From breeding fish to keeping lizards — your pet queries answered

HE is on a mission to help our pets. . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.

Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm tails.com, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years. He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.” If you want him to answer a question for YOU simply email him at vet@the-sun.co.uk

Sean helps a reader who wants to stop their platy fish procreating

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Sean helps a reader who wants to stop their platy fish procreatingCredit: Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'

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Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

Q) HOW do we stop our fish being so good at procreating?

We started off with five platy fish and now have more than 30.

We already have two tanks and have given some fish to friends and neighbors but have exhausted all options — and still our fish family grows.

Lauren Price, Bournemouth

AT) Well, Lauren, when a boy platy loves a girl platy very, very much. . . the solution is to sex them!

Separating the males from the females is the only way.

If you look at their anal fins (under their belly nearest the tail end), the females have a large wedge, or fan-shaped, fin whereas the males have a pointed, elongated anal fin that lies flatter to their belly pointing towards their tail .

It’s called a gonopodium, and is used to “transfer the goods” to the female to fertilize her eggs.

Males in one tank and females in the other will mean no more babies. Simple.

Q) MY six-year-old domestic shorthair cat Oreo has had an upset tum since August.

He has had blood tests, a scan, a sample looked at, been prescribed antibiotics, had vet-recommended gastrointestinal dry food and probiotic powder.

We moved from Jersey to Bradford in July and wonder if that could be affecting him?

Sandra ShawBradford

AT) Food allergies are not as common in cats as in dogs, but can still be a cause of upset stomachs.

With any diet trial, whether it’s a hypoallergenic food or novel protein diet, it takes time to work out whether it’s effective.

They need to be eating the new food for eight to 12 weeks to assess if there’s a reaction.

You’d also need to ensure they are not getting anything else except that food.

This is difficult in cats with outdoor access as they may be eating elsewhere.

The stress of a move can be a cause, and I wonder if other cats might be stressing him out now he’s the new boy in town.

Keep a diary of patterns you see and go back to the vet to discuss a diet trial if he hasn’t improved.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to vet@the-sun.co.uk.

Q) OUR kids have asked if they can keep bearded dragons but I’m confused by all the kit you need for a lizard.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB lightbulbs? Do they give off heat as well as light?

Steve Hancock, Highbury, London

AT) Bearded dragons can make great pets but are a huge commitment.

As you’ve learned, the equipment to keep reptiles healthy is far more expensive than the pet itself.

Diurnal lizards need specialist lighting that provides the full spectrum of sunlight artificially.

These are the combined UVA/UVB bulbs; fluorescent tubes the length of their enclosure are best. But they also need a heat lamp for warmth to bask under.

A thermostat is needed to provide the right temperature gradient.

Without the right kit, they will have problems making vitamin D and absorbing calcium from their diet, leading to serious illness. Lots of research is needed before making a decision.

They can live up to 15 years.

Q) AT home my three-year-old standard poodle Dylan is just the sweetest-natured dog possible.

But when I take him out he wants to attack other dogs. Between the age of one and two he was frightened of dogs — but not so now.

Stephen Taylor, Merseyside

AT) Aggression towards other dogs often comes from fear or anxiety. This fits with your description of his early life.

By bluffing as being ferocious he’s basically asking other dogs to back off.

There’s a bit of work to do to make him feel more comfortable around other dogs, and he definitely needs the help of a qualified animal behaviourist.

Look up the APBC for accredited behaviorists in your area.

star of the week

PRACTICALLY perfect puss Petrus is the most popular member of staff at Bournemouth’s Pause Cat Cafe, where he helps bring children with special educational needs out of their shells.

But Petrus does have a bit of an identity crisis.

Puss Petrus helps bring children with special educational needs out of their shells

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Puss Petrus helps bring children with special educational needs out of their shells

The six-year-old tabby was a stray before being taken in by cafe owner Corinne Verwaerde, 32, also from Bournemouth.

She got him from a vet who was also taking care of some stray young pups.

Corinne says: “Petrus grew up with a litter of puppies, so he thinks he’s a dog!

“His specialty is giving visitors a lick on the hand. That’s his ‘kiss’.

“Along with our cat-loving regulars, we also have regular groups of children with special educational needs who come in.

“Their faces light up when Petrus does it.”

WIN: Cruft tickets

THE world’s greatest dog show is back.

Crufts was canceled last year but six readers can win a pair of tickets, valid for one day of the event, at Birmingham’s NEC from March 10 to 13.

For a chance to win, send an email titled CRUFTS to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk by February 20.

See crufts.org.uk. T&Cs apply.

Rescues do need room to roam

HAVING too many pets at home can put them at risk.

During lockdown, three million households added a pet.

During lockdown three million households added a pet

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During lockdown three million households added a petCredit: Getty

But Pet Vet Sean McCormack says well-meaning owners keen to help homeless animals sometimes take on more than they can handle.

Last month the chair of Cats Protection, Linda Upson, was found to have 18 in her three-bed home.

She insisted all the cats were well cared for but it led to her and the charity’s interim chief exec stepping down.

There is no limit in law for how many pets you can keep but owners have a legal duty to provide enough space, a comfortable place to sleep and a suitable diet.

Sean says: “You aren’t rescuing an animal if you’re not able to provide fully for its needs. Eighteen cats in any household will be stressful for some of the animals, at least. Cats like somewhere to get away from each other.

“I’ve seen pet ‘hoarding’ situations where conditions are unsuitable, hygiene and health issues occur and things are out of control.

“If you are struggling to manage, or find yourself unable to say no to rescue animals, there is help out there. Please reach out to the RSPCA or a local animal welfare charity.”

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