COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – an update for our clients.

Preston Vets share how to keep rabbits cool during summer

Due to their thick covering of fur, rising temperatures can become dangerous for rabbits as summer approaches. Rabbits can easily overheat and develop life-threatening gut problems or disease with these seasonal changes. Do not panic, the team at Rowan Veterinary Centre are here to help you learn how to prepare your small furry pets for the warmer months ahead.

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Rabbit checklist for dealing with rising temperatures

A big problem for rabbits during summer is overheating. Here are some ways to reduce that risk:

  • Position the hutch in the shade – if outdoors, maybe think about creating a burrow (that they cannot escape from) to help them mimic their natural ‘wild’ behaviours.
  • Rabbits do require some time in the sun during the day to get the vitamin D they need for digestion – give them short amounts of supervised time outdoors with shaded areas.
  • Make sure their water bowl/bottle is filled up with fresh water more regularly.
  • Wrap an ice pack or a 2-litre drink bottle of frozen water in a towel for them to lean on.
  • Provide a cooler space to lie on such as a cooling mat or a cold tile.
  • Use water in a misting spray bottle on their ears to cool them down – never soak them as this could put them at risk of respiratory problems if they catch a chill.
  • Make sure their hutch is well-ventilated – a fan can be used but avoid pointing it directly at your bunnies and make sure they have enough space to move away from it if they want to.
  • Give frozen veggies as a cooling treat.

The signs of heat stroke in rabbits include:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Head tossing
  • Red or hot ears
  • Seizures or a coma

If your rabbits are suffering from heat stroke, do not submerge them in water or leave them unattended for long periods of time. Dampen their fur, offer them cool water, and call our Hillock Lane vet practice right away for advice on 01772 639 800.

Despite the warmer weather during spring and summer, there can still be cold spells, so make sure there is extra insulation and bedding if required. In addition, spring grass (which is high in sugars) can cause gut issues in your rabbits, so gradually introduce them to this within their feed.

Summer rabbit diseases

Another topic of concern is disease. During warmer months, the risk of diseases such as flystrike, myxomatosis, and VHD (Viral Haemorrhage Disease), as well as parasite infections increases. You can significantly reduce the risks with optimal hutch hygiene and the correct vaccinations. If you are concerned about any of these, contact us right away on 01772 639 800 to book a rabbit check-up.

A great way to reduce both the risk of overheating and disease is grooming. Brushing can help to remove some of their thicker winter fur and any debris, which will help to cool them down. If your rabbits have long fur that needs a trim, it is wise to consider using a professional groomer for this as a rabbit’s skin is quite thin and easily damaged.

Should I bathe my rabbit to cool or clean them?

Rabbits tend to keep themselves meticulously clean. If your rabbit gets extremely dirty and needs some help, spot cleaning is the safest method. If they get hot, it is best to follow the advice above. Being bathed could frighten your rabbit, leading to injury from thrashing about. Also, they could catch a chill and suffer from pneumonia, respiratory infections, hypothermia, and other life-threatening health conditions. If your rabbit is struggling to clean themselves
or you spot urine or faeces on their fur, contact our veterinary team as soon as possible as they may be at risk of flystrike.

We hope our tips on how to keep rabbits cool and healthy in summer will help you have a happy and trouble-free season with them in Lancashire.

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Why guinea pigs, hamsters, and other small furries make great pets

As part of National Pet Month (April 1st – May 2nd), Rowan Veterinary Centre are celebrating the lives of small furries by sharing why our nurses believe they make excellent additions to many households. That’s right, we are talking about rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, chinchillas, and all other small furry pets.

Join in with our celebrations by sharing photos of your adorable small furry pets on our Facebook page using the hashtag #PrestonSmallFurries

Share your pet pics on Facebook

If handled the right way (and regularly) from an early age, small furries can become extremely friendly and loveable pets. Read our nursing team’s thoughts on them below.

9 reasons to love small furry pets

1. They are cute, funny, adorable, and can make truly wonderful companions for children and adults alike.

2. They don’t take up much room other than a cage or a hutch, and a safe, enclosed space to run around in – rabbits & guinea pigs need some sunlight hours to aid digestion.

3. They are generally less expensive to keep than cats, dogs, and other larger pets in terms of housing, food, veterinary care, and holiday sitters.

4. They can be fairly easy to keep, although it is important to research what your particular species likes to eat, and their housing, enrichment, and companionship needs.

5. They don’t need walking for hours around the park, but they do need exercise on things like hamster wheels, rolling balls, and in an enclosed run.

6. You can have lots of fun creating DIY activities and boredom busting toys for them.

7. Grooming rabbits and guinea pigs can be therapeutic for you both.

8. You can grow some of their food in your back garden, keeping costs low and helping the planet. Make sure to give them non-toxic greens in addition to hay and specially formulated pellets if that’s what they need to thrive.

