I'm Sam Litzinger with Dr. Gary Weitzman of the San Diego Humane Society. Ask you animal-related questions at 1-877-610-3647 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, our telephone number 877-610-3647. Our email address is email@example.com. Let's take a telephone call from Christine. Christine, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yeah. Hi. It's really an honor to speak with you both.
Oh, it's an honor to speak with you…
Well, my beloved and sweet Golden Retriever passed away in July.
Oh, I'm so sorry. It's awful, isn't it?
Yeah, I know, Christine. It's the just the worst thing in the world.
I wasn't gonna cry.
No. I know. I'm still doing that from time to time when I think of Ella the Beagle. Nothing wrong with it.
Just try to think of all the fun you had with your buddy is the thing.
She was almost 16...
...and -- yeah. It's just -- I really miss her. But anyway, so I have a lot of love to give a dog, and I don't want to be dogless, so I am thinking about rescuing a Greyhound.
I had two -- I've had two Greyhounds. Oh, Christine.
Okay. Well, but -- okay. So my question centers on other members of my household. I have a cat and then I also have a 20-year-old Cockatiel...
...who also loved my dog, and would talk to her and would sit on her all day if she could.
And then I'm a classroom teacher, so I have two guinea pigs that go back and forth to school. So my question is, is there a Greyhound out there that would be compatible -- like how would I know if a dog would come into the household and, you know, love these animals too the way they all...
...you know, responded to my dog?
Yeah. Well, you're looking for the magical Greyhound...
...I think out there, that will get along with everybody, and I'm saying that with the happiness to tell you that they exist.
If you talk to people that don't know Greyhounds, a lot of them will say, oh my God, you can never have your Greyhound off leash, you can never do anything but hold onto the collar because they'll take off and they'll be in Omaha...
Right. Right. Right.
...before you blink, you can never have them with other animals. And I can tell you, my two Greyhounds were the sweetest living things, absolutely loved every single animal, never ever strayed from my side. I could take them out to playgrounds. Now, you have to do this in a very controlled way...
...to determine if you have that Greyhound. And I'd let them off leashes so they could run and it was breathtaking, the circles at 60 miles an hour. But it's not all Greyhounds. So we do know that Greyhounds, like a lot of dogs, can have a high prey drive, so we want to make sure that your animals are safe and...
...you know, Christine, you do too. I know that. But the good news is that Greyhound rescue groups know their dogs so well.
They will have either tested, or will be willing to test their dogs with other animals.
And you'll know. You'll know which ones, eh, not so good with kids, guinea pigs, cockatiels, you know, cats, and you'll know which ones are okay. And honestly, I've got a very, very dear friend in Fredericksburg, Va., Denise and T, two friends, who have Greyhounds and have always had them, and they have a menagerie.
So it's definitely -- it's doable. So wherever you are, or anybody out there listening, if you want a Greyhound, which I would heartily encourage, contact Greyhound rescue in your area, and they know their dogs so well. And I'd say, Christine, you're in for a treat because these are just fantastic dogs.
Oh, so they would -- if I told them about my own household, they would...
...say there's a dog there for you. Okay.
Yeah. Or they would -- or, you know, wait, we'll get -- we'll find one. Believe me they're coming off the track in droves...
...and we need to save these dogs. And it's interesting because it's the one dog that we rarely see in shelters. We can get you one from a shelter.
We can, you know, find one throw Greyhound rescue, but the Greyhound rescue groups are so active and knowledgeable and just terrific people. They know their dogs. They'll be able to find you a dog that'll work for your house.
Oh, thank you so much.
And then welcome to the racing dog fold, and don't race her.
Just love her.
You're going to be a good mom again, Christine.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you very -- and do tell us what you end up doing, okay?
I will. I will. Thank you so much. You make me feel so much better.
Thank you very much.
Oh, you're welcome.
Good for you. Let's take a telephone call from Laura. Laura, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Thank you. I'm calling today about my cat Max's bowel and bladder problems.
He's an eight-year-old big orange Tabby weighing in at about 21 pounds. For the last six years he's been on a weight-reduction formula prescription cat food. It's a (unintelligible). And over the past year or so, Max has vacillated between constipated and having loose stool. And in December we made a big out-of-state move which clearly stressed him out...
