VETS Q&A

Rossendale Free Press - - Rossendale People - VICKI LARKHAM

My budgie scratches a lot. We’ve sprayed him with mite spray but his skin still looks red and sore un­der his feath­ers. Does he need to see a vet? Yes, th­ese are signs of skin disease so you need to get your budgie ex­am­ined as soon as pos­si­ble. Scratch­ing and skin red­ness could be due to var­i­ous causes, in­clud­ing mites, an al­lergy, an un­der­ly­ing in­fec­tion or dry­ing of the skin. Dry skin can oc­cur if your budgie lives in­doors and isn’t get­ting enough fine mist wa­ter spray­ing – mist­ing en­cour­ages proper preen­ing and is es­pe­cially im­por­tant dur­ing moult­ing to help the feath­ers shed. If fur­ther treat­ment for mites is needed, your vet will be able to rec­om­mend one that is safe and ef­fec­tive. I’ve taken on a six-year-old Westie called Sugar. We live on a busy road, so when traf­fic and peo­ple come past our house she goes mad, bit­ing the fur­ni­ture and rip­ping things up. Peo­ple and cars pass­ing by are a com­mon cause for ex­cite­ment in many dogs, but it can also cause anx­i­ety in some. As Sugar is show­ing ‘dis­place­ment ac­tiv­ity’ by tear­ing up cush­ions or run­ning around, it’s likely she is ex­press­ing that she’s stressed out. As you know the trig­ger for this be­hav­iour, the next step is to see if you can re­duce its im­pact. In the short-term, cur­tains and white noise can help to hide the trig­ger. In the longer-term, you’ll need to teach Sugar that there’s noth­ing to be anx­ious about through a ‘de­sen­si­ti­sa­tion’ pro­gramme. This will in­volve ex­er­cises en­cour­ag­ing Sugar to stay calm – for in­stance, get­ting a friend to pose as a ‘passer-by’ and then only prais­ing and re­ward­ing her when she re­mains calm.

www.pdsa.org.uk/ bad-dog-be­hav­iour

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