Pet questions - 29/12/12

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We discovered that our rabbit, Flopsy, is pregnant but she keeps pulling her fur out of her chest. Is this normal? Do I need to take her to the vet?

When rabbits are pregnant the hairs on their belly, thighs and chest loosen and are then plucked out. Rabbits do this so that they can line their nest with fur and so their kits (baby rabbits) can get to their teats more easily for milk. It sounds as though Flopsy’s behaviour is normal. You should read up on how to care for her during and after pregnancy, and also plan how to find homes for the kits once they are older. I would also recommend you speak to your vet, both about caring for Flopsy at this time and about getting her neutered. Neutering will prevent any further unplanned pregnancies and it will also reduce her chances of getting cancer of the womb when she is older.

My ten-year-old cat has always been in good health, but recently he has lost some weight and his poo seems dry and crumbly. Is this old age or could he be ill?

Weight loss in pets can be a sign of ill health and should always be investigated by a vet. There are many possible causes such as dental disease, liver or kidney disease, hormonal conditions such as thyroid disease and diabetes, worms or sometimes tumours. The appearance of his poo may or may not be relevant, but your vet will be able to determine if this is linked to an illness. You should take your cat to your vet as soon as possible.

My cat’s eyes are red and swollen and there is sometimes pus coming out which I clean away, but it keeps coming back. What can I do to help her get better?

These sound like signs of conjunctivitis linked to an eye infection. Cat flu, caused by viruses and bacteria, is one possible cause of infection and can be fatal in young kittens or cats with other illnesses, if left untreated. You need to take your cat to see your vet as soon as possible, who can prescribe necessary medication. Cat flu can be highly infectious, so if you have other animals in the house speak to your vet about how to control the risk. Some animals, once recovered, can also become carriers of the disease and may have flare-ups in the future. It is much better to prevent cat flu than have to treat it.