How to keep your pet cool this summer

cat on sunny day

keep dogs cool in summerIf you have a Dog……….

Dogs are not very good at keeping themselves cool so they will need your help. Ensure they have plenty of water, whether they are in the house or out on a walk. If you are at home keep the water in a heavy bowl so it can’t be easily knocked over

Don’t keep your dog in a car. You may think it’s ok to do this as you are leaving the window open, however, it’s not enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside the car. Dogs die this way every year, please don’t let this happen to your dog.

Take your dog for a walk at cooler times of the day. Go in the morning and the evening instead.

If your dog is outside all day make sure there is plenty of shade as well as lots of water.

Regularly groom your dog. If you have a long haired breed, have the hair trimmed to help keep it cool.

Do you know the signs of heatstroke? Here is a checklist of what to look out for. Heavy panting, very red gums/tongue, excessive salivation, a rapid pulse, lack of co-ordination, lethargy, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea and in extreme cases loss of consciousness.  If you see your dog displaying any of these symptoms ensure you take immediate action. Try to cool your dog down gradually as heatstroke can be fatal.  Douse your dog in cool water (not cold or iced water) and let it drink small amounts of cool water (again not cold or iced) until their breathing is more normal.  Then take your dog to the vets to be checked to make sure everything is ok.

cat on sunny dayIf you have a cat……….

Cats love the warm weather and are a lot better at keeping themselves cool. However, if it is excessively hot here are a few things you can do.

If you have a cat that likes to go outside, try not to let it out between 10am and 3pm so it avoids the hottest times of the day. If they are indoor cats keep blinds shut and curtains closed as this helps to keep the house cool.

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of water.

If you notice your cat is sleeping more it’s probably nothing to worry about. Cats are sensible and will nap more on a hot dayrather than spend their time running around. Maybe they are the more intelligent than dogs?

Pay attention to your cat’s feet. Cats and dogs have sweat glands in their paws. If you notice your cat is leaving wet paw prints it will need to have more water to replenish its fluids. You could try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water but it may not be pleased with you doing that.

If you see your cat panting, it doesn’t automatically mean it has heatstroke. Cats do pant but they rarely do it. However, if you think your cat is panting excessively check for other signs of heatstroke and take immediate action.

keep your rabbit coolIf you have a small furry pet……….

As always, make sure they have access to lots of clean water

Make sure you keep them clean.  When the weather is hot it results in more flies and maggots. This can lead to flystrike. This can fatally affect rabbits.

Keep your pet groomed and if it’s a long haired breed, have it trimmed to help keep it cool.

Keep hutches in the shade. It may mean you have to move it around during the day of you don’t have a permanently shaded spot.  Make sure the hutch is off the ground as this improves ventilation and can help to keep it cool.

Give small animals food that contains lots of water such as celery and apple. This will help keep them hydrated.

Spraying a water mist on larger animals such as rabbits is a good way to keep them cool.  Remember not to spray them in the face as they will not like it.

There are many other ways to keep your pet cool and a lot of them are common sense. A good way to look at it is if you are uncomfortable because of the heat there is a good chance your pet will be too.  If you need any extra information and advice please contact us  and we will be happy to have a chat.

Guinea Pigs – Part 1

As a child, getting a pet is brilliant! One of the most popular animals given as a childs pet is a guinea pig. They are lovely little things with bundles of personality and can bring a lot of happiness to your child whilst introducing them to the responsibilities of caring for a pet.  If you are thinking of getting your children  a guinea pig we hope the information in our 2 part blog is helpful.

Guinea Pigs
Picture via Imgur

According to Wikipedia, the common guinea pig was first domesticated as early as 5000 BC by tribes in the Andean region of South America. Spanish, Dutch, and English traders brought guinea pigs to Europe, where they quickly became popular as exotic pets among the upper classes and royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I.

It’s a long shot, but should you get the question “Where do guinea pigs originate from” in a pub quiz, you will now have the answer. 10 points to you!

Before getting a guinea pig there are a few things to consider:

  • Will you be able to give them some of your time?
  • Will you be getting more than one guinea pig?
  • Will you get short haired or long haired guinea pigs?
  • Do you have any other pets that may harm the guinea pigs?
  • Can you afford it?

If you have decided to get a guinea pig for your children you must make sure that as the adult, you take over all responsibility of the pet.  Guinea pigs are not toys and you will need to supervise the child and help them learn how to care for it.  Sadly a lot of guinea pigs get dumped because the children lose interest or do not have the time to look after them.  This is a shame so ensure you and your children can give it the time, care and attention it needs.  They are playful creatures that enjoy love attention and affection.

Another thing to consider is that you may need to buy two guinea pigs.  They are social creatures and love company.  If they were in the wild they would be surrounded by other guinea pigs and probably having a good chinwag.  Guinea pigs can get lonely so if they are not interacting with you it would be nice for them to have a companion to play with. Be aware that male guinea pigs may fight so it’s not always a good idea to get two males.  The perfect living arrangement would be to have a castrated male living with one or more females.  In the wild you would generally find one male surrounded by many females so it would be a good choice. If in doubt please speak to one of our vets who will be able to off you advice.

Guinea Pigs
Picture Via Imgur

So……………..you have decided to go ahead and buy a guinea pig, what next?  Before you buy one you need to think about the things you need so it has somewhere to live and has food to eat as soon as it is brought home.

In our next blog we go through some of the things you will need to buy before bringing it home and offer tips on how to care for your new furry friend.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this subject you can call the clinic and speak to one our members of staff or you can leave a message on our Facebook page.

Keeping your pet safe at Christmas

aadogIt’s the most wonderful time of the year, tis the season to be jolly and lots of fa la la la las.  Yes, it’s nearly Christmas and our Now That’s What I Call Christmas CD has been on repeat for a while now.

At this time of year we see more pets brought in due to illnesses or injuries because of something they have chewed or eaten.  We thought we would provide a few hints and tips on keeping your pets safe over the Christmas period.

Stress

Christmas is an exciting time for everyone. There will be lots of people coming round, decorations going up and there may be fireworks at New Year.  Many pets can become stressed due to all the hustle and bustle and noise. One thing you can do is make sure there is a place your pet can go to get away from it all. We don’t mean a spa retreat in the country, but a quiet space where they can go to calm down. You can also read our blog on keeping your pet relaxed by clicking HERE. This will offer more ideas

Food

At Christmas there is food everywhere. However, a lot of it can be bad for pets so you need to keep an eye out to make sure they don’t eat it.  Here are a few things to be aware of:

Chocolate – (you can read our blog on why it is bad HERE) –

Christmas pudding / Christmas cake / Mince Pies – These could contain grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants which can be toxic to animals and could cause kidney failure in dogs.

Chicken / Turkey bones – Do not let your pet eat these as they could splinter and get stuck in their throat.

Others foods to keep away from pets – Garlic, onions, coffee, alcohol, mouldy or spoiled food.

Decorations

If you want to get a real tree try and get one that doesn’t shed its needles.  If you can’t get one make sure you hoover up every day.

Pets love shiny things. Try and keep tinsel and baubles out of reach.  If tinsel is ingested it can potentially block the intestines and can only be removed by surgery.   Broken baubles can cause various problems.  You pet could choke on pieces or, if swallowed, could block the intestine. Also sharp edges can cut their paws or other parts of the body. If you have lights, keep cables tied away so they cannot be chewed. Overall, try not to have things hanging low to tempt your pet.  If you have lights that are hanging within reach your pet could become tangled. Anything pointy or sticking out could be a hazard. Last year we had a decoration stuck in an eye. You can read about that HERE

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Holly and mistletoe can be poisonous so make sure they are out of reach of pets and children.

If you have a pet that likes to climb make sure your tree is stable and won’t fall over.  

Other dangers

A big problem we see at this time of year is anti-freeze poisoning.  You can read about the problems and symptoms caused by clicking HERE.

Now the weather is cold there may be times when the roads get gritted.  When you take your dog for a walk, make sure there is nothing trapped in their feet.  Give their paws a wash and remove any trace of rock salt before they lick it off.

Keep your pets warm if the weather is really cold.  Older pets will feel it more so get them a coat. You can read more about looking after your pets during winter by clicking HERE.

