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Published July 15, 2011, 12:00 AM

Pet Care: Expose animal abuse

Dear Dr. Fox: Would you please comment on “Undercover TV,” regarding the filming of mistreated livestock and dogs used for food in China.

By: Dr. Michael Fox, INFORUM

Dear Dr. Fox: Would you please comment on “Undercover TV,” regarding the filming of mistreated livestock and dogs used for food in China.

It bothers me a great deal and I’d like to know if things have improved, because a lot of the videos are dated. – S.G., Highland, NY

Dear S.G.: Many “undercover” films have been produced that document the cruel and ignorant mistreatment of “downer” cows going to slaughter and the unimaginable conditions under which pigs, hens, broiler chickens and veal calves are raised on factory farms and cow-and-beef-cattle feedlots. Check my website for my own photo-documentation. These food animal production systems must be phased out for animal health and welfare.

Being informed, thousands of people have chosen to become vegetarian or vegan or to only consume meat and poultry from certified, organic free-range systems.

Documentary films showing dogs and cats being captured and butchered in China and some other countries in the Far East are part of the process of social change. Making such undercover films is not without risk and could mean imprisonment in some countries, notably here in America, where states such as Iowa, Minnesota and Florida have legislation pending to make it a criminal offense for anyone filming what goes on in puppy mills and livestock and poultry factories, slaughter plants and animal-testing laboratories. Such legislation should be opposed, since financial interests should not trump ethics and compassion.

Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 9-year-old golden retriever who developed allergies last fall. The diagnosis from the vet was startling to me, as I did not realize that this could occur so late in her life.

Her belly turned blackish in color, and the vet said this was due to inflammation. We started treatment with antihistamines. After a week, she didn’t appear better, so I took her back and a round of steroids was then prescribed, which seemed to help. I then kept her on antihistamines until we had a hard frost. With spring approaching, the vet recommended starting up the antihistamines well before we thaw in upstate New York. I am assuming the vet would want her to remain on them until the next winter and frost.

I am not crazy about keeping her on meds for such a prolonged period. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations?

Her diet consists of a mix of Iams lamb/rice and Nutro Max lamb/rice. In addition, I mix in a scrambled egg and cheese (in the morning). Her evening meal gets a homemade mix of chicken, mixed vegetables and some type of grain (barley, rice, oats). – C.T., Red Hook, N.Y.

Dear C.T.: Seasonal allergies in dogs are an all too common affliction, generally developing in older dogs, who develop a hypersensitivity to certain allergens after repeated seasonal exposures. Leaf mold and grass pollen in the fall are common culprits. Early flowering grasses and other plants in the spring can also be triggers and “crossing over” can occur when hypersensitivity to one allergen leads to a greater sensitivity to other allergens.

First, avoid vaccinations, anti-flea/tick treatments and other drugs that may aggravate your dog’s condition. A soothing oatmeal-, chamomile- or baby-shampoo every couple of weeks to remove allergens from her fur may help along with cotton towels to lie on (washed weekly). Food supplements such as Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed oil and local honey or bee pollen help many dogs with skin problems.

I would not start her on antihistamines until the first indications of skin reactivity are evident since these preventive measures may suffice.

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