Q. My Dalmatian has had two surgeries to remove stones. He's limited now to a special dog food. It is very expensive. Is there something else I could feed my dog? Is there a way I could buy in bulk? My dog is healthy now, 5 months after the last surgery.
A. Dalmatians frequently have a particular type of bladder stone problem that is not common in other dogs. The special diet that your dog is eating is specially formulated to help prevent the formation of these stones. This is done by restricting the protein and mineral intake and keeping the urine pH alkaline, thus not allowing the concentration of elements to crystallize in the urine and form stones. Since your dog has already had two surgeries to remove the stone, I would recommend that you keep him on the diet. The expense of the diet is worth the long-term health of your dog and less expensive than frequent surgeries to correct the condition.
Q. My miniature Schnauzer has started scooting on his rear on the carpet. I don't see any sores or worms, and his stool isn't hard. The coat is OK, and he is groomed every 6 to 8 weeks. What could be the problem?
A. Scooting or rubbing the rectum on the carpet most often indicates that your dog needs to have his anal sacs drained. There is a small sac on each side of the rectum that contains a very foul-smelling material that dogs use for marking their scent. In most cases, a dog is able to express his anal sacs on his own, but if the duct leading to the outside becomes plugged, the sacs will swell and become tender. If left untreated, these sacs may become infected and abscessed, requiring surgery. Scooting is a method of trying to express these full anal sacs. Have your veterinarian examine and drain the anal sacs, checking for signs of infection. The area should also be checked for possible tumors or the presence of tapeworms, since both of these conditions may also cause irritation. Your groomer should also express the anal sacs when he works on the dog.
With the summer weather here, please remember not to leave your pets locked in your cars while you go shopping or traveling. Even with the windows left partially open, the temperature inside a car can climb to fatal levels.
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.