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From a chilly labradoodle to an overweight tabby cat – 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.”

Sean says if a dog is not shivering then they probably don’t need a haircut
Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

Q) I ALWAYS clip my Labradoodle Ed’s fur, but should I put a coat on him when it gets colder? 

He is always running around, but despite this, I still worry about him getting a chill. 

Sally Dyer, Bristol

Sean says: If he is not shivering then he probably doesn’t need it. A clipped coat is still pretty good insul­ation, and if Ed is always running around bonkers then he is probably keeping warm in the process. 

So it’s up to you, but my hunch is he probably doesn’t need an extra coat. Some dogs really don’t like wearing one, especially when running as it can be restrictive.

Q) I MAY get a corn snake for my eight-year-old son but how  often should we handle it after getting it? 

Does it need some quiet time or should we focus on making sure it is happy to be handled straight away? 

Cath Brown, Basildon, Essex

Sean says: It’s a stressful time for any pet settling into a new environment so I would always give them about a week or so to get used to it before starting to handle them. 

Corn snakes are a nice docile species  and tolerate handling very well, but I can share a few pointers.

When very tiny they can be defensive or spook easily. After all, in the wild they would be very vulnerable to large predators. So try not to startle with sudden movements or grabbing.

Secondly, it’s really important that you don’t handle them for a couple of days after feeding. This is when they are at their most vulnerable too, and handling can stress them out, causing them to regurgitate their meal.

Q) MY dog Bob likes bottom “scooting” on carpets and wherever he can. 

He seems interested in his bottom too. He is up to date with his worming and he is fit and healthy. What do you suggest? 

Cath Burton, Plymouth

Sean says: I suggest Bob needs an embarrassing appointment with your vet for an awkward rubber-glove moment. 

He needs his anal glands checked, as it sounds like they are blocked or irritated. 

Scooting, or dragging their backside along the floor, is often thought to be due to worms, but that’s a bit of a myth. Worms, in theory, could cause the anal glands to become blocked if they were causing loose stools,  but usually the problem arises all on its own. 

Some breeds are more prone, and a rich diet lacking in fibre can also be a risk factor.

Q) CAN you please advise what food I can give my tabby cat Maxine, who is overweight.

I’ve tried a vet-recommended diet but this has not made a difference. 

Ellen Micklewright, Hayes, Middlesex

Sean says: It’s not really the type of food, it’s more about the amount. And before you say, “Oh but she doesn’t eat an awful lot”, the proof is in the pudding. 

If Maxine is overweight it’s because she is eating more than she needs to. 

Are you measuring her food intake? Are you feeding her treats or human foods? Does she hunt? Does she get food from neighbours? All of these factors count.

There are veterinary prescription diets which tend to be bulky and filling with high fibre in some cases, but with fewer calories. 

They help reduce weight while keeping pets fuller for longer, but you can still feed too much of them and not see a difference.  

My advice is to go to your vets  and ask if the nurses run a weight clinic to help devise a plan for a new slimline Maxine.


Princess Frejya is a party animal who will be celebrating with her owners this New Year

PRINCESS Frejya is a party animal who will be celebrating with her owners this New Year.

While Julie Bow, 55, and husband Shaun, 40, of Plymstock, Devon, crack open the bubbly, the ten-year-old Norwegian forest cat will be drinking special feline fizz with them.

Julie said: “We often host parties and Princess Frejya, who is a house cat, loves them.

“She is a total party animal.

“She gets a special cat-friendly fizz three times a year – on her birthday, Christmas and New Year.

“It’s strictly alcohol-free and cat-friendly, and she laps it up.”

Cutting-edge therapy saves lives

Amazing advancements are giving hope to the one in four dogs who will be diagnosed with cancer

AMAZING advancements are giving hope to the one in four dogs who will be diagnosed with cancer – rising to nearly half of those aged 10 or above.

Two of Britain’s top pet cancer specialists have revealed cutting-edge therapies saving lives.

They urge owners to weigh their pups and watch for behaviour changes, and unexplained weight loss  as early diagnosis improves outcomes.

Vet-oncologist, Gerry Polton, clinical director at North Downs Specialist Referrals in Bletchingley,  Surrey, said: “One extraordinary advance­ment  for canine cancer is a vaccine for melanoma.”

Another groundbreaking area is synthetic, targeted treatments. 

Mr Polton said: “If we know the molecule  driving a cancer’s growth we can build another that can make the cancer switch off. We have a medicine being developed in parallel for veterinary and human medical arenas for this.”

Professor Nick Bacon, senior consultant surgeon of Aura Veterinary in Guildford, Surrey, said cancer surgery that was previously impossible can now be done due to high- tech life-support machines.

He said: “We regularly use a machine called a Cell Saver. It makes cancers that were untreatable, treatable. It really is amazing.”

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