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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Melan-collie wobbles

I really need some advice and hope that this scenario is known to someone as I don’t know who else to contact.

We have a Border Collie bitch, rescue dog approx 12 years old. She has been fed on the raw food diet since we got her and have had very few problems with her health-wise.

In October I noticed a slight ‘hop’ in her gait on her back left leg. We took her to the vet but they could not find anything wrong and just advised us to ‘rest’ her for a week or so. The ‘hop’ did not go away and by mid-November the leg was being raised quite significantly off the ground when she was walking but was not noticeable when she ran. By the end of November it was really bad and she was beginning to fall over, when presumably, her legs did not touch the ground in the right order and her front legs just buckled under her and she did not have enough strength in her back legs to get up. The ability to run or move fast had ceased. We took her back to the vets who did a thorough examination but again could not find anything wrong.

She had suffered from hair loss at the beginning of the year and we had been given steroid cream for her but the hair had not grown back, so the vet decided to draw a blood sample and test for any thyroid problems. The results came back negative. The vet has tried her on Metacam (even though there is no indication of her having arthritis) but that made no improvement, he has also tried PLT (prednoleucotropin) but that just seems to have upset her stomach and given her very runny and smelly poos. The symptoms have got worst and I now think that the other back leg is showing the same signs. She is falling down quite often and whines and pants a lot, though I do not feel that this is with pain more with discomfort or confusion. The vet is at a loss as to what the problem is. I have now started her on a course of acupuncture, though this vet also does not know what the problem might be. We thought it might be ‘Wobblers Syndrome’ but neither vets think that it is.

Is there anyone who has experienced this type of problem with their dog before? We desperately want to try and find out what the problem is and how to improve it. Missy has always been an ‘independent’ and ‘free spirited’ dog (her nickname is Missy the Monster Dog), and to see her now falling down and unable to wee and poo properly is heart breaking, and she gets very agitated when there is no-one around (previously she rarely liked to be in the same room as anyone), and barks for us to go to her, but even her barks are not the way she used to bark to attract out attention.

ANY suggestions or help would be appreciated more than you can know.

Janine Lodge, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

Having been brought up with Border Collies, I know just how active they are, often well in to old age, so it must be heart-breaking to see Missy like this.

Wobblers syndrome, or cervical spondylopathy, is a condition more usually associated with breeds such as the Dobermann and Great Dane, and can manifest much as you describe. A malformation in the cervical or neck vertebrae can cause variable abnormal pressure on the spinal cord, with consequences for the nerves leaving the spinal cord in that area.

There are, however, other possible causes of the signs you describe which do sound neurological, suggesting something going on affecting the nerves. This could be why there was a lack of improvement when given meloxicam (Metacam, Boehringer Ingelheim), and then PLT (Novartis Animal Health UK Ltd) . Further investigation is needed if a diagnosis is to be reached, and in particular imaging (radiography, MRI scan).

They are such an intelligent breed that the signs of separation anxiety she is showing may reflect the confusion and frustration she is experiencing at not being able to move around as easily as in the past. Alternatively, given that she is approximately 12 years old, this may be the early signs of dementia as it is possible for more than one condition to manifest at a time, or it could conceivably all be linked if there are changes taking place within the brain.

I would therefore go back to your vet for him to examine Missy again for any change or progression in her condition, and to decide on the next course of action. If there is any treatment feasible to help her, then the sooner it is identified and initiated the better, for Missy’s sake.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Lumps and bumps

Dear all,

I would really appreciate any advice with regards to my Labrador as I am very concerned.

I have a very healthy happy Labrador who is my world. She is seven years old and in September I noticed a lump about the size of a grape under her chest area near her belly. I promptly took her to our vets, our vet is a very friendly lovely lady who has the interest of the animals first and the business second! She said she thought it was a fatty lump and to keep an eye on it.By the end of November the lump had grown to the size of a large plum and felt very hard.

Daisy, my Lab, had also lost 2kg in six weeks which I thought was quite a lot, even though I have been cutting out the treats a little to try and reduce her tummy! My vet said she didn’t like the look or feel of the lump and decided she wanted to remove it; I was in total agreement as having lost my previous dog to cancer I didn't want to take any risks at all.

