Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lost and Found - what to do? Useful numbers..

LOST AND FOUND

What to do?

  • First of all, check for a collar with name or contact details for the owner.
  • You may take the animal to a local vet or shelter to scan the animal for a microchip.
  • If there is a microchip found you may look up the number (on fido.ie, animark.ie, pet trace, Irish kennel club) to look for owner contact info
  • Please note the vet or shelter is under no obligation to take it.
  • If you find a pup/kitten – don’t take it straight away unless it is in danger – the mother may well be back for it
  • You may ring the local dog warden to pick up a stray dog – your local county council should have the number.
  • Council pounds may euthanise the animal after a week if no owner has come forward.
  • Animal shelters / charities will house them longer to try find them a home
  • Call your local vet and animal shelter / pound telling them the details of the pet such as breed, colour, male or female, relative age, and where found.
 

Helpful numbers:

 
KSPCA helpline - (087) 1279835
Kildare animal foundation –  (045) - 522 929
Kildare Gardai – (045)527737
Kildare dog pound - (059) 8623388
KWWSPCA Animal Welfare Officer – 087 6887136
Kildare county council - (045) 980205
 

Behaviour Programme

Behaviour Programme at Kildare Vet

We are delighted to introduce our new training programme for dogs now available

Please contact the clinic to put your name on the list if you would like to avail of our new dog behaviour training programme. This will involve eduation for both dog and owner on how to train your pet and combat any behavioural issues your pet may have. We now have the facility to make arrangements to call out to your home and view the dog in as natural environment as possible, and to make changes within the family to improve quality of life for you and your best friend. In most families or homes there are certain things and modifications that need to be made.
We have an increasing client base with dogs that have certain behavioural issues. While these may start out small, they can grow to an increasing and worrying size if left unattended. These can grow to such an issue that unfortunately re-homing may be considered or even euthanasia in some extreme cases. These problems can usually be combated by continuous client education, and correcting problems while young and before they has a chance to take hold and become ingrained. Such problems you may encounter that we may help you combat are;
  • separation anxiety
  • excessive barking
  • inappropriate urination and/or defecation
  • jumping
  • aggression
  • fear
  • play biting
  • toilet training
  • leash walking
  • recall
For plenty of dogs and their owners the learning of canine behaviour is hugely important and effective to having a happy healthy relationship with your pet. Misconceptions and ideas and misinformation can lead to a lot of inaccuracies about dog training and we are here to give you correct information. It usually just takes time, treats, calmness and consistency. The old saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks - is untrue. It will just take a little longer! Certain breeds can also need more handling and a stricter set of rules and a clear objective to what they are allowed to do and what not allowed to do. Huskies for example are particularly hard to train in recall, that is to come back to the owner when off the leash. We have different programmes in place for family pets and different breeds.
Look forward to hearing from you

Thursday, November 27, 2014

DES GROOME'S at KILDARE FARM FOOD OPEN DAY

SAT 29th SUNDAY 30th Nov 2014
9-3 pm Sat & Sun
SANTA ON SUNDAY 30th

Come down for some festive fun this weekend


Des the vet and one of our nurses will be on hand to answer any pet queries 

We will be having a stall to celebrate our new local Irish alliance with NOLAN'S butchers 

Promoting our lip smacking new PET FOOD range and BONES - the healthy alternative for your pet!

These products are great for TEETH, FLAVOUR and DIGESTION and even BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS

Come and talk to us to find out more 

And give your dog the best present this Christmas 

Kildare farm food 045 526 774
Des Groome Kildare Vet 045 521 507

How to find Kildare Farm Foods ;
Take exit 13 off the motorway (N7)
Take the first left off the roundabout (with the horses)
Right at the crossroads
At the fork keep left 
Follow the signs - 2nd lane on the right!


Friday, November 21, 2014

PET PARASITE CONTROL - WORM AND FLEA RULES

PET PARASITE CONTROL - WORM AND FLEA RULES

A lot of people ask us about flea and worm control for their pet. Here are some of the commonly asked questions.

