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About VirtuaVet

VirtuaVet Shares Information, Stories, and Insight

Full-Coat puffy light-brown Pomeraniam puppy with black nose and whiskers sits on a technician's hand and mugs for the camera!

Pomeranian Perfection. Another happy Doc Truli patient!

Welcome to VirtuaVet, a website intended for pet parents who need pet health insight, coaching and guidance.  In my daily veterinary medical practice, I meet many pet parents who are looking for deeper answers, need to know how to interpret news and information they find, and need to know how to navigate healthcare decisions for their pet.

“Your healthcare decisions regarding your pet are practical, moral, ethical, and spiritual decisions,” says Doc Truli.

Everyone secretly wonders:  “What would you do if it were your cat?”  “Tell me-as a friend–is it worth it?” and “How do I know if my dog has a good quality of life?”  We wish, at times, our best friend was a veterinarian so we could ask the sensitive and sometimes awkward questions we feel we cannot ask a professional in the office call.

I became a veterinarian to help animals and to find out what do doctors know that’s so special?  My wish is to impart some of my journey to you.  In return, I want you to share your perspective and insight into pets, their people, medicine, the modern medical community, and even explore the meaning of health and wellness.

“What do doctors know that’s so special?” Doc Truli asks.

VirtuaVet Focussed on Providing Inspiration and Information

Doc Truli provides the stories and philosophy behind VirtuaVet.  Practical, heartfelt, relevant stories let you know hope and cures abound.

Every day, Doc Truli hears similar questions and misunderstandings about people and pets in society, and pet healthcare.

“I remember what it’s like to not be a scientist, not be a doctor, and I love my pets,” says the Doc.

VirtuaVet was created to provide coaching, guidance, explanations, and positive examples so you can remain confident, optimistic, and happy in your healthcare decisions regarding your pet!

You can’t leave Doc Truli’s office – or website – without a dose of philosophy!

Frequently Asked Questions about Doc Truli

Testimonials from Doc Truli’s Pet Parents

Thank you for reading!

-Doc Truli

72 Comments leave one →
  1. Betsy & dog, Samba permalink
    September 12, 2018 4:03 pm

    In the article, How to Make a Dog Tail Cover, you mention “not hard plastic” and a “syringe case cover”. What does a syringe case cover look like? I was thinking that you were talking about the outer portion of the syringe the portion marked with the cc’s that the plunger goes into), but that is hard plastic.

    • October 25, 2018 4:19 pm

      Some syringes come in a plastic cover case, instead of a plastic/paper wrap. Basically, it is garbage that a someone with access to medical supplies, like a vet tech, can use to make a nice cover. A regular family would not have access to this.

  2. Elizabeth permalink
    August 29, 2018 6:35 am

    Hi looking for some support/ideas regarding a post-op exp lap with a cat, sore’s in mouth, and hepatic lipidosis. I’m having trouble with oral feedings, she seems to drink OK on her own but has trouble with her tongue. Mostly I need some boundaries on how long to keep up this care and what signs to look for if she is done. She’s a week post-op, down to 6lbs and behavior is minimal. I don’t want her to suffer, but do want to give her a chance at survival.
    Thank you,
    Elizabeth & Coco

    • August 29, 2018 10:28 am

      Dear Elizabeth,
      I’m so sorry to hear what you and your kitty are going through. The kind of information and guidance you are looking for is under the aegis of the practice of veterinary medicine. If you are in the Tampa Bay area, I can come see her and advise you. If you are elsewhere, perhaps your veterinarian can advise, or you can seek a veterinarian trained and/or certified in palliative and hospice care. Veterinarians certified through this program are specially qualified to help you navigate your very relevant and important questions.
      Good luck!
      Dr Truli

  3. Susan Thomas permalink
    March 2, 2017 6:28 pm

    I spoke to hour veterinarian group about the insecticide problem with Trifexis Revolution Etc they said the benefit outweighs the risk I would not like to eat insecticides I do spray off on my body when the mosquitoes bite that’s it insecticide my Chihuahuas were on Revolution but my Maltese had a bad reaction to Revolution so what do we give our pets for heartworm and fleas

  4. Susan Thomas permalink
    March 2, 2017 6:24 pm

    Everything I read says all things that prevent heartworm and fleas as pets are bad for your pet they are insecticide my two little Chihuahuas are currently on Trifexis I am reading that this is dangerous so what do you do?

    • March 27, 2017 11:19 pm

      Dear Susan,

      I analyze each product and each patient’s situation. “Insecticide” is a general term like “Vaccine.” We need to scientifically and critically look at each product and it’s merits and mechanisms. I do find, living in Florida, that the parasites are tremendous and natural solutions tend to work slowly and not to 95% or more level. So I do prescribe heartworm products and flea products for my patients.

      Also- this is philosophical – but consider that “everything I read” on the internet today is not a natural conversational environment. Our human instincts for truth and weighing evidence have evolved based on natural conversation and the travel ability of news on a human scale – like walking or even driving a car. The internet communication sphere is not natural. Our instincts like “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” or “so many people say it there must be some truth,” do not serve us well on the internet. Look at the rumor that pets should be bathed in a certain dishwashing liquid just because it helped wash oil off of sea birds. 1,000’s of websites are repeating the same wrong information. So that is my main reason why researching on the internet is not helpful.

      Now- consider this- the internet does provide all the MSDS “Material Safety Data Sheets” for every product sold in the US. Also, you can find product FDA label inserts to read exact data. And many research papers are available on Medline. So you can read what the doctors read. So of course, there are some uses for internet research.

