Q. My cat is 16 weeks old and weighs just 2 pounds. She had coccidiosis when we first got her at 7 weeks but now has a good appetite and has tested negative for worms. She looks like a typical mixed-breed house cat with some Siamese and Persian features. Should I be concerned about her lack of growth?
A. At 4 months of age, the "average" cat would probably weigh more than 2 pounds, but it is not uncommon to have a cat remain small, even as an adult. Since your cat has a good appetite and appears to be normal otherwise, there may be no cause for concern about her development. However, if she is extremely thin or very lethargic, you should have her examined by your veterinarian. With her stool samples negative for worms, your vet may want to do some blood tests to evaluate the cat's enzymes and protein levels, as well as some hormonal blood levels. The stools should be checked for excess fats, blood and other nutrients that may indicate an intestinal disorder or digestive malfunction. If all these are normal, you may need to increase the number and amount of feedings, change diet to a feline growth formula and add vitamin supplements.
By supplying good nutrition, proper vaccinations and preventive care, you will be giving your kitty its best chance for normal development. The rest is genetics. You may have a perfectly normal, healthy, small cat.
Q. Recently, with the warm weather, my girlfriend and I have gone horseback riding and have noticed that our horses will sweat profusely with exercise. My dog will often go along with us but never sweats. He only pants and drinks lots of water. My friend says that dogs cannot sweat. Is this true? How do they cool off?
A. Your friend is right to a certain point. Dogs do not sweat to exchange body heat because their only sweat secretings or merocrine sweat glands are in the pads of the feet. They exchange body heat through panting, with a small amount of loss through the skin as their blood vessels dilate. You should be very careful about running your dog with the horses on very hot days. It could lead to heat exhaustion.
The L.A. County Fair starts Sept. 15 and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn. will be conducting three surgical demonstrations daily for the public to observe and learn what is involved in spay surgery. There will be a narrator to explain the procedure to you and answer questions.