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.
- 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.
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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Click here to find out more or contact one of our team on 01908 397777