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Is it best to have one bunny or two and are they expensive to look after?

Posted by Gavin Hill-John
Gavin Hill-John
General manager of the Heath Veterinary Group
User is currently offline
on Monday, 03 March 2014
in Rabbit
Bunnies make excellent pets, but they are social creatures and really should not be kept alone. The Welsh Government has adopted a code of practice for the care of pet bunnies, and amongst other things, this is included.

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So you need two bunnies, at least, so that means double costs! They could live as house rabbits, indoors with humans as their companions, even then they are better in pairs.

Cost of care starts with a decent-sized cage – it needs to be pretty large, but depends on the size of the bunnies and you will need a run in the garden.

Next,inoculations against Myxomatosis and Haemorrhagic Viral Disease. These are annual jabs, costing £33.60 each at current rates. A full health assessment is done at this annual visit.

At about four months of age you need to get them neutered to prevent breeding. As long as you do this, the sexes can be kept together very happily. Neutering females also eliminates the risk of womb cancer, which is the commonest cancer we see in bunnies. As we learn and understand more about keeping bunnies healthy, they live longer and age-related diseases such as cancer become more prevalent.

That's about it as far as planned health costs are concerned. Of course, accidents and illness can occur, and it is best rabbits are insured as owners don't have to worry about the costs of treatment. For example, many rabbits develop dental problems by middle age, requiring tooth filing under anaesthesia. This might need doing several times a year and can cost £100 a time. There are companies which insure rabbits but beware cheaper insurances as they often have unseen catches!

Feeding is critically important for bunnies' health in many respects. The majority of non-infectious conditions that vets see are related to poor diet.
Rabbit food is NOT the best stuff. Diet should be 75% grass & hay, 20% other leafy greens and only 5% rabbit pellets. Avoid muesli-type foods - they encourage selective feeding.

When you go to check out your potential new pet, don't take your children with you on the first visit. It will be very hard to walk away if they're pleading with you!
Bring new bunnies to see us as soon as possible - no matter how young - so we can give them a free health check before you get too attached to them.

We look forward to meeting your new pets!

Copies of the Welsh Government's code of conduct are available from any one of our four surgeries at Rhiwbina, Cyncoed, Whitchurch Road and Danescourt. It can also be found at wales.gov.uk, search for rabbits.
Tags: bunnies, Rabbits
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E-Cigarettes pose a risk

Posted by Gavin Hill-John
Gavin Hill-John
General manager of the Heath Veterinary Group
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 22 February 2014
in Well Being

E-cigarettes have become a very popular way of trying to give up smoking but dog owners have been warned to take care following the recent death of a puppy which had eaten a refill. 

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The warning was issued by the British Veterinary Association about the dangers of nicotine following reports that the puppy in Cornwall died after consuming the e-cigarette refill.

BVA president Robin Hargreaves said: "This is a tragic case and very worrying when you consider how many people are now using e-cigarettes."

"Nicotine poisoning acts very quickly and can be fatal, especially when large doses areinvolved. E-cigarettes and refills can easily contain sufficient quantities of nicotine to kill a small animal very quickly."

The puppy - believed to have been a rehomed Staffordshire bull terrier cross - died the day after apparently biting into the refill. It had failed to respond to treatment.

Pet owners who use e-cigarettes have been warned by the BVA to ensure all equipment is stored out of reach of their pets. It has urged owners who think their dog has chewed or eaten an e-cigarette, or any toxic substance, to contact their vet as soon as possible.

©Heath Vets
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Should you get a rescue dog?

Posted by Gavin Hill-John
Gavin Hill-John
General manager of the Heath Veterinary Group
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 14 November 2013
in Dog
You'll find dogs of all sizes, mixes, breeds and temperaments at dog re-homing shelters. Rescuing a dog is not a decision to be taken on a whim – you have to make your choice carefully and be prepared to commit to the time needed to socialise it with your family and friends.

Think about what size dog you want, do you want a crossbreed or a purebred dog? Do you want a dog which needs lots of exercise or one which requires very little?

Then you have to think about whether you adopt an older dog or a younger one. In my experience most dogs under the age of one have ended up in a rescue centre because the owner could not cope with their behaviour. Remember than once a dog hits six months it's an adolescent and does what most adolescents do – misbehaves. From a year onwards this behaviour should settle but be prepared for anything before then!

Older dogs can also have issues – they can have health or behavioural problems which will have to be addressed.

©Dr Jess Ellis BSc, DVM, MRCVS
Tags: dog, dogs, rescue
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