Albuquerque Journal Articles

A Career-Ending Injury

By drjeffnichol | December 25, 2023 | Comments Off on A Career-Ending Injury

Third in a series When Jeff and Cathy Robb brought their first collie puppy to me for vaccinations, back in the early 80s, I remember proselytizing on the benefits of training class from my exam room pulpit. They picked up the dog obedience ball and ran with it. When they added Jamie several years later it was clear, early in the game, that they had a stand-out. Jamie was more than a great working dog; she was a cherished pet. In the competition ring she watched Jeff constantly, never missing a cue. At age 11 she was still scoring in…

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Knockout from a Mean Left Hook

By drjeffnichol | December 18, 2023 | Comments Off on Knockout from a Mean Left Hook

Second in a series When Amos rolled Jamie, prepped and sleeping, into surgery I was already scrubbed, gowned, and gloved. I remember standing in front of the x-ray view box (pre-digital) studying the films and planning my strategy. Every case is different. A bone plate might have worked well, had that evil equine been a bit more considerate in aiming his kick. We’d play the hand we were dealt. With Jamie’s blood pressure and heart rhythm stable and her breathing steady, I made my approach. Carefully elevating her gums away from the site of her broken mandible I saw the…

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Horse Play – Fun Until it Isn’t

By drjeffnichol | December 11, 2023 | Comments Off on Horse Play – Fun Until it Isn’t

First in a series We were just wrapping up a routine day of limping, itching, and diarrhea (ah, my patients, not me) when Jamie arrived. She’d been frolicking in the pasture with the neighbor horses when she was kicked by a creature 20 times her size. I remember her sad gaze from the treatment table. This 11 year old black and white Australian shepherd was no stranger. Jamie was one of 3 dogs in Cathy and Jeff Robb’s home, each an obedience competitor. They meant everything to their people in part because of the years they had all invested in…

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Cat Beasts & Feathered Prey

By drjeffnichol | December 4, 2023 | Comments Off on Cat Beasts & Feathered Prey
window cat

Question: I was truly dismayed reading your article in the Albuquerque Journal last Sunday. Feral cats are well known to be a major threat to small birds. The numbers of wild birds have dropped in America since researchers began counting in 1970. Some estimates are 30%. If someone had a pet lion or tiger and let it roam the neighborhood hunting children, would that be acceptable? Of course not. You may not want to admit it, but feral cats are an invasive exotic species, just like the Cheatgrass, Salt cedar, and Tumbleweed. You telling people to respect their freedom-loving pets…

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Sheltering a Feline Recluse

By drjeffnichol | November 27, 2023 | Comments Off on Sheltering a Feline Recluse

Question: We have a beautiful, long-haired black cat hanging around our backyard. My husband feeds the birds but the kitty is hunting and killing them. We set out food for the kid (we call him Louie) so he/she wouldn’t slay the birdies. We can’t get within ten feet before he/she skitters off. With cold weather coming, we purchased a “kitty condo”. It’s insulated and has a large space. He just doesn’t want to get into it. I’ve moved his food bowl into the main entrance and he’s still apprehensive. Dr. Nichol: You’d think that Louie would be delighted with his…

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Running Away from Home – Playful?

By drjeffnichol | November 20, 2023 | Comments Off on Running Away from Home – Playful?
running dog

Question: We adopted “Peaches” from Animal Humane 9 weeks ago. She is a 5 year old Australian cattle dog mix. She has escaped 4 times, like playing, but won’t come when called and bounds away covering lots of territory in a short time. She has crossed Tramway twice. Otherwise she completely blended into our home–so loving, cooperative, fun. Dr. Nichol: I understand how frustrating this is. Peaches means a lot to you. She needs to quit her gleeful and dangerous jail breaks. People like us love our pets like little children in furry suits but that special bond can fool…

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Stinking, Balding Bulldog

By drjeffnichol | November 13, 2023 | Comments Off on Stinking, Balding Bulldog

Question: My bulldog is 9 years old and losing hair. Her skin is dry and it smells bad. Her ears have gooey junk in them and they stink too. Is this just because she is old? Dr. Nichol: Dry skin problems and hair loss are not signs of good health and, except for humans of a certain age, aren’t considered a normal part of membership in AARP. Your bulldog’s foul odor and her infected ears are indicators of a serious skin problem. More than just exuding B.O. she may have seborrhea and chronic infection. I consulted with veterinary skin specialist…

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Feline Athleticism & Failure at the Litter Pan

By drjeffnichol | November 6, 2023 | Comments Off on Feline Athleticism & Failure at the Litter Pan
litter pan

Question: I have an elderly female cat, age 18. She has for 10 years pooped next to the litter box, not in it. In the last month she has started pooping all over the living room and dining room carpet. Once in a while it looks like she had poop stuck since it is smeared like she’s dragging her rear end but most of the time it looks very deliberate. I can’t get her to stop. What can I do??? Dr. Nichol: There is no poop messaging being spelled-out on your carpet. Your cat’s long history of near misses indicates…

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Dribbling Dog Needs Treatment, Not a Garage Bay

By drjeffnichol | October 30, 2023 | Comments Off on Dribbling Dog Needs Treatment, Not a Garage Bay
garage dog

Question: “Sage”, our female Lab mix, began to urinate on the bed during the night. She was diagnosed with a bladder infection, given antibiotics, and the problem disappeared. It reoccurred a couple of months later; another round of antibiotics fixed it. It reoccurred again, and this time the antibiotics had no effect. About the same time, my stepson, his fiancé, and their two dogs moved in with us. While the dogs seem to be coexisting harmoniously our hypothesis is that our Lab’s latest behavior is connected to the extra dogs. Her only issues seem to be at night, so our…

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Baby Boomer Brains & Hitting Balls

By drjeffnichol | October 23, 2023 | Comments Off on Baby Boomer Brains & Hitting Balls
person with dog

Are baby boomers concerned about their cognitive abilities declining? It gets my attention. I published my residency research on cognitive dysfunction syndrome in elderly pets. There’s a whole lot of data, on dogs and on humans, supporting the benefits of healthy stressors like physical exertion and learning hard things. Caring for a pet can also make a difference for the aging human brain A study authored by Jennifer W. Applebaum, sociology PhD candidate at the University of Florida, measured long-term outcomes of cognitive tests on 1369 people over age 50. All participants had normal cognition at the start of the…

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