From giving cats tablets to managing arthritis in dogs — your pet queries answered


HE is on a mission to help our pets  . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.

Sean McCormack, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years.

Sean McCormack is on a mission to help our pets

He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”

MY eight-year-old cat Mustapha Biscuit has been having vitamin B12 injections for his back legs.

For the past 12 months he has had them every three weeks. My vet now says they can’t get vitamin B12 at the moment so I have started giving him Cobalaplex tablets, a supplement that contains it. Is that OK?

Megan Levy, 30, sales assistant, Colchester

Sean says: Yes, that’s still fine, although giving cats tablets can be tricky.

You can try the kitty burrito trick — wrapping him up in a towel facing away from you with just his head and neck exposed.

A better way might be to sprinkle the contents of the capsule on something tasty before his main meal, or smeared on his paw so he licks it off.

Giving cats tablets can be difficult – but the kitty burrito trick helps

MY German Shepherd, who is five, keeps getting a runny tummy and is sometimes sick.

The vets have done blood tests and his last bout was put down to a gastric upset. He used to eat dry complete food and a little wet canned dog food but stopped eating the dry.

For the past seven months he has been on a diet of fresh, cooked chicken, beef and offal with rice and veg, mainly carrots or a few runner beans. Could the diet be a problem?

Janet Ford, charity worker, Woking, Surrey

Sean says: Whether or not the diet is the problem, it’s not likely to be balanced and providing everything he needs in the right quantities.

It’s hard to ensure a complete and balanced home-prepared diet, unless you’re an animal nutritionist. You’ll need to try to find a complete diet that works for him.

He could have specific ingredient intolerance or allergy, so talk to your vet about a strict exclusion diet to begin with. It could be a long road to getting a firm diagnosis. I feel your frustration. provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

I’VE tried to reduce my Staffie’s weight after she was diagnosed with a ruptured cruciate and osteoarthritis in her hind leg.

She weighs about 23kg. Her diet consists of the required amount of Chappie dry food, a small piece of Dentastix and a second small treat per day.

She is on anti-inflammatory drug Carprofen and will not eat any kind of wet food.

Janet Prescott, 43, sales assistant, Doncaster

Sean says: I know it’s so difficult to get a dog to lose weight at the best of times, let alone when they’re injured or have reduced mobility.

But you’re going to have to reduce the amount you feed for dinner, treats and tidbits while she recovers, as she’s not burning off the calories by exercising.

Regarding the cruciate injury, surgery is needed if it’s a complete rupture. Rest only if a partial tear. Bandages or splints won’t help.

Weight loss and dietary supplements are the first factors to address in managing her arthritis, too.

A dog biting its fur can be a sign of allergies

I’VE noticed strange behaviour by my Yorkie lately.

He keeps licking the furniture, carpets and is scratching as though he has fleas (he doesn’t). He bites his fur out – mainly on his back end.

He has had two lots of steroids. I’ve tried fish oil and had his anal glands checked but it’s not made any difference.

Val Conway, 40, project manager, Swansea

Sean says: The fact he’s licking furniture and carpets as well as himself suggest a behavioural reason rather than a medical one.

You don’t mention his age, but if he’s quite old, excessive licking of objects can be a sign of canine cognitive dysfunction, similar to an older person suffering from dementia.

It could also be attention-seeking, especially if he enjoys your reaction. But I’m worried about him biting his fur, which could mean allergies.

Pollen is a likely suspect this time of year. A health check by a vet is a good idea.

Star of the week

NO ONE quite knows what happened to adorable Eddie as a kitty.

The former stray has a list of peculiarities including a wonky nose, misplaced pupil, crooked teeth, misaligned jaw, no tail and a fractured pelvis.

Eddie has a list of peculiarities but doesn’t let them stop him enjoying life

But the two-year-old puss, who has 3,500 followers on Facebook, doesn’t let them stop him enjoying life.

Owner Sarah McNally, 39, from Devon, wants to raise awareness of cats with special needs.

Sarah, a civil servant, said: “Eddie has had a difficult start in life so we wanted to give him the most wonderful home with all the toys he could ever dream of.

“My husband Mike builds him cardboard tanks and warships.

“I hope his story inspires people to consider giving a rescue cat, in particular a special needs one, a home. They are just as loving, if not more so.”

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Spike in hoglets this summer

HEDGEHOG lovers can look forward to seeing more of the spiky creatures thanks to a hoglet baby boom.

Less traffic during lockdown is helping to reverse the decline of our hedgehog population and experts predict June and July will see a record number of births.

Less traffic during lockdown is helping to reverse the decline of our hedgehog population

A Nottingham Trent University study found the mortality rates of wild hedgehogs treated by sanctuaries and vets in late March and April was 140 – a huge drop from 381 in the same period in 2019.

This “official” tally is regarded by experts as a snapshot of the wider picture across Britain.

Homeowners can help the creatures by putting out food, making space in their garden for shelter, and creating “hedgehog highways” in fences for access between gardens.

Wildlife expert Lizzie Jennings says: “We’re urging people to record hedgehog sightings.”

There were around 30million hedgehogs in the UK in the Fifties, but now there are less than a million due to intensive farming and hedgerows and woodlands being lost.

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