DEAR DR. FOX: One of my cats had a difficult time with constipation for years. I had switched both cats to raw food a couple of years ago, but I still had to add MiraLAX to the constipated cat's food. I was not really happy about it, but at least it was fairly effective.
And then I found your recommendation to add sardines and chia seeds to the diet, and this has been the perfect solution!
After years of trying all sorts of things, it is such a relief to have found a natural way to solve the problem! Thank you! -- K.C., Madison, Wisconsin
DEAR K.C.: I always appreciate hearing back from readers. Constipation can be a chronic and serious problem in cats; a diet consisting of especially high-fiber dry food and inactivity are major contributing factors. Deep abdominal massage can also help cats with this issue and those with sluggish so-called megacolon.
Some cats are allergic to fish, so a teaspoon of olive oil in their food may help, along with soluble fiber, as from a teaspoon or two daily of mashed butter beans or well-soaked chia seeds.
DEAR DR. FOX: My 15-year-old large mixed-breed is a rescue who had been staked out on a short line for years. I adopted him as a companion dog for my 12-year-old setter. He is sweet, quiet and loving, but I knew he had major medical needs.
After dental surgery, tie-back surgery, neutering due to cancer and removal of a gum melanoma, we seem to be up to date on his medical needs -- except for his arthritis from shoulder to tail.
Our cardiologist recommended acupuncture, but the holistic veterinarian suggested we try laser therapy first. She thought we might get quicker relief.
We have had wonderful results. My big guy gets up and down, walks around, seeks hugs, does all the normal doggie behaviors -- albeit slowly. We have also glued toe tips on his nails to help him grip with his front legs, as he pulls up his weaker back legs. These tips are a great aide for struggling older dogs and are easy to apply.
Please encourage laser therapy for pain. It is relatively cheap and avoids pain meds that have side effects. -- B.C., Fort Myers, Florida
DEAR B.C.: Thank you for sharing your experience. Your letter is affirming the benefits of laser therapy for animals with arthritis. In fact, one veterinary friend of mine is now going to Asia to demonstrate the benefits of such therapy on captive elephants that are prone to degenerative joint diseases.
(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.)