Behavioural Issues Q+A – RTE Today Show – Pet Clinic with Petfix Club vet Pete Wedderburn


This week on the Petfix Club Pet Ciinic on RTE’s Today Show, Pete answered a number of different questions from viewers. Watch the video above or read more below.

Swollen umbilical area in a dog

We have a 3 year old male Cavachon. He was neutered early on. Last year we noticed his umbilical cord area was a little swollen and I asked vet if they would look and possibly operate. I thought an umbilical hernia was dangerous. At the appointment the vet said it’s normal and she had neutered him she would have checked it. A year later and it’s definitely 3 times the size, not as huge as the internet shows but he doesn’t like it touched it appears sensitive. Should I bring him back? 

Pete says:
You should definitely take him back to your vet for a review. Umbilical hernias are common, and they are harmless when small: they just mean that there is a small gap in the muscle wall that allows some abdominal fat to squeeze through. But if they get bigger, this can mean that a larger amount of fat has squeezed through, and this can be prone to damage (being bumped during daily activities like walks) or even strangulation (if the blood supply is cut off as the fat goes through the hernia gap). Also, there are other “lumps” that can resemble hernias but they  are, in fact, tumours. So anything that is getting bigger or that is sensitive should be reviewed by a vet.

Cooking odours make dog excited

How are you? I have a 8 year old female border collie cross. She has a very good temperament and she is very intelligent.
We oven roasted lamb one day for dinner and she got incredibly distressed, whinging and whining, pointing her nose up to the ceiling and pacing the floors. This had happened one other time many years ago but i had totally forgotten about it. I swore I’d never cook lamb again that time too. This would be so unusual for her and I’m just wondering what could possibly be causing her so much distress. Is it the smell of the lamb?, what does she think i am cooking? If you could shine some light on this it would be great. P.S I will no longer cook lamb.

Pete says:
Dogs have an astonishingly sensitive sense of smell – they say it is 40 times stronger than our own – so any odour will hit dogs harder than us. Also, smells are strongly linked to emotional reactions (think about smells that might take you back to a different time or place). So if your collie had a bad experience that was in some way linked to the scent of cooking lamb, she may be reminded of this whenever she smells that odour again (it could be that lamb was being cooked when there was a thunderstorm, or fireworks, or strangers visiting – many possibilities). So you could take time to desensitise and counter condition her (cooking lamb while giving her tasty treats and praise as long as she stays calm and happy) but your own answer is probably easier

Dog drinking more water

I have a toy poodle who is 13 years old. In recent weeks he is peeing more and drinking more water. I have been to my vet but they seem baffled. I have been told it could be his kidneys or his liver. He has had bloods done and the results are slightly raised but I’m still not getting a def answer. Would you be able to shed any light?

Pete says:

The big worry here would be early kidney disease: the standard blood parameters only start to change when 70% of both kidneys have stopped working (think about it: you can donate a whole kidney to someone else and you still carry on in good health). So early kidney disease can be difficult to diagnose. You should keep a record of how much your dog drinks every day (start to measure it), and take your dog back to the vet for a once monthly check (measuring weight etc). Usually the definite answer becomes apparent within a month or two and the right treatment can then be given.

Cat with strong smelling flatulence

I have a male cat nearly 2 years old. He eats dry food nuts. He stinks so bad sometimes. I mean really, really bad. I never hear him fart, so it’s not that. ( unless he’s doing silent, but deadly ones) hahaha!. Is this a male cat thing or do you know what’s the cause. 

Pete says:
If the smell is “fart” gas (i.e. not mouth, not sore ears, not urine marking) then the first thing to do is to change his food onto a type of nut that is advertised as being “highly digestible”. Some types of nuts are made of complex ingredients that need more convoluted digestive processes, and more gas is produced. A complete change of diet to a bland highly digestible one is often sufficient to solve this type of issue (e.g. chicken and rice as ingredients)

Terrier with itchy anal glands

We have a nine year old rescue dog, she is a Jack Russell terrier and she is constantly suffering with an itchy glands. We have brought her to a few different vets to have her glands squeezed and after a couple of days she’s suffering again. Is there anything we can put on it to ease the itching between visits.

Pete says:

Itchy anal glands are not always what they first seem. Simple cases are just caused by overfull anal sacs (these are  the doggy equivalent of skunk squirty glands that dogs have under their tail, just inside the anus, and dogs on low residue diets sometimes dont produce bulky enough poos to squeeze them out. In such cases, the combination of the vet squeezing them out with a high fibre diet is enough to cure them). More complex cases can involve bacterial infection of the anal sacs that mean that they need to be flushed out under anaesthesia and given a course of antibotics. And in still other cases, the problem is actually general irritation around the anus rather than a specific anal sac problem, and this type of irritation can be caused by many things, from worms to food allergies to others. There is no simple answer: best to revisit your vet to have a detailed examination carried out so that the diagnosis can be pinpointed.

If anyone has questions for Pete, he can be contacted any time via the Ask A Vet facility on the Petfix Club website.



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