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
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
Q: I need to put some mouse poison in the basement, but I'm worried my cats may find it. I understand that poisoned mice bleed to death. Can mouse poison have the same effect on cats?
A: Yes, and worse.
The first rodenticides were anticoagulants, which caused death from internal bleeding. Short-acting chemicals like warfarin became less ...Read more
Q: Our son vapes in his bedroom. Is it okay for him to use his e-cigarette when our dog Smoky is in his room?
A: No. E-cigarettes are electronic smoking devices, or ESDs, which heat, vaporize and emit numerous harmful chemicals that expose pets and people to substantial risk. If your son must vape, he should do it outdoors to protect Smoky and ...Read more
Q: After my elderly father's old Lab died, he felt so alone that he adopted a rambunctious Lab mix puppy. Rocket is big and boisterous, and I'm afraid he'll pull my dad down when they walk together. What should I do?
A: Start by talking with your father about returning Rocket to the shelter and adopting a smaller or older, more sedate dog ...Read more
Q: My cat Arya has chronic kidney disease. My sister credits homeopathy for her own good health and advocates it for Arya. My veterinarian doesn't offer homeopathy and says it isn't effective. Can you break the tie?
A: This isn't a tie, because only your veterinarian is trained to care for cats with chronic kidney disease. I advise you to ...Read more
Q: For the past year, Sadie, our 10-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix, has barked like she has laryngitis. Gradually, her hoarse bark became a whisper, and now she also pants loudly during our daily walks. What's going on?
A: I suggest Sadie see her veterinarian for an evaluation, because she may have a condition called geriatric-onset ...Read more
Q: We took Jake, our 10-week-old pit bull, to the veterinarian because he has very little hair and scratches almost constantly, even though we see no fleas. The vet said Jake has Demodex mites and prescribed a monthly chewable pill that kills them as well as fleas and ticks. Where could Jake have caught the mites? Can he pass them to us or our ...Read more
Q: Why should I buy processed food full of chemicals for my cat when we humans are encouraged to eat unprocessed foods? What do you think of homemade diets for cats?
A: Human processed food is designed to be tasty, quick and easy to prepare; less expensive than meats and produce; and capable of a long shelf life. In contrast, pet food was ...Read more
Q: Taylor, my 9-year-old Sheltie, had what seemed to be a urinary tract infection, but the antibiotic prescribed for her wasn't completely effective. Eventually, her veterinarian diagnosed bladder cancer. What causes bladder cancer in dogs?
A: Transitional cell carcinoma, or TCC, is the most common form of bladder cancer in dogs. Transitional ...Read more
Q: Stormi, my new kitten, will be an indoor-outdoor cat. I know she needs to be vaccinated and eventually sterilized, but isn't it better to let her have one litter of kittens before that?
A: Cats live longer, healthier lives if they don't have kittens and are sterilized between 2 and 6 months of age. Later sterilization increases the risk of ...Read more
Q: What is your opinion about vaccinating older dogs? As my two healthy senior dogs aged, their veterinarian increased the intervals between vaccinations. I worry that my dogs are now too old to safely vaccinate.
A: There is no evidence that vaccination increases the risk of any disorders in senior dogs. Vaccinations are spaced out as dogs age ...Read more
Q: My cat Milo is a "dog cat": He comes when I call, fetches small balls and loves to play with toys. Last week, I caught him batting around a laundry detergent pod. Should I let him play with those things, or are they toxic?
A: Laundry detergent pods are so dangerous to pets that I recommend you store them where Milo can't reach them and, when...Read more
Q: Emmy, my 12-year-old cat, has arthritis and chronic kidney disease. Her veterinarian recommended Onsior for her arthritic pain but warned that it could further damage her kidneys. I'm torn, because I want Emmy to be free of pain, but I don't want her therapy to cause additional problems. What's your advice?
A: Osteoarthritis, or degenerative...Read more