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Pet Chat with Veterinarian Dr. Page Wages

Posted March 13, 2009
Updated March 27, 2009

12:54

Angela of GOLO:
Hello everyone. We will start the chat in about seven minutes. If you'd like to post a question please feel free. Dr. Wages will answer as many as she can during the hour.


12:57

Dr. Page Wages:
Anna, I am sorry to hear about Wendover's bladder stones. Do you know what kind of stone it is? What food was she put on?


12:57

[Comment From Anna]
Hi Dr. Wages, I have a question about my 11 year old lab, Wendover. Wendover was recently diagnosed with kidney stones. She had surgery to remove numerous very large stones from her bladder. Our veterinarian placed her on the Hills Stone Diet to help dissolve and prevent future stone. We love Wendover very much, but unfortunately are unable to afford the $10 a day prescribed diet indefinitely. Do you have any recommendations of a less expensive diet we could put her on, or any homemade diets. Thank you so much!


12:58

[Comment From Christine]
I have a jack russell dog about 2 years old. He does not chew on things when he is in the house.When we let him outside he chews on the wooden rocking chairs legs and posts.What could be the problem???????


12:58

[Comment From Anna]
I don't know the terminology, but I believe it was the type of stone that could be dissolved by diet. She is currently on the Hills s/d canned food. She eats about four cans a day.


1:01

Dr. Page Wages:


Anna, S/D is usually used to dissolve struvite stones, which form in basic urine. Does that sound right from what your vet told you? If so, the S/D works by acidifying the urine to dissolve the crystals, we need to acidify the urine with food, right? Cranberry supplements can actually work to do this as well. I use that with dogs that have a food allergy and can't eat the S/D food. How big is your dog?


1:01

[Comment From Mary Kanne]
How can I get my male dog to stop marking my bushes? He will mark the same bush over and over until he kills it. I tried vinegar but he just pees on it again.


1:02

[Comment From Anna]
Yes, I believe struvite is what I was told. Wendover is large, about 80 pounds


1:02

Dr. Page Wages:
Christine: Sometimes dogs like to chew on sticks and wooden things, because of the taste of the stains. But, sometimes, it can indicate a lack of a mineral in the diet. You might want to try a vitamin to see if you notice a difference. My favorite vitamin is called Pet Tabs. (does he lick any wood in the house?)


1:03

[Comment From Kristin Kash]
What is the difference between IAMS vetinary products and IAMS products sold at places like Target? Are they different formulas?


1:03
How many pets do you have?
1
( 52% )
2
( 13% )
3
( 13% )
4
( 9% )
5
( 9% )
6+
( 4% )



1:03

Dr. Page Wages:
Anna: I would give Wendover at least 4 of the 1680 mg cranberry tablets a day as well as 1000 mg of vit C (chewable works). You can also use craisins if she will eat them. :o) Have your veterinarian check the pH of her urine to make sure it is acidic enough to dissolve those stones.


1:04

[Comment From Anna]
Thank you Dr. Wages! I will do this.


1:05

Dr. Page Wages:

Mary Kate: Unfortunately, there isn't a really good way to prevent your dog from urinating on your bush. He is marking it with his scent, so everyone knows it is his bush. :o) What you may try to do, if have some water around so that when he does urinate on it, you can rinse the bush and that will protect it from the urine killing it. Works the same with grass spots.
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1:05

[Comment From Layla]
Hi Dr. Wages, I have a 5 year old minature dachshund who was diagnosed with Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia a year and a half ago. She had a severe case, but fortunately pulled through. She has been med free for about 8 months, but is due to have a dental cleaning. I am afraid for her to be placed under anesthesia because of comprismised Immune system. What would be your advice on having her teeth cleaned????


1:07

Dr. Page Wages:
Kristin: There isn't a difference in the IAMS product, as long as it is the same product and same label, the stuff in the bag is the same. There are some IAMS veterinary diets, like the fish and potato, Low residue, etc. that are carried only by veterinarians.


1:07

[Comment From jay t]
i have a male cat that's about 6 or 7 years old. i want to know if he can be de-clawed.



1:09

Angela of GOLO:
We have quite a few questions coming in. Great! Please be patient. We're glad you're here.


