Vet Watch, April 17

Mixed Bag of Vet Treats

This month I thought I would have a brief discussion of a couple of issues that are currently occupying us at the Lennox Head Vet Clinic, amongst the usual background of puppies, kittens, mayhem and coffee. The first is a big spike in the number of pet Bunnies that need vaccinating for the deadly Rabbit Calici Virus. The second is what seems an unusually high number of pets needing dental work under general anaesthetic, for no particular reason. 

FIRSTLY, the release of RHDV-K5 (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Korean Strain 5), or Calici Virus, and the resulting run on rabbit vaccines. We certainly have seen an increase in the requests for this vaccine, and for good reason, as it’s a rapidly fatal disease spread by flying insects and direct contact. However, Calici Virus of rabbits has been around for over a decade after being originally released to help control the feral rabbit population. Over the years the wild rabbit population has become more resistant to the original strain. The DPI released this new strain a few weeks back in order to impact the resistant feral rabbit population more effectively.

However, the older strain is just as deadly to domestic rabbits! We have been advising a yearly vaccination to pet bunnies since the first virus was released ages ago. In fact, the most recent large mortality due to the original virus in wild rabbits in this area was around Christmas last year.

The difference is that the new strain needs 6 monthly boosters, not yearly as in the past. Rabbits never before vaccinated  need an initial booster 4 weeks after the first.

SECONDLY, let’s talk teeth! All our pets need special care of their teeth, (or beaks, as the case may be). Oral health is extremely important to pets for a variety of reasons, and a mouth full of damaged or infected teeth is a common cause of poor health and quality of life. In some cases , bad teeth can be fatal with such conditions as Heart valve disease, kidney disease, ocular disease, septicaemia and abcesses all being linked to poor dental health. Add to this the pain of inflamed gums and periodontal disease, and eye-wateringly bad halitosis due to rotten teeth and gums, and its easy to see that maintaining a healthy oral cavity is of prime importance.

Owners of pets of all species should be aware that since our animal friends live much longer in captivity (in general) than in the wild, no matter what you do there will probably be a time when your pet needs some dental intervention. Most pets past middle age will require some dental intervention at some stage, but there’s some things you can do to help delay the inevitable deterioration. Regular raw bones often come to mind, but surprisingly this is neither consistently effective or safe. There are a number of options that we can discuss.

So, for the next month we are offering a FREE (YES..FREE!) NURSE DENTAL CHECK for your pet! Just make an appointment and we will see how things look in there and offer some advice on the best choices for repair and preventive care.

Give us a call anytime and we are happy to discuss all of the things I’ve mentioned. Bye for now! Evan Kosack

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