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Published June 10, 2011, 12:00 AM

Pet Care: Changes may help shedding

Dear Dr. Fox: Do all Siamese cats shed? My 5-year-old keeps shedding and shedding, no matter how much I brush her. She has numerous white flakes on her back. She also vomits now and then, but it seems less often since I’ve been brushing her daily.

By: Dr. Michael Fox, INFORUM

Dear Dr. Fox: Do all Siamese cats shed? My 5-year-old keeps shedding and shedding, no matter how much I brush her. She has numerous white flakes on her back. She also vomits now and then, but it seems less often since I’ve been brushing her daily.

The other day after brushing and seeing all the dandruff, I bathed her with Vet Solutions Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo and used Tropiclean Oxy Med Medicated Oatmeal Treatment Rinse. Afterward, the hair came to the surface of her back in clumps and there was more dandruff. Later that night, I brushed her again and used pramoxine HCI spray and rubbed it into her scalp. Handfuls of hair came out again, and yet she has no bald patches.

This has been going on all her life, but it seems much worse now. I rarely resort to all that bathing and rinsing. I use the FURminator or the wire brush, and she loves it. She eats well and drinks lots of water. Her food is Nutro Natural Choice Indoor Active Health Adult, ocean-fish flavor, and I usually put a few drops of olive oil on top. I’ve tried Halo, Science Diet, Wellness and many others.

I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. The vet says she’s healthy, and the girls at work say their cats shed and lick a lot, too. – J.D., North Palm Beach, Fla.

Dear J.D.: Olive, flaxseed and other vegetable oils are good for dogs’ coats and skin but lack some of the essential fatty acids that cats need. Cats require oils and fats of animal origin such as wild salmon or cod-liver oil. Organic butter is also an excellent source for cats in particular.

I find it best to groom my cats once a week with the FURminator and daily with a medium-hard bristle brush. The more deeply and vigorously you groom a cat, the more fur you will remove and the more they will produce – so all things in moderation!

Stress can make cats suddenly shed; and chronic shedding and constant licking/scratching in both dogs and cats could mean there is an underlying nutritional or other health issue that calls for a thorough veterinary checkup.


Dear Dr. Fox: My husband watches the game show “Jeopardy” in the afternoon; it features a tune reminiscent of “The Syncopated Clock.” When that particular song comes on toward the end, Patch (our Brittany spaniel) howls in tempo with the music! I videotaped those few minutes of “Jeopardy,” and we have occasionally played it for friends. Each time, Patch has performed on cue. He also sings along with the “ESPN SportsCenter” theme and with the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” opening. But he is most vocal with the “Jeopardy” theme. – K.P., St. Louis, Mo.

Dear K.P.: Your Patch is one of many TV-exposed dogs who are clearly more tuned in to certain programs than one might expect. Behavioral studies can demystify why certain songs appeal to them, showing that certain notes on a particular pitch trigger an instinctive response because those notes are part of the animal’s vocal repertoire.

Howling or “singing” is a common canid trait that can be triggered by certain notes that are similar to the natural sounds that dogs, coyotes and wolves make.

As for watching TV, it is especially amusing when some dogs take a particular dislike to certain newscasters and bark and growl when they come on the screen. Dogs do enjoy some types of music, especially classical, and the CD “Through a Dog’s Ear” seems to be appreciated by many canine audiophiles.


Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website at www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.

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