The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

Commenting on COVID-19

DEAR DR. FOX: I applaud your recent article on COVID-19. You have rightly identified one of the root causes of this disease, as well as many other zoonotic diseases: our invasion of the natural world, leading to intermingling of species that were never naturally meant to mix. This is also intertwined with our climate crisis. One thing not noted is our increasing population, and its impact on the Earth by continually degrading the natural world. We must both curb our species growth and our demand for so many disposable material items.

I frankly fear that we are too late to stop it, and may only be able to slow the final degradation some. We, as a species, tend to go along with the status quo until the metaphorical gun is pointed to our head, and then we’ll act. But unlike movies that show an immediate return to normalcy, Nature doesn’t move that quickly.

After this pandemic’s crisis stage is over, and everyone starts to evaluate what went wrong and what to do in the future, I fear that the focus will only be upon disease testing and treatment. There will not be an examination of the true root causes. Thus, we will repeat this again, and likely with greater frequency.

Thank you for identifying this. Maybe it will spark someone to rethink their actions. -- R.M., Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

DEAR R.M.: I have received several letters from readers expressing appreciation for my short postings on the coronavirus pandemic in my column. For more in-depth discussion, I refer readers to two related articles on my website (drfoxonehealth.com): “What SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Are Telling Us: A Holistic Veterinary and One Health View,” and also “From Conventional Medicine to One Health: An Essential Transformation.”

Your letter provides an excellent synopsis of this human-caused, anthropogenic health crisis. Indeed, there will be more pandemics, plagues and pestilence in the future, along with famine and war, if COVID-19 does not make us change our behavior on planet Earth!

Dr. Albert Schweitzer summed it up with prescience decades ago when he opined: ”We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”

DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 19-year-old female inside cat who is in good health for her age. However, within the last year, she seems to have lost her hearing, which was confirmed by our veterinarian.

She used to sleep in our bed during the night, but gave up doing so approximately two years ago. For about the last six months, she has been crying out in the middle of the night (and of course, her cries wake us up). Now, for the past couple of weeks, she not only cries out, but gets up and down out of our bed several times a night. She will not lie down in our bed.

I recently saw your reply concerning a cat with other issues, in which you suggested using melatonin at bedtime. Is this something we could try on our cat to help her rest in the evening, and help increase our sleep, too? -- B.T., New Carlisle, Indiana

DEAR B.T.: Old cats like yours, who become restless at night, are often afflicted with the feline equivalent of senile dementia. In some instances, combined with this brain degeneration, there is painful arthritis. Give your cat 1 to 3 mg melatonin close to bedtime, mashed up in a canned sardine, which has anti-inflammatory benefits for possible arthritis, and may also help neurologic function.

Get some catnip from the pet store; if your cat enjoys it, nibbles some and rolls in it, some sedation may result. Alternatively, put a pinch of valerian herb, available in drug stores, in the sardine along with the melatonin. You should occasionally take one-week breaks from these medications to avoid over-challenging your cat’s liver.

In addition, my book “The Healing Touch for Cats” can teach you how to give your cat regular massage-therapy sessions, the therapeutic value of which is well documented.

(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.)