Ask Dr Bruce Chard: How can I remove the hair caught in my cat's fangs?

La Perm cats are much happier without hair between their fangs.
Karoline Tuckey

La Perm cats are much happier without hair between their fangs.

My 10-year-old La Perm cat sometimes gets hair caught about her lower fangs. I can usually remove the wad of hair but it can be difficult. Should I have her seen by a vet?

It is quite rare for cats to collect fur about their lower fangs or canine teeth. The danger of having the fur caught is that over time it can lead to erosion of gum tissue exposing the tooth roots. There may be a reason for the fur being caught due to misaligned incisor teeth – the small teeth at the front of the lower jaw. If this is the case, your vet will book your cat for a dental appointment and remove any loose teeth. The gums about the lower canine teeth will be assessed to see if there is enough tissue to support the teeth. If a lower canine is at an abnormal angle this also may be a reason for the hair to catch during grooming and it may have to be removed.

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I have a problem with my  Pekingese whenever I try to trim his nails. I can only trim one or two nails before he becomes too difficult to hold, and he even tries to bite me? Should I just take him to a vet or groomer to have it done?

You are not alone in finding it difficult to trim some dogs' nails. It may be best to start with a visit to a groomer or vet and watch while the nails are trimmed to see how your dog reacts. Often dogs can have their nails trimmed when absent from their owner. Other dogs may need to have a muzzle applied, and this is enough to end resistance and the nails an be clipped quickly. Unfortunately, some will still fight frantically despite a muzzle and need a different approach. Videos online show how effective conditioning can be when your dog is distracted by being offered a treat while the paw is handled.

Dr Bruce Chard owns North Harbour Veterinary Clinic in Auckland. He has been a vet for 42 years and has a pekingese dog and two burmese cats. Visit nhv.co.nz or email northharbourvet@paradise.net.nz 

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