Surgery was all scheduled, but the lump had moved to further down towards the belly area, so my vet decided not to operate and took a sample instead by FNA (fine needle aspiration). The results have come back negative, but my vet wasn't 100 per cent that she got a decent sample from the lump. It has been left that we keep in touch, monitor it and play it by ear.

Daisy isn’t herself though. She is still eating and drinking fine, and exercising, but she just goes through the motions and doesn’t really have the interest in walks like she used to. I can’t say what is wrong because she isn't showing any signs of ill health, just that she isn’t right for her.

Then this week I have noticed what I think is a lump below the jaw line in her neck, exactly where a male human would have an Adam's apple. Is this the voice box I can feel? Do fatty lumps appear here or could it be a gland? I don't know what to make of it, again its the size of a grape. I am worried enough that I am checking for any symptoms daily, but feel reluctant to march her back to the vets for the fear that I am going to come across as a neurotic owner.

With regards to the first lump, do fatty lumps move about? Because it’s moving does this mean it is not a tumour?

Please help me with some advice or information on lumps because I am worrying and am frightened that this could be serious.

Kind regards from Jo Bedwell, by email

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Double trouble

Here's my story of my 18 month old female Border Collie, Hollie.

Basically, a year ago, when she was nine months old, I bought her off from an older lady, who said she didn't have the time for her anymore, she also said she was good on the lead and with other dogs, and children. How wrong was that!

First night we had her in the house, she was very, very timid, however, gradually she got used to being around myself, and my girlfriend. Then, out of the blue, she would just do the toilet in one specific area of the living room, in the corner, at times we didn't even know she had done it as she gave no indication that she needed to go out to the toilet. We got her a training mat, etc which seemed to work, but eventually we managed to get her to go out the back yard. The original owner also stated that Hollie (who was called Lady at the time) was excellent being kept outside and she didn't bark and such like. When Hollie was put out the back, she went absolutely crazy, barking, clawing, scratching, etc. I think that it was due to the separation between Hollie and myself, yet I couldn't sort it out. When it came to walks, that was completely different to what the original owner had told me... Hollie, when she was out on the lead, she would pull so hard, that it was like she was taking me for a walk. As we had only just got her I was rather hesitant of just letting her off the lead up the park. When we passed other dogs, she would start jumping, and screeching loudly, almost like a whimper, but louder and excited. Her body language was hard to decipher, she would be excited, but her body would be rigid with her ears erect and she would try and charge at passing dogs. After walks, and when it was time for bed, we would leave her in the livingroom/kitchen, with some toys and plenty fresh water, we would only wake up to the whole place chewed to pieces, got to the point, if we were going out she had to be physically put outside, or muzzled if being kept inside.

After many months went by, she got a bit more calm in the house, though the chewing didn't stop, but it got easier for her to be kept out the back, walking was still a bit of a nightmare.

We opted to get another Border Collie, this time it was a neutered dog - Shadow he was two years old. When we first introduced them together, it was against all advice and suggestions, rather than gradually, we just threw them together and it took a few days, but from showing teeth they went to cuddling up and being playful - a result by any standard I would say.
Shadow is a fantastic dog, he didn't pull on the lead, ignored other dogs, he even plays fetch, lets you know when he needs out, etc. Couldn't ask for a better dog. Best of all he doesn't chew.
We've had both dogs for a good while now, but it's only more recently that the two of them are playing off each other. By this I mean, Hollie thinks she's top dog, though I let her know she isn't. Shadow accepts he's at the bottom of the chain. However, that doesn't stop him getting excited and bouncing all over the place. Basically, Hollie will occasionally attempt to go for Shadow but I put a stop to that. He's actually scared of her, and they need to be fed separately. Hollie gets her food in the kitchen, and Shadow gets his bowl of food and water on the bottom step in the hall. Granted, he goes and eats his food no problem at all - only when you close the door, yet Hollie won't eat unless Shadow is present in the room. Hollie has a tendency that when everyone is calm, she will come up to me, and try and jump up, then when I tell her to get down, Shadow looks up and sees Hollie getting excited, so then he starts to get energetic and it ends up I have to shout at them as they don't listen.
When it comes to walking them, it takes about 20 minutes to get their leads/harnesses on as they just go completely ballistic. When we are on a walk up the park, Hollie will still act up, but now it's like she's trying to go for the dog, she barks, and attempts to charge the dog, when Shadow sees this he does the same, his only reaction is when Hollie does something. He never used to pull, but unless he is on a harness, he pulls like mad.
At night, I try to keep them in the kitchen, but Shadow will do all he can to prevent going in the kitchen with Hollie. If I am able to get him in the kitchen, it's a result, if not, then it ends up with Hollie going in the kitchen, and Shadow being kept in the hall.
Many thanks.
Kindest Regards
Christopher Peacock