...and I noticed that as we were getting ready to move, and after we moved, he constantly was grooming himself in the front. His stomach, forearms and shoulder were licked thin.
And he was predominately having loose stool. And I attributed the licking behavior to the stress of the move, and the new drier climate and cold.
Sounds right. Mm-hmm.
And then fast forward to May, June, I noticed that Max was having very loose, smelly stool, and he started to pee in places he wanted me to see and he buried it in front of me.
Hmm, okay. It's a cry for help.
So we went in June to the vet and had a pretty extensive workup with blood work, urinalysis, fecal exam, etcetera, and I was told that he had a raging bladder infection, but no kidney issues.
Hmm, okay. Good.
And he was given at that time an injection for the bladder infection, and then he was put on -- he also had a bowel infection and was put on two different courses of antibiotics. But after all of that, he still had loose stool, but he had stopped peeing on the carpet.
So the vet suggested that we switch his food to the -- a new gastrointestinal fiber response food...
...which we've been doing now for about four weeks and we've had some good results.
Oh, good. Okay.
But his stool is still pretty loosely formed.
But most upsetting is over the last several nights, Max has peed on the carpet where he knew I would see it. So the vet...
...I called in, and she just suggested another bout of antibiotics for his bladder, but he's still peeing on the carpet, so I'm most concerned about that.
And, you know, prior to all this he used his box very reliably, so...
...I was hoping you could give me some advice.
Yeah. You know, but Laura, I think you hit it on the head. He's stressed, and where did you move to by the way that's cold and dry in the summer?
Which is colder than where I was, so...
Oh, really. Okay. I don't know if many Virginians would say that right now, but -- hey, listen. I think, you know, any move is stressful for people, it's stressful the animals. I just made a 3,000-mile move with my animals. I definitely understand, you know, what Max is experiencing, and you do too. Let me just start with a proviso that you do need to talk to your vet about all of this again, because I don't think that it's just as simple as he's got a bladder infection. It sounds like it's -- there's a whole conglomeration of things that are leading to inflammatory bowel disease.
And there's a whole scope of reasons that it can happen, but a lot of them come right down to stress. But it may be that the urinating is not due to an infection, but it's more behavioral, and I would want to, if I were your vet in an exam room with him with all the data in front of me, and the cat, and you, I would really want to concentrate on that bowel problem, because the more antibiotics that you give, the more you throw off his whole GI, you know, bacterial flora, and we don't want to do that either, because that can continue the whole loose bowel thing.
So I think for this little fellow, I'd want to take care of his stress, and you know what, that'll happen as you're getting more used to being in your new home anyway. But he may need a different food or something to actually calm his GI system down. So unfortunately, Laura, I think, you know, that would be my theory, but it is something I think you've got to talk to your own vet about and have Max examined again and, you know, maybe one more course of the antibiotics that she already prescribed.
You know, I don't want to interfere with what she prescribed, but then after that, we've got to get his, you know, his GI system taken care of, and that may be something to alleviate stress for him, and a whole new food. Gotta get him on something that he doesn't react to, you know, that'll keep his system calm. So I think the first rule of thumb for him, is to get all that cleared up till it's normal, and then you can start working with volumes, and maybe then you can ease into a low carbohydrate diet, because those are the ones that we really think target weight loss in cats and help with other -- avoiding other things.
And in a big cat, you know, we worry about diabetes. I think his inflammatory bowel disease needs to be dealt with first, and keep tabs on the urine, but I think you've got to be concentrating on that, and I would bet that if you clear up his bowels, he'll stop going to the bathroom on the rug for you.
Good luck. Let us know.
Keep at it, Laura. Thank you very much. Our telephone number is 877-610-3647. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's take a phone call from Kate. Kate, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
I do. And thank you for taking my question. So my call is about rescued Springer Spaniel is the breed I work with.
And I have a 14 year old, we think, who has started to eat dirt.
Well, listen. So Springer Spaniel, is that what you said, Kate, 14 years old?
And she -- what's her name, by the way?
Her name's Dolly.
What is -- so what do you think? Why did -- what started this? Did you -- was the yard fertilized, did you have new mulch, some bone meal or fish meal underneath the tulip beds, or anything you can point to?
