Suppose you suddenly find yourself foster mother to baby twin mice? What can you use that's better than an eye dropper? Do they make baby nipples for babies that small? -- C. S.

Perhaps some laboratory supply houses have the necessarily gnat-sized nursing nipples available, but why bother? Don't sell an eye dropper short. The mouse baby can still be fed effectively with a dropper. Many babies won't try to nurse on a nipple and bottle even if they have the strength. With the dropper, you can force in some formula if necessary. DEAR DR. MILLER:

I used to use a snail bail which contained arsenic, but I got rid of that stuff when I got the cat. The snail bait I have now has metaldehyde in it. How careful do I have to be with that stuff? -- K. M.

Since metaldehyde is poisonous to cats as well as snails, extreme caution is indicated. If used at all, it should only be in places that are not possibly accessible to the cat. Such places are hard to find when you consider the reaching capabilities of an extended cat's paw. A safer solution would be (a) the use of cannibalistic snails of a different species or (b) get a duck. Ducks love them, and one large duck can cope with most snail invasions. DEAR DR. MILLER:

If your dog's playing and suddenly comes up limping and he's got a swollen sore joint, how about an ice pack? The coach was always slapping one on me when I played football. -- T. McB.

Ice packs can be useful in reducing pain spasm and swelling in acute leg injuries in the dog. The problem here, however, is that the dog often has a fracture or some other injury requiring veterinary care. If an ice pack is used as an emergency procedure, applying toweling first to avoid local tissue damage from freezing. Treatment time should be from five to 20 minutes (maximum), and you should keep the rest of the animal warm.