That’s just a few things to consider over the Christmas period. Most pet owners will use common sense and already know these things, but it doesn’t hurt to remind people.  As always, if you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to help. Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.

Ask the Vet Q&A – 21/11/2013 – Part 2

Each month our vet, Jonathan Nurse, holds an “Ask the Vet” session LIVE on our Facebook page.  This gives people the opportunity to ask him anything regarding their own pets, pet health in general or questions regarding Cherrydown Vets as a whole. Unfortunately, not everyone can make the session so we decided to put all of the questions onto a blog so others can read at a later date.  Hopefully you find it useful and it answers any similar questions you may have. If you haven’t seen it already, you can read part one by clicking HERE

Question:

My Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has just recently turned a year of ago has also recently been diagnosed with elbow dysplasia in both legs, and complete elbow replacements have been mentioned in the condition starts to put too much strain on other joints and causes him too much pain. I was wondering how this sort of procedure may affect his day to day routine and his general quality of life? He is otherwise healthy and very active as he enjoys farm/country life! He does not climb any stairs or jump often (if at all) as he does not go on the furniture! I am hoping that as he is still young he will cope well. I was also wondering if it would be a good idea for me to consider hydrotherapy for him? The stiffness, pain & limping comes and goes and he has pain meds to use as and when he needs them.

Answer:

Elbow Dyplasia varies a lot in severity from case to case so I am unable to give you specific advice but hope the following helps. Firstly diagnosis can be a challenge so Xrays or sometimes CT scan is needed. The common treatment we perform would be an elbow arthroscopy-our Orthopaedic Specialist looks inside the joint with a camera via a keyhole procedure and assesses the degree of damage in the joint. If the cartilage is badly damaged he will remove the diseased cartilage at the same time. Elbow replacements are rarely done and, in my limited experience of them, have a long way to go to match hip replacements in their efficiency. Benefits of swimming have to be assessed on case by case basis.

Question:

my dog is not him self. He had his glands done he will not jump.up onto sofa when he use to plus he sleeping more than he use to.

Answer:

I would definitely recommend a vet check. Lethargy as you describe could be caused by literally 100s of different problems and some can be serious.

What’s the best treatment for fleas in kittens? I have 4 x 10 week old kittens and discovered fleas about 2 weeks ago (not loads but a few on each kitten).  I’ve bathed them and used spot on and also tried flea tablets.  Got rid of most but have a few that still linger around. HELP!!!

Answer: 

Best to make an appointment. If you bring them in the nurse can check them over. You also need to de-flea the house with flea spray. You can also take a look at our blog on the subject by clicking HERE

Question: 

I have a 2 and a half year old cat and she is starting to lose her hair. I looked online and it said about litter and food change but she has always had the same. Can you advise what it could be??

Answer: 

Hair loss in cats is most commonly caused by skin allergies, although ringworm, stress over-grooming etc can also present like this. Really needs a vet check and start a logical treatment plan because there are lots of different causes and potential treatments

Question:

What can I do for my dog who, since firework night,  shakes and cowers in the corner of the room? She still eats well and drinks well during the day.

Answer:

Firework phobias are common in dogs. In the short term the quickest solution are prescription tranquilisers that we can provide after a vet check. There are some more natural things you can try but generally only work if anxiety is mild. Longer term there are noise desensitisation programs you can get for your dog to attempt to “cure” the problem. Also in the short term-dark hiding places they feel safe in can help and you can use things like DAP diffusers in these areas.

Question:

I noticed this week that the top of my dog’s nose has gone bald. It’s only a small area on the bridge of his nose. Looking back at photo’s it was covered in hair before. On closer inspection some hair seems to be growing back. It’s not bothering him and it’s not red, cut or itching. I was wondering if he has rubbed the hair off when looking under our shed and fence. Should I be worried? He is 4 years old and very healthy.

Answer:

The lesions you are describing could be rub lesions. If so, the hair should regrow and new lesions should not appear. However, if the hair does not regrow or similar bald lesions appear elsewhere definitely need a vet check.

Question:

Any tips for giving cats tablets please?

