Vet Q&A: Crying dog | Nervous cat

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Vet Stuart McMorrow answers your questions

I have a four-year-old King Charles Spaniel and sometimes he cries out and yelps. I checked him and he has no injuries. Is there something wrong with him?

There are many different things that can cause a dog to yelp out suddenly. For example, a slipped disc can cause a dog to yelp, as can a stomach cramp or an arthritic joint. However, one condition that’s seen in some Cavalier King Charles dogs is called syringomyelia, a condition where there’s a blockage to the spinal fluids that flow around the brain. This obstruction causes the brain to swell in effect making the brain too large for the dog’s skull, which can cause pain. You need to take your dog to see his vet.

My daughter recently adopted a seven-year-old cat. He’s a bit nervous but loves being stroked if we allow him to approach us. However he’s recently started fouling beds and chairs.

There is always a reason for a change in behaviour like this, so the first step is to identify what this is. It could be caused by stress, linked to his recent change in circumstances. Sometimes even minor changes, such as changing where you feed your cat or even just 
redecorating, can alter where a cat goes to the toilet. There could also be an underlying medical problem causing this. Your daughter needs to take the cat to her vet to check for any health problems.

The two dogs that live next door are always barking and biting each other, which my dog Scrummy gets very excited by. She barks when she hears them and gets very wound up. What can I do?

Scrummy barks when she hears the dogs because she is interested in what they are doing and maybe sometimes gets a response from them. Dogs are social animals so they it is natural that they pay attention to other dogs. Stopping this could be very difficult and may require the help of the other dogs’ owner.