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Thursday, 19 December 2013

In memoriam

It might sound morbid, but I have kept the ashes of every pet I have lost. I couldn't bear to part with them, but it's a bit impractical to have urns dotted all over the house. A friend mentioned that you can get jewellery, such as lockets, that contain the ashes securely, so you can always have them close but in a beautiful piece of jewellery. I've heard that ashes can be turned into diamonds, too, but imagine this is very costly. 
Have you come across any such jewellery?

Vicky Wiley, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises…

It is not morbid. We are all different. I have clients who simply want their pets cremated anonymously because the memories live on, others who request individual cremation with return of ashes for scattering, burial or, like yourself, to keep in the house. We are all different.

There are certainly items of jewellery available. When our dear Pippin was put to sleep last January, we had her ashes back and have buried them with a Cox’s orange pippin tree beside them, and bulbs all round. The pet crematorium did offer a silver locket with a token amount of her ash inside which my daughter has and it did help her to come to terms with losing Pippin. Your veterinary practice should be able to advise on what the crematorium it uses can offer. There are so many other possibilities now as containers for the ashes such as candle holders and pieces of sculpture.

Belly up

Do dogs have belly buttons? 

I imagine they must do, as all other mammals have, but I've not noticed a belly button on any of my dogs.

Katie Banner, by email

Alison Logan, vet, advises…

The umbilical cord attaches the unborn pup to the placenta to act as a channel for nutrients and oxygen to the pup, waste products away from the pup. At birth, the bitch bites through the umbilical cord and with time the remnant attached to the pup withers and dies, eventually dropping off. There is a scar on the belly which may be apparent if you look very closely, clearly visible when we clip up the belly prior to abdominal surgery, for example.

Humans naturally have a belly button rather than a flat scar, reflecting a difference in anatomy, perhaps to do with being bipedal, walking on two feet rather than four? A puppy may have a belly button if it has an umbilical hernia, where the body wall has not closed off properly as it should.

Carrying the weight of a thyroid problem

Does any one have a dog with a thyroid problem and on medication prescribed by a vet, who has had success with weight loss for their dog? It’s been a year now and my dog has not lost one pound.

I need to hear that someone out there had the same problem and that the medicine and diet worked!

Thank you, I have a very fat dog.

Pricilla O'Della

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Too much of a good thing?

I saw advertised in the January edition of Dogs Today, 3mega supplement (page 8)

I thought of getting some for my two-year-old Golden Retriever.

Can a dog have too much omega 3 ?


Wendy, by email

Monday, 9 December 2013

Of dogs and wolves

What’s the best way to keep a dog un-neutered and happy? If only the lead pair of wolves breed in a wolf pack, will he need to as well?

Do you have any blogs on this topic?

Thank you,

Sultana Zafar, by email

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Change of ways after spay

Good morning,

Is it normal behaviour of a 14-month-old Siberian Husky bitch to become aggressive immediately after being spayed? My normally placid dog was spayed on Monday this week and since has become aggressive and guarding of bones and toys.
Could this be as a result of my dog being in discomfort after the operation, and is likely to subside in a few weeks, or do I need to be more concerned? We are due at the vets on Friday for the post op check up but her sudden change of behaviour is concerning me.

Thank you,

Dianne Evans, Burnley

Alison Logan, vet, advises…

This kind of behaviour sounds to me like the nesting we associate with a false pregnancy. I wonder how long it was after she had been in season that your bitch was spayed? We aim to spay at the ‘quiet’ time of the bitch’s reproductive cycle, approximately four months after a season. Before that, the bitch is going through the changes of pregnancy whether or not she has been mated and is expecting a litter. 

A so-called false pregnancy can manifest with quite disturbing behaviour changes, nesting and even aggression, much as you describe. It is perfectly normal, but is a reason for spaying once all the signs have resolved, and there is a medication to help with this.

By now, you will have taken your bitch for her post-operative check and it will be a month after she was spayed so all should have settled down. At this point, I would advise you to have her weighed because a bitch can gain weight rapidly unless you have cut back on her ration. Spaying slows the rate of metabolism so she will need to eat less to maintain her weight. A spayed bitch does not have to gain weight, it just need vigilance to avoid it happening. Weighing every month is a good regime as it will allow you to pick up on weight gain at an early point and take action because the weight will be hard to shift because of the metabolism having slowed down.