Dear Dr. Fox:
While I know you advocate feeding pets – especially diabetic ones – homemade food, I wonder if you’d consider this question.
My elderly cat has been on insulin for over five years. I started it at Fancy Feast Classics, but was ashamed to change it to Hill’s m/d. In the summer, he ventured back to Fancy Feast because he loves it so much. Suddenly, his blood sugar dropped like a rock. On a schedule of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for insulin glargine injections, his glucose was 70 to 100 at 1 or 2 a.m., causing unusual behavior to get up and test him.
Could it be m/d keeping blood glucose high? If I cook for him, what should I give him?
M.J., Cheyenne, and Yu.
defender: As I emphasize repeatedly in this column, avoid feeding cats that are high in carbohydrates, as well as regular cat food. I invited vet Greg Martinez (visit dogdishdiet.com) to give his opinion because I admire the nutrition-first approach to animal health issues, which I have advocated for so long, and now feel less professionally lonely!
“Diabetes in cats are thought to be caused by too many calories in the diet and too little activity. Cats who are overweight and inactive develop type 2 diabetes, the insulin-resistant type that also appears in people. A calorie-dense diet is obviously Less calories per ounce, less fat and less starches, has more protein, just a blend of ingredients that cats have evolved to eat (ferrets or other prey).This same combination of ingredients will also help cats lose weight and regulate blood sugar.
Hill’s M/D diet is designed to have less carbohydrates and less fat than other cat foods, but may still contain a lot of simple carbohydrates for some cats. The reason Fancy Feast Classics is so successful is that the ingredients are high in protein, low in fat, and high in fat. Moisture and low calories.
“Your cat may be intolerant of cornstarch at m/d, which can raise blood sugar more than the type of carbohydrate in Fancy Feast Classics — the only type listed is guar gum, a soluble fiber known to help regulate blood sugar.
“Individual cats may do well with different ingredients, and Fancy Feast seems to agree with your cat, while Hill’s m/d doesn’t. You can ask your local pet store for a high-quality, grain-free canned cat food that contains a similar, high-altitude mixture. Protein, low carb, medium fat.
If you are going to make cat food yourself, vet Lisa Pearson has a lot of good information on cooking for your cat: “Making cat food,” by Lisa A. Pearson, DVM “at catinfo.org?link=makingcatfood. The basic recipe calls for 90 percent lean meat and keeps the carbohydrate level at under 10 percent. This high-protein diet is not suitable for cats with kidney problems.
I would urge not to feed animals carrageenan, which can be found in the cat food that Hill describes. Read more on my website, drfoxvet.net.
Dear Dr. Fox:
I read your column about German Shepherds and wait until after a year to be spayed due to a problem with their bone health. I gave the article to my daughter, who rescued a 5-month-old German Shepherd.
I am now reading about how important it is to spay dogs before the first heat cycle to help prevent mammary gland cancer.
What is the best way to go in this situation? My daughter was going to wait until her dog was a year old, but she changed her mind to do so at 6 months, which is a month later.
KK, Fargo, ND
defender: It is a long-standing view that spaying dogs before they are first heated will help prevent mammary gland cancer. Although this is generally true, many other health issues can arise after premature removal of the ovary which, in the final analysis, negates the benefits of early neutering.
My advice is to wait until the dog is close to maturity – about two years – before having the operation.
Some veterinarians now leave the ovaries intact to prevent hormonal deficiencies and imbalances associated with the negative consequences of removing the entire ovary and uterus. This topic is controversial, and more clinical studies and long-term evaluations of the different strains and risk-benefit ratios are needed for complete or partial removal of the genitals.
This may conflict with the animal shelter’s policy of neutering all animals prior to adoption, especially in areas where there are too many breeding animals in the community, and adoptees cannot be trusted to prevent their animals from breeding by keeping intact females on leash when in heat.
Dear Dr. Fox:
While I love the outdoors and am sympathetic to wildlife and the environment, I disagree with your recent statements about “bringing wildlife back” to public lands.
My objection is not to support hunters, fishermen, or mining concerns, but to preserve some of these areas so that my grandchildren and I can hike or camp without fear of attack or death from one of the few deadly predators being reintroduced. My thoughts are usually stated on two issues:
1. Getting things back to normal: This can be supplemented by adding or without deadly predators in the mix. The environment must be repaired in many ways, regardless of whether predators are present or not.
2. Don’t worry because bears, wolves and cougars are afraid of people, and if we don’t bother them, we’ll be safe. This is a blatant mistake. Cougars and bears actually kill quite a few people each year, and any fear they have will quickly fade, as bears in state parks constantly prove.
JB, St. Charles, MO.
defender: Many people share your concerns and concerns about human safety in those parts of our national park system of public lands designated as national parks and wildlife refuges.
Remember, state and federal agencies have been waging war on natural predators for decades, and their extermination is causing significant damage to these ecosystems. Natural healing or carefully performed reintroduction is urgently needed.
Already, our national parks suffer from the influence of many tourists. More people are injured and killed by falling trees, snakes, lightning and climbing accidents, as well as dogs, cattle and horses in the house, more often than wolves, lions and bears.
Despite general impressions that regular human deaths are imminent, this is not true. I recently reached out to Will Stolzenberg, author of The Heart of a Lion, who said, “The last person killed by a mountain lion was in 2008. Indeed, a recent study showed that people’s lives are indeed saved by mountain lions, by preventing collisions with The compounds are lethal to deer (which now kill about 200 people each year.) The study also estimates that if mountain lions were allowed back into the eastern forests, they could save upwards of 155 lives over the next 30 years.
“Another point: many aggressive encounters between humans and bears or lions stem from our hunting of animals, by injuring and hampering well-behaved healthy animals, and by orphans of cubs and desperate kittens. Or, in the case of bears especially, our unwise feeding them predisposes. Possibility of bad encounters. Once again, our fault.”
So beware hikers and campers. Take a can of pepper spray with you, and keep dogs on leash, and children, too. And let us pay equal attention to the endangered children of other species who have no right to be inferior to us, as I emphasize in my book Animals and Nature First.
Michael W. Fox, newsletter author and books on animal welfare, rights, and welfare, veterinarian with a doctorate in medicine and animal behavior. Send messages to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to United Feature Syndicate, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo. 64106.