Hi Christopher
Does sound like you’ve got a lot on your hands! Where are you based roughly? Have you tried any local dog trainers yet? Have you had dogs before? It would have been easier to sort out Hollie’s problems first before you got Shadow, but I’m sure it is still possible to sort things out but it’ll mean a lot of work with each dog separately.
I’ve put the question on think tank now but I’m sure people will want to know where you are based.
Best wishes

Yes, it can be rather tedious at times. I'm based in Woodvale, North Belfast. Unfortunately, I can't seem to pinpoint local trainers, plus the cost is more than I can cover at the moment. I have grown up with dogs, yes, however this is the first time since leaving my parental home that I have owned my own dogs. I agree, it would have been a lot easier to help Hollie on her own, but we just jumped in feet first.
I'll try and keep checking the post as oft as I can, though I don't have internet access in the home, so I can only keep updated when I frequent the library.
Many thanks.
Kindest Regards
Christopher Peacock

So folks, it is Christmas - are there any lovely positive kindly trainers in Belfast that can help Christopher sort this all out?

Friday, 16 December 2011

Top toys for strong chewers

Hello Dogs Today team,

I have a question regarding chew toys for my puppy. Fay is now 12 weeks old and is a Vallhund who loves to chew and destroy her toys.

When I brought her home I gave her a few different toys; a soft toy, a rubber toy, a ball and a rope toy. However, I have had to replace many already, she ate part of the soft toy (it found its way out luckily), ripped the rope apart and chewed lumps out of the rubber toys. So after advice from her breeder I bought an adult red Kong and some other chews, she has had the Kong three weeks and has already chewed small lumps out of it and I can’t see it lasting much longer.

I’ve brought rope toys from the rough and tough range from Pets at Home at the same time and they are starting to fray as well. The only things that are lasting are stuffed and smoked bones, and nylon bones; I tried a pork roll but it upset her stomach and rawhide chews don't seem to last that long either.

I’m planning to get her a black Kong soon but was wondering if anyone can suggest good chew toys for strong chewers?

Thank you,

Joanne Stockbridge and Fay, by email

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Warming the heart and the dinner

I know I prefer warm food, but what about dogs? Why do we mostly serve their dinners cold?
What's the best food warmed and does it really make a difference to their enjoyment like it does to us?
I've taken to warming up my dogs tinned food as I had often put half a can back in the fridge and it felt terrible giving him something really very chilly. He seems to appreciate the warm version and I can't help but notice the smell is stronger.
Why does the aroma increase when you heat food? Sounds like a silly question, there's obviously a massive difference between the smell of uncooked bacon and cooked - but why does it make us more hungry when we smell cooked food?
As dogs' noses are so very much more advanced than ours surely smell is even more significant to them and must increase their enjoyment and anticipation.
Or am I just anthropomorphising my dog too much by choosing to 'cook' his tea each night with the rest of the family!
Either way I'm not stopping, he appreciates my cooking a lot more than the humans!
Yvonne Reynolds, Manchester

Friday, 2 December 2011

Barking at all hours

Hi Dogs Today,

My five-year-old Greyhound, Suki, has developed an annoying habit of barking to be let out in the early hours of the morning. This started a few months ago with the occasional request to go out for the toilet, as we thought. Gradually this has increased until she now barks roughly every other night. I have recently had to move away into rented accommodation for work reasons, and have had to leave Suki and my other dog Oscar (a nine-year-old crossbreed) at home with my parents. Since prior to this I was living at home with my parents, Suki and Oscar have always lived in my parents’ home and have not been disrupted by my move. While very much a 'people' dog, Suki is not particularly attached to me personally, being happy with any family member, and since the barking first started just before I moved out, I doubt that it has any connection to my moving away.

