DEAR DR. FOX: We have a 9-year-old female beagle. The vet says she is healthy, but the problem is that she often drops her rear end and sometimes lets out a cry. The vet tells us her anal glands are fine, but there's a flap of skin over her female parts that gets infected, and this is the cause. It's painful for her because she can't reach the source.
We've had her on anti-infection medicine, and that cleared the infection up, but it comes back. The vet recommended surgery to remove the flap. The price will be from $1,200 to $1,800. Thank you for any advice you can give us. -- M.C.B., Forked River, N.J.
DEAR M.C.B.: This is a common problem in some female dogs as they get older and put on weight, in part because they have been spayed. With our own dog, we would wipe her posterior with a disposable baby wipe containing soothing aloe vera and lavender, available in the infant care section of drug stores. I would try this for four to six weeks, applying the wipes three to four times a day.
If this does not prove effective, seek a second opinion and price quote for the surgery, since the quote you have given is exorbitant.
DEAR DR. FOX: On Sept. 19, 2013, I brought a tame domestic cat, whom I had been caring for, to the SPCA in Cincinnati. I specifically told their intake person that Inky was tame, not feral (although she had a clipped ear), and of her specific circumstance -- my neighbor, who had been caring for Inky, moved and relinquished care to me to see if I could find Inky a home, or, if not, to bring her to the SPCA.
Instead of even trying to find her a home, the SPCA called Ohio Alley Cat Resource Group (OAR) to pick up the cat and abandon her, in violation of Ohio Revised Code 959.01. My name and address were provided to OAR; therefore, both organizations are responsible for abandoning the cat.
I was not advised that Inky had been abandoned back at my house or that I should resume feeding her; I was only contacted by OAR five days later, in order to chide me for taking the cat in "where she would be killed," not to alert me to care for her.
Forcing people to deal with cats that they do not want around their homes and pushing shelters to reject cats results in these cats being trapped, drowned, shot and poisoned, often suffering disease, injury, starvation, thirst and cold for months instead of being humanely put down.
No one is ever happy about having to euthanize a healthy animal, but until the cat overpopulation can be reduced so that every cat can be placed into a loving home, this is, sadly, the way things are. -- J.M, Cincinnati
DEAR J.M.: I think many people who care for cats will appreciate your letter sharing your experiences with the tip of the feral and free-roaming cat iceberg and the mess that purportedly well-intentioned organizations are making of this controversial issue.
Yours is not the only state where adoptable cats who were feral/living free were simply put back where they originally came from rather than being given the chance of in-shelter adoption. Some purportedly "no-kill" shelters are a sham and a scam, and, along with some of the larger animal protection organizations, need to consider the wellbeing of animals first and public image second. As I show in my book, "Animals & Nature First," animal rights and humane ethics do not preclude euthanasia.
We all need to be open to new ideas, alternatives and opportunities to make progress in animal protection and not be hampered by lack of vision and accountability for the consequences of rigid policies and inappropriate actions.
(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.)