Vets and Pets with Stuart McMorrow

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Q: My Shih Tzu Ollie had his teeth cleaned five months ago, and straight afterwards he started to reject his food and was sick every couple of days

He seems to struggle to chew now, and eats really slowly whereas before he gulped his food down in seconds. I took him back to my vet who said it was nothing he’d done but gave him an antibiotic injection. There’s still no change though – should I get a second opinion?

A: The best thing to do is to make another appointment for your dog to see your vet and chat about your concerns. If you’re not happy with what’s said, you can always ask to speak to a different vet within the practice. If you’d like to get your dog referred, your vet can arrange for Ollie to see a specialist in this field. These vets are usually based at one of the universities that teach veterinary medicine, although there are some that work at larger veterinary practices. You may have to travel a distance, and it is worthwhile checking out the cost of the consultation first before you commit yourself. Discuss this with your vet, who can advise you on whether this would be the best option for your pet. If you both feel it would be of benefit, then the vet can make the appointment for you.

Q: We have a female cat who over grooms herself to the point of baldness and bleeding. The vet checked her and she’s been treated for fleas and given antihistamines, and we’ve been bathing her as advised but to no avail. Any suggestions?

A: There are many reasons why a cat will groom excessively, and one reason is that your cat could be reacting to stress, so it’s worthwhile thinking if anything has changed in her life. The same things that upset us can cause stress in pets too. They may find changes to their environment, such as staying in a boarding kennel or visiting the vet, difficult to cope with. Changes in the home, such as re-arranging the furniture or re-decoration, arguments or even parties, can be stressful. If the daily routine is upset, pets can react badly.

Q: One of our guinea pigs went lame in both his back legs and the vet gave him some anti-inflammatories. But this doesn’t seem to be helping and I’m worried about his quality of life as he struggles to move around. Will he get better?

A: Your vet will need to review his condition and see how it has changed since the last visit, so it’s important to give your vet as much information as you can. Taking written notes is very useful. Your vet may also discuss further tests that may help diagnose what is causing the lameness, such as X-rays, and possible treatments. However it’s important that you consider whether putting him to sleep is best for him. It is always a sad and often difficult decision to make, but sometimes it is the most humane option for our animal companions.