I don’t believe in breeding dogs, because so many dogs need homes. But I love the dog dearly, and I have two questions. Is there anything we can do to prolong the dog’s life? Are Labs prone to cancer?
DF: Yes, many good dogs are in adoption centers in need of good homes. The commercial puppy-mill mass production of purebreds and designer varieties is a major factor contributing to full-to-capacity shelters and adoptable dogs being killed.
Lymphoma is one of the more common canine cancers and is prevalent in certain breeds, including golden retriever, boxer, German shepherd and Scottish terrier. Exposure to lawn and garden herbicides, electromagnetic radiation, solvents and paints has been associated with increased incidence of the cancer. In cats, it is most commonly associated with feline leukemia virus infection.
Depending on the dog’s overall health and the invasiveness of this cancer, chemotherapy can lead to a complete recovery with the drugs doxorubicin and vincristine. The latter is an extract of the vinca rose, which I used successfully in India to treat dogs suffering from transmissible venereal tumors.
I would like to see clinical trials conducted on dandelion root extract, preliminary tests of which indicate a promising and safe treatment for lymphatic cancer.
about FERAL CATs
Dear Dr. Fox:
For the past 17 months, I have been a feral cat colony caretaker.
All the cats were part of the Trap-Neuter-Return program, and further breeding has ceased. The colony had 10 cats originally; there are now five.
I have two beloved felines at home.
Are you an advocate of feral cat colonies, and, if so, what conditions must be met by the caretakers? Do you believe that euthanasia is a more humane approach for cats that are not receiving annual vet visits, such as feral cats? Do you think I am wrong in sustaining the lives of these animals, which are susceptible to disease and many other hardships?
My colony has ample shelter and fresh food and water provided daily. We clean feeding bowls, etc. We stress hygiene as much as possible in our efforts.
I decided to be a feral cat caretaker because we, as human beings, through neglect and disdain, have forced these innocent animals to fend for themselves through no choice of their own. As a caretaker, I do whatever I can to lessen the hardships of these animals.
G.L., the District
DF: I wish there were more compassionate and caring people like you helping animals. Unfortunately, the best intentions often go awry.
Maintaining a feral cat colony is a full-time responsibility. Cats that are sick or injured and too fearful to be caught do suffer. Even with neutering, there is the ethical question of providing food and shelter to cats only to prolong their suffering until they expire.