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Archive for June, 2020

When to help a baby bird

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
It is so lovely to start to see lots of baby birds around in our gardens at this time of year.

Most baby birds will not need any help and can nest for a few days before they fly properly.

When to help:
  • If a nestling has fallen please return to the nest and leave the nest well alone, mum will usually be near by but she should not be disturbed while raising her young.
  • It is possible to move a fledgling to a safer spot if needed but this should be done with care.
  • If a baby bird has been attacked by a cat they should be removed immediately and taken to a wildlife hospital.

We are always happy to give advice over the phone on what would be the best option if you are unsure.
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Can you help the Pet Blood Bank?

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
We work very closely with Pet Blood Bank holding Pet Blood Donation sessions at our Stoke Road branch throughout the year.

The Pet Blood Bank are trying to raise money for a new van. This van is really needed to keep the Pet Blood Bank on the road and carry out the amazing work that they do to help save so many canines lives.

If you are able to help, then please use the link – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/PBBvanappeal

Thank you
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Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease in rabbits

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Both these diseases are highly contagious within the rabbit population however are 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 against. A new strain of RVHD (RVHD2) was first noted in France in 2010. In the last couple of years, 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 can be prevented by vaccination and will provide the rabbit with 1 year immunity to the viruses.
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What external parasites affect pet rabbits

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
At Milton Keynes Veterinary Group, we feel rabbits are just as important as any other pet and this is why our Healthy Pet Care Scheme for Rabbits also includes treatment for external parasites during the months of March to October.

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.
The product available on our Healthy Pet Care scheme deters flies, fleas and other biting insects. Find out more here – http://www.mkvetgroup.co.uk/healthy-pet-care-for-rabbits/
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Rabbits can also suffer from behavioural problems

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Rabbits are very sociable creatures and it is important to keep them in pairs or small groups. Behavioural problems can occur as a result of poor husbandry, so it is important to give them everything they need to keep them happy and healthy.

If your rabbits are kept outdoors, you will need to make sure their hutch is large enough that they are able to move around as well as allowing them separate areas to eat, sleep and toilet. As a minimum guide a hutch should be around 180x60x60cm for a pair of rabbits. It is also desirable to provide different levels for them to jump onto, as well of lots of bedding and toys to give them plenty of mental stimulation. Exercise is extremely important for rabbits as they are very athletic animals.

As well as plenty of space in their hutch, they should also be provided with access to a space to stretch their legs, either around the house or in an outdoor run everyday to make sure they are happy and healthy.

Rabbits that are not related may need to go through a bonding regime in order to house them together in the long term. This can sometimes be difficult and if you do need any advice, please contact us. If you cannot pair your rabbit, we recommend they have plenty of human company instead to make sure they do not get lonely.

Rabbits can live happily in same sex pairs, or as mixed males and females providing they are neutered. Neutering will prevent unwanted pregnancy and can help to decrease fighting and aggressive behaviour.
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