Q: I adopted a calico cat from a shelter that named him Joseph for his coat of many colors. My veterinarian was surprised when she examined him and confirmed he was a male, because she said calico cats are almost always female. Why is that?
A: Calico cats have orange, black and white fur, while tortoiseshell cats, or torties, sport orange and ...Read more
Q: Pebbles, my 9-year-old terrier, was diagnosed with diabetes several months ago. I give her insulin injections and monitor her diabetes with urine test strips. Is there a better way to determine how well her diabetes is being controlled?
A: Diabetes mellitus arises most often in middle-aged dogs, usually around 7 to 9 years of age. Three-...Read more
Q: My spouse and I want to take our dog and two cats on a monthlong trip across the United States in our 30-foot recreational vehicle. The dog is no problem, but we are concerned about whether this is feasible with the cats. What's your advice?
A: Your family can make this work, but only if the cats are amenable. I suggest you first take an ...Read more
Q: Our dog Riley ate a lot of semisweet chocolate bits. His veterinarian advised us to use hydrogen peroxide to make him throw up. After Riley vomited all the chocolate, he was fine.
What are the toxic effects of chocolate? How much does it take to make a dog sick?
A: Before I became a veterinarian, one of my golden retrievers ate a big bag of...Read more
Q: I love lilies, especially Easter lilies. My two recently adopted cats are very inquisitive and explore every new item I bring home. I don't want them to damage the Easter lilies that will decorate my home over the holiday. Please tell me cats aren't attracted to plants.
A: I'm more worried about the lilies damaging your cats than the other ...Read more
Q: I walk my dog, Buster, several times a day. I'm worried about how to care for him if I contract COVID-19 and can't walk him. I'm even more worried about what would happen to him if I were to die from the virus. What's your advice?
A: It seems to me that you need to consider three situations: 1) What happens if you are diagnosed with COVID-19...Read more
Q: My dog Frankie and I were at the dog park when another dog had diarrhea and the owner did a poor job cleaning up. Now I'm worried that every time we visit this dog park, Frankie may be exposed to parasites. Is this a valid concern?
A: Yes, so be sure you give him a broad-spectrum chewable or topical dewormer every month throughout the year. ...Read more
Q: We read your column about the importance of not declawing cats -- or, as you put it, amputating their toes. We're convinced! Now our question is: What can we do to prevent our cats from scratching our furniture?
A: Multiple toe amputation, euphemistically called declawing, causes long-term medical and behavioral problems in cats. Readers who...Read more
Q: Cosette, my 5-year-old white toy poodle, has always had bronze staining beneath both eyes. Every year, her veterinarian examines her eyes and says they look fine, so I assume the bronze staining isn't a medical problem. What causes it, and what can I do about it?
A: Tear staining is the most common cause of bronze discoloration of the hair ...Read more
Q: Codi, our 13-year-old cat, needs methimazole for his hyperthyroidism, but he won't take it. I've tried crushing his quarter-tablet and mixing it with pilling treats and various wet foods mixed with a flavor enhancer, but nothing works. I'm at my wit's end trying to get him to take his medicine. Any suggestions are welcome.
A: Hyperthyroidism...Read more
Q: My neighbor's healthy, young dog died suddenly of liver failure. The vet thinks the cause was aflatoxins in a new bag of dog food, since the food was later recalled. How can I prevent something similar from happening to my dog?
A: Aflatoxins are poisons produced by molds, particularly Aspergillus molds, that grow on grains such as corn and ...Read more
Q: At least one of our cats has been urinating and defecating in the large potted plants in our family room. Fortunately, no one is eliminating elsewhere outside their litter boxes. How can we stop our cats from using our large planters as their litter boxes?
A: You'll need to take two steps to solve this problem. First, make your cats' litter ...Read more
Q: I recently got a Havanese puppy, Marcos, who was supposed to be hypoallergenic. However, every time I'm near him, I break out in hives, sneeze and get itchy eyes. Would modifying his diet make him less allergenic?
A: I'm sorry to hear you are allergic to your new pup. Unfortunately, no dog is hypoallergenic, and no dietary modifications, ...Read more