Find your local surgeryWhat they sayMeet our vetsPet promisedSeasonal Information Newsletters

Heath Vets Blog

Articles on Pet Insurance, Vet news, Choosing a pet, pet health and well being, events and caring for your pet

Subscribe to feed Latest Entries

Little Nippers

Posted by Gavin Hill-John
Gavin Hill-John
General manager of the Heath Veterinary Group
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 23 April 2014
in Well Being
Great question from one of our clients.

We have a one year old cavachon who, on the whole, behaves very well. The only problem we seem to have is when I come home from work – he jumps up and nips and gets very excited. This is the total opposite to when my husband comes home from work – they both ignore each other and there is no nipping. What am I doing wrong?

All behaviour is learned behaviour, and your little dog has learned if he jumps up and gets excited when you come in, he is rewarded by attention from you. The attention was originally a big fuss and greeting, though that may have changed to you shouting at him now as you are fed up with it, but it's still attention! The nipping is just a part of his excitement.  Conversely, he has also learned that there's no point getting excited when your husband comes home as he is not rewarded – you point out that they ignore each other. 

So the key to changing the behaviour is to stop rewarding it, and find a more controlled way of greeting each other. Stop reacting to him in any way when you come in – turn your back, don't speak, don't touch him. Ideally someone else should get him to sit quietly, perhaps in his bed, and when he is doing this, you go to him and give him a restrained greeting. The minute he starts jumping up, you stop the greeting and turn your back. This takes patience and time but retraining should be quite possible at his young age.

Hits: 55 0 Comments
0 votes

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.


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, search for rabbits.
Tags: bunnies, Rabbits
Hits: 141 0 Comments
0 votes

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. 


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
Hits: 167 0 Comments
0 votes