Q & A: Rabbit diseases, thirsty cats and traveling overseas with your dog

Please remember that the advice given here is of a general nature, and if you have any concerns about your pet’s health you should contact your vet immediately.

Q: I own two rabbits and have heard that they are at risk of disease if kept outside? What should I be doing for them?

A: We strongly recommend vaccinating your rabbits against myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. These vaccines are normally repeated yearly, although myxomatosis can be given every 6 months in high risk areas. At time of vaccination your vet will give the rabbits a full health check and discuss any queries you may have. Also it is vital to keep the rabbit’s enclosures clean, and to check your rabbits for any matting or soiling especially around their rear ends as this can increase the risk of maggots – a life threatening condition. A good website to visit for advice on all aspects of rabbit care including diet, housing and diseases iswww.houserabbit.co.uk

My cat has started drinking excessively – should I be worried?

A: There are several causes of excessive drinking, and I would strongly recommend a visit to the vet with your cat. Urine and blood tests would be indicated in most cases to check for diabetes, kidney disease and thyroid disease. It is also important to record any weight loss, as well as other signs – eg. vomiting, diarrhoea or pain. I would recommend contacting your vet straight away.

Q: I have heard that it is possible to travel overseas with one’s dog – what would I need to do to do this?

A: In order to keep the UK free from rabies there has always been a 6 month quarantine enforced on pets coming into the country. You are now able to arrange a pet passport which would allow you to travel to the listed countries and return to the UK with no quarantine. The process involves microchipping and vaccination against rabies, a blood test 4 weeks later and then a delay of 6 months until the passport becomes valid. This is a complicated procedure and I strongly recommend making an appointment with your vet to discuss the details further. You can also get more information from the Pet Travel Scheme Helpline: 0870 241 1710.