Answer:

Try wrapping the cat in a towel with only the head exposed. Hold the cat close to your body and prevent it wriggling and trying to escape. Someone else to then try and get the tablet in the mouth. Stroking the chin with the mouth closed often makes them swallow it. An easier way is put in food but you need to make sure it has been eaten.

Question:

We have a 14wk German Shepherd puppy who has been to you and had all boosters etc However since we got her at 11 wks her stools have been very loose, we were told it was the unsettling of moving etc but weeks later she still is bad with it. Food is James WellBeloved puppy and she eats, drinks and plays all fine but I can’t seem to settle the tummy, tried the rice and chicken root etc.  Do you have any ideas?

Answer:

You are right, she should be over the move now. She needs a vet check to start an investigation. This will often involve stool samples as infectious problems such as Giardia and Campylobacter are very common causes of diarrhoea in pups. Other possibilities include dietary intolerances, pancreatic insufficiency etc so definitely need to start investigation and treatment

Question:

What is the ideal weight for a 4 week old hand reared female staffy?

Answer:

Body condition score is more important than body weight. There are no definitive weight charts/ideal weight charts for pups as they grow at such varying rates. Therefore, you need to ensure pup is gaining weight and that there is sufficient lean body tissue and fat on the pup. Best option, if you are worried we run FREE nurse checks and they can advise.

If you have any questions you do not need to wait for an Ask the Vet session.  You can either call us at the clinic or you can leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Ask the Vet Q&A – 21/11/2013 – Part 1

Each month our vet, Jonathan Nurse, holds an “Ask the Vet” session LIVE on our Facebook page.  This gives people the opportunity to ask him anything regarding their own pets, pet health in general or questions regarding Cherrydown Vets as a whole. Unfortunately, not everyone can make the session so we decided to put all of the questions onto a blog so others can read at a later date.  Hopefully you find it useful and it answers any similar questions you may have.

Question:

I have 2 x 15 week old female kittens I’ve had them since they were just 8 weeks old but they still try and suckle everything. I was wondering if this was normal and something they will grow out of or if its something to be concerned about?

Answer: 

This is not that unusual and something they usually grow out of

Question: 

Can I please ask your opinion? My dogs are over 11 years old – do they still need booster injections or would their immunities be okay having had 10 years worth already?

Answer:

As far as I am aware, there are no definitive studies proving how long immunity lasts in dogs dependant on how old they are and how many vaccines they have had. Therefore, we still recommend vaccination whatever their age. Alternatively, we now have the antibody tests available in house to seem they have enough immunity – See our blog HERE

Question: 

Can you recommend a good dry food for small dogs? I have a 10 week shih zhu on royal canine and a 5 year old peekapoo on bakers small dog, I want to take her off the bakers but need a good replacement, ideally something suitable for both dogs.

Answer:

There really is no one size fits all with dogs and food. It never ceases to amaze me how one dog can thrive on a food and another will do really badly on it. We recommend Hill and James Wellbeloved as good standard diets but Royal Canin is also a good quality food

Question: 

What treatment would you recommend for a 2 year old cat with what feel like mammary tumors. She is nursing 9 week old kittens which will now be weaned. Is it best to perform a full mammary strip or spay her first and see if the tumors are hormone induced and shrink over a few weeks?

Answer:

Impossible to say without seeing the cat. Mammary tumours are often very aggressive in cats so often need to treat aggressively. First question is do we know they are tumours? A biopsy or fna to diagnose problem may be first thing to do

Question:

How can I stop my 7 year old rescue cat from clawing my carpet. She ignores her scratching post & Bridy has clipped her claws. She don’t go outdoors.

Answer:

Sorry not found an effective solution to this problem! My cat does it all the time

Question:

Following the recent loss of one our cats, Mr Tibbs, we are planning to get a Maine coon as company for our other cat Monty as they have such good temperaments. I know we should keep them separated initially to allow them both to adjust but is there any other advice for a smooth introduction? The Maine coon will be 13 weeks when we bring him/her home.

