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broken tooth on dog
Category: general | Submitted: 21-Oct-07 | viewed 144631 times
Q Shannon asks:
My almost 5 month old rottie x bullmastiff broke a tooth behind his canine, but in front of his molars. I'm pretty sure it's an adult tooth. It bled a little bit, but it hasn't seemed to bother him at all. What should I do about this?
Q Samantha says: Broken teeth can be a problem since there is a chance that infection can get into the crack or break and potentially cause an abscess. Sometimes dogs can be remarkably stoic about pain too, and your dog may have considerable discomfort but is not letting on. If the break or chip is only very minor and does not involve the pulp cavity (the living part of the tooth) then it may be possible just to leave it as it is, but the fact that there was some bleeding at the time suggests that it is definitely worth checking with your vet. If the fracture or break is serious enough then it may be necessary to remove the tooth and this would be done under general anaesthetic- however if this is the case prompt treatment now will potentially save you a lot more extensive treatment later should an abscess form. It is sometimes possible for vets to perform procedures such as fillings for dogs, but this can be expensive and may not always be successful.
chronic kidney failure
Species: cat | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 19-Oct-07 | viewed 30542 times
Q Marquessa asks:
Please can you tell me if it's okay for me to give my cat Dioralyte, the lost water and body salts replacement? He is very dehydrated and on the box it says in the case of kidney failure to seek advice before using. It is most urgent! He is not eating and is not well at all. Thank you so much.
Q Samantha says: It sounds as if your cat needs veterinary attention for this. Home treatment may be inappropriate. If your cat is very dehydrated he may need intravenous fluids. Speak your local vet who will be able to examine your cat and suggest the most appropriate course of action. Sorry I can't help further but there are limitations to what can be done over the internet since I am unable to examine the animals. A site such as this is most useful to tell people if they really need to seek a vet's help and not to offer specific advice about specific cases. In your situation it certainly sounds serious enough to advise you to get your cat to the vet as soon as you can.
cat pees on the floor but only sometimes
Species: cat | Category: other | Submitted: 18-Oct-07 | viewed 29179 times
Q Amy asks about max (cat - not known, M) :
I bought my mom a cat, he is about 2 months old; he pees in the litter box but sometimes, usually near sleep time, or during the day pees and poops on the floor. We don't know why because sometimes he uses the litter box.
Q Samantha says: Check to see if he uses the litter box when it is clean but not if he has used it once already. Many cats will not re-use a dirty litter tray until it has been completely cleaned; they can be very fastidious creatures.

