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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!
MNHQ

Got questions about your pet’s health? We’ve got expert answers!
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MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 11:20

ButterOllocks · 02/01/2024 10:58

hi, since reading this, I've noticed my dog is drinking a lot more than usual in the last couple of days, I have looked up the syptoms on-line and diabetes is suggested, but he has no other symptoms, he is an 8 year old spaniel. If it continues is a visit to the vet worth while ? What are the chances of him having diabetes and what are other symptoms I can look out for ?

Hi ButterOllocks You are correct in saying that diabetes can cause an increase in drinking. A large number of other diseases including kidney problems and Cushing's Syndrome can also cause an increase in drinking. If possible collect a urine sample in a clean watertight container (remember to wear gloves) and pop that into your vets for testing. If it contains sugar then diabetes is a possibility, but they will also be able to measure other things. Depending on the result they may also wish to run blood tests and perform a full physical exam.

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MartinTheVet · 18/01/2024 11:21

LittleDeeAndME · 02/01/2024 12:21

My dog seems to have itchy ears - always rubbing them against furniture and scratching - to me they look fine - not inflamed or waxy, what can this be ? Could it just be a habit he has got into ?

Hi LittleDeeAndME Dog's ear canals can be quite long and also have a bend in them, so unfortunately it isn’t possible to see all the way down them with the naked eye. Best thing to do is to call your local vets for an appointment. The vet will be able to use an otoscope (in affect a special torch with a cone which gently goes into the ear) to look further down and assess if there is a problem which will need treatment.

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KnickerlessParsons · 18/01/2024 13:37

Our cat has always been sick, a few times a week usually. She is fine in herself - a very young, skittish and playful 9 year old.
For her whole life, she's been sick a few times a week - she brings up her food whole, so presumably not long after she's eaten it. We don't often see her doing it, but she does it on window sills, on tables, as well as on the floor.
Is this normal, and is there anything we can do to prevent it?
We have tried feeding her little and often, but that doesn't help.

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Owlcat42 · 18/01/2024 19:10

I’ve moved to a house that is poorly insulated and doesn’t have central heating. Until i get the issues sorted, is my 12 year old cat going to be ok with a self heating cat bed? The house can get down to 5-10 degrees when it’s very cold if i’m out for the day, but I don’t want to leave heaters on that could be a fire hazard.

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OzziePopPop · 18/01/2024 22:01

I have a 13 month old moggy style ex barn cat who was born cat flu positive. On vets advice he had two sets of antibiotics as a baby (unde4 12 weeks) and was extremely thin and small then. Now he is nearly 3kg and very proud of his luxurious fluffy fur, he’s gorgeous. He does Howe have damaged sinuses from the original cat flu infection and has a constant snotty nose. We keep him clean and he’s an angel about having it wiped but when it’s very bad he can’t breathe poor boy. When he was neutered the vet washed out his sinuses and he just zoomed about for 24 hours! It didn’t last though… is there anything that can be done (medication/operation) to improve his quality of life? I hate listening to him unable to breathe and while we see the vet if he seems ‘off’ he’s not getting any infection bad enough to need antibiotics now, it’s just this lasting damage we need help with?

thank you in advance 🙂

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Slinkycat22 · 18/01/2024 22:32

We recently rehomed 2 cats, they're 7months old. Both are showing signs of Gingivitis. The vet has put them on metacam & gave one an antibotic injection & has recommended removing all of its teeth. Is this the best option, or are their treatments we should consider? They're so young & I'm concerned that it's a bug deal to loose all of their teeth 😥

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upanddowns · 18/01/2024 23:45

Slinkycat22 · 18/01/2024 22:32

We recently rehomed 2 cats, they're 7months old. Both are showing signs of Gingivitis. The vet has put them on metacam & gave one an antibotic injection & has recommended removing all of its teeth. Is this the best option, or are their treatments we should consider? They're so young & I'm concerned that it's a bug deal to loose all of their teeth 😥

My cat had the same at 6 months old. Have they tested for viruses? Apparently that could cause the gingivitis. My vet wanted to remove my cat's teeth too, but a vet on mn advised me to try something first. The vet was happy to go along with it, so the cat received antibiotic injections regularly and also I used a special mouthwash for cats. It took time and wasn't cheap, but it did the trick and he still has all his teeth, he's now 12 years old. I would speak to your vet about it before removing his teeth.

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Tara336 · 19/01/2024 04:38

I have a poodle cross jack russell 9 months old and it's so difficult to get her to eat. She doesn't have any health issues but I've tried everything I can think of to get her to eat

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Tara336 · 19/01/2024 04:44

My dog had to be put to sleep last year he was diabetic (well controlled) but suddenly became ill pooing blood, bleeding from gums and his belly was black from internal bleeding. The vet asked if he could have been poisoned I said we had been away on a farm break the previous weekend but she said it couldn't have been that long ago, but other then that he couldn't have eaten anything. His blood showed he had no red blood cells and as he was diabetic he was not a straight forward case for a transfusion that may not work. We decided the kindest thing was to let him go, he was 10.

