DEAR DR. FOX: I, too, detest it when I see a person walking their dog, only to drag the poor thing along as it tries to do its business or just sniff at stuff. That’s what they do! It’s supposed to be their special time. If you’re not planning on letting your pet enjoy their walk, take your own quick walk and then give the poor pooches an enjoyable walk later!
I agree that the current popularity of creating smaller, “munchkin” breeds is so very detrimental. I say no to docking, ear trimming and nail removal. Leave them the way God intended and just love them the way they are! -- G.M.E., West Fargo, North Dakota
DEAR G.M.E.: Your observations and opinions are unequivocally correct, but many people find reasons and excuses for doing what they do to the dogs (and other animals) they “own.” Indeed, animals are just a heartbeat away from being objects of property -- mere commodities in the eyes of many, including the law.
It is notable that in the U.K., there was much hoopla recently over animals being recognized, under the animal welfare/protection regulations, as “sentient beings.” Until the continuing discord and pervasive disconnectedness between most humans and other animals -- and between “civilization” and the natural world -- are supplanted by justice and respect for all life, this dark age of inhumanity will persist.
Those who contend that God created animals for man’s use surely made God in their own image. St. Francis of Assisi was one who saw animals as manifestations of divinity, of God’s creation for us to cherish and hallow.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am a huge fan and enjoy reading your syndicated column. In January 2015, I adopted a 7-year-old cat with a host of problems, including inflammatory bowel syndrome. I read your columns and concluded that the best thing for me would be to gradually wean her off the junk food she had been fed, and make my own food for her.
So, now I make and feed her a soup with organic, non-GMO ground turkey, turmeric powder and coconut oil. I also give her a powder of ground flaxseed, psyllium seed, slippery elm and marshmallow root and that is very effective in controlling the smelly, soft stools that she was plagued with.
What should I add to her food to keep her in good health for many years to come? Her energy levels are much lower than a 9-year-old cat should have. -- V.A., Alexandria, Virginia
DEAR V.A.: Stop the turmeric and coconut oil. The turmeric may aggravate the inflammation and coconut oil makes for loose stools.
Your cat needs good-quality probiotics (human-grade, over the counter) and a few drops of anti-inflammatory fish oil in each meal. A canned sardine (in water) per day can be highly beneficial. The flaxseed meal is of little nutritional value to cats and, along with psyllium husks, may cause further inflammation. Try my home-prepared cat food recipe or one of Honest Kitchen’s grain-free, freeze-dried cat foods.
Also, put a few drops of aloe vera liquid (oral, human preparation) in each of your cat’s meals, and increase that up to a half-teaspoon for five to seven days to help soothe and heal the intestinal wall and provide a prebiotic support for probiotic bacteria.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read your column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch regularly. We are concerned about our 6-year-old rescue cat, Mia. She has sneezing episodes from time to time that worry us. Most times, the thick mucus she expels is light yellowish to brownish, but at times, it is bloody. A couple days ago it was bloody, and about half the size of my pinkie finger. Sometimes she just has a clear, drippy nose, and at other times, it’s normal.
There doesn’t seem to be anything noticeable that triggers the episodes. I wonder if they are due to her exposure to smoke from the house fire we had almost five years ago; the episodes started a couple of years after we moved back home after the rebuild.
Is there anything we can do, or should do, for her? She is a very loving girl ... we want her to be well, and she appears to be in every other way. -- K.H., St. Louis, Missouri
DEAR K.H.: I doubt that the smoke from the house fire was the cause of this condition. Respiratory virus infections, common in kittenhood and especially in shelter situations, can lead to chronic secondary bacterial infections, especially in the sinuses. When the cat is stressed, or even just during changes in seasons, there can be a flare-up of sinusitis. But a chronic, persistent herpes or feline immunodeficiency virus infection could be involved, along with secondary bacterial infection -- meaning lots of pus and mucus. And in some cases of sinusitis, there are dental problems, where an infected tooth root and bone erosion can actually track infection into one of the sinuses.
So I advise a full veterinary wellness examination. This is a drain on your cat’s immune system and overall health and resilience.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 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.)