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By Dr. Michael Fox, Published May 04 2012

Pet Care: Spayed cat goes into heat

Dear Dr. Fox: Our cat Molly is about 2½ years old. We adopted her from the Humane Society a little over a year ago. They said she was spayed before they got her.

About every six weeks, she goes into a heatlike condition – crying, making guttural sounds, rolling, raising her rear and stretching like she’s having a spasm. Our vet has shown us a scar where she was spayed and says she is healthy, but he thinks the vet who spayed her may have left a part of her ovaries, and she is reacting to that. He could only do exploratory surgery to see if that is the case. As long as she is healthy, we don’t want to put her through that.

Can you suggest something that would calm her during these times? – J.D., Pacific, Mo.

Dear J.D.: Exploratory surgery to attempt to find and remove the ovarian tissue that is bringing your cat into heat is what I would advise. Otherwise, this tissue could become cystic or possibly cancerous. She will be constantly coming into heat, and she’ll be more prone to developing breast cancer.

If the operation is successful, it is worth the risk and expense. Fortunately, this happens only rarely after spaying cats and dogs. But ectopic, or developmentally misplaced ovarian tissue – rather than the surgeon leaving some of the ovary behind – can be the problem, and this may be difficult to locate during exploratory surgery. It is worth a try, though.

Feline behavioral researchers have documented that genital stimulation with a cotton swab has been shown to bring cats out of heat and bring on a quiescent phase of false pregnancy. But the hormonal issues remain, and the cat will eventually come into heat again.

Dear Dr. Fox: My 7-year-old female boxer has kidney stones. The mass in her bladder was the size of a walnut and was removed surgically. The stones were sent to a lab and were identified as struvite stones.

She has been on Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D. The first three ingredients are whole grain corn, powdered cellulose and corn gluten meal. Besides being very expensive, she hates the food and refuses to eat it. I boiled some chicken bones and skin and am putting the broth over her food. I am willing to cook for her. Would you have any suggestions? I have spent considerable time online, including your website, and have not come up with any satisfactory solutions. – J.L., St. Louis

Dear J.L.: It is regrettable that so many of the prescription diets for dogs and cats are not only expensive, but too often unpalatable. There are also other concerns detailed in my book “Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Cat and Dog Food,” which I co-authored with two other veterinarians.

A combination of cystitis or bladder infection and too much cereal in the dog food (which makes the urine too alkaline) can be the trigger for struvite crystals and larger stones to form. This is more serious for neutered male cats and small dogs, where the urinary tract is of small diameter, resulting in the painful emergency of urinary blockage.

Check my website, www.twobitdog.com/DrFox, for my list of preferred dog foods (including organic) and my home- prepared recipe – minus the rice for your dog. High meat and vegetable content should help maintain a healthy acidity.

Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s Web site at www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.