Joe Inglis’s Pet Corner – 24th May 2012

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  • | by Kristian Dando

Top vet Joe Inglis – you may recognise the name from his appearances on BBC’s The One Show and Vets In Practice – is back for his third and final round of Q&A sessions. If this isn't enough, why not check out Part One and Part Two when you’re done?

Greetings Joe,I have a seven year-old male Staffordshire bull terrier. His name is Troy.  He has very bad breath, and he’s always licking me and my wife. Please can you help?Best regards,Michael Linforth<. strong>Joe says…

To help reduce his bad breath, take him for a dental check up at your vet to make sure there are no dental problems such as rotten teeth or gum disease. Then start brushing his teeth with a proper doggie toothpaste and soft toothbrush to improve his oral hygiene. And finally you could give him some dental hygiene chews to help maintain a healthy mouth and gums. This should all make his licks and kisses a lot more bearable for you and your wife!

Hi Joe,My dog, collie/springer cross,  is suffering from sore paws which I’m told are caused from allergies and constant licking. She looks fed up and sometimes limps.  I have carried on exercising her, but kept to paths, rather than fields etc.What can I do to relieve the symptoms?  My other dog, a German Shepherd, is also suffering, but it is affecting his ears and he has had a steroid injection and drops.Thanks,Jenny Oxley. Joe says…

The best approach would be to resolve the allergy problem but this may not be possible depending on what she is allergic to. I would definitely suggest making sure she is on a hypoallergenic diet to rule out food allergies as a cause, and then you could discuss with your vet the options for allergy testing to find out what other allergens are to blame such as pollens, dust mites etc. Once you have identified the cause it may be possible to reduce the impact of the allergy using hyposensitising vaccinations made up specifically for your dog.

The other approach would be to reduce the impact of the allergies medically, using immune-suppressive drugs such as Atopica or steroids which can dampen down the affects of the allergies and therefore reduce her desire to lick her feet. However this approach can lead to side effects, particularly steroids which can cause quite serious issues in the long term so it is ideal not to rely on medication too much if possible. Therefore you could try some local treatments such as a steroid cream to target the medication where it is most needed without affecting the rest of the body. You could also consider trying boots to protect her feet when you are out and about, and this might also protect from any potential contact allergies from things like grass which might be part of the reason her feet are so sore.

Dear Joe,We have a toy poodle who is five. I have always groomed our poodles (we’re on our fifth) and have done the same with Cha-Cha, I have a range of cutters and comfortably do her body, but suddenly over the last 3 months she will not let me near her face or feet. She bares her teeth, growls and is quite threatening.So I have to take her to my local professional groomer, just to have her feet and face hair removed. People have suggested I should give her a small dose of ACP or XANAX tranquilizers, what do you suggest I should do? Many thanks,Dodie Tombs. Joe says...

The best approach to this would be using positive behavioural techniques to desensitise her to the experience of being trimmed. Use treats to distract and reward her as you very gently trim her, gradually getting nearer and nearer to the face and feet, stopping if she shows any signs of distress. It could take weeks or even months to re-train her mind and get rid of the fear but if you are gentle and persistent you will get there. Please don’t consider using sedatives such as ACP as these are powerful prescription only drugs that can only be used under the supervision of a vet as they could lead to serious complications if used incorrectly.

Hello Joe, We have a greyhound with  smelly breath. We are trying to keep teeth clean using additive to water, but it’s not working as he won’t let me brush. Help !Shiela Gallow. Joe says…

Take him to your vet for a check up to make sure his teeth are all fine, then gradually get him used to brushing using positive rewards and a very gradual and gentle approach.

Hello Joe,We rescued our dog Mia, who we think is a collie crossed with a Jack Russell or a Staffie. She is about 11 months old. She hates being by herself and so we have to lock her in a cage which she somehow gets out of and rips the whole house apart.She is such a lovely dog when you are with her it’s just when she is left by herself., I was wondering if there was any anxiety tablets or sleeping tablets we could give her prescription wise from the vet. We have taken her to behavioural classes and all the clicker gadgets but she never learned anything. I think she genuinely wants to be her own person, which is not a problem. I just really want to get to the bottom of her anxiety problem and try get her to learn ‘no’ and ‘come’ commands.Thank you,Sonia GourdieJoe says…

Medication is rarely the best way to tackle problems like this and I would strongly advise you to continue with your behavioural work. My advice would be to start a program of gradual desensitisation, getting her used to you being out for very short periods of time initially and making no fuss when you leave or return. Gradually extend the time you are out for and she should get used to you leaving and not feel so anxious that she has be destructive. There are medications that can be used but these are best given as part of a behavioural –re-programming’ approach and rarely work on their own.

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