What are parasites?

These organisms are nasty living bugs that suck the life and nutrition out of your pet – a parasite is an organism that feeds on another organism (the host) at the benefit of itself and the expense of the host.

Fleas, Lice, Mites - You need to protect your pet against external (ecto) and internal (endo) parasites. External (outside) parasites live, as the name hints outside the body. These include fleas, ticks, ear mites, biting lice and grass mites etc. They bite the skin of your pet to get the blood and make your pet scratch. The best way to prevent these is regular spot-on treatments bought from your local veterinary hospital (NOT SUPERMARKET – these are nowhere near as effective). They can also be bought as a spray. Some good product names included are Frontline, Amflee, Pestigon, Stronghold.

Worms - Endo-parasites refer to worms and parasites inside the body. The two most prevalent are roundworm and tapeworm. Be careful to worm your pet regularly if you have small children as roundworm can potentially cause blindness in them. Roundworm is common in pups and pregnant bitches. Eggs are passed in faeces and can survive in the environment. Tapeworms can be obtained from raw meat or fleas and more common in the adult dog. Good product names would include milbemax, stronghold, prowormer, prazitel. These are oral tablets.

When you come in to buy your flea and worm treatments you do not need to bring your pet with you. We just need a rough idea of size just tell us the breed.

How to apply a spot-on?

To apply the spot-on, open the packet surrounding it. You will then find a little pipette of liquid which you break the seal at the top. Part the hair at the back of the dog or cats neck and apply all of the liquid onto the skin. Do not have your dog or cat in lashing rain or swimming / bathing for the next 48h to let the product sink in and take effect.

How often do I worm my pet dog/cat?
  • ·       Before 8 weeks (feeding off bitch) – worm the bitch/queen midway through pregnancy
  • ·        Before 8 weeks (hand reared) puppy/kitten wormer – parazole
  • ·        From 8weeks on ; every TWO weeks until three months old
  • ·        Three months; Every month until 6 months old
  • ·        Six months (adult) ; Every 3 months
  • ·        Puppy/Kitten: All can be assumed have worms. You have to worm a puppy or kitten more frequently because of this. A puppy with a huge infestation might prove fatal; a small puppy cannot handle all the nutritional draining done by the worms. 


How do I know if my pet has worms?

You can take it for granted pups and kittens have worms, and so worm regularly as outlined above to prevent and kill infestations. You may not see signs or symptoms in early stages so always worm and flea your pet regularly before it comes a problem. A very bad worm infection can be fatal especially in young or weak animals.
The signs of a pup having worms are a full swollen tummy, dull coat, sunken eyes, listless (less energetic / sleepy), visible worms from the rectum, and a larger appetite than normal and not putting on weight.

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

You may see a visible flea on your pet. They are small black / brown insects that will hop around in the fur. Also comb through the animals hair – there will also be black ‘coal dust’ present with fleas where the hair meets the skin. You may also squish this dirt between a tissue and if you get any red staining it is an indication of fleas.


Do I have to treat my home?

Yes. If your pet sleeps inside the best thing is to treat its bedding, cushions etc it has used in a hot 90’degree wash. You will want to treat the house and furnishings (esp carpet or soft material) with a relevant flea killing spray such as RIP spray that we sell here. This spray has enough to treat a three bedroom house.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Benefits of neutering your pet

Here is some information to answer all your questions on neutering your pet, and hopefully put to rest some of the myths surrounding the procedure. There are many advantages to neutering your pet and most are directly related to the overall health of the animal. A pet owner must also remember that every animal is an individual and so changes that appear in one may not appear in the other. Here I will also outline what happens when your pet is left in for a neuter surgery. Neuter is a general term and the word spaying applies to females and castration is used for the males.You may neuter your male or female cat after 5 months. The general time for dogs is after 6 months although larger breeds will be a little later as they take longer to reach their full size.

