Is my cat safe from coronavirus? Our pet vet answers your questions

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.”


Q) HOW safe is my puss now a cat has been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK?

I read in the news that a Siamese cat caught the virus from its owners. I have four Ragdolls. Should I be scared?

Julie Gray, 35, office assistant Plymstock, Devon

A) There’s really no need for cat owners to panic as this is a very rare and unusual thing to happen.

Unlike dogs, cats appear to have similar coronavirus receptors to humans.

If they are exposed to large amounts of the virus, cats appear to be what we could call “dead end” hosts that can become infected with Covid-19 in very exceptional circumstances.

But there is no evidence they can transmit this disease to humans.

Sensible hygiene precautions around all pets should be all that’s needed to stay safe with them.

Got any questions?

Email your queries and stories to [email protected]

Q) MY dog Bruce, who is 11, suffers with alopecia.

He’s a husky tested for zinc deficiencies, mites and fleas. I bath him in Malaseb shampoo but he still gets little bald patches.

He has a hypoallergenic diet but I do give in and give him the odd biscuit. Any idea what the bald patches are? He is flea-free.

David Edwards, 40, scaffolder, Cardiff

A) You’re wasting your effort and money on a hypoallergenic diet if you’re also feeding treats that could be causing your dog’s food reaction.

And you will never find out if Bruce’s skin issues are due to food unless you do a strict diet trial for eight to 12 weeks where nothing else passes his lips.

If the skin improves, it’s probably dietary. If not, it could be environmental. Your vet can help figure it out.

Q) MY three-year-old Alsatian ­Hector is a terrible snorer.

He’s a bit overweight but not terribly so. Do I need to worry about it? Is there anything we can do?

Jean Dudley, 79, retired, Plymouth

A) You don’t mention if Hector has always done it, if it’s all of a sudden or if it’s since he gained weight.

Being overweight can definitely play a role. Take snoring as an early warning sign you need to get his weight under control. German Shepherds are prone to back, hip and joint problems.

Being overweight may mean he gets painful, stiff and arthritic at a younger age. A diet tailored to his breed, health and energy levels is a solid investment now for a long, happy life.

Q) I’M thinking of getting a pet rabbit for my daughter Emma.

I’ve read up on food and making sure they have a run — but should you give a rabbit toys to play with too?

I also understand they need a companion — should this be another rabbit or could it be another pet?

Lisbet Hollick, full-time mum, Reading

A) It’s awesome to hear from a new pet owner doing their research and asking the right questions before getting a pet.

You’re correct that they need a companion and it should 100 per cent be another rabbit. Despite the myth, guinea pigs are not suitable or safe companions.

Food should be 90 per cent quality hay and grass. Just a spoonful of pellets daily, never muesli mix.

A run is essential. For kids under ten, guinea pigs make better pets, though, as rabbits need careful handling.

Star of the week

MEET Flo, the real-life Aristocat who went from living on the streets to Buckingham Palace.

When the RSPCA rescued the Persian from a dirty shed, she was pregnant and had lost part of a leg.

Vet assistant Victoria Fitzgerald, one of the team who nursed Flo back to health, was so moved by the cat that she adopted her.

And because Victoria’s dad is one of the Queen’s drivers, Flo now lives a pampered new life in the Royal Mews.

Victoria said: “She really has gone from Aristocat to Aristocrat.

“It’s lovely seeing an animal, who has been in such an awful state as Flo, find a loving home, and even better that she has been able to come and live with us at Buckingham Palace.”

WIN: Hide and sleep bed

Would your cool cat like their own crib?

Give your kitty a stylish and safe place to rest and play with the Hide and Sleep two-storey haven.

Created by charity Cats Protection (cats.org.uk), it’s a place for your cat to have some important me time.

We have four worth £40 each to giveaway. To take part, e-mail HIDE AND SLEEP to: sundaypets @the-sun.co.uk

Caring cockapoo is the best therapy

A BRAVE nurse has told how her rescue Cockapoo was so attentive when she caught Covid-19 from a patient that she is now training her to be a therapy dog.

Michele Ibbs, 57, from Wolverhampton, fell ill after caring for an elderly man in a care home, who later tested positive for the virus.

Ten-year-old Rosie, who was a breeding dog in a puppy farm before being rescued by Michele at four years old, was key in her recovery.

Michele said: “I was incapacitated for a week and it was only Rosie who got me through. For 90 per cent of the time I was asleep, but she would check on me.

“She’d give me a little nudge and never took her eyes off me. I had to get up to let her out and to feed her, so that kept me going.

“Every time Rosie ate or went out, I would make myself eat or drink and I got stronger bit by bit.”

Michele is in the process of registering Rosie as a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog.

She said: “Rosie is made for a career as a PAT dog. She gave me such a boost.”

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