Chris Troughton of Heath Vets Cardiff answers your pet questions. If you have any pet-related questions that you’d like Chris to answer, email us at email@example.com vets cardiff
We found a rabbit in our garden a few months ago and have no idea where he/she came from. We’ve made sure he’s ok by building him a hutch and securing the garden but he’s started grinding his teeth which goes right through me and I’m sure is no good for the rabbit. Is this normal behaviour?
Happy rabbits will make a quiet ‘purring’ sort of noise by gently chattering their teeth, particularly when they are being petted, but I don’t think you would notice this unless you were quite close, and it certainly shouldn’t “go right through” you. Proper tooth-grinding making a noticeable noise is usually a sign of pain or discomfort in rabbits. It’s probably worth getting him checked over, even if he’s showing no other signs of ill-health. Bunnies are very good at hiding their symptoms!
My dog has just turned 18 months and over the last few weeks, turned from sprightly young dog to a grumpy old man! He seems ok in himself, is eating fine and doesn’t seem to be in any distress – he just seems to have turned into my husband! Is this part of ‘growing up’?
Your dog is at an age when he should be growing up, maturing into a sensible adult, but being grumpy isn’t part of being grown up (… or is it?!). So I think you should look at him closely for anything that might be giving him some discomfort – for example, tummy ache (loss of appetite, loose bowel motions, sickness), tooth ache (red gums, bad breath) , back ache (stiffness, reluctance to go up steps or jump onto furniture) – and if you have any doubt, get him checked out. Alternatively, the grumpiness may be to do with raising his status in your ‘pack’. He might be saying “push off and don’t bother me – I’m more important than you”. If that’s happening, consider getting professional help before things get any worse. Your vet will be able to recommend a good local dog behaviourist.
<bMy four year old cat has been getting into a few fights lately. I’m not sure what’s brought it on – there may be a new cat in our area. She’s had a few nips and grazes but I’m worried that things could escalate. I don’t want to restrict her by not letting her out and am in two minds what to do. I know it’s natural for cats to guard their territory but I don’t want her getting hurt.
This is a perennial problem, one that I frequently find myself discussing with clients, as they bring Puss in for treatment to the third fight wound in as many months! You are right, it is natural for cats to guard their territory, and you won’t be able to stop it. However, most fights seem to happen at night, so keeping your cat indoors at night would be a sensible start. If you do spot a wound, have a close look at it – if it is just a graze, clean it and apply a suitable antiseptic (not TCP, which is poisonous to cats). But if there is any suspicion of a puncture from a tooth, get your vet to have a look. Early treatment could save a lot of pain and discomfort, as bite wounds have a high risk of going septic and forming an abscess. After a while, the new cat will have settled in and established his own territory, and the fighting will stop … at least until another newcomer arrives.
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