DEAR DR. FOX: Recently, you wrote about humans' love for their animals. It reminded me of an article I'd once read that described the "broken-heart syndrome" we feel after losing a pet. I was wondering if you have any insights on this topic. -- M.M.B., Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR M.M.B.: Your query arrives at a fateful time. Last month, my wife and I had to euthanize one of our beloved cats, Pinto Bean, whom we rescued in June 2010.
He was first seen in the snow in January of that year. Possibly because of food-deprivation anxiety, he loved to eat. His palpable post-traumatic stress disorder quickly dissipated when he was with us and our other rescued cat, Mark Twain, but we could never control his food addiction. The dye of self-survival and semi-starvation had been cast with serious metabolic and other health consequences.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as broken-heart syndrome, is a sudden heart condition typically brought on by intense stress, such as grief, and can even cause death. With Pinto Bean's passing, I feel close to that condition right now and can empathize with all who have suffered the loss of a loved one, human or nonhuman.
Intense grief can also kill dogs, elephants and other animals, as the effects of broken-heart syndrome are not exclusive to humans. This condition does need to be more widely recognized; and whatever emotional support can be given to those who are grieving, the better.
I recall vividly Pinto Bean's deep affection and his absolute trust, which I feel I somehow betrayed in having to end his life. But I celebrate the memories of the good life he had in our home and all he gave to us.
DEAR DR. FOX: I had a problem with my 7-year-old cat often vomiting after meals. My vet suggested that I raise his food bowl a few inches. It seemed to work; now he gets sick only about once every two to three months. Just wanted to pass it on to you and your readers. -- C.D., Washington, D.C.
DEAR C.D.: Your veterinarian's advice is a good example of what one can do when dealing with a cat that vomits soon after eating.
A raised food bowl is often the approach taken with dogs that have various difficulties swallowing and engage in frequent food-regurgitation. In cats, food-regurgitation can be the result of eating too fast, a problem with always-hungry cats with metabolic syndrome and related health issues. Recurrent vomiting can also be caused by intolerance or allergy to one or more food ingredients, or fur balls in the stomach.
CBD OIL MAY EASE OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN IN DOGS
Scientists at Cornell University have found that not only does pollen from hemp attract honeybees, but also that cannabinoid (CBD) extracts from hemp can alleviate pain in dogs with osteoarthritis.
A research team at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine reported in Frontiers in Veterinary Science that pain significantly improved in more than 80 percent of dogs taking CBD oil, and side effects were minimal in the intervention arm of the double-blind placebo-controlled trial. (From Frontiers in Veterinary Science via Forbes.com, Dec. 13.)
(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.)