Q: We took Jake, our 10-week-old pit bull, to the veterinarian because he has very little hair and scratches almost constantly, even though we see no fleas. The vet said Jake has Demodex mites and prescribed a monthly chewable pill that kills them as well as fleas and ticks. Where could Jake have caught the mites? Can he pass them to us or our ...Read more
Q: Why should I buy processed food full of chemicals for my cat when we humans are encouraged to eat unprocessed foods? What do you think of homemade diets for cats?
A: Human processed food is designed to be tasty, quick and easy to prepare; less expensive than meats and produce; and capable of a long shelf life. In contrast, pet food was ...Read more
Q: Taylor, my 9-year-old Sheltie, had what seemed to be a urinary tract infection, but the antibiotic prescribed for her wasn't completely effective. Eventually, her veterinarian diagnosed bladder cancer. What causes bladder cancer in dogs?
A: Transitional cell carcinoma, or TCC, is the most common form of bladder cancer in dogs. Transitional ...Read more
Q: Stormi, my new kitten, will be an indoor-outdoor cat. I know she needs to be vaccinated and eventually sterilized, but isn't it better to let her have one litter of kittens before that?
A: Cats live longer, healthier lives if they don't have kittens and are sterilized between 2 and 6 months of age. Later sterilization increases the risk of ...Read more
Q: What is your opinion about vaccinating older dogs? As my two healthy senior dogs aged, their veterinarian increased the intervals between vaccinations. I worry that my dogs are now too old to safely vaccinate.
A: There is no evidence that vaccination increases the risk of any disorders in senior dogs. Vaccinations are spaced out as dogs age ...Read more
Q: My cat Milo is a "dog cat": He comes when I call, fetches small balls and loves to play with toys. Last week, I caught him batting around a laundry detergent pod. Should I let him play with those things, or are they toxic?
A: Laundry detergent pods are so dangerous to pets that I recommend you store them where Milo can't reach them and, when...Read more
Q: My husband and his friends want to play their paintball games on our rural property. Our dogs would be confined to the house during the games, but I'm concerned about their safety once they're back outside. Are dogs attracted to unexploded paintballs, and if so, are the paintballs safe to eat?
A: Paintballs are spherical gelatin capsules ...Read more
Q: Our new daughter-in-law owns a garden center and wants to fill our home with poinsettias over the holidays. I told her I'd have to check with you first to be sure they are safe for our cats.
A: You may accept your new family member's generous gift without worrying about your cats. Poinsettias were once thought to be toxic based on a century-...Read more
Q: I mentioned to a friend that I am sending Bert, our new dog who is wild and undisciplined, to a training school to learn to settle down and mind his manners. My friend responded that this trainer uses shock collars to train dogs, which she feels is inhumane. What's your opinion?
A: The preponderance of research evidence says your friend is ...Read more
Q: Emmy, my 12-year-old cat, has arthritis and chronic kidney disease. Her veterinarian recommended Onsior for her arthritic pain but warned that it could further damage her kidneys. I'm torn, because I want Emmy to be free of pain, but I don't want her therapy to cause additional problems. What's your advice?
A: Osteoarthritis, or degenerative...Read more
Q: I have such a bad cold that I can't go to school. Mom is afraid I'll spread my cold to our puppy, Barkley, so she won't let him sleep on my bed or cuddle with me on the couch. Can dogs really catch a person's cold? I don't want Barkley to get sick, but I miss snuggling with him.
A: Your mom is right to be concerned about Barkley because he's...Read more
Q: I recently adopted a handsome orange male tabby cat named Henry. At night, his eyes are luminescent, reflecting a variety of bright colors. Is he unusual, or do all cats' eyes shine in the dark? What causes this magic?
A: Henry's magic glow arises from the "tapetum lucidum," Latin for "bright tapestry." It's a thick layer of iridescent cells...Read more
Q: When Toto, my 10-year-old terrier, looks at me, his eyes appear cloudy. At last week's wellness exam, his veterinarian said his eyes are healthy and he has no cataracts or other problems. So why do his eyes reflect a cloudy white-blue-gray haze?
A: It sounds like Toto has a condition called nuclear sclerosis, which is not a disease but a ...Read more