Vets and Pets

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VET Stuart McMorrow answers your questions

Q My 13-month-old shih tzu/bichon frise, Sky, had to have an unexpected hip operation four weeks ago. He stayed at a specialist hospital for six days, but on return his temperament had changed completely. He used to be laid back and loveable, but now he’s a bit aggressive. He growls sometimes and won’t let us pick him up. He also won’t eat food – only dog chews.

A Sky has been through a major procedure. He will have been treated by highly specialised vets, using the most appropriate techniques and latest drugs, including painkillers. But despite this, as in humans, he will inevitably have experienced some pain and discomfort, and he has been hospitalised in an unfamiliar environment. It is likely that his change in temperament is linked to this recent stress and it will take some time for him to readjust. Aggression and crying can be signs of pain, and you should report this to your vet at each check-up (or sooner if you are worried). Stay in close contact with the vets, be patient and over time his temperament and appetite should return to normal.

Q I clean my cat’s teeth every week, but lately I’ve noticed that his breath seems to smell a bit, although his teeth and gums seem to be fine. He’s also put on some weight in recent months.

A There are a few different possible causes of halitosis, including dental disease, kidney disease, diabetes, a foreign body in the mouth or, in rare cases, a mouth tumour. Cats that are overweight are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes, but that doesn’t mean that diabetes is necessarily the cause of the problem. You need to take Fern to your vet to be checked.