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People ask veterinarians this very commonly-

why should I spay my pet?

With every operation, there are a combination of advantages and disadvantages to be carefully weighed up. The decision made must be an informed one.

For some operations, such as this one you mention, neutering a female dog, the advantages heavily hugely outweigh the disadvantages, but the choice to do an operation of course must still be a carefully considered one.

The advantages line up approximately as follows:

Rereduce risk of unwanted pregnancies.

Reduce or eliminate the risk of breast cancers in female dogs. Breast cancers are common in elderly female dogs who have not had this operation, and they can be life-threatening.

Eliminate the risk of testicular cancer in male dogs, which again can be life-threatening.

Reduce the risk of prostate disease (including prostate gland cancer) in male dogs

Reduce the aggressive behavior of male dogs.

Stop female dogs getting “false pregnancies” (=”pseudopregnancies”) where they believe they are pregnant but in fact they are not- although their breasts do swell up with milk.

Stop any chance of female dogs getting womb infections (a “pyometra”). This is a life-threatening disease which is common in older female dogs which have not had the neutering operation.

Stop animals running away (females when they are in heat, to find a mate, and males when they smell a female dog who is in heat/season).

There are also some negatives.

To see the whole discussion, and add any comments, please go to where this discussion originated, the Pet Doctor Forum, on this thread….


Did you get a chance to see these great animations by

Aardman Animations?

Check them out below:

They are an excellent illustration of what inspired us to start the Pet Doctor Forum as we realised that animals really do need a voice….

Part 1:

Part 2:

What the reviewers say:

“It works, largely because most of the interviews seem selected to be not wacky but low-key and conversational. Am I proud of laughing? No, but I don’t care.”
James Posiewozik,

“Each juxtaposition of voice and creature, even or especially the most unexpected, creates something wonderful. The domestic version, which like it s predecessor is made by Aardman Animations, is every bit as good as the original. While the animation is masterful – beautifully timed and fully attendant to character, even when a character is merely listening – what makes “Creature Comforts” valuable is the unscripted, and unscriptable voice of the people.”
Robert Lloyd, LA Times

“Hilarious feat of animated clay. Four Stars. So if it took until the second season for an American version of “The Office” to approximate the quality and charm of the British original, how long will it take for an Americanized “Creature Comforts” to prove itself? About five seconds. The series, ‘featuring the voices of your fellow Americans’ finds just as many eccentric regional dialects here as in England, and uses them hilariously from the start. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so quickly and loudly at a new TV series. And it just keeps delivering gold – even from a goldfish who is heard complaining of her latest medical malady. “Dry skin,” she says while floating in her goldfish bowl. “Can you believe it?”
New York Daily News

February is Pet Dental Month, in the US. Its organised by the The American Veterinary Medical Association who estimate more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have oral disease by the time they are three years old.

ive seen a lot worse than this

ive seen a lot worse than this

The message is “go to the vet and let them check you pet’s teeth.
When you see the vet in Pet Dental month, there are lots of things that the vet will look at, apart from just the teeth.
Here is a list of some things which the veterinarian may be assessing, when they look in your pet’s mouth.
Of course, there are many benefits apart from these for a check up, as the vet will always check the whole body and not just look in the mouth!

1) bad breath. Can be a sign of dental decay, but also if the Kidneys are not working, the breath occasionally becomes bad also and so thats one thing the vet will be trying to rule out.
2) rotten teeth. These can be painful, or even cause an abscess. Bacteria around rotten teeth which are neglected for a long time can get into the bloodstream and cause further complications in some circumstances also.
3) broken teeth- any broken teeth can be painful or perhaps decay more quickly so they need to be discovered and regularly assessed.
4) tongue- check for ulcerations which could be symptoms of a virus, or other disease.
5) soft palate- young dogs can in rare cases be born with problems with the roof of the mouth, so the vet will check here in a new/ young dog.
6) growths- its possible to get lumps and growths within the mouth, either on the gums or even on the tongue, so the vet would be able to see if this was the case.
7) pale gum colour- a sign of low blood concentration which could be a sign of a problem.
8) too many teeth- sometimes baby teeth don’t fall out, then the mouth is too crowded and more prone to food sticking between the teeth and then the teeth rotting. So if the teeth have not fallen out by 6-12 months of age, the vet usually recommends these to be removed.
9) holes in the teeth- at specialist clinics its possible to do fillings although this is very rare still due to the high cost, so big holes are normally an indication that the tooth must be removed to avoid pain.
10) gingivitis- vet will check for redness/inflammation along the gum line, meaning that the gums are sore due to bad mouth hygiene- normallly requiring a dental procedure at the clinic to clean the teeth.
11) tartar- lots of brown/yellow lumps on the teeth, basically its a more solid form of plaque, again the vet needs to remove it.
12) recessed gums- a sign of severe disease in the mouth.
13) bleeding gums- also a  sign of severe mouth disease.
I like lists. Want any more PET LISTS? let me know.

