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Here you can keep up to date with useful information shared by our dedicated team of vets and nurses . Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

By Bishops Vets, May 23 2017 12:05PM

Doing some dental work on a rabbit recently gave our vet Catherine some food for thought. Catherine recently saw a lovely little rabbit. She is lucky to be in a very good home, fed a healthy diet and is well socialised - both with her owner and also with other rabbit companions. Not that long ago, this would sadly have been quite uncommon as many rabbits live their lives in small hutches without adequate space to run around in and enable them to display normal behaviours. Still now they are often fed inappropriate diets and many never see a vet, even for routine healthcare. Luckily people are becoming better informed and we are seeing more and more well cared for rabbits who are treated as members of the family.

This little rabbit came in after going off her food and an oral examination in the consultation revealed small spikes on her back teeth. This is a common problem in rabbits and can be exacerbated by conformational issues (such as short faces - brachycephalics) and poor diets. Rabbits need to be fed a high fibre diet as their teeth continually grow throughout their lives and therefore need to be constantly ground down to remain at an appropriate length. If this process does not happen appropriately, they can develop painful spikes at the edges of the affected teeth, which dig into the cheeks or tongue and cause mouth ulcers. The only way to get rid of the spikes is to burr them down under general anaesthesia, which is where we come in. Despite how uncomfortable this condition sounds, it can be tricky for owners to be aware of as not all rabbits have obvious signs relating to mouth pain until the condition has progressed quite far. Signs to watch out for include not eating, producing less faeces and increased salivation.

Regular health checks with a vet are so important to potentially catch health problems at an early stage. This enables a treatment plan to be put in place and can prevent your pet from having to suffer in silence any longer. Rabbits aren’t always very good at complaining! Our vets always perform a full health check at the time of the annual vaccinations but some bunnies need more regular check ups, especially if they already have a history of dental disease. If for any reason your pet isn’t having the recommended vaccinations, it is still important to go for at least one annual health check. Our Pet Health Club rabbit members actually get 4 health checks every year, which helps a lot.

Is your rabbit due a check up? Just give us a call on 01707 272772 to book in – we’d love to see them!

By Bishops Vets, May 23 2017 12:00PM

Vaccinations are something that we do day in, day out in veterinary practice. We are used to seeing our patients for their health check and booster vaccinations yearly. But the question is do our clients understand the benefits of vaccines like we do? A recent study of 2000 cat owners suggests not so we thought we would give a little more insight into why we are recommending annual vaccines.

According to the study, just under half of cat owners questioned didn’t think that cats should be vaccinated yearly and just under a third do not vaccinate at all. Also, 60% didn’t know which diseases were protected against by the vaccines.

So, what is in our vaccines? We routinely vaccinate cats against panleukopenia (enteritis), calicivirus and herpesvirus (both part of the 'cat flu' complex), and feline leukaemia virus.

Cat flu is a infectious condition caused by a number of viruses and bacteria. The vaccines we use protect against feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, both of which play a part in this complex condition. Symptoms that cats may show if they have cat flu include sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, a high temperature and/or mouth ulcers. Some of the viruses and bacteria that cause cat flu can remain dormant over time and flare up to cause symptoms if the cat is stressed or otherwise unwell.

Feline Enteritis is caused by feline panleukopaenia virus. This is a nasty disease that causes symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, high temperature and anaemia. In some cases it can be fatal, especially in kittens.

Feline Leukaemia Virus can cause anaemia, cancers such as lymphoma and leukaemia, and suppression of the immune system, which leaves the cat more at risk from other types of disease.

Kittens can be vaccinated from 8 weeks old and we recommend annual boosters. As cats age, they can retain immunity to some parts of the vaccine for longer than a year but not all. They are also more prone to other health problems as they get older, which can reduce their ability to fight infectious disease - therefore it is important to continue to vaccinate adult cats yearly.

One question that we do get asked is if cats need to be vaccinated if they live indoors only. The answer is yes - at least to the flu and enteritis components of the vaccine. The reason for this is that cats don’t have to have direct contact with other cats to become infected - some viruses can be carried indoors on peoples’ shoes for example.

If you ever have any questions about why we are vaccinating your pets, feel free to ask us during your appointment. We also have literature that you can take away with you to read at your leisure.

We hope that this has been helpful and we do always welcome your feedback. If there are any other topics that you would like to see us blog about, please let us know!

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