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
Q: I am a vegan, and I want to feed my cats a vegan or vegetarian diet. What's your advice?
A: Veterinarians who specialize in nutrition recommend against feeding vegan or vegetarian diets to cats because research has shown that these diets are not nutritionally adequate and therefore not safe over the long term.
Moreover, vegan and vegetarian...Read more
Q: My kids' Halloween candy sits around the house for weeks. Sometimes the kids share it with the dog; other times the dog steals candy that's not hidden. I know chocolate is toxic to dogs. Is there anything else I should remove from the Halloween haul?
A: You are right that chocolate, which contains theobromine and caffeine, is toxic to dogs. ...Read more
Q: I usually walk my golden retriever, Jake, on a retractable leash, which we both love. Our local park requires dogs to be on leashes no longer than 6 feet and bans the use of retractable leashes. Would you give me some ammunition so I can convince them to change their policy?
A: Sorry, I can't. Retractable leashes are dangerous for dogs -- ...Read more
Q: My 7-year-old, 20-pound mixed breed dog has a heart murmur. Her veterinarian thinks it's due to chronic valve disease. What is this?
A: Each time a normal dog's heart beats, it produces two sounds: lub-dub. A murmur is an extra sound, for example, a "swish," as in lub-swish-dub.
In dogs under 45 pounds, the most common cause of heart ...Read more