Answer:

The key issue to successful introduction of a new cat is mixing their scents. Cats who get on live in a common social group and smell very similar. therefore, before introducing them rub them both with a cloth, put the cloths together in a bag and shake them together, then put one cloth with each cat’s environment. Do this for a few days-freshening the scent each day. Then when they mix they will often get on well. Also Feliway can help a lot

If you have any questions you do not need to wait for an Ask the Vet session.  You can either call us at the clinic or you can leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Overweight Pets

o0verweightIs your pet a Usain Bolt , muscular fit and active or is it Mr Blobby in a fur coat? Chances are it’s somewhere between the two. Not many of us can expect to run a sub 10 second 100 metres, but we should be able to run it without collapsing halfway for a rest and half a bottle of oxygen. Our pets are the same and whilst not every dog is going to catch the rabbit or win the 4th race at Romford Dogs, they should at least be able to run faster than the average person and get a ball back to you before you get bored waiting for them.

Sadly obesity in pets is all too common and we see a lot of them at Cherrydown every month. Last year a major survey was done to find out more about obese pets and there were some interesting statistics:

There are approximately 2.9 million dogs and over 3 million cats in the UK that are overweight.  However, 84% of owners believe their pet is the correct weight.  This shows there is a big misunderstanding when it comes to a pet’s ideal weight, or more people need get down to Specsavers!

Some other facts include:

Rabbits have a worse diet when compared to cats and dogs.  42% of rabbits do not get enough hay every day and they are fed too much rabbit muesli.  This contributes to obesity and is linked with painful dental disease.

90% of dog owners have admitted giving their pooch cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits and takeaways.

If dogs were meant to eat crisps there’d be photos of Gary Lineker on dog food packaging. Thankfully there aren’t, and Nigella Lawson isn’t on them either so that must mean the product from cake & biscuit baking is not meant for dogs either. So why do we do it? Well…….

48% of owners say they give their pet a treat because they believe it makes their pet happy.

29% of owners say they give their pet a treat to make themselves feel happy.

100% of dictionary writers would say the important word here is ‘treat’. If you have something regularly or all the time it’s not really a treat is it? Would Christmas be as exciting if it happened every day? Would we Brits get the same pleasure from a beautiful sunny day if we were guaranteed them every day through the summer? Of course not, it’s the fact that it’s a treat that makes it so good. Giving your pet a treat is fine, but just remember that a treat should be a very occasional thing to make it special; a bit like Gary Lineker scoring from outside the penalty area.

The serious bit here folks is that obesity in pets often leads to other health issues. Too much strain is put on important organs like the heart, on bones, joints and muscles. Incidence of disease rises and life expectancy decreases. I wonder what percentage of pets that would make happy?

If you want to make your pet happy play with it, exercise it and have fun with it. When you get the lead out and walk to the door most dogs go nuts, and that’s because they’re excited and happy because they know they’re going out for some exercise. They know it makes sense which makes them smarter than some of us!

So what is the ideal weight for your pet? Can you play a tune on their ribs, if so then they’re probably too skinny. Can you actually feel their ribs, if not then they’re almost certainly too fat. Our vets and nurses can help you to realise what the ideal weight for your pet is and they can give advice on nutrition, diet and exercise to help them keep to that weight. We even have two nurses that run FREE weight clinics for your pets. All you have to do is contact us and ask for an appointment with Sarah or Rikki.

As this blog draws to a close, I’m going to ask a question that I think may not be too tricky…… would you prefer an overweight pet that is more likely to get sick, die younger and cost you more in vets bills, or would you like a fitter healthier pet at the right weight that will almost certainly cost you less in the long run and live longer? Bit of a no brainer really. Not only that, but you can get the help and advice you need to achieve this for Free (but please don’t tell Jonathan!).

Prevention is better than cure as the saying goes, and preventing obesity is easier than getting a pet to lose weight.  A good healthy diet and plenty of exercise from a young age will help your pet stay trim and make it less likely to become fat when it gets older. At Cherrydown we strongly believe good preventative care is essential to your pet’s health and that’s why we not only run free weight clinics, but keep the price of the nutritional pet foods we sell to less than our competitors. So please give us a call or pop in and see us so we can help keep your pet as healthy as possible.

healthy pets

Adopting a pet – Part 1

Each year more and more pets are being dumped or given away by their owners.  According to the RSPCA more than 100 animals are being abandoned each day.  This is a 65% increase compared to figures in 2007.

