PDSA answers pets owners questions

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Dear PDSA Vet: I de-flead my cat Dusty at the weekend, hoovered the house thoroughly and washed his bedding but he’s itching loads still. What should I do? Ettie

You’ve done all the right things so far, but you will need to use a house spray against fleas too. Dusty’s flea product will kill fleas that are living on him, but there will still be eggs that have been laid in your home, which hatch into new fleas and so the cycle goes on. Make sure you treat Dusty regularly so your flea treatment remains effective. If he still has fleas or is itchy after you’ve treated your home, you’ll need to speak with your vet who may need to prescribe a more effective flea treatment or look at other causes for Dusty’s itching. There’s lots of great information on how to treat fleas here www.pdsa.org.uk/fleas.

Dear PDSA Vet: My eight-month-old Staffie’s ‘crown jewels’ are ‘fore and aft’ as opposed to ‘port and starboard’. Is this normal? Tyler

There are normal variations in the way a dog’s ‘crown jewels’ sit, so this may not be a problem. A greater problem is when only one testicle is visible, which can increase the risk of testicular cancer or if one testicle is larger than the other, which can be a sign of cancer, so it’s important to speak to your vet if this is the case. If your dog doesn’t seem affected by their position and the testicles are of even size then it’s likely nothing to worry about. Mention it to your vet next time you visit. We’d also advise considering neutering your dog – not only does this help to prevent unwanted litters, but it also has important health benefits. Visit www.pdsa.org.uk/neutering for more information.

Dear PDSA Vet: My Westie’s eyes have both gone cloudy just in the last week. Can cataracts develop this quickly? I’ve got an appointment booked with my vet but am worried about waiting – could he lose his sight if he isn’t seen urgently? Jagdeep

Dear Jagdeep, cloudiness in the eyes can develop for a number of reasons and should be investigated by your vet. If your vet diagnoses cataracts, they may want to check for diabetes as this is a common cause of cataracts in dogs (especially if they develop quickly and in both eyes at the same time). There’s no medicine for cataracts, although your dog can be referred to specialists for cataract surgery. Your dog’s sight will deteriorate, but cataracts aren’t painful. However, blindness isn’t a problem for most dogs – their other senses are much more acute than ours and they can cope really well. For advice on caring for a pet with sight-loss, read our advice page www.pdsa.org.uk/blindpets.

Chinchillas are usually very good at keeping themselves clean, so if their coat becomes matted, get her checked out by your vet to make sure that there’s no underlying problem. Chinchillas need a need a dust bath several times a week, to make sure their coat is clean, removing any grease build up. Take the dust bath out after they’ve used it, to avoid your chinchillas using it as a toilet! Chinchillas can live comfortably in home temperatures up to 17˚C, that are well ventilated but not draughty; they don’t cope well with high temperatures or humidity. Excessive dust bathing can affect chinchillas, potentially causing eye problems, dry skin and fur loss. You can buy suitable chinchilla dust and baths from a reputable pet shop.

PDSA is the vet charity for pets in need, preventing unnecessary suffering through treatment and education.

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk



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Elena Johaness

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