Welcome to Petplan’s blog, a space where you can read up on the latest pet-news, find out interesting facts and tips about keeping your pets happy and healthy, and share your views on hot topics.
Q: Our cat is a real fighter and keeps coming into the house with bites and scratches. He tends to clean them himself and isn’t keen for us to look at them. My mum says his saliva can kill bacteria, but I don’t believe it. Is this true?
A: No. A cat’s mouth harbours one of the highest concentrations of bacteria in existence, and is far more likely to cause an infection than to treat one. Of course, pets will groom themselves when injured, but you should always try to clean any wound with warm salty water if you can. If the skin is punctured, you will need to see your vet, as abscesses are a common condition in cats that get involved in local dust-ups.
Q: How do I stop my cat eating my houseplants? I did have a spider plant, but she ate most of that and then acted oddly.
A: Great care must be taken with cats around houseplants, as some – lilies, for example – can be very dangerous to them. Most cats will, from time to time, eat a bit of roughage, and should be provided with a tray of cat grass to nibble on. You can buy seed from garden centres or on the internet, and the grass is quick and easy to grow.
The Feline Advisory Bureau (www.fabcats.org) offers advice on plants that are toxic to cats. As your cat has a habit of eating your houseplants, you should check out what plants you have and remove any potential hazards.
Q: One of my cats, a moggy called Clarence, seems to have a bit of a problem with his ear. I noticed today that one ear is slightly down, and he is reluctant to let me touch it. He is shaking his head on one side as though there is something in it, but he is an indoors-only cat. He is otherwise fine, bright and eating well, so is this something that will clear up on its own?
A: There certainly could be something in your cat’s ear, though infection leading to inflammation and pain could also lead to a feline shaking its head. Cats are generally very hardy creatures and don’t complain much, so if Clarence is clearly distressed, then book him an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.
Q: We have just bought a Pug who the children have called Lucy. She is a wonderful character, but seems to feel the cold terribly, shaking whenever we go outside.
I don’t want to be like Paris Hilton, but the kids are keen on buying her a jacket for winter. What do you think?
A: If your little short-haired dog feels the cold, then some type of warm clothing during the winter months may be OK – as long as this is just temperature-related. This could be a behavioural problem, where little Lucy is nervous about going outdoors and shakes as a result.
If she seems happy and well-adjusted outdoors, then canine fashion can be tolerated as long as it is comfortable and allows your dog to act naturally – a pink puffa jacket does not fit this description!
Q: Our nine-month-old Cockapoo has had a number of ticks that have been removed but have left him with lumps. As one is close to the eye, we took him to the vet.
He was given a course of antibiotics and we were told that they would go away in time. This was a month ago and they haven’t altered in size. What should we do?
A: Let your vet have another look, as they really should have reduced by now. It seems that your tick-removing technique might need a little tweaking, as you may be leaving the head in, which causes infection and can lead to swelling.
Even when removed properly, tick bites can cause inflammation and small lumps, so in the long term, the use of a topical product to repel ticks from biting your dog in the first place is the best bet.
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