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Flystrike and other summer risks for rabbits & guinea pigs

When it comes to rabbits and guinea pigs, the summer season isn’t just about hopping gleefully around the garden with the sun on their back – it comes with some risks. From heatstroke to seasonal conditions and diseases, you will want to be clued up.

It’s worth learning the symptoms to check for and our head nurse, Louise Taylor, has some advice on how to avoid common issues in Prestatyn .

With prevention always being the best option, if a vaccine exists for a disease, we highly recommend that your pet stays up to date. Not sure if your small furry pet has been vaccinated or is due? If you’re registered with AllPets Vets, we can check their vaccination schedule for you so do get in touch.

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Summer health issues for Rabbits & Guinea Pigs:

Guinea pigs and rabbits can die from heatstroke

  • Heatstroke is caused by too much exposure to heat and can become serious very quickly.
  • Check for signs of heatstroke: Drooling/salivating, panting & short shallow breaths, overall weakness & lethargy, red and warm ears, wetness around the nose, fitting, unconsciousness.
  • Avoid heatstroke by keeping their hutch somewhere cool and shaded in the summer, away from direct sunlight and with good ventilation.

A lack of natural sunlight can cause vitamin D deficiency

  • Guinea pigs & rabbits need sunlight/UV rays to help them produce the vitamin D they need.
  • Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in guinea pigs & rabbits: Fatigue, depression, muscle weakness/aches/cramps, bone pain, dental issues.
  • You can provide more vitamin D via certain foods, supplements, and carefully planned time in the sun (avoid heatstroke) or under a UV lamp.

Flystrike is common in rabbits & guinea pigs during summer

  • Flies quickly lay eggs on soiled bedding. These turn into maggots that burrow into open sores and moist places like the rear. Pets that struggle to keep themselves clean due to old age, arthritis, or dental issues are most at risk. You may need to give yours a ‘butt bath’.
  • Check for signs of flystrike: Initially quiet & lethargic, refusing food & drink, a strong smell coming from their hutch, digging into corners for pain relief. Look for maggots and flies around your pet and in their hutch. Flystrike can lead to death if untreated.
  • Avoid flystrike by keeping your pet and their bedding clean and dry. Check their rear end and fur regularly (incontinence can attract flies). A fibrous diet including hay, vegetables, and fresh water is needed so the digestive system produces caecal (soft poops) they can eat.

Louise advises that poor hygiene and airflow can also lead to bacterial pneumonia, a significant summer disease in guinea pigs. Be sure to clean your pet’s hutch regularly and provide adequate ventilation to help prevent this disease. For reference, a hutch should not be damp, humid, or overly dusty. Check for symptoms: nasal discharge, sneezing, difficulty breathing, conjunctivitis, fever, weight loss, depression, loss of appetite. Sudden death can occur in groups of guinea pigs.

Rabbits are more at risk of contracting Myxomatosis & Rabbit Viral Haemorrhage Disease during the summer months too, due to increased wildlife activity. Myxomatosis is spread by rabbit fleas, and RVHD-1 & RVHD-2 are carried by birds, insects, and even on clothes, hands, and objects people touch. Both diseases are highly infectious and deadly but can be avoided with annual vaccinations.

Follow Louise’s advice above to help your small furry pet avoid unnecessary risks this summer.

If you have a rabbit, we can help you make sure they’re up to date with vaccinations. Contact us to get your small furry pet protected.

Richard talks Lyme disease, kennel cough and other summer dog diseases

Canine infectious diseases can be hard to avoid during summer as they spread where there are large concentrations of dogs. This could be at the park, on dog-friendly holidays, in boarding kennels, day care, and at dog shows.

Our head vet Richard Ryvar, recommends that pet owners should know how to spot the symptoms of common canine diseases, but also how to prevent them. Vaccinating your dog annually reduces the risk of contracting most harmful diseases not only for your dog, but for other dogs as well. That’s why Richard always explains the importance of vaccinations to pet owners in Prestatyn .

If you’re not sure when your dog was last vaccinated, and you’re registered with AllPets Vets, give us a call on 01745 853 366 and we can check and book them in.

The facts about five dog diseases that are common in summer:

Kennel cough (canine tracheobronchitis)

  • Airborne, highly contagious and infectious.
  • Can be picked up anywhere infected dogs have been, not just in kennels.
  • Symptoms of kennel cough: a dry hacking/honking cough, retching, nasal discharge, and lack of appetite in some dogs.
  • Can progress to secondary pneumonia with a high temperature and lethargy – can be fatal.

