The Animal Doctor

On March 15, 2019, the acting secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to administratively delist and remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves. This would allow for state management of wolves. (A public comment period is open until May 14. To comment online, go to and click on "Comment Now!")

Wolves and other large predators keep "game" species healthy by culling the sick and ending the lives of the infirm and suffering. Their absence across most of their original range -- caused by relentless extermination over the centuries since European colonization -- along with that of mountain lions and lynx, is probably one of the main factors in the current epidemic in 24 states of chronic wasting disease in elk, moose and deer.

This brain disease is similar to mad cow disease in the U.K. that infected several hundred people with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. There is legitimate concern that hunters and others who eat infected deer and elk might become infected.

Wolves, along with smaller carnivorous "furbearers" (bobcats, red and gray foxes, pine martens, fishers and mink) who are seasonally trapped and shot, and coyotes who can be killed any time in most states, may help control Lyme disease, which is reaching epidemic proportions along with other tick-borne diseases in the human and companion dog populations.

Vested interest groups from ranchers to trophy hunters, outfitters and trappers are behind this initiative, which flies in the face of sound science and bioethically based ecological wildlife and wildland stewardship. It must be opposed by all, so do contact your congressional legislator to oppose this proposal and share these concerns for our sakes as well as the wolves'.

DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 15-year-old Collie mix that has had a problem with bowel incontinence ever since dental surgery almost two years ago.

Therefore, his problem is my problem. I believe it to be neurological. I've tried diapers and he tears them off. I've tried laying pads on the floor, and he doesn't have sense enough to use them. I believe a little doggie dementia is going on too. A neighbor suggested that CBD oil may help. She uses it for both her and her dog. What do you think? -- M.J.S., South Bend, Indiana

DEAR M.J.S.: Our companion animals enjoy good and longer lives and often quality of life far better than they would in the wild.

So it is no surprise that like many of us living in supportive families and communities, they develop various chronic degenerative diseases that Mother Nature would have nipped in the bud early on and thus prevented escalating suffering, pain, fear, anxiety, cognitive impairment, loss of normal bodily functions, etc.

This is one reason why I urge all people with aging animals to have them checked by a veterinarian at least once a year. More and more physicians now do house calls, which can cost more but make life easier for all concerned.

Since CBD is legal in many states, I am concerned that people will be giving it to their animal companions without prior veterinary consultation, so I am glad that you are asking me.

CBD quality varies widely and could contain THC, which could be extremely upsetting or even terrifying for some animals. People giving recreational cannabis/marijuana to their animals should be prosecuted for animal abuse.

I urge you to see a veterinarian locally first to fully evaluate your dog. With regular veterinary checkups for middle-aged and older animals, many emerging health issues can be nipped in the bud -- but the best healers work with nature and give her credit where credit is due!

Ironically, this communication was interrupted by a friend who had just bought some CBD for her ailing Boxer, who has not been eating and just had a seizure, in the hopes that this will help postpone the inevitable euthanasia that her veterinarian has advised. CBD can do small miracles, especially preventing seizures, along with other medicinal herbs -- which the multinational pharmaceutical companies would rather we know nothing about while they seek to isolate, synthesize, patent and market these gifts from Mother Nature.

After the disruptive dental surgery, where antibiotics were probably prescribed and caused dysbiosis, I would give your dog some probiotics (in capsules, also in kefir and miso) and prebiotics (inulin, not insulin), as in Jerusalem artichokes and digestive enzymes. These are all available in drugstores. Also try my home-prepared recipe on my website

(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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