Pet Q&A: 26/01/13

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Stuart McMorrow answers your pet questions

I have a three-year-old male black Labrador and sometimes when he gets up he limps for about 10-15 seconds, but is then fine. My daughter has two Labradors that are related to mine, and one has the same symptoms but the other is fine.

One possible cause of this is arthritis, but you need to take your dog to your vet. If arthritis is diagnosed then it isn’t a condition that can be cured, but there are things that you can do to reduce the pain and discomfort. First, if your dog is overweight, it is important that you help him slim down so there is less pressure on the inflamed joints. Low-impact exercise, such as swimming, hydrotherapy or short, gentle, walks can really help to keep joints active. Many dogs with arthritis take daily anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medicines, and your vet may prescribe these. There are some joint supplements which can be beneficial.

I’ve noticed that my 13-week-old kitten, Tiddles, is limping a bit on her back left leg. Although she still runs around normally and is eating fine, she won’t put all her weight on it and meows when I touch it.

You need to take Tiddles to your vet to see what is causing the lameness. Although she is still running around and eating, her other behavioural changes are likely to be indicators of pain. Your vet will do a thorough examination and may suggest doing X-rays to help make the diagnosis.

I don’t want my poodle to get fleas, but I don’t like giving her chemicals or medication.

It is sensible not to want your dog to get fleas because their bites can cause irritation and suffering for both you and your pet. An effective treatment is one which kills fleas when they bite your pet and reputable conventional medications will do this. Treatments like this must also be safe for your pet and most conventional medications are very safe because of the rules governing their use. Natural remedies may repel fleas, but are less likely to kill them, or may not kill all of them. I would recommend you speak to your vet about which flea control will be best for your dog.