From a scratching dog to a scary snake — your pet queries answered

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, 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

Rocky won't stop scratching and it is expensive to treat


Rocky won’t stop scratching and it is expensive to treatCredit: Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'


Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’Credit: Doug Seeburg – The Sun

Q) FOR the past few months my  dog Rocky has been scratching.

He is nearly three years old and a cross between a Papillon and Jack Russell.

The vet  said it was probably an allergy and prescribed  Apoquel ­tablets, which have helped. These tablets are really expensive at more than £50 for 30.

Is there an alternative I could use for him, as I don’t like to think of him being on these tablets for a long time?

Marie Morgan, Oxford

A) You can tackle the cause or tackle the symptoms. Tackling the cause means lots of tests and potentially a long diet trial. Then a treatment plan. This also involves cost.

The second option is just to treat the symptoms. It’s quicker, easier and sometimes cheaper depending on treatment used. Steroids, for example, are cheap but come with more side- effects than Apoquel.

Talk to your vet about your budget and concerns to come up with the best plan for you and Rocky.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to

Q) I THINK alpacas seem like ­wonderful creatures.

We have a big field at the back of our house that we could rent from the local farmer. Would you  recommend an alpaca as a pet?

Sarah Brett, North Yorks

A) I would never recommend a single  alpaca as a pet, but a group of alpacas perhaps, because they are social herd animals.

You would need to do your research, have the finances to pay for their upkeep, as they are not cheap, and recognise they can live up to 20 years.

They’re more a hobby or lifestyle  than an actual pet, although ­obviously like with any animal we can form close bonds with them.

Just be prepared for the work involved, and that it’s not so fun dealing with muddy fields and ­pouring rain in the winter, when they will need shelter and extra feeding.

Q) THIS summer my neighbour  allowed his pet snake to slither around in his garden  yards from where we were sunbathing.

I don’t want a dangerous animal coming into my garden — or worse, our house.

Is there anything I can put down to deter it if it escapes. I don’t want to fall out with my neighbour but I am terrified of snakes.  

Guy David, Didsbury

A) Not all, or indeed not many, pet snakes are   dangerous. We have an instinctive fear of snakes because some are dangerous in ­different parts of the world. And that’s fine, but most snakes are far more afraid of you than vice versa.

Have you considered asking your neighbour to show you his pet? Sometimes to conquer a fear of something we just need to learn more about it.

If that’s out of the question,   politely discuss with your neighbour that you have a phobia, and would it be ­possible not to have them loose in the garden.

Snake-proofing would be ­difficult as they can get into fairly tight ­spaces if roaming free.

Q) OUR two dogs are brothers   and both have diabetes.

Sadly Jackson  went blind more than two years ago and recently Milo was diagnosed with diabetes too.

 Injecting Jackson with insulin was not a problem but Milo finds it painful so he struggles violently, making it impossible to medicate him.

Is there any other way to give him the insulin? He’s lost a lot of weight.

John Dickens, Southend

A) Go back and discuss this with your vet team who can come up with another treatment plan or show you new ways to inject Milo.

It’s really difficult to give you treatment advice without knowing Milo’s full history and his current   dosage.

Star of the week

Chilli the Labrador helps his own teach pet first aid


Chilli the Labrador helps his own teach pet first aid

MEET Chilli the fox-red Labrador, the first-aid ace on a mission to help other dogs in their hour of need.

The two-year-old lives with veterinary nurse Rachel Bean, 52, in Saddleworth, Lancs.

Rachel teaches pet first aid to professionals and owners, with Chilli as her demonstration dog.

She says: “Chilli is so patient and sits or lies down while students learn how to apply bandages and carry out other potentially life-saving techniques.

“We support the Safe Pets And People campaign, which calls for pet-friendly businesses and pet service providers to be first-aid trained. It’s important we know what to do if something happens to our pets.”

Win: £50 pet voucher

SATURDAY is National Muddy Dog Day, set up by Jo Milnes of Distinctive Pets to celebrate pups with a sense of adventure.

Five readers can each win a £50 voucher to spend at distinctivepets. on products including drying coats and eco-friendly shampoos.

Send an email with MUDDYDOG in the title to

T&Cs apply. Entry closes November 7.

Food bank in aid of furry friends

AN animal lover has set up a food bank to help struggling owners feed their pets.

Debi Emmett, 48, from Cardiff, acted after learning cats and dogs were being taken to shelters by owners who could no longer afford to care for them.

The Pet Food Bank Service provides invaluable help


The Pet Food Bank Service provides invaluable help

The Pet Food Bank Service works with regular food banks across South Wales to provide pet food and other animal essentials.

Debi says: “So many people are struggling and it’s going to get worse with energy prices rising and furlough ending. We had one lady who was feeding herself and her dog nothing but pasta because that’s all she could afford.

“When people visit and realise they can get food for their pets, they’re overjoyed.

“The thought of someone having to hand over their beloved pet, because they can’t afford to feed them, is unbearable.”

Debi also supports homeless charities, giving food and essentials to animals living on the streets with their owners.

While she focuses on South Wales, other pet food banks are popping up and Debi is urging pet owners and food companies to support them.

Find out more at

Holly Willoughby yawns on her cat Bluebell to see if she loves her back

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