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posted: 6/6/2013 11:09 AM

Ask the vet: Dr. Scott discusses cat weight, anti-flea products

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  • Baxter

    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Betty Boo

    Betty Boo
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By The Buddy Foundation

Ask the vet's Dr. Scott Petereit graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991, and has over 22 years of clinical small animal medical experience. He practices at Camp McDonald Animal Hospital, in Mount Prospect, and Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital, in Kenosha, Wis. Petereit volunteers his time providing veterinary care to homeless pets at The Buddy Foundation. Reach him at or

Q: How do I get my cat to lose weight?

A: Unfortunately, the majority of indoor cats are overweight. This stems from overeating, lack of exercise and the feeding of cat foods that are rich in carbohydrates. Cats are naturally strict carnivores, therefore it is very difficult to get your cat to lose weight on carbohydrate rich diets. Many commercially prepared diets are full of grains and other carbohydrates that just are not a normal part of a natural cat diet. Talk to your veterinarian about getting your cat on a low-carb diet and how many calories your cat should be fed daily.

Other tips to help your cat lose weight include feeding small more frequent meals, feeding canned food and never allowing your cat to graze food all day by leaving out a full food bowl. I also recommend constantly varying the sites in the house where you put the food for your cat. This encourages your cat to exercise by having to search through the house to forage for its food on a daily basis.

Q: I don't like using flea products on my pets. I think they are poisonous. Do I really need to use them? Any particular brand?

A: Topical flea preventive products known as top-spots have flooded the pet market and are commonly used to effectively prevent and treat flea infestations. Most of these top-spots are formulated with insecticides while some other products are medicine-based formulations without insecticides. Like almost anything else used to treat pets, and humans for that matter, there can sometimes be unwanted side effects. For the most part, topical flea products are safe when used according to directions and are instrumental in preventing pet and household flea infestations. Your veterinarian will likely have different options available to suit your individual pet's needs. One strong word of advice; cats are very susceptible to the toxic effects of certain insecticide formulated top-spots and it's best to check with your vet before using any topical flea preventive on your cat.

Q: My dog is getting older and has a harder time getting up from rest. What can I do for him?

A: There are a lot of medical options to help our older dogs suffering with chronic arthritic and back pain. Your vet can help you get your dog started with a glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate nutritional supplement. Studies have shown that dogs with arthritis significantly benefit from the use of these supplements. If your pet is overweight, you may be surprised at how much weight reduction can have on improving his mobility and reducing arthritic pain.

One of the most significant veterinary medicine advances in the past two decades is the development of oral anti-inflammatory medications that reduce arthritis pain and can be given safely on a daily basis for years if needed. These medications are available by prescription from your veterinarian and often profoundly improve a dog's mobility and well-being by significantly reducing chronic pain.

Additionally, veterinarians can now offer a variety of additional modalities for pain management including acupuncture, cold laser therapy, chiropractic treatments, and various other medications that can also help relieve chronic pain. Please remember that something that may seem harmless, like ibuprofen, is highly toxic to your dog, therefore, never medicate your dog without checking with your veterinarian first.


Kitten Season is here! The Buddy Foundation has many young cats and kittens in need of loving homes. More importantly, there are adult cats that will be ignored because so many people want the "babies."

Please remember that teenage and older cats need homes and love too. If they are ignored they become depressed and withdrawn. Do not let this happen, adopt today and make room for one more. Summer is a great time to welcome a new family member, especially when your kids are there to help.

Rummage sale

Don't forget Buddy's annual Rummage Sale, which is fast approaching. The dates of the sale are: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14; and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16. Bargains galore! The address is 17 E. Campbell in downtown Arlington Heights (formerly Design Toscano).

Featured cats

Baxter is a beautiful black domestic short hair cat that would make a wonderful addition to any family. He is 2 years old, very friendly, and loves to be petted. We call him our greeter in Room 1.

Betty Boo is a beautiful gray/white domestic short hair, kind of looks like a bunny. She is a little shy at first, but does warm up to you. Betty is just a little under 1 year old.

• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused, and abandoned cats and dogs. For information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit