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: Can you tell me any simple way to worm my cat Maude, whether using a tablet or another method? She’s a cantankerous old thing and I find it almost impossible to get a tablet down her without being badly scratched.
A: Tableting is one of the most common difficulties experienced by cat owners. Best undertaken by two people, a cat can be carefully wrapped in a towel to protect all involved from their sharp claws.
Using a plastic tableting instrument bought cheaply from your local vet clinic, tip your cat’s head back so that their nose points to the ceiling, gently opening the mouth before popping the tablet behind the tongue and quickly stroking the throat to encourage swallowing. If this process is impossible with Maude, some treatments in liquid form will kill all forms of intestinal worm commonly found in cats that live in the UK.
Available from your vet, these treatments are applied to the back of the neck like many flea treatments (some of which, incidentally, also treat gut worms), and get absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, before killing the worms present in the digestive tract. Used routinely every three months, this spot-on treatment may be the answer to your feline’s internal parasite problems.
Q: Our cat has started to be tentative around her food bowl, dropping pieces of meat and drooling. She also has awful breath. Given that she’s quite old, we’re worried what the vet will say. Any ideas what could be wrong?
A: Please don’t be frightened of your vet, as it sounds like your poor cat needs attention. It’s likely that her discomfort and drooling are due to a dental issue – maybe a rotten tooth or gum disease.
Even older cats can undergo anaesthetic as long as tests are done beforehand to ensure their general health, and this could greatly improve your cat’s quality and length of life. Chronic dental disease can lead to health problems including liver and heart disease, so do go and see your vet.
Q: My 12-year-old Burmese has started biting me hard whenever he wants food or attention, and generally grabs whatever food he can find. He doesn’t attack anyone else, but his behaviour towards me is becoming intolerable. Help!
A: Because your cat is 12 and has only just started to display this behaviour, I would take him to your vet in the first instance.
Some medical conditions can make cats irritable and constantly hungry, such as hyperthyroidism, and your vet may well recommend blood tests. In the meantime, as the aggression is mainly linked to eating,
I’d get into the habit of scattering a little dry food on the floor for him just before you walk out of the kitchen, so he’s kept busy looking for it. This would be part of his normal daily ration.
Providing a food activity ball may also help. Also, ensure you’re well protected, with thick slipper boots, thick trousers and socks.
If there is no medical cause, seek professional behaviour advice. Cat aggression can be a real problem, as cats carry bacteria in their mouths, and deep bites from them can cause potentially serious infections.
Watching what you eat? Start keeping an eye on your pets too, if these latest X-rays are anything to go by
Ask your vet about animals they’ve treated who have eaten things they shouldn’t have, and chances are they’ll have more than a tale or two. Because besides the odd mouthful of grass, our pets seem to have a strange – and sometimes dangerous – approach when it comes to snacking.
Here at Petplan, we’re seeing a growing trend in pets swallowing things they should steer well clear of, with claims coming in about Britain’s pooches eating everything from rubber ducks to golf balls and even cutlery. It’s not just dogs that are ultra-inquisitive either. Our feline friends also partake in culinary disasters, including one curious moggy that ended up gulping down a darning needle.
Vet Brian Faulkner has seen many cases like this throughout his career. ‘It’s important to be careful when leaving items lying around the house as pets love to explore and often end up eating things. Not only can this be painful or expensive to resolve, it can be potentially life-threatening.’
Barney, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, managed to swallow a rubber duck after retrieving it from inside the bath tub.
Bobby Kirk, an eight-month-old West Highland Terrier, chowed down on a horse from a child’s play set.
A poodle crashed a dinner party and helped itself to a not-so-tasty spoon, straight off the table.
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