Albuquerque Journal Articles

Bitter Pill for Pain? It just got Better

By drjeffnichol | March 4, 2024 | Comments Off on Bitter Pill for Pain? It just got Better
german shepherd

Limping is a strong clue, but a dog who’s not prone to drama may just get up more slowly or try turning back on leash walks. Arthritic cats might quit jumping onto the counter or their cavorting may have lost its youthful flourish. Some kitties start making unpleasant deposits because it’s gotten painful climbing into the litter pan. Arthritis lasts a lifetime. Oral medications like Rimadyl for dogs and Metacam for cats often help. And most pets do fine but there can be adverse effects including stomach and intestinal damage and injury to the kidneys or liver. There are new…

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Don’t Say “No to Drugs”. Say “Yes” to Modern Medicine

By drjeffnichol | February 26, 2024 | Comments Off on Don’t Say “No to Drugs”. Say “Yes” to Modern Medicine

Last in a series Koko’s anxiety extended far beyond her antipathy against aerial aliens and her TV predator panic. She pestered for attention, nudging and pawing her people to distraction. She followed from room to room. They couldn’t even enjoy their privacy in the loo. Annoying? Sure. But from my side the of the exam table I saw a dog who desperately needed peace, not to mention her long suffering humans. Half -baked attempts to improve behavior disorders deliver paltry results. Pets like Koko deserve the best shot at a good life. Research-based behavior modification and management methods were essential.…

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Hiding from Life’s Problems: A Good Strategy

By drjeffnichol | February 19, 2024 | Comments Off on Hiding from Life’s Problems: A Good Strategy
dog waiting at door

Fourth in a series Koko’s fear of her backyard and its airborne threats were making her crazy. There would be no point in applying human behavior solutions; she wasn’t a little person in a furry suit. She was a dog: a denning creature. Her species can find security in a snug enclosure. Her well-meaning people tried putting her in a wire crate which, unfortunately, felt like a cage to her. There’s an easy fix for this common error. I advised Jan and Marty to use a sheet to cover the top and all sides of the crate except the bottom…

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Airborne Monstrosities – High Anxiety

By drjeffnichol | February 12, 2024 | Comments Off on Airborne Monstrosities – High Anxiety

Third in a series Jan and Marty enjoyed watching the hot air balloons drift over their Corrales home but Koko’s arrival changed that and a whole lot more. This wigged-out adolescent Labradoodle became terrified of the backyard sky. She’d been blessed with an idyllic puppyhood, the best food and a loving family, so she couldn’t blame her mother. Koko also fixated on window reflections with growing terror. Dogs on TV, who she thought were running at her, scared her witless. Even when not suffering an adrenaline surge she desperately needed to be with her people, nudging and following, sometimes mounting…

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The Sky can be a Scary Place

By drjeffnichol | February 5, 2024 | Comments Off on The Sky can be a Scary Place

Second in a series “Little Dog” had matted fur and a dangling leg but he was in otherwise good shape, for a 20# canine street urchin. The damage was long past any hope of improvement; only amputation could relieve this boy of his constant ache. With Marty already attached to him I remember thinking that all three of us were lucky to have met. Surgery was uneventful. Little Dog went on to live a long and playful 3-legged life. Pretty soon a nice lady, Jan, began to accompany Marty to Little Dog’s veterinary appointments. It was clear from the start…

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Gas Abuse; Paw Pain

By drjeffnichol | January 29, 2024 | Comments Off on Gas Abuse; Paw Pain
man and dog

First in a series Frustrations come with every job. I’ve been lucky. Problems that have risked baldness, you know – tearing out my hair – have been followed by good things. Most pets get well. Bonds are forged with their people. Veterinary medicine is challenging but it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. A few years into my life as owner of the Adobe Animal Clinic I’d sent Amos, Heidi, and our other staff home on time, most days, but as we got busier they started looking frazzled. So I hired Mike, a high school student, to come in after…

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Don’t Let Your Cat Fool You

By drjeffnichol | January 22, 2024 | Comments Off on Don’t Let Your Cat Fool You
scared cat

Do you examine your cat’s teeth? That would mean putting him on a table under a bright light with an assistant gently holding his shoulders as you slowly open his mouth big enough to see all of his choppers. Actually, about the only time that really happens is during the annual physical exam. What? Your cat doesn’t see the doctor every year? Don’t feel bad. A lot of cats hate the veterinary clinic. There’s a widespread belief that kitties little need for medical care, that they pretty much take care of themselves. What nonsense! Other than hiding their illnesses they’re…

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Trans-window Hissing Contest

By drjeffnichol | January 15, 2024 | Comments Off on Trans-window Hissing Contest
cats looking out window

Question: I have 2 cats, 10 months old. We have recently let them go outside. A few days ago another cat showed up in our garden. I took my cats inside as I was afraid they were going to fight. They kept hissing at each other through the window. When I went outside to shoo the new cat away she turned out to be very friendly. Should I let my cats outside and see what happens? Dr. Nichol: Your fuzzy visitor knows the difference between a kindly human and a couple of scaredy cats holed up behind a window. She…

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Shocking Food Fights

By drjeffnichol | January 8, 2024 | Comments Off on Shocking Food Fights
dog with food bowl

Question: I have a 55# pit mix, Molly, with food guarding. I have pet gates set up for feeding to avoid conflict but recently the gate got left open. Molly walked over to my 10 pound dog to eat her food, the little dog growled and Molly attacked. I intervened immediately and no one was injured. I took Molly to a trainer. They put an electric shock collar on her. This doesn’t sit right with me. Molly was extremely uncomfortable and the shock collar does not seem like a long term solution to me. Dr. Nichol: Most dogs are sure…

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Knocked Down, a Good Dog Gets Back Up

By drjeffnichol | January 1, 2024 | Comments Off on Knocked Down, a Good Dog Gets Back Up

Last in a series Jamie’s mandatory retirement from obedience competition at age 11 was followed by an acting gig, appearing in the Albuquerque Little Theatre production “Of Mice & Men”, to rave reviews, I might add. Not even the casting director noticed her two missing teeth.  Cathy and Jeff have said that she may have been the best dog they ever had – but they’ve thought that of each of their dogs. Jamie was nobody’s fool. She never chased another horse. When Jeff and Cathy went rummaging through stacks of old photos it came to them why Jamie’s massive facial/skull…

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