Happy healthy pets
Published in the Natal Witness - Wed, 18 Oct 2006
By Glynne Anderson
Visits to the vet are important and necessary for pets demonstrating behaviour out of the ordinary, writes GLYNNE ANDERSON
Our pets, no matter what species, are very precious to most of us and are in fact accepted as important members of our family, which is the way I believe it should be. And lets face it, some of the smooth-skinned-two-leggeds should be taking tips from them when it comes to loyalty, patience and unconditional love.
For example, dogs do not look over the garden fence and wish they had the Jones new top of the range BMW - because any old tyre is good enough for them, as long as they have their beloved humans. Dogs do not care either whether their family is stinking rich or church-mouse poor, pretty or pretty ugly, fat or thin, yellow or green, because it does not matter to them.
And cats - they do not borrow money, drive your car, untidy your house, answer back and eat you out of house and home. Not at all. And best of all, if something really gets up their noses, they do not complain or sulk for days, they just pack their bags and move on quietly - I mean, how decent is that?
And birds - well, they do not really give a hoot how untidy you are or whether the grass is mowed or the dinner is late. They may get into a flap if something ruffles their feathers, but they are always pleased to see you, they do not care if your butt looks big in your new denims, they are non-judgmental and they never stay out late.
Rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, fish and mice are always ready to listen, never spread gossip, do not criticise you when your back is turned and you can trust them to keep a secret.
In fact, our wonderful pets are not only the perfect house guests, friends and confidants, but they also give us their all. So in exchange we should be taking really good care of them, especially their health and social needs. I hope the questions and answers I have selected today will push a few buttons and motivate you into taking Pluto or Felix or Tweetie or Bobtail to the vet for that long-overdue visit.
I have a two-year-old German Shepherd called Roxy that we love dearly. A week ago she started shaking her head and scratching her ear and crying.
Now she is walking around with what I call Boeing ears which are not pricked and upright, but sticking out sideways like aeroplane wings. She is eating well and still does her daily laps in the pool but I must admit she does not look happy.
I have looked in her ears but I cant see anything and I am reluctant to take her to my vet because it is always so expensive. Please help.
I am afraid a trip to the vet is absolutely necessary in your case, because you have described most of the textbook symptoms - pain, irritation and discomfort - indicating a definite problem. Ears should always be treated immediately or Roxy could develop a chronic, life-long infection which will really cost you big bucks. Please ask around about veterinary charges because some vets do charge more than others. If you are really battling financially, animal shelters often have clinics designed to suite empty pockets. Good luck with Roxy, but please do not leave her to suffer another day.
Molly, my eight-year-old Bull Terrier, limps very badly and I think it has got something to do with her toenails because they seem very long. Do you think I should get her looked at?
Most definitely, get her to the vet at once, because a delayed visit could be a very costly decision. Long toenails can cause poor posture which may result in spinal problems. Dogs nails are naturally filed by running on a hard surface but if Molly is inactive her nails will keep growing and may even grow back into her flesh - especially her dewclaw.
My African Grey seems to puff herself up a lot recently, which makes her look pretty miserable. I have also noticed in the last week or so she is not speaking as much or even eating her favourite food anymore. Do you think she is unhappy?
Yes, I think she is very unhappy and probably sick as well. A sudden change of behaviour in any animal is a sure sign of a medical problem. Some vets specialise in birds, so phone around and get her to the right person as soon as possible, or you may lose her.
Bacardi, my tom cat who is a real man about town and chick magnate, came back the other morning and kept sticking his tongue out of his mouth. Since then he wont touch his food, not even chicken which is his best. He also drools now which is something new as well. I do not think he goes out over four-legged birds but I am wondering if he may have gotten into a fight with another male and been hurt - this has happened before but he has always recovered after a few days. My husband says he is pulling tongues at us and sulking because we had his pockets picked when he was a kitten. Do you think this is possible?
I suppose anything is possible really but it is highly improbable. Sounds to me like Bacardis jaw may have been damaged or dislocated perhaps during a fight or maybe he was hit by a car. Or he may even have terrible toothache.
Drooling in any animal usually indicates pain, stress, injury or nausea and should be attended to immediately. Again - the longer you leave it, the worse the prognosis, the more costly the treatment.
Until next time, keep them safe, happy and cared for and you will be the richest person in your neighbourhood - by far.
- E-mail Glynne: email@example.com or phone 031 765 1958.