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All About Rabbits!

All About Rabbits!

Husbandary

The best information is available on the SPCA website. They have handling techniques, feeding requirements, hutch sizes and just an abundance of information to assist in caring for your beloved rabbit! To have an in depth husbandry list visit the spca website now.

Disease – What is Calici Virus?

Calici Virus is a haemorrhagic virus which can result in sudden death of the rabbit. It is a species specific virus meaning only rabbits are effected.

What should you look for?

Depression, anorexia, difficulty breathing, shaking, and death within one to two days.  Other signs may include a foamy or bloody discharge from the nose or anus, nervous signs or rapid death. Rabbits may appear to recover, then die several days later

Mild form – depression, anorexia followed by recovery. These animals become immune from re-infection

When should I vaccinate?

Vaccinations should begin at 8 weeks and will need to be boostered again at 12 weeks. If vaccinations begin at 12 weeks old they will need a single vaccination and then will require annual vaccinations. Only healthy rabbits should be vaccinated. There is a small risk of adverse reactions to the vaccine including skin reactions, inappetence and malaise.

Control Measures for Unvaccinated Rabbits

  1. Control insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors. Flies are the main vector through which the virus is spread.
  2. Remove uneaten food on a daily basis.
  3. Keep your pet rabbit indoors where possible.
  4. Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits.
  5. Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials (e.g. cages, hutches, bowls) with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide. 10minutes contact times is required, then rinse off.
  6. Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits.
  7. Use good biosecurity measures (e.g. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits.
  8. Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to your rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits.
  9. Infected rabbits should be isolated and disposed of in a manner that will minimise environmental contamination.

 

Helpful links:

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/long-term-pest-management/wild-rabbits/

https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/science/plants-animals-fungi/animals/vertebrate-pests/biological-control-of-rabbits/faq

 

Kennel Cough

What is kennel cough:

Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough in places where large amounts of dogs socialise, such as boarding and daycare facilities and activity areas like walking tracks, the beach etc. Dogs can spread it to one another through the air (like a human cough), direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It is treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and compromised dogs (eg sick or old).

Symptoms:

If your dog is affected with kennel cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound – this is the most obvious symptom
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite

Treatment:

A veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection to ease the symptoms and your pet will need to be well rested as well as quarantined from other dogs to prevent spread. If you notice your pet coughing or you want to try and avoid kennel cough all together speak with your veterinarian today as early treatment  (if required) will help keep your pets safe and healthy .

Prevention:

Vaccinate to prevent contracting this disease today! When vaccinated your dog may still contract a form of the disease but the symptoms are far more manageable and your dog will recover far sooner.

Parvovirus and You

Canine Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus or ‘Parvo” is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs but especially young puppies. It can cause devastating gastrointestinal  effects and is potentially fatal.

How is Parvo spread?

Parvo is spread by dog to dog contact and contact with contaminated people (on clothes, hands, shoes) and environments (kennels, food and water bowls, bedding). Dogs that have had the disease can shed the virus for weeks afterwards, even once they are well. It also is extremely good at surviving for long periods of time in the environment as it is not easily killed by heat, cold and dry conditions. Dogs can also incubate the disease for up to 2 weeks before showing any signs of illhealth.

What are the signs of Parvo?

Loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, severe or bloody diarrhoea, dehydration and collapse. Puppies can die within a very short time from the start of clinical signs, so it is important to seek veterinary treatment early.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis is often suspected based on the patients’ history, vaccination status and clinical exam by a vet. There is also a faecal sampling test available that can be done at the practice which can be useful to confirm diagnosis, although tests are not always 100% accurate.

Treatment usually requires intensive treatment in an isolation facility. It involves intravenous fluids, pain relief, nutritional support, gut medication and antibiotics for secondary infection. Severe cases of parvovirus may be hospitalised for several days or longer. The earlier the treatment is started the greater the chance of a successful outcome. If you are concerned that your dog might be showing any of the signs of Parvo, please contact the clinic as soon as possible and explain. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the disease, please do not bring your dog into the clinic but make staff aware that you are here, then wait outside until our vet staff can attend to you.