Advantages of spaying a FEMALE dog (bitch)

  • Pyometra (nasty, potentially fatal infection of the womb)Mammary tumors, common in un-neutered femalesOvarian & uterine tumors – (spaying eliminates this)Unwanted pupsDecrease in possible UTI’sNo mess – no heat cycles and blood spotting

Disadvantages

  • Spaying can slightly reduce the metabolism in some bitches by about 10%. All this means is that you may reduce the amount of food she gets and keep an eye on her weight. 

Advantages of castrating a MALE dog

  • Stops roaming and injuries related to roaming and trying to get to femalesProstate problems – these are very common in older unneutered malesCalming – can make dogs relax in their surroundings and they don’t have to be constantly trying to get to females or fighting for mating rightsDecrease in UTI’sMay decrease aggression levels in some dogs

Disadvantages

  • Working or security / guard dogs can lose a slight bit of their ‘drive’. This is a possibility and not a guarantee. Talk to us if you are unsure whether to go ahead.

 

Procedure for your neuter;

An appointment is necessary to book in your pet for neutering and you can do this by calling us on 045 521 507 and we will suggest a time and date that suits you. Alternatively you may call into the clinic and arrange a date with one of our nurses. For the dog that is!A time and date will be arranged such as Tuesday morning if you could bring your pet in from 9am to 9.30. We will then ask you to sign a consent form for the procedure and therefore the anaesthetic. We will take your pet in and give it a nice comfy bed. We weigh the dog and make sure its heart is healthy and give it a full general anaesthetic so it doesn’t feel any of the procedure. In a bitch spay we remove the womb and the ovaries in what’s technically referred to as an ovariohysterectomy. In a male dog the testicles are taken away. These are fully surgically removed and the dog is closed up.Our team gives your pet its full requirement in terms of pain medication during the procedure so the dog wakes up comfortable. Our excellent nurses then clean and dress the wound and the dog is moved to our intensive care unit to wake up gently in a heated, peaceful, dark environment.The dog will be fitted with a buster collar (lampshade) over its head, and this needs to stay on until the dog has returned for its stitches to come out in 10-14 days. This is all included in the price of the surgery. This is important it remains on the dog as when the wound heals it becomes itchy, and even a good docile dog can go at its stitches as it is their natural reaction. This can cause contamination of the wound and worse, it can re-open as the animal can tear out the stitches. It is not a good idea to let any pet lick it’s spay wound.Once we are happy the dog is fully awake we will call you to let you know everything went well and give you a collection time when we are happy for you to pick up your pet. We will then go through any questions you may have and go through aftercare instructions.It is a very routine procedure and not one to be put off! All too often we get womb infections and tumors that can be fatal because the owner was ‘waiting for the right time to neuter’. Regardless of health benefits there are just not enough good homes to go around and thousands of animals are put down each year in pounds and dog homes. So do the responsible thing and neuter your pet.

Common Myths

It is untrue that letting your bitch have a first ‘heat’ is good for her. In fact this opens the possibility of a womb infection (pyometra). The same is said for letting her have a first litter of pups. Neither is necessary.It does vary with individual dogs but it can have a calming effect on some as they do not have to deal with the hormones relating to the heat cycle and for males vying for dominance and mating rights with females not to mention trying to get at a fertile bitch.As mentioned above, weight can be watched after the procedure. Having said this, if they are getting the correct amount of food and exercise, this shouldn’t be a problem! Come and speak to one of our nurses if you have any questions and we will be happy to inform you everything you need to know.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Exotic Care #3 – Looking after a hamster, rat, guinea pig or gerbil

Is it the pet for me?

