YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Tests Needed to Find Cause of Tender Back

December 28, 1989|DR. GLENN ERICSON | Ericson is a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is immediate past president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn

Q. Our 4-year-old female shorthair cat is starting to become very tender over the lower back to the tail base and will occasionally attempt to bite us if we pet her too much there. There doesn't appear to be any sores, and she has very few fleas, if any. Most of the time, we can pet and scratch her without any problems, but when she does get sensitive, her bite hurts. Is there something we can do for her? Does she have some kind of skin disease? There is no hair loss and she acts normally otherwise.

S. Marnz, Seal Beach

A. What you have described is most likely a condition called feline hyperesthesia, and it may be very difficult to diagnose a cause. It is a neurological condition that can be the result of sensitive skin, fleas allergy, injury to the back or spine, or hormonal or even nutritional disorders.

You should have her examined by your veterinarian so that a few tests can be performed. It may be necessary to do a skin scraping or fungal culture if there are any lesions present. Her anal sacs will need to be checked, and a spinal radiograph may be necessary to rule out any injury or disorder to the back bones.

If nothing is found to be clinically wrong, your veterinarian may want to start her on medications to reduce the irritation and sensitivity. In some cases, a cat may never completely get over the problem. You may have to avoid petting her in these areas.

Q. What is the easiest way to teach our puppy to walk on a leash? She is a 14-week-old Lhasa Apso and is getting used to wearing a collar. When we try to lead her on a leash, we end up dragging her or she starts to thrash about and refuses to walk. What do you suggest?

Sandy McCrain, Anaheim

A. To train your puppy to walk on a leash, you must first get her to accept the leash as part of her collar. It may be helpful to attach the lead to the collar and let her walk around with it on, so that she gets used to it being on her. After she adapts to that, pick up the lead and let her walk at her own pace to where ever she wanders. Soon you will be able to guide her along with you by gently tugging on the lead if she starts to stray. If she plants her feet and refuses to walk, don't just drag her. She will soon start to walk again and generally follow you about while you have the lead in your hand. As she gets older and starts to understand your commands, you will have less problems with her. She is still a pretty young dog and has a short attention span. Be patient.

Los Angeles Times Articles