DEAR DR. FOX: I have a 4-year-old Havanese dog who developed a cataract two years ago.
I took him to a surgeon who specializes in cataract removal. Although the operation was successful, we noticed that our dog was not seeing out of that eye a couple of months later. We took him back to the surgeon, who told us that our dog had a detached retina and is now blind in that eye; he said that this happens sometimes. We were devastated. Now our dog is developing some cloudiness in his good eye. Naturally, we are afraid he will undergo surgery and become blind in that eye. What would you do? -- D.C., Alexandria, Virginia
DEAR D.C.: I am indeed saddened that your poor dog has this eye issue and know that this must cause you much anguish.
It is good that you saw a veterinary eye specialist. This condition in such a young dog most probably has a genetic origin, but a holistic clinical examination would be worthwhile to rule out possible contributing factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus, for which appropriate medication may help save the other eye.
In addition, you should contact the breeder, who is most probably propagating this eye disease by selecting parent stock who have given birth to pups prone to this eye condition. Provided your dog has good hearing, you will be surprised how well dogs can adapt to partial and even total loss of vision. Keep me posted, and good luck to both of you.
DEAR DR. FOX: my 15-year-old male cat, Kasmir, has a good-sized lump at his injection site (hip joint). My cat before him experienced the same problems and died after we tried everything -- the lump was removed, it returned and the cat died anyway. I kind of wonder why the vet recommended we vaccinate him considering his age, my other cat's experience and the fact that Kasmir is an indoor cat. I know I would not subject him to radiation or chemo, so I have pretty much decided to do nothing except pray for a miracle. What say ye? -- C.V.
DEAR C.V.: If this were my cat, I would make life comfortable for him. Be sure to feed him whatever he fancies, encouraging him to eat good-quality raw or lightly cooked meats and organ parts as per the basic cat food recipe for home preparation posted on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
Take photos of your cat's injection-site tumor and make copies of the vaccination records. File photos and documents with the State Board of Veterinary Examiners and ask for a full inquiry.
The justification for revaccination is one question, considering the age of your cat. Was he related to the cat who also developed this cancer (fibrosarcoma), which is considered to be a very rare occurrence? The site of injection is another question. The established protocol is to inject as far down one limb as possible or toward the tip of the tail, which makes treatment more feasible if an injection-site fibrosarcoma develops.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY AND EVERY DAY
Let us embrace our gift of life and then give more than we take to live in balance and harmony in a world of takers so that our legacy honors who we were and all we embrace.
In our respecting and protecting other sentient beings, we elevate our own. In our loving concern, we affirm the sanctity of life, including the lives of those who are demeaned and exploited by those of our own kind who bring ever-more suffering and chaos into the world, which they justify in the name of progress and necessity.
We and all living beings are interconnected, interdependent and inter-related in the evolving matrix of the earth community, which, as my friend the late Father Thomas Berry asserted, is "a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects."
When we disrupt these connections, which some call sacred, just as when we harm other interdependent life forms in this community, we ultimately harm ourselves, setting in motion processes of devolution and disease.
Beyond all that may cause despair and hopelessness and make us rage against the dying of the light, the illuminating power of compassion in action is our gift to redeem humankind, recover our sanity and purpose in life and heal the Earth and all our relations.
(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.)