Canine parainfluenza:

  • Contagious respiratory virus in dogs that often leads to kennel cough.
  • Spread via contact with an infected dog, shared food and water bowls, and bedding.
  • Symptoms of canine parainfluenza: a cough, temperature/fever, nasal discharge, appetite loss, lacking energy.
  • Sometimes mistaken for canine influenza, which is a different virus and less common.

Parvovirus:

  • Unvaccinated dogs (especially puppies) can catch parvovirus from an infected dog, their faeces, and anything they’ve touched e.g., lead, bowl, bedding, human hands, clothes, other objects. The virus can live outside of the body for up to a year.
  • Symptoms of parvovirus: attacks the intestines causing vomiting, reduced appetite, diarrhoea (foul smelling, bloody & watery), extreme lethargy, fever (hot or cold to touch).
  • Can be fatal if left untreated, and sometimes fatal even if prompt treatment is sought.

Canine Coronavirus Infection (CCoV) – not related to COVID-19:

  • Highly infectious virus, attacks part of the small intestine causing gastrointestinal issues.
  • CCoV can remain in the body and be shed in faeces for up to 6 months. It can survive in the environment for a couple of days. Transmission is via exposure to an infected dog’s faeces.
  • Stress and poor hygiene can make a dog susceptible to CCoV.
  • It can be most problematic for puppies and dogs with other infections like parvovirus.
  • Symptoms of CCoV: sometimes none, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, depression, fever, appetite loss. CCoV can be fatal.

Lyme disease isn’t contagious, but it is the most common tick-borne disease in the UK. Lyme disease can be contracted by dogs, humans and other pets when bitten by an infected tick. Ticks are always around, mostly in grassy and heathland areas, but are most active in warmer months. It’s important to check for ticks after walks and keep an eye out for common symptoms: fever, lethargy, appetite loss, lameness, and joint swelling. Lyme disease can progress and become debilitating.

To combat these diseases there are two things Richard recommends to dog owners: 1) know the symptoms, and 2) learn how to prevent them in the first place.

Thankfully, you can protect your dog from the above diseases by keeping them up to date with vaccinations, and parasite treatments for ticks.

If your dog is registered with us, our Grange Road team can check if they are up to date with vaccinations and parasite control. To help you, both are included in our pet health plan – just ask our team for information.

As a side note, according to the RSPCA, imports of puppies doubled in the previous year last summer thanks to the ‘lockdown puppy trend’. Do you know someone who adopted a new pet in the last 12 months? You can help their dog and the wider dog population by encouraging them to check up on vaccinations too.

3 important summer disease checks for cats in Prestatyn

Did you know that most summer cat diseases are preventable? According to our veterinary team at AllPets Vets, cat owners in Prestatyn can lower the risk of their feline friend contracting a common cat illness, by carrying out a few simple checks this summer. Follow our checklist below.

Richard’s three summer checks every cat owner should make:

1. Check your cat’s vaccinations are up to date

The risk from infectious common cat diseases is greater in summer as there are more cats outdoors. Cats are routinely vaccinated against the below diseases to give them optimal protection:

  • Feline Infectious Enteritis
  • Feline Herpes Virus
  • Feline Calicivirus
  • Feline Leukaemia Virus (optional)

The schedule for some vaccines may differ depending on your cat’s age and lifestyle. For example, indoor cats may need less frequent vaccines for certain diseases than outdoor cats, and some vaccines last longer than 12 months. If you’re unsure whether your cat is due a vaccination and you’re registered with AllPets Vets, get in touch and our team can help.

Contact us about cat vaccinations

2. Check your cat for obvious signs of illness

Cats can be masters of disguise when it comes to illness and pain. However, there are some common, obvious signs that your cat might be sick: sneezing, coughing, runny eyes & nose, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, and lethargy.

If your cat is due a vaccination, our vets can give them a nose-to-tail health check at the same time to look for any potential problems. Talk to us about your cat’s vaccinations and health.

3. Check your cat for ticks and other parasites

  • Check your cat for ticks when they come home for the day by running your fingers through their fur and feeling for little hard bumps. You’ll need a special tick removal tool to avoid leaving the tick’s head in, as this increases the risk of disease transmission. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, a debilitating condition that can affect cats, dogs, and humans.
  • While you’re there, it’s worthwhile checking your cat for signs of fleas & roundworms. Always wash your hands after and ask our team what to look out for if you’re unsure.

Our Grange Road team can talk to you about the best combination of preventative treatments to give your cat optimal protection from parasites and common diseases. They can also tell you about our pet health plan that can save you money on preventative cat care. Just give us a call on 01745 853 366.