How can Parvo be prevented?

It is vitally important that all puppies receive a course of vaccinations every 3-4 weeks with the final vaccination between 14-16 weeks of age. A booster vaccination should be given between 6-9 months of age. Adults that have never been vaccinated should receive 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart. In addition to this, try and avoid contact with sick and unvaccinated dogs and faecal matter when out and about. If you are concerned that your dog is not fully vaccinated, please contact one of our clinics.

Tick-ed Off

Tick-ed Off

Ticks do exist in New Zealand BUT as much as they are awful they do not carry diseases, luckily! They do however cause a few issues on our dogs and cats. The common tick is the Cattle Tick. This tick loves warm blooded animals and is most likely to crop up from Spring through Autumn.

In our cats and dogs the signs of a tick issue are small black dots on your pet that simple grow as they feed on their blood until they are engorged. They can be found anywhere on your pet but will target areas close to the long grass, as well as around ears and nose if they keep their heads low on walks sniffing. These parasites live not only rural areas, but in urban parks and gardens too. They find a host, such as your cat or dog, by waving their forelimbs in the air – at the tip of vegetation – the tick will then latch onto your pet and bring them home to the family!

Ticks can cause irritation around the site but DO NOT PULL THEM OFF! If the head gets stuck this could  lead to an abscess. An infestation of ticks could also cause anaemia in unhealthy or young animals.

The Cattle tick also affects large animals.

How to Prevent and Treat for Ticks

The fantastic news is, although you cannot pull them off, you can treat with appropriate flea and tick treatments! Click here to find out more. If you have any more questions or concerns call us on 5445566 for Richmond or 5288459 for Motueka.

Flea and Tick Treatments – Only the Best Will Do

Livestock Products 

 

Bayticol 

Control of ticks on cattle, and an aid in treatment of ticks on deer. Bayticol is active against all 3 stages of the New Zealand cattle tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. It also causes infertility of the ticks that survive treatment by inhibiting egg laying or by rendering eggs sterile. This action helps reduce contamination of pastures.

Provides protection against reinfestation for 3–6 weeks.

Pet and Working Dog Products

Seresto 

Seresto is not your average flea and tick collar. It has been developed using a novel blend of materials, which means it can release active ingredients in controlled, very low doses – giving your dog and cat up to 8 months of protection against fleas and ticks. Seresto is an easy to apply collar which is safe as well as efficient. For more information visit www.seresto.com

Nexgard and Nexgard Spectra (Dog Only) 

Nexgard Spectra combines two active ingredients to offer broad spectrum control of the most common external and internal parasites of dogs in one convenient monthly treat. 
This new soft, beef-flavoured chew represents the next generation of the popular Nexgard Spectra Chewables for fleas and ticks, now with the added benefit of treatment for roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
Nexgard Spectra  is a monthly treatment in the form of a highly palatable chew that is readily consumed by dogs when offered as a treat. Created with soy proteins and braised beef flavouring, Nexgard Spectra  features a beefy aroma that dogs love; and, because it is vegetable-based it won’t trigger beef allergies. 
Nexgard Spectra is safe for all breeds and puppies from 8 weeks of age and 2kg or more.
Please note – for those needing to treat hydatids/sheep measles/ tapeworm you will need to use an all wormer containing praziquantel.

Frontline Plus 

For the treatment and prevention of fleas, flea allergy dermatitis, preventing the development of flea eggs and flea larvae.  Kills ticks and biting lice and prevents reinfestation.

FRONTLINE Plus completely breaks the flea lifecycle.  The active ingredient Fipronil (kills newly acquired adult fleas) has been combined with the trusted insect growth regulator (S)-methoprene, which kills flea eggs, larvae and prevents pupae development.

