The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

American Government Undermines World Health

DEAR READERS: Andrew Jacobs, in his July 9 New York Times article “Opposition to Breast-feeding Resolution by U.S. Stuns World Health Officials,” reports that “the U.S. delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended deliberations” at a United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly of hundreds of global government delegates.

The topic was a resolution, based on decades of research, ”that mother’s milk is healthiest for children, and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.” Countries such as Ecuador were threatened with punishing trade measures and withdrawal of U.S. military aid if they did not withdraw the resolution.

So can ”we the people” in the United States trust government regulatory agencies when it comes to other matters? These include the safety and efficacy of vaccines for our children and pets; the risks of pesticides on the crops that we and farmed animals consume; and the quality and safety of manufactured pet foods and baby foods. Trust, transparency and accountability are the hallmarks of democracy and corporate responsibility.

Such an exhibition of U.S. pandering to, and bullying for, corporate interests at this international world health gathering gives new credence to the term “ugly American.” It is up to us, the people, to make America first in ethics, honesty, justice and compassion -- rather than a nation of corporate hegemony and corruption.

DEAR DR. FOX: Our 11-year-old female Yorkie has been diagnosed with glomerulonephritis (GN). We have started her on benazepril and fish oil. I have increased the oatmeal and reduced the protein in the homemade patties I make for her, using an adaptation of your recipe. She also gets a small amount of Organix dry kibble for small dogs mixed in.

What is your advice for this condition? Are there other things we can do to prevent further progress of this condition?

As a side note, she has had urinary problems all of her life. After bringing her to multiple vets, it was determined that she needed added estrogen to help control incontinence. She received the hormone until two years ago, when she became very ill for a reason that was never discovered and she had to come off of everything. There were no problems after taking her off the hormone, so it was discontinued permanently. The illness and her refusal of commercial prescription dog food resulted in my starting her on the homemade dog food mixed with natural kibble, which has resulted in better health aside from the kidney problem. -- M.W., Naples, Florida

DEAR M.W.: You are on the right track with your dog, and I must say that good nutrition from the start could possibly have prevented her chronic renal health problem. You also confirm an all-too-common problem with manufactured prescription diets: Many dogs and cats refuse to eat them.

Do not give her much kibble, because there is evidence that kibble can upset the immune system and trigger inflammatory responses. I like some of the freeze-dried dog foods like Stella and Chewy’s, Sojo’s and The Honest Kitchen. Cornucopia ( is one of the top-rated canned foods for dogs and cats.

On my website, you will find steps to take for dogs with chronic kidney issues, which will help you keep your dog as healthy as possible with this condition.

DEAR DR. FOX: I wrote you in 2014 that I adopted two feral kittens by throwing treats to them and gaining their trust. Now the white one has tested positive for FLV/FIV: feline leukemia and the other immunodeficiency virus.

He was eating fine up until two weeks ago. When he skipped a meal entirely on June 21, after eating many unenthusiastically, I took him in. They gave me three options: euthanasia, chemotherapy and prednisolone. I took the latter. He is declining fast, and I’m taking him in tomorrow for an ultrasound. My regular vet thinks he has cancer and will look into cancer drugs, depending on what the ultrasound shows.

Right now, he’s in extreme pain often, and has to lie flat for it to subside. I think it has to do with pressure caused by eating, bowel movements and moving. In fact, I think he had this a year ago and even earlier! I was carrying him back home one time and he started crying in pain. I set him down on the ground and he laid out flat, then recovered after a few seconds, just like he’s doing now. In fact, I told the vet about this last August (after bringing him in for scratching for fleas) and she said she didn’t know why he was in pain.

I think last year this should have been considered as a possible serious problem. Bloodwork and an ultrasound were in order, and might have revealed FLV/FIV way earlier, giving us more time to try treatments. -- D.L., Maryland Heights, Missouri

DEAR D.L.: I am sorry to hear about your cat testing positive for these diseases.

In my opinion, all cats and kittens rescued from the outdoors should be tested for these two contagious feline diseases: feline leukemia virus (FLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) on their first appointment with a veterinarian. It blows my mind that animal rescue organizations, such as the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota, are releasing cats into our communities, as are many other shelters and cat rescue organizations across the country, without checking them for these two contagious feline diseases.

Cats testing positive should be quarantined, and other cats living with them should also be tested to see if they are infected. Infected cats can be helped in many instances by avoiding stress, giving lysine and other supplements, and avoiding immune system-compromising additional vaccines. Prednisolone helps subdue an over-reactive immune system. Because of the added stress, both physical and psychological, to most cats, I am not an advocate of repeated invasive treatments such as chemotherapy.

The questions of quality of life, and of “doing everything possible” in diagnosing and treating disease, which may not be in the animal’s best interest, is a central issue in a recently convened European veterinary ethics working party. But this is no consolation to you at this time.

From the declining state of your poor cat, I would advise euthanasia, along with having the other cat tested for possible infection.

(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.

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