We bought Jojo and his brother, Mokie (who died of fibrocystic kidney disease at 3), from a private breeder. We are not aware of any injury or trauma.
P.V., Kansas City, Mo.
DF: I suspect that your poor cat has a congenital deformity in both shoulder joints, the instability caused by dysplasia of the joints leading to the abnormal bone and connective tissue proliferation.
This is how the cat’s body is reacting in an attempt to stabilize the joints. The inflammatory reaction might be temporarily alleviated by short-term treatment with steroids.
Long-term benefit might come from anti-inflammatory turmeric and omega-3 fatty acid supplements, as provided in fish oils. Discuss sources and dosage with your veterinarian.
Organically certified free-range poultry and other meats and dairy products contain more omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally corn-fed and factory farm animals.
Be sure your cat is on a corn- and grain-free diet. I would advise against invasive surgery. My massage therapy book, “The Healing Touch for Cats,” might help you make life more comfortable for Jojo with a daily massage.
Any discomfort in one part of the body will throw the rest of the body out of balance and possibly lead to secondary injuries. Inform the breeder of Jojo’s condition and Mokie’s demise.
OLD CAT, YOUNG TASTES
Dear Dr. Fox:
My 11-year-old male cat will eat only dry Kitten Chow. He will sometimes eat cantaloupe when we have it in the summer.
He is a house cat that scratches up furniture and is timid. He has never been ill until lately, and he now has a sore left eye. Forget about changing food — he tries to bury anything besides Kitten Chow. Is it okay if he continues eating this? I have plenty of fresh water around.
What can I do for the eye? The last cat I took to the vet was so afraid, he died of a heart attack.
V.T., Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
DF: Considering your cat’s age and evident addiction to dry food, try gradually switching him over to a dry food that has no corn or soy ingredients.
There are several improved brands on the market — just read the labels. My Web site, www.drfoxvet.com, has brands that I recommend.
His eye condition does concern me. He might have an infection or a turned-in eyelash, which could lead to ulceration of the cornea or blindness.
There are veterinarians who make house calls, so check your Yellow Pages to find one who will go to your home to examine your cat and provide appropriate treatment. Going to the veterinary hospital can be extremely stressful for some cats, and I sympathize with the loss of your other cat.
Putting cats into a boarding facility can also be stressful and result in post-traumatic stress disorder. This is why I advise either an early-in-life boarding experience or in-home care for people going away on vacation without their cats.
Dear Dr. Fox:
We are concerned about our 2-year-old female Maltese’s diet. In January, she started to vomit and have bloody diarrhea every day.
Our vet put her on Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Allergen Free dog food, and the problem stopped. I am a believer in holistic, healthy food for my Maltese and would like to get her off the Hill’s, but every time I try to change her diet, she has the same problem. After about 10 days, she starts the vomiting.
We adopted a Shih Tzu when she was 11
2. She will be 3 in December, and she cannot digest grains. We think that is why people had to give her up. I have her on the same food.
J.S., Bonita Springs, Fla.
DF: There are several dog food manufacturers, such as Wellness, Merrick and Organix, marketing grain-free dog foods, and you can try variations of the home-prepared diet on my Web site.
I agree with you that many prescription diets are far removed from organic, whole-food dietary formulations, but some are better than others and have a place in holistic veterinary medicine. For special veterinary-formulated recipes for a variety of dog and cat health problems that you can prepare at home from known ingredients, go to www.balanceit.com.
Remember, when trying any dietary transition with your dog, take about 10 days, removing 10 percent of his regular food and replacing it with the same amount of the new food. Increase in 10 percent increments until it’s all the new food. Give him digestive enzymes and probiotics with the food.
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.
2012 United Feature Syndicate