PDSA Vet Q&As answered by PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing for Cumbrian pet owners.

Dear PDSA Vet: I have noticed my pet rabbit has white discharge coming from her nose and has been sneezing a lot lately. What could it be? Marcia

Respiratory infections in rabbits are common and can be very serious. There are a number of germs that can cause this in rabbits and even if the infection appears quite mild, it can quickly become life-threatening so you should make an appointment for your rabbit to see a vet as soon as possible. Remember that rabbits tend to hide symptoms of illness so don’t delay in contacting your vet. They will do a full examination and recommend any necessary treatment. For more advice on caring for your rabbit, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/rabbits

Dear PDSA Vet: I have a 10-year-old shepherd cross and he has severe dandruff that l can’t seem to treat. I have tried oatmeal shampoo and adding olive oil to his dry food but it doesn’t seem to help. He also keeps scratching himself. What should I do? Rosie

It’s important to rule out an underlying medical condition that might be causing this problem, especially as it seems to be getting worse. I would book an appointment with your local vet to get him checked over. They can check for any medical issues than can affect skin health, such as hormonal complications, an allergy or parasites. Once you have ruled out a medical problem there are supplements specifically for skin you can try - your vet will be able to recommend a suitable product.

Dear PDSA Vet: For the last few weeks my cat has been limping on his back leg. There are no signs of injury and it only seems to happen when he’s been sleeping or lying down for a long period of time. What could it be? Melissa,

Limping following rest can be a sign of osteoarthritis, seen more often in older animals. Other causes of limping might include a foreign body in a paw (e.g. a piece of glass), a fracture, or a soft tissue injury (e.g. a sprain or strain). Cats with arthritis can show subtle behaviour changes over time, such as resting more or not jumping up onto raised surfaces like they used to. Your vet can prescribe effective treatment to help him feel better again. There are some good joint supplements available which may be of benefit too – your vet will be able to recommend a suitable product.

Dear PDSA Vet: My guinea pig's tongue seems to be red and quite raw. Could she have an infection? Alanis

Please get your guinea pig checked by a vet as soon as possible. Guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives and so are at risk of dental problems. Their main diet should consist of hay and guinea pig feed pellets should be given as a supplement. Each day they should have guinea pig safe, fresh fruit and vegetables. Hay is vital as the chewing action wears their teeth down effectively, preventing teeth from growing sharp and long; which can be the cause of painful and damaging sores to their gums or tongue. Another possibility is that your guinea pig has licked something irritant, possibly causing this reaction. For advice on what to feed your guinea pig, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/guineapigdiet

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets.

For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn.

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