Pet Talk

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Dr Ann ChauvetMy family watched my indoor/outdoor cat while I was on a business trip overseas. Unbeknownst to me they declawed him (he was destroying their furniture). Does this mean I can’t let him outside anymore? How will this affect his life?

If your cat is declawed, he lost some mechanism of defense. Most cats with just front paws declawed generally still have a chance to do well outside. I wouldn’t advise to let him out, however. For all cats declawed on all four legs, absolutely no more outdoor adventures.

What should I prepare to keep my pets safe in case of a hurricane?

Yes, many veterinary clinics offer shelter for your pet during the hurricane season. Please ask if the clinic building is hurricane safe. There also are pet boarding facilities that offer the same protection. Otherwise, keep your pets with you and pack plenty of water and food. Some pets are very stressed and may need sedation. Ask your veterinarian what they recommend. Also consider a thunder shirt for your pet. It is very calming. If you decide to take your pet with you to a pet friendly emergency shelter, make sure you have a crate. Most shelters won’t let you keep your animal with you without a crate. No matter where you are, YOU are what your pet needs most during the stressful storm.

Bloat in dogs. What are the symptoms, treatment, and prognosis? 

Bloat is a life-threatening emergency. It can happen to any dog at any age, but typically occurs in middle-aged to older dogs. Large-breed dogs with deep chests, such as the Great Dane, German Shepherd Dog, St. Bernard and Labrador Retriever, are anatomically predisposed. Bloat is very painful. When dogs get bloat, their stomachs distend with gas and fluid, which usually is relieved by passing a long rubber or plastic tube through the dog’s mouth into the stomach. In some cases bloat is followed by stomach rotation (torsion), which stops any air from escaping leading to dangerous air accumulation. Surgery is needed for all torsions. Dogs with bloat are uncomfortable, pant and have swollen bellies. They can retch and not be able to bring anything up. If unattended to, the life threatening shut down of the blood vessels may occur. Bloat cases do well with surgery, but I can’t stress enough that early recognition and treatment are the keys to survival. If you suspect your dog might have bloat, rush him/her to the vet or emergency clinic- time is of the essence.


Dr. Chauvet earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon,Canada,and is known internationally for her specialized work in the relatively rare field of veterinary neurology speaking to, training, and consulting with veterinary practices and organizations globally.  If you have a question about your pet, please email your question to  Each month, Dr. Chauvet will choose a few questions to share with readers.  She regrets that unpublished questions cannot be answered individually.

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