Dear Dr. Fox:
I read your article in a recent column regarding a Pekingese dog that was having seizures. I have a Pekingese that I rescued from the streets of a Detroit suburb. She was in bad shape, but has progressed quite well and has become a very faithful companion.
My Pekingese also developed seizures. She started after I had changed food for both of my dogs (I also have a shih tzu). I took her to the vet as soon as she started the seizures. Blood tests were done along with a very extensive review of her activities before the seizures. The vet was not sure, but thought she had "shudder syndrome." He was reluctant to give medication until he could be sure about the diagnosis. I had changed the food and the feeding schedule with both dogs because both experienced bloated stomachs with the dry food I was giving them.
I noticed that, over time, the seizures were getting longer in duration and more severe. The vet prescribed a medication (I forget the name) that sometimes stopped the seizures or at least shortened the duration of them.
Then I remembered that some humans have an allergic reaction to gluten. I looked at a label of the wet food I was giving to both dogs and found that gluten was the second ingredient listed. I stopped giving them the wet food and replaced it with cooked ground meat -- and the seizures stopped the next day! Both dogs are happy and healthy again.
C.D.W., Houghton Lake, Mich.
I take my hat off to you for your excellent deductive approach to resolving the diet-related seizures in your dog.
Several years ago, Swedish veterinary researchers pinpointed wheat gluten as one dietary ingredient associated with epileptiform seizures in dogs.
Sudden or recurrent seizures can also have a hereditary basis, or be associated with hyperexcitability/hysteria, low blood sugar or calcium, and other problems such as brain tumor, head trauma and hydrocephalus, to mention just a few triggers.
Your personal discovery should be considered by all veterinarians and caregivers in treating dogs for seizures.
Dear Dr. Fox:
I have been taking care of a feral mother cat and her five kittens. I am trying to get them accustomed to humans so they will be adoptable at some point in the future, and I am slowly making progress.
I feed them 1 pound of moist and 2 pounds of dry cat food every day. Am I feeding them enough? I am unable to determine their weight because they won't let me pick them up or touch them.
M.G., Shelton, Conn.