Going on holiday? Here’s your small pet prep guide from Daventry Vets!

So, you’re about to embark on that long-awaited holiday, but what about your furry friends left behind? Don’t fret; Daventry Vets have got you covered with a prep guide so thorough that your small animal(s) will be in safe paws!

Whether it’s guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, fancy rats, or pet mice holding down the fort, there are a few things you can do before you go to ensure their comfort and care. From summer-proofing their digs to briefing the pet sitter, here’s your ultimate small pet pre-holiday check list from our Daventry team.

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3 things you can prepare before you go away:

  1. Summer Care: If it’s going to be warm, move your pet’s hutch/cage to a cool, shaded area away from direct sunlight. Protect it with flyscreens or netting to keep mozzies & flies away.
  2. Pre-holiday Checkup: Schedule a check-up for health, teeth and nails before your trip with Daventry Vets and let our team know who will be in charge of your pet’s care while you’re away.
  3. Boredom Busters: Ensure your guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, fancy rat or pet mouse has plenty to keep them entertained. Choose enriching toys like treat balls, tunnels, foraging trays and digging boxes. For guinea pigs, avoid items that require climbing to avoid injury.

4 things you should provide your small animal pet sitter with:

  1. Your Pet’s Housing: If your sitter is caring for your pet at their house, have them take your pet’s cage or at least their bedding as small pets like familiarity.
  2. Food & Water Bowls/Bottles: Provide enough for the length of your trip and spares for cleaning-out days.
  3. Medication: Provide any medication and instructions on how to administer it.
  4. Vet Information: Include the address & phone number and your vet’s name if you see the same one regularly.

5 things you want your pet sitter to take care of:

  1. Routine: Document your pet’s daily routine including feeding, exercise, grooming and essential cleaning tasks such as daily poop & dirty bedding removal. Let your holiday sitter know when your pet is most active and when they like to sleep. Limiting changes to your pet’s routine will help to reduce any potential stress they may feel when you’re away.
  2. Nutrition & Hydration: Stock up on food and create a meal plan for your pet sitter, including treats, to maintain your pet’s health & happiness. Water should be changed daily and water bottles checked for blockages. If you have any questions about small pet nutrition, our Daventry team are happy to help – call us on 01327 877767.
  3. Cleaning: Cleanliness should be maintained by replacing bedding and removing faeces daily, and conducting weekly hutch/cage cleaning sessions to prevent health issues. If your guinea pig sometimes needs their bottom cleaning, be sure to demonstrate this too.
  4. Gentle Handling & Separation: Instruct your pet sitter on proper handling techniques to prevent falls and ensure safety by keeping your pet close to their chest or lap. Also, if you have unneutered girls and boys, ensure your pet sitter knows to keep them apart!
  5. Health Awareness: Educate your pet sitter on signs of common illnesses like flystrike, loss of appetite. Emphasise the importance of prompt veterinary care if symptoms arise. If you would like advice on any of these, just ask our team.

So that’s it, your ultimate guide to pre-holiday planning that should ensure your Northamptonshire small animal pet sitter is well informed and your pet has everything they need for a trouble-free time.

Any questions, we’re always here to help! Before you go, remember to book a visit to our Daventry vet practice to ensure your guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, fancy rat or pet mouse is in tip top condition.

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Flystrike Alert: Protecting rabbits & guinea pigs in Northamptonshire

Pet owners in Northamptonshire need to be vigilant this spring about protecting their rabbits and guinea pigs from a potentially deadly threat: flystrike, warns Vet Sarah Aldridge.

What is flystrike?

Flystrike, also known as myiasis, occurs when flies blue and green bottles being the most dangerous,lay eggs on an animal’s fur or skin, which then hatch into maggots that feed on the animal’s flesh this can happen within 24 hours!. This condition can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation if left untreated. In this article, Sarah discusses how to prevent flystrike and what to do if you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig is affected.

Contact us about flystrike

Preventing flystrike

  1. Maintain clean living conditions: According to vet Sarah Aldridge, the key to preventing flystrike is to keep your pet’s living environment clean and dry. Regularly remove soiled bedding and faeces from cages or hutches, and provide fresh, dry bedding material to help minimise the attraction of flies.
  2. Check your pet regularly: Perform twice daily health checks on your rabbits and guinea pigs, paying close attention to areas where flies are likely to lay eggs, such as around the tail, hindquarters, and genitals. Look for signs of fly eggs (small white or yellow dots) or maggots, as well as any signs of skin irritation or inflammation. If you notice anything like this, contact our team at Daventry Vets on 01327 877767 straight away.
  3. Protective measures: Sarah suggests using fly screens or protective covers on outdoor enclosures to help keep flies away from your pets. You can also use pet-safe insect repellents or fly strike prevention products – ask our team at our Daventry vet practice for their recommendations.
  4. Regular grooming: This can help keep your pet’s fur clean and free from mats or tangles, which can attract flies. Pay special attention to long-haired breeds, as they may be more prone to developing flystrike.
  5. Get veterinary treatment for diarrhoea and urinary problems these will both make your rabbit more attractive to flies.
  6. Maintain a healthy weight, obese rabbits struggle to groom themselves, need help book an appointment with our nursing team.
  7. Look out for arthritis as this will prevent your rabbit from grooming book an appointment with one of our vets if you are concerned about this they can prescribe pain relief.

