HE is on a mission to help our pets . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.
Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm tails.com, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years. He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.” If you want him to answer a question for YOU simply email him at email@example.com
Q) MY ten-year-old cat Barney was due his booster in October but the vet delayed it. I’m worried.
The problem seems to be blamed on extra pets bought in lockdown.
Puppies and kittens are being given priority. I can understand this as they are probably more prone to illness.
The vet told me it was safe to postpone it for three months and has rebooked for January.
But what if there is still a shortage next year and will Barney be OK if he is not vaccinated?
Jean Linda, Wigan
A) It’s true that many, even most, vet practices I know are overloaded.
They are short-staffed and running behind on routine vaccination appointments due to the pandemic, more pets and physical limitations of having clients in practice over the past year and a half.
Luckily, the backlog is now lifting. It’s really crucial that young puppies and kittens who have no immunity to disease get their vaccinations at the right time and on time.
For a cat like Barney, who is ten and has had vaccinations throughout life, a three-month delay shouldn’t do any harm as he will have a much higher level of immunity than a younger cat.
Try not to worry. Your vets won’t put him at risk and will fit him in as soon as they can.
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q) AFTER years of being an indoor cat, my pet Beefcake has started to venture outside again.
He is seven years old, neutered and chipped. I used to live in a flat on the ninth floor, so he was inside.
I’ve moved to a two-storey flat and have started to let him out under my supervision for 15 to 30 minutes.
He refuses to get into a pet carrier so hasn’t been to the vets for six years.
Should I get a mobile vet to come and check him over now he’s going outdoors?
Peter Lowe, Stourbridge, West Mids
A) Now Beefcake is going outside, it’s important he gets his vaccinations brought up to date.
There are several diseases he could pick up from other cats, even if they aren’t coming into direct contact.
Most vets offer a home visit service. So yes, if he gets too stressed in the carrier it might be a better option to have the visit.
It’s also a good opportunity for a general health check as he is now middle-aged, and catching some issues early can ensure he stays healthy.
Q) I HAVE a one-year-old border collie called Merrin who was born deaf.
We have learnt some hand signals for “no” and “wait”. If I let her off the lead, I can put my hand up to call her back, which works.
But she won’t come close enough to get her lead back on. I have tried various treats, which worked at first.
She seems to be getting worse at coming right to me. Sometimes it has taken 20 minutes of waiting.
I’ve stopped letting her off in case she runs away or gets spooked. She is the same at home — almost as if she doesn’t trust me.
It’s difficult not being able to give her a soft voice for encouragement when she can’t hear.
Sharon Emery, Pelynt, Cornwall
A) This is out of my comfort zone and quite a challenge.
With any training, consistency and clarity of commands are key and timing of reward is crucial.
But with a deaf dog relying on hand signals, this all becomes even more important.
Booking a few sessions with a qualified canine behaviourist who has experience with deaf dogs and their owners would be best.
They will be able to observe you in action together and maybe point out some subtle things that are going wrong when you are communicating with Merrin.
Best of luck.
Star of the week
MIA the micro pig juggles a modelling career with being a busy mum after giving birth to 22 piglets in a year.
She is the snuffling face of a campaign for Old Amersham Gin and has been part of a TV ad for Hendrick’s.
Mia also loves life at the Kew Little Pigs attraction in Amersham, Bucks, where owner Olivia Mikhail hosts pig- keeping and petting days.
Olivia, 40, said: “It has been a really lovely year for Mia with her piglets being born. She loves being a mum and caring for her babies.
“She is a diva and likes to pose, which is brilliant for her media work, and gets so much fuss from our visitors.
“She’s a really happy pig and an absolute star. We are so proud of her.”
Win: Walk bundle
DOGS still need their walkies during the wet and wintry weather.
You can keep them dry and warm – and the house clean when returning – with a Treat Your Dog winter walking bundle.
Five lucky readers can win a Walksters All Seasons waterproof dog coat and a Walksters drying towel, pictured, to create a bundle worth £55.
Find your pet’s size and learn more at treatyourdog.co.uk.
To enter, send an email which is marked TREATYOURDOG, to email@example.com by December 5.
Terms and conditions apply.
Rescue centre v pushy owners
RESCUE centres are being pushed to the limit, both by the number of sick animals who can’t be rehomed and potential new owners who become abusive if they don’t get their “perfect pet”.
A whopping 3.2 million dogs and cats were bought during the pandemic, leading to irresponsible breeding – and behavioural and health problems.
At Hope Rescue in Rhondda, Wales, more than a third of all their dogs were bred on puppy farms.
Owner Vanessa Waddon told Paws and Claws: “Only about one in every 500 of our dogs is suitable as a family pet but potential owners don’t understand that.
“People are used to getting what they want at the click of a button but it’s our job to care for animals in need, not find a dog for everyone who wants one.
“We have had abuse online, being called ‘a fake charity’ and ‘dog stealers’.”
She said health problems meant many dogs from desirable breeds couldn’t be rehomed, adding: “One couple came in and demanded a dog but when we explained he wasn’t well enough to be a family pet they stomped off yelling, ‘It’s your fault we’re going to have to go to a puppy farm’.”
Support Vanessa at hoperescue.org.uk.
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