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
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.