DEAR Vicki, My six-month-old cocker spaniel’s eyes have never seemed right. They were weep­ing and de­vel­oped a dis­charge, which the vet pre­scribed an­tibi­otic cream for. They cleared up quickly, but now there is a dis­charge again. Is there any­thing that could be trig­ger­ing this prob­lem?

It may be that the orig­i­nal eye in­fec­tion did not clear prop­erly. How­ever, other con­di­tions may be trig­ger­ing the prob­lems. Some­times a dog’s eye­lids can turn in­wards, caus­ing lashes to ir­ri­tate the sur­face of the eye. There is also a con­di­tion called dis­tichi­a­sis, where eye­lashes grow in ab­nor­mal places. Al­ter­na­tively, the dis­charge might be due to a blocked tear duct or tu­mours of the eye­lid – don’t be alarmed, most are not can­cer­ous. I would rec­om­mend tak­ing your dog back to the vets for re-ex­am­i­na­tion. DEAR Vicki, I have two guinea pigs in a hutch in a shel­tered cor­ner of my gar­den. As the weather is get­ting colder, do I need to bring them in?

I would rec­om­mend bring­ing your guinea pigs in­doors. Re­lo­cat­ing them in a shed or car-free garage away from harm­ful ex­haust fumes would be ideal. Pro­vide them with ex­tra bed­ding and check water bot­tles reg­u­larly to make sure they haven’t frozen. Cover the hutch and run with a thick blan­ket or du­vet but make sure the guinea pigs still have good ac­cess to sun­light.

If you don’t have a shed or garage, bring hutches in­doors when tem­per­a­tures plum­met and en­sure they are kept away from loud noises and other pets. Make sure your guinea pigs still have ac­cess to space for ex­er­cise and to play with toys.

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