Dear Daisy Dog:
My boyfriend's buddies are coming over to watch the Super Bowl. I'm afraid they'll give Brady, our miniature Schnauzer, snack food and beer, and Brady will get sick. Am I worried for nothing?
You are right to be concerned. The problem you're asking about has actually earned a name: Super Bowl Syndrome.
People food is fine for humans, but dogs can get mighty sick from eating too much of it. Dogs with certain diseases, and even particular breeds of dogs, are at increased risk.
For example, miniature Schnauzers like Brady are susceptible to pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. Even small amounts of fatty foods like buttered popcorn, nuts, ribs and cheese can trigger vomiting and abdominal pain.
If Brady has heart disease, he should stay away from salt. That means no potato chips, pretzels or lunch meat that might cause fluid buildup and breathing problems.
Your boyfriend and his chums may not realize that some foods they enjoy are toxic to dogs. For instance, onions and garlic damage red blood cells, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, and macadamia nuts produce tremors and loss of coordination.
The artificial sweetener xylitol induces liver damage, hypoglycemia and seizures in dogs.
Don't let anyone give Brady beer, not just because he's underage, but because alcoholic beverages are toxic to dogs.
Forbid your boyfriend and his buddies from giving Brady any people food or drink. Instead, offer your pooch a new toy to keep him occupied so he doesn't beg. Or settle down with him elsewhere to watch the movie "Because of Winn-Dixie."
°°°Dear Christopher Cat:
When my cat yawns, I can see that an area of her gums is red and swollen. I took her to the veterinarian, who said she has a resorptive lesion, which is something like a cavity.
We scheduled an appointment with the veterinary dentist, but I want to learn more about resorptive lesions before the visit.Christopher responds:
Resorptive lesions occur when the body dissolves and absorbs portions of a tooth. A small hole may appear, or enough of the tooth may be resorbed that the crown of the tooth fractures.
Although tooth resorption is the most common dental disease in cats, its cause is unknown. It occurs most often in older females; purebreds are more commonly affected than mixed-breed cats. Another risk factor is ingesting too much vitamin D.
Clinical signs include an area of reddened gum covering the lesion, mouth pain, bad breath, drooling, head shaking, pawing at the mouth, lethargy and decreased appetite, especially for dry food.
Sometimes the tooth's root is resorbed, so dental radiographs (X-rays) are needed to help the veterinarian determine how to treat the tooth. Usually the affected tooth is extracted.
Other names for resorptive lesions are feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs) and neck lesions, because they often start on the neck of the tooth, the area between the tooth's crown and root.Ask the Vet's Pets appears Friday in the print edition of the Reading Eagle. The animal authors of the column live with Lee Pickett, V.M.D., who practices companion animal medicine. Contact them at www.askthevetspets.com.