Great Britain

From scaleless fish to dogs suffering gunky eyes — 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, 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) I HAVE a goldfish called Clarrie. Our cat Willie got into the bowl and scooped out Clarrie on to the kitchen unit.

Luckily, I got to the goldfish quickly and put her back into her bowl. She seems fine but looks paler in colour, as if Willie has taken off some of her scales.

Will she be OK?

Sarah Hopkins, Long Eaton, Derbys

A) Poor Clarrie. If it is just superficial scale damage she will hopefully be fine. But if Willie punctured her skin with his teeth or claws she could be in trouble.

Make sure to keep her water clean and if she looks poorly, your local garden centre aquatics section or pet shop may be able to advise on a salt bath or remedy to treat her with.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) MY dog Tommy loves to lick himself all over — then lick the face of my three-year-old daughter Sophie.

They both love it and I don’t fear Tommy would hurt her, although obviously I never leave them alone. But how unhygienic is it?

Sam Wicks, Daventry, Northants

A) That depends where and what your dog is licking, Sam. Sorry to be a party pooper but dogs lick their own butts, other dogs’ butts, dead things in the park, their nether regions . . . you catch my drift.

So I’d be lying if I said it was hygienic. Perhaps it is best to teach Sophie and Tommy that licking faces isn’t a great idea but licking hands is OK with the proviso that Sophie washes them after.

The risk is low that Sophie would get sick from Tommy’s licking. But it is not impossible if it happens around the face and mouth.

Q) I AM writing to you in desperation. For the past year, our seven-year-old English bull terrier has been suffering with really gunky eyes. It’s yellow gunk in both eyes.

Until I bathe them with warm water and cotton wool, he can’t really see properly. The vet gave me antibiotic drops and gel to put in before walks to protect him from wind and discomfort. What else can I do?

Claire Batt, Caerphilly

A) Yellow gunk in the eyes is always something to get checked out, as it indicates infection. Clear jelly-like deposits can be normal, a bit like sleep in our eyes when we wake up. But the fact this is constant and excessive as well as yellow makes me think there is something underlying these infections.

I strongly encourage another visit to the vet where they can carry out a tear test and rule out a condition called dry eye. This is a disease of the tear glands and can leave dogs prone to dry, sticky eyes and regular infections. English bull terriers are genetically prone to it.

Q) I LIVE in a flat but really want to get a dog. My landlord says it is OK, so I have decided to go for it. Can you recommend a suitable breed?

Paul Dent, Maidstone, Kent

A) I am less inclined to recommend a breed suitable for a flat than one suitable for your lifestyle. The size of a dog’s home space where they relax, eat and sleep is not as important as the amount of exercise, interaction and outdoor activity they get. All breeds need that.

But it is easier to have a small dog in a flat than a Great Dane. Research the character of breeds you like and what they were originally bred for, then match that with your energy and activity levels. Better yet, go the rescue route and they will help find just the right dog for you, which could be a crossbreed. Nothing wrong with that.

Star of the week

MEET Imbuzi, the nation’s noisiest goat. The baby Boer was headed for the meat market before being saved by staff at the Bucks Goat Centre, Aylesbury.

Now he is proving to be a star attraction at the animal sanctuary in Stoke Mandeville, Bucks.

Visitors are flocking to hear his raucous bleating, which staff have measured at 118 decibels – making him as loud as a rock concert.

Head keeper Anthony Hearn says: “Imbuzi is such a character and loves to shout loudly and proudly. It’s like he’s saying how happy he is to have been saved from the curry pot.

“He’s part of a misfit gang of rescue baby goats at the centre who all live together. His friends Buddy and Hercules are a bit older but they aren’t as big – or as noisy.”

WIN: Festival tickets

ENJOY days out with your dog and other animals at new festival 5 On The Farm (

Held at Cannon Hall Farm, Barnsley, from August 28-30, it has celeb talks, stalls and even a pub. We have two family passes for two adults and two kids, worth £150 each, to win.


THE list of the most popular pet names has been revealed – including some inspired by the pandemic.

Topping the charts for cats and dogs are Bella, Luna, Poppy, Lola, Daisy, Teddy, Ruby, Milo, Alfie and Buddy, according to registrations with pet insurer Bought By Many.

But the firm found some coronavirus-inspired names on its books too. Sixteen pets have been called Lockie or Lockdown, four Zoom and three Vax (after vaccine).

Two were called Furlough and one was named Covid. There was a 180 per cent rise in pets called Captain in tribute to NHS fundraising hero Capt Tom Moore, whose sponsored walks generated more than £30million and inspired the nation at its lowest point.

There are several called Rishi after Chancellor Rishi Sunak. There are more Borises and Donalds too.

The name Kobe – after NBA basketball great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January last year – also soared in popularity.

A spokesman for Bought By Many said: “Where Fido, Felix and Rex once hung proudly from collars, pets are answering to names inspired by the unusual events of the past year.”

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