Recognising the 4 Signs of Flystrike

If flystrike does occur, early detection and intervention are crucial for your pet’s survival. Sarah lists the four signs to watch for below:

  1. Foul odour: Flystrike often produces a strong, foul odour due to the presence of maggots feeding on the flesh. If you notice an unusual smell coming from your pet’s enclosure, it could be a sign of flystrike.
  2. Loss of appetite: Flystrike can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a loss of appetite in affected animals.
  3. Lethargy: Infected rabbits or guinea pigs may become lethargic and unwilling to move or eat due to pain and discomfort.
  4. Visible maggots or wounds: If you see maggots or open wounds on your pet’s skin, Sarah advises that you should seek veterinary care immediately. Do not attempt to remove the maggots yourself, as this can cause further injury to your pet.

Call us in an Emergency:

If you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig has flystrike, it’s an emergency day or night. Contact our team at Daventry Vets immediately for emergency veterinary care by calling 01327 877767.

Flystrike is a serious condition that requires prompt, professional treatment to remove the maggots, clean the affected area, and provide supportive care to the affected pet. The earlier flystrike is detected the better the chance of successful treatment. Sadly however, some flystrike cases require euthanasia to stop the pet from suffering.

Remember, prevention is always best when it comes to flystrike. By taking proactive measures to keep your pet’s living environment clean and minimising their exposure to flies, you can help reduce the risk of this potentially deadly condition. If you have any questions or concerns about flystrike prevention or treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance. We’re here to help you keep your rabbits and guinea pigs safe and healthy.

Contact us about flystrike

Daventry Vets answer: Should I vaccinate my rabbit?

Rabbits are adorable companions, but like all pets, they are susceptible to certain diseases that can impact their wellbeing. According to Daventry Vets, the most effective ways to protect your furry friend is through vaccination.

In this article, we’ll explore the significance of rabbit vaccination, the common diseases they are at risk of, and why it’s essential to book a rabbit vaccination appointment with our veterinary practice in Daventry right away if your rabbit is overdue or hasn’t had one yet.

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Why vaccinate your rabbit

The team at Daventry Vets wholeheartedly agree that rabbit vaccinations are a vital aspect of responsible ownership, providing several benefits for your furry friend:

  • Disease Prevention: Vaccination helps protect rabbits from infectious diseases that can be challenging and often impossible to treat once contracted.
  • Longevity & Quality of Life: By preventing diseases, rabbit vaccinations contribute to a longer and healthier life for your rabbit.
  • Community Health: Vaccinating your rabbit not only safeguards their health but also helps prevent the spread of diseases within the rabbit community in Northamptonshire and beyond.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your rabbit is protected against common diseases brings peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your bond with your pet without unnecessary worry.
  • Cost Effective: Vaccinations are also the most cost-effective approach to your rabbit’s healthcare as disease prevention often costs less than treating illnesses and their potential complications.

Common rabbit diseases & vaccination guidelines

At Daventry Vets, our vets know only too well the devastating prognosis of these two killer diseases:

Myxomatosis:

Myxomatosis is a viral disease transmitted by blood sucking insects including fleas and mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted by direct contact and contaminated objects. It causes swelling and discharge around the eyes, nose, and genitals, leading to severe illness and is usually fatal. Vaccination against myxomatosis is essential for all pet rabbits indoor or outdoor. Myxomatosis only affects rabbits and cannot be passed onto other pets or humans.

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD):

RVHD is a highly contagious and often fatal viral infection that affects the liver and other organs. There are two strains of RVHD – RVHD1 and RVHD2. RVHD 2 is a more recent strained is a risk to pet rabbits because it spreads so easily, via insects, in the wind, direct contact or on peoples hands and clothes. Vaccination against both strains is recommended to ensure comprehensive protection.

Don’t delay, book a rabbit vaccination today.