      Does that help?
      Doc Truli

  5. Jamie beauchamp permalink
    June 28, 2016 5:08 pm

    Hi Doc truli,
    My dear sweet Romeo who is a 6 year old bishon/poodle developed diarrhea June 8. I took him to get June 10 when the diarrhea became bloody. he was said to have bacterial colitis and was started on a broad spectrum antibiotic for 6 days. He completed this and stools became normal but after two days of no antibiotics the bloody diarrhea returned. I took him back to bet where a fecal was done neg for parasites and blood work, pretty normal too. He was prescribed flagyl/ metronidazole for 10 days. He has been taking for 8 days and stools got a little better but today they turned bloody again! Help! The bet is now recommending a barium swallow and X-rays. Is this necessary? Also will tube be put down dogs mouth?

    • July 1, 2016 10:03 pm

      Dear Jamie,
      Barium can often be a treatment and a diagnostic aid. I do not usually use a tube to give it, especially in a small dog like a Bichon. If you are stil not sure, ask for a referral to an Internal Medicine Specialist for a second opinion.
      Good Luck,
      Doc Truli

  6. Eileen permalink
    March 20, 2016 1:52 am

    Has anyone run into this problem? My cat, Penelope, who I rescued 4 years ago, is about 10/12 years old. Treated with radio iodine for hyperthyroidism 18 months ago and diagnosed with IBD 7 months ago. She’s being treated with 2.5mg of prednisolone every other day. About 4 weeks ago she had dental work…5 FORLs extracted. She was given 1ML of ZydaClin 2x daily for 5 days. Had to discontinue due to diarrhea. She was also given FortiFlora for about 10 days…started 2 days before surgery. Around the 5th day after surgery I noticed she was grooming herself more, then I noticed she was scratching a lot and gnawing different areas of her body (front & hind legs, paws, sides of torso) though not yanking any fur out. She walks a few steps and has to stop to scratch etc. Vet checked her out. No fleas which I never suspected anyways as she’s strictly indoors and never before had a flea issue. We increased her Prednisolone to 5mg every other day. The scratching decreased a good bit but it’s still present. Vet also thought it may be behavioral and suggested putting her on Prozac. I knew it wasn’t behavioral. Could she have been allergic to the FortiFlora. I noticed it has a mysterious ingredient called animal digest which is probably some kind of by-product loaded with chemicals. Could the antibiotic be responsible? My poor cat is so uncomfortable, is starting to develop bald spots on inner thighs and I am so stressed not knowing what to do next. I would certainly appreciate any feedback.

    • July 1, 2016 10:37 pm

      Yes she can be allergic to anything, including FortiFlora. I treat IBD cats with Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine more successfully than I ever did with only Western Medicine. If you Integrate Western and Chinese, admirable results! The website for the Chi Institite: has practitioner finder for worldwide, although there are only about 3,000 vets around the world trained at the Chi Institute.

  7. Pam Murata permalink
    March 10, 2016 9:26 am

    Welcome back, I missed you!

    • July 1, 2016 11:16 pm

      Oh hey! Hi Pam! Just got to these comments after a few months of intensive studying. How are you?

  8. Marlene Webb permalink
    December 31, 2015 10:45 am

    Hi doc Truli

    My cat larry has allot of the same problems as a cat you Treated named Nicco. However he had been checked by the vet spent a week on a drip and had anemia, jundice, immune system is attacking blood cells and he was dehydrated stopped eatting and lost heaps of weight but was recovering well and eatting with steriods. But today has developed a skin tear down to the muscle between the shoulders. However he has been checked for fleas and mites and it wasn’t a slow thing over time he was fine on the Monday went out went missing till Tuesday night and came home dyhdrated with the for mentioned ailments. The vet made him better but can’t work out why it happened and now he has got a tare I thought I would ask for any advice. We live in Queensland Australia.

    • January 7, 2016 12:31 pm

      Dear Marlene,
      He may have developed the fragile skin as a side-effect of the liver disease. If your vet can help you fix the liver disease, then maybe the skin can recover. I am sorry to say, usually, that fragile skin is very difficult to manage. It can tear more, get infected, and just really create a poor quality of life. It is quite an intense experience and a lot of good communication and follow-up with your vet to manage skin like that! I wish you luck. Thank you for reading VirtuaVet. I hope it has helped.
      Doc Truli

  9. August 21, 2015 1:49 pm

    Thank you for being here to help us with these little friends that we just treasure so much. You are an inspiration and I admire you so much for always putting the animals welfare before anything else. Thank you.

  10. July 19, 2014 1:31 am

    Hi Doc Truli,

    My cat is almost 10 years old and she has a rather big lump on her butt (and worried it might be cancerous), next to her anus. Can I take her to any veterinarian clinic or does it have to be a specific type of one? Also, how much does surgery to remove such lumps cost around?



    • July 19, 2014 4:08 pm

      Hi Alex,
      You could start with any licensed veterinarian. Everybody should see the general practitioner first. Cost is super variable from region to region. I’d say, ask what tee office call costs. Then double it to cover the cost of a test cslled a “needle aspirate,”

  11. Ken DeClue permalink
    March 13, 2014 9:37 pm

    Our 13 yr old German Shepherd died last Saturday. The Vet said that the bag around his heart was swollen and full of fluid putting pressure on his lungs. We left him with the Vet for 2 days and nights and he medicated him and drew the fluid out of the bag around his heart. When he came home we were instructed to give him Cephalexin 500mg 2 capsules twice daily till gone (30 caps). He had 12 left when he died. He also had Prednisone Tab 50 mg. He was supposed to take 1/2 tab twice daily for 3 days then 1/2 tab once a day for 7 days then 1/2 tab every other morning and decrease to lowest effective dose. He had 12 -1/2 tablets left when he died.
    His main symptom was short of breath when we took him to the Vet. He seemed to do a little better for a couple of days when we brought him home but the shortness of breath started all over again on Saturday evening and he was having trouble walking when I put him to bed. I thought he was sleeping when I went down to wake him the next morning, thats how peaceful he looked, and I found he had passed away.
    Could he have been poisoned to start all of these symptoms? He was in good health till this happened.

