Pet Questions

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Q I am seven months’ pregnant and my young Staffie, Shakira, who went to training classes and was always well behaved, has suddenly started to become a bit aggressive, barking and jumping up.

A If Shakira has become more excitable, this could be linked to her young age and she may benefit from further training classes. If she is being aggressive as well, this could be due to changes that are taking place around her or it could be linked to a medical condition. Pain, for example, can cause previously gentle animals to become aggressive, as can liver disease. You should get her checked by your vet.

Q My guinea pig has problems going to the loo – sometimes she doesn’t poo for days and then it comes out in one big lump.

A Guinea pigs should regularly pass well-formed faeces, and not doing so can be a sign of a problem. Causes include not enough hay or grass in their diet, lack of exercise, pain, stress or an infection. You should take her to your vet. If she doesn’t have any medical problems, I would suggest that you then think about her five “welfare needs” – 1. Environment (her living environment); 2. Diet; 3. Behaviour (her opportunities to behave like a guinea pig); 4. Companionship; 5. Health.

Q I have just found out my cat, Dillon, has FIV following a bite from another cat. I’m very worried as I don’t know what to expect.

A FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and a cat with FIV may be more likely to get other infections because their immune system is weakened. There is no cure for FIV, so treatment involves treating other infections as they arise. FIV is usually transmitted by bites and scratches, so FIV-positive cats should usually live indoors. You will need to provide Dillon with lots of things to occupy him indoors so he doesn’t get bored.