Heat awareness for animals in hutches

Even though the height of summer is over, we have been known to have some very warm days in September! We all enjoy getting out in the sunshine (when it arrives!), however the same is not always true for our pets! It is possible for any animal to overheat in hot weather, however we often forget how tough it can be on our pets that live in hutches, such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

It can be easy to think that their hutches provide cover from the warm sun, but they can heat up very quickly and become uncomfortable for the animals. And let’s not forget all that fur that they can be carrying too!

Take a look at our 5 top tips below for helping your furry friend stay cool:

  1. It is always best to find a shady area in the garden to position their enclosure and any exercise runs, to keep them away from direct sunlight. Extra shade could be created by draping a towel or sheet over part of the run, maintaining a draught of cool air.
  2. Create an area for them that is nice and cool to lie on – this could be achieved by placing some ceramic tiles in their hutch/enclosure, however, ensure that these remain in the shade.
  3. It is important to remember that your rabbit or guinea pig is likely to drink more on hot days, therefore ensure they have access to fresh, clean water when needed. Keep checking the water throughout the day too so that you can top it up as required, but also so you can notice if anything is wrong (e.g. the bottle spout is blocked).
  4. A way to ensure that your pet is getting some added water in their diet is to feed them plenty of leafy green vegetables and safe fruit (such as tomato or cucumber).
  5. For those breeds that are long-haired, consider making them feel more comfortable in the heat by removing any excess hair with a brush.

With the above in mind, recognising the main symptoms of heatstroke for rabbits and guinea pigs is important to ensure that you can take action to prevent it, or if it occurs, get them the necessary treatment. Keep an eye out for:

–   Convulsions

–   Salivating

–   Reddening of the ears

–   Panting

–   Weakness and lethargy

If you feel your rabbit or guinea pig is showing any of the above symptoms, then use cool water to dampen their fur and contact us immediately.

Taking your cat to the vets

A visit to the vet can be stressful for cats, and therefore stressful for you too!

You will need a sturdy cat carrier to get your cat from your home to our vet practice. Make sure it has strong handles and fastens securely. A cat carrier will be an unfamiliar environment for your cat, so try to make it welcoming with some treats and toys, you could also use a pheromone spray to calm and help your cat feel at ease. Encourage them to get in and out of it of their own free will in the lead up to the appointment. That way it will be less daunting for them when you close the door for the journey.

At present we have additional measures in place due to Covid-19 for the safety of you, your pet, and the practice staff, which include having to wear a face covering and use hand sanitiser. When using hand sanitiser, please ensure it has dried on your hands before touching your feline friend as they may not like the smell of it!

One of our vets will examine your cat thoroughly. Next steps will depend on the reason you’re here – either for a routine examination or for the investigation of a problem. It’s important to get your cat checked out at least annually even if they seem in good health. This will enable us to pick up on subtle changes which might not be noticeable at home such as weight loss as well as allowing us to intervene early in any disease process.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask the vet or nurse. They’re here to help, and make sure you fully understand what’s going on. Whether it’s about terminology, medication, or even costs, they want to make sure you’re fully informed throughout the appointment.

If your cat is showing signs of stress after their appointment, be sure to give them plenty of fuss and cuddles when you get home – if they want to, of course! We all know that cats can be strong minded and very independent, so don’t force them if they don’t want to.

Are you a member of our Pet Health Plan?

For an affordable monthly fee your cat will receive all the benefits listed on our membership page. You can now even register online, so why not sign up today!

Seven interesting dog facts for you to ponder

We’ve “fetched” seven fun canine facts to share with you. You may know some of these already, and others may be new info for your trivia bank…

  1. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not colour-blind. [Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]

Dogs are not colour-blind in the sense that they see more than just black, white and grey. However, the range they perceive is different from ours. Human eyes have three types of cones so we can see red, blue and green. Dogs are only able to discern yellows and blues. This is called dichromatic vision. Reds and greens are not distinguishable to dogs and instead appear somewhere on their yellow to blue spectrum.

  1. Human yawns are contagious for domestic dogs! It is four times as likely to happen when it is the yawn of a person he or she knows. [Source: Scientific American]

Dogs are amongst few species that have displayed signs of contagious yawning. The exclusive list contains humans, chimpanzees, stumptail macaques and gelada baboons.

  1. A Greyhound could beat a Cheetah in a long-distance race. [Source: Psychology Today]

Greyhounds are superb long-distance runners and can keep a speed of 35 mph for up to seven miles. Cheetahs, while incredibly fast, can only keep their speed for around 200 to 300 yards (274 meters) or less than two-tenths of a mile.

  1. A wet nose helps with scent detection. Your dog’s nose secretes a thin layer of mucous that helps to absorb scent chemicals. [Source: Vetstreet]

Dogs rely on scent to explore, and a wet nose helps to optimise the effectiveness of the dog’s olfactory system. A damp surface helps to attract and hold scent particles, making it easier to pick up odours while sniffing. There are up to 300 million sensory receptors in a dog’s nasal cavity; humans only have 6 million.

  1. Petting a dog can lower your blood pressure. [Source: WebMD]

While we all know that petting a dog feels good, but did you know that it can also lower your blood pressure? The petting action helps your body release a relaxation hormone and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone.

  1. Dogs have about 1700 taste buds! [Source: Woof Report]

As in the case of humans, your dog’s sense of taste depends upon special receptors called “taste buds.” Dogs have around 1700 taste buds while cats average only about 470.

  1. Dogs have at least 18 muscles in each ear! [Source: The Bark]

Up to 18 muscles control the ears of dogs while humans have only six and can only move their ears slightly. Dogs can tilt and rotate their ears to funnel the sound into the inner ear more efficiently.

Pet Travel to Europe from 1 January 2021

If you’re planning on taking your pet to an EU Country after 1 January 2021, there’s some important information you need to know.

Before your dog, cat or ferret can travel for the first time after this date, you’ll need to start taking the following steps four months before you’re planning to travel:

  1. Arrange for your dog, cat or ferret to be microchipped.
  2. Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated.
  3. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
  4. Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  5. You will then need to wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
  6. The vet will give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).

 

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to travel with your pet until you have a valid animal health certificate.

If the blood test result is unsuccessful, your pet will need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken after a further wait of 30 days.

As long as you keep your pet’s rabies vaccination up to date, you will not need to repeat blood tests for further trips to the EU. However, you will need to get an AHC from your vet within 10 days each time you travel.

It is possible that as things progress, not all of this will be necessary but please ensure you give yourself enough time.

For more information or to make an appointment to start the process, please contact us.

More information can be found here on the GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad