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Got questions about your pet’s health? We’ve got expert answers!

130 replies

CeriMumsnet · 27/12/2023 12:42

Keeping on top of your pet’s health can be a handful, especially as your furry friend can’t always tell you when something feels wrong. John Lewis Pet Insurance veterinary expert Martin Stevens is here to help, providing answers to your questions, whether they’re big or small. Ask us what you want to know in the comments to get a veterinary opinion without even having to leave the house. Martin will be back online in a couple of weeks to answer a selection of your questions.

All Mumsnet users who submit a question will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a £200 voucher. Mumsnet Insight T&Cs apply

About the Expert 
Martin joined Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Limited (John Lewis Pet Insurance provider) in 2016, and graduated as a qualified veterinarian from Glasgow University in 1997. Prior to joining RSA he spent almost 19 years as a vet in a variety of small animal practices, from small one-vet branches to large multi-vet hospitals. He has also handled many insurance claims for practices, so he understands the importance of getting things right for our customers and vets.

Martin says: “Being a vet working within the pet claims department means that I’m part of a close-knit team dedicated to doing what is right for our John Lewis Pet Insurance customers all over the country.”

Here’s what John Lewis Finance had to say:
"We know that pets are more than just companions; they're part of the family. With John Lewis Pet Insurance, the health of your pet is always top priority. There are six levels of vet fee cover to choose from, up to £12,000, so you can pick your cover to fit your pet’s needs. Regardless of what level of vet fee cover you choose, the full range of benefits are included, such as our Annual Online Health Check and 24/7 access to the vetfone™ helpline for all customers. For the level of care your pet deserves, with the quality you’d expect from John Lewis."

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

Got questions about your pet’s health? We’ve got expert answers!
RockSocks · 15/01/2024 18:03

Spaying, I can't get a straight answer out of my vet and i have always had big boys done after 18months at the earliest so it's a new one for me.

Spay her now after one season to reduce risks of Pyometra and mammory tumors
Delay until she is older 18 months to 2 years to reduce risk of bone disorders and risk of cruiate ligament tears

Corgi x but body type is basically all corgi so she is very short but long with knobbley knees.
Weight is kept down to reduce stress to spine

Leviathan1 · 15/01/2024 20:47

Our seven month old kitten was born with a rectal prolapse and nothing seems to have helped we are about to try a purse stitch for the third time . Aside from a very invasive coloplexy or resection is there anything we could try ? What kitten food would you recommend in this case ?

LooksLikeIPickedTheWrongWeekToQuitDrinking · 16/01/2024 08:32

My almost 10-year-old golden retriever is sometimes scratching himself raw in places. The itchiness comes and goes. Recently he was awful, with big bleeding and scabby patches. A course of steroids from vet sorted it, but it comes back every so often. Vet said he could have injections of something every month which would cost £130 per time!
Is there anything else we can do to help prevent this?

Gettingbysomehow · 16/01/2024 12:02

Yes please. My 13 year old cat had radioactive iodine therapy for hyperthyroidism 2 months ago. Since then she has grown a super fluffy long coat which she never had before. I've known her for 10 §years because she belonged to one of my friends who let me have her 2 years ago because she was sick of her spraying round the house.
She has also completely stopped spraying.
Could both these things be due to the radioactive iodine treatment?

TheFireflies · 16/01/2024 13:02

We have an elderly cat with arthritis in her spine with quite a lot of muscle wastage and she is now unsteady on her back legs. She’s been on daily metacam for three years, the vet now wants to add gabapentin but the cost of this is £2 a day. Would you think it better to have Solensia injections instead at a cost of £85/month? And would this also replace the Metacam, as I’m concerned about the long term use of this.

cattygorically · 16/01/2024 13:15

My cat takes metacam long term for arthritis. I worry this could affect her kidneys- is this true and if so, would bloods every few months be sensible? Have asked vet but never really got a clear answer. Thanks!

William99 · 16/01/2024 13:42

Hello everyone!

      My name is William and I'm new to the forum. I have two Maltese dogs as pets at home and I love them very much. I joined the forum because I have a little problem with my puppies. There are rats swarming around my property and I am very worried that these rats will bring and transmit fleas to my puppies. Rats which also prove to be a little too harmful, causing significant damage, and I am also afraid that they will bring dangerous diseases into our surroundings. I thought the dirt and mess attracted them and we did our best to avoid the prior invasion of these rats by cleaning everything up, but to no avail. These rats continue to wander around and cause damage. We tried using rat traps and checking the traps but none were trapped and the bait flew away.
I always try to apply the least harmful solutions for the environment. Someone advised me to use this product as rat bait. I would like to gather the experience of people who have encountered a similar problem, particularly regarding the use of these particular baits. I wonder about their effectiveness and I would like to know if they pose a risk to other animals in the area and to the environment.

Rodent Killer - 500 baits

The fastest treatment: death of rodents within 5 minutes after ingestion of the paste. The paste is ultra-attractive for rodents. No taste aversion, the poison is undetectable by rats. The only treatment that guarantees a 100% success rate. Satisfactio...

