat.
Is there anything else we can do to minimize his coughing and help him catch his breath? Please tell us more about this condition.