Pet answers

Don’t settle for pet theories, get pet answers! Veterinary surgeon Holly Norman answers your animal health questions.

Do you have a pet or animal health question? Send it to us at:
Holly will endeavour to answer all questions, whether published or not!

Q: I’ve had to take my dog to the vets because he had Kennel Cough. But I thought he had been vaccinated against this?
A: Your poor dog, I hope he feels better soon. And the answer to your question is a bit of a yes and no! We used to think that Kennel Cough was caused by two bugs: Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica, and these are in the specific Kennel Cough vaccine that usually gets squirted up your dog’s nose. But then, as more research was done, we discovered that there’s lots of other bugs that can cause Kennel Cough! And we don’t have vaccines to cover all these other viruses and bacteria!

Even though it can’t protect your dog 100%, I tell everyone it is still worth getting the Kennel Cough vaccine as it can help reduce symptoms and offer some protection; in human terms, it’s like getting the flu vaccine but you can still catch a cold!

Q: My children really want to get a rabbit and a guinea pig this year. Can they live together?
A: Great question! I’m afraid that we don’t recommend they live together. Many years ago, it used to be common to house them together; but we now know so much more about their biology and behaviour, and they would much rather live with other rabbits or guinea pigs than each other! Rabbits and guinea pigs are entirely separate species and so they have completely different food and environment requirements. They also struggle to communicate with each other and this can result in bullying or stress. Imagine sharing a room with someone who doesn’t speak your language and wants completely different things than you!

I would recommend getting a pair of rabbits or guinea pigs and discussing neutering them with your veterinary practice so they can live together without the risk of babies. Both rabbits and guinea pigs can make wonderful friendly pets, but they much prefer to live with their own species!

Q: My cat is being sick a couple of times a week, but she seems fine otherwise. Is this normal?
A: We used to think that it was normal for cats to be sick a lot, but it really isn’t. I suppose we perhaps associate cats being sick with coughing up a hairball, but this is less common now with good diets and regular grooming. I would say that being sick that often isn’t necessarily anything scary, but worth booking her in with your vet for a bit of a check-up. Sometimes they’ll suggest a blood test or maybe a trial of special food. Cats can get sensitive tummies, just like us, and it’s worth just making sure everything is OK.

Dr Holly Norman BSc(Hons) BVetMed MRCVS
Veterinary surgeon and Practice Partner at:
● Peterborough Vets4Pets 231-233 St Paul’s Road Peterborough PE1 3RL Tel: 01733 890777
● Bretton Vets4Pets Inside Pets at Home Unit 2 The Bretton Centre Peterborough PE3 8DN Tel: 01733 261094

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