The Animal Doctor

DEAR READERS: I sent the following note of support to the growing list of professional scientists and signed a letter to secure the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, enacted by President Obama on Jan. 12, 2017, and now threatened by the new administration:

“Across the North American continent, this and other bioregions rich in biodiversity need CPR (conservation, protection and restoration). Spiritually, these places are sacred. Scientifically, they are unique habitats rich in animal and plant diversity essential to sustain our need for clean air and water and to help correct and stabilize climate change. Economically, they are a biobank for society, not only for tourism, but also for biologics and microbiota of potential medical, agricultural and other industrial use. Ethically, they are monuments of Earth's creation that society must cherish -- if not for nature's sake, then at least out of enlightened self-interest.

"Environmental CPR of all federal- and state-owned and -leased lands should be a top national security issue and priority. If we do not secure the present, there can be no future.”

I would add that educationally, these natural national monuments are galleries and libraries of inspiration and information. But we will not have a jungle for the last of the tigers or forest for America’s lions a generation from now if planetary CPR is not adopted by every nation-state, kingdom and principality. The health of one affects the health of others. A United Environmental Nations paramilitary force to police and protect the last of the wild from annihilation by the rich and poor alike may be our last hope. Activist organizations like Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace cannot do it alone.

Young children must be informed as to why it is in everyone’s best interests to care for all animals and the environment and what they can do to help. Regrettably, major organizations like the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have reportedly pulled out of supporting humane education. But my friend Jane Goodall has set up environmental and humane education programs in many schools around the world (visit for more information), as have others concerned about animals and the natural environment. These include the National Humane Education Society (; my daughter Camilla Fox’s Project Coyote (; and one of my former graduate students, Marc Bekoff, (search "Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence").

All educators need to engage young minds with these concerns and sow seeds of hope for their own good and for the revolution in planetary consciousness, conscience and conservation. Wisdom speaks when we listen with our hearts and when we empathize with fellow creatures.

DEAR DR. FOX: Recently, my pug started acting strangely: circling, drooling, watery eyes, torticollis; I believe she wasn't seeing correctly, if at all, at times. I took her to the vet.

At first they suspected toxicity of some kind, but all her blood work came back 100 percent normal. They now suspect encephalitis. They started her on prednisone, phenobarbital and doxycycline and released her the same afternoon. I gave her another phenobarbital at around 10 that night, and by 1 a.m., she was acting almost completely normal. She has continued to act normally, aside from the occasional throwing the head back a few times a day.

She was spayed and vaccinated a few days before this all started. I read an article about vaccines possibly triggering this. I was wondering if there was any way other than an MRI to diagnose this disease. She's still acting fairly normal except for being rather lethargic, which is not like her or any 2-year-old pug, for that matter.

I would like to know exactly what was wrong and do whatever I can to help her or prolong her life or make sure she doesn't suffer if she does have this disease. She hasn't had any seizures that I know of. She is so cute and fun and usually full of life. -- M.T., Hobbs, New Mexico

DEAR M.T.: Considering the time between her being vaccinated and the onset of neurological problems, I would suspect she has a vaccinosis, an adverse reaction to whatever vaccines she was given.

It is not advisable to vaccinate an animal who is ill or subjected to the stress of general anesthesia for any major surgery as for spay/neuter. The vaccinations should have been done three to four weeks prior to or after surgery, but for convenience sake, this protocol is not always followed.

The treatment prescribed is satisfactory, but she must be slowly weaned off the prednisone and not suddenly taken off of it. Give her probiotics to help correct any adverse consequences to her gut bacterial flora from the antibiotic. For good measure, I would add a few drops of fish oil to her food and up to a tablespoon daily of coconut oil, which may help stabilize brain function and can help prevent seizures.


New York legislators are considering a bill that would make their state the first to ban the declawing of cats. Some countries and a number of U.S. cities ban the procedure, but the New York State Veterinary Medical Society argues declawing must remain a last resort for families that might otherwise take their cat to a shelter.

(Send all mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox's website at

More like The Animal Doctor