OchonAgusOchonOh · 16/01/2024 18:37

I have a 13 year old cocker/westie who mainly looks like a cocker so she has typical cocker ears. She has never had an issue with her ears until last month. Her left ear started bothering her (scratching it and shaking her head). Vet cleaned it out. Right ear was fine. A week or two later the right ear started giving the same problem. Vet cleaned it, other ear clear. Then a week or two afterwards same issue with the first ear. I wiped it with a damp cotton pad and removed some gunk. She is also quite deaf but that is just a few related deafness.

What could be causing this?

She has been a bit stressed over the last few months as she is recovering from having a disc removed in October. She has recovered really well from that. She is walking/running well, no problem getting up from sitting etc. She doesn't have full strength in her back legs yet but has been well able for an hour's walk from about 7 / 8 weeks post surgery. She is very well in herself and generally happy.

MaitlandGirl · 17/01/2024 08:31

Our 8.5 year old papillon had surgery for bilateral perineal hernias 14mths ago along with cystopexy and colopexy. He was neutered then as well. Final stitch count was 346.

He has 2ml Lactulose and 1 tablespoon of AllBran added to his evening meal (2 tablespoons Royal Canin mini Digest wet food) and has 30g Royal Canin Mini Digest dry food daily. We’ve been told to
keep him on this for the rest of his life.

My questions are :

  1. in your experience how likely is it that there will be a reoccurrence?
  2. is there anything else we can do to reduce the chances of reoccurrence?
TimeForLunch · 17/01/2024 12:29

Hi Martin. My 5 year old male cat is prone to bouts of cystitis. He eats wet food morning and evening each day which I add some water to and dried food in the middle of the day. I'd like to keep the dried food for his dental hygiene but could that be a problem? Also, is there anything you can recommend to help keep the cystitis at bay? Many thanks.

upanddowns · 17/01/2024 12:36

My mum's cat is 12 years old and nearly all his life he's had problems with vomiting and diarrhoea. He'll be absolutely fine for weeks, months, then suddenly for no reason we can see he will be sick repeatedly for a day. He's fed fresh food now (Katkin, Untamed) and this has improved matters we feel. He has no treats, only drinks water. He's an outdoors cat. When he has diarrhoea there is often a bit of fresh red blood in his poo. Vets can find nothing wrong with him, and say we need to do blood tests, which we can't afford and I feel will probably show nothing. When younger he had juvenile gingivitis, it was treated with regular strong antibiotics and mouth wash and Metacam and he was able to keep his teeth and the problem eventually cleared up.

I feel this is probably IBD or similar and there will be no cure.

Any thoughts? He's such a lovely cat and we hate to think he is suffering.

upanddowns · 17/01/2024 12:39

Also thoughts on what could help a rehomed depressed cat due to previous owner no longer being able to care for her? I have Feliway.

Watchthedoormat · 17/01/2024 15:17

My 5year old whippet has stage 3 heart murmur.
Is prescribed vetmedin, libeo and cardalis.
This medication is not working and scans show an increasingly large heart.
We are told there is nothing more that can be done for her.
Any thoughts?
Thank you

Dashel · 18/01/2024 04:14

Any tips to stop a teething puppy biting? We have loads of freezable toys nd vegetables stick like carrots

@upanddowns have you tried the feather on fishing poles type toys and gentle brushing? That helped us bond with rescue cats over the years

DimplesToadfoot · 18/01/2024 09:25

I have a 13yr mongrel, she's been with me for about 5 yrs now, I'm a failed foster mum.

She came to me with a few lumps and I had these tested, they came back as fatty lumps. A few years ago she had to have an anesthetic to have her bladder scanned and they removed a lot of these lumps surgically while she was under.

All these lumps have grown back plus about 20 more, some are marble size some are fist size and growing. For now she's not uncomfortable with them. So my question is is there anything I can do to reduce these lumps or prevent them? Do they ever become painful where she'd need painkillers? Are there any supplements i could give?
Due to her age and current health I won't have them removed again.

I cant change her diet, she's allergic to a lot of stuff, has a cytopoint (sp) injection every 5 weeks, plus she suffers a lot from stomach ulcers (omeprezole) it's taken a long time to find a food that fits her needs.

I know she isn't going to be with me for too much longer but I'd like to make her final years/months as comfortable as possible

ErnestClementine · 18/01/2024 10:17

My 7 year old cat has been on a diet for 9 months (vet advised she was obese at her annual injections). Her low-fat food for fat cats is measured and she no longer hunts since moving house. She doesn't leave the garden so no-one else is feeding her.
She miaows every time she sees us, crying for food. She is obsessed (her sister with the same situation isn't bothered). Could it be something medical rather than our assumption that she's just greedy? She is either asleep or yowling to be fed!
She has lost some weight but not drastically - still overweight I would say.

MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 10:53

Montydoo · 28/12/2023 15:05

My dog is suffering from bouts of rheumatism and has some rheumocan when these flare up - is there anything else I can do to help with his discomfort ? ( 11 year old small terrier)

Hi Montydoo. Dogs with joint problems can have good days and bad days, and there are a variety of treatment options available which may be able to limit the flare-ups in both frequency and severity. I'm a big fan of having treatment plans which are indivudual to a patient's needs and also to balance treatment of the joint problem with any other conditions that they may have. The best thing to do is to discuss with your vet whether the medication can be altered in either dose or frequency, whether hydrotherapy is a good idea, whether exercise needs to be modified, whether weight control is required etc etc.

Experts' posts:
MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 10:55

PiggieWig · 29/12/2023 03:47

My cat’s been sneezing loads over the last two weeks. He’s never really done it before. Should I be worried? My house is pretty cold a lot of the time (around 12° with the heating off).

Hi Piggiewig. I wouldn't expect the temperature inside the house to cause sneezing, especially for as long as 2 weeks. My advice would be for you to book a check up for your cat at the vets so that they can fully assess him and advise you of the next steps.

Experts' posts:
MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 10:58

HobNobAddict · 29/12/2023 07:35

Can dogs get allergies ?? My westie can sometimes have sneezing fits, then nothing for weeks ? Is there a test you can carry out to see what dogs/cats are allergic to and if we can do anything about it

Hi HobNobAddict Westie's are certainly one of the most common breeds to develop allergies, and they can be allergic to many things both inside and outside the home.There are tests that your vet can perform if they feel that the signs fit with allergies. The first step is to book an appointment with your vet and go from there

Experts' posts:
MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 11:03

pickledandpuzzled · 30/12/2023 08:09

My dog’s hips have started that ‘collapsed in’ look when he sits. He shows no sign of discomfort.
I give him a joint supplement. Is there anything else I can do for him? He hasn’t mentioned being uncomfortable…

Hi pickeldandpuzzled Sometimes an abnormal sitting position is the first sign of a joint problem and you've done well to spot that as it can be quite subtle. Dogs can be very stoic with pain and will still run about and play even if they have uncomfortable joints. My advice is to book him in for a check-up with your vet and see what they find on examination.

Experts' posts:
UnderstatedElegance · 18/01/2024 11:06

My dog had a lump come up on her neck, she didn't seem bothered by it. I've booked an appointment with the vets, however, last night it started to weep. It's much smaller now. Does she still need to go to the vet? Or will it heal on its own?

MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 11:06

littlecottonbud · 30/12/2023 09:38

I sometimes think my cat has poor eyesight as she misjudges jumps - can faceplant the sofa (much my DS amusement) luckily she is a house cat, she does not bump into things and seems to be able to judge her food bowl - but can cats (or dogs) be short sighted and how can i tell if she is - are there tests I can do at home

Hi littlecottonbud. We don't tend to see clinical signs of short-sightedness in cats. We can see a loss of vision (partial or full) with conditions such as high blood pressure. Another possibility for her misjudging jumps is a joint problem such as arthritis which might mean that she isn't as "springy" as when she was younger. A trip to the vets will enable her to have her eyes and joints examined and if treatment is needed, then your vet will discuss this then too.

Experts' posts:

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MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 11:09

InterSteller · 30/12/2023 09:59

My 10 year old cat has just had some teeth removed- can you recommend anything we can do to help keep the remaining ones healthy?

Preferably not teeth brushing as i tried that and almost lost a finger 😂

Hi InterStellar. I hope your cat is recovering well after the tooth extractions. Brushing is the best way as it physically removes the plaque that builds up. With cats brushing is not the easiest and some cats won't tolerate it at all, as you have found out. Depending on which teeth are remaining there are a variety of other options which would help a little bit. Chat to your vet or vet nurse about the options that their clinic offers.

Experts' posts:
ThePensivePig · 18/01/2024 11:14

Hello there. My ten year old rescue greyhound has recently started weeing on our bed! He's never been one to wee in the house before and I can't understand it. He's walked regularly, is showing no signs of being unwell and is otherwise the same as ever. Can you please offer any advice?

MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 11:16

JenniferAllisonPhillipaSue · 31/12/2023 13:54

Our cat (aged 14+) recently had a very sudden change in appetite, struggling to eat more than a mouthful of food or 2 treats per day, sleeping lots and lots. He had no obvious signs of pain but became quite clingy. This lasted for about two weeks, he's got very thin but continues to go outside for a brief walk. His appetite is now returning (but the clingyness hasn't diminished). Is it possible that he simply "caught a bug" that he has now shaken off? Do cats get viruses like us?

Hi JenniferAllisonPhillipaSue There are a number of reasons that cats lose weight - kidney problems, overactive thyroid, diabetes, tumours to name just a few. Best thing to do is to book an appointment with your vet. They may want to take a blood sample or run some other tests.

Experts' posts:
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