The Most Common Pet Issues

By Dr Deepti Sharma BVSc MRCVS; a vet on Channel 4’s new series ‘Embarassing Pets’

People will often ask me what pet issues I see regularly. As a general rule in Veterinary Medicine, ‘common things are common’. This means that with the exception of some illnesses, most of the time there will be a handful of cases that I see all the time.

Fleas

The most common pet issue that I see are the notorious fleas. Pet owners tend to have mixed knowledge on how to treat these parasites and are often in denial that their beloved fur baby could have parasites. Generally, the pet will present with areas of alopecia (hair loss) associated with itching, gnawing or over grooming. The pet and environment will have been treated with over the counter medication from a pet shop or online and the owner will be perplexed as to what is causing these skin lesions.

Unfortunately, over the counter flea treatments and environmental medicines do not work against these creepy crawlies and can be a complete waste of time, effort and money. A Veterinary licensed flea treatment and household spray is the most effective way to treat this common pet issue. Educating owners to treat their pets with the correct type of product is always the key to solving this dermatological mystery.

Cat Fight Wounds

Another common pet issue I see regularly is cat fight wounds. Without the exception of begging for food, cats on the whole tend to take care of themselves pretty well. Our friendly feline companions will only exhibit signs and symptoms of illness when they are truly very unwell. It can be a surprise for owners petting their cats to suddenly see them jump up when touched in a specific area. Sometimes the owners may see a large oozing mass on their cat or even have the pleasure of smelling a foul odour on their hand after petting them. Fighting amongst outdoor cats is very common and cat bites are like an injection of bacteria. Rapidly these wounds can develop into abscesses due to the proliferation of bacteria and thus we see pus. As horrendous as this sounds, they are very easily treatable by a trip to the Veterinarian and heal quickly.

Pet Obesity

Obesity in our pets is also a very common pet issue I see regularly. It can be irresistible to refrain from giving our pets treats when we see how much they enjoy them. However, we are contributing to their caloric intake and weight gain. Obesity in domestic pets is very common and should be taken very seriously. It is a contributing factor for so many illnesses, to name a few these would include diabetes, heart disease, joint and mobility issues. Although, treating our pets with food may feel like a way to show our affection it is vital to understand that treats do not need to always be food based. A treat can be anything that will influence our pets positively. Examples of this would include verbal affection, a new enriching toy or a walk. These are all calorie free ways to show our pets we love them and ultimately care about their weight and therefore their health too.

‘Embarrassing Pets’, Weekdays at 5:30pm on Channel 4

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