DEAR DR. MILLER:
Since last spring, Bouncer, my cat, has been doing battle with bumblebees, yellow jackets, wasps, and similar critters. She's won most of the battles, but has been stung a few times. She lies around for a day or so after and then is back at them again. Does the fact that she doesn't get sicker indicate that she has some immunity to the strings? -- T. D.
Bouncer's survival so far may be based on some degree of immunity. At least she's certainly not, at this point, allergic to the stings. But luck probably played a part, too. If, for example, she were stung in the throat, the resulting swelling could cause asphyxiation. She's apparently been soaking up venom with a vengeance, but the continued risks of severe (possibly fatal) reactions remain real. DEAR DR. MILLER:
I can sympathize with any person who has a terribly aggressive dog because I have one, too. He's been trained and retrained by all sorts of experts. But nothing works. He's had tranquilizers, and they don't work either unless he's so drugged he can't move. He's a fighter. He'll fight any dog (or cat) on the street. He's been fixed, but even that didn't help. I know he's psychotic, and I'm wondering if they ever use shock treatment on dogs? -- R. Z.
ETC (electro-convulsive therapy) has been effective in the treatment of aggressive behavior in dogs. This shock treatment should be used only as a last resort, and you do seem to have such a canine candidate. This shock therapy may bring about remission of the agressive behavior for many months, or even years. DEAR DR. MILLER:
Prudence, my parakeet, still eats good, but she's suddenly taken to drinking an awful lot of water.
This extra water and the food go through her so fast, I know it isn't right. Now what could be wrong? -- J. R.
Assuming there's been no dietary change, parched Prudence possibly is a victim of kidney or pancreatic disease. Pack prudence and cage Uncleaned for 24 hours) into a bird-oriented veterinarian for a physical.