DEAR DR. FOX: Sophie is my 4-year-old silky terrier, and she has become restless at night. She wakes my husband and me by licking our faces and walking all over us. She seems to hardly ever sleep.
Why the licking? What can I do about the restlessness? -- G.B., Silver Spring, Md.
DEAR G.B.: Sleepless Sophie in Silver Spring is licking you and walking over you in the bed because she wants attention.
Is she waking you up because she needs to relieve herself? What are your daily and evening routines? A long walk or run in the yard before you turn in, an evening meal around 7 p.m. so she's not hungry in the middle of the night and plenty of exercise and outdoor stimulation during the day so she will tire herself out -- these are points to consider.
You may get a few nights of uninterrupted sleep by putting her in a crate with a blanket or towel on which she can nap. Leave the crate open during the day, and put treats and toys inside it so she associates the crate with reward. The crate may be her "den" that she will retire to and feel secure. You shouldn't have to close the crate door unless you need to re-train her if she reverts to jumping on your bed and waking you up.
DEAR DR. FOX: I've adopted a wonderful, sweet cat from the shelter, but she has come with a serious ear issue.
When I took her to be checked by my vet, her ear canal was completely blocked by hardened wax and a serious ear infection, and her eardrum was completely deteriorated. After otoscopic surgery and weeks on prednisolone and Baytril, she has made a wonderful recovery and regained her balance and spirit. But because of nerve damage to the ear, her hearing and vision on the left side are impaired.
The problem now is that black earwax continues to build up in the ear. As it works its way toward the surface, I am able to remove it carefully without using cotton swabs, but I cannot get it all. Is this going to be a forever problem? Can you give me any advice for cleaning the ear better without causing her ear canal any harm? This cat is so worth it. Her name is Contessa. -- J.D.S., Fargo, N.D.
DEAR J.D.S.: Good for you for adopting a sick cat and providing her with appropriate veterinary care. Many kittens develop chronic ear and upper respiratory problems, which, when neglected, can mean a lifelong battle. They may get well, but the chronic health issue returns when the cat is stressed. Good nutrition and supplements such as fish oil and probiotics are very helpful.
Often when there is a black, proliferative secretion in one or both ears, and especially when the cat is scratching behind the ears, there is an underlying ear mite infestation. The mites must be treated before secondary bacterial and fungal infections and associated inflammation can be tackled.
One effective ear product is an enzyme-based cleaner manufactured by PKB Animal Health called Zymox. First use the product that contains hydrocortisone for three to four days, and then switch to the basic Zymox otic enzymatic solution. Call PKB at 888-752-5487 for more information. You can also request your veterinarian provide the cleaner and clinically evaluate it on your cat.
KILLING WEEDS THAT HEAL
Homeowners across the U.S. are using chemicals on their lawns to kill dandelions and other weeds, many of which have healing properties and nutritional value. Dogs on properties where herbicides are used frequently have a higher incidence of one form of leukemia. It is ironic that the dandelion, long used as a nutritious salad ingredient and for liver and kidney problems, may hold the cure for leukemia.
According to CBC News, researchers at the University of Windsor, Ontario, led by Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist, have discovered that dandelion root extract forced a very aggressive and drug-resistant type of blood cancer cell, known as chronic monocytic myeloid leukemia, to essentially commit suicide. Repeated treatment with low-dose dandelion root extract was effective in killing most of the cancerous cells.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 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 DrFoxVet.com.)