The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

Pet Owners Purchasing High-Tech Products

DEAR READERS: According to an October report, about 23% of Americans polled by the Consumer Technology Association said they planned to purchase pet-related technology as a holiday gift. And the number of pet-tech products shipped during the fourth quarter of last year was expected to be 60% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2018. Products include automatic food or water dispensers, automatic pet doors, and pet monitoring systems. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dec. 31)

A cat litter box on display at a recent electronics show is equipped with a video camera, connects to voice-enabled assistants and uses artificial intelligence to analyze the cat’s waste for signs of illness. (The Verge, Jan. 7)

The more such electronic devices are put into the home environment -- and monitors put on companion animals’ necks, along with remote sensors, training devices and invisible fence shock-collars -- the more health and behavioral problems I predict. And worse, equipment failures could put animals at risk.

There is no substitute for attentive human care. Electropollution in the home environment is a growing concern, with both dogs and humans developing adverse reactions -- for instance, to “smart” water meters. As for “smart” diapers put on infants, we need only look at the rising incidence of brain tumors in young people, and other neurological disorders in the population, to be more cautious about buying into new electronic products. The health and environmental safety of such products must be questioned by all involved.

Microchipping animals for identification is as far as I would go with long-term application of such technology. Short-term applications of radio-collars for animal health and wildlife research purposes is carefully monitored by experienced veterinary and other practitioners.

DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 4-year-old pit bull, weighing 60 pounds. She is on Trifexis to control fleas, and has been acting lethargic through the day.

She also has grain allergies, and is fed grain-free salmon or bison and Hill’s Science Diet for sensitive skin.

Can I feed her raw meat? Will the dog be inclined to go after cows and chickens after tasting that food? -- P.G., Trenton, New Jersey

DEAR P.G.: I would take your dog off the Trifexis at once. Her lethargy may well be associated with this insecticidal cocktail of poisons.

Here are some of the side effects posted by the manufacturer:

“As with all medicines, sometimes side effects may occur. In some cases, dogs vomited after receiving Trifexis (spinosad plus milbemycin oxime). If vomiting occurs within an hour of administration, re-dose with another full dose. During field studies, no severe or prolonged vomiting occurred. Additional adverse reactions observed in the clinical studies were itching, decreased activity, diarrhea, inflammation of the skin, redness of the skin, decreased appetite and redness of the ear.” All reactions were regarded as mild, according to the statement from trifexis.com.

Transition your dog onto my home-prepared diet and I think you will see a significant improvement. This is posted on my website, drfoxonehelath.com.

Well-formulated raw meat diets are good for dogs, and no, they do not make the dogs want to go out and kill the live animals whose flesh they have eaten raw.

(Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com 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 DrFoxOneHealth.com.)