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So what's the story when your dog isn't really shaggy?; PETS.

Trude Mostue answers all your pet problemsIF you have a problem with your pet and don't know where to turn, put pen to paper and get in touch with TV vet Trude Mostue.

Q MY eight-month-old cairn terrier bitch is spayed and healthy, but my problem is that her coat is not as long and shaggy as in pictures of cairns.

Her head and back are well covered, but the coat is still not as I would like it to be. Can you advise on what is wrong? - Mrs E. Adam, Helensburgh.

A There is nothing wrong with her. And does it matter if she has a shorter coat? Actually, a shorter coat is easier to keep clean and nice.

The breed standards can be a bit unrealistic sometimes and the long and shaggy coat is only important if you want to show your dog in the ring, and not for anything else. I am sure your dog is happier with a shorter coat, anyway.

But, spaying can change the quality of the coat, and at only eight months she probably has still got a bit of her puppy coat.

I would be patient and wait and see. She might get just the coat you want.

Q I HAVE had my five-year-old cockatiel male for two years. The breeder used to have him with two male companions.

He had been kept in a big cage in the living room until recently when my husband built me an aviary.

I contacted a local breeder and he advised me to buy a female companion for him. He doesn't seem too impressed at the moment. If she gets near him he pecks at her.

Do you think they will get used to each other? And how long will it take? - Mrs Williams, Banknock.

A It is impossible to tell you how long it will take before they become friends because there are so many individual variations.

I would say, though, that because he has been with humans for two years it will naturally take him a while to get used to a cockatiel as a companion again. I am sure he will accept her eventually but be patient,.

You should interact with them both, and particularly the new female while he is watching, to show him you have accepted her.

Also, he was used to being in the middle of all the action in your living room and has now been moved to a better and bigger place but very different - no TV, no chat from you.

He adapted from being with birds to being with you and now he has to reverse the process. But don't worry, he will eventually enjoy the company.

Q I HAVE a beautiful six-month-old cocker spaniel that seems very healthy apart from seeming to have only one testicle. The vet said that the other would be in the groin or in the tummy and if not removed it can develop cancer.

The breeder who sold me the dog said this is a lot of nonsense.

I am obviously very worried, Please can you tell me if this could result in cancer? - Mrs Martin , Perth.

A NO, it is not nonsense. It has been scientifically proven that a retained testicle is more prone to testicular cancer than a testicle in the scrotum. This is thought to have something to do with exposure to high temperature over a long time.

If he were my dog I would have his retained testicle removed. When he is under the general anaesthetic the vet may find the testicle just under the skin in the groin. If that is the case, it is less likely to develop cancer because it is outside the body cavity. You can then discuss with your vet whether you want to leave it or continue the operation.

I must say, though, there is little point in keeping the testicles of what we call a cryptorcid dog - with one retained in the abdomen or groin. You can't use him in breeding anyway because this problem is genetically linked so it can pass to the pups.

Castration also calms dogs down and takes away their urge to stray after bitches on heat.

Q I HAVE a year-old lop-eared rabbit which appears healthy. He runs around and eats well. The trouble is that he has two bald spots on his back where his skin appears to be flaking.

And one of his eyes looks half shut and there is some discharge.

Do you have any suggestions on remedies? - Jodie McDonald, aged 10, Dunfermline.

A THE patches you describe sound like skin mites, sometimes called walking dandruff because they move slightly while you watch them. Your local vet should have a bath, injection or a spray for this problem.

You also need to have his eye checked for infection or a blocked tear duct. Occasionally, there are foreign bodies stuck under the eyelid that need to be removed.

At the same time, have his teeth checked because tear duct problems and teeth problems can be connected.

Whatever you feed your rabbit, make sure it gets enough calcium and roughage. Hay is good and so are fresh greens.

IF your pet has a problem, write to: Pets' Problem Page, Seven Days, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 6, 2000
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