    • March 13, 2014 10:07 pm

      Dear Ken,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your shepherd passing. My shepherd is 9 months old and I cannot imagine losing him.

      If I read you right, your shepherd had pericardial effusion or pleural effusion. Either is terrible. Neither has anything to do with poison. It sounds like you did everything you could.

      Doc Truli

  12. Shawn permalink
    March 2, 2014 5:40 pm

    I could use some input, if possible.

    Our 7 year old kitty had severe vestibular symptoms and was treated at UC Davis Vet (a fine hospital in N Cal). They did a MRI, saw the right middle ear was full of something, and a bulla osteotomy was done on that side. No polyp — a thick gooey substance was found. The goop culture did not grow anything. The derma was also quite red and was tested for cancer — negative. However, the vet said it may have been chronic inflammation.

    Kitty came home, developed head tilt and loss of balance after about a week, so we zoomed back to Davis. Antibiotics were prescribed for 30 days. Kitty was again recovering very well. Her new normal included a bit of a head tilt and Horner’s syndrome.

    Now, 10 days after the end of the antibiotic, she again had an episode of sort of rotating head tilt (like a stuck record, if you’re old enough to remember that), and loss of balance. Came on very quick. We zoomed to Davis again. They said call Monday to talk about CT and possible surgery again. But when we got home, kitty seemed almost 100% fine! No head tilt or rotation. Balance fine. Eating well. She’s a bit cautious about getting up and down, though.

    What could be causing this? Could it be a passing thing?

    I’m wondering how the cultures would not grow anything but she still got better on antibiotics. If it’s chronic inflammation…how would that be treated?

    I will certainly call Monday to talk with the vets at UC Davis. But if you have any information I might find useful I would very much like to know.

    • March 3, 2014 1:32 am

      Dear Shawn,
      1) wow! You are so lucky to be able to go to UC Davis. They really do a fabulous job there.
      2) Antibiotics can have other properties. Some are anti-inflammatory. Some are antineoplastic. Basically, they do more than we know.
      3) I’m glad kitty feels better. Anti-inflammatory treatment directed to a hollow space and the cells lining it (the bulla) is problematic.
      4) good luck at the follow-up
      5) if you hit a wall with no answers, consider homeopathic care

      -Doc Truli

  13. Rene' permalink
    January 21, 2014 5:49 pm

    This morning while walking down the stairs, I accidentally stepped on my 9 week old kitten, who is 2 lbs. He ran, and hid from me, and every time I would find him, he would run somewhere else. Once I was able to pick him up, it didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him, but he has been sleeping all day…hasn’t gotten up to play at all. This is not normal for him, and I’m wondering if there could be something wrong with him, that I cannot see. I’d hate to run him to the ER, to find out I’m just worrying for nothing.

    • January 21, 2014 8:59 pm

      Dear Rene,
      That’s called becoming a pet parent. Only you can decide if kitty needs a vet. Good luck! (I always err on the side of caution)
      -Doc Truli

  14. June 7, 2013 10:00 pm

    So glad to find such a wonderful blog! Thank you for dedicating your time to this. I was hoping you could help me with a question I have. I had some friends over recently and we were using glitter, which got EVERYWHERE. I’ve cleaned it up as well as I can but it keeps popping up all over the place, and I know my cat is getting it on him. I’m sure he will lick off some pieces as well. Could this hurt him? Is there anything else I can do? It says it is non-toxic but I wasn’t sure if anything else about it could harm him. Maybe I’m over-reacting but I just keep thinking about it. Thank you for your insights!

    • June 8, 2013 6:10 pm

      Thanks for your feedback. What can you do when glitter gets everywhere? It’s impossible to get it all. Thankfully, it says non-toxic. Of course, so do a lot of kids toys, and then we find they have lead or whatever in there. Just watch your cat like normal. Eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, energy levels. If your cat seems sick, then you could visit your vet and see if they are worried about the glitter.

  15. April 28, 2013 1:43 pm

    Hi. My 18-year old cat seems to have cancer on both of her paws. She is in pain (as far as I can judge), the sores are not healing and she goes to the bathroom exclusively under my bed now. Vet recommended amputating the 2 toes (on each front leg) but I feel that it is not a good solution, as such a surgery will most likely kill her and even if not, it will make her last months with me painful and horrible. I am not sure what to do. Can I just take her for painkiller shots to the vet clinic or will I be just prolonging painful existence should I let her go?
    I would so appreciate any help you can give me. I don’t know who to ask…

    Thank you,

    • April 29, 2013 8:08 pm

      What do other readers think?
      You have a difficult choice to make. I’m sure you know her best and will choose what seems right in your heart.
      -Doc Truli

  16. Barbara Broumberg permalink
    April 26, 2013 11:13 pm

    Many thanks for your kind informative response. Our second visit with our vet today left us with terrible news. Our 13 year old cat has bone cancer. We will bring her back to our vet next week and will put her to sleep. I am heartbroken.

  17. Barbara Broumberg permalink
    April 26, 2013 10:21 am

    How do I get my 13 year old kitty to use her litter box after broken hind leg which is in a splint?

    • April 26, 2013 10:27 pm

      Hmmm. Good question. Make sure the vet has confirmed the splint is a reasonable angle and length to make her movements possible. Make or acquire a litter pan with a very small side or lip on the edge.

