When my daughter comes home on her breaks, Timothy is fine. He does not growl or have problems with bowel movements. I do have children come over once a month to visit, and I worry about him becoming aggressive toward them.
DF: As the caregiver of your daughter’s cat, you deserve better.
My first question to you is: Have you considered the possibility of your daughter finding suitable accommodations where she is going to school so she can keep the cat with her? Clearly, the cat has a strong bond with her. I know of several cats who have become depressed, disinterested in food or more anxious when their human caregivers have left home for college or a job.
In the interim, give poor Timothy space and solitude while he eats, and put him in a separate room when children come.
Have your daughter mail you a T-shirt (in a plastic bag) that she has slept in for a week or so, and give it to Timothy to snuggle into.
Proceed with caution
Dear Dr. Fox:
I just want to let you know of my experience with and without knee surgery.
In 2004, at age 7, our dog Hanna tore her right knee ligament. We decided to do the surgery, at a cost of $1,500. Jump forward to age 12, when Hanna tore her left knee ligament. This time, the cost basically doubled. Taking into account the cost and her age, we decided not to do the surgery. Her knee healed nicely on its own, and she is now 151
2 years old and going strong. Both legs are working great.
Hanna is a midsize mixed-breed pup. She’s not overweight, weighing around 55 pounds.
I read about the study showing that many dogs heal well without costly surgery for torn cruciate ligaments, especially if given proper rest and physical therapy, and I thought you might like to hear about Hanna’s experience.
R.A.R., Kernersville, N.C.
DF: I have been waving the flag of caution over torn cruciate ligament surgery now for several years. It is good that more clinical evidence is being published to support my conservative approach to this all-too-common condition.
It might be best prevented by keeping dogs lean and well exercised, neutering closer to full physical maturity and avoidance of over-vaccination, especially for canine distemper.
Michael W. Fox, author of a newsletter and books on animal care, welfare and rights, is a veterinarian with doctoral degrees in medicine and animal behavior.
Write to him at United Feature Syndicate, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo. 64106.
2013 United Feature Syndicate