As you can imagine, Suki's barking is very annoying for my parents and wakes first my mum, followed by my dad (my brother, his wife and their three month old baby also live with my parents). Because my mum is worried that my brother and his wife will be disturbed, she has always gone straight down and let Suki out, despite my advice not to as I believe Suki is seeking attention and thus being rewarded by my mum's appearance.

My parents make sure they feed Suki early in the evening and ensure that she goes to the toilet before they go to bed, so I can't believe she genuinely needs the toilet every time. Would it be reasonable to limit the amount of water Suki has access to in the evenings to make sure she isn't drinking too much (she always has drunk a lot more than my other dog, but it hasn't been a problem before)?

Please could someone advise me how my parents can deal with this problem? My mum is very busy and stressed at the moment, and lack of sleep really isn't helping! Times are tight for all of us at the moment, so we really need a solution that we can implement ourselves.

Any advice would be gratefully received!

Many thanks,

Rose Hodkinson, by email

As nature intended?


I have two four-year-old West Highland Terriers and have never considered having them castrated before, but lately I have been reading more cases of cancer in non-castrated males.

I would like to have them both castrated, but my partner doesn't like the idea.

I don't breed from my dogs.

Can you help?

Many Thanks,
Jackie Twigge, by email

Richard Allport, vet, advises...

In fact there is strong evidence that some forms of cancer are significantly more common in neutered dogs than in entire males. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and splenic cancer, for instance, are more frequently seen in neutered dogs. The only cancers an unneutered dog are more likely to get are (self evidently) testicular cancer and also prostate cancer.

However, prostate cancer is very rare in dogs (much less common than bone cancer) and testicular cancer is usually benign. In addition, neutered dogs are more likely to become overweight and suffer from conditions such as diabetes: and neutered dogs are more likely to be affected by hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism (underactive thyroids).

Then there is the small but real risk of the anaesthetic and the surgery itself. So my advice is that if your Westies are fit and well, there is probably a greater risk in having them neutered than in leaving them entire and intact as the good lord designed them!

Can dogs get cold sores?

Can dogs get cold sores?

My two English Springer Spaniels have sores on their noses that look like cold sores, but no other symptoms anywhere else.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Sarah Mann, via Twitter

Does your dog have epilepsy? Can you help this study?

Dear Dogs Today,

I am in Lower Sixth and as one of my subjects I am taking Extended Project Qualification. For this I intend to produce a project answering the questions "How does diet affect canine epilepsy? And can it be used as a measure to control it?".

EPQ demands a large amount of independent, primary research and as a part of mine I have devised a questionnaire, which I need to get as many people as possible to complete. Therefore, if anybody has, or has had, a dog with epilepsy and would be willing to help, please email me at In your email please state whether this is a current or previous pet, as it affects which questionnaire I send you. Any other experiences would be gratefully received as well.

Finally, if anybody reading this is a vet, it would be greatly appreciated of you could share with me your professional opinion on the matter.

Many thanks,
Emma Liddell, by email

What's the top dogs' dinner for taste?

I find food that smells good makes my picky eater much more interested. I guess it's obvious as dogs' noses are so much more sensitive than ours, but which type of food gets your dog's nose twitching the most?
I have a young dog that really seems to find little joy in eating her 'proper' dinner, it's so depressing picking up the bowl to find hardly any food gone so I have got used to trying to tempt her!
I have an enormous sack of dry food that breeder insisted I feed, but I find I have always have to add something extra to get her to eat any.
I don't always have a suitable leftover from our human dinner and would like a reserve of prepared food in the store cupboard to tart up her dinners.
What do you suggest?
When I have eventually finished this sack can I switch her to all wet food that she so obviously prefers? Which one is the tastiest? What's worked for you?
Hattie is a Cocker Spaniel, so not a huge dog. She's fully grown now - but how she's managed to grow eating so little I have no idea! The vet has checked her he can't find anything wrong with her apart from having gourmet tastebuds!
I've tried the 'pick it up and put it down' till she eats it philosophy but she held out for two days last time and I couldn't keep it up it made me so unhappy seeing her go hungry.
The breeder insists this dry food is the best, but my instincts say not for our Hattie! It really would make me happy to see her enjoying mealtimes.
Fiona Smith, Luton

Which country has the best dog laws?