      You may need to help her with her elimination while the splint is on. For example, she may not be able to squat, but will defecate laying on her side. Then you clean her and the feces yourself. If this is your only option – as disgusting and labor-intensive as it may be – then confine her to an easy to clean area or large crate to make the cleaning easier for you. And remember to visit her often so she does not feel terribly isolated and punished.

      A leg should heal in 6-8 weeks for an adult cat, maybe less for a kitten. Good luck! You have lots of work to do.

      -Doc Truli

  18. July 28, 2012 2:10 pm

    Hi Doc Truli. I don’t know if you accept awards, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated VirtuaVet to receive the Sunshine Award. Please go to to accept your award (download the graphic) and get the rules for acceptance. This is a wonderful way to network with fellow bloggers you admire and to expand the horizons of your readers. Job well done, nominee!

  19. July 11, 2012 10:58 am

    Because I enjoy your blog, I have nominated you for the Inspiring blogger award. You can find more details here…


  20. February 6, 2012 1:37 pm

    Apropos of nothing except that I know you love cats, and this is adorable and funny — the 25 Most Awkward Cat Sleeping Positions:

  21. January 20, 2012 4:54 pm


    My dachshund just turned 6 and in the last few week her fur is turning white around her eyes and on her face, her nose even has white spots, it is also spreading to the her body. She seems to be aging very quickly. She is not in any pain and eats and drinks as usual, her bowels seem to be fine and she seems to be urinating a little more. She is slightly overweight but I have cut her food back and am exercising her more to lose the extra pounds because she seems to be breathing alot harder these days. But back to the white spots, could this be a skin disorder that effects the pigments in their skin, I did alittle research and it kept popping up to vitiligo.Could this be a possibility?

    Rhonda Lawrence

    • January 22, 2012 11:45 am

      Dear Rhonda,
      Animals can get vitiligo just like people, especially horses. However, it is also normal for dogs to start to go white or grey around the eyes and muzzle and I often see spots of white or grey anywhere on the body. Usually it starts as a few hairs then the area gets bigger.

      It is interesting to know that the greying seems to be genetically programmed and not age-related. 25% of human females get grey hair in their 20’s. Since 85% of women in the US color their hair, we do not consider greying in your 20’s to be normal, but it is normal for 25% of women!

      Don’t worry so much about your Dachshund aging. Keep up with the weight loss! She will feel much, much better!

      -Doc Truli

    • Sandra Paavilainen permalink
      January 30, 2012 6:42 pm

      Can someone please tell me how to ask advice to a Vet on here? I cannot find a way to send my question/

      • February 5, 2012 11:32 am

        Dear Sandra,

        I am VirtuaVet. I am a veterinarian who wants to inspire people, help pets and encourage a philosophical environment where people can write to each other about complex or difficult issues regarding their pet’s health care and quality of life.

        This is not an advice service. That is why there is not a way to send a question. I do not check in daily and I do not want any pet to go without veterinary care while waiting for me to reply. If I cannot examine and meet you and your pet, I cannot give valid, specific advice without potentially misunderstanding your needs and hurting your pet.

        There are two ways I can advise you. If you need coaching, guidance, or explanations of a diagnosis or treatment plan your veterinarian has already set up, I can be hired for consultations of that nature. The other way is for you to plan a lovely vacation to the most beautiful beach in the world at Caladesi Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast and come and visit me in person. If you wish to visit, write back and we’ll set it up.

        -Doc Truli

  22. September 5, 2011 1:14 pm

    Originally my thought was fleas, and we saw a bug we thought might be one when we were tick-checking him, so we bathed him right away, and that didn’t help. (Also didn’t find fleas in the water, but if there were just a couple we could have missed them.) Have been vacuuming his beds and I started him on Program. Also no help. Meanwhile, we checked him repeatedly and his groin is always totally free of flea bites or any other suspicious activity. Haven’t found fleas, flea dirt, or bites. Gave him a second bath a few days later, just to be sure. No difference. He is randomly chewing on this arm or that, scratching behind his ear, etc. All things that seem like fleas, except that his skin and coat look beautiful and there’s no sign of anything wrong except the scratching.
    When Gadget got itchy, it was in reaction to something — a vaccine, a food, etc. He would just lick and bite and scratch in the same place. It was distinctive behavior, and those areas would get all red and angry.
    In this case, there is only one symptom/sign I can find — itching with no obvious pattern or cause. I’m stumped.

    • September 8, 2011 3:02 pm

      Dear Sharon,
      Without seeing him, I could be waaay off. But it sounds like atopy, which is allergy to inhaled allergens (dust mites, grasses, pollens, trees, human dander, cat dander, insects, etc). Atopy makes face/paws/ears itch. It also can make armpits and groin itch. Usually not tail base (like fleas). Can be one side or one ear, even though it is a systemic allergy. It’s diagnosed by the pattern and exclusion of other diseases. Testing is for designing desensitization shots, not diagnosis.

      I know it’s a big ordeal for you to see the vet — and they’ll likely not give you firm answers anyway. What about a homeopathic remedy for itching? I am not a homeopath, but I know that you treat symptoms and patterns, not specific etiologies. Perhaps you know of a homeopath you could call? Or you could get a general itch remedy online and give it a try.

