DEAR DR. FOX: Our cocker spaniel, Roxy, was having seizures quite often, and we followed your recommendation of no-grain dog food. She has had only one small seizure since, and that was the same week we started the no-grain diet. She's been on the no-grain for about eight months now and no seizures! -- P.W., Moorhead, Minnesota
DEAR P.W.: I always appreciate feedback from readers concerning the effectiveness of the advice I offer.
I am very glad for you and your dog that the simple solution to stopping her seizures proved to be so immediate and effective. While this does not mean that all seizures in dogs are associated with wheat, corn and possibly other grains, it does indicate that this should be one of the first causal factors to be considered by veterinarians presented with an epileptic dog. From the letters that I receive, it is clear that some veterinarians are too quick to prescribe anti-seizure drugs. Fortunately, it is only a dwindling minority of vets who still believe that manufactured "scientifically formulated" or "prescription" pet foods are good for all their patients.
For more details, read my book "Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Cat and Dog Foods."
DEAR DR. FOX: I live in a large apartment with my two kitties, Brooke (girl) and Dietrich (boy), who are both 5 years old. When the three of us are together, we are a happy little family. Dietrich is always a perfect kitty, but Brooke does not like for me to have human company. With most visitors, she comes into the room, prances around and leaves. But my sister Michele, who lives out of town, is not so lucky -- Brooke hates her.
Last year, my sister was here for a week in July and a week in December. The bad stuff started with the first visit. Brooke was OK at first -- I think she thought Michele would just visit and then leave, like the other company. The real event came on Sunday morning. I left to play organ for the early service at my church, leaving Michele alone with Brooke and Dietrich. Michele started to walk out of the bathroom, but Brooke would not let her out. Brooke growled, hissed and acted as if she would attack Michele. Michele picked up one of my blouses and shook it at Brooke. Brooke hissed and growled again and ran under the piano. Michele walked toward Brooke again and shook the blouse. Brooke continued growling and hissing, then ran into my bedroom, at which point Michele closed the door. That was her last day of that trip, so I just kept Brooke in my bedroom until Michele left.
When Michele visited in December, I had hoped Brooke would not remember Michele, but as soon as she walked in the door with her suitcase, Brooke started her mean little chirp that leads into hissing and growling episodes. I kept Brooke locked in my bedroom when Michele was there, but let her have free access to the whole apartment when we were gone.
By the way, Michele loves cats and dogs -- she has three dogs of her own, but she says she is afraid of Brooke. Michele is coming again in a few weeks. What should I do? I have talked to our veterinarian, and she said to keep Brooke away from Michele as I have been doing. -- P.M., Washington, D.C.
DEAR P.M.: Some cats develop quite specific human phobias; these phobias can manifest in fleeing when a particular person comes into their home environment or going into attack mode. The cat-calming room spray pheromone Feliway, dispersed a couple of days before your sister comes to visit and sprayed on her clothes when she enters, may be worth trying.
Alternatively, have your sister visit wearing the same perfume as you. For several days before her visit, be sure that both your cats have some of the perfume rubbed into their coats.
DOG JERKY TREAT DEBACLE
More than 1,000 dog deaths and 5,000 adverse reactions have been linked to ingestion of dog jerky treats made in China. Three humans -- two toddlers and one adult -- have fallen ill after eating them. The toddlers ate the treats accidentally, and one was diagnosed with salmonella infection while the other developed gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those reported in dogs who ate the treats. The adult developed nausea and a headache. The Food and Drug Administration, which has been looking into the issue for seven years, hasn't identified a causative agent, but investigators have found drug residues, including antibiotics not permitted in the U.S. and amantadine, an antiviral drug, that shouldn't be present in pet foods. These jerky treats have caused kidney and gastrointestinal diseases, convulsions and skin reactions. For more details, visit TruthAboutPetFood.com, and do not buy pet treats made in China!
Should we applaud Petco for announcing that it will remove all China-made pet treats from its shelves, or say "it's about time"? All other stores selling these treats should follow suit, since our government seems to be ignoring the risks in favor of finding the cause before calling for a total recall.
(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.)