Adding a little rice to pup’s food is fine

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Recently our puppy, Rex, ate some garbage and got sick. The vet
told us to feed him rice for a few days. He’s better, but we still
add rice to his food because he really likes it. Is this bad for
Q: Recently our puppy, Rex, ate some garbage and got sick. The vet told us to feed him rice for a few days. He’s better, but we still add rice to his food because he really likes it. Is this bad for him?


A little rice won’t hurt your little guy. Most of his ration (at least 90 percent) should be his puppy food, but some additional rice is fine. Make sure you talk with his veterinarian about the right food for Rex as he gets a little older. Proper nutrition is important for the development of healthy bones and joints. I recommend feeding puppy food to young pups until they reach the age of 5 months. After that, adult food is better for their healthy growth. This is still a bit controversial and you should review your feeding program with the vet to be sure Rex is getting what’s best for him.


I recently heard about a surgical treatment for dogs with collapsing trachea. Our yorkie, Benjamin, suffers this condition. And he’s only a little better on medication. We hate to give him pills all the time, especially if they don’t work completely. Is the surgery always successful?


Collapsing trachea can be a really nasty disease for some dogs. In these patients, the tracheal wall, normally a rigid structure, is weak and flimsy. It periodically closes down on itself, and this causes a honking-type cough each time the pooch tries to reopen the airway. Without treatment, the cough gets worse over time. And to make matters worse, chronic cough thickens and further irritates the already-inflamed tracheal wall. Some patients end up miserable, honking continuously day and night.

Veterinarians usually treat this condition very aggressively with cough suppressants and steroids such as prednisone. Antibiotics are also prescribed many times because the inflamed trachea is prone to secondary bacterial infection. A large number of patients respond better when given routine antibacterial medication.

Weight control is also very important; studies show that obesity aggravates this condition and thin dogs are much less likely to suffer from it. So if Benjamin is carrying any fat, he really needs to start a strict diet. Believe it or not, just a few extra ounces in your yorkie can make a big difference in his overall health.

Unfortunately, some patients just don’t respond well to medications. For these dogs, a newer surgical option is considered. A stent (a spring-loaded ring) is inserted into the trachea. Once in place, this apparatus prevents the trachea from collapsing on itself. It’s similar to the technique used for arterial blockage in humans which opens up the artery for better blood flow. Here, the stent allows better airflow.

Is this surgery always successful? For many patients, it works well. But no treatment is effective with each and every patient. And there are some risks involved with any surgery. Talk to Benjamin’s vet about a referral to see a specialist. Be prepared with a lot of questions to find out what will be the best for your little guy. You need to exhaust all conservative treatment options first. But if that cough persists, surgery might be the best solution.


We took our dog, Moose, to the vet yesterday because he has a lump on his back leg. The vet said that he thought it might be a tumor, but it might only be a cyst. He took a sample from the lump with a needle, and said that it is a benign fat tumor. He says that we don’t need to worry any more unless it gets really big. But how can he be sure? Could this be a malignant tumor? Shouldn’t he do a biopsy?


Tumors of the fat cells, called lipomas, are almost always benign. But on rare occasions, a liposarcoma (the malignant cousin to the lipoma) shows up. These malignancies are so uncommon that many vets tend to clinically judge a fat tumor by its appearance. Malignant fat tumors usually have a slightly different appearance compared to their benign counterparts.

But I’ve always liked the expression that says “dogs and cats haven’t all read the medical textbooks”. There are always stories about some exceptional case, some unusual circumstance that defies explanation. In medicine, no two cases are ever completely alike.

Chances are your vet is correct with his diagnosis. Still, medicine isn’t an exact science and vets can be fooled. So if you’d like confirmation of his diagnosis, ask for a biopsy. I’m sure he’ll be glad to do it and the peace-of-mind will be well worth it.

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