Guinea Pigs are an ideal first pet. They live up to 8 years and they are more social than other small furries, rarely scratch or bite. They are curious little creatures and love to be petted once tame.
Gerbils are quite active and love plenty of activities – this is a great chance for some DIY adventure courses made out of cardboard for creative pet owners. Active during day and night be aware of this when choosing where to put the cage. Their lifespan is a little shorter 3-6 years and as they naturally live on desert they eliminate a lot less. These are very curious and inquisitive creatures and good for older children.
Hamsters all an ideal all rounder for the older family. They need a little less room than the others. These are nocturnal animals which means they sleep during the day, and because of such are better suited to older children or teenagers as they will not always be active when small children want to play. Playing with them while they are sleepy may make them cranky, which is understandable! Their lifespan is between 2-3 yrs.
Rats are very intelligent and friendly and need a lot of attention. They are also sensitive and to be respected and therefore suitable for older teenagers and adults. They are one of the more active rodents and a couple of hours a day needs to be set aside to play and stimulate these pets.

Housing

All of these little rodents are very active at different times. Dawn and dusk is a guinea pigs activity time. Their activity level means that the bigger the cage the better for any of these creatures. Straw pellets or smooth wood shavings are ideal for bedding and a little cotton wool or similar material can be added so that the animal can nest, stay warm and hide itself when it wants some privacy. Cat litter is inappropriate. A insulated nest box is needed with a couple of exits and if they are housed outdoors this should be slightly raised off the ground.
These are all little prey animals so it is important they feel safe where they live and have plenty of nests and hidey holes. The cagr or hutvh should be situated in a well venitiated but dreught free area. You must choose if the pets are to be indoor or outdoor and if the latter more insulated hutch should be provided. Outdoor living should also A heavy food bowl is ideal and obviously fresh water should be available at all times from a upside down drip bottle. The cage should have a couple of levels so the pets can run around and keep fit. Exercise wheels are a great way to keep them trim and stimulated. Children and adults alike can ahve great fun together making fun adventure courses for your pet out of loo rolls, empty cereal boxes and the like .

Handling 

Any new pet will be shy for the first few days. It is important to establish a bond of trust with it and you may do this by spending a good quantity of time talking to it let it get used to the soft calm sound of your voice. Leave it in the cage the first few days and let it settle into its new surroundings with its new sights, smells, voices and faces. It is then time to offer small tasty treats from your hand to get it used to you and make the whole experience a positive one. When they are used to your hand you may pet them lightly. After they are used to this you may pick them up but fully support them front and rear. One hand to support their rib cage and the other hand to support their backside. If they feel secure they will not be likely to be scared and bite.

Picking a healthy pet;

This can be applied to all small furries. Firstly the eyes, ears and nose should be fully open, dry and clean with no weepiness or crusty lesions. Its teeth should not be excessively long and it should have a good appetite and have no trouble eating or chewing. The skin and fur should be soft and shiny with no bald patches or parasites or excessive scratching. There should be no odd lumps or bumps felt. The paws and nails should be soft and clean and the nails a normal length (not curling beyond the foot pad). The bum should be clean and free from any signs of diarrhoea. The animal should be alert and interested in its surroundings and sound on all fours.
Company
Guinea Pigs: These are very social creatures and you should always have two to keep each other company. This helps re-create their natural environment and promotes their well-being. A lone guinea pif could develop abnormal behavhious form lonliness. Owners must be aware that childrens excitemtn over a new pet can abate and it can be left on its own, an unfair environemtn for these social little creatures. It is always easier to house animals together that have grown up from a young age. Fighting can break out between males if there are kept with females around. If there are no close females male guinea pigs tend to get on fairly well as theres no on to fight over! The problem can also be eliminated if males are castrated before reaching sexual maturity (4-5 m old). As they behave differnently i would reccommend keeping rabbits and guinea pigs seperate.
Behaviour
If the pigs are leapfrogging and squealing it can indicate something is unwell, and you should take it to a vet asap.