1:11

[Comment From Kristin Kash]
thanks for the answer on the Iams food, very good to know!


1:11

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
For those of you waiting for your question to be answered, feel free to join the GOLO Animal Lovers group.


1:12

Dr. Page Wages:
Layla: I would have a discussion with your veterinarian prior to the procedure. With a dachshund, the tartar can become bad quickly and cause plaque and bacteria buildup on the gums, compromising the immune system and can actually throw your dog back into an IMHA episode. So, in that regard, the dental procedure would be a good thing. The down side of it is that there is a risk that the stress of the anesthesia could also cause an IMHA episode. I would recommend having a conversation with your veterinarian about the risks involved. You may consider restarting some medication short-term (steroids) prior to the dental procedure, as well as some antibiotics (prophylactically). Then using a special anesthetic, called Propofol, your pet will recover from anesthesia much faster and the stress on the body would be a lot less. But, again, I would talk with your veterinarian prior to the procedure to determine the best course of action for your pet.


1:12

[Comment From Julie]
Hello, I have a 6+ month old kitten, female who has quite bad breath. Is this associated with teething. She has has all of her checkups and is spayed and the vet has checked her teeth and did not voice any concerns. Is this something that will go away or should I conact my vet again. Thank you for your time.


1:15

Dr. Page Wages:
Jay: Any older cat can be declawed. Typically, it is a little more painful in the older guys (any cat older than a kitten), so we recommend stronger pain control and they are usually in the hospital a day or two longer, since they may take a little longer before using their feet. (I usually keep declaws over night, sometimes 2 to make sure they are comfortable before going home).
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1:16

[Comment From Stephanie]
Hi. My son and daughter both have Pitt bulls, male and female which they intended and did mate. The female had six pups on March 2nd, and they just opened their eyes a couple of days ago. How long should you wait before taking them from their mother and adopting them out? I've received conflicting answers. One person says 6 weeks; another says 8 weeks.


1:16
The ASPCA lists these are the five most popular pet names. Which name is your favorite?
Max
( 29% )
Sam
( 7% )
Lady
( 7% )
Bear
( 7% )
Smokey
( 14% )
None of the above.
( 36% )



1:18

Dr. Page Wages:
Julie: Usually by 6 months, all the teeth have fallen out and the adults are in place. The canines (the really sharp teeth in the corners) are the last ones to come in. If they are all in place and we still have bad breath, there may be something else going on. I would have your veterinarian check the gums, for signs of gingivitis. Also, sometimes the diet can cause a bad odor from the mouth, especially the fishy flavors.
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1:19

[Comment From Hal]
Thanks for chatting with the area's pet owners, Dr. Wages. My black domestic shorthair cat has been shedding all window long. I initially had a lot of concern thta this was a sign of a (perhaps) seriouse health problem. However, I realized that she had started sleeping in a corner with a floor heat vent in it. Could this be the cause of her shedding? (Jo is 13 years old, about 12 pounds and remains active as an indoor only cat. - Hal


1:20

Dr. Page Wages:
Stephanie: I prefer puppies to be with their mothers until 8 weeks. There is a lot of social learning and interaction that happens with puppies as they age from 5-8 weeks, and if they are separated earlier than that, they may need some extra socialization training. Usually, the puppies can be weaned by 6 weeks. But, in terms of separating the puppies, I would wait until 8 weeks.


1:20

[Comment From mike]
I was told by my Vet. that there is a new law that requires dogs to get blood work in order to get heartworm preventative. is this true?


1:23

Dr. Page Wages:
Hal: Shedding in cats can mean a couple things. One, if her skin is drying out from her laying on the heat vent, that can cause her hair to get more brittle and fall out more. There is a supplement, called 3V that is great for dry skin (it is a pump you would squirt on her food daily). If her coat isn't dry, you might consider getting some bloodwork checked on her to make sure she hasn't developed a metabolic condition, like hyerthryoidism, which can cause similar signs. Also, check for fleas just to make sure it isn't a problem....just in case! Hope that helps!


1:23

[Comment From Becca]
My 2 year old mixed breed is terrified of children. She is a little dog so kids love her and want to pet her. She cowers from them, hides behind me and barks at them. I babysit my boss' kids and when they come over I have to put her in her crate because she will constantly bark at them. She is not aggressive at all but we want to change this behavior in her. What are ways to help this behavior?


