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Quality, professional veterinary care, tailored for you and your pet.

JULIE INNES VETS, HAMILTON

FERRETS don’t seem to be as common nowadays, but we do still see them! They are interesting and friendly little creatures, and despite being like small dogs and cats in many ways, they also have peculiarities of their own. Female ferrets can suffer from life threatening anaemia if they are allowed to come into season without being mated. For this reason, many ferret owners opt to have them neutered. Otherwise they can be treated with hormone injections (although this is not always as good a solution) or a vasectomised male can be used as a “dummy” stud ferret! We are happy to neuter both male and female ferrets, but vasectomy in the male ferret is a more complex procedure, and we would usually recommend it is carried out by a specialist. Some owners request that the scent glands are removed from the male ferret, to prevent the distinctive odour they produce, and again this is something really for the specialist. We are, however, happy to undertake all other aspects of medical care in ferrets. It is recommended that ferrets are vaccinated against canine distemper. If we are unsure about any aspect of your ferret’s care, we will contact an expert, or possibly even refer you to one, so you get the best advice

 

RABBITS have seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, with many being kept as house-bunnies. In reflection of this trend, veterinary knowledge of rabbit medicine and surgery has also increased greatly, with whole seminars and textbooks now dedicated to their care.  Both Joanna, my veterinary nurse, and myself have kept rabbits as pets for years, and we know just how affectionate and full of character they can be! We don’t consider ourselves experts, but have lots of experience in dealing with rabbits. If, however, there is something we are unsure of, we will always contact an expert (of which there are now many!) for advice, or even refer you and your rabbit to them.

 

Rabbits can be vaccinated against myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (See Section on Vaccination)

 

Male and female rabbits are neutered more and more commonly, for a variety of reasons (See section on Neutering)

 

We now recommend regular worming of rabbits to prevent a disease caused by a parasite called E cunicula (See section on worming)

 

They may also suffer from dental problems (see section on Dental Disease), and it is vital to look out for signs (not eating, wet around mouth, teeth grinding) and act quickly.

 

Lice and mites can be a problem in rabbits too, and it is very important to watch out for “fly-strike” in the hotter months- this is where a rabbit may develop a dirty bottom, and flies lay their eggs around the rabbit’s back end. The maggots, when they hatch out, can then eat their way into the rabbits skin and anus, which is horrendously painful for the rabbit and can even be fatal.

 

With rabbits, good diet and husbandry is essential in maintaining good health. Overweight rabbits, or those on a poor diet are more prone to getting faeces building up at the rear end, joint problems and teeth problems

 

GUINEA PIGS are also becoming more popular. These little guys have big personalities, and are often very vocal and expressive. They have become a firm favourite as a pet for children, and it’s not hard to see why! They don’t require vaccinations, but good diet and husbandry is again vital to maintain their health. Guinea pigs have a requirement for Vitamin C in their diet, unlike rabbits, and they can develop scurvy if this need is not met. Good quality guinea pig foods usually contain the correct levels of vitamin C, and greenery can help too. Teeth problems, while not as common as in rabbits, are seen in guinea pigs too, so watch out for signs of depression, not eating, wet around the mouth or tooth grinding and act quickly. We usually need to anaesthetise your guinea pig and trim back the offending teeth (See Dental disease) if this happens.

 

Guinea pigs can be prone to lice and mites too, and they also sometimes develop sebaceous cysts, which can be monitored or surgically removed.

 

We do neuter guinea pigs, usually  because a pair acquired as 2 males or females turns out to be one of each! In these situations it is usually easier to neuter the boy, as the operation is less invasive for the male guinea pig.

 

We also see CHINCHILLAS, mostly for teeth and eye problems, but also for various other reasons- I did a Caesarian section on a mummy chinchilla once! Again, husbandry and diet are huge factors in maintaining their health and well-being.  

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