 Feeding;

Guinea pig – these creatures are herbivores which means they are vegetarians. Help replicate a natural diet by providing fresh hay as the main staple. A tablespoon per pig is enough of pet shop pellets as they are quite rich. Supplement these foods by little treats of dandelions, lettuce, carrots, herbs, turnips, and small amounts of apples, pears, spinach, celery, tomatoes, gherkins, and green cereal are all suitable. The wrong foods can be unsuitable and cause fatal stomach problems. Do not introduce any sudden changes in diet for similar reasons. Such unsuitable foods would include starchy, sugary foods like silage, too much cabbage/spinach, or too much dark green leafy veg. If introducing fresh grass do it very slowly  and do it gradually in the Spring time.
Drinking water from an upside down water bottle should always be fresh and available.  A guinea pigs teeth will continuously grow and fruit tree branches or gnawing blocks should be provided to wear these down. It is normal for guinea pigs like rabbits to eat their droppings. This is a normal behaviour for this species unlike cats and dogs. They have a high vitamin C requirement and so it can be added to the drinking water and little treats of carrots and some citrus fruits including kiwis.

Friday, September 26, 2014

EXOTICS #2 bird care

These are great pets and are ideal for children over ten years old. They are trusting and lively creatures and can become very tame and can live up to 25years! They live in large groups and are social birds, so I recommend at least two together for their well-being. A lone bird that is meant to be social can acquire behaviour problems if made to live on its own. A mirror or plastic bird is not a suitable replacement for a live partner and can also stimulate unnatural behaviours.
Parrots, Macaws, African Grey’s and other bigger birds are a lot more demanding attention-wise and to house. These birds are attention seekers and extremely social and should not be bought or considered if there is not a lot of time to be spent with these pets. Saying this they have huge personalities and can make lifelong pets.

Housing;

The bigger the aviary the better as birds love their space and like to spread their wings without hitting off the bars of the cage. Birds are used to so much wide space naturally you should get as large a cage as you can accommodate – there is no “too large”. Trying to re-create their natural environment will keep them happy and healthy and prevent behaviour issues from forming.
It is ideal to keep the cage in a peaceful area of natural light so the bird can wake and sleep as naturally as possible. Don’t have them in a location that has false light 24/7. The area should be well ventilated with fresh air but draught free. If beside a window it must have shelter from direct sunlight and birds do not have a great tolerance to changes in temperature so a stable environment should be maintained. It must be protected from unhealthy fumes such as cigarette smoke, cooking fumes and any nauseating gases.
These birds are all quite active and need stimulation to keep them occupied or they can begin to self-mutilate; this is over grooming and can be caused by boredom and lack of stimulation. The bird will also need to fly around freely for several hours a day – it is cruel to keep them ignored or locked up without free flight. This will keep your pet happy and stimulate its natural behaviours. This should be done in a sheltered room or garden which is made safe – close all windows or doors and hide any cables or poisonous plants.
These are great pets and are ideal for children over ten years old. They are trusting and lively creatures and can become very tame and can live up to 25years! They live in large groups and are social birds, so I recommend at least two together for their well-being. A lone bird that is meant to be social can acquire behaviour problems if made to live on its own. A mirror or plastic bird is not a suitable replacement for a live partner and can also stimulate unnatural behaviours.
Parrots, Macaws, African Grey’s and other bigger birds are a lot more demanding attention-wise and to house. These birds are attention seekers and extremely social and should not be bought or considered if there is not a lot of time to be spent with these pets. Saying this they have huge personalities and can make lifelong pets.


Chew Toys;

Birds have a natural tendency to want to chew, as this action keeps their beaks in great condition and relieves stress and anxiety. Without a toy to chew, birds can resort to feather-plucking and other unhealthy behaviours. To keep your bird healthy and entertained, provide chew-toys, like cuttlebone and chew sticks
Plenty of perches should be provided – natural wood is fine as it prevents calluses. These birds are very inquisitive and need a lot of play things – such as ladders, ropes balls chew toys etc.
Birds do like to bathe several times a week. A suitable container to do this is essential and should be changed regularly. Some birds also enjoy spraying themselves with warm water.
Naturally the cage should be kept as clean as possible and droppings removed daily. Most problems with these creatures stem from poor husbandry and poor hygiene. It should be disinfected regularly with a suitable product and rinsed well afterward. Birds can be allergic to strong chemicals so a good rinsing is important.

