Pet Q and A: 19/01/13

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Pet expert Stuart McMorrow answers your questions

Q. I have a five-year-old neutered male rabbit and I want to introduce him to a female for company. How should I go about introducing them safely?

A. Being kept alone can lead to loneliness and boredom in rabbits, so it is good that you want to find your bunny a suitable companion. A neutered male with a neutered female is usually best. First swap some of both rabbits’ bedding so that they can become familiar with each other’s smell. A few days later, place your male rabbit in an exercise run with a mesh divide. The run should be placed somewhere neutral, where neither of the rabbits have been before. After several days, if both are calm around each other, remove the mesh. All of this should be supervised for short sessions at first and return the divide if there are any fights. When both rabbits are calm and happy in each other’s company you can be confident that they can live together safely – but always keep close eye on them.

Q. My eight-year-old dog has always been quite ‘big boned’ but recently he has put on more weight. Even though he is fed a diet food, and goes for lots of long walks he doesn’t seem to be losing the excess. I’m worried he might suffer from arthritis due to the extra weight.

A. First, take your dog to your vet to be health-checked. This will make sure he doesn’t have a medical problem and can lose weight safely. Food and exercise will then need to be monitored and your vet will advise how to do this. Treats and scraps are a common culprit when it comes to pet obesity and will need to stop. Many practices run weight clinics.

Q. My two-year-old guinea pig, Boris, has bright pink eyes and I’m really worried as I thought only white animals have pink eyes.

A. It can be normal for a guinea pig’s eyes to be quite pink. However, if a guinea pig develops conjunctivitis, the skin around the edges of the eye becomes reddened and inflamed. You should take him to your vet for a check-up.