Pet Questions

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Today’s pet problems answered by vet Stuart McMorrow

Q I’m not sure what is wrong with my hamster. She seems to have a permanently wet bottom and her hair is a bit matted around her rear end. What should I do?

A You should take your hamster to be checked by your vet straight away.

Hamsters can suffer from a condition called “wet tail”, which is caused by a bacterial infection.

The infection causes watery diarrhoea, which makes the fur around the tail wet and matted. Other signs of the disease include reluctance to move, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Wet tail is often associated with stress such as moving to a new home.

Wet tail can be fatal, but in some cases the condition can be cured with fluids and antibiotics.

Q Our one-year-old cat, Flips, has suddenly started to wee in funny places around the house, despite using the litter tray fine previously. We’ve had flu recently and I’ve also just started letting her out in the garden for short periods. Could she have caught an infection?

A You should take Flips to your vet to be checked over. She won’t have caught flu from you, but she could have cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). This can make cats wee in unusual places, as well as sometimes causing other signs such as weeing more often, straining to wee or having spots of blood in the wee. If it is cystitis, this is often linked to stress in cats. A new baby in the house, new pet or building works can all trigger it. Your vet can advise on ways to reduce her stress – for example, by giving her quiet resting places that are high up, as cats feel most secure when they are high up.