Pet Questions

Q My Labrador has itchy red skin and keeps scratching. I’ve given him flea treatment but the skin has started to blister now and some of his hair is falling out; it’s starting to smell a bit too. What could the problem be?

A You need to take Benny to see your vet as soon as possible, as this skin condition is likely to be painful for him. There are several possible causes, one of which is fleas. Even though you have treated for fleas, some treatments are more effective than others. It is also important to treat your home at the same time – wash your pet’s bedding weekly and vacuum all areas. Another possible problem is that Benny’s skin may be infected with bacteria and/or yeast, so your vet may prescribe tablets and/or medicated shampoo if this is the case. Your vet may also check for hormonal disease which could be causing his hair to fall out and they may consider allergies.

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Q Howcan I tell if my two young budgies are male or female?

A Budgies are very sociable animals and need the company of other budgies to keep them happy. It is best to keep birds of the same sex together, otherwise they can breed. At about four months of age the cere, or fleshy lump at the top of the beak, becomes coloured. In male budgies it is usually blue, and in females it is brown.

• Stuart McMorrow is based at Edinburgh’s PDSA PetAid Hospital, 26 Hutchison Crossway, 0131-443 6178