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Q&A Vet Clinic - Dogs - March 2014

Q) Does my Dog Have a Hernia?

Hi, have a 5 month old King Charles. He has a bubble on his tummy that I believe is a hernia. I read that it should go by six months. Is this true or do I need to take him to the vet. Thank you.

A) Hi it is quite common for puppies to be born with umbilical hernias, which is where the muscles around the belly button don't close properly. When people say that they can disappear as the puppy gets older, what is actually happening is that the puppy gets bigger and so the hole becomes relatively smaller and not as noticeable. Small hernias are often not a problem - hernias mainly become a problem when they are big enough for fat or even intestine to poke through and become entrapped. I would advise to ask your vet for advice as to whether it is indeed a hernia or something else, and if it is whether they think it will be a problem or not. If you are planning to have your pup neutered, it is very quick and easy to operate on a hernia at the same time while he is under anaesthesia.

Q) Dog Won’t Gain Weight

I have rough collies one of my girls had a litter in January producing 3 pups since then i cannot get any weight on her I have wormed her and she eats the same amount as my boys .she is always on the go .other than shutting her up for most of the time which I know she doesn’t like any more, suggestions ?

A) It sounds like your dog is burning a lot of energy. Nursing a litter of puppies as well as a high activity level will have burned a lot of calories. In general, while pregnant and nursing she should be on puppy food to help give her the energy and calcium she needs. Now that the puppies are weaned, she will probably start to regain her weight, but you may want to think about feeding her a high performance diet like Proplan Performance.

It is much healthier for a dog to be a little on the skinny side than it is to be overweight though, so keep an eye on her to make sure the high energy diet doesn't become too much

Q) My Dog Has a Lump

Hi, my Westie is 13 years old and just recently I have noticed a lump running the length of her belly, but just on one side of it. It does not seem to be causing her all ill effects as she is eating and drinking normally but I am concerned as I have never seen this before and I worry that it may be some sort of tumour

A) The mammary glands (breast tissue) run down the belly on either side of the midline. I would definitely take her into the vet to get this lump checked out, as it may be related to the mammary glands. The vet will most likely take a small needle aspirate (which is usually very well tolerated by dogs) of the lump to send to the lab. A mammary tumour may be benign and not cause much of an issue or it may be malignant. It is worth investigating, as if surgery is needed it will be better sooner rather than later. I hope that it all goes well.

Q) How to Correct Bad Behaviour in Neutered Dog?

Hi, my border collie, 7 months old has been neutered 2 weeks ago, since he has come back he is trying to be more dominant than ever, biting but not really marking skin, won't do as he is told in general and is really hyper. He goes for 1-2 hour walk a day and we are at our wits end as he is no longer following our commands as before his operation. Do you have any advice? Thanks

A) Hi it sounds like your border collie definitely needs some intervention work as soon as possible. As you know, they are an extremely energetic breed of dog and are very intelligent. They are bred for working all day, so if there is any way to increase the exercise he gets it would be ideal. In addition, I would consider looking into some sort of agility or obedience club to try and keep his mind occupied. Given the dominance issues that you are describing, I would advise getting a professional assessment and plan from a behavioural specialist, as he is at an age where bad habits acquired now will be difficult to "un-train" later on.

Q) How to Help My Dog’s Itchy Skin

Hi, I'm just wondering about the Frontline treatment for dogs - I have a springer spaniel who suffers badly with itchy skin/chewing his paws etc, and live in an area where tics and harvest mites are rife (Lake District). I apply Frontline to him regularly but it doesn't seem to make much difference - do you think it is worthwhile carrying on with it? I've tried the generic version (Effipro) as I couldn't afford to keep up with the Frontline, and also tried homemade remedies to combat the tics etc (like vinegar mixed with lemon juice etc). This was probably just as effective as Frontline, but then it's difficult to tell if it was just a coincidence?! Do you always use Frontline for your dogs/recommend it? And have you heard of any alternative successful treatments? Thank you.

A) Hi parasites are such a hassle for pet owners and pets alike! Frontline and Effipro definitely treat against ticks, but unfortunately do not last as long against ticks (UP TO one month) as they do against fleas (up to 2 months). They also do not prevent against all ticks attaching to dogs, but will kill them within 24-48 hours after attachment. I would suggest that you continue to use the Frontline or Effipro, but in addition use a Scalibor collar.

The collar helps to control ticks for 5-6 months, and also helps protect against sand-flies and mosquitoes. By using both you will get double protection against ticks, as well as covering for fleas with the Effipro/Frontline.

also invest in a tick remover if you don't already have one, and check your dog carefully after every walk.

As for harvest mites, they are tricky little things and as yet have no licensed treatment. It is thought that some flea treatments may help, but there is no studies that have been done as of yet. A supplement containing essential fatty acids can help to relieve itch by increasing the integrity of the skin though - for example Lintbells Yumega Plus.

Q) How to Stop My Labrador Licking Everything?

I have a four year old yellow Labrador girl, spayed, and lately she has started licking the carpet, floor, cushions, anything. She is physically well although she has been sick a couple of times lately. But just one off vomiting, not repeatedly. She seems tired but not off her food and is drinking normally for her. Thanks.

A) Hi given that this is odd behaviour for your lab, and she seems tired, I would advise that you get her checked out at the vet just to rule out any health conditions. Labs are very stoic, so often will soldier on when they are feeling poorly.

Otherwise, it may be a boredom problem, in which case she may benefit from something to occupy her. For example a Kong with treat stuffing that she can chew at and lick could help.

You can purchase bitter apple spray that will discourage licking, but it may be difficult to use if she is licking everything!

Q) My Tibetan Terrier Has Started Having Seizure, Help?

My Tibetan Terrier is now 5 yrs old, she started having seizures last year but has only had 1 since. Her most recent one was 2 months ago and she is generally the most laid back dog ever, nothing really bothered her. But since her last fit she is now neurotic. She seems to have panic attacks - if something spooks her she pants, shiver and clings to me - she's at home with my partner thru the day and she used to just lie on the bed, now she sits under his desk all day and follows him everywhere. As soon as I come home though she's fine, she is worrying me a lot!!!!! Thanks xx

A) Hi I'm sorry to hear that I would start by seeing your vet and discussing your concerns, as behaviour changes can be important in a dog that experiences seizures. They may recommend a full neurological work-up if she has not had one already.

If the behaviour change is due to generalised anxiety, there are a couple of things that may help. Zylkene is a natural supplement that can decrease anxiety.

In addition, you can try Adaptil. This is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the pheromone mother dogs produce for their puppies, so it helps to soothe dogs and make them feel more comfortable.

When she has her panic attacks, try not to become anxious yourself and make a fuss of her, as it will reinforce her behaviour. Remain calm and speak to her in a calm voice. If none of these things make a difference, a behavioural specialist may be the next step.