How to enrich your rabbit’s life after lockdown

Did you get a new rabbit during lockdown? Are you wondering how to give it the best life, now that your life is gearing up again? Enriching your rabbit’s life is pretty simple when you know how. AllPets’ nursing team is sharing their top tips for a happy & healthy bunny.

Before we dive in, have you registered your new rabbit with us yet? Once registered, our team can give you more in-depth advice and take care of your rabbit’s health care needs.

Register your rabbit

Seven way to enrich your rabbit’s life:

1. Cognitive enrichment for rabbits
Rabbits need mental stimulation and the ability to express natural behaviours to ward off boredom and stress. We love homemade rabbit enrichment ideas such as toys from cardboard boxes, paper bags, old towels, and flower pots. How about a rabbit tunnel made out of ready-made tubes, or a rabbit digging box using a container of soil? You can also buy rabbit enrichment toys online.

2. The perfect companion
Pet rabbits should ideally be kept in pairs. If you have concerns about a pair leading to baby rabbits, please talk to us about neutering.

3. Human interaction
Regular human interaction and being handled from a young age will help your rabbit develop into a confident, friendly adult pet. Carve out some time each day to spend with them.

4. Food enrichment for rabbits
A nutritional, fibrous diet will aid your rabbit’s digestive health, avoid dental problems, and make them happy – our nurses can advise on this. Using food to encourage natural behaviours will enrich your rabbit’s life too. Make hay-filled toilet roll tubes, hanging food parcels, and foraging trays.

5. Sunlight
Did you know that rabbits need sunlight to make vitamin D, which helps them get more calcium from their food? Allow plenty of time in a secure outdoor run each day (not during the hottest hours).

6. ‘Hutch goals’
Rabbits love a cosy, safe hutch, accompanied by a run that’s big enough to complete at least three full hops and stand up comfortably in. Stairs and obstacles will provide challenges too.

7. Grooming & cleaning
Regular hutch cleaning, grooming, and keeping fur clean & dry are essential for avoiding ‘fly strike’, which can be fatal. Grooming can also make your rabbit happy. Check for ear mites & fleas while you’re at it, both are easily treated so just ask our team.

8. Disease protection for rabbits in Rhyl, Prestatyn & North Wales
Rabbits need annual vaccinations for protection against life-threatening diseases Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. Rabbit Awareness Week 2021 in June is all about raising awareness around RVHD2, a more deadly variant of RVHD1. Is your new rabbit vaccinated yet?

We offer a full range of veterinary services for rabbits at our Prestatyn practice. Why not register your new rabbit with us today?

How to socialise a puppy after lockdown

Like many people, did you try to socialise a puppy bought in lockdown and weren’t able to cover all aspects? AllPets’ nurses want you to know it’s never too late to socialise a puppy, or an older dog, and explain how below.

So you can get 1-2-1 puppy advice from our fully trained vet nurses, take a moment to register your new best friend and tell us all about them.

Register your new puppy

Puppy socialisation is an important part of early development, and helps them grow into confident and well-mannered adults. After 6-8 weeks of ‘training’ with mum & siblings, it’s over to you. Ideally, socialising a puppy should be done by 16 weeks. Socialising an older dog is still worth doing, just allow more time & patience. Our nurses have created this handy puppy socialisation checklist to help you:

Post-Lockdown Puppy Socialisation Checklist

  1. The basics: Build up to collar wearing in the house and lead walking in the garden. Once fully vaccinated, do daily walks around your neighbourhood (start with 5 mins for each month of age twice a day). Get them used to being examined all over at home, and bring them to see our team to get weighed regularly. Happy experiences will reinforce a positive association, before they need a veterinary procedure.
  2. At home: Check your puppy is relaxed and happy. Then let your puppy get used to seeing and hearing things like the washing machine, hoover, TV, hairdryer, doorbell/knocker, and post arriving through the letterbox. Toys can be used to introduce different movements and textures in a non-threatening way
  3. Summer sounds: There’s lots for your puppy to get used to in the garden this time of year such as the lawnmower, kids playing, and the hosepipe. Your puppy can of course have fun outdoors, but what you don’t want is for them to be afraid or bark uncontrollably.
  4. People: Your puppy may not have had much interaction with people outside your household yet. Now they can get used to friends, family, different age groups, and people wearing face masks, hats and glasses. Don’t forget postal workers and people in high-vis clothing.
  5. Animals: Socialising your puppy with other dogs is very important. Stay close enough to remove your puppy from the situation if needed, but don’t overcrowd so they can build confidence. Most dogs will teach puppies what is/isn’t acceptable to them, and owners may ask you to leave their dog alone. When introducing cats, small furries, horses, sheep, and cows, go slowly and be careful. A calm puppy around squirrels & birds would be beneficial.
  6. Out & about: Get your puppy used to traffic, busy highstreets, pet-friendly shops, and the ice-cream van of course!
  7. Car travel: Use a dog crate or a harness and seatbelt. Build up to longer car rides now you can go further afield – remember water & toilet breaks. Ask us for help if this isn’t going well.
  8. Home alone: If you’ve spent a lot of time at home, your puppy could develop separation anxiety when you go out. Try crate training or dedicate a safe corner in a quiet room for your puppy’s bed. Leave them alone for a bit longer each time.