I have heard that we are no longer the best country in the world for dogs, that elsewhere dogs have a much better life and there are far fewer dog problems. Which system results in the fewest dog problems and are there any good ideas we can borrow here? I heard that in Switzerland for example you are only allowed to keep two dogs not one on its own? Is this true?
Henrietta Russell, London

Regarding Switzerland, each canton/county has its own legal system. So it depends on the canton how many dogs you are allowed to own and how much tax you have to pay on each dog. For example, in Basel where my parents are, you are only allowed to have two dogs in one household. The first one costs 180.- and the second 360.- Swiss Francs on top of the first one. And that is for each tax year.
But in Aargau (another county) you can have as many dogs as you want and each only costs 50.- Swiss francs.
It is also the law that all dogs have to be chipped (this responsibility lies with the owner as well as the vet as they have to register the dog and have to check the chip details) this then gets sent to the national database calles ANIS which the tax people have access to, so they can compare the tax paid compared to the dogs registered.
Regarding a minimum amount, this I have never heard of. Only when owning a ferret you need a county vet inspection and then there is a minimum of two per cage. But dogs, no.
Laws here are very strict, as well on farm dogs. They all get inspected and have to be let off their chain a certain amount of hours and the lead has to be at least 10meters long.
There are a lot more laws so just let me know if you have any more questions:)
Fran Albisser, Basel, Switzerland and Farnborough, Hampshire

Friday, 25 November 2011

Is BPA present in tinned dog food?

Dear Dogs Today

I've seen a few articles over the past couple of days about the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in tinned soup and how increased levels are linked to heart disease and diabetes. I've read the chemical is banned from baby bottles by the EU.

I feed my Collie-cross tinned food and wonder what the implications are for tinned pet food? From what I understand, BPA is used to prevent rusting in soup tins. Is BPA used in tinned pet food? And is it as harmful to pets as it seems to be to humans?

I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

Thank you
Andrea Vine, Derby

Sarah Hormozi, Veterinary and Nutrition Affairs, Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) says...

Dear Andrea

Thank you for raising this issue in your letter.

At PFMA[1] we are aware of the recent press coverage of Bisphenol A (BPA) in canned goods and we understand that pet owners want to ensure the food they are feeding their pets is safe.

Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound that is mainly used in combination with other chemicals to manufacture plastics and resins. BPA is also used in small amounts in the lining of cans, including pet food. Despite a great deal of research in this area, there is no evidence of BPA having any harmful effect on cats and dogs.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, BPA is an approved food contact material, which has been carefully tested and used in the food and pet food industries for years. BPA is also permitted for food contact use in other countries such as the USA and Japan.

PFMA would like to reassure consumers that the feeding of canned pet food should not give any reason for concern. At PFMA we pay particular attention to pet health issues and are closely monitoring any findings on environmental chemicals including BPA to ensure that manufactured pet food remains a safe way to deliver complete nutrition to your pets.

For further information on BPA please refer to our website

[1] PFMA or Pet Food Manufacturers Association represents the UK pet food industry with over 60 pet food companies as its members.

What is wrong with my Maltipoo?


I have an almost three-year-old Maltipoo weighing 15 lbs.

In August he started licking the air excessively. It then turned into constant licking, swallowing and gurgling in the belly, almost like he was going to vomit and more severely during the night.

He has been to the vet twice and has been on: Pepsid AC, Prilosec, tums, plain yogurt in food, benedryl and another medication from vet for motion sickness.

Nothing has seemed to work. He is healthy in every other way, he eats, poops, and plays. He is a bit anxious as he barks at every dog, person he sees through the window.

Could he have acid reflux? I am looking for another suggestion for this problem as I am fearful he is damaging something internally.

Any help would be appreciated.

Anon, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

I can understand your worries as you have an otherwise normal dog who is exhibiting strange behaviour which has not improved with treatment.

It sounds as if your vet is thinking along the lines of gut pain and discomfort, given the things you have tried, and the signs you describe do sound like acid reflux and colicky pain. I wonder what you are feeding him and how often? Dogs with acid reflux often fare better on frequent small meals so that there is always something for the gut to be digesting, especially offering a little food as you go to bed to keep it occupied overnight. There may also be an element of food hypersensitivity, triggering bowel pain and spasm – that could be investigated with a food trial under veterinary supervision.