If this is the case you could try to make sure you clean the tray and replace the litter after every use or alternatively supply more than one box for your cat to use and have one big cleaning session at the end of the day.
wees when excited
Species: dog | Category: general | Submitted: 17-Oct-07 | viewed 29826 times
Q Sheila asks about LULU (dog - X breed Lhasa Apso X JRT, F) (age 0 years, 7 months):
Lulu is only 6-months old and wees quite a lot when she's excited, which being a happy puppy means most of the time. What can I do to stop this? We will have her spayed when she's had her first season, can the vet do something to prevent this at the same time? Thanks.
Q Samantha says: Unfortunately this is one of those things that can be difficult to prevent or stop. Many female dogs pass a small amount of urine when they get excited and it often displays their submissive character. If you "talk dog" or understand what their behaviour means you will know that urination is often a display of submissive behaviour. It basically means " I am happy but I know that you are the boss and I want you to know how much I respect you".
You could try to bolster her confidence as she grows older and definitely never tell her off for this- she will not understand since as far as dogs are concerned this is possibly one of the most respectful acts she can do for you! Perhaps teaching her a simple command such as "sit" or "down" might help and you could use this command when she gets excited and is about to urinate. The problem will hopefully get better as she gets older but you might want to consider consulting a behaviourist in your area who may be able to help you further.
My westie
Species: dog | Category: general | Submitted: 17-Oct-07 | viewed 29681 times
Q Josephine asks:
Please can you help me? My two year old westie is eating her own poo, also she has got really greedy but seems to be losing weight at the same time. I just wondered if you could help me figure out why these things have become an issue as I used to have problems getting her to eat. Thank you.
Q Samantha says: Reading your question I wonder if there could be some sort of problem with her digestive tract leading to nutrients not being absorbed properly from the gut. This type of problem would lead to the faeces still being "tasty" for the dog since some nutrients would still be present in them, and would also explain the weight loss and apparent "greed" since your dog might not be getting all the nutrition she needs out of her food.
Of course I could be wrong about this, but I think it would be a good idea for you to get your dog checked by your vet. Take a faecal sample along with you in case they need to perform any tests.
My female dog has droplets of blood in her urine
Species: dog | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 17-Oct-07 | viewed 33403 times
Q Casondrea asks about Asia (dog - Pomeranian, F) :
My 4 yr. old unspayed female has been having droplets of blood in her urine. (Sometimes she passes clear urine, most of the time it will have a drop or two of blood in it). I thought she might be going into heat, we just adopted her in August, so we are unsure of when she is supposed to be in heat. Is this normal?
Q Samantha says: I think you should take her along to your vet who will be able to examine her and tell you if it could be serious or not, (take a urine sample along with you too, if you can). The risk of something serious such as a pyometra is too great to ignore in this situation and it is impossible to make a diagnosis over the internet. (A pyometra is an infection of the uterus and can be life threatening if not treated). I hope this is helpful.
Cat not eating
Category: general | Submitted: 09-Oct-07 | viewed 27924 times
Q Donna asks:
My cat Rasha just gave birth four days ago. However, she has not been eating, and does not even seem interested to eat. If she does she will lick the wet food a couple of times and then turn away. I am very concerned that if she does not eat she and her kittens will die. What do I do or give her to make her eat again?
Q Samantha says: Cats tend to eat enough during their pregnancy to allow for lactation later- so as far as milk production goes she will probably be OK for now. However it is possible that she is unwell, perhaps having an infection after the birth, a retained placenta or something similar. I would recommend taking her to the vet to be checked for any problems/ infections, since if left, things could potentially become more serious. If necessary you should be able to hand-rear the kittens and your vet will be able to tell you if supplementary feeding may be necessary and how to go about it.
Urinating everywhere
Species: cat | Category: general | Submitted: 08-Oct-07 | viewed 29261 times
Q Cheryl asks about Jazz (cat - not known, M) (age 0 years, 2 months):
I have a kitten that is 7 weeks old. He was part of my adult cat's litter of 8. Now he is the only one left. I have noticed that he urinates in places he shouldn't. When he was litter trained I moved the litter tray from one room to the kitchen, so I understand him still using that same corner. I just need to re-train him not to use that corner. What I don't understand is that he uses the litter tray to defecate, but still urinates on the floor in my front room. He also urinated on me and my sofa yesterday too, he was playing with my skirt, stopped and just did it. I'm a little worried that it may be an incontinence problem, as, apart from yesterday, the traces of urine are only tiny patches, almost as if they are just trails while he's walking around. Any advice would be fantastic, I don't want to carry on like this, but I don't want to give him away either. Thanks.
Q Samantha says: Litter trays should not really be in the kitchen- so that may have been a mistake that has contributed to this problem. Cats are a bit like us and they like to urinate/defecate where it is a little bit private and well away from their food! Usually kitchens are fairly busy parts of the house with lots of family members coming and going and generally being occupied. The kitchen tends to be where cats get fed and cats do not like having their toilet next to, or near their food.
I would suggest moving the litter tray back to the original position and perhaps having a litter tray in other areas where your kitten currently likes to urinate. Once things are a little more settled you can change things slightly if you want but you need to get him well established on the litter trays to start. Remember to change the litter frequently as cats often will not urinate twice in dirty litter.
You could consider getting him checked for urinary problems by your local vet just to make sure that there is no underlying medical cause for all this. If he is OK remember that he is still very young and will occasionally have "accidents" especially if the litter trays are not to his liking and he does not really have somewhere established that he can go. If these simple methods fail then you could consult and animal behaviourist and get more detailed advice relevant to your own particular circumstances.
flea control
Category: general | Submitted: 03-Oct-07 | viewed 28179 times
Q Evelyn asks:
Sellers on Ebay are offering to sell Frontline Plus for large dogs along with instructions for dividing the dosage down to the appropriate amount for a cat. The idea is to derive eight feline-strength doses from one tube of large dog dosage. If the measurements are made accurately, is this a safe way to treat cats for fleas?
Q Samantha says: No. I would never recommend using this product "off-label" in such a way. There are several things which could potentially go wrong with this kind of thing. First - how do you know exactly how much product you are dosing each cat with? One cat could end up with too much and another with too little product. The volumes you are dealing with are small and difficult to measure accurately in the home environment. Secondly what happens when the product is stored but open? Have you got eight cats to dose at the same time? If not you will have to store the product and it could spoil if opened and not used for any length of time. I do not know what happens in this situation with Frontline or the risk of spoilage/ adverse effects/ efficacy etc so it is impossible for me to advise you in this specific case. However it is often the case that drugs stored incorrectly or too long can be spoiled by bacterial contamination or perhaps simply become ineffective over time.