1:26

Dr. Page Wages:
Mike: I am not aware of a law about bloodwork for heartworm prevention. There is a law that requires a doctor, client, patient relationship in order to dispense the prevention medication, (an exam needs to be done on the pet). We recommened a heartworm test annually, but it isn't required. We recommend new clients that have never had their pet tested to have the test done, to make sure he/she is heartworm negative, but again it isn't required.


1:26

[Comment From patricia]
My dog has allergies bad year around and even worse in the summer.Is there anything I can give her intead of shots are becoming very expensive for me at this time?




1:30

Dr. Page Wages:

Becca: I would recommend some training classes with your little one. Working with a trainer in a controlled environment, to help her get rid of some of her anxiety will help. It is a process and can take some time, but with the right training, it can be done. The concern is that if the behavior is not corrected, she can become fear aggressive and then may start to snap. I would recommend speaking to a well-educated trainer about some help for your dog. (my own bulldog had a similar problem and after completing 6 weeks of training, she does great!)


1:30

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
WRAL Anchor David Crabtree sits at home with his bull dog "Sampson."


1:30

[Comment From Kay]
My 5 months dutch shepherd routinley throws up after ingesting water. Is this because he may be drinking oo quickly or is there something else that could be wrong? He doesn't vomit food or anything just the water


1:31

Dr. Page Wages:

Patricia: Is your dog getting allergy injections or just steroid injections to help with the allergies?




1:32

Dr. Page Wages:
Kay: Does your dog drink a bunch of water at once and they vomit up some of it, or is it when he drinks small quantities as well?


1:32

[Comment From patricia]
The vet gives her allergy shots and she has taken steroid tablets


1:33

Angela of GOLO:
We've got about 30 minutes left with Dr. Wages. Again, we will get to as many questions as possible. Thanks Dr. Wages!


1:33

[Comment From Kay]
a bunch if water at once. He's a little overzealous about it sometimes.


1:34

Dr. Page Wages:

Patricia: I would speak with your veterinarian to see if benadryl is an option for your dog. That may help block some of the allergy signs. But, truthfully, the allergy injections, if they are made for your dog, are the best tool in the long run. You can use the benadryl with the allergy shots. Ask your veterinarian if the benadryl is something you guys can try

1:35

Dr. Page Wages:
Kay: He is probably vomiting because he is drinking too much water too fast. I would try to slow him down some if you can. You can try to put some ice cubes in his water dish, that might help some. Or use a smaller dish, so he can only get smaller slurps at one time. :o)


1:35

[Comment From Peg]
I have a 5 yr old poodle who is having what I call "night terrors." He will be sleeping soundly and then out of nowhere he will begin growling and "attack" something that he believes may be around him - even when there is nothing? Can dogs have bad dreams? Thanks!


1:36

[Comment From patricia]
Thanks for your help !


1:36

[Comment From Kay]
Thank you so much!


1:36

[Comment From Becca]
Thanks so much Dr. Wages! You're the best!


1:37

Dr. Page Wages:
Peg: Yes! Dogs can have bad dreams!! If it is a routine problem, you might want to speak to your veterinarian about some anti-anxiety medication. A mild medication, like amitriptyline might help him with his dreams.


1:37

[Comment From Chelsea]
What are some good dog breeds for apartments?


1:38

[Comment From ERH]
Could you explain the "reverse sneeze"? My Beagle girl experienced one the other day and it seemed more like an asthma attack.


1:38

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
Hi ERH: Dr. Wages answered a question about the reverse sneeze in this Ask Anything Q&A. I am posting her answer here for you:

"Reverse sneezing is very common is small dogs. It looks like an asthma attack, where they will stand still and look like they are struggling to inhale air through the nose. It is basically a sneeze, inside out.

Usually what happens is that they get something caught in their nose (a grass piece, dirt, or even mucus-very common during pollen season). Then, instead of blowing out, they try to suck it in!

The best way to help stop the spasm is to put some water on the nose, so as they suck in, it will cause whatever is in there to clear. You can also squeeze lightly on the "Adam's apple" or larynx in the throat for about 10 seconds and that should stop the spasm.

