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Pet Subjects: 'Should I let our six-month-old cat have kittens?' 

Pete Wedderburn/ Kitten 
'I reckon there are enough kittens in the world already' - Pet Subjects  Credit: PATRICK BOLGER/GETTY IMAGES

Dear Pete

My 13-year-old labrador, Jasper, has severe hind limb arthritis that’s much worse under conditions of low atmospheric pressure, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. His joints seize up and he becomes very lethargic. He’s on multi-modal treatment from my vet, but is there anything specific to help this aspect?

KR, Cheshire

Dear KR 

Your list of treatments from your vet (including joint supplements, multiple types of pain relief, acupuncture, laser treatment and hydrotherapy) is exceptionally comprehensive and I cannot add anything to this. There is debate about whether it’s low pressure or changing electrical fields that aggravate arthritis during certain weather conditions. Regardless of the cause, if he gets predictably worse you should talk to your vet about temporarily increasing his current medication during such bad patches. Dogs can’t talk, so careful observation of behaviour is the best way to spot periods when extra pain relief is needed.

Dear Pete 

My husband wants to let our six-month-old cat, Yala, have kittens as he feels our children will benefit from the experience. I reckon there are enough kittens in the world already and I want to get her spayed. What’s your opinion?

YR, Liverpool

Dear YR 

The process of pregnancy and kittening is complex and includes risks to Yala. As well as health risks, I’ve seen female cats whose personalities have changed after having kittens, and some who have gone missing when they move their kittens to a hidden location. It’s safer to get her spayed, and if your husband wants to show kittens to your children, visit a local cat rescue centre: see cats.org.uk

Guinea pig habits

More than 5,000 owners have taken part in a national guinea pig census, now available at burgesspetcare.com. Useful information gathered about the estimated 400,000 pet guinea pigs living in the UK included the facts that three per cent of guinea pig owners have their pets insured, 46 per cent of guinea pig owners have rescue guinea pigs, and 65 per cent of guinea pig owners (correctly) feed hay as their little pets’ primary food source.

Rescue pet

Hetty the hen  Credit: British Hen Welfare Trust

Beautiful Hetty, pictured above, is looking for a permanent home to enjoy her free-range retirement. Contact British Hen Welfare Trust on 01884 860084 or visit bhwt.org.uk.

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