When reading the data sheet for Frontline for dogs it states specifically not to use the dog product for cats due to the risk of overdosing and states that "the risk of adverse effects may increase when overdosing, so animals should always be treated with the correct pipette size according to body-weight". If you go ahead and buy Frontline for dogs then use it on your cats you might save a bit of money but would it really be worth it if your cat suffered for it?

I would beware of unscrupulous dealers out there wanting to make "a quick buck" out of you and your cats without caring about the consequences once they have their cash! I also wonder if these people should really be selling Frontline at all, since it has a legal category of NFA-VPS; this means only vets, pharmacists or specially qualified people should be selling it; these people are unlikely to make such recommendations when it is specifically contraindicated in the data sheet.
broken paw
Species: dog | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 03-Oct-07 | viewed 33378 times
Q Rachel asks about Spike (dog - not known, M) (age 0 years, 4 months):
Spike jumped off the bed and when he landed his paw went under him. He started howling, we were able to calm him and straighten the leg. We splinted it and wrapped it and have him in his crate. At this time I cannot afford a vet bill but want to do the right thing to help him get better, please give me advice, we really love this dog.
Q Samantha says: Oh dear! It really does sound like he needs to see a vet for pain relief if nothing else. If it is indeed fractured (broken) it would be cruel not to have it attended to, since your dog will be in considerable pain.

If fractures are not treated properly there is also a possibility that they will heal with the bones misaligned which often means further problems in time (such as a permanent limp/ arthritic pain). Other complications, such as failure to heal and infection are also a possibility.

Do take care with the splint and "wrap"- bandages which are applied incorrectly (too tight) can cut off the circulation to the limb and in severe cases this can lead to the need for amputation of the limb.