When to vaccinate your rabbit

  • A combined vaccine for myxomatosis and both strains of viral haemorrhagic disease is available.
  • Initial Vaccination: Rabbits can be vaccinated against myxomatosis and RVHD from 5 weeks of age, immunity develops within 3 weeks after the vaccine.
  • Booster Vaccinations: After the initial vaccination, rabbits require annual booster vaccinations to maintain immunity. ask our Daventry team to help you ensure your rabbit stays up-to-date with vaccinations.

Book a Rabbit Vaccination appointment

To help ensure your adorable companion enjoys a happy, healthy, and hop-filled life, protect them against these deadly contagious diseases now. Book a rabbit vaccination appointment with our veterinary practice in Drayton Fields, Daventry.

Book a Rabbit Vaccination today

Learn how to exercise your small furry pets with Daventry Vets

Just like with all mammals, keeping your small furry pets exercised is essential for their physical and mental wellbeing. Daventry Vets have put together their advice on how best to exercise your small furry pets.

Our team love seeing your small furry pets thriving – share photos with us on Facebook of how you exercise your small furry pets for the chance of having your pet shared on our page!

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Exercise in their enclosure

Whether you have a hamster, gerbil, pet mouse or a fancy rat, most small furries love to play and explore. Check out our Daventry vet nurses’ exercise suggestions below.

  • Exercise wheels: A wheel is a must-have for most small furry pets*. Choose an appropriate-sized exercise wheel that is made for your type of pet and allows your pet to run without arching their back and make sure the surface is solid to prevent injuries.
  • Climbing structures: Our vet nurses recommend providing climbing opportunities, such as ropes, branches and ladders to help your pet exercise and explore vertical spaces.
  • Toys: opt for interactive toys specifically for hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats, and rotate them regularly to avoid boredom. Enrichment toys and tunnels/balls will provide your pet with hours of entertainment.

*It’s important to know that exercise wheels are too dangerous for guinea pigs and should not be used, nor should climbing structures that cannot support their body shapes and weight.

Exercise outside of their enclosure

All small furry pets can become bored which is why it’s essential to vary your hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, rabbit and pet mice and rats’ exercise activities. You can achieve this through time outside of their housing with these aids:

  • Playpen: Setting up an external playpen or enclosure where your pet can explore and play outside of their cage. Use tunnels, hideouts, and toys to create an enriching environment.
  • Obstacle course: Create a mini obstacle course using cardboard boxes, tunnels, and small toys. Encourage your pet to navigate through the obstacles for mental stimulation and exercise.
  • Hide and seek: Our vet nurses advise that your small furries will love this one – hide small treats or pieces of fresh vegetables around your pet’s enclosure. This stimulates their natural foraging instincts and keeps them active and happy.
  • Supervised outdoor time: If your pet can safely enjoy outdoor time, consider taking them outside in a secure, escape-proof playpen or harness. Ensure they are protected from predators lurking in and around Daventry and environmental hazards.
  • Social interaction: Many small furry pets are social animals (usually except hamsters) and benefit from interacting with their owners. Gently handle and play with your pet to provide mental and physical stimulation.

Remember that small furry pets have varying exercise needs and preferences and it is important to tailor their exercise routine to their species and individual personalities. We love the products from Oxbow

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Keeping small furry pets happy during firework season in Northamptonshire

As firework season gets underway, it’s important we help our small furry pets to get through as stress-free as possible. If you have a small furry pet that normally lives outside, then read on to understand what Daventry Vets’ nursing team advise owners to organise ahead of firework displays in Northamptonshire.

If you have any questions then do not hesitate to contact us.

Why does my small furry pet need to come inside during fireworks season?

There are a number of reasons why our Daventry veterinary nurses recommend bringing your outdoor kept small furry pets inside in a cool room of your house, or a shed or garage when it’s firework season Once indoors, you can help decrease the noise and flashes by closing curtains and leaving the lights on in a house. If you are unable to bring the hutch inside turn it against the wall to decrease the flashes you can also cover it with a blanket, but remember to check there is still good ventilation.

1. Noise sensitivity

Small furry pets have highly sensitive hearing which helps them to avoid predators in the wild. Due to the loud, sudden noises produced by fireworks, it can be extremely distressing. Our vet nurses want Northamptonshire pet owners to understand that exposure to loud noises can lead to anxiety and panic in small pets.

2. Your pet’s flight response

Your pet could be at risk of injury due to their natural ‘flight’ response. If your pet feels threatened or stressed, they could try to escape their cage/enclosure.

3. Reduced comfort and security

Small pets rely on their own familiar environment for comfort and security – fireworks change this environment and disrupt their sense of safety. Give them boxes to hide in, deep bedding to help decrease the noise, their favourite toys to play with, favourite treats and always keep them in their bonded pair or group.

To discuss your own small furry pet with our team this firework season, contact Daventry Vets on 01327 877767.

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