If you would like to ask one of our veterinarians a general question about your animal or animal disease, please email us at the link below. We will do our best to select appropriate questions and answer them as time allows. If your animal is sick, please DO NOT ask a question here -- call your local veterinarian or emergency clinic. Your patience is appreciated.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grooming Mats from a Cat's Coat?

Dear Dr. Meek,
I have an outdoor barn cat. He is now one year old and has grown very long and thick hair (fur?) which has become quite matted. Will these 'mats' shed off or should I sedate and shave him before the hot days of summer?
Thank you,

Dear Mellissa,

Thank you for your timely question. With spring officially here, our long-haired feline friends are once again starting their winter coat shed. We have two long-haired cats ourselves, one of which we have to shave occasionally, and the other de-mats himself. So, I guess to answer your question, it depends on the cat. If the mats are very thick and closely attached to the skin, it would probably be best to shave off the mats. Cat skin is very thin and easily cut, so take care when clipping the mats off. If he is quite difficult to handle, the best thing would be to bring him into your local veterinarian and have them sedate him and clip off his mats. The problem with mats is that grass seeds can get caught in them and start to cause wounds or abscesses under them before you really know anything is wrong.

I hope that has answered your question. Looking forward to the hot days of summer myself!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cats Outside Overwinter?

Hello Dr. McGraw and Dr. Meek,

Do you think cats would be OK outside in the winter if they have a small heated outdoor cat house to be in when they chose. They would still be fed of course.
This would be in Coeur d’Alene, but the winters are pretty similar…


Hello Mariah,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. To answer your question, as long as your cats are not hairless cats, they should be fine outside during the winter if you provide:
  • a warm place for them to sleep -- a heated kitty house would be fine if they like to use it --access to a garage would be even better
  • fresh water it is important that the water not be ice-covered or frozen
  • food (of course!)
  • and a place to go potty (cat's do not really like to walk in the snow or dig in the snow to go potty -- so a litter box when there is snow would be greatly appreciated!)
  • It would be best if they were outside over the fall as well so they could grow a thick coat of hair. Strictly indoor cats tend not to grow a really thick haircoat over the winter, and so to throw a cat outside when it hasn't been accustomed to cold nights would be kind of cruel.

As I am sure you are aware, outdoor kitties have greater chances to get injured by vehicles, neighborhood dogs and cats, and wild animals. We recommend that cats be kept inside if possible. I realize that in some cases it is not possible, and that some cats just prefer to be outside.

Hope that answers your question!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gestation in Hogs

Dear Dr. McGraw,

I was wondering if you could answer a question about my hog -- how can I tell if she is pregnant? I have had her for 6 weeks and she is not even showing signs that she is.


Dear Beebee,

Thanks for your question. It would be difficult to tell if your sow is pregnant or not. I am sure you are aware that the gestation, the number of days from conception to birth, in hogs is about 114 days. The easiest way to remember that is 3-3-3 -- three months, three weeks, three days. Sows are very predictable that way (not so predictable in other ways!) So you can see that 60 days is only about half way through gestation. In a large sow, you wouldn't be able to tell if she were pregnant or not by just looking at her. In another month or so, you should start to see mammary development.

I hope that helps to answer your question.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Wet or Dry Nose?

Dr. McGraw,
Hi, we just got our lab puppy neutered at Bunchgrass and my mom forgot to ask why his nose is always dry. We give him lots of water, so much that his urine is light yellow. He doesn't act sick and he doesn't have any flaky skin on his snout. It's just always dry. I am just concerned that he might have an infection. There is no discharge either, when he smells something in his nose makes a loud pounding sound. Anyway's, I just wanted to know if I should be concerned. Or if we should put some petroleum jelly on his nose. ~Lily

P. S. I hope the picture attached helps you see what his nose looks like. I love this photo because I took it right after he trashed the bathroom, he looks like, "I didn't make this mess"; pictures say a thousand words.

Taking the wetness or dryness of your dog's nose as a measure of your dog's health is a fine example of an OLD WIVES TALE. There are lots of these in veterinary medicine and life in general.
Dogs don't sweat all over their bodies like we do. They have sweat glands in the skin of their nose and paw pads. (This is one of the reasons they pant when they are hot-- to help them cool.) If the nose is wet they are sweating...if it is dry the are not sweating. It is as simple as that.
There can be some other conditions associated with dry and cracked noses that can be harmful, e.g. solar dermatitis (sunburn), scrapes/infections from digging, or autoimmune conditions, but the nose doesn't look normal. So we need to assess the overall health of your dog and it's skin along with the dry nose. Most dry noses are just that -- dry noses.
I will try post examples of more OLD WIVES TALES in the future.

PS -- Puppies, like kids, love to make messes! Thanks for the picture.