I would suggest you contact your local vet and explain the situation; they may be able to suggest a local charity organization that may be able to help. If Spike really has fractured a bone, then to delay treatment now may cost you a lot more if things go wrong later- and you really should not leave him to suffer (broken bones are incredibly painful- I know from personal experience!)
Ideal Weight
Species: dog | Category: nutrition | Submitted: 02-Oct-07 | viewed 28115 times
Q Kelsi asks:
My male, one year old, Border Collie weighs 14.7 kilograms. Is this an ideal weight or is he too light? I am unsure of this. (The picture provided is when he was about 5 months old. It's the only one I could find in a rush).
Q Samantha says: Male Border Collies are said to weigh between 17-20kgs. However, I would not worry too much if your dog is lighter than this at the moment. He is still very young and probably extremely active. It is always better for animals to be lighter rather than heavier. If your dog has no diarrhoea or other digestive complaint, is bright and active and full of life you probably have very little to worry about. He looks as if he is playful and active from the picture you sent in! (I know its from when he was younger)
Upset tummy maybe or poison
Species: dog | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 01-Oct-07 | viewed 31398 times
Q Danny asks about Lewy (dog - Border Collie, M) (age 3 years, 2 months):
Hi there Last week I found Lewy in our garden hacking up (not sick), just the noise. After checking his throat both internally ( as far as I could go), and feeling externally, there did not seem to be anything trapped etc. The next day I went down to him in the morning and found that he had been not exactly sick but more a phlegm that was as dark as mud. I just put it down to him eating mud-!!. Over the week end he seems to go and hide and not really be himself, but as soon as we go walking he is fine and there seems to be no problem. His nose is dry with a little mucus coming out of each nostril. He has also started to constantly lick his front paws and the hair on them looks like he has just spiked them with gel... Also when he brings the ball back out on walks, there seems to be more excess saliva on the ball than usual. My wife and I have recently moved house (July), and he has taken a liking for some of the plants in the garden, They are Jasmine, Poppy and Mint. Could he be having a reaction to these and should I pull them out? He still has his appetite. Best Regards a Concerned Danny
Q Samantha says: I am sorry to hear about your dog, these types of signs may be caused by a number of conditions and it would be worth getting him checked by your local vet. There is some anecdotal evidence I have come across for jasmine plants to be a problem for dogs, although I have never seen a case where this has been an identified problem myself. It may be better to prevent access to the plants if you can, since any plant could possibly cause an allergic reaction in an individual dog. I hope this helps.
Sleepy little hamster
Category: general | Submitted: 01-Oct-07 | viewed 26405 times
Q Jess asks:
My new hamster is 6-7 weeks old. I got her from a shop on Friday and she is sleeping more than I think is normal. I know they are nocturnal, but she doesn't seem to be awake much at night either. She made her nest and hasn't come out much since and so we have woken her up a few times and today we tried to take her out to put her in her ball, but that resulted in her hiding in a tube. She doesn't have her eyes open much and I'm really worried because she doesn't seem active enough. We have made sure the room is kept warm and draft free, so we don't think she's hibernating. Any advice would be appreciated, as this is my first time looking after a hamster - thanks!
Q Samantha says: It is a difficult question to answer because without examining your pet I cannot be sure the inactivity is not due to illness. Hamsters do tend to be less active than we perhaps think they should be because they are nocturnal. Even when we handle them at night we are usually doing so with the lights on and so to them it is still "day" and therefore time to be sleeping away from potential predators. However, I do sense some concern over her health in your question and usually an owners instincts are to be trusted (even if you feel inexperienced you will often be right in your assumptions over the general well-being of an animal- simply because you care enough to notice). So I would advise contacting your vet and getting her checked since these very small creatures may quickly become very seriously ill and even die if they are left for too long; a 'wait and see' approach cannot be recommended in this situation. I do hope that all goes well for your hamster.
infected eyes in cat
Species: cat | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 29-Sep-07 | viewed 29046 times
Q Julie asks about baby (cat - maine coon cat, F) (age 1 years, 2 months):
Her eyes have hard stuff in the corners and her nose has a crust on it; very little, but starting on one side. What could it be?
Q Samantha says: It may be exactly what you say; infected eyes. Often cats can get conjunctivitis, which is basically an inflammation (sometimes caused by an infection) of the membranes around the eye. This often shows up as swollen, red eyes or discharge as you seem to be noticing in your cat. There are many causes of conjunctivitis in cats, but it is quite common. Sometimes the nose seems to be affected too because the discharge from the eyes drains into the nose. Usually the treatment for conjunctivitis is simple and effective.
There are also more serious problems which could cause these types of signs in a cat; examples include corneal ulcers and cat flu. You should take your cat along to your vet to be checked and for a diagnosis to be made.
lump on back of dog's neck
Species: dog | Category: parasites | Submitted: 29-Sep-07 | viewed 28316 times
Q Mark asks about max (dog - westie, M) (age 2 years, 3 months):
Max has had a lump on the back of his neck for a week; it has grown and is now bleeding. He is up to date with flea treatment.
Q Samantha says: It sounds as if it could be serious and it definitely needs attention. You have chosen the parasites category but it does not sound like a parasitic problem to me (unless it is an extremely nasty tick bite which has perhaps become infected- but this would not be high on my list of possibilities). Any lumps or bumps should be taken seriously and if they grow quickly and bleed even more so. My first thoughts would be of an abscess or tumour so please do take the problem seriously and contact your local vet.
Swollen Mammary Gland
Species: cat | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 27-Sep-07 | viewed 29211 times
Q Analisa asks about Ginger (cat - Sphynx, F) (age 8 years, 7 months):
My cat is very healthy, never had any medical problems. She had a litter when she was 2 and is still intact. She is strictly indoor only. She is not showing any signs of illness or discomfort. But one of her mammary glands (left 3) is swollen and hard. She lets me touch it without any discomfort. There is no bruising or oozing or redness, and it is not hot to the touch. She lets me milk out some clear fluid, which decreases the hardness and size of swelling, but after a few days to a week, it looks the same size as before. The gland does not distend from her body, it is just hard and lumpy (like cottage cheese). What could this be?
Q Samantha says: Always take swollen mammary glands and lumps in this area very seriously indeed. This is because there is always the possibility of this being a mammary tumour. Mammary tumours can be quite aggressive and may spread locally and to other parts of the body (such as the lungs) quite quickly. Often the prognosis can be poor in such cases but if the problem is diagnosed and treated promptly this can improve the outcome.