What could have been wrong? He got ill so quick but seemed OK in himself went in vets tail wagging as normal, long walk day before and fine. I'm struggling to understand what happened

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Slinkycat22 · 19/01/2024 06:25

@upanddowns thanks for replying. Does yours have FIV? They want to do a blood test on my cat, but he won't stay still long enough & struggles! They've tried tablets to calm him before an appointment, but that didn't work! So now they'd like to sedate him to get bloods. I've asked if they could sedate him, fully check his teeth & do bloods altogether. That's really interesting though. I'll mention your treatment to my vet. Thanks

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Needavacaynow · 19/01/2024 08:39

I have a super friendly small dog who loves meeting other dogs and people. However, he likes to sniff and lick the eyes of other dogs. Understandably this doesn't always go down well. How do I deter him? He's 3 years old

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VelvetThunder · 19/01/2024 13:14

Any pointers on when it's their time to go? We have a 12 year old staff who has multiple lumps and bumps growing now. She seems mostly herself and still eats and drinks ok. Is the eating and drinking changes the most obvious tell?
We don't want to prolong if she's uncomfortable, however we don't want to cut her life short unnecessarily either. It's tough. Over the years our situation has obviously changed like others, and so we don't have lots of spare cash to throw into lots of additional vet fees unfortunately. What kind of things can we look out for to make her as comfortable as possible and know when is time?
Many thanks.

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pickledandpuzzled · 19/01/2024 16:04

Can dogs catch a version of my illness? I had a stinking cold and now have a bad cough. He had one/two days being sick and is coughing a bit more than usual. He seems fine- just occasionally splutters, rather like me! I wondered if he’d caught my cold but it was presenting differently!

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upanddowns · 20/01/2024 09:14

Slinkycat22 · 19/01/2024 06:25

@upanddowns thanks for replying. Does yours have FIV? They want to do a blood test on my cat, but he won't stay still long enough & struggles! They've tried tablets to calm him before an appointment, but that didn't work! So now they'd like to sedate him to get bloods. I've asked if they could sedate him, fully check his teeth & do bloods altogether. That's really interesting though. I'll mention your treatment to my vet. Thanks

No he hasn't got FIV. He didn't have a virus, but it's always worth checking.

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Bloodylovetelly · 20/01/2024 10:49

Hi there, we have two guinea pigs. They mainly live indoors but go outside to graze when the weather is suitable. Both are very overweight (according to online piggy sites.) We feed them unlimited hay, a handful of pellets and fresh food morning and evening. Should we try and feed them less to reduce their weight?

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lovemyflipflops · 20/01/2024 12:08

As a vet what would you say is the best small pet for a child to have, that needs care and is the longest living (if you are not allowed cats or dogs) Don't want something nocturnal.

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ALongHardWinter · 20/01/2024 19:21

My 11 year old female cat had an operation a year ago to remove struvite bladder stones. She refused to eat any of the special diet foods we tried her on afterwards. Unfortunately,after 2 bouts of cystitis,a scan showed that crystals were forming again in her bladder. We tried again with the special diet foods,and thankfully this time managed to find a few that she will actually eat. She has been on the special diet for nearly 3 months now. She is due another scan in 4 weeks time to check her bladder again. Can you tell me how likely it is that the special diet has dissolved the crystals?

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sweetiepie1979 · 21/01/2024 07:31

I have a 12 week old puppy she has another UTI I think she had one at 9 weeks and finished the course the wee smelled better but she continues to strain and leak and now the wee smells really bad again I do t think she is a well puppy I’ll take her back to vet tomorrow but I am really worried she is a mini dashound I’m hear broken help

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Montydoo · 21/01/2024 09:02

Do pets need vitamin tablets ?? My dog is very lethargic, has bouts of rheumatism and I wonder if vitamins would help as a antioxidant which helps with this condition.

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itsywitsy · 21/01/2024 09:55

my dog looks like he has patches of dandruff or excema - is there a bath or treatment which I can use - other than the patches he's a healthy dog, young (4) with a good appetite of a quality dog food

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AncientBallerina · 21/01/2024 17:54

My 4 y old cat has been diagnosed with CKD stage 3/4. She was acutely ill with a UTI recently which is when the CKD was diagnosed. She was very well before and since - no symptoms, coat in very good condition, lively, eating and drinking well etc. She is an indoor/outdoor cat. Spends a few hours out during the day (weather permitting) but is always in at night. After the acute episode, the vet recommended renal food that you can only get at the vets. Is there any cheaper alternative to this? It’s very expensive and a hassle compared with picking up boxes of Sheba at the supermarket which to be honest look exactly the same!

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GreatGateauxsby · 21/01/2024 18:04

I have a yorkie who when over excited or too happy (ie when we come home or someone visits she hasn’t seen for a while) starts excessive sneezing, has a sort of honking cough and if too excited gets to the point where she is almost choking and seems not to be able to breathe!!!!
ie goes totally silent


our vet has no explanation for it other then she might have a slightly weak trachea
what is it?
And is there anything we can do about it ?

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Beyondbeyondbeyond · 21/01/2024 22:50

My greyhound has been limping for months now since late August. He has had X-rays and CT scans of his shoulders/ knee/ankles and nothing showed up.

He is going in for surgery next week to cut tendons in his paw because by process of elimination the vet is going with a corn although none is visible and he isn’t showing signs of pain pressing on his pads. We literally have no idea what else to do because the breed specialist vet he was meant to see cannot now see him for a few more months due to extenuating personal circumstances. A very experienced greyhound trainer friend is not convinced by the corn diagnosis which is throwing us a little.

The vet we are seeing instead, also a specialist but not a breed specialist is of the opinion we have to try something at this stage. The vet nurse at the breed specialist says that they would be doing the same surgery if it was a corn.

Are we completely overthinking it at this stage to be worried given that we’ve basically run out of options.

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JacCharlton · 22/01/2024 08:51

@CeriMumsnet is this thread closed now the vet has answered - or will he come back to answer more ?? thanks

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EllieSmumsnet · 22/01/2024 09:59

JacCharlton · 22/01/2024 08:51

@CeriMumsnet is this thread closed now the vet has answered - or will he come back to answer more ?? thanks

Hi @JacCharlton Martin will be back to answer some more questions.

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