Question:
I recently moved to Albuquerque from Colorado. I have two yellow Labs. They have always shed hair, but it seems to have gotten worse since the move. I brush them daily. Do the supplements advertised in pet supply catalogs actually work to minimize shedding?

Dr. Nichol:
Naw. A supplement would help if you fed a poor quality diet (sawdust, dirt, cheap food, generic). The shedding is more likely due to stress from the move. Give your two good Labs lots of love, exercise, and extra brushing. As working dogs they will do best with scheduled activities every day. Obedience or agility training, several hours at doggy daycare, careers as therapy dogs, or maybe a part time job (not fast food).

The supplement business is booming. Along with anti-aging creams, hair restorers, and snake oil it’s a great hustle. We pet lovers must be easy marks.

Question:
I took my 7-year old cat to the veterinarian because she began drooling. After an exam and blood work, they told me she has a tooth with resorption that needs to be extracted. I was also told that dental x-rays would identify other problem teeth but that they don’t do dental x-rays. I hate to find another veterinarian but I want my cat taken care of properly.

Dr. Nichol:
There’s nothing like tooth pain to spoil someone’s day. Cats are good at hiding chronic aches; they’re the John Waynes of the pet world. Kitties with suspicious teeth need dental x-rays. It’s the only way to know if they’re lying.

Your veterinarian is right; that bad tooth needs to go. Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL) are nasty erosions on a tooth’s outer surface. Once the process of decay has started there is no stopping it. Extraction of all affected teeth is the only worthwhile treatment.

Have your cat anesthetized only once. The x-rays can be taken, the teeth evaluated, and the bad ones extracted – all in one procedure. Your veterinarian can to refer you to veterinary dentist Dr. Kris Bannon (505- 471-0747). Once your cat’s dental work is complete she’ll be back in the competent hands of your regular veterinarian.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or podcast to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.