Bummed out

Q: My Maltese had a blocked right anal gland sac for some time, which resulted in a hole near the anus that became infected. Several rounds of antibiotics didn’t help and he has now developed a perianal fistula. There are now three large holes in his anal area, and even his left anal gland is infected. Our vet has discouraged surgery and has put my dog on cyclosporin for a month. Will the condition be likely to improve and when can surgery be done to remove the root cause?

Fixing a bad cut

Q: I recently sent my Miniature Schnauzer to a new groomer and she emerged with a terrible haircut! Her muzzle fur was far too short, and her whiskers and eyelashes had been cut as well. Meanwhile her leg furnishings were short yet choppy. What can I do to ensure my dog gets a good haircut, and what should I do now that her hair has been ruined?

Youthful vigour

Q: My 10-week-old Border Collie has boundless energy. Besides daily walks, she gets an hour of play and an hour of training every day. She’s super smart and already knows how to sit, lie down, and roll over. But how do I go about teaching an overly excited puppy how to settle down or be calm?

Making sense of scents

Q: Recently, I bought some essential oils for myself and I read that they have various uses for dogs too. I understand not all of them are safe for dogs and that they have to be diluted before use. Which would you recommend, and for what purposes?

Rash remedy

Q: Sometimes, my cat gets patchy, crusty red rashes on her belly that are extremely itchy. The vets aren’t too worried as it doesn’t happen all the time and they usually give her steroid cream or tablets. I know it’s usually in small doses, but it still worries me. Are there any alternatives to steroids?

More than gas

Q: My three-year-old Miniature Poodle eats really quickly. It results in lots of smelly farts. Recently my sister’s pooch died of bloat. How do I tell the difference between a gassy Poodle and one that’s suffering from bloat?

The great escape

Q: My Syrian hamster is an escape artist! I made a lid out of mesh, but he bit through it. I replaced it with an aluminium mesh, but he gnawed through that as well. Now, I have a steel grid as his cover, but he chews on it non-stop. He has a ton of toys and a huge wheel, so it’s not like he is bored. What should I do?

Salty appeal

Q: My five-month-old Miniature Dachshund loves to lick the walls of my home. He will wake up in the middle of the night, go to the toilet, and lick the cement walls there. Some days, he’ll lick the walls of my living room. Is this normal or is it a sign that he’s suffering or sick?

Painful play

Q: My Bichon Frise likes to mouth and nibble fingers. I read that providing ample dog toys and chews can break this bad habit. However, she loses interest in toys or chews very quickly—the only thing she enjoys biting is our fingers. What should I do?

Kitty goes raw-r

Q: We’ve heard about the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet for dogs, but less has been talked about its suitability for cats. If I want to start my kitty on a BARF diet, how should I go about doing it?

Mani problems

Q: I just adopted a five-year-old Pug from a shelter. His nails are really long, so when I brought him for a health check, I wanted to get his nails trimmed. However, the vet said she couldn’t cut his nails because it’d bleed—apparently the “quick” grew out! What can I do to solve this problem, or will he be stuck with long nails for the rest of his life?

All choked up

Q: My German Shepherd almost choked on his chew recently, but he managed to regurgitate it before things got worse. What should I do if this happens again?

Bald ears

Q: My cat has been losing hair from her ears for a while now. It’s odd because it doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all. What causes it, and what can I do to help her?

A spiny issue

Q: I brought my seven-year-old Beagle-cross to the vet upon noticing that he had developed a weird gait and sporadic head-swaying from side to side when walking. He also sometimes whimpers when he jumps up or is carried. His vet diagnosed him with spondylosis. How can we manage and/or improve his condition?

Hammy gets fit

Q: My Roborovski hamster is really chubby—she weighs about 45g! I’ve been trying to get her to exercise, but she hates her wheel. Other than putting her on a diet, how can I get her to lose weight?