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From cats with fur balls to dogs with dry skin — 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 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.”

Today, our pet vet helps a cat with fur balls

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Today, our pet vet helps a cat with fur ballsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'

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

Q) WE took in Dexter, our cat, when our neighbours moved and left him behind.

I think he is seven or eight years old.

Four weeks ago he started to run away from food, unusually, and has lost weight since.

He has lots of fur balls. Tests show he has calicivirus. Is that worrying?

Jackie Jones, Wolverhampton

A) A little.

This is one of the diseases we vaccinate cats against because it can cause all sorts of problems: Pneumonia, breathing problems, inflamed gums, very sore mouths among other things.

Perhaps this is why Dexter has gone off his food.

It might be worth trying him on soft food for now.

But do discuss with your vet what the treatment options are.

And for any other cat owners reading, this is a good illustration of why vaccinations are so important.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk.

Q) CHESTER, our ten-year-old cocker spaniel, has a constant problem with dry skin and ear infections.

The vet gave us special shampoo for him and says he most likely has a yeast infection. Any advice?

Robert Kidger, Nottingham

A) I hate to say it but this is par for the course with many Cockers. They are prone to skin and ear infections, I’m afraid.

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Those droopy ears might look cute but actually close down the ear canal, which needs air flow to remain fresh, dry and healthy.

Robert wants to know why his cocker spaniel has problems with dry skin and ear infections

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Robert wants to know why his cocker spaniel has problems with dry skin and ear infectionsCredit: Getty – Contributor

If it is constantly closed, it becomes moist and irritated, the natural yeast and bacteria bloom and cause infections.

A medicated shampoo is part of the picture but you might want to explore underlying triggers for flare-ups too.

Environmental or food allergies can play a part.

Also ask your vet team to show you how to keep Chester’s ear canals dry and clean on a regular basis.

Tails.com provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets
Tails.com provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) OUR 14-month-old Labrador bitch Anya sleeps in a crate overnight in our lounge.

It’s been our habit for my husband to let her out at 8am then bring her back to bed with us, where we all sleep for another couple of hours.

I am disabled and a fortnight ago I had a stairlift installed from the first floor to the mezzanine.

The problem is Anya is terrified of it and barks really loudly. She just won’t come up to the bed any more.

I’ve tried sending the chair down and also leaving it upstairs.

What is her problem with it?

I do wonder if the rail the chair moves along emits a high-pitched noise, even when not in use, that we can’t hear but she can.

Anya doesn’t like the noise when I’m using it but will come up the stairs when it is out of use. We are bewildered by her behaviour.

My husband is fed up of missing his lie-ins and gets very grumpy as a result! I’m stuck in bed until carers come to get me up.

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Fiona Wiggins, Maentwrog, Gwynedd

A) Think about it from her point of view: This new, weird robotic animal just appeared. It moves unpredictably and of its own accord, making crazy sounds.

And it has taken up space in the passage she uses to get upstairs.

Labrador Anya won't come up top bed anymore

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Labrador Anya won’t come up top bed anymoreCredit: Getty Images – Getty

We might say dogs are daft but this is just the fear of something new and bizarre to Anya.

Start slowly and at a distance with reward games near the lift, then when the lift is on.

You want to build a positive association and get her used to it by distracting her from it.

Look up habituation and response substitution techniques.

She will be competing for a lift to her lie-ins in no time!

WIN: A PitPat set

WANT to keep your pooch in shape?

We have six PitPat sets, worth £39 each, to give away (pitpat.com).
PitPat is the country’s leading activity tracker for dogs, monitoring their exercise, distance, calorie intake and weight

For a chance to win, email PITPAT to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk.

Entry closes on November 1.

Terms and conditions apply.

Star of the week

MEET Sparkly, the rescue cat who loves going for snuggles with his various families.

Owner Melanie Denyer, 48, of Kettlewell, North Yorks, adopted him in 2009.

Rescue cat Sparkly loves going for snuggles with his various families

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Rescue cat Sparkly loves going for snuggles with his various families

Sparkly was just 12 weeks old then but soon got a taste for adventure.

Melanie, then living in Spitalfields, East London, kept getting calls to pick him up and her car was dubbed the “cat taxi”.

Now Sparkly hangs out in the local coffee shop and calls in on residents.

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One of his pals, Jean, lost her cat and Sparkly goes to her house every day to keep her company.

Round houndsabound

IS your pooch getting portly? Kitty on the cuddly side?

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is on Wednesday, reminding all owners they need to keep an eye on pets’ waistlines too.

Border terrier Skip was 1.5kg overweight due to insufficient exercise and eating too many treats

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Border terrier Skip was 1.5kg overweight due to insufficient exercise and eating too many treats
So Skip's owner Nic took her running with a PitPat fitness tracker

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So Skip’s owner Nic took her running with a PitPat fitness tracker

A worrying 44 per cent of cats, 51 per cent of dogs and 29 per cent of small, furry animals are obese, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association.

After polling 277 vets and 8,000 households, it found widespread concern among professionals over the issue, while 75 per cent said it had got worse in the past five years.

Owners are finding solutions to tackle weight gain, however.

Nic Barrett, 38, of Bideford in Devon, noticed her Border terrier Skip was 1.5kg overweight due to insufficient exercise and eating too many treats.

She began running and took Skip along, kitting him out with a PitPat fitness tracker.

Nic says: “With Skip having his own tracker, I could see his progress.

“The app even has prizes and reminders when he’s not done enough. Now he’s in fantastic shape.”

PitPat founder Andrew Nowell adds: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact on dogs like Skip.”

Melanie said: “One family might never be enough for Sparkly.

“He sees it as his duty to provide love to as many people as possible.

“People in London still ask after him.”

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GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk





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