DR BRUCE CHARD

Sunday News - - PETS -

con­tact@north­har­bourvet.co.nz MY 14-year-old bir­man cat, Sid, has been hav­ing prob­lems pass­ing his poo for the past two weeks. He seems to have very hard poo and of­ten I have to put a glove on and help to squeeze it out. He mostly eats meat and dry food. How can I man­age this?

Check with your vet to en­sure Sid does not have any other prob­lems along with his con­sti­pa­tion. If it is a mat­ter of over-hard mo­tions and a build-up of mo­tions in his large bowel then you will need to make changes to Sid’s diet. In­crease wa­ter intake by soak­ing his dry food with wa­ter. Stop the meat and try him with canned food or moist sa­chets. The best medicine which your vet will pre­scribe is lac­tu­lose. It is a sugar so­lu­tion that brings more fluid into the large in­tes­tine mak­ing mo­tions softer. It is read­ily ac­cepted by cats from a sy­ringe, or on his food, and is best given twice daily.

My 4-month-old labradoo­dle, Ben, has had two at­tacks of di­ar­rhoea over the past three weeks. I have not changed his food so am not sure what caused it but a friend said it might be due to gi­a­r­dia. How is this treated if Ben has it?

Gi­a­r­dia is a mi­cro­scopic par­a­site that lives in the in­tes­tine of many an­i­mals in­clud­ing dogs, cats and hu­mans. It pro­duces cysts which are passed out in fae­ces lead­ing to in­fec­tion in other an­i­mals. Your vet will test Ben’s fae­ces for worms and other par­a­sites but if gi­a­r­dia is likely then you will need to col­lect three stool sam­ples over five days to in­crease the chance of find­ing the cysts. Treat­ment in­volves giv­ing medicine once daily for five days. A medicine used to treat par­a­sites in sheep and cat­tle is used ini­tially and once com­pleted a fur­ther test of the fae­ces is needed to check the in­fec­tion has cleared.

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