Pet Q&A: We have inherited a young budgie but we don't know what the sex is.

Q We have inherited a young budgie but we don't know what the sex is. How can we tell whether it is male or female?

A In younger budgies, it is often difficult to tell what sex they are. However, at about four months old, the cere (the fleshy lump at the top of the beak) becomes a more defined colour. In a male budgie, the cere is usually blue, and in a female it is usually brown although this is not a hard and fast rule.

You should register your budgie with a vet, preferably one with a special interest in birds. Ask at your local vet practice which vets in your area have such an interest.

Hide Ad

The vet can examine your budgie and give you advice and information on caring properly for your new pet. You can also find information about keeping budgies healthy and happy at

Q My dog has very sensitive eyes and is getting dry skin around them. How can I treat this?

A Any treatment your dog needs depends on the cause of the dry skin. One possibility is a mite infestation called Demodex, causing a condition called "Demodectic mange". Lots of dogs carry this mite without it causing Demodectic mange, but in some the infestation becomes severe resulting in dry, thickened skin around the face, muzzle, eyes and forelimbs; the condition isn't usually itchy. It's not clear why some dogs develop these signs, but it usually depends on their immune system.

You need to take your dog to your vet for your dog's condition to be correctly diagnosed and the appropriate treatment prescribed. For Demodex, this might include medicated drops or bathing with a medicated shampoo.

Q My cat has fleas and white flakes over her body. I have used flea treatment on her to get rid of them. Can you give me any advice?

A Flea treatments available over the counter (for example, from pet shops) may not be as safe or effective as those bought from veterinary practices, so you should contact your local practice if you haven't already.

Hide Ad

Q My four-month-old dog has just had his first injection but since then he has stopped eating and is suffering from diarrhoea. Has this been caused by his injection?

A Vaccines used in pets are very safe and side-effects are unusual. There are several different possible causes of diarrhoea, so you should take your puppy back to your vet to find out what the problem is. He may have eaten something that has upset his digestive system or he may have an infection. In the meantime, make sure he drinks plenty of water. Diarrhoea causes fluid loss and this can be particularly dangerous in young animals.