This is not anything to be concerned about. If your dog is having frequent episodes, there may be an increased mucus buildup in the nose, and your dog may need a course of antibiotics. Talk to your veterinarian if the attacks become more frequent."


1:39

[Comment From Peg]
THANKS BUNCHES DR WAGES! He was an abused dog and I got him after he was almost 2 yrs old, so that helps me alot in understanding his behavior. :-)



1:40

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
WRAL Anchor Debra Morgan poses near the WRAL Azalea Gardens with her dog "Bailey."


1:41

Dr. Page Wages:

Chelsea: Good Question! It depends on your lifestyle as well as the living space. If you are not the most active person (enjoys short walks, but not longer hikes daily, etc.) then a bulldog is your match! Pugs, Boston terriers, Maltese, Poodles, Cockapoos, Shih-tzus, etc. are all good as well. Basically, you don't want to have a dog that needs a lot of exercise, unless you have time to get them somewhere for the exercise. You don't want to have a large dog that needs to run as well. Medium-sized dogs are great for apartment life. The personality or breed specifially depends on your lifestyle, so let that play a role as well as you are searching.


1:41

[Comment From Tonya]
I was told that my dog had ischemic alopecia due to a reaction to her rabies vaccine. Her hair does not seem to be growing back in that area. Should I be concerned or will her hair eventually grow back.. It has been several months


1:45
How often do you walk your dog?
At least once a day
( 50% )
A couple times a week
( 13% )
A couple times a month
( 0% )
Very rarely
( 0% )
I don't have a dog.
( 38% )



1:46

Dr. Page Wages:

Tonya: That is a tricky one. It depends on the dog. Sometimes, with a little help from a steroid injection under the area, the lesion will resolve, but it does take some time. What happens is that there is a localized vasculitis reaction from the vaccine and the skin turns black and the hair follicles die. We don't know why this happens in some dogs and not others. I would speak with your veterinarian about getting an injection to help reduce the reaction size and time. Most of the time, most of the hair will grow back. You might also want to speak with your veterinarian about using some oral steroids prior to and after receiving the next scheduled rabies vaccine to prevent the same reaction.


1:46

[Comment From stephanie w.]
i have a question regarding pet cremation.....my dog passed away last week and i am having her cremated. can you explain the procedure as i was too upset to talk to the vet @ it last week.


1:47

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
See past winners of WRAL’s pet photo contest




1:49

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
Lynda Loveland poses with her dog "Halee" by Lake Johnson in Raleigh.


1:49

Angela of GOLO:
Dr. Wages has answered many questions as part of the "Ask the Pet Doctor" segment which is archived on WRAL.com. If we don't get to your question, you may want to see if it has been answered previously.


1:49

Dr. Page Wages:
Stephanie: I am sorry to hear about your loss. I know how hard that is. When a pet is cremated, it is done in a special machine that brings the temperature up high enough that the body is burned to ashes. The animals are respected and taken care of through the whole process. When a pet is done individually, it is the only one in the machine at the time, to ensure the ashes belong to that pet alone and returned to the owner. When a pet is cremated communally, there may be more than one in the machine at the same time. It is the same procedure and machine used with humans.


1:50

[Comment From Donna K]
I have adopted a stray adult cat who is still somewhat feral. I really need to get him to a vet but am having trouble coaxing him into a humane trap or pet carrier. He doesn't really allow me to pet him, although he purrs and rubs against my leg. I've never had pets so I'm not exactly sure how to handle this. His name is Midnight and he's been living inside my house for the past month and he has adjusted very well. He has worms and ear mites so I really want to get him to a vet. Any suggestions!


1:53

[Comment From Randy]
At what age should a person consider euthanasia?


1:53

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:

Hi Randy: Dr. Wages talked about euthanizing pets in this Ask Anything Q&A. I am posting her answer below:

Euthanasia of a pet is a very personal decision an owner has to make. There were several questions on the topic, and I hope to include answers for most of your questions for some clarity.

Many people ask when the appropriate time is to euthanize your pet. How do you know? My recommendation for an owner is to look at their pet's quality of life. Take a sheet of paper. On one side of the paper, write down all the things your pet has always loved to do. Whether it is going for a walk, greeting you at the door, chasing the ball, or hanging out with the family.

