Vets and Pets with Stuart McMorrow

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Stuart McMorrow answers your pet queries

Q: My cat is 19 and he has been diagnosed with kidney problems. Is there anything that can be done?

A: Kidney disease is quite common in cats, particular those in their senior years. The condition can’t be cured, but medication can be given to manage the illness, improving your cat’s quality of life and potentially extended his lifespan. Your vet may also recommend a low protein diet, so his kidneys don’t have to work so hard. Your vet will also be able to advise you what the best course of action is to help your cat live as comfortably as possible for his remaining years. This is why regular health checks (usually every six months but may be more frequent) are recommended for all senior pets.

Q: My dog Maggie is a crossbreed and is 18 months old. When we go anywhere in the car she starts to cry and whine as soon as we start to move. How can I help her to have a more relaxing journey?

A: It is best to introduce pets to car travel at an early age to prevent problems like this, but you can help to reduce Maggie’s anxiety about travelling. First, allow her to sit in the stationary car that’s in a safe place with the doors open. Purchase a pet seat belt and put this on her so she also gets used to that. Reward her (with attention) when she remains calm and ignore any fearful behaviour – if you try to reassure her this teaches her that showing these signs will get your attention. Once she is comfortable with her seat belt on and sitting in the car, turn the engine on then straight off again, gradually building up to moving the car a short distance, with her safely within the seat belt, then a short drive. Only move onto the next step when she is comfortable with the previous one, and continue to reward calm behaviour.