DEAR DR. FOX: My 7-year-old Australian shepherd just had surgery to remove kidney stones, and the vet says he now has to go on a low-protein diet. Can you make some suggestions? I've been researching the special diet foods, and I'm not impressed. Sugar was the fourth ingredient in one of them. I'd be fine making his food myself. -- R.B.
DEAR R.B.: Your dog should not be on a low-protein diet for urinary calculi and bladder stones. Double-check and be sure that this is what the veterinarian actually advised. If so, I would go to another animal doctor.
There are various kinds of stones that call for different dietary preventives, and this is what the veterinarian should have focused on. In many instances, short-term antibiotic treatment for chronic bladder infection is also called for.
The most common lower urinary tract stones in dogs and cats are of a chemical composition called struvite. These begin to form when there is bladder inflammation or infection coupled with low urine acidity, caused by high cereal content kibble and by animals not drinking sufficient water.
Keep me posted as to your progress.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read with interest about a reader's 10-year-old gray tabby who was licking away its fur. We also have a cat who did the same thing and had sores on his furless tummy. After many attempts to remedy this, we eventually changed Tom Tom's food to grain-free. His fur grew back thick -- with an added bonus.
Before, his fur was a dull, coarse gray, and he had dandruff. Now it is deep gray, thick and smooth with no dandruff. If there is gluten in his food, we know shortly thereafter by the sores that reappear.
Your reader may want to go that route before contacting a vet. -- C.B., Vienna, Virginia
DEAR C.B.: Thanks for the reminder, which I so often put in my column: First, be sure to feed your pet a biologically appropriate diet. Veterinarians must ask about what the cat is fed when it is brought in with health issues.
While some cats can tolerate grains in their diet, many do not, and the problem is compounded by lack of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for a healthy coat and skin. For more details, see the book "Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat and Dog Food," which I co-authored with two other veterinarians.
It is a disgrace to the profession that biologically inappropriate high-cereal cat foods are still being manufactured and even sold by some veterinarians.
Canadian Pet Food Salmonella Lawsuit Settled
Costco and Diamond Pet Foods are reimbursing customers for veterinary care costs and other related expenses after feeding their pets food that was possibly contaminated with salmonella. The companies did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit affecting 115,000 pet owners in Canada. Read more at FoodSafetyNews.com.
(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.)