DEAR DR. FOX: Without a computer keyboard, I must revert to an old-fashioned letter requesting information on your book, "Supercat." I read your column in my local paper.
I found three kittens in a window ledge four years ago. Their eyes were half open, so apparently they were just born. My wife and I fed them from a bottle. We have learned to love them. One was killed, so there are two remaining. The female loves me, and the male loves my wife -- I guess that's the way it should be.
We are looking forward to hearing from you and obtaining information pertaining to "Supercat." -- W.C.G., Cumberland, Md.
DEAR W.C.G.: You did well hand-feeding those orphaned kittens. Now you are enjoying the fruits of your compassion.
My "Animal Doctor" column reaches out to many parts of the U.S., and letters from readers give me hope that there are good, caring people out there looking out for the well-being of animals.
A number of my readers do not have computers to access the many books I've written concerning animals and nature. All you need to find my books is my name and the book title. Go to your local bookstore, and someone there can order you a copy from the publisher -- if it's not on the shelves.
It is very helpful for all prospective pet owners to read up about the basic needs and proper care of the animal they have in their homes, from cats and dogs to guinea pigs and goldfish. Everyone with an animal has a duty to provide proper care.
Real books are almost becoming a thing of the past as people surf the Internet for information and purchase e-books that they can read on their computer screen. Several of my own books (including the old best-sellers "Understanding Your Dog" and "Understanding Your Cat") are now available for a nominal fee in e-book format. This is the wave of the future -- and it does save trees!
DEAR DR. FOX: My 3-year-old female pug has had three urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the past six months. We finally seem to have gotten rid of the last one after a six-week round of antibiotics. However, after the antibiotics, she still had struvite crystals in her urine. Also, the antibiotics make her sick, so she vomits after most of her meals.
Her vet would like her to be on a prescription diet, but that contains ingredients that she doesn't do well on (chicken). I would also like to avoid the dry kibble if at all possible. I feed her a homemade diet. She gets a variety of meats; she gets acid reflux with poultry, but eats beef, buffalo, lamb and salmon. I alternate her veggies among broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans and squash. She gets either rice or oatmeal. She takes a multivitamin daily. Since she was having UTIs, I added cranberry powder to her diet.
A friend told me that I shouldn't give her rice or oatmeal. Is that a problem? Do you have any other advice? I tried the diet on your website and she likes it as long as I leave out the kelp. Should I be doing anything else? -- K.B., Alexandria, Va.
DEAR K.B.: Certain breeds seem to be more prone to develop struvite crystals and stones (uroliths) than others. But two main contributing factors are too much alkaline in the diet and the dog not drinking sufficient water. Those are easily fixable.
Give your dog a canned dog food and also a home-prepared diet minus any cereals or grains -- these tend to make the urine alkaline, which potentiates struvite crystal formulation. Cat and dog foods with high fiber contents -- often used to help reduce weight in obese pets -- may also promote struvite crystal formulation.
For more details about this common problem in dogs and cats, see my website, DrFoxVet.com. In the latest versions of my home-prepared foods, I have omitted the seaweed ingredient (kelp) because of concerns over heavy metal contamination and excess iodine affecting thyroid function.
(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.)