DEAR READERS: The animals suffer with us, for us and because of us in many ways. They are as much victims of the human condition as they are of our inhumanity toward our own kind. That animals continue to be exploited in so many ways as commodities for our consumption, for trophy hunting, for entertainment and for drug testing are all symptomatic of the spiritual and ethical crisis of modern "civilization" and its increasing disconnectedness from the life and beauty of the earth community -- dystopia, indeed! We must all do what we can to restore these sacred, ecological, ancestral, biological and spiritual connections.
Here are some suggested resolutions to consider for the good of the animals in the 2016 new year:
-- Make an annual wellness exam appointment for your animal companion, and consider making one every six months for older animals.
-- Support your local animal shelter by volunteering, giving money or donating needed supplies.
-- Consider adopting from a shelter. If you already have one animal, consider getting a second.
-- Cats are carnivores. A high-carb diet can kill cats and sicken dogs, so resolve to learn more about their nutritional needs. Visit DrFoxVet.net for more information.
-- Eat less meat, become a vegetarian or go vegan, and support organic producers.
-- Examine the use of animals in society, as I describe in my book, "Animals & Nature First." Helping animals is in our best interest, too.
DEAR DR. FOX: Do you have any special recommendations for an older cat whose asthma has gotten worse in recent months? She has been put on a steroid inhaler and still takes Terbutaline, but her hacking is getting worse. Are there any homeopathic remedies that we could try?
It's painful to watch her in such distress, with attacks coming more frequently. -- J.W., Silver Spring, Maryland
DEAR J.W.: Sorry to hear about your old cat's asthma. Veterinarians are now recognizing that some cases of feline asthma are triggered by a food allergy or an intolerance to certain cat food ingredients -- notably corn, soy, beef, fish and dairy products.
You might therefore discuss with your veterinarian changing your cat's diet and see if there is improvement. Many cats become addicted to dry foods, but I would try to transition your cat onto a grain-free and soy-free canned cat food, or try my home-prepared cat food recipe.
Let me know if this helps. I know of one cat with this issue who immediately improved when there was no rice in his food! I know of no homeopathic or herbal remedies that may help your cat. To be on the safe side, I trust that your veterinarian has ruled out congestive heart failure; enlarged and dysfunctional hearts, often a result of a dietary deficiency in cats, can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs and asthmalike symptoms.
Dusty cat litter and corn-based litter can be problematic, as can artificial fragrances (volatile organic compounds) in many cat litters, laundry detergents and room fresheners.
Open the windows (screened so cats can't escape) and freshen your living space naturally (a morning ritual when I was growing up in England), and check your air vents and filters for your central air conditioning and heat ducts. Cat dander is in every cat's environment and causes human asthma, and I wonder if cats can become allergic to themselves or possibly to their human companions. I know of one dog recently being diagnosed with an allergy triggered by human dander!
PET FOOD NEWS
-- The Blue Buffalo pet food company has entered into a settlement agreement in the consumer class action lawsuit brought against them. This settlement of $32 million is the largest in history. For details, go to truthaboutpetfood.com/blue-buffalo-agrees-to-pay-32-million-in-settlement/
-- Bravo Pet Foods of Manchester, Connecticut, is recalling a select lot of Bravo Chicken Blend diet for dogs and cats due to concerns of the possible presence of salmonella. Visit bravopetfoods.com/consumerrecall.html for more information.
-- Stella and Chewy's of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, has announced it is voluntarily recalling select lots of its raw dog and cat food due to the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Visit fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm477540.htm for more information.
-- Centinela Feed and Pet Supplies of Torrance, California, has announced it is voluntarily withdrawing all its Welcome Home Duck Jerky and Duck Treats due to the presence of unapproved antibiotics and antiviral agents.
-- MARS Petcare has issued a voluntary recall of the 4-ounce Nutro Chewy Treats Apple dog treat due to potential mold.
Contact your pet food supplier if you have any of these products.
(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.net.)