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Blue-Green Algae – Willen Lake

Following water safety checks at Willen Lake this week 1st July 2019, a potentially toxic bloom of blue-green algae has been reported to the Environment Agency. 

As a precautionary measure, notices are being posted at the lake warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided. 

What are blue-green algae?  Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters and blooms can form when their numbers become excessive. It is these ‘blooms’ that give the water a blue-green appearance or a ‘pea soup’ like colour. The behaviour of these algae is erratic and the level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and, mix and re-accumulate at any time. 

How can blue-green algae affect you and your animals? Blue-green algal blooms can produce toxins hazardous to both people and animals. Not all blue-green blooms produce toxins, but it is not possible to tell which are dangerous without testing, and therefore all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae. 

Symptoms of poisoning include: Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Blood in stool or black tarry stool, Pale mucous membranes, Jaundice, Seizures, Disorientation, Coma, Shock Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.), Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.), Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes, Difficulty breathing.

Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison. If there are any signs of illness in your animal after contact with the water, contact us immediately on 01908 397777. 
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Did you know your rabbit can pick up parasites too?

There are a number of external parasites that can affect our pet rabbits. External parasites are parasites which live of the outside of the rabbit. Below are the most common external parasites for rabbits:
  • Fleas – Rabbits can pick up fleas the same fleas Ctenocephalides as your dog or cat as well as Spilopsyllus cuniculi which is the rabbit flea. This parasite can be involved in the spread of myxomatosis between rabbits. If you see fleas on your rabbit, it is important to treat both your rabbit, the environment and any other pets in the household.
  • Mites – The most common mites associated with rabbits is Cheyletiella parasitovorax or otherwise known as walking dandruff. This will tend to appear as an area of white scurfy skin, typically on the back or between the shoulder blades. If you believe your rabbit may have mites, we would advise a check-up with your veterinary surgeon, as they can also be indicators of other disease. Another mite rabbits can diagnosed with are ear mites Psoroptes cuniculi. Signs of ear mites might include crusting, itching and ulceration of the ear canals. It is advised to treat the rabbit for mites prior to removal of the ear crust as this can be extremely painful to remove. The rabbit fur mite (Leporacus gibbus) can infest rabbits without symptoms, however some rabbit may have allergy reactions to these mites. Demodex cuniculi is another mite which can be found on rabbits, however does not appear to cause clinical issue.
  • Lice – The rabbit biting louse otherwise known as Haemodipsus ventricosus can be seen with the naked eye. This are more common in large colonies.
  • Flies – these are not technically an external parasite however can be a nuisance to our pet rabbits and can cause serious health concerns. Flies can lay eggs on susceptible animals causing fly-strike or myiasis. These eggs will then hatch out and start to feed on the animal.
At Milton Keynes Veterinary Group, we feel rabbits are just as important as any other pet and there are preventative treatment products available for these parasites just the same as our dogs and cats. If you would like to discuss further regarding these treatments, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01908397777. We also have a Healthy Pet Care Plan available for our rabbits. Find out more here – http://www.mkvetgroup.co.uk/healthy-pet-care-for-rabbits/
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Flystrike season is soon approaching

During the summer months, pet rabbits may be affected by maggot infestation.  Different terms are used for this but fly strike is the most common.

Healthy rabbits are generally not affected by fly strike. There are three main problems that lead to the condition. First, a wound to which the flies are attracted and on which they lay their eggs is an obvious site where maggots can cause damage. More commonly, a rabbit that cannot take and eat its soft faeces caecotrophs (either due to arthritis or obesity) will quickly have matted and soiled fur around its anus. This, from the fly’s point of view, is an ideal opportunity to lay eggs. When the maggots hatch they spread from the area (commonly up the abdomen) and may cause a tremendous amount of damage as they eat through the tissues while the rabbit is still living. Thirdly, damp bedding is an ideal environment for egg-laying and maggot growth and development; these may then migrate onto the rabbit. This is a fatal condition if not treated.
The key factors in preventing fly strike are to ensure that bedding is clean and dry, and that daily cleaning of toilet areas is carried out; the whole accommodation should be completely emptied and disinfected 1-2 times weekly. Checks of your rabbit should be carried out twice daily, if you find any wounds or ulcerated areas of skin then please seek veterinary attention. A rabbit owner should also make sure that their rabbit is able to keep it bottom clean, if the rabbit keeps soiling itself, then there is usually a health reason as to why e.g. obesity or arthritis. If a rabbit is unable to keep itself clean, then please seek veterinary advice.
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Rabbit Healthy Pet Care Plans available at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group

HEALTHY PET CARE PLAN FOR RABBITS!

This plan includes:
  • Your rabbit’s Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD1) ANNUAL BOOSTER
  • 50% DISCOUNT off Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD2) annual booster
  • 8 MONTHS PARASITE CONTROL during March – October
  • 15% DISCOUNT off all CONSULTATIONS
  • 10% DISCOUNT off DENTAL procedures
As well as many more benefits such as microchipping, nail clips with one of our veterinary nurses and discount on food and waiting room items.

All this for £7.50! (plus a £10.00 joining fee initially)



Click here to find out more or contact one of our team on 01908 397777
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Rabbit Vaccinations: Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease

We recommend vaccinating your rabbit against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (Strains 1 and 2). To cover against all these your rabbit will need two vaccines.  Both diseases are highly contagious between the rabbit population however easily prevented.

Myxomatosis is a virus carried by biting insects and mosquitos and can be passed on without direct contact. The symptoms include puffy eyelids, conjunctivitis within the first 7 days and swelling will extend around the eyes, ears and genital regions after 7 days.In severe cases the rabbit may die from the virus.
Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD) is a highly infectious disease that can affect domestic and wild rabbits. RVHD 1, the classic RVHD, has been present in rabbits for decades and vaccinated again. A new strain of RVHD (RVHD2) was first noted in France in 2010. In the last 12 months, it has become an increasing concern regarding this new strain of RVHD in the UK with confirmed cases.
This new strain is less aggressive than RVHD 1 and symptoms may appear from 3 to 9 days post exposure. Symptoms can include high temperature, lethargy, sudden bleeding from areas (nose/mouth), reduced appetite and possible seizures. Even though this strain is less aggressive if not treated can cause death in severe cases.
Myxomatosis and RVHD 1 are prevented by the administration of a combined vaccination. It takes 3 weeks post vaccination for the rabbit to build immunity to the viruses. This vaccination will provide the rabbit with 1 year immunity to the viruses.
RVHD 2 is prevented by the administration of a separate vaccination. There must be a 2 week gap between the two vaccinations and will provide immunity to the RVHD 2 strain for 1 year.
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