Obviously there are other problems which can cause this type of appearance- such things include cysts, abscesses and mastitis. However I would be rather concerned about your cat and I recommend you get your cat seen by your own vet as soon as you can.
Species: dog | Category: general | Submitted: 27-Sep-07 | viewed 28880 times
Q Marie asks about Jasper (dog - Akita mix, M) (age 5 years, 3 months):
Jasper has itching on his lower back above the base of his tail. He has a large scab about 4 inches in diameter but he doesn't have fleas. What causes this and how do I treat it?
Q Samantha says: What a lovely looking dog!

Are you sure there are no fleas? You may not be able to see them and just one bite can be enough to set off a bad reaction. If you are not using regular flea control at the moment this should be your starting point - regardless of whether you have seen a flea or not. Sorry to go on about fleas but they are a major cause of skin problems and it is common for owners to not realise unless there is a huge infestation which can actually be seen.

There are obviously many other problems which can cause dogs to be very itchy and it can be quite difficult to diagnose the problem sometimes. Often there is an allergy involved; your vet may be able to help to find out what is causing the problem. You should take Jasper along to your vet so that treatment can be given to relieve the itch and hopefully make Jasper better.
Category: general | Submitted: 26-Sep-07 | viewed 26274 times
Q Julie asks:
I would like to know if my cat is really pregnant, her belly is huge and her nipples are still the same... they didn't grow huge... so I don't know.
Q Samantha says: Sorry, but I do not know either! There is absolutely no way I could tell you if your cat is pregnant without examining her.

If she is an outdoor, female cat and has not been spayed, then there is a very good chance that she will get pregnant at some point.

However, some diseases can also cause cats to develop a swollen abdomen too and it could be something serious which needs attention.

If it does turn out that she is pregnant she should be fed a good quality food and given as much as she wants when she wants it so that she has enough nutrients for herself and her growing kittens.

I do hope it all turns out well.
Old Age
Species: cat | Category: general | Submitted: 25-Sep-07 | viewed 27092 times
Q Tony asks:
My cat is now 15 years old. She seems to have completely lost control of her bladder and is wetting anywhere and everywhere. She is also lying around a lot, whereas she used to be an active outdoor cat. We have lost two cats in the past (one knocked down, one with throat cancer). I don't want to see this cat suffer any more (and also I'm finding it very difficult to clean up after her and get rid of the smell). I've thought carefully about it and would rather have her put down now, than let her go on. Would a vet do this if I ask?
Q Samantha says: Most vets will understand your situation completely and I think that under the circumstances you should not have a problem finding a vet who will put your cat to sleep. If by some chance you do find that your vet objects for some reason, and will not carry out the procedure themselves, they should be able to put you in touch with another vet who would be willing to go ahead.
You may find it easier if you discuss the situation on the phone before you go along to your practice. The nurse or receptionist will probably be able to let you know when the surgery is likely to be fairly quiet (perhaps at the beginning or the end of the day). It can be less distressing for both you and your cat if you go along when there are not too many other animals and people around.
Lump under cockatiel's wing
Species: bird | Category: medical-surgical | Submitted: 25-Sep-07 | viewed 26394 times
Q Heather asks:
My 13 year old cockatiel has been biting under her wing a lot lately. Last weekend she made herself bleed very badly, however, she recovered well with a makeshift collar around her neck to stop her biting. But as soon as the collar is off she cannot stop scratching and biting under her wing. We noticed that there is a lump just under her shoulder and it seems to be getting bigger. We don't know if this is scar tissue or some sort of growth but it is annoying her because she keeps trying to bite it off. She has made herself bleed twice more since we noticed this although not as badly. How can we stop the biting? What can this growth be? We are reluctant to take her to a vet as she is old and is unlikely to survive an operation. Thanks for your help!
Q Samantha says: Although I completely understand your reluctance to take your bird along to a vet, you really do need to go! This problem is obviously causing some considerable distress - perhaps because it is irritating and itchy for your cockatiel or because it is causing pain.

As regards treatment, surgery may be an option but if you are concerned about it, there may possibly be other things which can be tried first. Without seeing your bird and the lump I cannot tell you what the lump is or how it could be treated. However I would be concerned about the possibility of a tumour - so your cockatiel does need the attention of a local vet to find out what this lump is. The earlier this problem is diagnosed and treated the better, so please do take your pet along to a vet- (it would be a good idea to see a vet who is experienced with birds).
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