Rabbit Healthcare

As the summer months are upon us, we start to see a lot more publicity around fleas and ticks in cats and dogs. However, rabbits are often forgotten about, although preventative healthcare is just as important for them too!

Fly strike (myiasis) is a potentially fatal, yet preventable condition in rabbits, which is caused by flies landing on the rabbit and laying eggs. The eggs are usually laid around the rear end, and while any rabbit can be affected, the flies are particularly drawn to rabbits with wet/dirty back ends. This means that victims are usually rabbits that can’t easily clean themselves, such as older or overweight rabbits, rabbits with large dewlaps or those that have recently had a bout of diarrhoea or urinary problems. When the eggs hatch, the maggots then start to eat the rabbit’s flesh, and also release toxins that are very dangerous to our small furry friends. If you see any signs of Fly Strike, immediate veterinary care is needed.

Soiled bedding helps attracts the flies, and so should be cleaned out daily. Also physically checking your bunny twice every day to make sure they are keeping themselves clean will help to prevent Fly Strike. A good diet made up of mostly hay, with small quantities of pellets and green vegetables will help prevent rabbits becoming overweight or getting diarrhoea. There is also a prevention treatment that can be applied, which if used when the weather starts to warm up helps to prevent any eggs laid from developing.

Also at this time of year the numbers of wild rabbits are on the increase. Rabbits should be vaccinated annually, a single injection offers protection from myxomatosis and both strains of VHD (viral haemmorhagic disease). Sadly these often fatal diseases are highly transmissible and can be spread not only by direct contact with infected rabbits, but by inadvertent contact with any infected material.
Most commonly this happens via an owner’s clothing or footwear having walked somewhere where infected wild rabbits have been. For this reason we recommend vaccination of all rabbits, including house rabbits.
If you have any queries regarding rabbit healthcare please contact your local branch on:
Woodbridge: 01394 380083
Ipswich: 01473 274040
Felixstowe: 01394 284554
Rendlesham: 01394 420964

Spring has sprung!

Spring has officially sprung! As we enter spring it is wise to remain vigilant as there are lots of potential consumable hazards at home and in the wider environment.
Spring brings pretty flowers and longer dog walks as the weather improves. Spring bulbs can be very appealing to dogs but can cause a nasty tummy upset and in some instances where large quantities are consumed, they can be fatal. Sometimes intoxication of bulbs can result in a skin rash. Tulip, daffodil and hyacinth are all ones to keep an eye on.

Over winter, anti-freeze is a concern, for our cats especially. However, as we reach summer, lilies start to arrive and these are also very toxic to our feline friends. Even if they don’t chew the plant itself, brushing up against the plant can leave residues of pollen, which when the cat grooms will become ingested. Like anti-freeze, lilies damage cats’ kidneys so possible signs of intoxication are vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, depression and neurological signs (for example in-coordination or seizures).

As with any potential intoxication, it is imperative you ring the surgery for veterinary advice as soon as possible after the event. If you are worried about plants in general and which ones are toxic and need some advice, please also feel free to call us. We are always happy to help!