Handling;

Trust is very important for any new pet and especially so your new pet bird. They are timid creatures and so patience shall be required. At the start keep your new pet in its house (up to 3 weeks) until they can settle quietly into their new home and get used to the surroundings, smells, sights and faces. During this period you may spend some time each day talking to them and feeding tasty little treats from your hand.
After establishing a bond you may let the bird out for free flight providing you have made it safe to do so. Draw the curtains the first few times so it can recognize where the window panes are. Do it when the bird is hungry and will return to the cage or your hand for its favourite tasty treat. If the bird is willing it may perch on your hand. Don’t startle it and make sudden movements , be calm and gentle.

Food;

Your bird will need a healthy and well balanced diet. There are different feeding requirements for each bird so pay particular attention to your species needs. Most will enjoy an approprieate feed mix from the petshop and to ensure a varied natural diet you may supplement it with fresh fruits, veg and maybe certain nuts. This will also keep the pet entertained and interested. Dandelions and lettuce are usually safe choice and fresh fruits. Birds can also require a grit which helps them digest foor- enquire which suits your bird best. Mineral mixtures and limestone can be obtained from your local vet or petshop.

How do I pick a healthy bird?

The bird should look healthy at first sight. It should have a clean shiny coat with no bare patches or lumps or bumps. No parasites should be visible and no weepy crusty lesions around eyes, ears, beak or bum. The beak should not be too long. It should be bright lively and interested in its surroundings, with a good appetite.  Be aware that most species of bird will moult a couple of times a year and that this is completely natural. A bird may find it difficult to fly at this time and can be helped by lots of peace and quiet, multi-vitamins and high quality protein food depending on your bird. Best of luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Exotics #1 - Rabbit Care

Owning a pet rabbit.


Q. Is it a suitable pet?


Rabbits are good first pets. Recommended for children over 7, with adult supervision until the owner can care properly for their pet. They can scratch, bite or kick so due care is necessary. Decide if you want a short haired or long haired variety, taking into account if they will be indoor or outdoor pets. There are plenty of breeds to choose from. Bear in mind long haired will need a little extra grooming.

Q. How do i choose a healthy rabbit?


The rabbit should have a healthy soft coat with no fur patches missing; There should be no parasites anywhere on the skin. The eyes and ears should be clean and pink with no weeping and/or crusty lesions or bad smells. The rabbit should be able to chew normally. It should have a dry nose and the anus should be clean. The soles of its paws should be clean and soft and not stained with urine. The claws on the feet should be of average length and there should be no funny swellings. The rabbit should look lively and bright and take notice of its surroundings and have a healthy appetite.

Q. Where will they live?


Rabbits live in dens in the wild that they dig out themselves with plenty of hidey-holes to escape predators. They are very active and so naturally the biggest cage/hutch you can accommodate would be best. These animals are prey animals and so are given to flight - this means they should always have a couple of hiding spots that they feel safe in such as a closed nest box.

The floor of the hutch should be lined with such material as planed wood shavings or straw pellets. Sawdust may cause breathing problems and may be best avoided. Cat litter is also inappropriate. A heavy food bowl is ideal and fresh water should always be available ideally from a rodent upside down feeding bottle.

Choose weather they are to be indoor or outdoor. Indoor rabbits should be placed in a well ventilated (fresh air) area without droughts and out of direct sunlight. A relatively quiet area without too much excitement or loud noises. Outdoor rabbits will need shelter and adequate protection from the elements such as rain wind heat and cold. In winter the outdoor hutch and nest box should be insulated so they can stay warm. 

Rabbits love nibbling on grass and it is a good idea to let them do so or run around the house to prevent them getting stressed, fat or unwell. First you must ''rabbit-proof'' the house to prevent them chewing on cables or other dangers eg. poisonous plants. If  they are allowed on the grass you must check they cannot dig out of the garden! The outside hutch must also be protected from foxes and predators. Children can have great fun making adventurous runs for their pet out of loo rolls and other empty boxes etc.