Further investigation is possible, such as blood tests to check his general health and rule –out other causes of nausea. An endoscope could be passed into stomach under general anaesthesia to examine the lining of the stomach for ulceration, for example.

I would certainly take your dog back to your vet, not least because he will think that your dog’s problem is all sorted because he has not seen you again. It would also be interesting to know whether his weight was stable or whether he was losing weight.

Have you thought of trying a Dog Appeasing Pheromone collar for your dog’s anxiety?

How much medication is too much?


My Westie of 14 years and three months has very rapidly developed a condition of the kidneys.

I'm trying to help my Westie with benazepril 5 mg, but he was also prescribed Dried Aluminuim Hydroxide. Because he simply won't eat anything at all I can't get this into his system. I also have a Antepsin Suspension to help line his stomach and alleviate his sickness.

I know he is an old dog, but I just feel that this is too much medication. I have also noticed that since I am squirting the Antepsin suspension directly into his mouth, his saliva is very sticky, more like treacle and extremely smelly. I thought this may be due to an abscess in his mouth but on close inspection his gums and teeth look okay for a dog of 14.

I know I can save him and am not ready to let him go yet, I know this is quite selfish, but he is has been so strong all his life I am desperate to get some nutrition into him and I am sure he can get help.

Should I use Dried Aluminuim Hydroxide as well as Antepsin as they both appear to be doing a similar function of reducing acid in his stomach? He does not appear to have constipation but it is his appetite I am worried about and from what I can gather benazepril should improve his appetite.

Can anyone help?

Mark Almond, Manchester

Richard Allport, vet, advises…

Interestingly, Benazepril is licensed to treat congestive heart disease in dogs, but not kidney disease. Even more interestingly, some lists of side effects for Benazepril in dogs include loss of appetite and nausea (although for cats usually an increase in appetite is noted). However, if your vet has prescribed any medication, don’t stop giving it without discussing it with your vet first.

Without knowing the extent of the kidney problem it’s difficult to suggest what medication could be stopped and what else used, but a good natural anti gastric irritant is Slippery Elm powder, and a good natural way of stimulating the appetite is to ask your vet to give weekly injections of Vitamin B12 for a few weeks, and to dispense Nutriplus gel. This is a tasty gel, full of vitamins and minerals, that usually gets dogs eating pretty quickly.

Offer him warm food, consisting of attractive morsels of minced beef, or chicken livers, or anything you know he would really enjoy. In addition there are homoeopathic and herbal kidney support medicines available (but you would need to ask your vet to refer you to a holistic vet to get these formulated and prescribed).

Don’t give up on your Westie – I’m sure there’s life in the old dog yet!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Anyone taken a Rottie to France? How does it work?

Hello! I was wondering whether any Rottie owners could help me with a little question.... I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of taking Rotties to France and if so, did they get a license for it? Rotties are classed as a dangerous breed and resident dogs in France need a license... but we cannot find any definitive info about visiting Rotties... Thanks!!! :-)
Becky Clark, via Dogs Today facebook page

Friday, 18 November 2011

A knotty problem

I'm wondering if anyone can help? I have an Old English and now it's that time of year I leave his fur to grow with a brush every night including two good grooms a week but I've noticed his collar is constantly knotting his fur! He currently wears a half check collar because the breeder advices a collar that's clicked not buckle and that's the only type my local pet store supplies. Can anyone advise what collar he should be wearing to be prevent knotting n snagging of his fur?
Thanks Kerry Lynn Walters, via Dogs Today facebook page

Nip it in the bud

My son and his wife have a six-month-old Labrador-Collie cross called). (Mother Labrador, father Collie, farm dog). She is quite well behaved on the whole, affectionate and seems intelligent. She has just completed a six-week course of dog training, which she got through okay and came first in a dog competition for Best Trick, jumping through a hoop.

The one problem is that she will jump up at people, gets excited and is inclined to ‘nip’. It’s her way of greeting, not aggressive, but whereas this may be acceptable from a small puppy, it will not be so as she gets older and is now getting her second teeth! And there is the chance that she may jump at a small child or elderly person.

I myself have had three dogs without any problems but must admit I have never trained a small puppy. They were rescued and older.

She has not yet been spayed, I know as they get older, they tend to calm down. She gets on well with other dogs and is okay with children.

