Ask the Vet - Dr. Whitehead • Dr. Forsythe


Stand up and do the right thing

Dear Dr. Forsythe: I have been putting off writing in about this topic for some time now, but after reading the column last week about the dog jumping out of then truck, I just felt like it was time to tell you about something I witnessed a few weeks ago and didn’t quite know what to do about.  While I was parked in a quiet neighborhood in Rohnert Park waiting for my son to come out of his music lesson, I saw something terrible happen in front of one of the houses nearby.  A man was trying to get his dog to come inside, and the dog wasn’t listening very well.  After calling and hollering at the pet for close to a minute, he ran out towards the dog and grabbed it by the mane and started pulling it back towards the house.  He also got behind the dog and kicked it and kept screaming at it until they were back in the house.  I had been asleep in my car parked on the street, and the guy doing this obviously didn’t know I was watching-and horrified, as he yanked and kicked the poor dog over and over.  The dog was large and looked to be a mixed breed, and I heard it cry out and yelp as he manhandled and roughed it up. I have felt a non stop pit in my stomach ever since.  I can’t get the sight of that poor dog out of my mind, and I’ll never forget the sound it made as he kicked her so hard from behind.  I just wish I had spoken up or done something.  Instead, I was paralyzed.  Is it too late?  Is there something I can do now?  When my son came to the car, he noticed that I had been crying.  I wasn’t even able to tell him what I’d seen, I just told him my eyes were red because of allergies.

Sign me, Living a lie in Rohnert Park

Dear Living a lie: Thanks for your bravery in telling me about this incident.  Please pick up the phone and call Animal Care and Control in Santa Rosa at 565.7100 or contact the Sheriff’s Department.  You can report cases of animal cruelty to these agencies and it is their job to follow up and investigate.  What you witnessed was a disgusting and heinous example of animal cruelty that was no accident – it sounds like rage and temper being taken out viciously on an innocent dog.  You should be prepared to tell the agency details about what you witnessed and the address where this incident took place. Hearing your story made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and made me feel queasy.  I think it is important for people to stand up and have their voices heard, but the paralysis of fear can prevent even the most kind-hearted among us from being able to rise up.  And had you been brazen and gotten in this man’s face during his abusive rage, you might have been placing yourself in harms way.  Having spent some time ruminating over this and allowing yourself to feel the impact of this terrible incident, I am proud that you want to stand up and advocate for this poor dog.  I commend you for making the call and reporting this hideous incident to the proper authorities who can take action. It is my personal opinion that animal abuse is so sadistic and putrid that it compares to the bullying in our society.  People who witness such unacceptable and monstrous things are doing a good deed by mustering up the strength and fortitude to report such crimes.  Thank you for doing the right thing and for sharing your story. – Dr. F

Dear Dr. Forsythe: My dog has very loose stools.  This has been the case for a long, long time.  I’ve gotten input from vets, friends, and even the guy at the pet store.  What do you think the most likely thing is?  I’m so tired of her delicate stomach, and having to clean up all the diarrhea if she gets into anything. – Sign me, A loose cannon.

Dear Loose Cannon: I don’t blame you!  Having a dog with loose stools and diarrhea would be very tiring and concerning.  If this has been going on for a very long time, and you have tried various recommendations from everybody ranging from Aunt Blue-belle to your family veterinarian, I would suspect that your dog probably has IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).  This is a very common malady in dogs and cats where the intestines are exquisitely sensitive and have a difficult time processing food. Usually diagnosis of this disease requires a workup from your veterinarian and may even require that he or she obtain small samples from your pet’s GI tract to examine microscopically.  The good news is that there are medicines that can help remedy the situation and help firm up your pet’s stool quality-assuming that IBD is the disease that your veterinarian confirms. (Other possible diagnoses could include endoparasites, infections, pancreatitis or stress).  One example of a medication that can be helpful with IBD is Budesinide – this is a type of steroid that stays in the GI tract rather than disseminates throughout the body like Prednisone, so there are fewer systemic side effects  and some very good benefits.

One thing is for sure – diarrhea is a miserable thing for dog and pet owner alike, especially over the long haul.  I know I myself would rather be strapped in front of the television and forced to watch back to back episodes of  TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” rather than constantly clean up my dog’s blow out diarrhea.  I feel your pain and suggest you wipe out this problem once and for all. – Dr. F

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