      Those are my Barnum thoughts for the day,
      -Doc Truli

      • September 17, 2011 8:16 pm

        Thank you very much for your time and thoughts.
        I used to rely on vets a lot more, but I guess I have become disillusioned about certain types of problems. For some things, I will pop them in the car and GO! For others, that are more nebulous like this, my experience is that I am usually better at figuring it out or “treating” it than most conventional vets. (Or, I get a pretty firm suspicion as to what it is and then bring them in and say, “Can we test for this? And what else could it be?”)
        If he was really chewing himself up or scratching a lot, so that he was miserable or he had any obvious signs (black skin, sores, coat issues), I would take him in, but he looks fabulous. It’s intermittent.
        It could be inhalant allergies, but I don’t think so. My guess is that if I took him to the vet, she’d either assume fleas w/out evidence or inhalant allergies without evidence want to put him on meds that wouldn’t really identify the problem. I could be wrong and not giving her enough credit. Nevertheless, I decided to see if I can figure it out. If I can’t, and he keeps itching, I’ll take him.
        I gave him a very thorough bath with lots of conditioner. That didn’t seem to make a dramatic difference, but it certainly didn’t hurt! I have also simplified his diet way down, and he has definitely been itching less, so I am suspicious that it was one or more things in his diet. I have also tried to keep him from going in the pond, because there is a high bacteria count due to the flooding from Hurricane Irene. When he goes in, I try to wash him off after.
        If he does suddenly stop scratching completely in a couple of months, when it’s winter, I’ll know it’s inhalant allergies, and then I can consult my vet about that in the spring.

  23. September 4, 2011 12:24 pm

    Do you have a post anywhere about trying to figure out what is causing itching in a dog? Barnum is itchy lately, and it doesn’t seem to follow any pattern I’m familiar with for determining the reason.

    • September 5, 2011 9:06 am

      Dear Sharon,
      I do not have a find out the cause of the itchiness post and I was pondering why not when I realized the answer: only 3 basic categories of things cause itchiness in dogs. (Barring super-unusual things.) Allergies, Parasites, or Infections. Allergies is usually face, paws, and ears. Flea are usually tail base and belly button, Infections are usually secondary allergies (although MRSA could get on a dog if the family has contact with hospitals or prisons.)

      My most comprehensive skin post to date is The Pit Bull Allergy Diet one, because there’s more in there than the diet aspect.

      Good Luck! Remember 50% of dog itchiness is fleas! Be suspicious….

  24. August 5, 2011 7:10 pm

    Thank you. Good to know about the witch hazel for the future. That was what I used initially, after looking up the ingredients in various vet ear drops and discovering that most of the natural ones contained a witch hazel base with essential oils added.

    Later I switched the HP because that’s what so many people told me. A vet tech also recently told me witch hazel.

    FYI, someone offered me Debrox ear drops, so I asked them to read me the label. It includes “fragrance” in the ingredients, so I didn’t use it.

    • August 7, 2011 1:41 pm

      That so figures they would put “fragrance” into a product for small children. It would be wonderful if they would just stop doing that.

  25. July 31, 2011 9:33 am

    I was clipping Barnum yesterday, and I must have gotten some hair into his ear, because he started shaking his head, and then afterward, shaking head, rubbing that ear against the wall, scratching at it. It’s definitely from the haircut; he was not doing this before. I’m sure some hairs got in there and are irritating him. He’s doing it less today, but I’m concerned about letting foreign matter sit in there and maybe lead to an infection. (Next time I will put cotton balls or a wad of tissue in his ears before I buzz the ear and nearby areas; I never had this problem before, so it never occurred to me.)

    Of course, it’s a weekend, so my vet isn’t open. I never bought any dog ear wash because it always seems to be fragranced. Someone I know who has 9 dogs and has had lots of dogs her whole life said she has used hydrogen peroxide effectively and told me how to do it. WHen I looked online, I found posts saying NOT to use HP, only to use vet ear washes.

    Are there any ear washes that don’t have scent? Keeping in mind that I’m rural and it’s not always easy to find things in my area. If not, is there anything I can use/do at home to try to deal with this? Or should I wait till Monday and bring him to the vet?

    • August 5, 2011 7:31 am

      Dear Sharon,
      I didn’t get to your post over the weekend. You can use all-natural witch hazel. You shouldn’t use hydrogen peroxide because 1) it can severely irritate or damage the eardrum and 2) it is water based and does not cut through the ear wax anyway. If ears are super waxy, in the US, there’s a product at the store called Debrox ceruminolytic for babies (I don’t think it’s scented.) If you are wiping around the opening of the ear (which is all you should be doing without a tympanum exam), mineral oil works well. (You can get a brand that does not scent it.)
      Hope Barnum is feeling better and this post is irrelevent!

  26. littlerhody permalink
    June 27, 2011 12:54 pm

    Hi Doc Truli,

    Thumper is all “fixed” up….thanks for your feedback…..You will have to check out the pic of him in my posting “Thump” dated Dec 2, 2010. He is a cutie…altho’ I might be a tad biased. I do enjoy your blog!!!

  27. May 12, 2011 11:13 pm



  28. littlerhody permalink
    March 25, 2011 12:43 am

    Hi Dr. Truli,

    I am enjoying your blog!

    I have a quick question. When do you think is the best time to have a puppy neutered?

    We were going to wait til he is a year old. Some people say get it done sooner. Does it matter? Is it healthier to wait?

    Owner of Thumper

    • March 26, 2011 5:13 pm

      Dear Mary,
      “Best time” hmmm…
      Here are some facts we know…
      …safe to do as young as 7 weeks
      …traditionally done at 6 months
      …testosterone-induced sexually dimorphic behaviors “teenager-hood” begins at about 6 months old. Most people want a dog neutered before then to prevent marking behavior, inter-dog aggression, and the tendency to roam
      …large breed dogs, like labs, goldens, mastiffs, etc, get bigger heads, broader shoulders, and a stronger body outline if neutered at about 1 1/2-2 years old
      …the older the dog, the bigger the testicles=more bleeding and pain. Highly recommend Laser surgery for these guys. The Laser prevents almost all bleeding and they feel good shortly after surgery.

