The Norman Transcript


January 16, 2014

Need advice about Maltese

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: As an avid fan and weekly reader of yours, I am in desperate need of some clarification on what possibly could be done for my sweet 8-year-old little Maltese girl.

She needed knee surgery almost a year ago, and the blood test showed that there was too much cortisol being produced by her body. I waited for her knee to heal and then had more tests done, including an ultrasound. Her kidneys are more than half calcified, and she has two types of stones in her bladder.

My vet suggested a parathyroid test and possible operation. I am undecided about proceeding with that. Even if we could stop the reproduction of cortisol, it would not reverse the damage already done to her body. Her diet has been Hill’s Prescription w/d with added fruit and vegetables.

Every day, I dread the possible dislodging of one of the stones, which most likely could mean putting her out of her misery.

My previous Maltese had Cushing’s disease and developed diabetes, but with daily insulin shots, I was able to keep her until she was 13 years old. I am devastated by my second Maltese possibly having it, too.

I would appreciate any advice you may have.

— M.H., Hendersonville, N.C.

Dear M.H.: Your poor little dog is one of several small breeds prone to a variety of chronic ailments, which is one reason why I advise purchasing comprehensive pet health insurance that covers disease of hereditary origin. When people purchase such animals, many come from puppy mills and online breeders. It’s better to adopt a mixed breed from your local shelter.

But all of this is too late for you and your little Maltese. I urge you to continue with her prescription diet or have your veterinarian peruse for more palatable home-prepared prescription diets to help your dog.

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