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09 361-3500 H
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09 361-3500

Behaviour & Lifestyle

IMG_1227.jpgAngry Cats

Hi Alex. I just heard you on ZB talkback radio on Sunday. I really need your help, my partner has just moved in with his female cat (who is fixed). She is aged 10yrs plus, and I have a male ginger cat aged 3yrs (also fixed). We have to keep them apart as my ginger cat “Bobby” is very angry towards “Lady” and we are at our wits end not knowing what to do. They are both lovely cats and we want to have both inside at the same time. Please, please help regards Betty.

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Baby On The Way

Hi Alex. My wife and I are expecting our first baby girl, Isabella, and we had a some doubts regarding the best way to introduce her to our menagerie of cats and dogs. What tips have you got for us, we have heard a few horror stories about cats smothering babies but don’t think our two Burmese or our Mastiff will cause any problems. Jason, Grey Lynn.

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Cat Harrased by Neighbouring Cats

Dear Alex, I took in a stray cat last year and had her spayed as she was showing signs of being in “season”. However, the vet phoned me during the operation to say she had already been spayed!!! He said he would make sure he removed any remaining tissue just in case the first vet had not done so properly. A year later and she is exactly the same. Tom cats are constantly “calling” and she never seems to stop being vocal......... Do you have any advice that might be able to help. She is obviously not a happy cat because of this and can never seem to settle – constantly meowing and spraying inside the house. She wets in the bath but it is not like normal urine, more of an orangey thick substance. Please, please help – we are at the end of our tether!!! Are there any hormone tablets she could take to calm her down? I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks, Tina.

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Cat Keep Crossing Road

Hi Alex. I am really hoping I can get some answers on how to stop my female cat crossing the road. I have tried a few times to talk to you on Newstalk zb, but never make it. I live in Christchurch, so that possibly gives you a clue of where I am headed.

After the September earthquake, my two cats were reluctant to go out and with every shake, if they were outside, they flew in and hid for many, many hours.

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Cat Spraying

Dear Alex

I am the owner of a six year old, male Oriental cat. We are having real problems with him spraying around the house. We have been living here eighteen months and this started two months ago. There have recently been other cats coming inside and we have fixed this problem by turning his cat door into a magnetic one. The house stinks and we are loosing our patience with him now. Help! What do you suggest we do? We are getting desperate.

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Cat Spraying 2

Dear Alex, My cat Samantha keeps getting very restless and weeing against my furniture. She has been spayed but is she on heat anyway? Cindy.

Dear Cindy and Samantha, First let’s deal with the possibility of Samantha being on heat. Naturally, in a spayed cat this is very rare. Occasionally cats can have tiny pieces of an ovary accidentally left behind during their ovariohysterectomy.

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Cats Hunting

Kia Ora Alex, My wee cat is thoroughly enjoying the Cicada season at present. However I do wonder sometimes if too many Cicadas can cause harm. I have seen her, on a couple of occasions, devour four in the space of about 5 minutes flat. I sometimes try to rescue them and tell her I think she’s had enough for one day. Am I wasting my time here? Thanks, Kate, Eden Terrace.

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Chasing Rabbits

Hi Alex

We have 3 1/2 year old wire haired fox terrier and just last weekend new neighbours moved in and they have a rabbit. Well needless to say Holly has found the rabbit very quickly and dug under the fence to "visit" the rabbit a few days after they moved in - not the best way to meet new neighbours.

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Dalmation Anxiety

Dear Alex, We have an interesting case for you that I hope you can help with. We’ve got a much loved 10 year old Dalmatian, Samson. He has been diagnosed with separation anxiety a few years ago, which we’ve so far managed to live with. Over the last few days he is seeing or feeling imaginary things on the bed where he sleeps and will now freak out over all kinds of things that don’t seem to be there. Yesterday he walked safely past our coffee table and then turned and snapped at it like it had attacked him or something and got stressed out. Wondering if you have any ideas? I thought he may be starting to lose his sight? He doesn’t seem disorientated and isn’t on any medication at all. Jody, Mt Eden.