      Does that help?
      Doc Truli

      • littlerhody permalink
        March 27, 2011 12:52 am

        Hi Doc Truli,
        Thanks… It does help. Thumper is about 7months and it is probably time for him to be neutered. He is an energetic little fellow…maybe due to puppydom and maybe due to his breed(s) (Jack Russell/Doxie/Beagle possible mix)…I guess I just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t too early and that he got his growth on before being neutered.
        Thanks again!

  29. Tanya Anderson permalink
    December 28, 2010 1:44 pm

    Hi, Dr. Truli,
    My friend Sharon told me about you when I mentioned to her my cat being ill. I have severe MCS, have little finances and am housebound and the local vet is very toxic with febreeze and other fragrance. My indoor cat is 13-14 years old and has had severe diarrhea for 2 days. I mean she keeps jumping in the litter pan every couple hours and it runs out/squirts like pancake batter. I don’t see any blood. Sometimes she throws up after she goes diarrhea.She can’t go on like this. I don’t know if it’s worth trying some anti diarhea medicine or something else or if she must go to the vet which will be $$ and make me quite ill.
    I noticed she has had loose stools for about 3 months off and on. I just thought her food maybe wasn’t agreeing so well with her tummy sometimes; even her sister has started throwing up hair balls since I switched them to Purina multi cat formula dry food.i have fed them felidae and iams before that. She has always had what I might call a “sensitive stomach” or digestive issues since I had her, for she has always thrown up about once a week. She would always throw up cat treats and also if I gave her too big a piece of meat or too much meat she would throw it up.
    Yesterday when I noticed she was so ill and felt puny I wanted her to be sure to eat, since I had one cat get hepatic lipidosis couple years ago. So I tried feeding her her favorite canned food, which she always scarfed up before. She is eating a little of that and perks up when she eats it, but she still has bad diarrhea and she just threw up again.
    I called the vet’s office a while ago and the receptionist said a cat of that age should almost definitely be seen by the vet and have a small blood panel to determine if organs are shutting down. i just don’t know if I should try putting her back on Iams or Felidae or anti-diarrhea meds or ???. I really can’t afford a vet bill and I will be very ill from a vet trip. I don’t know how to de-stink my cat from the vet trip, although I can get a shower. The fragrance on the cat will get everywhere in this tiny 1/1 house and make me very ill.Help? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Tanya

    • December 29, 2010 12:23 pm

      Dear Tanya,

      Housecall? I know a person coming into your environment might bring their perfumes, etc. But perhaps you could explain and ask if they would mind visiting you. Or a mobile vet with a truck that could pull up in front of the house and maybe just your cat go into the potentially toxic environment briefly? It would probably cost a little more than a regular office visit in up-front costs, but be way cheaper in detox and recovery after. Or have a neighbor take your cat to their house for the housecall. Less toxins there than at a hospital.

      Diarrhea with or without vomiting is a non-specific sign of over 40 diseases. You could start by having someone drop off a fecal sample for parasite analysis at the hospital. If your cat is always indoor parasites are unlikely, but super low risk to you to have the poop tested.

      In terms of garden-variety diarrhea, Cats can take Imodium AD, over-the-counter. The generic name is Loperamide. It comes in liquid or pills. The liquid is a nasty red color, with cherry flavor, so I’ll bet you don’t have it at home! The pills are tiny and come in 2 mg size in the US. If you give liquid, about 1/2-1 mL (cc) should do it twice the first day. If you give 1/2 Immodium pill am and pm and the diarrhea does not budge the next day, then you are stuck and need to get a veterinarian to examine her. Sometimes cat diarrhea is helped by canned or fresh cooked pumpkin. About 1 teaspoon 2-3 times a day.

      Honestly, it sounds as if your kitty might be very, very ill. If you can get a housecall, that would be ideal. Second would be a friend to take her to the vet so you do not have to go. You could ask the vet clinic to wipe her down with warm water on a sponge or cloth after the appointment to help decrease the “stuff” that would come home with her.

      Good Luck!
      Doc Truli
      P.S. You’re not in Florida, are you?
      P.P.S. I wish vet clinics would not use Febreeze, Lysol air spray, etc. That stuff is poison, plain and simple (in my opinion). While some pets and people do have a foul odor that lingers in the air even after you’ve wiped every surface clean, the answer is proper ventilation, not poisonous chemicals! I just believe it is 100% unacceptable to spray that stuff and I believe it will go out of use, like Scotchguard. Unfortunately, the toxic food and sprays obviously cause a marked decline in critical thinking that makes the further use of chemicals ever easier for the general public, and especially medical professionals who seem to believe what corporations tell them!

