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Pet's Motion Sickness: Try Drugs, Patience

ASK THE VET

June 02, 1988|Dr. GLENN ERICSON | Got a question about your pet? Write Dr. Glenn Ericson, Ask the Vet, Orange County Life, L.A. Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn

Q: My son has just purchased a 4-month-old thoroughbred Irish setter. Through the years we have had four Irish setters; all lived to be 14 years of age. The one my son has is well-behaved but dreads getting into a car. My son has to lift him in, and he drools and then gets sick. We have never experienced this with the other setters. My son likes to take his dog on drives up to Griffith Park, and they go for long walks. I live in Laguna Hills and when they drive down, my son doesn't feed him, but the dog gets sick anyway. As soon as he gets out of the car, he is fine.

The other problem is, my son wants to find a good veterinarian in the Los Angeles area, near Farmers Market and Beverly Hills.

I would be most grateful if you can give us the name of a good vet and any suggestions as to how to stop this car sickness.

Helen Kennedy,

Laguna Hills

A: Car or motion sickness is relatively common in both children and young pets. In most cases, the condition resolves itself with time and familiarity of driving. However, some individuals may need medication to control the nausea and the anxiety of travel that often initiates the nausea. Your son is taking the right approach of trying to relieve any fear that this pup has about the car, but since the dog seems to be healthy and active in all other respects, he may want to try the dog on some motion-sickness medication such as Dramamine, given at a child's dose, approximately one-half hour before traveling. His veterinarian may want to examine the pup and may prescribe an anti-emetic, such as Darbazine, or even a sedative if the dog seems to be very apprehensive about car travel. Patience, not punishment, is very important in resolving this problem. To help you locate a veterinarian in your son's immediate area, I suggest you call the Southern California Veterinarian Medical Assn. office at (714) 523-0980 and they will be able to supply you with a list of well-qualified vets.

Q: I would like information on how to introduce an adult male cat to a 3-year-old altered female in-house cat who is very antisocial(through the window or screen). The male came to us thin, hungry and craving affection. He is a darling cat and would love to come into the house. The two cats sit and gaze at each other for five or 10 minutes, but the female will eventually sit, scream or box at the window with her paws. Is there any way you can suggest getting them to be on a friendly basis? The female has never been out of the house to roam, and we have many times thought she would be happier with a friend when we leave her alone. She is a bobtail that we found at the animal shelter, and she has always been a little wild, never liking to be handled or collared. She is, however, affectionate on her own terms. She was 4 or 5 months old and would growl at being held. She still does. On the plus side, she is exceptionally smart, alert and sensitive to what we say to her and retrieves specific toys when thrown or offered to her for attention.

Marla Creger,

Huntington Beach

A: You have a very difficult situation to deal with in your household. Your female cat is obviously the ruler of the house/territory and is not interested in any newcomers. From her history, she may have some socialization problems with people as well. You must first find out if the male cat is neutered and, if not, get him neutered before trying to introduce him to your home. You will probably need separate litter boxes and feeding dishes as a starter. You may have to keep the cats in different parts of the house to eliminate visual contact with each other, and yet both cats will gradually become aware of the other. Another method is to confine the male cat to a cage or crate and allow the female to approach and investigate the stranger without direct threat or contact. Allow plenty of affection for both cats and be very patient. In many cases, a compromise cannot be reached and you will have to make a decision of keeping the cats totally separated or finding a home for the male. You may have better luck by introducing a kitten rather than an adult cat into the house. Good luck!

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