- I have a 4yr old American Pit female and for the last 3 months I have noticed she has pimples on her back.I have popped several of them and notice it is either clear or has blood in it, after I pop them they dry up. I have tried oatmeal shampoos, different types of oitments and nothing has worked. I cant afford to take her to the vet at this time but I know it has to bother her. She doesnt act like it hurts in anyway.....is it ok to pop them and what can I get for her over the counter and is this normal....Thank you - Danise Austin from Lawndale Ca
The pimples you are seeing on her back may be clogged or infected follicles (called comedones). These could be caused by something infectious (such as ringworm or mange), [more]
The pimples you are seeing on her back may be clogged or infected follicles (called comedones). These could be caused by something infectious (such as ringworm or mange), an allergy (to the environment or to something in the diet), solar dermatitis (from sun exposure because Pitty’s don’t have a lot of hair covering their skin), hormonal imbalances, or an autoimmune disease. I would not recommend popping them as this can cause a lot of irritation and sometimes scarring after they heal. She may need to go on a course of antibiotics to treat the infection if the follicles are infected. You can try a shampoo that flushes out the follicles (a benzoyl peroxide shampoo can do this), but this can be very drying to the skin so a moisturizing conditioner may be needed as well. The important thing is to try to identify and treat the underlying disease in order to get the pimples to go away, otherwise you are just treating the symptoms and not the cause of the symptoms and it will continue to be a problem for her. [less]
- We had a 4yr old lab/retriever mix since he was 6 wks old. He was a wonderful dog, loving, great with kids and adults. He was neutered and went through obedience traing at 9mo. His problem was he attacked and killed 1 cat and our maltese twice and the neighbors dog was the final straw. This would be for no apparent reason other than they were smaller and just there. I had to take him to the pound and it is killing me, the guilt. We loved him so much and I feel horrible. What makes a good dog go bad and did I do the right thing. We consulted a vet every time he attacked and they did not have any answers. - Sharon Meeks from Clarksville, Tn.
This is a sad story. There are more pets taken to the pound and euthanized for behavioral problems than for any other reason. It sounds as though he had a very strong pre [more]
This is a sad story. There are more pets taken to the pound and euthanized for behavioral problems than for any other reason. It sounds as though he had a very strong prey drive because he was only attacking smaller animals. However, I cannot say for certain that this type of aggression wouldn’t escalate and trigger aggression toward people, especially small children, which makes this a scary situation. The suggestion I would have made, before you finalized your decision to give him up, would be to consult a veterinary behaviorist or other behavior counselor. These people are specifically trained to help people work through tough behavior problems that your regular veterinarian may not have time or training to help you work through. Often they make arrangements to have the appointment at your home where they do an evaluation of the dog in it’s natural environment rather than at the veterinary clinic where the dogs are in unfamiliar territory and often will not relax enough to display subtle behaviors. They provide an invaluable service although it does take a tremendous amount of commitment on the part of the dog owner to help see the process through to success. [less]
- I often see people on bikes with their dogs leashed to the bike. They ride on and on without stopping. I've even seen kids have dogs pull them while they are on skateboards.
I've also heard that the hearts of large dogs are about the same size as the little dogs. Isn't dragging a dog behind a bike you ride torture to the dog. Why not engage in ball or stick throwing, jogging (yourself) with the dog for the dogs exercise. If this is a bad practice to do to a dog, why don't vets don't write about it in the newspapers?
