Trust your vet when treating diabetes

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My 9-year-old cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I am not giving him shots or insulin. I'm giving him the Hill's prescription diet the veterinarian recommended. My cat is not that crazy about the food but will eat it. Can the diabetes be controlled with diet and no insulin?

This is one of those questions that can cause endless debates. You had a vet who examined the cat and presumably has been monitoring the cat's blood sugar levels. Knowing the cat's situation intimately, he or she is best able to answer this for you.

I have had two cats and one dog with diabetes. I was going through a holistic period in my life when my first pet was diagnosed with this. I tried to manage the situation without insulin, but I had no success. I ended up throwing in the towel and gave her the insulin every day. Quite frankly, it was not a big deal, and she lived another 12 years with the insulin.

Later on, when my vet diagnosed my other two pets with it, we went right on the insulin, and all was uneventful once we had the dosage right.

Put your trust in your vet. Things will most likely work out.

Lately, we have seen three species of small snakes around the foundation of our house. That is too close for comfort. We spread a product called Snake Away and mothballs around the house, but the snakes just crawl over this stuff. I know snakes are beneficial and I do not want to kill them; I just do not want them around my house. Any advice?

I wish I lived in an area where the habitat could support three species of snakes.

The snakes you are seeing are most likely DeKay's snakes, which burrow in soft soil to eat earthworms; garter snakes that look for toads in moist areas and green snakes that eat insects they find in grass and shrubs.

To deter the snakes, you have to make the areas that you do not want them to frequent are devoid of food and hiding places. Make the beds around the areas of the house where you see the snakes as barren as possible by spreading those white marble chips that are sold in garden centers as a ground cover to a depth of two inches or so.

Insects, toads and earthworms have a hard time hiding in those marble chips. Snakes do not like the sharp edges, so they will avoid those areas and look for better hunting grounds elsewhere.

I have a green-and-yellow parakeet named Marco, who is madly in love with a little wooden toy. He spends all day making love to it and regurgitating seeds all over it. As fast as I clean up the seeds, he eats more and regurgitates all over the toy again. I do not know how to handle this. He used to fly out of the cage and play with us, but these days he just makes love to the toy. Should I remove it from the cage?

Marco is full of testosterone and has transferred all the affection he would show to a mate to this toy. That is OK in most situations, but it seems Marco has gotten obsessive about the toy not returning his affections. The unrequited love is causing him anxiety.The best thing to do is to get another parakeet, male or female, as a real mate for him. Two parakeets are as easy to care for as one and are twice the fun.

If you cannot do this, remove the toy from the cage and put it back in with him for half an hour twice a day, so he can spend time with it, then act normal for the rest of the day. Paired birds are not in close contact all the time, so doing this would give him a bit more of a normal life than he is living now.