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Ask Dr. Gott 11/15
Doctor's office goes to the dogs
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: Help! Our doctor brings her dog to the office every day, where it meanders into examining rooms and hallways. We feel this is not sanitary and wonder what on earth she is thinking. Your input, please. We're worried.
    DEAR READER: Give your doctor the respect of telling her your understandable reaction to her questionable practice. I agree that a roaming canine is not appropriate, no matter how well it is trained.
    Having said this, many health facilities encourage people to bring well-behaved pets to their facilities for visits at appropriate times. Statistics prove that shut-ins and the elderly thrive when they can pet an animal or have a resident cat curl up on the foot of a bed, providing companionship.     It is a win-win situation with excellent results.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 39-year-old life-long athlete and Army veteran who suffers from osteoarthritis, primarily in my neck, from years of general wear and tear. You responded to a 63-year-old "very tired" woman who had cancer 30 years ago and is currently suffering from osteoarthritis. You surmised her fatigue and malaise were caused by some sort of blood disorder, such as anemia. Sir, if someone wakes up with pain, goes on throughout the day with pain, and goes to bed with pain, you must realize it takes a toll on one's well-being. Just like a stressful job, fighting pain is mental work that tires someone out.
    DEAR READER: The causes of malaise and fatigue are notorious. I was attempting to cover the bases because anemia is a common consequence of cancer and can cause the above symptoms. (That is not to say she has a recurrence of her cancer, but that it cannot be completely ruled out.) In my column, I don't discuss in-depth aspects of diseases, preferring instead to keep the door open and refer readers back to their family physicians or to specialists.
    Thirty nine is a young age for osteoarthritis, even for a life-long athlete. Pain can be debilitating and needs to be addressed aggressively. Begin with your primary care physician, who may wish to refer you to a rheumatologist.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Osteoarthritis." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I like drinking water with the no-calorie, no-carb mixes. It makes it easier for me to drink it that way, instead of a soda. Recently, though, I have been hearing that if you add anything to water, it is no longer water and your body will not process it as water. Is this true, and how can I tell if I'm getting enough water?
    DEAR READER: Adding flavor, carbs or carbonation to water will not alter the drink; your body will use the water whether or not it has been tampered with. Pay attention to your level of thirst, which will indicate the need for you to drink more water.
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