      • Tanya Anderson permalink
        December 30, 2010 7:44 am

        Thank you. I live in California. I have given her the generic Imodium just once because earlier she had a loose stool not runny so I thought maybe she would be o.k., but later she did have diarrhea once time again so i gave her the medicine.
        I think I will have to have someone take her to the vet. Her appetite is reduced. She did eat some boiled chicken but later I tried giving her canned tuna flavored cat food and she threw it up, plus the chicken she ate earlier. Maybe my goof and should have known–she has had trouble stomaching tuna in the past too. Thanks again. Tanya

      • December 30, 2010 3:32 pm

        Good Luck Tanya!
        Doc Truli

      • Tanya Anderson permalink
        January 5, 2011 10:09 pm

        Hi, Doc Truli,
        It’s Tanya, again. I didn’t take my cat Maggie to the vet after all Thursday because the next day after giving her 1/2 imodium ad she had no bowel movement period and eating returned to normal and she seemed fine. What’s weird though is she will be fine for 2-3 days of no diarrhea, then she has a runny stool and so i give her only 1/4 imodium ad. then she has normal stools–although smelly–for 2-3 days no vomitting and normal appetite and seems fine; then she will go diarhea once again and i give her another 1/4 tablet imodium ad which cures it. i am wondering if the cat is just old and needs fiber like metamucil or probiotics or is the right thing to give imodium when needed? if fiber or probiotics are appropriate what can i give her?

        or must the cat see the vet? at this point she seems perfectly fine other than diarrhea once every 2-3 days. thanks, Tanya

        p.s. i found a holistic vet online that does housecalls, but it’s an hour away. not sure they will come this far but i left a message.

      • January 6, 2011 11:21 am

        Your kitty is sick. The longer you let it go, the harder it will be for holistic or any type of medicine to bring her back to health. Please get veterinary care as soon as you can.
        Doc Truli

      • Tanya Anderson permalink
        January 6, 2011 11:49 pm

        thank you. she is scheduled for sunday, when the vet comes back from vacation. tanya
        p.s. i think i will drop off a stool sample in the meantime

      • January 7, 2011 10:40 am

        Great! Good Luck! Let us know how it goes.

      • Tanya Anderson permalink
        January 9, 2011 8:21 pm

        Hi, Doc Truli,
        Maggie’s stool sample test came back fine. The vet says like older people, older cats can develop intestinal issues. I believe he thinks she may have a bacterial issue in her intestines–I wasn’t able to go into the vet, but someone else took her for me. The vet prescribed Flagyl–we have a 15 day supply. He also prescribed Fortiflora, which is probiotics; that costs over $30 for one month supply. In response to a letter I wrote containing information and questions about Maggie, he says to go ahead and switch her to a senior cat food from the same brand we already use, Purina, and to feed her canned pumpkin. Also, he says we can try giving 1/2 teaspoon metamucil, but not try all these new things at once. He says it’s ok to give Imodium when fed up with everything else, that it won’t hurt her, but it won’t fix the problem either. He says to consider having a geriatric workup, which costs around $400!

        Are there any less expensive ways to get probiotics for your cat?

        When I gave her the Flagyl, I noticed she is missing her long tooth on the front bottom. I don’t know when or how she lost it. The vet checked her teeth, but I don’t know if he noticed one is missing. Should I be concerned or bring this to his attention?

        Maggie was given a bath before coming back in the house and it seems to have gotten rid of the smell from the scented candle burning there and the febreeze they spray after each customer. They did agree to see her in the conference area, which they say isn’t sprayed with Febreeze very often. I really wish they wouldn’t use that stuff.

        Thanks a bunch for everything. Hopefully, I can run across what will help the loose stool issue. Haven’t given Imodium in 4 days. She seems perfectly fine, just occasional stool mixed with runny/loose stools. She looks very content taking her nap after her trip to the vet.


      • January 10, 2011 10:29 pm

        Hi Tanya,
        I’m glad to hear her vet thinks she’s basically okay based on the physical exam. If you can afford the senior work-up, I’d highly recommend it–there are limits to what a physical exam can reveal. I would consider the missing tooth an issue. It is reasonable to call or write the vet a note asking about his advice about that tooth. Ideally, it should be assessed under anesthesia possible with a dental x-ray to see if there is a fragment or root under the jawline. It could be expensive and perhaps you would not want to risk anesthesia, but you should discuss your options with your veterinarian.

        The Forti-Flora probiotics are expensive because they are actually the bacteria that cats have and need to establish a healthy gut. Purina was the first company to identify the bacteria for cats, test it, and they patented it. So no other probiotic is the same. That is also why it costs like it does.

        If the Forti-Flora works, you could experiment with other brands and see if you get the same good effects. Plus, cat gastroenterologists recc’d that in some cases, using more than one probiotic at the same time is beneficial. You must be very careful, or else the brand you choose might contain no active probiotics, or even harmful components. Some “natural” companies online with good reputations include Nutramax Laboratories and VetriScience.

        Doc Truli

      • Tanya Anderson permalink
        January 17, 2011 2:19 am

        Hi, Doc Truli,
        I sent Maggie back to the vet Sunday. He wasn’t concerned about the missing tooth. However, he did say we needed to do cbc, a geriatric workup, and an x-ray. What’s strange is she seemed not so ill last Sunday and diarrhea somewhat under control. But several hours after I administered Flagyl she got bad diarrhea that squirted/ran out like water. I don’t know whether it had anything to do with Flagyl. I was only able to get her to take that med a few times and the Fortiflora 0 times–whatever I mixed it with she wouldn’t eat it.
        She wouldn’t eat pumpkin. In fact she had once daily bad diarhea like that all week and a poor appetite. She even quit eating and drinking 1/2 day Friday. All this in spite of giving Imodium Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. He says there is something in her chest and that he had to send out to find out what it is; however, he says that wouldn’t be causing the diarrhea. He is supposed to let me know the results by Tuesday. He says she could have either a treatable or untreatable disease but he can’t tell at this point. He sent home a pill gun for the Flagyl, but I’m somewhat reluctant to give her anymore until I get the test results. I also asked for a syringe so I could mix the probiotics with liquid or canned food and give it in her mouth that way. I suppose I could force feed her 1 tsp pumpkin that way if I HAD to. I will let you know what I find out. Tanya