What do you suggest? Further training classes? I think she would be brilliant at agility, she has so much energy. We all want to get the best from our dogs, for them to have a happy fulfilled life, which is all too short, and I’d much rather people said, “what a lovely well behaved dog!”

Your comments please.

Valerie Denton, Sanderstead, Surrey

Time for a winter coat

Dear Dogs Today

Does anyone know where I can find a waterproof coat for my two Corgis that has a zip on the back? They are so low to the ground and it is quite wet at this time of year, but I'm having trouble finding a waterproof coat.

If anyone has any suggestions I'd be grateful!

Thank you
Mrs Fergusson, Isle of Man

Living in fear

Can you please tell me what legislation if any is in place with regard to Pit Bulls and Staffie cross dogs. We have several in our area who have attacked other dogs and injured them. Me and my dog were attacked earlier this year and we reported it to the police. The dog was later put down as the owners left it in a house when they moved out and it bit the RSPCA inspector. I live in fear when I walk my dog, I have changed my route several times lately.
I live in Paisley {Gallowhill} Renfrewshire and I have a shepherd cross
Janet Beaton, via Dogs Today facebook page

My understanding is that at the moment if a dog's actions makes a person scared there's legislation in place (the Dangerous Dogs Act) but with dog on dog attacks no one seems very much interested. Theoretically under the DDA we shouldn't have any Pit Bulls these days as in the 1990s when the DDA came all Pit Bulls were supposed to be neutered and no m ore bred or imported but we now have very many more than we ever had before and people seem not to realise that if they own a Pit Bull they should be registered, neutered and muzzled to be within the law. In fact more and more I encounter people who openly say they own a Pit Bull and they have no idea that it is a restricted breed in any way.
If you feel afraid when you are out walking then that is not good. In my experience people with aggressive dogs tend to walk very early and very late in remote places hoping to avoid others.
Has anyone any ideas for what Janet can do to get her confidence back? Might a walking group help? Has anyone experience of setting one up?
Beverley Cuddy, Editor

Monday, 7 November 2011

One, two, three - ugh!

I have a dog who every time I take him out he has to do his business at least three times. The first one is always normal but then following that he has explosive runs, if he hasn't been fed he'll just keep trying to go even if there is nothing left to come out! It doesn't matter if he is on the lead or off it. Obviously it's practically impossible to pick up and it means I have to be careful where I walk him, he can no longer come on the school run for instance. Has anyone got any ideas as to why he does this or what I can do to prevent it? It doesn't matter how many times a day he goes out either. My other two dogs don't have this problem and whether I take them all out together or him on his own it still happens
I haven't asked my vet. He is around 12 months old now. It's been going on ever since he has first been out on walks. He is fed dry complete twice a day, a couple of mug fulls in the morning and a couple of mug fulls in the evening. He was beng fed on another dry food previously and it happened then, too. It happens everywhere we go. It's impossible to train him at home as we don't have a garden. It doesn't matter where we walk, if he is on the lead or off it, how many times a day we go out, if he is alone or with the other two dogs I own, it's always the same. And it is at least three times, sometimes can be more. If ever he has an accident in the house, it's always a normal poop, and the first poop when we are out is always normal too. He is happy, healthy, wormed up to date etc. Look forward to hearing what people have to say about it!
Fizz Cashman, via Dogs Today facebook page

Friday, 4 November 2011

Leading the blind

I recently found out that my eight-year-old Border Terrier Alfie is going blind. He is diabetic and its causing cataracts in both his eyes. I should have expected it but it initially left me devastated when my vet told me he had them in both eyes and that in time Alfie will be completely blind. I cried for about two weeks every time I looked at Alfie and found it really hard to imagine how he would cope.

I realise now that actually he possibly won’t really bother about it too much as sight is not as important to dogs as it is to us but I want to do all I can while he can still see to prepare us for the inevitable.

What should I be teaching him while I have the chance?


Allison & Alfie, by email

Monday, 31 October 2011

Poorly paw

I have a big, beautiful Border Collie boy called Obi who will be eight years old next week. In June 2010 he cut his right fore paw, I don't know what on, but it sliced very cleanly through the sides of two toes, giving him two raw surfaces which rubbed against eachother, and also cut into the base of his foot. This took a very long time to heal, it was cleaned with salt water, I put different natural remedies on it, we rested him, etc, etc but even with a couple of courses of antibiotics from the vet it took around two to three months to heal and gave him a great deal of discomfort.