There are many reasons why people give away their pets:

The pets are too much hard work or they are not what they expected

They cost too much to keep –  they can’t afford the food, medical care, boarding costs etc

The owners have lost interest in the pet.

The owners have moved and cannot have pets in the new home

The owner becomes ill or passes away

Breakdown of relationships and no one wants to take responsibility of the pet

The owner doesn’t want an old dog

The dog isn’t pretty enough

Many of these animals end up in shelters looking for new homes. Unfortunately, due to the amount of pets being abandoned, it’s getting harder and harder to find each animal somewhere to live which causes the running costs of the shelters to increase.

Luckily, there are many people who are willing to adopt a pet and give it second chance at happiness.  Below are a few hints and tips about adopting an animal.  In this blog we will start with dogs.

Choosing a dog

Whether you are buying a dog from a reputable breeder or adopting one you still need to do your homework. You need to think about how much time you can spend with the dog. Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? Will your circumstances be changing over the next couple of years that may affect the dog? Can you afford it as it can become expensive?  If you have other animals will they accept a new dog?

If you do not think you could handle a puppy it may be worth looking after an adult dog. Also, would you consider a more senior animal? In a lot of shelters the older dogs are generally last to be adopted and in some cases they are the first to be euthanised as they are harder to rehome.  Senior dogs can give you lots of love and due to their experience can be easier to train and will fit into your home without too many problems, however, you may need patience as older dogs may take a bit more time to settle in.

Consider the background of the dog compared to your home. If you have a fast moving noisy house, it may not be ideal choosing a dog that may have had a quiet life with elderly owners. Also, vice versa – if you want a quiet life, getting a dog that is fairly hyper would also not be ideal

Speak to the adoption centre and ask lots of questions as they will be able to help and advise you.

Get information from the shelter

Make sure you get all the information about the dog from the shelter.  Many dogs in rehome shelters will be strays but there will be dogs that have come from the owners so the shelter will have some background information on the animal.   Many shelters and rescue centres will ensure the dog is chipped and neutered/spayed before the dog leaves them. However, some places will requireyou to arrange that yourself as part of the adoption agreement.

Ask about what food the dog was given and at what times.  This ensures there is some sort of continuity when the dog arrives at your home.  If you are thinking about giving the dog different food, make it a gradual change so it limits any possible digestive problems.  Speak to your vet or the shelter if you need advice on this

Before you bring your dog home

Before your dog arrives in your home make sure it has a space to call its own. The dog will initially be confused to why it is at your home and won’t know what to expect. It can be a stressful time for the dog with the change of environment so make sure it has a bed ready so it can retire to it if things get a bit too much.  Dog proof any room(s) that the dog will spend a lot of time in.  Tape up cables, remove or lock away anything poisonous, remove anything breakable, instal baby gates if you want them to keep out of certain areas.

Introducing the dog to your home

When you move house you know how stressful it can be.  This is the same for dogs.  Give them time to get used to the new surroundings and the people within your home.  If you have children make sure they do not overwhelm the animal.  Just take it slowly so the dog has the space and time to adjust.

No matter how house trained a dog may be, there may be accidents.  When entering a new home there will be lots of new sights and smells so it may be thrown off track.  Be prepared to clean up just in case.

Over the next few days remain calm and have as much one on one time with the dog as possible. This will help you learn all the things it likes and dislikes.  It will also help your dog settle in a lot quicker.  Try and keep to a schedule with food and walks. This helps the dog learn what is expected from it and what to expect from you.

It’s a good idea to take your dog to your vet for a thorough check. They will be able to advise you on vaccines, check for any possible health issues and can advise you on how to get the best out of your dog.

There are lots of other hints and tips which can help you when adopting a dog.  If you have any questions or would like advice on this subject, please contact the clinic and someone will be able to help.  Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page

Breaks and Fractures

At Cherrydown Vets one of the reasons pets are bought in to us is because of breaks or fractures to their bones.  It could be because of a car accident, a high fall, fighting, over exuberance or something more serious like bone cancer. There are two types of fractures, open and closed. An open fracture is when the bone breaks and pierces through the skin. A closed fracture is where the bone has broken but does not break the skin.

