Pets Q&A

Q My puppy has been suffering from diarrhoea ever since I brought her home and it has not stopped. Can you give me any advice?

A When animals are suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea it causes them to lose fluids, which can be very serious for young pets, so you should take your puppy to be checked by your vet as soon as possible. There are many possible causes of persistent diarrhoea including worms. Delaying treatment can cause the condition to get much worse, though, so make an appointment now.

Q My mother's cat is getting a smelly discharge from his left ear. Can you give any advice?

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A Possible causes for this discharge include ear mites or an ear infection. Both of these can be quite distressing for cats, and can cause them to shake their head or scratch at their ears. Some less common, but potentially more serious causes, include a small mass in the ear, called a polyp, or a tumour. These can become infected and cause a bad smell. You should take your cat to your vet, who might suggest sedating or briefly anaesthetising your cat so that a thorough examination can be done. You may need to administer ear drops for a short while.

Q My guinea pig has a couple of lumps. Do I need to get them checked by a vet as he appears to be fine otherwise?

A It's always best to get any health queries checked by your vet. Lumps on a guinea pig's skin could be abscesses, or could be a sign of a skin infection.

Skin mites can also cause lumps if your guinea pig has been scratching. Your vet may say that your guinea pig needs antibiotics.

Q My dog keeps getting spots that burst and then form into a solid lump. He is a cross-breed and about five-years-old. What could be causing these spots?

A It sounds as though your dog may have a bacterial skin infection or the spots could be sebaceous cysts. These form when the sebaceous glands (glands in the skin which produce an oily substance to condition the skin and coat) don't empty properly, causing them to fill with the oily substance and causing small lumps. These can become infected.

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You need to take your dog to be examined by your vet. If it is a skin infection your dog might need antibiotics and possibly a special medicated shampoo. Courses of antibiotics for skin infections can be quite long and should be completed to be fully effective.

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