DEAR DR. FOX: There is an American bulldog named Daisy who lives in the neighborhood. She has a tumor hanging from her belly that drains and bleeds at times. She always comes to my house to sleep in my three doggies' beds. I love her and allow her to do this, and I wash the blanket each time she goes home.
Is the draining and bleeding dangerous for my dogs? I have mentioned this to her owner, but he refuses to put her down. Daisy does not want to be alone, and she seems scared. I am sad and heartbroken for her cancer, and knowing my dogs won't get sick will help me. -- L.S., Hendersonville, N.C.
DEAR L.S.: I appreciate your concern over your neighbor's poor dog. My guess is that this is either an ulcerated breast tumor or a fatty tumor -- a lipoma. If it is the latter, then surgical removal should fix the problem. But if it is a neglected mammary tumor, chances are that it has spread to her lungs and other parts of her body, so surgery would not be a cure. It may temporarily make her life more comfortable, but she may not survive the surgery.
Either way, if you have the funds, talk to the owner, who may need financial or emotional support -- and possibly a kick in the rump to do something for the dog.
The oozing from the growth is not likely to put your dogs at risk, but you would be wise to bleach-clean any towels you put down for her to rest on when she visits. You can clean her up with diluted hydrogen peroxide or a hand sanitizer solution.
I find such neglect appalling, and calling the local animal shelter or a veterinarian to come and evaluate the dog when she is visiting may be a good idea.
UPDATE FROM THE ORIGINAL LETTER WRITER:
DEAR DR. FOX: I took your reply to my letter of concern about this poor dog to her owner, and he was not offended -- he just felt helpless, I guess. He took Daisy to the vet, and she was euthanized. Her suffering was immense and her condition was considered too advanced for surgery to be successful. Thank you. -- L.S.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have two indoor cats. Neither is any specific breed, they're just farm cats that became indoor cats.
One cat, Spot, has bladder problems. He has to eat Hill's Prescription Diet c/d so he doesn't develop bladder stones. Our other cat, China Doll, has some sort of bacteria in her intestines that causes severe diarrhea. She is on Hill's Prescription Diet i/d. Because of these two diets, I have to feed the cats three times a day and hover over them to make sure they eat the right food.
Is there any food I can buy or make that would be safe for both of them? I would rather let food be available for them all day instead of making them scarf food down at specific times.
Thanks for all of your help! -- J.W.R., Sarasota, Fla.
DEAR J.W.R.: As you have discovered, it is difficult supervising two cats who must both be on special prescribed diets.
The cat with the bowel problems can be given good-quality, human-grade probiotics mixed in with her food. You can feed both of them my home-prepared diet, which you can find on my website, drfoxvet.com.
Encourage both to drink plenty of water by seasoning it with a little low- or no-salt chicken or beef bullion. Check feline-nutrition.org for more insights on the correct feeding of cats and how one good nutritional formula can help cats with a range of health problems associated with manufactured cat foods, including special prescription diets!
Many cats diagnosed with a bladder problem turn out to be allergic to corn, and high-cereal diets are largely responsible for one type of bladder stone that is appearing in epidemic numbers. Cats with chronic diarrhea are frequently suffering from a food intolerance or allergy. What may seem like a bacterial infection in some cases of diarrhea may well be dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance), which can be rectified with various supplements, using antibiotics as a last resort.
(Send all mail to email@example.com 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.)