Q: Penny, my middle-aged indoor cat, chews her dental treats only on the left side of her mouth. Is this normal?
A: I confess that I've never observed my cats or dogs closely enough to know whether they chew on one or both sides of the mouth. Nor have I heard this topic discussed at veterinary conferences. So, I consulted two renowned ...Read more
Q: We recently adopted Reena, a curious, lively 6-month-old puppy. Please advise us about keeping her safe during her first Hanukkah, when our young children will want her to participate in the festivities.
A: During the eight nights of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, as you light your menorah's candles to celebrate the miracle that a one-day...Read more
Q: I'm considering adopting Hope, a 1-year-old cat who tested positive for the feline leukemia virus. She's healthy now, but I know from your column that she may get sick in the future.
If I could buy pet health insurance for her, I would be more likely to seek out the best treatment if her health worsens. However, I've been unable to find ...Read more
Q: Fern, our daughter's first rabbit, just joined our family. May she eat only rabbit pellets, or should we also give her lettuce and carrots?
A: Most of Fern's diet should consist of a variety of fresh grass hays, such as timothy, Bermuda, brome, oat, rye, barley, meadow and orchard grass hay. Avoid alfalfa, which is too high in calories and ...Read more
Q: Our pit bull puppy died of parvovirus. How can we prevent parvovirus in our next puppy?
A: Instead of choosing a puppy, I recommend you adopt an adult dog whose parvovirus vaccination is up to date. Vaccination is very effective at preventing parvovirus infection, nicknamed "parvo," and all dogs deserve protection from this common, life-...Read more
Q: Panda, our black and white tuxedo cat who also responds to the more fitting name of Pandemonium, plays with the centipedes in our bathroom. If she eats one, could it harm her?
A: No, but eating too many of them could result in stomach upset.
The greater concern is that centipedes bite, and the bite feels like a bee sting. Centipedes don't ...Read more
Q: Our son collects pennies and was dismayed to get home from school today and find that our new puppy, Lincoln, had knocked over his penny jar. Hundreds of pennies were scattered over his bedroom floor, but I am more concerned that Lincoln may have eaten some. Are ingested pennies dangerous?
A: Yes, for two reasons. Coins can block the ...Read more
Q: Our children were given two rabbits, and they'd like to know each bunny's sex before they name them. We parents would like to know, too, so we don't end up with a house full of rabbits.
How do we tell what sex each rabbit is? If one is female and the other male, can they be neutered to prevent a household population explosion, or should we ...Read more
Q: Latte, our 8-year-old indoor cat, suddenly started crying and pulling himself along on his front legs while dragging his back legs. We rushed him to his veterinarian who diagnosed a saddle thromboembolism and recommended euthanasia because Latte's prognosis was so dire.
We agreed, but because of Latte's stress and ours at the time, we don't ...Read more
Q: Max, our 7-year-old terrier mix, lost his energy, stopped eating and started vomiting. His veterinarian diagnosed pancreatitis and hospitalized him for treatment. How can we prevent this from happening again?
A: Pancreatitis is inflammation ("-itis") of the pancreas, the organ in the abdomen that secretes two important groups of chemicals: ...Read more
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