FRONTLINE Plus attacks more stages of the flea lifecycle providing your dog or cat with the best treatment for flea control.

We have available more products in clinic – give us a call and we can provide you the best pest protocols that suits you, your pet and your lifestyle. 

 

Laser Therapy

We are incredibly happy with our Class 4 K-Laser and the variety of uses this wonderful machine has! We have used the Laser on wound management, arthritic cases, post op wounds, post op orthopedics, physio and acupuncture to name a few! As well as the machine being portable so being ideal to treat equine patients, the laser treatment itself also is pain free and non invasive, so perfect for you and your pet to keep treatment as stress free as possible!

What is Laser Therapy?

Laser Therapy, or “photobiomodulation”, is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects. These effects include improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation and decreased swelling. Laser Therapy has been widely utilized in Europe by physical therapists, nurses and doctors as far back as the 1970’s. Now, after FDA clearance in 2002, Laser Therapy is being used extensively in the United States.

Has effectiveness been demonstrated scientifically?

Yes. There are thousands of published studies demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of Laser Therapy. Among these, there are more than one hundred rigorously controlled, scientific studies that document the effectiveness of Laser Therapy for many clinical conditions.

Cellular Effects of Laser Therapy

During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, and metabolic activity increases within the cell, improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the increased production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health.

Laser Therapeutic Effects

During each painless treatment, laser energy increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved.

What is a Class 4 therapy laser?

Lasers are classified according to their output power. A Class 4 laser has more than 500 milliwatts of power. Higher power means it can deliver more energy per unit of time – which means your Veterinarian can treat a very large area on your pet in just a few minutes.

Ryegrass Staggers

Ryegrass Staggers

Ryegrass Staggers is a neurological impairment of cattle – particularly of weaned calves and heifers – as well as sheep, deer, horses and alpacas. Horses can be permanently impaired.

It is caused by a naturally occurring ryegrass endophyte (fungus). The fungus produces a toxin that is concentrated in leaf sheaths and seed heads. When ingested the toxin affects the nervous system of grazing animals.

It occurs throughout NZ as far south as Otago, mostly during dry spells (January to late April) when pasture is likely to be in short supply and is being grazed closer to the ground.

Ryegrass Staggers is not the same as grass staggers or hypomagnesemia – a deficiency of magnesium in the blood that can seriously affect cattle.

Symptoms: 

An early sign of ryegrass staggers is that an animal will be unusually anxious when approached. An affected animal will likely show a slight trembling of the head. Skin on the neck, shoulder and flanks will twitch and flicker when the animal is disturbed.

Symptoms progress to head nodding, jerky movements, swaying while standing and staggering movements. A deterioration is evidenced by stiff-legged and jerky movement, short prancing steps and eventual collapse, sometimes with rigid spasms lasting several minutes.

Calves usually remain upright on their briskets with their legs splayed while sheep tend to roll on their sides with head extended and limbs rigid.

  • Affected stock cannot be disturbed without risk of their collapse. This makes it difficult to move them to the next feed break or to a yard.
  • Affected animals lose physical condition and do not drink sufficient water.
  • An immediate economic consequence for dairy farmers is loss of milk production. Affected dairy cows are also at risk of injury when falling in the race and falling on concrete in the dairy shed, yard or milking area.
  • Although not fatal in itself, ryegrass staggers can lead to stock losses through ‘misadventure’ – animals staggering into waterways and drowning, falling into an electric fence or other obstacle and being injured, falling down a bank, or into a ditch or swamp and becoming stuck.

Research:

A DSIR test in NZ showed a correlation between the relief of ryegrass staggers and dosing with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) and potassium chloride (McColl & Orchard, 1981).

A preventive course of action was indicated in the results of a North Canterbury farm trial with seaweed-based trough treatments for 236 bull calves over a 10-week period (McKenzie, 1985).

