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Pet Subjects: Can I spay my dog at 6 months? 

Pete Wedderburn and a confused dog 
Pet Subjects: 'Can I spay my dog at 6 months?' Credit: PATRICK BOLGER/GETTY IMAGES

Dear Pete 

I have a five-month-old female labrador, and I’d like to spay her soon, because I hate the thought of her confined to the house and being bothered by neighbouring dogs when in heat. My vet wants to delay the op till after her heat. Is it harmful to do it at six months?

RT, Birmingham

Dear RT

There is no definitive answer on this: many vets are happy operating at five to six months, some prefer to wait till after her first season, and some may even prefer to delay until skeletal maturity at 18 months of age. There are pros and cons to each argument, but in your case, the additional factor that you strongly want to avoid her being in season at all would tend to sway the decision towards early spaying. There are no black-and-white strong reasons not to do this, but you should discuss it in detail with your vet, or with one of his/her colleagues.

Dear Pete 

Our nine-year-old maine coon cat has started to shed her coat excessively and seems more lethargic. We have had her heart tested by a cardiologist using ultrasound and she has been tested for liver and kidney function. Any ideas what else it could be?

S & J W, Cumbria

Dear S & JW 

Excessive shedding is often a reflection of the fact that a cat is not grooming herself as effectively as usual, so the hair that would normally be removed during this process stays on her body, coming off when you pet her or just wherever she is lying. Ask your vet to check her mouth (in case pain here is stopping her from grooming) and discuss arthritis (she may not groom so much if she is in pain, and this could also cause lethargy). Meanwhile, groom her more often, using brushes and warm moist towels to remove as much loose hair as possible.

Vets against 
puppy farming

The Naturewatch Foundation has launched a puppy farming public awareness campaign (#Vets4Puppies), with posters to be displayed in veterinary practices across the UK. If your local vet would like a free campaign pack containing posters, leaflets and social media advice, please contact [email protected]

Rescue Pet 

Missy the boxer 

Missy is an affectionate eight-year-old boxer cross from Hertfordshire who needs a quiet home. Contact [email protected] or phone Home Counties Boxer Welfare on 01869 321010.

To view outcomes of rescued pets, see petethevet.com


Send queries to [email protected] or tweet 
@PeteTheVet. All sick animals should be taken to a vet.

Pet Subjects by Peter Wedderburn is published by Aurum Press (£12.99). To order a copy  visit books.telegraph.co.uk