DEAR DR. FOX: So T.V.H. of Tulsa resents compassion and money being given to animals -- yet apparently, love, time and money devoted to cars, golf, video games and quilting is OK.
We never hear, "You should lavish attention on children, not your precious motorbike!" Animal lovers care about living beings, and that includes humans. I wonder in what hobbies T.V.H. indulges? -- C.V.F., Rural Hall, North Carolina
DEAR C.V.F.: My sentiment exactly. All lives, human and non-human, matter, and we are far from reaching that ethical reality as a species and a culture.
Read on for another response on this topic.
DEAR DR. FOX: I am compelled to ask you to write a column on feline seizure medication similar to the one you wrote recently for canines. My adored cat, 14 years old, has been taking phenobarbital for over two years now for seizures of undetermined cause. I don't want to hurt him with these meds.
He was a feral kitten, and was badly injured at 2 weeks old when his siblings were all killed by an unknown animal. He was bitten in the back of the neck, causing his jaw to be broken and crooked, but he survived with our help and has become my best friend. He has not missed a meal, even with his deformity! I was told that there may be a connection between that injury and certain growth plates being stunted. This may or may not have caused his seizures all these years later.
He eats NutriSource PureVita dry food (chicken and peas flavor) and Instinct grain-free canned food (salmon or chicken flavor). He has grown into a large cat, but not overweight. -- J.A., Naples, Florida
DEAR J.A.: I must commend you for healing this cat when he was a kitten, allowing him to enjoy some quality of life and to be an affectionate companion. In many instances, kittens with such injuries are euthanized. It is remarkable how animals whose conditions seem hopeless can recover with appropriate veterinary care and the "tincture of time," coupled with loving attention, which can stimulate their will to live.
If the current medication is effectively preventing seizures, I would not change it until you discuss it with your veterinarian. Ask about reducing the dose and trying gabapentin which, if effective, may be a safer long-term alternative. Good luck and keep me posted.
GOOD NEWS PROHIBITING WILDLIFE KILLING CONTESTS
From ProjectCoyote.org: "Maryland has become the eighth state to ban wildlife killing contests, joining Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington. (On May 28), Gov. Larry Hogan allowed HB 293/SB 200 -- which passed the state legislature in April -- to become law."
Clearly, where the empathy-deficit disorder is evident, legislation to outlaw cruelty and rampant inhumanity is the only solution -- along with effective enforcement.
(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 DrFoxOneHealth.com.)
DEAR DR. FOX: I was saddened to read the letter from T.V.H. I'm sorry that he has never felt the love and companionship of a pet.
I am a family physician in North Carolina, and I am convinced that the relationship between human and pet is beneficial to both. I have frequent conversations with my patients about their pets. They provide solace and love, and give some of my more isolated folks meaning in their lives. I know that some of my patients live longer because of the responsibility they feel to another living creature.
That effect works both ways: I still remember when my old friend, FleaCat, checked on me several times when I was in bed with pneumonia. He may not have known why, but he knew he should check on me.
My patients grieve when their companions die, and feel joy when they find a new friend. Their lives are richer and have more meaning.
This is a long way of saying that all of us who share love with our pets are enriched. Ignoring that to concentrate on "putting humans first" would result in more misery for humans, as well as pets. Thank you for your advocacy for all of our friends. -- Chris Groner, M.D., Jonesville, North Carolina
DEAR C.G.: It is good to have a physician's confirmation of the many benefits of animal companionship, which some skeptics contend is a self-indulgent waste of money.
In my mind, it is money well spent. As a nurse visiting my house the other day quipped, upon meeting our dog Kota, "Most people don't deserve dogs."