Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 7-year-old longhaired male Chihuahua.
Twice now, he has needed veterinary care and had horrible results.
The first visit, I had them trim his nails. He was so scared and fought them so much that they had to hold him very tightly, and he cried for the next two days whenever I would pick him up.
The second time, he snagged a nail in my bedspread and pulled so hard to get free that he almost pulled the nail out. I rushed him to my veterinarian’s office, where they took him in the back, removed that nail and trimmed the others. When the doctor came in, he told me what they had done and that Sammie was so scared he had stopped breathing and was turning blue.
I am scared to take him to be neutered. I’m scared that he’ll be so frightened that he’ll stop breathing again, or have a problem with the anesthesia.
I am hoping you can ease my anxiety with a way I can get him neutered safely, so he can live a long, healthy life. S.M., Cape Coral, Florida
Dear S.M.: Your veterinarian should prescribe an oral sedative to give to your dog, prior to an ideally in-home visit.
It is important to get dogs used to having their paws and gums massaged, teeth brushed and nail-tips clipped from as early an age as possible.
Also, get them used to being held. Puppy “cradling” is essential conditioning. Properly hold the pup in your arms, gently and securely, and hold on if there is struggling. Do not release until the pup is calm and relaxed.
For various reasons, many veterinarians are backing away from neutering small dogs. I see no reason you should think about neutering your dog, considering his age and temperament.
Dear Dr. Fox: My cat has a small bump on its jaw that the vet thinks is a tumor. It is firm, and doesn’t seem to bother him. Is there anything I can use, such as oils or supplements, that would help him to fight this? A.T., Rolla, Missouri
Dear A.T.: Keep an eye on the growth. It could be cancer or a dental-root abscess causing jawbone inflammation. Cats are prone to chronic dental problems, which can get worse with age.
Give your cat a few drops of fish oil daily for its anti-inflammatory properties. Begin with one drop in his food, and work up to five drops per meal. Meals should ideally consist of canned cat food fed in small amounts, five or six times a day.
If the lump gets larger or the cat shows any discomfort eating, see the vet, again.