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February 21, 2013

High cost of veterinary procedures

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I have a little shih tzu/Lhasa-mix. She is 4 years old. She’s had an endoscopy of her stomach, an ultrasound and a check for colic disease performed.

She eats only every other day, and she spits up large amounts of yellow foam. She is very picky about eating. She won’t eat dry food at all, and she doesn’t drink much water. Sometimes she acts like she is choking and gags a lot.

The woman I bought her from mated her mother every time she came into heat. I didn’t know this at the time I bought her. She was very hard to train, but she is a good dog now — except for the eating.

I give her pills to coat the stomach, but she spits them up as soon as they go down. I don’t know what to do. Please help us.

— J.S., Virginia Beach, Va.

Dear J.S.: You and your poor dog have been subjected to several costly diagnostic procedures. The cost may be justified if symptomatic treatments failed, such as giving the dog antacid tablets to correct gastroesophageal reflux disease or trying a single protein, grain-free diet.

If neither of these possible treatments were considered prior to subjecting your dog to these diagnostic procedures, you should seek a second opinion, ideally from a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

I receive far too many letters like yours that indicate some veterinarians do not seem to appreciate that these are economically hard times for millions of Americans. Many pet owners cannot take their animals in for regular checkups because they are afraid of the possible costs that may be incurred.

Try my suggestions, and let me know how your poor dog does.

Dear Dr. Fox: I recently adopted a wonderful cat from animal control. I am 77 years old, and this is my first cat. The cat, Molly, is 8 years old and was in a home before being put up for adoption. She is obedient, eats well, uses the litter box and stays indoors.

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