Thank you! - Sonjya from San Pedro, CA
The answer to this question really depends on the athleticism and training of the dog. Prior to domestication, wild dogs would run on and on all day searching for food an [more]
The answer to this question really depends on the athleticism and training of the dog. Prior to domestication, wild dogs would run on and on all day searching for food and capturing prey. Since domestication, there are dogs that are trained for herding animals, pulling sleds in the Iditarod, performing in field trials, agility work and police work, all of which they can do for many hours without becoming exhausted. Although it may seem like torture to us, most dogs are, by design, strong, athletic animals and can perform this kind of activity easily. There are some exceptions, of course. Animals with an underlying breed predisposed upper respiratory difficulty (such as the English Bulldog, Pug and Pekignese to name a few). These dogs have very short noses with small openings and could develop heat stroke or exhaustion if placed in extreme conditions. Each dog’s heart is comparable to its size, so large dogs have large hearts and small dogs have smaller hearts, however dogs with an underlying heart condition could clearly not perform such demanding work. Finally, dogs that are not conditioned to do strenuous exercise can become exhausted or injured. This would include dogs that have never performed at a high level as well as dogs that are overweight, young growing puppies or dogs that have orthopedic conditions. Just as people train for an athletic event, dogs need to have training for their bodies as well to work up to high levels of activity and prevent injuries. Of course, there is some special training that must be done to ensure that the dog is comfortable around the bicycle and not pulling forward, backward or trying to cut in front of the bike. Other forms of exercise such as jogging, ball or Frisbee throwing are great for exercise, too, however some dogs do not have a strong drive to catch a ball or are so energetic they need more activity than we are physically capable of doing along with them on a jog. [less]
- My terrier ,chawaynii mix has a lump around his tail close to the base. He's won't let you touch it. He not acting right.I gave him 4 baby asprins last night and this morning he couldn't stand on his hind legs.He doesn't use the bathroom or pee.You can put him down on the floor and he can't stand you and lays downs. Later he has been able to stand but he feels very bad. His naturer has been very active. He just lays still. He hurts and he feels very bad. What could be the problem? - Bruiser from gloucester,nc
A lump around the tail could be an infection or abscess, a traumatized or fractured tail, or an abnormal growth. From what you are describing, it sounds as though this li [more]
A lump around the tail could be an infection or abscess, a traumatized or fractured tail, or an abnormal growth. From what you are describing, it sounds as though this little guy is feeling pretty sick. If he is not able to stand and is not urinating, I would be very concerned about him and recommend an immediate checkup with your veterinarian. He may have injured his spine causing nerve damage to the back legs. One note about aspirin in dogs: Aspirin can be used over the counter to relieve pain in dogs but the dose is not the same as it is in people and it can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding dysfunction if given in high doses. A small dog like you are describing should get perhaps only one-half of a baby aspirin depending on his weight. [less]
- My 15 week old Lhasa Apso puppy walks around the house in a daze, through his water dish, dumping his food dish, climbing walls, getting wrapped in power cords, etc. We've had to cage him at night, so he doesn't hurt himself. What can I do until his vet cann see him next week? I'm at my wits end! - Debra from Sanford, ME
I would not recommend waiting for a week to see your vet, you should take him in immediately. Stumbling around in a daze could be a symptom of hypoglycemia or low blood s [more]
I would not recommend waiting for a week to see your vet, you should take him in immediately. Stumbling around in a daze could be a symptom of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This needs to be treated immediately as it could lead to seizures. Hypoglycemia is common in small young dogs because of their small size, immature liver, and lack of body fat. Often, the puppy will play and play and forget to eat leading to a drop in the blood sugar. In an emergency you can rub some karo syrup or honey onto the gums to try to raise the sugar. It could also indicate a problem with your dog’s vision, which should also be evaluated immediately. Glaucoma can cause sudden blindness and if not treated immediately, could be permanent and even lead to loss of the eye itself. It could also indicate a problem with your dog’s liver such as a liver shunt. This is a blood vessel that shunts the blood around the liver instead of passing through the liver. As a result, the liver becomes under-developed and the puppy fails to grow properly, can develop low blood sugar and can generate large amounts of ammonia in the blood stream causing him to be wobbly, in a daze and even have seizures. This behavior is very concerning and I would recommend an immediate checkup with your veterinarian. [less]
- I have a cat that is 4 years old. She has lost 4 teeth in 2 years after 2 teeth cleanings. Is there anything I can do to help her? I don't want her to lose all of her teeth. - Estelle Smith from Harbor City, CA
Dental disease is one of the most unrecognized and under-treated pet illnesses. Tooth loss could be from a variety of reasons including bone loss from periodontal disease [more]
Dental disease is one of the most unrecognized and under-treated pet illnesses. Tooth loss could be from a variety of reasons including bone loss from periodontal disease, abscessed roots, broken teeth, or a special type of cavity called FORL. Bone loss from periodontal disease can be prevented by good dental homecare. This includes daily teeth brushing, pet mouth rinses, teeth friendly diets and treats. Abscessed and broken teeth are often a result of trauma or fighting with other cats so keeping your cat indoors can help prevent tooth loss from these causes. FORL stands for Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions, and are also called cavities, neck lesions, cervical line lesions, and root resorptions. The cause for these cavities is unknown but may be from a metabolic imbalance, a virus or an autoimmune disorder. The problem is that they cause widespread destruction of the tooth and root resulting in tooth loss or extreme pain and infection resulting in a necessary tooth extraction. Because of this there are many cats that lose some or all of their teeth throughout their lives due to this disease. The good news is that they can function well without their teeth and often feel so much better once the source of pain and infection are removed. They can eat soft food instead of dry food and do very well, and some cats can even eat dry food without any teeth, provided that the food is smooth and rounded without sharp edges. Their development is also unpredictable. A tooth that appears normal on a dental radiograph today could develop a cavity next year even if you were performing great dental homecare. [less]
