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My male cat was diagnosed with an inflamed bladder. It caused him to urinate in small amounts very often. His urinalysis showed that his urine contained no bacteria or crystals. What's wrong?

A. -- He may be showing sings of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). It is a poorly understood condition affecting both male and female cats. For many reasons cats can undergo a sterile inflammation of the wall of their bladder. The bladder hurts when expanded and forces the cat to urinate small amounts frequently. This causes a meshwork of cells and debris to form. An emergency can result if this meshwork is combined with crystals formed from mineral imbalance in the diet. The resulting plug can prevent urination and be fatal to cats. A high quality, low-magnesium diet is the best prevention from crystal formation. Your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate diet for your cat based on his urine and medical conditions.

-- W. James Brown, DVM

Heat wave

Q. -- Help! My dog is in heat. What should I do?

A. -- Your dog's heat cycle is made up of two stages. Bleeding occurs during the first stage and can last seven to 14 days. Estrus occurs as the bleeding slows down or stops. This is actually the period when females are receptive to males and can easily get pregnant. Keep your female inside or on a leash for two weeks after her bleeding stops. You should strongly consider spaying her about halfway between cycles, in three months. There are many health benefits, besides the prevention of unwanted puppies. Check out the Web page,

-- W. James Brown, DVM

Cool coat

Q. -- I own a Malamute with a thick coat. He seems so hot in the summer. I would like to have his coat clipped very short. Will he be OK?

A. -- He should be fine but his coat offers some protection from the sun so leave an inch or so. He does not use his skin to actively cool his body the way we do. The dense coat could act as a barrier to heat radiation and raise his temperature a bit.

He will need some special care as the temperature climbs. Keep plenty of fresh water nearby. Do not leave him in your car and make sure he has shade when outdoors. You may want his fur to grow out for winter months so he can enjoy the snow.

-- W. James Brown, DVM
Prepared as a public service by the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. Send questions to Pets, P.O. Box 403, East Aurora, N.Y. 14052-0403. Sorry, personal replies cannot be provided.

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