Dear PDSA Vet, my dog, Bella, has gained a few pounds recently. How can I help her get back down to a healthier weight without him getting hungry? Sally

Dear Sally, well done for noticing Bella’s weight gain, as being overweight reduces a pet’s quality of life and increases the risk of developing weight-related diseases. Firstly, take Bella to your vet for a health-check to make sure there are no underlying medical causes for the weight gain. They will be able to check her body condition score themselves and also advise on how much food and exercise she needs for her age and breed. Weighing food with kitchen scales, rather than measuring with a cup, will help ensure she gets just the right amount of food to lose weight while keeping her hunger satisfied. You’ll also need to cut-out any treats or scraps Bella is usually fed by yourself or other family members. Lots of vet practices offer free weight-loss clinics, so it is well worth taking advantage of these. For more pet diet tips visit

Dear PDSA Vet, my goldfish has white spot. I’m giving her medication from the vet and she is eating more now, but she still doesn’t seem to have much energy. Is there anything else I can do to help her? Helen

Dear Helen, ‘white spot’ is an infection caused by a parasite. When fish have ‘white spot’ they often appear unwell because of the effect of the parasite which lives on their skin, fins and gills. In affected fish, small white spots, like grains of salt, develop in these areas, as you will have seen. Damage to the gill tissue can happen if treatment is delayed so the medication that you have received from your vet should be helping. Sometimes it might be necessary to raise the water temperature slightly to improve the effectiveness of the treatment, and it is important to eliminate anything that could be a cause of stress, such as dirty, poor quality water or lack of companionship. Water testing kits are available from aquarium suppliers. Your exotic specialist vet should be able to offer advice on the best environmental conditions to keep your goldfish in. If she does not improve, or her condition deteriorates, you should return to your vet as soon as possible.

Dear PDSA Vet, I’ve noticed that my cat, Tilly, is limping on her back left leg. Although she still runs around normally and is eating fine, she won’t put all her weight on it and meows when I touch it. What could be wrong? Forrest

Dear Forrest, you need to take Tilly to your vet as soon as possible to see what is causing the lameness. Although she is still running around and eating, she may still be in pain. Cats tend to show subtle signs of pain or stress but not bearing weight and reacting when the area is touched are tell-tale signs of discomfort. Your vet will do a thorough examination and may suggest taking x-rays to help make the diagnosis. They can then advise on the likely cause of her limping, and what treatment is needed to make her comfortable and keep her pain-free while she heals.

Dear PDSA Vet, any news on this Alabama Rot? I am worried for my two dogs as they all love muddy puddles and there is nowhere else that gives them a good run except the woods. Dalene

Dear Dalene, there have been cases of Alabama Rot across the UK but, despite ongoing research in this area, vets are still not sure what causes the disease and how to prevent it. Washing your dog after every wet or muddy walk may be of benefit but, this has yet to be proven as an effective method of prevention. The most important thing for owners to do is check their dogs daily, and after every walk for any unexplained redness or sores on the skin, particularly on their paws, legs, face, mouth or tongue. In many cases, the cause of these sores will not be Alabama Rot, but it’s important for a vet to examine your dog and rule it out before it develops into something potentially fatal.