Then, on the other side of the paper, write down the things your pet is still able to do. If there is a discrepancy between the two sides, then your pet's quality of life is not as good as it once was. You will know when the appropriate time is to say good-bye to your companion. It is a hard decision for anyone to make, but when it is the right time, the decision will be clear and an owner should not feel pressured into making the decision if they are not ready.

For me, I hate to see pets suffer. As a veterinarian, my job is to fix unhealthy animals, prevent illnesses, and help those who cannot be fixed with euthanization. It isn't cruel and I am very thankful that we have that opportunity to prevent the suffering of our sick and aged friends.

The actual drug is an overdose of an anesthetic. So, the pet goes to sleep, just like going into surgery, only it stops the brain and then the heart. It is not painful, but a peaceful alternative to dying from disease, which can sometimes be painful.

While euthanizing a pet is not my favorite part of my job, since it is so hard to say good-bye to some of my friends, I am thankful for the option to help those animals that can no longer be helped therapeutically.

Owners cannot euthanize their animals themselves. The drug used is a controlled drug and must be administered by a licensed veterinarian. Many people prefer to have their animals euthanized at home and there are many veterinarians who will come to your house for the procedure, so both the owner and the pet are comfortable in their environment. Talk to your veterinary staff if you would like to take advantage of this option for your pet.

If you are concerned that your pet is suffering, I encourage you to speak with your veterinarian for options for your pet, either therapeutic treatment or euthanization options. Cremation services are also available.


1:54

Dr. Page Wages:
Donna K: That is a tough one. Cats are funny when they don't want to be caught. I guess if the carrier and the trap isn't working, what you can do is try to get him into a bathroom or closed area (put his food in there for a few days to get him used to it). Then close the door. Put a rubbermaid bin in there while you are training him. Then start to feed him in the rubbermaid (those big storage containers). Have some holes in the top for air. Once he gets used to the container, while he is in there eating, put on the lid and bring him to the vet. We'll take it from there! (some cats like the box a lot better than a carrier)


1:55

Angela of GOLO:
We have time for one more question.


1:55

[Comment From Kyle]
I have a schnauzer that has a severe eye infection. Atleast I think it is an infection. It constantly has gooky stuff or puss coming from it. We have taken her to several vets and no one seems to understand what is causing it. They just keep prescribing eye drops that don't really seem to help. This has been going on for about 2 to 3 months now. Do you have any advice?


1:55
Does your pet sleep in bed with you?
Yes, and I love it!
( 47% )
Yes, and I hate it.
( 0% )
No way!
( 33% )
No, but I wish he/she would.
( 20% )



1:56

Dr. Page Wages:
Kelly, thanks for pulling up some of those Ask Anything answers. If Randy or ERH have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!


1:57

[Comment From Donna K]
Thank you very much. I'll see if I can get him to cooperate, since we all know that HE is really the one in charge!


1:57

[Comment From Guest]
Thanks Dr. Wages, this Q &A is greatly appreciated, what a wonderful way to help folks learn more about taking care of their furry family members. thanks!




1:58

Kelly H. of WRAL.com:
WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner poses in her home with her cat "Katmandu."


1:59

[Comment From Doug]
Thanks Dr Wages, this has been a great read!


2:00

Dr. Page Wages:
Kyle: That is a tricky one. If there is coloring to the drainage from the eye, then there is an infection there. Some little dogs will have drainage from their eyes normally, because their tear ducts are not open and the tears will drain onto their face rather than into their noses. If this drainage becomes infected, then there will be a discoloration to it. But, a conjunctivitis or allergic component could also cause something similar. It sounds like it is a more chronic problem, though. I might not be a bad idea to have an ophthalmologist take a peek, just ot make sure it is ok. Dr. English at Animal Eye Care in Cary is great, as is the Ophtho service at the vet school. Good luck!

2:00

Angela of GOLO:
Dr. Wages, before you go...please let everyone know a little bit about your practice and how you can be reached.


2:01

Dr. Page Wages:


I am at CareFirst Animal Hospital at Oberlin Road (previously Oberlin Animal Hospital). The number is 832-3107. Stop by anytime!!

Thanks everyone for your questions today!!