9. Taking care of small pets can teach children about responsibility and caregiving.

Do small furry pets have ‘issues’?

Like all pets, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, and chinchillas come with their own set of health and care issues. These small pets might not be right for every family, home setup, or budget, so be sure to research thoroughly before buying. If buying for a child, think about how long the species typically lives for and how long before your child goes off to university or leaves home!

Rowan Vets’ nurses have also put together a list of things to be aware of when thinking about getting a small furry pet:

  • They may bite and move quickly, and are skilled escape artists
  • Larger pets see them as prey and may attack them given the opportunity
  • Some species need to live in pairs; rabbits and male guinea pigs need to be neutered in mixed gender pairs or groups (female guinea pigs over 7 months can have first-time birthing issues)
  • Many species are nocturnal – research, invest in earplugs, or re-locate the cage at night
  • You will need to make sure they are not too hot or too cold as the seasons change
  • Cages/hutches need cleaning out regularly to prevent deadly flystrike amongst other issues

We hope you found our nursing team’s advice helpful. Pop over to our Facebook page to share your small furry pet photos, or to ask us questions about these wonderful creatures if you are thinking about becoming an owner.

Remember to use our hashtag #PrestonSmallFurries

Share your pet pics & questions on Facebook

Pet Ownership – have you considered the costs involved?

Owning a pet is very rewarding; our pets give back SO much more than they take!  Before considering getting a pet #rowanrecommends taking into consideration the cost of owning a pet as part of #responsiblepetownership.

ALL pets need healthcare.  Whether it’s the unpredictable; accident, illness or the predictable routine preventative care; vaccination and parasite protection, it all costs money.  #responsiblepetownership means you have to budget for these on-going costs for the life of your pet.

One way you can take care of the unpredictable is by taking out a pet health insurance policy.  This works in the same way car insurance or house insurance works.  For a monthly premium set by the company, your pet can be covered for many of the unpredictable health issues your pet might experience throughout their life (#didyouknow that you are more likely to claim on your pet’s health insurance than you are for either house or car insurance?)

It’s very unlikely that your pet will go through it’s whole life without needing some sort of medical treatment so #beprepared.

Download our leaflet all about The Cost of Veterinary CareTo find out more about pet health insurance and what to consider when buying a policy, download our leaflet The Importance of Pet Insurance.

If you have any concerns about the health of your pet or would like some advice on veterinary costs, contact the team on PetsApp or by calling 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

 

#rowanvets #vetsinpreston #vetsinblackpool #vetsinlytham #vetsinkirkham #vetsinwarton #vetsinfreckelton #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #picoftheday #love #healthypets #goldstandardpetcare #pethealthplan #petdentalhealth #welovedogs #welovecats #weloverabbits #pethealth #nationalpetmonth #nationpetfirstaidmonth

Symptoms & treatment for lumps on hamsters and other small pets

Owning a small furry pet is great! They are cute, friendly, and active, but they do suffer from their own share of diseases, just like cats and dogs. Lumps and bumps are common in pet rodents however they are not always harmful and do not always need removing. Follow Head Vet Ruth’s guide below to find out more.

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Common lumps and bumps on pet rodents

Lumps and bumps come in many different shapes and sizes, so here are the common problems each of the furry animals suffer from.

Hamsters

Hamsters are prone to testicular or mammary lumps. If either of their testicles or nipples are hard or even distended, there could be a tumour or mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland) present. Facial lumps are often caused by dental issues or abscesses. Any lumps on the body (if ulcerated) could be dangerous, so contact Rowan Vets for an appointment

Guinea Pigs

With Guinea Pigs, abscesses often appear on the head, neck, and in the mouth; cysts appear on the back; and tumours often develop on the tail and chest.

Rats and Mice

These rodents are prone to abscesses, enlarged lymph nodes, and tumours due to their high oestrogen levels leading to rapid cell division.

Gerbils

Gerbils are prone to abscesses formed from bacterial build-ups and tumours developing on their scent glands, skin, testicles, and teats.

So how are these lumps and bumps treated?

Not all lumps need to be removed. If the lump is due to a bacterial infection, it will most likely be treated with a course of antibiotics. However, if the bump is caused by excess fluid (a cyst or enlarged lymph nodes), they can be drained by a Vet. However, tumours can usually be surgically removed if benign or at an early cancerous stage.

To help spot any of these abnormalities, there are some typical signs you can look out for:

  • A change in behaviour
  • A reduced appetite
  • Smelly breath
  • You can feel or see lumps or sores on your pet

If you spot any of these signs, contact Travel Vet’s team at Hillock Lane for further advice or to book an appointment.

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Why rabbit vaccinations are so important in Lancashire

With spring just around the corner, you will likely be flinging the windows open by your rabbit’s hutch or moving it back outside. You may even treat them to more time in the garden. Before you do, it is wise to make sure your rabbit’s vaccinations are up to date.

