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May 2014 - Spring time..... laminitis and rabbits

I hope you are all enjoying this warmer spring weather. It is great time of year to take your humans out for a long walk to stay fit. Beetle and I like to help our vet Dad Paddy in the garden at this time of year. I think I am particularly good at digging……………

The warm wet spring we have had means that the grass in the fields has grown really well and is especially lush at the moment. Horses and ponies grazing in the fields love the new spring grass but as with most things too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Ponies are particularly prone to a condition called Laminitis. If you know a pony who has put on a lot of weight in recent weeks or is developing a fat “crest  on the top of their neck, they could be in danger of getting laminitis. Ponies can get very sore feet, leading to lameness which in extreme cases is irreversible. Prevention is always best which means restricted access to grass until the spring growing season has slowed down and plenty of regular exercise. Our horse vet Jennifer is happy to answer any queries about laminitis.

There is a bit of a theme about healthy eating and exercise this month in my blog. My favourite small furry pets are rabbits. 10th May is the start of Rabbit Awareness Week, RAW to you and me, which aims to help inform rabbit owners on the best way to care for their domestic pets. Every year your pet rabbits should come into the surgery to see Paddy, Peter or Kate for their annual vaccination and health check which will include their teeth. Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) are painful and often fatal diseases that can easily be prevented through vaccination. It is given as one injection so it is less stressful for your rabbit. In the wild a rabbit would cover an area the size of thirty tennis courts each day in search of grass and herbs to eat. This keeps them fit and provides all the fibrous food they need. The pet rabbits in your family should be given at least their own body size in good quality hay, every day plus a small quantity of rabbit nuggets. This will ensure he or she is getting the right amount of fibre and helping to stop teeth becoming painfully long. Your rabbit’s hutch is really like a bedroom. It should be big enough for the rabbit to stand up on its back legs and hop at least three times. Your rabbit should have access to a secure outside space where he can nibble grass and exercise freely. Rabbits also need friends! Now, if any of you have met me in either surgery you will know I am a sociable sort of a chap. If I spent all day in my bedroom and didn’t have my dog friends Slug and Beetle to play with in the garden I would be a sad boxer dog. So try and follow my tips here to give your rabbits plenty of space and the right diet so that they stay healthy and happy. Any of our lovely nurses will be happy to advise on the best way to look after your rabbit, and make sure you get booked in for your annual check and vaccination.

I hope you are all enjoying springtime and I will be back soon with more news and views,

Nog