Well, there was a compost pile there and I moved it...
...so that might be part of it...
You think you moved it.
...but she likes -- yeah. She likes that and then she likes this old stump.
Well, first of all, you know, obviously, anything new developing like this, we want to make sure there's not an underlying problem for the dog that they're lacking nutrients or having an issue that's changed metabolism, all of that, so she's trying to get iron out of the ground. You know, I always say that, and I think I've said that for 20-plus-years as a vet, and I've never seen it, but we still always kind of fall back on that to caution people just in case there's something else going on. Get a good checkup and tell your vet.
So all that being done, having said that, I think there's not a whole lot, to first of all, worry about with her eating dirt. Don't want her eat rocks because those can become obstructions, but the dirt itself isn't a big deal, but it does make it hard to grow chrysanthemums. So if you want to stop her from doing it, and you're lucky enough to have just one place to do it that she does that, then I would just fence that part off so that she can't get to it.
If it's more pervasive than that, and she's going everywhere to eat dirt, you can actually -- that's a tough one. It is really is tough. And I haven't seen too many dogs that just spend the entire time outside just obsessing over something like that. That would worry me that there's something else going on for here, and again, a conversation with your vet -- and we know at 14, you know, like people at, you know, 85 years old, there can be changes in thinking, and we call that cognitive dysfunction...
...syndrome in dogs, and there are some helpful medications out there to try to boost that, or we talk about using more homeopathic drugs or things like, you know, fish oil which can help with -- and vitamin E which can help with neurologic system. But it's not that she's going all over the yard to do this, it's only in one place, is that right, Kate?
That's correct. That's correct. And she looks guilty.
That's what's so funny.
Okay. Then it's just -- good. Good.
Poor thing looks mortified, but she looks like she's in the cookie jar, like I caught her, she's there, and she's having a great time in a bowl of ice cream.
I would say for you, get that checkup done, and if everything is okay, which I'm sure it probably will be, then I would just fence that off with some chicken wire or something temporarily just to keep her away from it. That's probably your best bet. Or you can actually -- if you really, really want to get involved here, you can give her a -- you can distract her with something more appropriate and more wonderful. So if she goes over there, make sure you're outside there too and have some, you know pieces of chicken...
Delicious little hot dogs.
...or hot dogs and try to get her more positively oriented towards something else. The problem with that is obviously the connection is hey, dirt is good because it gets me hot dogs. So you have to be careful of that too.
Inside the dog brain.
The dog brain. It's a scary place.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you, Gary.
You're welcome. I'm Dr. Gary Weitzman with an "Animal House" pet care tip. As a vet, I can diagnose a heart murmur, treat diabetes or fix a broken leg. But the one thing that seems to thrill everyone in the exam room is trimming a pet's nails. This doesn't surprise me since trimming nails is one of the most difficult things to do. So what's the trick? Four essential steps. A good, sharp pair of nail trimmers, a non-threatening environment with a bowl of the best treats, a human assistant, and a cooperative patient.
Just trim the very tips of the nails to start. If your animal lets you do that, next time go a little further. Avoid that quick, that's that area underneath the nail where the vein lives, right at the very base of the nail. With white nails that's easy, with black it's much harder, but you'll get the sense of where to cut. Just stick to the tips and you'll be fine. Of course, if your pet disagrees with any of these steps, let a trained groomer or a good vet tech do this for you. They're both worth their weight in gold. For "The Animal House," I'm Dr. Gary Weitzman.
This edition of "The Animal House" is near completion. First, here's the answer to our Animal of the Day quiz. Earlier we asked if you could identify the animal that's known for mimicking the songs and sounds of other animals and even some machines. The answer, of course, the Mockingbird. In addition to numerous birds and insects, the Mockingbird has also been known to imitate the sound of car alarms in certain situations.
Thanks to our guests, Dr. Frank LaFerla, Sue Wallis, Dr. Jan Pol, Rhonda Van Lowe and Bernie Krause for their contributions today. We also thank Bob James, Acoustic Alchemy, and Einojuhani Rautavaara for their music today. Also, special thanks to Dr. Gary Weitzman for his work. Thanks to you for joining us in "The Animal House." I'm Sam Litzinger.
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