Pets

Pets

How much is too much to spend on a sick pet?

Recently I noticed that J.J., our 12-year-old, black-and-white-spotted mutt, was a little too big around the belly - not in a pregnant way, in a weird way. At the animal hospital, the veterinarian had the reassuring calm of a woman who had delivered a lot of bad news. She said we had to run some "simple tests," costing roughly $1,000.

Books

Veterinarian's book offers help for neurotic pets

A dog who ate wine glasses, a parrot who plucked feathers and a cat who became anorexic after the other cat in his household died are just some of the real-life animals featured in a new book, "Pets on the Couch" (Simon and Schuster, $26), by Nicholas Dodman.

Pets

Lymphoma in canine patients is treatable

Terry has received some bad news about his dog, Brodie, who has been diagnosed with lymphoma. About two weeks ago Terry was playing with Brodie and rough housing with him around his head. Terry felt two masses under the dog’s neck and immediately scheduled an appointment to see his veterinarian.

Pets

Jeff Kahler: Human exposure to disease in cats is not very likely

Ellen from Modesto is the caretaker for Sassy, a 4-year-old tabby cat that Ellen loves dearly. Ellen is also pregnant and has concerns about being pregnant while living with a cat. Sassy is entirely indoors and Ellen has heard – without much detail – about problems that can occur to babies because of the mother’s exposure to cats during their pregnancy. She would like to understand any potential problems and risks.

Pets

Meet Ivy, the beer fetching, picture painting Australian Shepherd

Practically anyone with a dish towel, an empty beer can, a little kibble and whole lot of patience can teach a dog to fetch a beer. Ivy Kite, though, will go you one better: The 3-year-old Australian Shepherd can happily retrieve the single bottle of Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper from a fridge otherwise full of Heinekens. (Because even dogs know craft beer is better.)

Pets

Lisa Moore: Taking proper care of a new family pet

Did the Easter Bunny hop on over and deliver more than just chocolate to your house this year? Did he leave a little furry critter behind? Spring is baby animal season, and while it can be difficult to resist adding a small pet to your Easter basket, once the initial surprise and attention wanes, there is still the responsibility of proper care of the new family pet.

Pets

Jeff Kahler: Changing urinary habits a red flag for problems

Erin from Turlock takes care of Bondo, a 10-year-old cat that lives entirely inside his house. Recently, Erin has noticed Bondo making many more trips to the litter box to urinate and there have been times when blood was noted in the urine. Erin, thank you for your very detailed letter. The more details the better when it comes to figuring out a possible cause for what is disturbing our companions

Pets

Jeff Kahler: Tabby cat needs tests to diagnose chronic problem

Turtle has been having diarrhea on and off for the last three months. She has been treated several times with various medications at least some of which, according to Anne, were antibiotics. The medications have had varying degrees of success in lessening the diarrhea, none have completely eliminated it. Turtle is a 10-year-old tabby kitty.

Pets

Lisa Moore: Methods can help take the fear of of vet visits for pets

Many animal lovers across the nation know exactly who Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, is. An author of more than 20 pet-related books, the resident veterinary contributor on “Good Morning America” for 17 years, the chief veterinary correspondent on Animal Radio and, well, I could go on and on. Becker has spent his life caring for pets and their people.

Pets

Jeff Kahler: Examination, tests needed to diagnose arthritis in cat

Phyllis is a loyal reader who wrote in with a question concerning her cat, Mathilda. The 12-year-old indoor cat has slowed down quite a bit in the past year or so. She seems to be eating and drinking well, but she sleeps more than she used to and has trouble jumping onto furniture, something she used to do with minimal effort. Phyllis thinks it’s probably due to arthritis and advancing age. She has read about treatment for arthritis in dogs but wonders what she can use to treat her cat.

Pets

Jeff Kahler: What to do when abnormal growth arises on your pet

Andrea from Allentown, Pa., has a Queensland heeler named Jake. Jake is 8 years old and in very good condition, according to Andrea. Recently, he has developed a lump on the underside of his neck and she has noticed it getting a bit larger in the last few weeks. Andrea points out that this lump does not appear painful or to affect Jake in any way. She wants to know what she should do.

Pets

Lisa Moore: Sports help dog, owner develop strong bonds

One of the smartest things I ever did was to get into dog sports. I’m naturally a competitive person, so that was a draw, but mostly it was about developing a strong bond with my dog through lots of training and practice, and being around people who were just as crazy about dogs as I was. When I started decades ago (I won’t reveal how many!), dog sports were open only to registered pure-bred dogs; now most are open to mixed breeds as well.

Videos

Meet Ivy, the beer fetching, picture painting Australian Shepherd

Practically anyone with a dish towel, an empty beer can, a little kibble and whole lot of patience can teach a dog to fetch a beer. Ivy Kite, though, will go you one better: The 3-year-old Australian Shepherd can happily retrieve the single bottle of Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper from a fridge otherwise full of Heinekens. (Because even dogs know craft beer is better.)
Video by T.Ortega Gaines ogaines@charlotteobserver.com
Meet Ivy, the beer fetching, picture painting Australian Shepherd 1:58

Meet Ivy, the beer fetching, picture painting Australian Shepherd

Calling on cell phones to bridge early reading divide 0:57

Calling on cell phones to bridge early reading divide

Growing Oakdale silk-screen firm does award-winning work 0:57

Growing Oakdale silk-screen firm does award-winning work

Flight of fancy in Turlock 2:30

Flight of fancy in Turlock