- Last night there was a 4.7 earthquake that we felt in our duplex condo. Question: What do you do DURING an earthquake with your animals while it's happening? Our two sizeable dogs were with us last night, and we were just going to get in the doorway when the boy-dog started to freak out. And when he's upset over something, he takes it out on his sister dog. Both were baring teeth and getting pretty violent with each other, snapping and going for the throat. Foolishly, I tried to grab his collar to pull him away from her. Eventually, they settled down after we separated them. None of us went to a safe place in the house during the time the house shook. What should we have done? - Anonymous from Long Beach, CA
I am so glad you asked this question because it is really important to prepare for disasters with the whole family in mind, including your pets. First, prepare for earthq [more]
I am so glad you asked this question because it is really important to prepare for disasters with the whole family in mind, including your pets. First, prepare for earthquakes and disasters ahead of time by having an emergency kit in an easily accessible place in your house. You should include enough bottled water, food, and medications for 7 days for you and your pets, extra leashes, collars, food and water bowls, a travel carrier or crate, paper towels and baggies for picking up pet waste, and any essential paperwork or photos of your pets sealed in plastic bags for identification if a pet becomes lost during the disaster. In addition to your disaster kit, you should plan ahead for an evacuation. Most shelters do not allow pets, so you should contact local hotels to find out their pet policies during an emergency. You may also want to contact a friend or family member who lives out of the immediate area who you may be able to take your pets to for care in an emergency. You can also contact local veterinary hospitals or boarding kennels to care for your pets as soon as you think you may need to evacuate. Have a list of these and any other important phone numbers in a sealed plastic bag. Update and replenish your emergency kit every 6 months.
The important thing is DO NOT leave your pets at home alone unless you absolutely have no other choice. Disasters can suddenly become much worse and earthquakes are often followed by aftershocks. And a pet left home alone may not be a priority to rescue workers in a serious emergency. Hurricane Katrina, for instance, left many homeless pets wandering around starving in abandoned streets. Many of these pets were euthanized because they were injured, starved and sick and because their owners could not be located. The final thing to do when preparing for an emergency is to have your pet microchipped, and have the microchip registered after it is implanted by your veterinarian. This is a permanent identification which can help shelters and rescue workers reunite a lost pet with its owner.
During the earthquake, the safest place is under a sturdy table or desk. You can take your pets with you on a leash when you duck for cover or place them inside a dog crate during the disaster. Do not try to hold onto them with your hands or arms, however because they could become frightened and scratch or bite you trying to get away. If the two dogs are going to fight with each other during a stressful situation, have one person take each dog to a separate safe location or place the dogs into separate crates during the earthquake. If the dogs are crate trained, they should see this as a safe place and their sleeping or den area and it should help calm them down as well. If they are not crate trained, you can start training them now as part of your disaster preparedness process by feeding them in the crate every day. Having your pet comfortable in a crate will make travel and evacuation a little easier if a disaster does occur. [less]
- My mother has two feral cats who are about 7 to 8 years old. About 2 years ago, one developed a very bad skin problem. She started biting and scratching herself until the fur rips off which exposes her raw pink skin. Her whole body is full of these patches of raw, sometimes bloody skin and her ears are sometimes bloody but always looks terribly raw. She is always scratching, biting, and pulling at her fur and skin. Since she is feral, we cannot catch her to take her to a vet, but my mother can get close enough to lightly brush her so not to irritate her skin. The cat loves this brushing. The other feral cat is healthy so we know it is not contagious. The sick cat seems to have a normal appetite but she is very thin and never gains any noticible weight. Recently she is losing more and more fur and consequently more of her skin is exposed. Do you have any suggestions on what is causing it and more importantly, what we can do to remedy this problem. Thank you. - KJ Block from Newbury Park, Ca
There are a few things that cause such severe itching and biting of the skin as you describe. There are infectious causes (such as mange mites and ringworm), however as y [more]
There are a few things that cause such severe itching and biting of the skin as you describe. There are infectious causes (such as mange mites and ringworm), however as you mentioned, you would expect to see symptoms in other cats that are close to her. Allergies can also cause severe itching like this. There are three general items that animals can be allergic to – food or some component of their diet, flea bites, and something in the environment. Flea bite allergies in particular can cause severe itching, hair loss and small raised red bumps throughout the skin. Less common reasons for hair loss and raw, red skin are auto-immune disorders, where the immune system is attacking the skin, and hormonal imbalances. Anything that causes itching can result in damage to the skin which then allows bacterial overgrowth and a skin infection which, in turn, contributes to the itching sensation.
