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vet's advice.

Byline: PDSA vet Elaine Pendlebury is here to offer advice on all aspects of your pet's health, happiness and welfare

How can we help our boxer with his bowel problem?

Q I HAVE a 17-month-old boxer dog, who has developed bowel problems over the last six months.

He has had numerous tests and our vet thinks the condition is related to his colon. Can you give me more information?

A THERE have been conflicting recommendations when looking at ways of dealing with colitis. Both low and high fibre diets, the latter achieved by the addition of bran have been recommended, but neither diet appears to be better.

In general, the dog should be fed a balanced diet which is relatively bland (avoiding excessive salt or spices).

The patient should avoid eating substances that can have an abrasive effect on the bowel lining, such as whole wheat grains.

Bone spicules can acerbate the condition, and it is best not to feed bones to affected animals and animals in general.

Q I HAVE a whippet dog who is free of any fleas or lice, but is forever scratching. Any advice on how to deal with this problem?

A FIRST of all, you must make an appointment for your dog to see a vet. The vet will no doubt start him on a treatment regime after a thorough examination.

However, part of the therapy may well involve identifying the cause of the dermatitis and eliminating it. For example, a dog may react to something in the environment, such as house dust mites, fungi and pollens.

The patient will have severe irritation, especially around the face, feet, armpits and abdomen. The dog may be allergic to a particular food, such as beef, milk or fish.

This hypersensitivity may cause an itchy skin as well as occasional gastroenteritis.

Identification of the cause involves "elimination diets", where the dog has a diet of new food to which they have had no previous exposure.

The patient may have contact dermatitis where items such as soaps, shampoos, plastic, rubber and other synthetic agents cause an allergy.

Q I have a four-month-old Shih Tzu bitch. When she gets excited, such as when we come home from work, she urinates. Is there any way to prevent this?

A THIS is a fairly common problem and is usually due to over-excitement in young dogs. Excitement-induced urination usually disappears with age, but to reduce or eliminate this behaviour until then, you can try various methods.

Firstly, make sure the family ignores your dog when they come in. They should come inside take off their coats and then try greeting the dog. This may take away the hysteria created when people first enter the house after being gone all day.

If this doesn't work, try to have the encounter outdoors.

If you take your dog for frequent walks this will make her tired and help empty her bladder. A good time to walk your dog would be just before the family comes home from work or school.

As regards any training techniques, the most appropriate one would be to tell your dog to sit or stay, this may calm the pet down.

Avoid punishing your dog, as this may make the event more emotional and worsen her reaction.

In cases where training doesn't work, some dogs benefit from the use of drugs that tighten the urinary sphincter.

If you have a question for the vet, write directly to: Elaine Pendlebury, PO Box 5987, Chelmsford CM1 2GP. In your letter, mention you read her advice column in the Evening Telegraph.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 24, 2001
Previous Article:pet sos: Sometimes a dog needs a holiday too.

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