DEAR READERS: Animal shelters and boarding facilities that take in cats need to note a very significant finding from dedicated veterinarians with the University of California at Davis.
A study of shelter cats confirms that giving cats lager cages (about 8-10 square feet, instead of the standard 4-5), with a partition separating the litter box section from where they eat and sleep, greatly reduces their stress and the incidence of upper respiratory disease.
This is a common problem in catteries. This study calls for what I would consider a minimum of two-compartment cages of 8-10 square feet. For details, visit jav.ma/catspace.
“The Clinical Practice of Equine-Assisted Therapy” and “The Equine-Assisted Therapy Workbook,” both by Leif Hallberg. Find them by visiting routledge.com and searching for “Hallberg.”
There is now a growing evidence base that suggests horses may be able to assist in the treatment of a wide spectrum of emotional and physical conditions that afflict and handicap so many children and adults today, as compiled in the book “The Clinical Practice of Equine-Assisted Therapy.” This is the foundational text for this emerging branch of health care, and establishes professional terminology, training, accreditation and standards, including ethics and horse well-being. The accompanying “Equine-Assisted Therapy Workbook” is an excellent learning guide for all who are working in, or studying, the nascent equine-assisted therapy profession.
“The Clinical Practice of Equine-Assisted Therapy” helps remind us that animals have been our teachers and healers since the dawn of our consciousness. Their healing value to us today continues, which obligates us to end all forms of wanton cruelty toward these sentient beings and relate to them in healing ways.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have a female hound mix, about 7 years old. I’ve had her for three years. She was a stray that was brought to a shelter and has been a great companion; we love her.
We have been feeding her a high-quality commercial dry food. She stopped eating a while back, and the vet told us she has IBD. It cleared up when we started cooking for her; we did that for a few months and gradually put her back on kibble.
It’s been about six months, and now we are seeing the same symptoms. My question to you is: Are there any alternative foods you can recommend other than home cooking? What about the prescription foods? I’ve heard they can contain fillers/cornmeal. Any supplements that you would recommend? -- K.S., Oakland, California
DEAR K.S.: No dog should be simply fed one kind of “kibble” day in, day out -- especially not the cheaper brands, which are often filled with ingredients condemned for human consumption, and with ethoxyquin and other potentially cancer-causing preservatives and chemical food dyes.
Most dry dog foods are also too high in grains and soy, which are generally contaminated with herbicide residues and are often recalled because of aflatoxins (poisonous molds). One major pet food company (that also manufactures special “prescription diets” for dogs and cats) has patented a spray to keep kibble “fresh” with a covering of polyurethane!
There are many good, biologically appropriate and nutritious manufactured dog (and cat) foods on the market now, but not always available in local stores. For a list of such foods, visit truthaboutpetfood.com and learn how you can donate to support much-needed pet food industry surveillance by an independent agent: Susan Thixton, whom I greatly respect.
FECAL TRANSPLANT CLEARS PARVO SYMPTOMS, REDUCES MORTALITY
Fecal microbial transplantation (FMT), along with standard supportive therapy, was more effective than standard care alone in a study of young parvovirus-infected dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome, reported researchers in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
The mortality rate was lower, diarrhea resolved sooner and average hospitalization time was shorter in the FMT group. (American Veterinarian, May 24)
(Send all mail to email@example.com 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.)