Thursday, 10 April 2014

If you need to complain to your vet.

We are occasionally contacted when something has gone wrong at the vets and the owner is wondering what action to take. Our sympathies are with the owners following any incident but we are unfortunately unable to discuss individual cases or recommend specific treatment, although your vets are welcome to contact our veterinary advisor for specific advice. We have, however, the following advice regarding reaching as satisfactory an outcome as possible for you and your pet. there are two issues here. The first is obtaining the best possible ongoing care for your rabbit. This may be with your existing practice, with another practice, by obtaining a second opinion, or by being referred to another practice, particularly one with a specific expertise in rabbits, or the particular condition with which your rabbit is affected.This MUST involve communicating your concerns with the practice, to give them a chance to give you the greatest level of assistance possible, and to ensure that, if your rabbit is seen elsewhere, that all his or her details are transferred fully to best care for him or her. The second issue is to resolve any complaint that you may have with the vet or the practice, if necessary. The first stage in this process is to discuss things fully with the senior person (practice owner, principle or manager) at the practice in question. If the practice is part of a group or chain, you may then, or if unsatisfied, decide to take the matter higher up the management line. The best way to initially communicate is in writing, as this gives you an opportunity to order your thoughts and to express them logically, and for them to reply to that. depending on the outcome at this stage, you may both decide to meet and discuss things further. If these avenues have not solved the problem, then the correct course of action is to take the matter to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (the RCVS).

Monday, 31 March 2014

A new addition to the Retailer Charter - Ingleby Pet Supplies

A warm welcome to Ingleby Pet Supplies who are the newest addition to the Retailer Charter. They told us: Ingleby Pet Supplies are happy to sign up to the RWAF retailer charter as we realise the importance of giving your rabbits the best home and environment possible. We are rabbit owners ourselves and have 4 happy bunnies at home! We are constantly looking for new suppliers for our small animal department and hope to carry on expanding our offering of rabbit accommodation over the coming months. Ingleby Pet Supplies will continue to educate our customers on rabbit welfare issues by promoting the Hutch Is Not Enough campaign in store. Please support them if you are local.

Richard Saunders gains his Specialist certificate

We are very lucky to have the wonderful Richard Saunders on our team and could not be more proud to share this news with you all. Richard is now a 'Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife' medicine, he is one of only twelve vets in the UK to have this certificate so this is obviously a huge achievement. What has Zoo and Wildlife got to do with rabbits? Rabbits are classed as 'exotics' and not covered in depth via the standard vet training, but by obtaining this standard Richard has demonstrated that he is indeed a specialist where our favourite animals are concerned. As our 'Vet Specialist Advisor', Richard guides our health and welfare strategy and also supports our Vet members.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Severe Weather - please bring bunnies indoors

Severe weather warning - please bring rabbits indoors

As the next round of rainfall and gales storms its way across the UK, Rae Todd of the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), the Somerset-based national charity dedicated to improving the welfare of rabbits, writes an open letter of concern for domestic rabbits still being kept outside. "It looks like the miserable weather is going to carry on even longer, with forecasts of storms, snow and floods for the UK. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) sympathise with everybody who has been affected by the terrible conditions and wish everybody luck with what's to come. "We know that people have a lot to worry about but please take a moment to think about your pet rabbits if they're kept outside, please make sure you take steps to protect them, both from the cold and the wet. "If you have outdoor rabbits we are urging owners to please consider bringing them indoors until the worst of the weather has passed. Rabbits are very clean animals and can be litter trained easily. Pick an area like a utility room or spare room and make sure they have their litter tray, hayrack and water. "Take care to make sure they can not get to any cables and if they will be going back outside, you will need to keep them in an unheated room as they will suffer if taken from a warm place and put back out into the cold. "If you must keep them outside, please bear in mind that a lot of the hutches available, especially cheap imports, will not be able to withstand this extreme weather. Lids can blow off, hutches will leak and offer no protection at all to the rabbits inside. Hutches should be moved to an unused shed or garage where possible. "If you are in a flood area, you need to ensure hutches are high enough off the ground even if in a building. In some areas this is entirely impractical and you need to move them somewhere safer. "We know this is a difficult time for everybody but domestic rabbits can't take steps to protect themselves so please take the time to do it for them." RWAF

Friday, 20 December 2013

Be careful with wood shavings

We would like to remind rabbit owners, following some cases of suspected problems with shavings recently, that there are some known problems with shavings as bedding. They can on occasion be eaten, and are indigestible, potentially blocking the gut. This is much less likely to occur if lots and lots of fresh, palatable hay or forage is provided. Also, very strongly scented shavings eg pine or cedar can contain high levels of irritant resins which can cause lung damage, or liver toxicity

Friday, 25 October 2013

When your rabbit stops eating

When your rabbit stops eating is vital to get to a vet asap. Blood tests (to establish if it is a blockage or if it is a stasis instead ) and x-rays can be vital in making a rapid diagnosis of the problem causing your rabbit to stop eating and passing faeces. Carried out early on, they may help to prevent your rabbit's condition deteriorating, and may save its life. Every case, every rabbit is different, and it is difficult to suggest strict guidelines for how to treat a rabbit who is not eating, in advance. Syringe feeding ( water or recovery food) a rabbit with a blockage will not help and could in fact worsen the problem, so although it is tempting to avoid the stress of a trip to the vet and start to syringe feeding and giving medications at home, it is not advised. The decision to syringe feed water or recovery diets depends on a number of factors. Generally speaking, if the rabbit takes them readily, then it is unlikely there is a gastrointestinal blockage. But if there is a blockage, adding anything to the stomach, and delaying veterinary diagnosis and treatment may be fatal. We would therefore advise anyone with a rabbit who stops eating, to contact their vets asap, and to take their advice. If a stasis has been diagnosed then pain relief and syringe feeding are vital. The cause of the stasis needs to be established also, as this is often a sign of a rabbit who requires dental treatment, or pain relief for another condition, for example. A good rule of thumb is 30 to 50 ml per kilogram bodyweight, over a 24 hour period. This total amount can be divided into any number of smaller feeds eg every 1-3 hours, with a break, for owner and rabbit, for some part of the night. If your rabbit is eating anything at all, this amount can be reduced accordingly. We often hear that owners have been advised to give their rabbits Infacol in the case of a statis. Although Infacol is unlikely to cause problems if used in rabbits we do not feel that it is useful. Rabbits can not burp, so although it may gather the gas together, it is still stuck.