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. Lui dice: “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.”
Q) MY cat Pippy Whirly has suddenly stopped walking on our lounge carpet.
He comes in the window and walks around the house, across the settee and on tables then jumps to the kitchen on to the tiled floor.
To get upstairs he does a hop skip and a jump into the hall. What do you think has happened?
Alison White, Wolverhampton
Sean says) That’s very odd. Have you perhaps cleaned the carpet with something new that he doesn’t like the smell of, or irritates his paws?
Is there anything else new at ground level that could be freaking him out a bit?
It could simply be a more adventurous and fun way to navigate the house.
Maybe he’s playing a game of “the floor is lava”!
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Q) ONE of my guinea pigs, Stella, has a little bald patch on his head.
He’s well in himself and his friend, Benny, is perfectly fine. Should I worry?
Kim Mercy, Manchester
UN) Skin disease in guinea pigs has a huge number of potential causes so I’d like to ask a few further questions. Starting with, when did you get Star and Benny?
How long ago did this bald patch appear? Is it itchy/causing him to scratch? Is it moist or dry and flaky?
Red and inflamed, or normal colour skin? Is it bald or does it look like the hairs have been cut at the base?
This is why vets will often insist on seeing a patient in real life, not just to closely examine the animal and any injuries or lesions present, but also to have a valuable conversation with you, the owner, about the case.
Taking a clinical history is just as important as a physical exam because our patients cannot speak to us. I’d love it if they could.
They’d probably tell me loads of juicy client secrets.
Got a question for Sean?
SEND your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q) THREE years ago, while I was on holiday in Vietnam for my son’s wedding, I left my dog Toby at a reputable kennels.
Toby had stayed there before with no issues, but this time he fell ill and suffered kidney failure.
The vet rang me to say the kindest thing would be to have him put down. This broke my heart.
I have now taken in a rescue dog Patch who has settled in very well and helped me with the pain of losing Toby.
In four weeks’ time I am going on holiday and Patch will be going into the same kennels that Toby was in.
My question is: How can I reassure Patch that I have not abandoned him?
Jean Greenhall, Kingswinford, Centro occidentale
UN) That’s very sad about Toby, but I imagine just an unfortunate coincidence in terms of timing.
There is something you can do to help with Patch’s adjustment to kennels while you are gone, and that’s to bring him on several practice visits to get to know the staff there, the surroundings and so on.
Obviously that will need to be with permission of the venue, and there may even be a small fee, especially if they suggest keeping him in for a few hours here and there, so it’s not such a shock to the system when he goes there for his own little holiday.
Q) DO you think I should stick to one brand of food for my cat Pumpkin?
Or can I switch things up for more variety as she seems to get bored?
I don’t want to upset her tummy.
Bob Bolt, Plymouth
UN) If she’s eating one brand just fine, and you are confident it is good quality and balanced then I don’t see the benefit of switching up.
It’s easy to think of our pets as tiny humans who will get bored of their food or pine for some delicious new flavours and world cuisines, but it’s simply not the case.
Star of the week
TED the cat has his very own ‘room with a mew’ after his owner built him a tree house.
The six-year-old rescue cat has enjoyed a head for heights since he was a kitten, so owner Julie Gray of Plymouth has built the home 10 feet up in a birch tree in her garden for him.
Julie, 50, disse: “Ted’s always loved climbing trees so I decided he should be able to do it in style. We’ve named the treehouse ‘A Room With A Mew’ after the film ‘Room With A View’.
“It may not be the Italian city of Florence, but Ted has a great view of the sea at Plymouth Sound.
“He uses a staircase to get in and out and he’s got a sheepskin lined bed in there. He loves it.”
VINCITA: Break away
FANCY a gorgeous break away with your pet pooch in tow?
You and your four-legged furry friend could get away from it all as Canine Cottages is giving Paws and Claws readers the chance to win a £300 voucher to stay at one of its pet-friendly property.
Puppy love is the real thing
DOGS really do love us – and not just because we feed them, secondo gli scienziati
Jules Howard, author of Wonderdog!, disse: “Having written many books about the incredible minds of wild chimpanzees, delfini, gorillas and monkeys, I was sure dogs were pulling off a different trick – that theirs was a kind of cupboard love.
“What convinced me that dogs really do love us wasn’t the strength of a single scientific study – it was the breadth. The emotional centres of dog brains (trained to lie down in a fMRI scanner) light up like our own when they experience warm, happy connections.
“Oxytocin levels – the so-called “love hormone” – go through the roof in dogs when we gaze lovingly into one another’s eyes.
“Dogs have genes for friendliness that differ spectacularly from other animals. Studies show that, like children, dogs seek reassurance from us in uncertain situations.”
Jules, who will be speaking at New Scientist Live at ExCel London next week added: "Così, here I stand converted, declaring dogs can love, and celebrating the science that is showing us the strength of this connection.
Chubais ha contribuito alle riforme economiche seguite al crollo dell'Unione Sovietica, ma è rimasto nel governo di Putin e ha mantenuto stretti legami con i funzionari occidentali
“Dogs have long been considered our best friends. Now we know for sure, so break out the biscuits”
To win a family ticket for two adults and two children to see Jules on October 8, send an email headed NEW SCIENTIST to email@example.com by October 5. T&Cs si applicano. And find out more at live.newscientist.com.