DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Rondo who has a large, bald hot spot on the upper thigh of his right hind leg.
I took him to a veterinarian when the spot was small. She said that it came from hormones in a vaccination that was too strong for him. (I got him vaccinated at the local Petco, and it cost me $37.) She prescribed Animax Ointment nystatin-neomycin. The tube of ointment was $20, and the visit was $87. I used the entire tube to no avail.
The spot is getting larger and has a bumpy feeling. What do you suggest putting on it to make it heal? Although it does not seem to bother Rondo, it is unsightly for such a little dog -- C.R.W., Washington, D.C.
DEAR C.R.W.: If this is indeed the spot where your little dog was vaccinated with a relatively huge shot for his size, then you could have a serious problem developing, especially since it is getting larger and has a "bumpy feeling."
Any veterinarian who tells a client that the "hormones" in a vaccination caused the reaction and gave you Animax Ointment should go back to school, give you your money back and read my article on adverse vaccination reactions on my website.
A biopsy needs to be taken to determine if the growth is a benign granuloma or a cancerous fibrosarcoma, which is a more prevalent reaction in cats at the point of injection. Until such a determination is made, I would advise against giving your dog any more vaccinations or other treatments.
DEAR DR. FOX: With all the extremely hot weather we are having across the country, my thoughts go to the animals. I wish you would address cats' and dogs' paws as they relate to hot asphalt and concrete.
I have suggested to several people that they remove their shoes and feel what their pets are experiencing. I've seen poor dogs who seem to be trying to walk on their toenails. Even my four rescue cats do all they can to avoid walking on our hot wooden deck.
Animals' pads may be tough, but I don't think they're immune to hot asphalt. -- V.N.E., Saluda, N.C.
DEAR V.N.E.: With climate change intensifying and droughts across the heartland, this summer and beyond are likely to be hotter than ever. I trust that readers will remember your note of concern. Thanks for the words of warning.
Many pet stores sell dog booties, which most dogs eventually learn to walk in -- provided they stay on. Some designs are better than others. These offer some protection on hot surfaces, and Army dogs serving in the Middle East are equipped with them.
Hot weather wraps and coats are also available. They are worn wet, and they cool the dog's body through evaporation. The darker the dog's coat, the faster it heats up.
I would also add to this hot summer pavement warning that no dog should be left in a parked car.
DEAR DR. FOX: I enjoy reading your articles very much, and I'm hoping you can help me with a problem with my West Highland white terrier.
He is 13 years old, and he has a problem with his feet. His paws -- especially between his toes -- crack and bleed all the time. He's had this problem several times before. I try to fix this problem by soaking his feet in water and Epsom salts or hydrogen peroxide and then applying Neosporin. However, this treatment is no longer effective.
I would appreciate any suggestions you can give me. -- S.F., Fairfax, Va.
DEAR S.F.: Old dogs often suffer from dry and cracked paw pads and elbow callouses. Soaking in warm water with hydrogen peroxide and Epsom salts is a good cleansing and softening first step. But you must take the next step, otherwise the paw pads are going to dry out even more.
Apply a good-quality human moisturizing skin cream twice daily after the initial soaking. Make sure the dog doesn't lick his feet for at least an hour.
Alternatively, you can make your own healing formulas. First, apply aloe vera gel (available in health stores) once daily. Once that has dried, apply an organic olive oil solution, which has incredible skin-healing phytochemicals. Add four to six drops of frankincense, lavender and myrrh essential oils to 1 tablespoon of the olive oil -- it's a truly excellent healing potion.
PET FOOD RECALL
Nature's Variety has initiated a voluntary recall of Prairie Beef Meal and Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs due to an odor that may develop over time.
The manufacturer, based in Lincoln, Neb., said the product is not contaminated, but some food is not remaining fresh for its shelf life.
Consumers who have purchased one of the products can obtain a full refund or exchange it for a different variety by returning the product in its original packaging or bringing a proof of purchase back to their retailer.
Call 888-519-7387 or visit naturesvariety.com for more information, including the specific UPC numbers of affected lots.
(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.)