The cage must be cleaned daily to prevent faeces and odours building up, which may also damage their lungs if not cleaned regularly. Smells and dirt will attract flies which can lay eggs and cause health problems. A triangular rabbit toilet can make this easier to clean. The hutch should be disinfected regularly to kill any bacteria and should be rinsed well afterward.

Q. What should you feed them?


Rabbits are naturally herbivores meaning they eat plant material and no meat. Fresh hay and herbs can form the most part of the diet. Pet food rabbit pellets are good but quite rich and one tablespoon per day is enough. Fresh water should always be available and changed daily. This main diet can be supplemented with foods such as lettuce, carrots, dandelions, and even some fruits such as apples.

Cabbage leaves should be avoided and starchy sugary foods also. Sudden changes in diet can lead to constipation and problems in the gut. When bringing your new rabbit home changes in his diet should be done very gradually (over 3 weeks) to avoid gut problems and it is a good idea to feed him what he is used to for a few days until gradually changing his diet to your own. If he is to nibble on fresh grass it is to be introduced very slowly.

Branches (willow, hazel and fruit trees), or special rabbit chew toys can be given so the rabbit can gnaw and wear down his teeth which grow continuously. Rabbits are one species which eat their own droppings and do not be alarmed. It is a normal trait for this animal.

Handling and restraint 


Always approach the animal from the front /side where they can see you. Talk to it and for a few days after purchasing your rabbit let it get to know your face and voice. Don't overload the rabbit at once and earn its trust by offering it a treat or two from your hand. This will just need patience and calmness so the rabbit knows you are not a threat. Every animal is different and it could take days to weeks for the animal to progress to feeding from your hand, to gentle stroking, to eventually be comfortable to pick up and let run around. Some are more aggressive than others and less socialised to human contact. You will tell from watching your pet, and how comfortable he is with your touch and presence. Don't try and do it all at once. You want to see him coming over to your hand, taking the treat, not running away or acting in a scared manner.

To move or pick him up stretch out your hand that he can see your intention (don't pick from behind where you could startle him) and grab the fur at the top of his back, gently but firmly. The other hand should be used to support its hindquarters. If the rabbit is at ease his body should relax in your arms.

Veterinary needs 


Rabbits don't need huge veterinary attention apart from a vaccination against myxomatosis and a yearly booster, and the unavoidable neutering. 

Most problems stem from poor husbandry and so shouldn't be taken lightly. Rabbits should be neutered as they are prolific breeders and they live a lot longer if de-sexed. 85% of female rabbits develop uterine cancer by age 4/5 and it greatly reduces the males fighting between each other and causing injuries. The procedure will not change their personality but if anything they will be more sociable an better company. It eliminates spraying urine and neutered rabbits can be friends as they are not fighting over each other. The last reason is overpopulation and there are already so many rescue rabbits needing loving homes that breeding pets prevents homeless rabbits getting another chance. Males can be neutered at 5 months when their testicles descend and females can be done at 6 months old.

Company 


Rabbits are very social as naturally they live in large families and hence it is much better for them to live in groups rather than on their own. I would always recommend to have at least two to keep each other company, and it is easier to keep rabbits together that have known each other from a young age.

It is vital that you neuter them at 5 months to prevent fights and accidents. It can be difficult to integrate an old rabbit with young and so ideally start both at a young age so they get on. With other pets supervision is essential and a young age also helps. There have been incidences of strange friendships - these are usually animals that have grown up with each other. Be very careful if introducing your rabbit and keep dogs and cats on a leash and make sure the rabbit has an escape. It is also not recommended for rabbits and guinea pigs to be housed together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Common diseases of Dogs and Cats’ EARS.

Common diseases of Dogs and Cats’ EARS.

I would like to talk about ear care and some common misconceptions regarding treatments. 

