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Pets

Q: Our dog has a sensitive stomach and generally has a looser stool every other week, or once a month. However, often, whenever we go to the park, she has diarrhea. We call it "park poo." She loves the park. She's was recently checked for parasites. What's the poop with our dog?

-- R.S., Cyberspace.

A: "I wouldn't completely rule out stress," says internal medicine specialist Dr. Keven Gulikers, of Dallas. "Sometimes we don't know when our dogs are stressed. There could be a bigger underlying issue here, which is triggered at the park. Bad bacteria can be opportunistic that way, like looters after the storm. I'd also have the dog re-checked for internal parasites, just in case."

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Q: Our 12-year-old cat, Flower, has been throwing up her entire life. We once had a cat named Fatboy who would finish his food, then go to Flower's bowl, push her out of the way and eat whatever was left. I believe Flower began to eat too fast so she could at least get something. Just before Fatboy died four years ago, we got another cat, Karik. Flower kept eating rapidly out of habit, even after Karik died. We've tried various foods, including those for a sensitive stomach. Is this just a nervous habit or is something wrong? I'm tired of cleaning up!

-- J.H., Huntington Beach, Calif.

A: The good news is, Flower apparently does not have a serious illness since the vomiting has been a lifetime issue. Internal medicine specialist Dr. Saundra Willis, of Seattle, concedes that some cats just vomit.

Feed Flower as often as you're able, at least twice a day. Divide each meal into five or six small portions and leave them in various places around the house. Most cats actually benefit when food is hidden so they can "hunt" for it. What's most important in your case is that the food is in small portions so Flower can't inhale an entire meal.

Trying a course of prednisone might be an inexpensive way of confirming suspicion of an inflammatory bowel issue.

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