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Ask the Vet: Some Houseplants Harmful to Cats

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: I want to brighten my home with some new houseplants, but they need to be safe for my cats, who explore everything. Are philodendron and spider plants harmless if cats eat them? If not, can you suggest some cat-safe houseplants?

A: Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals that burn a cat's mouth and throat, cause drooling and ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Punishment After Misbehavior Ineffective, Instills Fear in Dog

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: When Dobby, my roommate's family dog, visits us, he sometimes gets into the trash. My roommate says scolding him after I find trash on the floor is not effective. Is this true?

Yesterday, I found Dobby knee-deep in trash on the kitchen floor. Even though I didn't yell, Dobby rolled over and showed his belly, so I'm sure he knew what he'd ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Pets Can Develop Compulsive Disorders

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: I was recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I live with two normal cats, but I've been wondering whether cats can have OCD, too.

A: Yes, though veterinarians who specialize in behavior refer to the abnormal repetitive behaviors as "compulsive disorder," or CD, since the word "obsessive" refers to thought patterns we can't ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Distract and Redirect Dog That Marks Furniture or Mounts People

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: I recently adopted a dog, Chester, who will be neutered when the pandemic subsides enough to allow the shelter's veterinary staff to resume sterilizing pets. Chester is sweet and fun, but he also lifts his leg to mark his indoor territory with urine, and he humps people's legs.

I know these bad behaviors will stop after he's neutered, but ...Read more

Ask the Vet: See Veterinarian for Pet's Red or Cloudy Eye

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: My cat was diagnosed with uveitis after I noticed that the iris of one eye had turned red, its pupil was small, and a foggy haze filled the normally clear front of the eye. My veterinarian prescribed steroid eye drops and sent a blood sample to the lab for further testing.

What is uveitis, and what causes it?

A: Uveitis is inflammation of ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Don't Let Dog Swim in Green Water

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: Kip, my retriever mix, loves to swim in a nearby lake, even during the winter. The water recently turned green, so I kept him out. If the lake is green the next time we hike there, is it safe for him to swim?

A: I recommend Kip stay away from green water, because the color may mean it's contaminated with blue-green algae called cyanobacteria...Read more

Ask the Vet: Secondhand Smoke Causes Cancer in Cats

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: I recently adopted my first pet, a young cat named Tulip, and took her to the veterinarian, who smelled cigarette smoke on her fur and recommended I stop smoking or smoke outdoors to protect Tulip from cancer.

I feel the veterinarian is overstepping her role. Still, I need to know whether my smoking could really give Tulip cancer.

A: Our ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Leave Wild Baby Bunnies Alone

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: While I was picking up sticks in the yard prior to mowing, I found two baby rabbits sitting in a shallow nest in the grass. The mother was nowhere to be seen. If I take these bunnies inside, how do I care for them? Would they make good family pets?

A: No, they are wild animals and cannot be domesticated. So please don't move them.

Wild ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Skunk Remedies Safe for Puppy

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: My puppy, Cooper, got skunked today. Is skunk gunk toxic to puppies? Also, please recommend a safe way to get rid of the stench on a puppy.

A: The standard commercial skunk remedies, like Skunk-Off and Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover, are safe for puppies. Or, you can try one of these homemade recipes:

-- Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Cats With Extra Toes Nicknamed 'Hemingway Cats'

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: I've had cats before, but none ever looked like the cat I adopted this week from the shelter. Both of her front paws have the normal four toes -- plus three thumbs instead of one. I've never seen a cat with so many thumbs. What is this called? Should the extra thumbs be surgically removed?

A: Your new cat is polydactyl, which in Greek means ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Sterilized Dogs Live Longer

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: Should we neuter Max, our 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier? Our veterinarian described the behavioral benefits of neutering, but those are not an issue for us. Max is healthy and lots of fun, and we just want him to live forever.

A: Keeping Max around as long as possible is a good enough reason to have your veterinarian neuter him, because ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Celebrate Easter With Chocolate Bunny, Not Live One

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: I'm thinking of surprising my 6-year-old niece with a rabbit on Easter. The pet store sells bunnies of various sizes and ear styles. Is one type of rabbit healthier or friendlier than the others?

A: My first pet joined our family when I was younger than your niece, and I got my first rabbit at about your niece's age, but I don't recommend ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Ear-Tipped Cat Already Sterilized

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: A new friend invited me to her home, and I was surprised that one of her cats was missing an ear tip. What was left of the ear looked normal, except that it had been cut in a straight line. I'm wondering: Is this woman in a cult that tortures cats, and should I report her to the authorities?

A: You should start by talking with her. Ask her ...Read more

Ask the Vet: Toads Release Toxins That Harm Pets

Pets / Ask The Vet /

Q: Mrs. Maisel, my small, 2-year-old mixed-breed dog, died soon after chewing a toad. She didn't swallow it, but I think it released some sort of toxin, because within a few minutes, she fell over, had a seizure and died. What happened? I know toads don't cause warts, but could this toad have actually killed her?

A: I'm so sorry to hear about ...Read more


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