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Byline: Trude Mostue

IF you have a problem with your pet and don't know where to turn, put pen to paper and get in touch with our top TV vetQI HAVE a three-year-old Polish sheepdog. I had her spayed in the hope she would calm down but she's worse, constantly barking and crying to get into the house. When out walking she's aggressive towards other dogs - Mrs S. Murphy, Herts.

AIT WAS the right thing to spay her. At least you take away any hormonally-related aggression towards potentially competing bitches. However, it will take at least three months before all her hormones are out of her body. It is still possible she will calm down, but if her temper doesn't improve you should talk to a counseller. Sheepdogs are more protective than other breeds and you might want a little guidance on how to train and socialise her. She almost sounds as if she didn't socialise enough with other dogs when she was younger. Dogs which aren't exposed to a lot of different people, dogs and situations when young tend to become insecure and, later in life, bark at anything that scares them.

QI HAVE two cats, a one-year-old shorthair and a longhair, aged six. The older one has had what looks like dandruff for a while and the younger cat is starting to get it. They don't have fleas but have both been treated as a precaution. What's causing this? - Leigh Thow, Glenrothes.

ATAKE them both to the vet who will examine a sample of the dandruff. Cats can get a 'walking dandruff' which can be treated easily. It is infectious to other cats but not to people. Another explanation is high temperatures in your home. When it is cold outside and the cats spend more time inside, their coat can go a bit dry. Encourage them to go out more. They have good fur coats and should be able to cope with the cold.

QI HAVE a 10-year-old cross-collie. He is in good health, but has slight arthritis in his leg after he had a false hip joint put in. What age will he live to? We reckon he's a collie/terrier. Also, do you know of anyone who looks after pets in your own home while you're on holiday? - Margaret Campbell, Ayrshire.

AYOUR dog can live for as long as any other pet. His false joint might slow him down, but won't decrease his life span. He might get tired quicker than other dogs, but watch his weight and condition and it shouldn't affect him too much. I'm sure your vet will know someone who could watch your dog. You could also try Yellow Pages. Petsitters are becoming more popular with people who prefer their animal to stay in their own familiar surroundings when they are on holiday. The local kennel club might know someone and it's always best to have a recommendation from a good source.

QMY two-year-old bearded border collie cross has taken fits which our vet thinks may be epilepsy. He has had four since we've had him - the last two only two months apart. Can you suggest any preventative treatment as the attacks are alarming and the dog is frightened? He takes about two hours to get back to normal after an attack. He is generally good-natured and I would be most grateful for any advice on tackling this. - Mary McGill, Alva, Clackmannan.

ATHERE are tablets you can give for fits. They are designed to sedate the brain enough to stop it from short-circuiting. As a general rule you try medication if you have a dog which has fits more than once a week, and if you feel the attacks are getting longer. Always note the time, place and exactly what he was doing when the fit happened. If you want to move him while he is having a fit, gently shift him with your foot and cover him with a blanket. Avoid handling him as he might bite you. Make sure you push him to a safe place so he doesn't harm himself. Some dogs can 'grow' out of fits, but if they increase in frequency medication will be the next step. You should discuss any treatment with your vet.

QMY daughter has a two-year-old black cat who has arthritis in both joints in its front legs. It has had treatment from the vet and she bought it a special collar but nothing has helped. Can you suggest anything? - Bill Donaldson, Banchory.

ATHE only other option I can think of is alternative medicine like homoeopathy and acupuncture. I have seen several of my patients getting much better on acupuncture, but haven't had any experience with homoeopathy. When conventional medicine doesn't help I see no harm in trying other options such as acupuncture, which is particularly good for chronic pain. I have seen it help in many cases.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 25, 2001
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