If your pet has had a heavy fall or an accident there are some things you can look out for to see if there is anything broken.

  • Your pet may hold the broken limb in an abnormal position
  • The limb will become very swollen
  • There may be an open wound with bone sticking through it.
  • You pet may be limping or is reluctant to put any weight on a particular limb
  • Your pet may hold up their limb and not put any weight on it at all
  • Your pet may not want the limb touched by anyone

Bones consist of an outer, hard portion known as the cortex and an inner area known as the marrow.  A fracture can range from a simple hairline fracture with little displacement of the bone to complex fractures where the bone has shattered into many pieces. If a fracture has taken place at a joint it can be even more serious.

If you believe your pet has fractured a bone you should take them to the vets immediately so they can be x-rayed. When the vet can see how serious the break is they can advise on the best course of action.

When it comes to transporting the animal, try to minimise movement of the affected area. If the bone is exposed cover with a clean, damp towel to protect the wound.  Also, be careful when moving your pet. No matter how friendly and soft they are, when animals are scared or in pain they may bite. If you have a dog it may be worth putting a muzzle on them.

The vet will do a thorough examination of the fracture and will also check for any other injuries. Once they have all the relevant information they will be able to decide what to do next. Each fracture is different but generally there are two types of treatment, depending on the fracture. The vet may recommend internal or external stabilisation.

External stabilisation – If your pet has a hairline fracture or something minor, the vet may choose to use splints, casts or padded bandages to keep everything in place.

Internal stabilisation – This involves surgery and your pet will be anesthetised It can be anything from inserting a metal pin lengthwise into the centre of the bone (like an internal splint) to metal plates, pins, screws and wires to hold together various pieces of bone or to fix a joint.  If it is a serious fracture your vet may refer you to an Orthopaedic Specialist.

There is no strict rule on the amount of time it can take to heal a fracture but generally, the younger the animal the sooner it will take.  You need to make sure you limit the amount of exercise your pet does during the healing process to ensure the bones stay aligned. If your pet has too much activity it could refracture the bone and delay the healing or your pet could have a deformed limb due to stress on a weakened bone.  During the healing period your vet may take further x-rays to ensure it’s healing properly and let you know when your pet’s limb is back to normal.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to discuss this with you. Alternatively, you can post your question on our Facebook page.

Owning a Rabbit – Part 2

Food and Diet

If you believe what you see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon rabbits only eat carrots. This is a complete myth.  A rabbit’s diet is far more complex.  If you broke it down it would look like this:

80% Grass and Hay – Rabbits digestive systems must have grass and/or hay in order to function properly.  It’s also important they chew grass and hay as it prevents teeth overgrowth. If you use various types of hay it can encourage different chewing patterns and is better for dental health.  One of the main health issues commonly seen by vets is dental disease.  This is directly linked to the inappropriate diets rabbits have. For example too much rabbit muesli (which does not wear their teeth down) and not enough grass/hay. 

If you spot any of the following symptoms it’s possible your rabbit may have dental problems

A wet chin

Weight loss

Drooling

Going off their food

Eye discharge

A dirty bottom

If a rabbit has a sore mouth it will find grooming/licking too painful so it won’t be able to clean itself properly. Also, because of abnormal tooth roots it can affect their eyes.  If you see any of the above symptoms take your rabbit to see the vet. 

15% Vegetables – If possible, try to give your rabbit various greens each day. Below is a list of some greens that are safe for rabbits to eat and some that are not. It’s not a complete list but it gives you a general idea. Your vet can always give you more advice if you need it. 

Safe Greens                                                                               Unsafe Greens

Asparagus

Amaryllis

Basil

Bindweed

Broccoli

Bracken

Brussels Sprouts

Elder Poppies

Cabbage

Foxglove

Carrots (only feed occasionally – they are high in sugar. The leafy tops are OK)

Laburnum
Yew

Cauliflower

Lily-of-the-valley

Celeriac

Lupin

Celery leaves

Most evergreens

Chard

Oak leaves

Chicory

Privet

Courgette

Ragwort

Dock

Rhubarb leaves

Parsley

Endive

Green beans

Kale

Watercress

Radicchio

Radish tops

Rocket

Salad peppers

Spinach

4.5% Rabbit pellets – It’s fine to feed your rabbit pellets but grass and hay are far more important to their diet and well being.  If you are going to feed it pellets don’t keep topping up their bowl as they may not eat enough of the food they really need.

