Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ask the Vet: When is it Time?

Guest post by Dr. Scott Sanderson

Q. My black cat Zippo is 15 or 16 years old. He licks his belly raw so he's been living on steroid shots, but I can't continue to afford to keep doing this. Now he throws up often enough and has bowel movements every few days, and lately that might be on the rug instead of up in the box, though he always urinates up there (away from dog). Since I also must pay to put him down, I don't know that when it's time if I can afford another doc visit and tests, etc. Once in awhile he cries loudly before throwing up. He still seeks contact once or twice a day (always an affectionate cat but not sleeping on the bed lately either). Money is a factor. Keeping his health up always cost plenty but now the drug is probably affecting an organ or two. So, when is the time? All the new rugs are stained now.

A. When is it time? This is the most difficult question indeed that clients ask me. I have had to ask that question myself for my own animals.

You know this cat better than anyone on earth. Your bonding and love is obvious in that you are doing the best you can to make him comfortable. Listen to and watch your cat carefully. When he is ready to "cross the bridge," he will let you know somehow. In this case, I don't think it's time yet but you may be close.

Take him off all dry high carb foods and feed him fish or turkey diets. Use a pinch or 1/4 teaspoon of tumeric powder on each meal. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and will help his skin condition. Steroid shots treat the symptoms but rarely cure the root of the disease.

Got a pet-related health question? Use this form to Ask the Vet. Scott Sanderson DVM runs the Animal Wellness Center in Columbia, MD and is a sponsor of Columbia Dogs on the Go. He is a certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and has completed training in the Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET). Dr. Sanderson is a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncturists, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Animal Hospital Association. He is a local resident of Howard County, and a past president of the Howard County Veterinary Medical Association.