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Fireworks Anxiety Therapy

With Guy Fawkes rapidly approaching I thought it timely to discuss options for this most common of animal noise phobia scenarios. For severely afflicted pets this time of year can be very distressing and owners can similarly suffer, observing their pet’s fear, property destruction, soiling or running away.

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Holiday Accomodation

All of us humans are rushing madly along towards the holiday break, counting down the days. At VetCare we’ve got streams of cats and dogs (who are blissfully unaware of the silly season) coming in for last Minuit vaccinations before they head off for a holiday at assorted boarding kennels, including our own sumptuous cattery.

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Holiday Options

Dear Emma,

Sam sounds like a thoroughly normal, well adjusted cat who likes to be command of his surroundings. You really have two main options for solving this vacation dilemma.

Firstly you could place him in a cattery, like the one we have at our VetCare clinic here in Grey Lynn. Although he is stubborn most cats will adjust surprisingly well to temporary cattery accommodation, becoming a lot less territorial when on neutral ground, some of them love the interaction with other cats in the communal area.

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How much does owning a pet cost?

New Zealand is regarded as having one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world and a check of most homes will reveal at least one dog or cat in residence.

New Zealand is a nation of pet lovers. A majority of New Zealand households have at least one cat or dog. In 2008 there were 1.1 million pet cats and 652 thousand pet dogs. These pets are more than animals sharing our homes, they are often considered as members of the family.. Breaking these statistics down, more than 53 percent of homes have at least one cat and 18 percent have two, while just over 35 percent of households own a dog. (http://www.petfoodnz.co.nz/index.htm)

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Insurance

...So what do you do if you want the best for your pet without the worry of being unable to afford expensive treatment? Pet insurance is the answer. By taking out pet insurance, you’re not only helping to cushion the costs of expensive veterinary procedures but also ensuring that your pets will get the treatment they need.

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Insurance 2

I am getting asked more and more frequently about insurance for pets. Frankly I think it’s a great thing for all new pet owners to get.

I emphasise new owners because insuring older animals may not be as beneficial with any pre existing conditions being excluded. These exclusions are much more likely to mount up later in a pet’s life. I was lucky enough to work over in Europe for 2 years and pet insurance was well established there even back then.

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Microchips

Hi Alex,

I’m writing to you as I have gone through a pretty traumatic and unusual experience with my young dog “Star”. I would like to know about micro-chipping to try to reduce the chance of this problem reoccurring. Star was taken from my property several weeks ago, I had been at work and returned to find her missing from my yard with a suspicious trail of dog treats scattered around by the front gate, which was securely closed.

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Multi Pet Households

Dear Barbara,

It sounds like you have a fantastic menagerie at your house. I can envisage a place that Gerald Durrell, the exceptional naturalist and explorer, would be proud to call home.

Let’s take it from the beginning. Top marks for your families love of animals, and for the plan to save a life by adopting from the SPCA. I’m betting that the Border Collie would be fine, she is just exhibiting instinctive territorial aggression in guarding “her” section from cunning marauding cats, and probably enjoys the mental tussle with them.

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Noise Anxiety

Hi Alex. I want some advice please about my Blue Heeler “Jazz”. She was a rescue dog that I’ve had for 6 months now and she has fitted in just so well at our home, she’s a real joy. However, despite quickly becoming part of the family she is still very jumpy and over reactive to sudden movements and loud noises, even though nothing bad ever happens to her these days. She particularly hates when we take off in the car, leaving her by herself. What can we do to improve things with Jazz having had such a hard start to life? Jess, St Mary’s Bay.

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Noise Sensitivity

Hi Alex,

We have a 14 year old Miniature Pinscher. Some noises have recently started making him behave as though they are painful to him, or upset him in some way - when we cough (have both just had the flu), when the TV is on (he used to sleep almost in front of it and now leaves the room), the car radio (he cowers in the corner of the back seat until I turn it off).