AllPets’ nurses recommend involving everyone in your household, including children. Plus, stay calm, be consistent, and keep sessions short & frequent. Try not to overload your puppy with new experiences all at once and always reward calm behaviour towards new things. Finally, stay strong and resist the urge to cuddle your puppy if they get wary.

For more helpful puppy socialisation advice, register your new puppy and book a chat with our nurses.

COVID cat concerns: separation anxiety & obesity

During COVID lockdowns, did you spend way more time than normal at home with your cat? Did you both eat more and do less? Chances are, weight gain and separation anxiety could now be an issue… for your cat.

You may need to help your cat adjust now that you’re returning to some kind of normality and leaving the house more. Our head nurse has some advice on COVID cat concerns.

Get cat advice from our nurses

COVID Cat obesity:

Social distancing from your sofa, cat on lap, sharing snacks… sound familiar? Doing less and eating more leads to weight gain. If your cat is overweight, their quality & length of life can suffer. There’s no need to panic, AllPets’ nursing team can help.

Book your cat in for a weight check and body condition score review. Our nurses can advise you on the best foods for overweight cats, and ways to get your cat moving more.

COVID Cat separation anxiety:

You hear about dogs, but can cats get separation anxiety? Yes. Cats are often seen as ‘aloof’, but are in fact very attached to their owners. They’re typically not as vocal or destructive about it as dogs, which is why cat separation anxiety often goes unnoticed until it’s severe. It can be caused by change or a lack of stimuli, and when forming a dysfunctional bond i.e. prolonged time at home with you.

Anxiety in cats usually presents as behaviour issues:

– your cat cries when you leave, loudly and excessively
– they’ve started urinating on your clothes or soiling other areas indoors
– licking and self-grooming has become an obsession
– your cat has become clingy or takes self-isolation too far
– changes at mealtimes i.e. eating too fast or not eating
– vomiting & diarrhoea (common for other health issues, get checked if more than 24 hrs)

If your cat is displaying some of these new behaviours, it’s a good idea to get them checked by our team. Some health issues can also cause behavioural changes. If needed, our team can talk to you about getting support from an experienced pet behaviourist.

4 ways you can help your cat adjust after lockdown:

1. Cut the snacks, but talk to our team before changing your cat’s main diet.
2. Add more stimuli to their environment for when you’re not there – cat activity centres and toys can also help with weight loss.
3. Designate time each day for playing and grooming – great for exercise and bonding.
4. Ask us about using plugin diffusers that omit natural pet pheromones to soothe your cat.

If you’d like to chat about these topics or anything else, AllPets’ friendly nurses are happy to help. To talk to us about your cat, call 1745 853 366.

Has your bunny’s behaviour taken a turn?

The average lifespan of a rabbit is around eight years but it reaches the difficult teenage phase at anywhere between six months and a year.

It’s at this stage that you might notice your rabbit being a little moody and stand-offish, or more active than usual. To help you and your rabbit through what can be a tricky time the team in Rhyl and Prestatyn has put together a few pointers. Of course, you can always contact us if you need any further advice or want to book an appointment.

Book a rabbit appointment

In common with human teenagers, rabbits at this stage in their life need to find their place in the pecking order, whether it’s with fellow rabbits, its human family or other pets in the household, and their behaviour will reflect this.

Hormones may well be the culprit if your rabbit is displaying hyperactivity such as digging, thumping its hind legs, head-butting you or scratching. It may also become less inclined to interact with you. In both cases your pet may be seeking attention, but equally they may be trying to tell you something is wrong, so to be on the safe side if you’re at all worried do give the team a call on 01745 853 366 and they should be able to help.

If your pet hasn’t been neutered, this is probably at the root of the issue and we advise that you consider this option, especially if your pet is living with other rabbits and you don’t want a sudden population boom. Remember, it’s settling into its personality so do be patient – we all go through it.

You can make an appointment to discuss getting your rabbit neutered by phoning 01745 853 366 or contacting us online.