At Rowan Veterinary Centre in Preston, we want to be sure rabbit owners are aware of the deadly diseases that can affect their pets and how to protect them.

Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease can strike even if your pets live well away from other rabbits. These diseases sadly have high mortality rates. Fortunately, rabbit vaccinations are available to protect your pets. So why not get in touch with our team to check if your rabbit vaccines are up to date, or to book a booster right away?

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Why rabbits need vaccinating

Rowan Vets’ Head Vet Ruth Mackay, shares the key facts about these horrible rabbit diseases below.

Myxomatosis

  • Domestic rabbits do not need to be in contact with wild rabbits to catch it
  • It spreads quickly and is passed through fleas, mosquitos, midges, and mites
  • Symptoms include nasal and eye discharge, eye inflammation leading to blindness, swelling, redness/ulcers, problems breathing, appetite loss, and lethargy
  • Even with the best possible veterinary treatment, very few pet rabbits survive Myxomatosis so vaccination is essential

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)

  • VHD often occurs in outbreaks, spreading rapidly from rabbit to rabbit
  • Your rabbit does not need to be in contact with other rabbits to catch it as the virus can be carried in feed, on bedding, by wild birds and insects, and on the feet of rabbit owners who have been walking in an infected area
  • There are two strains – VHD-1 has a higher mortality rate (almost 100%) but VHD-2 can also affect younger rabbits under 6 weeks old that may not succumb to VHD-1
  • Symptoms of VHD-1 include respiratory distress, fever, appetite loss, lethargy, convulsions, paralysis, and bleeding from the nose before death. Signs of VHD-2 can be vague.
  • VHD is easily preventable with vaccines

What vaccinations do rabbits need & when?

You can protect your pet against Myxomatosis and VHD with annual rabbit vaccinations from just five weeks old. In some circumstances,our veterinary surgeons may advise more frequent vaccinations.

If your rabbit has been vaccinated and you cannot remember when their booster is due, get in touch and we can check.

A rabbit vaccination appointment also gives you the perfect opportunity to talk to Rowan Vets’ experienced team about your rabbit’s health in general.

Contact us to book a rabbit vaccination

Rowan Vets shares 14 signs of small furry pet dental problems

What do hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits have in common, besides being cute small furry pets? Well, they all have teeth that grow continuously and need the correct diet to keep them in-check naturally. Well done if you guessed it correctly!

Rowan Veterinary Centre are hopping onboard with February’s Pet Dental Health Month and sharing advice to help small furry pet owners in Lancashire learn about their pets’ dental needs.

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Common small furry pet dental problems

A common dental problem that rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters face is overgrown teeth. If teeth are not kept at a healthy length by chewing food and gnawing, they can become too long and cause a variety of issues such as:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Difficulty eating – after around 6 hours this becomes an emergency situation for rabbits & guinea pigs who should graze almost constantly
  • Roots get pushed back into the jaw & skull
  • Teeth break off causing discomfort (typically in hamsters)
  • Overgrowth digs into the mouth and gums causing cuts and abscesses
  • Dental disease

How to spot the signs

Spotting dental health problems in rabbits and other small furry pets can be tricky to the untrained eye. As prey animals, their instinct is to hide pain and avoid showing any sign of weakness.

That’s why it is important for you as an owner to keep a lookout for any, or a combination of the symptoms below. Take a note of your pet’s general health, as well as how the inside of their mouth looks.

14 signs of dental problems to look out for:

  1. Long, deformed, misaligned, or broken teeth
  2. Redness of the gums
  3. Drooling
  4. Grinding teeth
  5. Bumpy jawline
  6. Weepy eyes
  7. Runny nose
  8. Swollen face
  9. Mouth sensitivity
  10. Eating less
  11. Weight loss
  12. A dirty bottom (grooming becomes difficult & painful)
  13. Diarrhoea or unusually soft faeces
  14. They are less active or quiet

How to avoid hamster, guinea pig & rabbit dental problems

Diet is the key to avoiding these types of issues. Hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits need the right type of fibrous food they can chew on to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Balanced nutrition also helps them develop strong bones and teeth, just as it does in humans.

  • Rabbits need lots of fresh timothy hay to chew on as part of their daily diet.
  • Guinea pigs need to bite, chew, gnaw, and grind food; hays, grasses, vegetables & herbs.
  • Hamsters store food rather than graze all day. They need nutritionally balanced ‘complete’ rodent pellets, small amounts of fresh produce, and the occasional seed treat.

Enrichment is important too. Bored pets tend to gnaw on their cage, which can damage teeth. Try small wooden blocks, paper to shred, and pet-appropriate chew toys and treats.

Regular vet visits are also helpful. Our highly experienced Vets in Preston can check your pet for signs of dental problems and carry out the necessary procedures – teeth trimming, filing down spurs, treatment for infections, and extractions.

Make a dental appointment for your small pet

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