DEAR DR. FOX: Do you think rabies vaccinations are necessary? I have always given my dog the shots every three years, but since the last one, I have been avoiding all immunizations. I am trying to be more holistic with her.
My boyfriend said he never gave his dog any shots, and he fed her only the cheapest dog food. She lived to be 18 years old. My town is having a free rabies clinic in a few weeks, so I need to know before then. -- M.B., Scranton, N.J.
DEAR M.B.: The law is the law, and if your dog is ever lost and has no rabies tag or accidentally bites someone, you could be in deep trouble. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory in many communities across the U.S.
I, too, am concerned about adverse vaccination reactions. The American Veterinary Medical Association is working on a protocol for veterinarians to provide certificates for animals who are at risk of developing adverse reactions to the anti-rabies vaccination, and, therefore, should not be vaccinated.
At this time, you can have your veterinarian do a blood titer reading to determine if the three-year vaccine is still providing a high enough level of rabies protection to prove revaccination is not needed for your dog. A statement to that effect written by your veterinarian should satisfy public health authorities if the vaccination status of your dog is questioned.
DEAR DR. FOX: My vet recommended my cat, Bob, have a dental cleaning and an extraction of at least one tooth due to a resorptive lesion. We do not want to risk putting him under anesthesia because he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an arrhythmia. He was diagnosed with asthma and is being treated with the Flovent inhaler.
Are the ingredients in PetzLife oral products safe for our cat to ingest? What are the results of using PetzLife on a resorptive lesion? We were told that the tooth would rot and eventually fall out, possibly causing a lot of pain and maybe an infection. Have you seen other cats with resorptive lesions use this product? Any other inforomation you could give me would be appreciated. -- C.W., Washington, D.C.
DEAR C.W.: This possible autoimmune disease, namely the tooth resorption, is a complication of stomatitis -- check my website and archives therein for more details: www.DrFoxVet.com.
In my opinion, your cat is at greater risk from anesthesia than from giving him a daily treatment of PetzLife oral care gel or spray. Simply follow the manufacturer's instructions, applying a small quantity to you fingertip and rubbing it on your cat's gums, making sure to get between the teeth and gumline to help your cat get used to this treatment. Remember, more is not better for any medication. This treatment will help reduce inflammation and infection, and it may actually help arrest further tooth resorption. Let me know if this turns out to be the case.
For his heart, and also to help his dental problem, get him used to a few drops of Nordic Naturals fish oil for cats, working up to about 1 teaspoon daily. Discuss with your veterinarian giving Bob benazepril and a CoQ10 supplement.
Many cats diagnosed with "asthma" actually have a food allergy. You may want to transition your cat onto organically certified, grain-free cat food. For details, visit www.felinenutrition.org.
A READERSHIP REQUEST
Many of you dear readers have written to me in the past, documenting how various dog and cat health issues have cleared up dramatically once your pet's food has been changed to exclude corn and soybean products. I would like to hear from other readers who have had similar experiences, sharing with me what the animal's condition was, what it was being fed and what kind of new diet facilitated its health recovery.
(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.)