Doggie Q&A: Dental disease could be reason greyhound is making a pong
Our local vet answers your questions
Q: Christian, Our seven-year-old ex-racing greyhound has become very smelly recently. He is fine in himself but it is really noticeable. We have bathed him but he still smells all the time. Do we need to worry?
David and Jenna, Belsize Park
A: The main sources of constant unpleasant smells in dogs are the anal glands, ears, mouth and, for long-haired dogs, the coat. I would suggest checking his ears to see if they are red or sore and observe whether he is scratching them. Next, lift his lips, look at his teeth and smell his breath – you may be surprised what you see and find! Ex-racers will often have been fed on slop or gruel-type foods when they were competing and as a result can have marked gingivitis and dental disease. Finally the anal glands tend to produce a very potent fishy smell and may need emptying. I suspect one of these three areas is the source of the odour, and would advise he has a check with your vet, as they can all be readily addressed.
Q: Christian, our six-month-old cat has been with us since she was a kitten and has never been outside. But for the past two weeks, she has been miaowing and rolling over all the time and trying to get out of the windows. However, we live on the fourth floor of a mansion block, is it cruel not to let her out?
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Lily, West Hampstead
A: The first thought that springs to my mind is whether or not your cat has reached sexual maturity and is in heat – she is certainly the right age and the behaviour you describe may be due to this. Unless mated, cats will keep coming into heat. If you are not planning to breed her then I would definitely advise getting her spayed as soon as possible.
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Keeping a cat indoors is not cruel. There are plenty of things you can do to enrich the environment – scratching posts, water fountains, grass plants, toys and catnip products, all of which will keep them entertained. I have emailed you a copy of our latest newsletter with the article “Top tips for health and wellbeing of indoor cats”. For the time being certainly don’t open the windows.
Q: Christian, my eight-year-old King Charles Spaniel has started to walk with her head to one side. I have been told this is a common defect in this breed and I can’t do anything about it. Is it likely to get worse and can I really not do anything to help her?
A: A head tilt can be due to a variety of problems including middle or inner ear infections, central nervous system defects and also spinal and neck problems. However, King Charles’ are also prone to a specific defect called Chiari-Like Malformation or Syringomelia where there is increased pressure within the brain which can cause a head tilt (amongst a variety of other signs). Regardless of the cause, a head tilt is definitely abnormal and I would advise you get her checked by your vet, it may well be treatable.
Christian LeVan is the principal veterinary surgeon at the Well Animal Clinic on West End Lane. 020 7435 1010. www.wellanimalclinic.com.