This list is not fully exhaustive… see the associated thread on the Pet Doctor Forum to see if it has been added to?

We tried to get to 101 but ran out of steam at 42. But they cover the most important things.

Here is a great list we have compiled, of 42 ways to keep your cat or dog healthy. Please bookmark the list and keep coming back to it.

The list starts-

1) See the veterinarian immediately if you have any cause for concern.
2) Vaccinate your pet to prevent diseases such as cat flu, parvo virus, distemper
3) Regularly de-worm your pet to prevent against stomach worms (which can also transfer to people)
4) Clip the nails regularly to ensure they don’t overgrow
5) Check the teeth and brush the teeth regularly to keep gum disease at bay. Bacteria in the mouth with rotten teeth can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in older animals with awful teeth.

As a veterinarian, people ask me all the time about what these things are.

“It might be a problem with Alfie’s anal sac’s” I say

“what the heck are they?!!” they reply with a puzzled look on their face, as if I have just insulted them.

Well, these glands with a horrible name, are also in a horrible place- right next to the bottom. And to the bane of vet’s worldwide, they don’t simply just get on with their job of being a scent marking sac…. oh no, they often regularly decided to get ‘bunged up’ with sludge, a bit like leaves in the gutter… and who’s job is it to clear the gutter…. oh its mine, Mr Veterinarian! 😉

Anyway, on a more serious note, these glands do have a role, and they can get some problems. I’m sure every dog owner and every vet has stories to talk about these glands!

Check this recent thread on the Pet Doctor Forum to see what they are in more detail.


when pets have operations, they often are sent home with big collars on…

people often know that their friend’s pet has seen the vet, because they see them wandering around with a bandage on their leg, and a huge white collar around the top of their head.

“can your dog eat with that huge thing on?” you ask them? “it makes your dog look like an alien!”.

Well, what are they for, and why?

This recent thread on the Pet Doctor Forum explains in some detail what they are used for and why. But what do you think of them?

Would it be better to use something else to do this function instead of a collar? If so, what?!!

Feel free to comment on your thoughts- on the comments page of this blog. (Or see the thread link above, and get involved in the conversation there….)

where is that itch?!

where is that itch?!

Skin problems are very stressful to observe in pets as you feel helpless- what can you do?

As a veterinarian, they are also not simple to treat these diseases.

To diagnose and treat skin allergies (atopic dermatitis) it requires many tests and lots of patience! These allergies, like ashma in people, are life long.

So:the drugs or treatment options are for life.

Here is an interesting very recent thread on the Pet Doctor Forum discussing this disease and its treatments.. .

What are your experiences?

okay, well this isn’t really very serious, but its just a bit of fun…. enjoy. Some pets dancing with music as the background. Not by myself, all off youtube. And I don’t believe they are real, just edited.

For something more pet-serious, come and join the chatting at

So, here are some pet-techno video’s! Time to wake up!!

so, whats all the fuss about?

Well its about this

I am a tub of peanut butter

I am a tub of peanut butter

and THESE…..

salmonella salmonella_bacteria

well Dr Matt, nice pictures, but what are they?!!

Ok, the pretty artistic things are not aliens, but are infact Salmonella bacteria. One factory in the US accidentally somehow contaminated the peanut butter with the latter! And it appears now that peanut butter is in many things, NOT just in your grandma’s sandwiches.

One thing its in is in PET FOOD.

If you have a pet, what to do? Well, check this online pet/veterinary forum discussion yesterday on the very same topical issue…what are the peanut butter recall implications on pet food? (If you post a few questions, perhaps someone will answer it if you have any further questions).