Diagnosing the cause of the itching involves ruling out the infectious causes first with a skin scraping for mites and a fungal culture for ringworm as well as examining the skin for any fleas or flea dirt. A food allergy trial to determine if diet is causing the allergy can also be performed where the food is changed to a hypoallergenic novel protein diet for a
2 month period. Environmental allergies can be determined with a blood test (performed at most veterinary clinics) or a skin test (performed at a dermatologist office). Finally, auto-immune diseases can be diagnosed with a biopsy of the skin.
Because your mother’s cat is feral, it will obviously be very difficult to go through this process to determine the underlying cause for the itching. Sometimes, a trial of anti- itch medication, such as antihistamines or cortisone, can be attempted to see if it will at least provide the cat with some comfort. Keeping her on a good topical flea control every month is also important to make sure fleas are not playing a role in the itching. In addition, because the skin is raw and exposed, antibiotics will likely be necessary to help treat the co-existing skin infection. There are some over-the-counter supplements and topical treatments that can be helpful for skin problems such as fish oil, and hypoallergenic oatmeal shampoos or topical hydrocortisone sprays. [less]
- I have a 8 month dog(doxin)who recently started to reject food.He hasnt eaten for about 3 days today being the 4th day.He hasnt drinken any water or eaten any food.He has gotten weak and skinny and sleeps all day.Please help me.What is wrong with him?What can i do? - celia from carson,Ca
This is very concerning, especially for a young dog and should be addressed immediately. A young dog that suddenly stops eating or drinking could have a foreign object st [more]
This is very concerning, especially for a young dog and should be addressed immediately. A young dog that suddenly stops eating or drinking could have a foreign object stuck in the intestines causing a blockage. This obstruction, if left untreated, could lead to a perforation of the bowel and a very serious, even deadly infection. Young dogs are often curious and mischievous, exploring the world with their mouths and often eating and chewing things up, so this is something we see quite frequently. There are a lot of other possible reasons why he could be having these symptoms including a bacterial or viral infection, hormonal imbalances, pancreatitis, toxin ingestion, liver and kidney disease just to name a few. If he is not drinking, he could be getting dehydrated which would also makes him feel very weak and sick and can be very dangerous. Please have him evaluated and treated by your veterinarian as soon as possible. [less]
- Re: Your recent column abut overweight dogs. Nearly every overweight dog I've met was fed only once a day. I think that makes them food-obsessed and they eat more because they know it will be a long time between meals. I've always divided a day's food in half, fed half for breakfast, half for dinner, a small doggy treat for lunch. I've never had an overweight dog as a result, never had a dog that begged for more food. - Melody Suppes from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Thank you for your comment about the feeding frequency. I also recommend splitting up the meals into twice daily feeding for most pets because I agree that it makes them [more]
Thank you for your comment about the feeding frequency. I also recommend splitting up the meals into twice daily feeding for most pets because I agree that it makes them less crazy about food. However, I have not personally seen a connection between frequency of meals and obesity, unless, of course, you count once-daily feeding as “free choice”
feeding, which I do strongly advocate against. Free choice feeding would be filling up the bowl every day and allowing the pet to nibble as much or as little as desired throughout the day, refilling the bowl whenever it gets low. I think there is definitely a connection between free choice feeding and obesity, especially in cats where this method of feeding is used most often because of its convenience. Providing a constant source of high energy food to any animal is a recipe for obesity for sure. Measuring out the amount of food being fed and feeding in meals is my recommendation for most pets. [less]