ASK DR. CHIP - APRIL EDITION

Want to be featured in next month’s newsletter? Email our very own Dr. Chip at info@petsplusus.com and make sure you reference ‘Ask Dr. Chip’ in the subject line.

*Please note, that this is page is not intended to address pet emergencies, but rather general pet questions. If your pet is currently experiencing symptoms of an illness or has had an accident, please visit your regular veterinary practice if open, or your nearest veterinary emergency clinic for assistance. 

About Dr. Chip

Dr. Chip Coombs is Pets Plus Us’ Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), and has practiced veterinary medicine since 1976, initially in the United Kingdom, then in Western Canada and, finally, in Toronto, where he owned a multi-veterinarian practice for 33 years.


Question:

Hi Dr. Chip,

I have big cat (26 lbs) and he has a huge 'pouch'.  Is there any way to reduce it? He got bigger after an accident I had, and our walks diminished - but I still do the best I can. I was just wondering if there is any way of shrinking that pouch? LOL

Also, last summer he choked on a small piece of metal. It came out and he's been fine, but his voice is half of what it used to be. His meows are just pathetic. Any advice? I read later that in humans you should go to the doctor if you chocked on something, so is it the same for animals? I'm not lazy, just crippled up with no easy transportation.

Thanks again,

Jeff R.

Ottawa, Ontario

Answer:

Hi Jeff,

In the photo you sent is of your pussycat, he certainly doesn’t look 26 lbs. However, assuming he is, that is a VERY big cat and I would strongly suggest he lose some weight. Only a veterinarian who examines him can tell you how much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at least 10 lbs. To achieve this goal, it would take about 2 years to safely lose so much weight. It would also require great discipline and a special diet. Hopefully, you have a friend or family member who can take you and your cat for a check-up and to find out a desired weight loss plan.

By “pouch”, I’ll assume you mean the sack that hangs below his abdomen. This is there due to his heavy weight and even when he loses all the weight, the stretched skin will remain.

If the metal / choking episode occurred last summer, I wouldn’t worry about it now and his voice change could very well be related to his obesity. It’s very important that he achieve his desired weight, as being very heavy can cause further health problems.

Good luck,

Dr. Chip


Question:

Dr. Chip,

While walking my Maltese dog in a park she seemed to eat something, Goose or Deer poo maybe?

At home she became violently sick and had erratic movements. I had no transportation, but eventually she settled down and now seems to be normal, eating well and sleeping but not as vigorous as she was, but was vocal in barking at UPS who came to us the with a package!

Could there be any latent problems which we should have our vet investigate?

Simone

Answer:

Hi Simone,

Assuming she did eat goose or deer poop, that could certainly make her sick, but there should be no long-term concerns.

If it was something else and she is now completely normal, there isn’t much that your veterinarian is likely going to be able to determine as to cause.

Ideally, going forward, the challenge would be to prevent her from doing a repeat, as the spring is the worst time for dogs discovering bad stuff (i.e. garbage, drugs, etc.) once the snow has disappeared.

Cheers,

Dr. Chip


Question:

Dr. Chip,

My dog’s name is Duke. He turned 13 years at the end of March. 

He has kidney issues, is on low protein diet and high blood pressure medication for his heavy breathing. He wants to go outside approx. every hour and I also give him pills and treats that has natural pain meds. Duke also has issues with his back legs and hips. He has trouble getting up, or just loses his balance and falls down.

Is there anything else I can do to help him? How do we know if there suffering of pain? 

Thank you, 

Jeanine & Duke

Answer:

Hi Jeanine,

You’re right to be concerned about treating the arthritis in a way that might undermine Duke’s kidney issues (which it looks like your veterinarian has under control). There are a number of oral supplements than can help, such as Glucosamine, chondroitin, as well as injectable drugs like Cartrophen and Adequan, both of which your veterinarian can teach you how to give. There is also an oral drug called Gabapentin that could help with any discomfort and Tramadol is not an effective pain control drug in dogs.

Dogs can be very stoical, but you want Duke to be able to rise up and walk on good footing without too much difficulty. If he can’t, then he is likely in pain and could benefit from a combination of the drugs and supplements above and might want to have a further discussion with Dukes regular veterinarian.

Cheers,

Dr. Chip


Question:

Dr. Chip,

My cat gets really congested, has a really chesty cough, but otherwise seems happy. She is eating, drinking and bodily functions are fine. When I take her to the vet, they say it could be asthma, herpes, or an upper respiratory infection and then prescribe antibiotics that don’t do anything. I have never seen her gasp for breath. Should she have blood work and an X-ray done? She’s a nine-year-old Torti-Burmese mix.

Thank you,

Darlene

Answer:

Hi Darlene,

Assuming this cough has been chronic, and she is fine otherwise, the most likely cause is asthma or bronchitis. In my experience, and yours, antibiotics haven’t been very helpful, as the cause is not usually bacteria. Allergies are a common cause.

X-rays would be a good idea, along with a CBC blood test (which should be normal). Depending upon how sick she is, a trial of low dose steroids might be an option to discuss with your veterinarian, depending upon the X-ray results.

Good luck,

Cheers,

Dr. Chip


Question:

Dr. Chip,

How do I get my female Standard Poodle to eat her kibble without adding incentives?

Thank you,

Sheila

Answer:

Hi Sheila,

In my clinical experience, Standard Poodles were notoriously picky eaters.

The only solution is to find something she likes. We used to switch them to a dental diet, i.e. T/D, because it was so palatable, and it also helped maintain good oral health.

Alternatively, there’s no harm in adding a tablespoon of canned food or canine gravy and some warm water as incentives. The warm water releases the fats in the kibble, so it smells better, thus tastes better.

One of the main pleasures in life for a dog is meal time, so one might as well ensure they enjoy it.

Cheers,

Dr. Chip


 

Updates:

Hi Dr. Chip

I just wanted to give you a follow up on my cat’s (Jasper) balding ears that you responded to a little while back.

I noticed his skin in general was very dry (as is mine in a Canadian winter), so I have started giving him fish oil and low and behold the hair on his ears has started to grow back!

Kind regards,

Joanna

 

Hi Joanna,

Excellent news! Omega fatty acids can do wonderful things for the skin in many species - including the two footed kind.

Cheers,

Dr. Chip