Weekly article archive

The following questions and answers have appeared in my weekly column in the Albuquerque Journal since July, 1996. Each week a new one is added. You'll find information on the physical and behavioral maladies of dogs and cats and a few other species too. I invite you to use the search feature to find the specific answer that you and your pet need.

Media – Elder Cats Losing Interest?

Maybe they could Feel Better Question: Are my two 15 year old cats harmed if they don’t play? When they were younger they would play until midnight. Now they sleep most of the day. Their only exercise is sitting in my yard and munching on grass. I’ve given them toys like catnip rolls and “mouse-chasers”…

Read More

Media – It’s More than Just Mouth Pain


Non-stop Misery is Curable Question: Is my cat’s plasma cell stomatitis contagious? Can it be passed from a cat to a human? Dr. Nichol: Mouth pain, swelling of the gums, reduced appetite, and excessive salivation-it’s miserable What we now call chronic oral inflammatory disease can go on for a lifetime. There are lots of possible…

Read More

Media – Scary Low Weight and Rapid Growth


Question: I have an eleven month old Malinois and a year old Pomeranian, both neutered males. My pom seems to be a healthy body size and weight, and my Malinois is very, very skinny. I can see his hips and his ribs. He eats all his food and doesn’t throw it up. His stools are…

Read More

Media – Wild & Crazy Deaf Kid

Heeler puppy

Punish? Set him up for Success Question: We bought a blue heeler puppy for my son for his 13th birthday. “Bucky” is deaf. He is spunky- too much so. We’re getting creative with training (lights, gestures) but he’s a monster. He’s destructive to no end and I’m not sure how to let him know when…

Read More

Media – Crying for Mom

Puppy crying

Not Ready for Boot Camp Question: My new puppy, Buddy, arrived yesterday. He has been socialized with other dogs on a regular basis because the breeder has a doggy daycare. He was subdued when he first arrived but wherever I was, he was there, practically on my feet. He whines almost like a child when…

Read More

Media – Feline Heartbreak

grey cat

Treat with Empathy & Kindness Question: My sweet little six year old cat, Pepper, had a ‘boyfriend’, Fluffy, who lived in the home in back of us. They had both yards and two acres of open space for frolicking. Fluffy, at 16, was euthanized several weeks ago and Pepper seems to be badly missing him.…

Read More

Media – If your cat is less active, do this

fat cat

The Cause is Dangerous but Not Difficult to Control If left to fend for themselves in the wild our cats would survive by stalking and devouring prey, displaying their prowess with an athletic build and the heads of trophy rats they’ve bagged mounted above their fireplaces. Our pet kitties, on the other hand, park their…

Read More

Media – Noisy Breathing Dog


Dangerous? Treatment Safe or Risky? Question: We think our dog Dakoda has laryngeal paralysis. Our veterinarian said she can have surgery but it is only 70% effective and it could have terrible side effects. Dr. Nichol: Breathing is rather important isn’t it? Most of us draw each lungful without a thought. But struggling to move…

Read More

Media – Eye Language

cat blinking

Calming Blinking It’s really hard having less contact with people. Socially distanced can mean socially isolated. But your cat may be trying to help by inviting you to snuggle by slow eye blinking. There may be natural empathy behind those half closed eyelids. Cats are good at nonverbal communication. Hold on – aren’t cats socially…

Read More