8 bee sting first aid tips for cat owners in Prestatyn

A buzzing bee whizzing through the air must seem like a fun game to a cat, until they get stung. Head nurse Louise Taylor wants cat owners in Prestatyn to learn some basic first aid so they know what to do if their cat gets stung by a bee.

Our emergency number: 01492 485058

If you can, try to determine whether your cat was stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet. Quickly search the area where it happened for the insect.

Wasps are long and thin, have little or no hair, and are distinctly bright yellow and black. Bees are typically furry. A hornet is much larger and more aggressive. Our nurses have found some fun facts and advice on how to tell the difference:

Fun facts from the BBC: www.bbc.co.uk 
Advice from the British Pest Control Association: bpca.org.uk

If your cat is unfortunate enough to get stung by a bee or another buzzing insect, Louise has these first aid tips:

  1. If the insect is still attached to your cat, use something flat like a credit card to scrape it and its stinger away. Be careful not to get bitten or scratched by your cat, you may need a friend to help hold them.
  2. If you didn’t see the incident occur, look out for excessive licking of an area, which could also be red and swollen.
  3. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the area to reduce the swelling, and prevent your cat from scratching it – a cat head cone would be ideal.
  4. You can apply a home remedy to reduce pain and neutralise the sting;
    a. Bee/hornet sting: a thick paste of water & bicarbonate of soda/salt.
    b. Wasp stings are alkaline: lemon juice or vinegar.
  5. Contact your vet quickly if your cat experiences severe swelling or agitation, hives, excessive drooling, collapse, or seizure.
  6. Monitor their health and behaviour for 24 hours and keep up with hydration and food intake.
  7. You may also want to contact your vet for advice if the sting is near your cat’s eyes (can affect vision), and mouth or throat (can affect breathing).
  8. Some antihistamines for humans can be used, however, never give your cat human medication without instructions and the correct dosage from your vet.

In case your cat ever gets stung by a bee and requires urgent treatment by a vet, pop our emergency number in your phone: 01492 485058

Bringing up a new kitten

Kittens are as cute as buttons but in those formative weeks and months they can occasionally be little devils too and their enthusiasm for life can prove a bit destructive.

But so long as you’re prepared you and your kitten can have hours of fun without the downside. Here at AllPets Veterinary Surgery we’ve plenty of experience with kittens, so here are some suggestions to make those first few weeks and months a happy learning curve for both you and your pet. If you’ve any questions after reading this, don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.

Contact us for kitten care advice on 01745 853 366.

When you bring your kitten home it will need your help to get used to its new surroundings and to become socialised into your way of life. To make things easier all round make the most of this impressionable age to:

• Ensure it is introduced to all members of the family and gets used to being around people of all ages, as well as other pets.
• Introduce your kitten to various essential items it will need to get used to, including litter tray, grooming tools and its pet carrier – essential for journeys away and trips to the vet.
• Start a routine for feeding and try to stick to it.
• Bring in plenty of toys and a scratching post to distract your kitten from the soft furnishings.
• Expose your kitten to as many experiences as you can – have a think about the encounters it is going to make throughout its life.
• Keep any potential poisons, such as household cleaners, out of your kitten’s reach.
• Introduce play time. The more time you spend playing with your kitten the more it will bond with you.
• Make sure your kitten has a safe space of its own to rest and sleep in.

Your kitten will need vaccinations and parasite prevention treatment too, so bring it along to your local surgery where we can chat to you about what’s needed and get it used to being handled by our team too.

We look forward to meeting your new arrival but in the meantime we are here to offer kitten advice when you contact us.

What are the nation’s favourite pets?

It’ll come as no surprise to hear that dogs are the UK’s most popular pets, estimated at around 9 million, closely followed by cats at an estimated 8 million.

But given that there are some 51 million pets in the UK, according to the RSPCA and figures estimated by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, there are obviously a lot of other types of animals around. The team at AllPets thought it would be fun to find out the range of pets in Rhyl, Prestatyn and North Wales.

We’d love to see pictures of your pet, so please get in touch and post your pet photos.

Contact us on social media

April is National Pet Month when lots of organisations join forces to promote responsible pet ownership and increase awareness of the benefits of living with animals and the valuable role they can play in helping people through therapy or assistance.

So what better time to share your pet experiences? Share your funny stories and heartwarming tales involving your pets and upload a photo while you’re at it.

It’s easy for people to immediately think dogs and cats when they hear the word ‘pet’, but many pet owners share their homes with more unusual creatures, from insects and ferrets to snakes and horses, so there is a wide variety of interaction between humans and animals and we’re sure your stories will make for fascinating reading.

We can’t wait to hear your anecdotes, so why not go to our social media pages and start sharing?

Contact us on social media

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