Dear Vicki My Stafford­shire bull ter­rier has re­ally bad skin al­ler­gies. She’s cur­rently on steroids but still scratches a lot and has bald and thin patches all over. It’s be­come so bad she’s de­stroyed the fol­li­cles and her hair won’t grow back. What can I do to help?

Skin prob­lems can be dev­as­tat­ing for both pets and their own­ers, and they can have a huge im­pact on qual­ity of life. If your dog’s symp­toms haven’t im­proved on the cur­rent med­i­ca­tion, then you need to go back to your vet and they may un­der­take fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­ter­mine the cause of the al­ler­gies or change the treat­ment. Al­ler­gies can be caused by many dif­fer­ent fac­tors and find­ing out ex­actly what the prob­lem is will re­quire time and pa­tience. Your vet may rec­om­mend see­ing a skin spe­cial­ist for fur­ther treat­ment. Can gold­fish com­mu­ni­cate with each other, and how? Although some fish can make au­di­ble noises, body lan­guage is of­ten an im­por­tant form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion for fish.

If they are be­hav­ing in a cer­tain way (for ex­am­ple, feed­ing) other fish are likely to recog­nise this and join in. How­ever, there are other fas­ci­nat­ing ways fish com­mu­ni­cate, such as ap­pear­ing brighter in colour, flar­ing gills or ‘puffing up’. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to fish species that live in large groups (shoals). Some, for ex­am­ple, may use pheromones (spe­cial chem­i­cal scents) to com­mu­ni­cate with one an­other, while oth­ers use sound.

It’s a great ques­tion and a zoology text­book or a spe­cial­ist web­site would be able to give you more in­for­ma­tion about this in­ter­est­ing sub­ject.

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