0.5% Fruit and sugary veg – This should only be fed in very small amounts as an occasional treat due to the high sugar content. Rabbits can digest these types of food really well and over feeding can cause obesity. If a rabbit becomes obese they won’t be able to groom themselves properly. It can also lead to a ‘sticky bum’ and makes a rabbit more prone to fly-strike in the summer months.  Cherrydown Vets run weight clinics so if you think your rabbit is overweight, our nurses can help and advise you on diet and exercise.

Another important part of their diet is their own poo. Rabbits produce two sorts of pellets. The first sort is hard and dry and what you will commonly see in the hutch or garden. The other sort is dark, soft, moist and smelly.  These are called “caecotrophs” and rabbits eat them, usually straight from their behind.  If you see this it’s completely normal. They do this to ensure they get all of the goodness from their high-fibre food.

Finally, make sure water is always available. It doesn’t matter whether you use a bottle or a bowl. Just make sure it’s kept clean.

If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this blog or you would like more advice on feeding your rabbit please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

Owning a Rabbit – Part 1

Did you know there are approximately 1.7 million rabbits kept as pets in the UK? This makes them the third most popular pet after cats and dogs. There are many different breeds all varying in size, shape and personality.  It is generally thought owning a rabbit is easy. However, as they need daily attention, have quite complex needs and can live for a long time (typically 8-12 years or even longer) keeping a rabbit is a major commitment.

Buying a rabbit

If you are looking to get a rabbit, going to a reputable breeder is a good option.  They will have planned the breeding carefully and the baby rabbits should have a good temperament. They will have handled them from a young age so they get used to being picked up. You will also know the exact date of birth which will give you peace of mind that you are not taking the baby rabbits away too young.

Another option is to go to a rescue centre. Every year many rabbits get abandoned because the owners either lose interest or can’t look after them properly.  If a rabbit goes into a rescue centre they will receive a vet check to ensure it’s healthy before being put forward for adoption. The rabbit’s temperament will be checked to ensure they will be safe for children to handle.  Also, many centres will ensure the rabbits are micro-chipped and neutered before you take them home.  You may need to fill in forms, have an interview and possibly have a home visit. This is done to ensure you are able to look after the rabbit properly.

A lot of people will get their first rabbit from a pet shop. However, very few of them will get their rabbits from private/reputable breeders. They will more than likely get them from commercial breeders and the rabbits have been born as part of a mass breeding programme.  These types of breeders are aiming for quantity rather than quality.  Also, the baby rabbits won’t have been handled before reaching the pet shop which means they may be more afraid of humans.  If you do go to a pet shop, ensure the staff know what they are talking about and are able to provide you with all the information you need.

When getting a rabbit there are a couple of other things to consider:

Rabbits are very social animals and do not like to be alone.  If possible you should keep your rabbit with another friendly rabbit unless your vet has told you otherwise.  Rabbits can get bored very easily and can suffer if they have no company or nothing to do. If you have been told to keep your rabbit on its own make sure you interact with it every day.

If you already own a rabbit and you are getting another one, introduce them gradually and do not leave them on their own at first. It may be a good idea to put them in a space that is new to both to them.  Normally, young rabbits that are bought up together will get on, but if they are introduced as adults they may fight.

If you have other pets, a cat or a dog, do not leave your rabbits unsupervised when they are around. Even if you know they all get on. It’s better to be safe than sorry

Finally, unless you are planning on breeding it would be advisable to get your rabbits neutered as this can reduce the likelihood of fighting in both male and female rabbits. Another advantage is neutering female rabbits also stops them getting uterine cancer.

In the next part of our blog we will look at diet and advise on where to keep your rabbit – indoors or outdoors.

As always, if you have any questions you can call us at the clinic or leave a question on our Facebook page. Also, you can pop in to get a free check up with one of our rabbit nurses who can give advice on diet, dental, neutering, vaccinations, housing and boredom breaking activities to help keep your bunny happy