Sam appears otherwise healthy, and is on Vivitonin 1/4 tablet twice daily and still barks at anyone with the audacity to walk along the road, and helpfully lets us know loudly if the phone rings. Thanks, Hope you can give us some ideas,

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Noisy Burmese

Hi Alex. We have two wicked Burmese brothers who are about 1 and 1/2 yrs old. One of them, Charlie has a huge “meow”. Every time he walks in to a room he yowls. It is piercing and it is real loud! It is worse at meal time but not isolated to then. Is there anything we can do to train him out of this or is it just part and parcel of him? Basically, do we have to endure many years to come of him howling at six am every day? Cheers in advance, Ra and Charlie.

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Pregnant Dog

Hi Dr Alex, my beautiful Chihuahua is about to become a first-time mother! We mated her several times over 3 days, about 1 month ago and since then she’s been growing steadily and eating for many. As this is a first time experience for me also I was hoping you could offer some advice on what to do to get Ruby ready for the big day. Thank you for any assistance, Eliza and Ruby, Grey Lynn.

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Separation Anxiety

Dear Alex, We have an interesting case for you that I hope you can help with. We’ve got a much loved 10 year old Dalmatian, Samson. He has been diagnosed with separation anxiety a few years ago, which we’ve so far managed to live with.

Over the last few days he is seeing or feeling imaginary things on the bed where he sleeps and will now freak out over all kinds of things that don’t seem to be there. Yesterday he walked safely past our coffee table and then turned and snapped at it like it had attacked him or something and got stressed out. Wondering if you have any ideas? I thought he may be starting to lose his sight? He doesn’t seem disorientated and isn’t on any medication at all. Jody, Mt Eden.

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Spraying Cats

Hi Alex,

I have 3 cats in our household. Two are 4 year olds who arrived in May last year. Since their arrival the female of this pair has been very aggressive to our older female cat. She has frequently urinated through the house and attacked the older cat making her life miserable. Last June I began using a Feliway diffuser which gave good results. It is now not as affective and the young cat is again becoming aggressive. Do you have any advice?

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Spraying Spayed Female Cat

Dear Cindy and Samantha,

First let’s deal with the possibility of Samantha being on heat. Naturally, in a spayed cat this is very rare. Occasionally cats can have tiny pieces of an ovary accidentally left behind during their ovariohysterectomy.

Even less common are recorded instances of cats with ectopic ovarian tissue, tags of ovary and its associated eggs located away from their normal position at the end of the uterine horn. Both of these situations are highly unlikely and Samantha is more likely to just be displaying excited or anxious behaviour.

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Stressed Cats

Hi Alex. We have an 11 month old kitten – Chappie, who looks a lot like your rescue cat Whitefoot. This is Chappie's story. He was born around this time last year, we found him in the rain.

Chappie weighed only 240g, and was dying. We gave him kitten milk formula and just like Whitefoot Chappie never gave up! We put him in a warm cat bed and with A LOT of TLC Chappie is one happy cat … despite having one eye blind. We recently decided to adopt another stray.

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Television Viewing

Dear Alex

I have an eight year old Bearded Collie, Max. I have recently discovered that he loves to watch dog shows and vet programmes on television! I have often wondered how dogs see, and how they take in information. What is he responding to? Does he see the same image as us humans? I’m curious and would love to know more.

Alan Chambers of Freeman’s Bay.

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Training an Adult Dog

Dear Dr Alex,

I need your help so much. A friend has moved to Europe to live and she gave me her 12 year old King Charles spaniel to keep. My first problem is that she won’t come when you call her. When I take her for a walk I can’t let her off the lead as she wanders off and ignores being called back.

My second problem is that if it’s fine she goes in and out her dog-door to the toilet with no problems. If it has been raining she would rather do her business somewhere inside which is most annoying. I am very house proud and with winter coming I need your help badly. What can I do? Thanking you, Cindy, Freeman’s Bay.

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PawPack Rewards

Join our PawPack loyalty programme and be rewarded! If you have not taken advantage of this great system and visit VetCare regularly for food, flea products or treatment for your pet then just text the word "vet" to 4664 and you will be given prompts about how to join and a free gift to thank you for joining.  For every $300 you spend at VetCare you will be emailed a $15 voucher.

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