      • Tanya Anderson permalink
        January 21, 2011 5:09 am

        Dear Doc Truli,
        The vet got back to me with the results Thursday. He says her blood tests didn’t show much. He says two possible reasons for the diarrhea are chronic bacterial infection in her intestines or a thickening in her intestinal lining caused by cancer and that given her age among other factors it is likely the latter. He says the only way to determine whether or not she has cancer is to do a biopsy which costs around $850 and it must be done under anesthesia. He cannot say whether she has 2 months or 2 years left; he advises not to do the biopsy and to try to make her comfortable. I told himI discontinued the Flagyl (I googled it and read the Flagyl can cause watery diarrhea which Maggie developed whereas before I administered that med she was alternating between producing stools and runny stools). I did let him know I am getting her to take Fortiflora daily by mixing it with chicken broth. He says to continue the Fortiflora and he can give her a shot in place of the Flagyl or we can see how the Fortiflora alone does. I am holding off on the shot.
        I really wish I could get a more definite answer as to what the cause of the diarrhea/loose stools is. However, I feel the reason she became so ill last week was because of the Flagyl, which I read can cause the type of diarrhea she developed, loss of appetite, and vomitting. Monday and Tuesdayof this week, once she was off Flagyl, the diarrhea thickened up like pancake batter, Wednesday it was loose stools and Thursday it was mostly a stool and partly a loose stool. Her appetite has returned to almost normal and she is drinking normally. Time will tell.
        I wonder sometimes if her missing that one tooth could be causing her not to be able to chew properly and is leading to the stomach issue; the vet says no. The only thing I know to do for her for her comfort is to keep giving Fortiflora and Immodium if needed. Also, feeding her boiled chicken and broth seems to help her when she is bad off from diarrhea seems to help her. He says if she gets down to 5-6 lbs from her 9 lbs. it will be time to let her go. Any other advice? Thanks! Tanya
        p.s. I asked the vet how long cats live and he said usually 13 to 17 or 18 years. Is this correct?

  30. December 23, 2010 12:19 pm

    Doc Truli, I apologize for contacting you through comments, but one of your posts on my blog raised a question from a breeder just starting out who is struggling with Tri-Trichamonas Foetus in her cats. They are apparently not responding to the Ronidazole. She ran across your statement “Many of the same antibiotics prescribed for helicobacter would also kill Tritrichomonas, and the cat will get better,” and asked me what these antibiotics were. I’ve never heard of any drug but Ronidazole used for TF. I did send her to Dr. Gookin’s website and though I have spot checked her information, I’m still only finding reference to the one drug. If you have the time I wonder if you can elaborate for me? Thank you.
    Mythicbells Persians (

    • December 23, 2010 9:27 pm

      Dear Molly,
      I purposefully do not publish drugs and dosages on the internet because I do not want people accidentally hurting their cats through home application of the information. But I have figured out that research and published trials, even for the medical profession, differ wildly from country to country.
      Give me a little time. (I know the cats need help, but it is harder to get a hold of the right Specialists and university people over the Christmas holiday.) I will email you privately once I have contacted the current authority on tritrichomonas. For the rest of my readers, I’ll post links to more research information once I’ve established the current, best information.
      Doc Truli

      • January 7, 2011 11:01 am

        So here’s the deal. The Ronidazole is the only antibiotic proven to work. There is bacterial resistance to it. An Internal Medicine Veterinary specialist advised me, doctor-to-doctor, that they use many antibiotics and the patients get better.

        My interpretation of this advice is: it is non-scientific. That internist might be strengthening the bacteria and causing more widespread bacterial resistance.

        Their patients feel better, so it is a doctor by doctor decision for their individual patients with no good answers.

        I’d advise your veterinarian to contact specialists and researchers in the field of tritrichmonas research and the vet will have to form his or her own opinion about the best course of action for your cats.

        I apologize if I gave any false hope that there are scientifically proven alternative treatments to ronidazole; there are not.

        Good Luck!
        -Doc Truli

      • Big Sister permalink
        January 21, 2011 11:42 pm

        Thank you Dr. Truli – I just now thought to check – forgot to sign up for updates… Anyway, thank you so much for looking into this further for me. It sounds about what I was thinking. I’ll pass it on and they can work it out with their vet.


      • Molly permalink
        January 24, 2011 12:48 am

        I can certainly appreciate that. I have an update on this situation and it sounds under control. Her vet has been in touch with Dr. Gookins. She rehomed the 2 positive cats with no symptoms with a good friend which isn’t a bad solution since this problem will usually resolve its self in a healthy cat and with no other cats to pass it on to. Several cats were still testing negative and she was able to keep them. I think there were a couple of cats with symptoms who were returned to the breeder where she got them. Definitely a very stressful experience for a new breeder. I don’t know why the cats didn’t respond to the Ronidazole.

  31. February 14, 2010 3:49 pm

    Do you have a post about your views or insights on pet health insurance? I searched, but didn’t find one. If not, could you write about that at some point?

    • February 17, 2010 11:56 pm

      Dear Sharon,
      I was writing a post regarding pet insurance when your thoughtful comment came in. It should be ready by Saturday, the 20th, which I believe will still be in time for you to get insurance before your new puppy arrives!
      Doc Truli

    • February 19, 2010 10:32 pm

      I finished a post about pet insurance
      I hope it gives you food for thought.
      I believe the Trupanion insurance is the easiest, nicest, most comprehensive, and certainly highest limits and payouts for the premium.
      Of course, as usual, I do not receive money or anything from any company or product I mention on VirtuaVet. I just want as many people as possible to benefit from the stories and experiences other people have already found to be helpful.
      Why make all the mistakes yourself when others can make them for you? There are always new and creative ways to screw up without suffering through all the basics!
      Doc Truli

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