The ear is a delicate organ and very important especially in our pet animals. A dog’s hearing is about 40 times greater than that of our own. The main function of the ear is hearing but it also plays a vital role in balance.

Recently we have had a lot of ear cases (some severe) needing treatment and in some circumstances the owner of the dog was wrongly treating an ear problem and had incorrect advice. Fingers crossed it is something superficial and easily treatable – but in more and more cases resistance occurs and so it is vital we treat correctly at the start.

Chronic ear infections are ones which come on slowly and stay for a long time.
The three most common products you can buy for otitis in a vet clinic after veterinary advice are;
 1. Surolan
 2. Canaural
 3. Otomax
 4. Ubavet

While these are great medicines, they do not cover every ear problem or infection. Talk to us if you are worried about your pet’s ears and we will point you in the right direction. One of the most common nasty bacteria is Clostridium. This is caused by dirty stagnant water and/or livestock. It is extremely resistant to all three medicines listed above and also worryingly to most anti-biotics. Another worrying bacteria called Pseudomonas is resistant to most antibiotics, is diagnosed only after tests and like clostridium will need antibiotic tablets as part of the cure. It is also usually resistant to the 4 ear drop medicines listed above.

A recent severe case of otitis Externa in an Irish Red Setter which we investigated by sample ear swabs proved to be a Clostridium perfringens infection and which we treated at our clinic. Our Swab results showed up Only two anti-biotics out of twelve having the desired killing effect on this nasty bug.

The crucial advice is to come in for a check-up and so we can do an ear swab. This means with lab results we can immediately start to treat it accordingly with the correct drugs and anti-biotics, and will save you time and money in the long run. An ear swab is a very simple procedure in which we take some ear cells on a cotton bud and send it to the laboratory for a culture test – to see what bacteria lies in the murky depths.

This is necessary as certain drugs kill certain bacteria. Hence there is no point giving drugs or anti-biotics if you are not attacking the appropriate strain of germs. This is worse than doing nothing, as effectively what you are doing is offering the bug higher levels of resistance and your poor dog’s immunity may suffer.

 Don’t assume any medicine from the chemist will be effective! We are seeing more people coming in with hastily bought products; For example Bingo our case study;

 Case Study: Bingo, 5yo female golden Labrador
(with a great appetite for getting into trouble.) She came in with a two extremely swollen ears and a barely visible ear canal. She had been treated with ear cleaner, canaural, surolan, and others. None of these had any improving effect on poor Bingo and her hearing and balance was also impaired not to mention very sore. We all know how excruciating a bad ear infection is. If we had of seen Bingo at the beginning she could have saved two whole years of trying inappropriate treatments. In some severe cases and in hers, surgery may be unavoidable. She had to undergo ‘Zepp’s procedure’ which is partial ear canal resection as a result of chronic scarring to the ear tissue due to two years’ worth of painful infections. Don’t let this be you!

Common ailments of the ear; 
1. Ear mites
2. Infections
3. Otitis
4. Swollen ear/s

 1-Ear mites can be treated with canaural or surolan. Stronghold spot on will also kill this nasty mite. Clean the ear first with damp (not soaked) cotton wool. Remove excess dirt then apply a few drops of liquid and then squish the dog’s ear around before letting the dog shake. They are indicated by dark brown crumbly material in the ear and head shaking and scratching. Careful the dog doesn't scratch at the ear or he may create a wound and introduce infection.
 2-Infections will need to be seen by the vet to diagnose which the best drugs to treat are and if an ear swab culture is necessary. These can be smelly and dirty looking. The dog might also shake its head. Your pet may tilt its head.
 3- Otitis / inflammation – inner ear will look red, inflamed and hot, and may have infection also. This may lead to swelling.
 4- Swollen ear is a common ailment that may be caused by ear mites, which leads to the dog shaking its head which eventually becomes swollen. This may need an aural haematoma, a procedure in which the fluid in the ear is drained. Careful the dog doesn’t scratch at the ear or he may create a wound and introduce infection.