Unfortunately he was permanently lame on the foot even after it was healed and we had the foot X-rayed which led us off at a tangent because his outside toe was quite hideous when X-rayed with what our vet thought was a tumour but on sending the X-rays to a specialist vets, was thought might be Sesamoid Disease. That was treated with injections into the joint which worked on the lameness for a short time, but it returned and we were eventually referred to the specialist in October where they MRI scanned him and discovered he had five pinprick sized foreign objects inside his foot. He was operated on in November and managed to save the horrible toe which had been in danger of being amputated in order to get all the little bits out. Once his foot was healed from the operation, he was no longer lame and we thought the whole horrible business was behind us.

Unfortunately, at the end of January the operation scar split open, we couldn't get it to heal and when swabbed it was found to have stapphylococcus in it and he was put on antibiotics again. The scar mended again until April when it split open again. It was swabbed again, had stapph in it again and was put on different antibiotics because the stapph was resistant to the original ones. Since April it has split open again a couple of times and each time he's resistant to the antibiotics. We returned to the specialist in July for another MRI scan but there was nothing to be seen this time, although they did give us the option of another operation and probably removing his manky toe this time to make sure they got any nasties which didn't show on the MRI. We refused that option at the time.

Obi's foot is still not healed 100 per cent, we seem to get to a certain point and it 'goes' again. He does wear boots out when it's bad and we're now using a product to try to toughen up the skin and pads because their softness seemed to be part of the problem. About a month ago he developed a scabby rash on one back leg which quickly spread to the other leg and got worse despite washing with salt water and putting cream on it. The vet thought it looked like stapph and prescribed more antibiotics which cleared it up. It came back again last weekend at which point I called a halt to filling my dog with drugs.

I don't like giving my dogs antibiotics or drugs of any sort, preferring to rely on natural products, but this whole situation has been so desperate and awful that I took the vets advice and carried on against my personal feelings. Obi is on many different natural supplements for his arthritis and has a teaspoon of colloidal silver every day to try and help his foot. I have also now put him back on a teaspoon of Manuka honey every morning. I am currently washing his back legs with Hibiscrub and putting on Camrosa cream which between them seem to be working slowly. His legs and foot are covered by socks to stop him licking them.

I read Richard Allport's article on antibiotics this month, which came out at a very good time and have now ordered the following for Obi: Bee Health Propolis Capsules, Bee Health Propolis Cream for his legs and poor foot, Immune Formula capsules from Richard's clinic, Royal Jelly and I shall buy him some echinacea this afternoon. I am trying desperately to boost his immune system from within while trying to get rid of this infection in a natural way. I have also looked at Selenium ACE, although he does have Vitamins C and E anyway and he has liver once a week for his dinner as well as some homemade dried liver treats for treat toys and training and I'm not sure if extra Vitamin A would be a good idea. I can't seem to find Selenium with no ACE attached.

Obi has always been a healthy dog and I can only think that his problems are from too many antibiotics. My dogs are fed on Barking Heads which has some fresh meat added to it every day. They eat raw a couple of times a week, I was going to change them over completely, but Obi actually objected to raw every day and was miserable on it. There are no additives or preservatives in anything they eat, everything is high quality with no rubbish ingredients. Obi has around four hours of walks each day, including swimming, although this has been curtailed lately because of the foot and leg. He is a very happy and active dog, the problems don't get him down or stop him enjoying his life.

Please, if anybody can help with any suggestions for Obi, I would be so grateful. If there are any other immune system boosting miracles out there or anything that has worked for anybody in a similar situation, I am open to anything. He's such a lovely, lovely dog, he deserves to live his life to the full.

Thank you so much
Rebecca Kinnon, by email

Where does the law stand on dogs biting humans?


I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of being charged with their dog being dangerously out of control in a public place and injuring a person? My dog and the dog next door got into a fight on the pavement outside our houses. Whilst we were breaking up the fight my dog redirected and bit my neighbour's daughter on the shoulder. They've reported me to the police.

I'm very worried that they will order her to be destroyed as she has injured a person, albeit unintentionally. If anyone has any personal experience of this I would really appreciate some advice.

Many thanks
Name and address supplied