Fungicidal spray is an option to suppress potential endophyte build-up in ryegrass pasture.

Long term options for severely affected farms are pasture replacement with an endophyte-resistant grass or livestock replacement with animals bred for ryegrass staggers resistance

Pasture management options aim to:

  1. provide fresh breaks into leafy ryegrass where toxicity is naturally lower.
  2. provide pasture that has a low endophyte count or is ryegrass-free.
  3. provide pasture that includes legumes such as white clover, which dilute toxin uptake.
  4. provide ‘safe pasture’ such as lucerne, red clover, chicory, brown top, kikuyu and annual ryegrass (as opposed to perennial ryegrass).
  5. make available summer forage crops and supplements such as grain, hay and silage.

Stock management options aim to:

  1. leave affected animals mostly undisturbed.
  2. move stock slowly and patiently without the stress of bikes, dogs and overcrowding.
  3. postpone any non-essential yarding and stock movements.
  4. avoid leaving stock in paddocks with natural hazards such as ponds, ditches and bluffs.
  5. make allowance for recovering animals now mobile but still lacking normal coordination.
  6. implement a weekly drench programme prior to and during the period of risk.

Dairy management options aim to:

  1. minimise the distance walked to the dairy yard.
  2. milk affected cows only once a day and drench once or twice weekly with a preferred drench formulation that will help reduce the incidence and severity of ryegrass staggers.
  3. dry-off badly affected cows to lessen their physical stress.

Vetpack Summer “Tonic” is a mineral-rich, seaweed-based formulation administered to animals as a ready-to-use feed supplement or drench, which is especially formulated for summer feed conditions.� Farmers claim that their on-farm experience with Vetpack Summer Tonic, when used correctly, is that it can greatly assist in reducing the incidence and severity of ryegrass staggers. It is manufactured by Independent Veterinary Supplies Ltd and distributed through Veterinary Clinics to be used as required or as directed by a Veterinary Surgeon

NOTE:

We suggest you take the appropriate action to ensure your animals’ welfare is safeguarded during the period of risk. We also recommend that you consult your local Veterinarian for up-to-date information on ryegrass staggers in your area.

For further information, please contact us

Copper Deficiency

Copper Deficiency

Copper deficiency is most recognised in deer and cattle causing production losses through a sub-clinical deficiencies. On occasions, clinical signs will occur including poor locomotion, coat changes, poor reproductive performance, poor milk production, diarrhoea, weight loss and skeletal defects and reduced growth rates in growing animals.

Copper is commonly deficient in New Zealand soils and can be made more deficient by the application of certain other minerals such as Sulphur and Molybdenum. Animal species differ in their susceptibility, with deer being the most susceptible.

To check if your stock are copper deficient samples of blood or liver biopsy’s from 4 animals will give you a good indication of your herds copper levels.

Supplementation can be made to animals via several methods. The most reliable and economical in in Copper Oxide Capsules that last 8 to 12 months. Injectable products last 6 to 12 weeks and most oral applications are very short acting.  Copper can be applied through normal fertilisers which is convenient but expensive.

For advice or more information, please contact us.

Electrolytes for Horses

Electrolytes for Horses

In the past recommendations for electrolytes differed depending on the type of work the horse was doing. For example endurance horses were given acidic electrolyte solution with increased potassium levels to offset the alkalosis that occurred due to losing sweat over a long period.

Now the recommendation is to supplement electrolyte with the same formulation as horse sweat for all horses regardless of the work they are doing, but vary the amount given depending on the amount of sweating that is done.

Horse sweat is 10x the concentrations of human sweat! The main components are sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium and calcium. Horses can sweat 10-15 litres an hour, meaning they can lose a large volume of fluid rich in electrolytes that needs to be replaced in feed.

Horses don’t store sodium, potassium or chloride and so if they are sweating each day need to have these electrolytes replaced daily. Horses that are not involved in regular strenuous exercise and have access to good hay or pasture and a salt block are probably receiving adequate amounts of major elements.

