DEAR DR. FOX: We have a cat who may have a heart murmur. I thought that you might have some thoughts or advice that I should consider when talking with our veterinarian about the murmur and any treatments.
Rocky is a 3-year-old domestic shorthair orange tabby. He has always received a good bill of health during his annual checkups. We adopted him from a shelter foster family when he was 6 months old. He eats a grain-free diet of Wellness CORE canned food and Orijen dry food. He loves to chase (and be chased) and play with his toys. He can be very jumpy and will hide when friends visit or the doorbell rings.
During his last checkup, our vet detected what might be a quiet heart murmur. She told me that it might not be anything to worry about, but she advised us to make a follow-up appointment after six months so she could check again. From my basic research, it seems that heart murmurs are very common in cats, and many heart murmurs are not serious or require much treatment. I read that sometimes stress can be a contributing or complicating factor.
Do you have any general advice or recommendations for owners of cats diagnosed with heart murmurs? Can you suggest any questions that I should ask our vet when Rocky has his next appointment? -- D.B., Hyattsville, Maryland
DEAR D.B.: Your veterinarian is following the protocol that I endorse: When there is the possibility of a congenital heart disorder and the cat appears quite healthy, evaluate the cat's overall condition and heart function after a few months to see if there have been any changes.
Most probably, all is well. Your cat probably has a "noisy valve" that in most instances is a congenital developmental defect. If the defect is minor, the heart muscle and size should remain normal. This should be re-evaluated during your cat's annual wellness examination.
As a precaution, I would give your cat a daily supplement of heart-protective taurine, Coenzyme Q10 and a few drops of fish oil, and have your veterinarian help you determine the dosage.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am sitting here looking at the rain pouring down after reading your column about poisonous water worries in today's newspaper. You mention "agricultural runoff," which brought up a memory of a discussion I had with some friends about squirrels dying at people's doorsteps after the golf course is sprayed with chemicals. And I had a visual of all the runoff seeping into the oceans. We are the only mammals who kill that which sustains us. We are our own doom. And, believe it or not, I am an optimist.
Thank you for writing such good advice on natural remedies. Hopefully, more people will follow your direction. I've been a natural health advocate for more than 30 years. It's taken a long time for people to realize that there is a natural cure for everything -- if it's caught in time. If you lead a healthy life, this will help keep the pollutants around you at bay longer. Thanks again for all the important work you do. -- N.H., Royal Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR N.H.: Your account of the golf course chemicals killing squirrels reminds me of some sudden-death reports of golfers playing on recently sprayed greens.
We are the only animal that fouls its own nest, yet we call ourselves Homo sapiens -- man, the wise. Because of our numbers, we have become a planetary infestation, and because of our position in the chemically contaminated food chain, the milk of far too many mothers puts their babies at risk.
It is time for us to wise up and realize that when we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. I applaud Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's advocacy of all rivers having buffer zones of natural vegetation to reduce agricultural chemical runoff (the black mark of his supporting wolf hunting and trapping in the state notwithstanding).
MAJOR PET FOOD MANUFACTURING PLANT GETS FDA INSPECTION NOTICE
Nestle Purina PetCare Co's. plant in South Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, where some 400 employees work to make cat and dog food, received a warning letter Jan. 14 from the Food and Drug Administration's Philadelphia office. The company's foods were possibly prepared or packed improperly under "insanitary conditions." Some of the products cited in the letter include Alpo Chop House Rotisserie Chicken Flavor in Gourmet Gravy; Friskies Mariner's Catch; Friskies Mixed Grill; Mighty Dog Lamb and Rice; and ProPlan Senior Beef and Rice Entree -- all wet food in cans or pouches. The FDA is legally authorized to assess and collect fees from this company to cover the FDA's costs for certain activities, including reinspection-related costs. It is good to see our taxes at work for the good of our animal companions!
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