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WEEKEND: YOUR PETS:What's the proper way to bath my muddy dog?

Byline: with PDSA vet Elaine Pendlebury

Q. MY dog often goes out for long runs with me, and comes back with his fur very dirty. I know it sounds a really silly question, but how do you actually bath a dog?

A . It's not a silly question, bathing a dog can be a difficult and messy task. A bath or sink is best, putting a towel or non-slip mat on the bottom to stop your dog sliding about. Whirlpool baths are excellent, shower attachments are fine, but garden hoses are very distressing for a dog.

If your dog will not go into your bathroom without a struggle, try an old tin bath or use a plastic dog basket instead.

Your dog's coat should first be freed of mud and debris, as this can inactivate the shampoo, and if your dog has a long coat, it may need clipping.

It isn't necessary to use ear plugs or eye ointments. Your dog will shake its head to remove water from the ears, and eyes can be easily rinsed.

Always wear a protective apron and gloves and ensure the water is body temperature. Wet your dog's coat and massage dog shampoo in for five to 10 minutes. Use a sponge or flannel for difficult areas and make sure you sponge the head last, as this will minimise struggling.

Q. I HAVE a 10-month-old female rat and she has bloody sores on her back and I have now noticed she has fleas. Our cats have been treated with some medication from the vet and I wondered if there is a treatment that would help.

A. Rats can be infested with fleas from contact with cats, so it is important to treat the whole household when there are fleas.

Take all your pets to the vet, who can then prescribe or recommend treatments. Effective flea control can only be achieved through the correct treatment of pets as well as their indoor environment. Treat the areas where your cats spend most of the time, including outhouses and sheds, but particularly where they sleep. Washing your cat's bedding regularly in hot water will destroy any young fleas, but not the eggs.

Vacuuming the carpet helps too.

Q. MY rabbit is three years old and she has been passing urine that has been red for a couple of days. Can you advise me on what I should do?

A. Normal rabbit urine varies quite a bit in colour, and can range from clear through white, yellow orange or brown.

The colour can be affected by diet, and certain red pigments appear due to eating certain plants, foods or pine needles. This red colour change of the urine can also happen without any dietary change.

It can also be due to blood in the urine. This can be due to a problem in the reproductive or urinary tract, such as cystitis. Have your rabbit checked by a vet. Take along a fresh urine sample from your rabbit and the vet may be able to do a quick test to see if the red staining is due to blood.

You could change your rabbit's diet to see if there is a component causing this red urine. Any new foods should be introduced gradually and one by one.

If you have a question for the vet, write directly to: Elaine Pendlebury, PO Box 5987, Chelmsford CM1 2GP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 19, 2003
Words:566
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