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Ask The Vet: Colorful Reflector in Cat's Eye Enhances Night Vision
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
Ask the Vet: Dog's Cloudy Eyes May Be Normal Aging Change, Not Cataracts
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
Ask the Vet: Cats Require Meat-Based Diets
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
Ask the Vet: Retractable Leashes Risky for Dogs and People
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
Ask the Vet: Chronic Valve Disease Common Cause of Heart Murmur
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
Ask the Vet: Many Ways To Get Medications Into Cats
Q: I adopted my grandmother's cat, Sally, who is supposed to take medication but often puts up a fight. How do I get her to take her pills?
A: One of my cats, Carlie, happily takes her medication. Perhaps my technique will work for you.
While Carlie is eating yummy canned food, I tip her head up, open her mouth and drop the pill on the back of...Read more
Ask The Vet: Don't Let Dogs Chew Bones or Tennis Balls
Q: Baxter, my 5-year-old retriever mix, broke a tooth while gnawing on a bone. The veterinarian extracted the fractured tooth and remarked that Baxter's enamel was badly worn, probably from chewing on tennis balls. Can you suggest some safe chew toys?
A: The nylon fuzz on tennis balls damages enamel two ways: it's abrasive, even when clean, and...Read more
Ask the Vet: Present Creative Gift to Animal Lover
Q: I am looking for a year-end gift for my daughter's elementary school teacher who loves animals. Can you suggest something special?
A: If your daughter wants to show her appreciation by giving her teacher something memorable, let me share a few of my favorite ideas.
1. Adopt the teacher's next class by providing a subscription to Kind News, ...Read more
Ask The Vet: Lyme Disease Is Infecting More Dogs and Spreading to New Areas
Q: My veterinarian offers Lyme vaccination, but I'm uncertain whether I should have my dog vaccinated because none of the neighborhood dogs have developed Lyme disease. What do you think?
A: The answer depends on where you live, along with your dog's breed, lifestyle and health status. Therefore, your veterinarian is the best person to make a ...Read more
More Bacteria on Human Beard Than Dog Fur
Q: I grew up with dogs, but my husband wasn't as fortunate. We now have a dog -- and a toddler who loves to hug him and bury her face in his fur. My husband worries that this is unsanitary, while I say it's fine because our dog is healthy, takes monthly antiparasitic medication and sees his veterinarian regularly. Can you help?
A: Researchers...Read more
Ask the Vet: Pet Turtles Carry Salmonella
Q: Our son wants to adopt a turtle from his friend, who has become bored with his pet. Is there any reason not to agree?
A: Pet turtles commonly carry Salmonella bacteria, which can cause bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain in humans. Youngsters are most often affected. So, take into account your son's age and level of ...Read more
Ask the Vet: Puppy's Hernia Needs Surgical Repair
Q: Rosie, our pit bull puppy, has a soft lump where her belly button should be. When we push on it, it disappears temporarily. What is it, and should we be concerned?
A: It sounds like Rosie may have an umbilical hernia. Your veterinarian can do a physical exam and tell you whether it needs immediate surgical attention or can be repaired later,...Read more
Ask the Vet: Cats' Tails Tell Tales
Q: I am about to adopt a cat, my first. I want to understand what my new cat is trying to tell me through meowing and body language. Please educate me.
A: Congratulations on adopting your new family member and learning how to communicate with your kitty. Feline vocalizations, body language, scent communication, visual signals and tactile ...Read more