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My pet has a lump – what should I do?

It happens to most of us at some time or another. You bend down to give your pet an absent-minded stroke, or a tickle behind the ear, or a tummy-rub perhaps, and your fingers close on something - a bit of pet - that wasn't there before: a lump. And of course, once you've found it, you can’t un-find it. Your mind begins to whirl. Supposing - just supposing - that the lump is actually cancer?
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Why Is My Rat Crying Blood?

As Halloween approaches get ready for the witches, broomsticks, black cats and rats to be out and about in the full force of fancy dress. You may notice that rats get a really rough deal; they’re often portrayed as the bad-guys in films and decorations. They do have one unusual trait that can be a little more ‘trick’ than ‘treat’, however! Those of you that have owned rats may have noticed that they can occasionally get red or orange staining or crusting around their eyes and nose. This can give the appearance that they have been crying or sneezing blood - perhaps they are the scary little creatures we see in Halloween films? Or maybe there’s something else behind it...
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Why Is My Cat Constipated?

It can be really heart-breaking and worrying watching your cat struggling to use their litter tray, especially when they’re distressed or crying. If your cat is visiting the tray more often than usual, it’s important to take a closer look at what they’re producing (or, more importantly, what they’re not), then pop them to the vets. Constipation is very uncomfortable and needs treatment, but the symptoms are also very similar to a cat struggling to urinate, which may be an emergency. A quick scout of the litter tray for faeces, urine and blood will help your vet determine exactly what is wrong when you call.
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10 things you need to know about puppy farming

Dear VetHelpDirect, I was planning on buying a new puppy, but since the recent media focus on Puppy Farms, I am concerned. How do I know that my puppy is coming from a responsible home, without it being too expensive? Can I trust the vets’ word for this? This enquiry follows the recent BBC documentary “Inside the UK Puppy Farm Capital”, which suggests that you are right to be concerned. The puppy-farming industry in the UK has been booming over recent years and the recent BBC exposé makes for harrowing viewing.
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Why is my dog scratching? He hasn’t got fleas!

Dogs do occasionally scratch, but if it’s frequent, incessant or distressing then something is amiss. Some dogs will lick or nibble rather than scratch. Many do this in private so watch out for red, sore skin, bald patches, or brown saliva staining where the fur has been licked. Itching (technically called pruritus) is a sign, not a diagnosis or specific disease. It’s probably the most common reason for owners to take pets to the vet’s, making up a large proportion of our consultations.
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Why Is My Cat Losing Weight?

It can be very worrying when you notice your cat to start to lose weight, especially if they’re an older cat. Weight loss conjures up terrible thoughts and googling often makes things worse - a symptom as vague as weight loss can mean so many different things it’s bound to be a scary page of results. We tend to notice problems in cats slowly. They’re masters at hiding signs of illness and disease and often live very independent lifestyles, some even going for several days without being seen. The fact that most cats toilet outdoors, unaccompanied, means that you may not notice symptoms such as diarrhoea or producing large volumes of urine. And since many cats have dried food down all day, changes in appetite can be hard to spot at first. This means that weight loss is often the first symptom that people notice in their cats, with other symptoms only coming after you start to keep a closer eye.
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