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 fun-loving pug puppy has just started ‘getting a little funny’ around other male dogs, and my vet suggested castration. We’re really worried about Kato being put under anaesthetic for a procedure that isn’t essential, so should we steer clear?
We’ve researched the different types of anaesthetic and it seems that gas is the safest. Do all vets use this?
A: Castration is not a necessity, but it will help to reduce male-dominance aggression and the potential for prostate problems later in life, so it’s definitely worth considering seriously.
Almost all – if not all – vets in the UK use gas to maintain a pet under anaesthetic. Having said that, injections are also usually involved; it is very uncommon to solely ‘gas-down’ a canine patient for surgery.
I would suggest contacting your local vet to discuss the types of anaesthetic they use. This should help you feel more comfortable about the procedure, and to decide whether you want to go through with it.
Q: My puppy has been vomiting for the past week. The vet suggested withholding his food and prescribed medication, but these don’t seem to have made a difference.
He is bright enough and is eating again, although less than before. Should I worry?
A: I would definitely revisit your vet as, just like a human baby, puppies are very delicate creatures and should not be allowed to be unwell for long. It could be that your dog has swallowed something, such as part of a chewed toy, which may be swirling around in his stomach and unable to pass.
Otherwise, he could be in need of a change of food, or be eating too much, too quickly. Or it might be an infection.
Don’t let this go on too long before considering X-rays and further options, as the weaker a puppy gets, the less strength they have to recover from illness.
Q: I usually bring my rabbits indoors around the end of October but, as we have several children and only a small house, we’d ideally like to leave them outdoors next winter. Is this possible?
A: A rabbit would normally shelter by burrowing deep underground but, as that’s not possible for a pet, we need to take other measures to protect them from the long British winter. You could look into the possibility of placing heat lamps in a covered section of the hutch, and using appropriate dry bedding for a winter outdoors.
The hutch should be in a sheltered position and, ideally, off the ground to avoid frosts. Your rabbits must be checked every day, and you may need to bring them indoors if there’s a lot of snow.
Q: Our little kitten Tiggy recently had his first ever vaccination, and was really sad and quiet afterwards. It worried us, and made us think twice about any further jabs. What do you think?
A: You should discuss this with your vet, although generally I would say it’s important to have a young cat fully vaccinated against the harmful and common viruses in our environment. To be a little quiet and off food is a fairly normal reaction to a vaccination – very similar to how we or our children feel after routine jabs – though anything more severe should always be reported to your vet.
If the reaction is deemed severe, then there are other vaccines on the market where the active ingredients are modified or ‘killed’. These still offer some level of protection and might be more suited to your new kitten.
Q: My five-year-old Springer Spaniel is prone to weepy eyes. Should I take him to a vet or just keep cleaning his eyes with cooled boiled water?
A: If the discharge is clear or brownish in colour, it’s normal tear production – possibly excessive because of irritation or allergy. If the discharge is yellow, it’s a bacterial infection that will need antibiotic medication from your vet.
Many owners report that their dogs have weepy eyes during early spring, possibly associated with the increase in pollens and dust in the atmosphere. A good wipe clean with cooled boiled water would be a perfect way to keep your Springer’s eyes clean and clear, so continue as you are unless infection does become apparent.
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