Horses that sweat losing large amounts of sodium have a reduced thirst response e.g. when they should be drinking more, they don’t feel like they need a drink! Most importantly when horses have been working and you want to keep fluid intake up encourage drinking by supplying cool, clean fresh water.

Calf Scours

Calf Scours
Treating calf scours is a time consuming, frustrating business and the first thing to remember is that even though you will do your best you may not save them all. One of the first questions to ask when a calf gets scours is “Is it a nutritional or infectious scour?” A nutritional scour is often what’s called a ‘happy’ scour. The calf will often look otherwise healthy and still have a good appetite, although not always.

Nutritional scours are usually the result of:

·
a sudden change of feed (like colostrum to milk or milk replacer)
· a sudden change in feed volume (like twice day feeding to once day feeding)
· or mixing problems with milk replacer.
 
Changing brands or types of milk replacer can also cause a nutritional scour. Usually giving the calf 24 hours off milk and replacing those feeds with good quality electrolytes is all that is needed to stop the scour.

Infectious scours like Rotavirus, Cryptosporidium, Corona virus, Salmonella and E.coli will normally cause a sick, dehydrated looking calf. Contrary to popular opinion it is not possible to diagnose which bug is causing the problem just by the smell and colour of the scour. Faecal culture is needed on at least three scouring calves in an outbreak situation to get a picture of what is causing the problem. Getting a diagnosis is important for several reasons:
1. Some of the treatments differ slightly for different bacteria or viruses.
2. Some of the bugs will infect people and make them sick, especially children. This happens more often than you might think and examples include Salmonella and Cryptosporidium infections.
3. Knowing what is causing the problem can help in forming a prevention programme for next season e.g. using Rotavec in the cows pre-calving.
 
 
The most important treatment for infectious calf scours is still fluid/electrolyte replacement. If the calf has stopped drinking then it needs to be tube fed. A 40kg calf that has lost 10% of its bodyweight in lost fluids will need 4 litres just to correct the dehydration. This level of dehydration is not unusual in scouring calves. Add in the normal day to day needs of about 4 litres and that calf needs 8 litres of fluid in 24 hours. A calf can only take in 2 litres per feed so that means, ideally, 4 feeds of fluids in 24 hours. In most cases giving the calf 3 feeds every 24 hours over 2 to 3 days will correct the dehydration, but remember that 3 is the absolute minimum number of daily feeds for a scouring calf, twice daily is too little. You can check the level of dehydration in the calf by gently pulling down the bottom eyelid and looking at the gap between the eyelid and the eyeball. In a normal calf there is almost no gap (check a healthy calf first for comparison) and as the calf gets more and more dehydrated the eyeball will gradually sink away from the eyelid.

When it comes to electrolytes you generally get what you pay for. The better quality products such as ‘Diarrest’ have ingredients which give a fast and slow release of energy as well as correct the major electrolyte and acid imbalances that occur in scours. Cheaper products only provide some basic electrolyte replacement and a short term energy burst. As a general rule, if the calf is sick enough to need tube fed then use a better quality product. If the calf is still drinking then you can fill a feeder between milk feeds with a more basic electrolyte product and let the calf drink adlib.
New research has shown that keeping the calf on milk during a scour episode may actually speed up the recovery process as opposed to having 2 to 3 days of straight electrolytes. This is due to the milk having excellent energy levels, some localised gut protection activity and the correct proteins and amino acids to aid healing and stimulate the calf’s immune system. A standard fluid replacement programme for scouring calves is outlined below:
Day 1: Electrolytes (am) Milk (noon) Electrolytes (pm)
Day 2: Milk (am) Electrolytes (noon) Milk (pm)
Day 3: Milk (am) Electrolytes (noon) Milk (pm)
An alternative approach would be to give the calf 3 or 4 feeds of electrolytes on the first day and then go onto the above programme for days 2, 3, and 4.