After a year with our MVS Small Animal team we are sad to announce that Robert will finish his maternity cover position early January.
Robert has been a pleasure to work with and we know many of our furry patients will miss him. We wish him well in his future endeavours and hope we may see him back as a locum in the future.
With the hot weather approaching, us humans aren’t the only ones that are likely to be feeling the heat. Our furry friends are at risk of overheating just as much if not more than we are. Dogs, especially those with thick fur and brachycephalics (short nosed breeds) can find it hard to regulate their temperature which can lead to heat stroke. Signs of this include panting, drooling, collapse and coma. Heat stroke is an emergency and most animals that get hyperthermia need to be seen by a vet to help reduce their core temperature back to normal.
Helpful hints and tips:
- Keep your pet inside or in the shade during the hottest part of the day.
- Exercise your dog first thing in the morning.
- Have lots of cool water available.
- Long haired dogs can be clipped during summer to help with heat control.
- Have a shallow paddling pool/sprinkler available for the dogs to cool themselves.
- Gently hosing the dog down.
- When the air temperature is 25 degrees celcius the asphalt can be as hot as 51.6 degrees celcius in the sun – this can cause second degree burns in less that 1 minute.
- If you cannot hold the back of your hand on the ground comfortably for 7 seconds, your dog cannot walk on the ground.
- Dogs in Cars – NEVER leave alone. 22 degrees outside can be 47 degrees inside a car in under an hour. Even with the windows open there is not enough airflow for a dog to effectively cool down. Leave them at home or take them OUT of the car with you (see video link below).
The 12 Dangers of Christmas!
CHOCOLATE – Very toxic to dogs and cats. Can cause signs ranging from vomiting and trembling to seizures and death.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING & MINCE PIES – Contain raisins which are toxic to dogs – kidney failure.
GRAPES – Also toxic, like raisins.
NUTS – Particularly Macadamia nuts. Can be toxic in high doses.
ONIONS & GARLIC – Toxic and affects red blood cells.
CHRISTMAS LUNCH LEFTOVERS – Fatty foods like ham can cause tummy upsets and pancreatitis, spoiled foods cause tummy upsets or more serious illness.
COOKED BONES – Very brittle. Best case – bad constipation. Worst case – bone stuck in oesophagus or gut causing serious illness.
TREE DECORATIONS – Baubles and tinsel can cause intestinal obstruction.
CHRISTMAS TOYS – Small plastic pieces can be eaten, batteries can be highly toxic.
OTHER SWEETS & DESSERTS – Especially those with artificial or sugar free sweetener which is very toxic to dogs.
BBQ SCRAPS – Fatty ends are not good treats. Keep skewers and meat packaging out of reach.
Many of you will know Judy who has been the instructor at our puppy and dog obedience classes over the years. It is with great sadness we are letting you know that Judy has now retired. Not only has Judy run our classes but she has been a great friend to MVS and we are very appreciative of her wonderful knowledge and guidance with puppy and dog training. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Judy for all her years of service, we know many dogs and their owners will have benefited from her expertise over the years.
ALL THE BEST JUDY!
From the Matamata Vets Small Animal Team, we thank you for your Loyalty and support over the last year and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
As a thank you we have stocked the clinic with loads of goodies. Feel free to pop in and grab a free pet gift from our lucky dip! *
* To ensure every family gets a present please only one present per family – and only while stocks last.
Clinical Case: Jinx
Jinx has long been our friendly feline face at the Matamata Veterinary Services – Equine hospital. However early this year, aging Jinx found herself in a spot of bother (cause unknown), and was found after she had been missing for days hobbling on 3 legs.
And so Jinx started her journey with the MVS Small Animal team. After stabilisation with fluids and pain relief, xrays showed us that Jinx had severely fractured and damaged nerves in her left hind leg. Blood tests showed otherwise Jinx was a very healthy 19 year old, so, after much discussion the decision was made to amputate her injured leg.
Jinx handled the general anaesthetic and surgery like a trooper, and after a few days R & R headed back to the equine team for the rest of her recovery. Initially she did very well but after a few weeks Jinx began to become increasingly ‘spooked’ and scared, her behavior and temperament changed and she had episodes of running backwards in fright.
She was re-admitted to the Small Animal hospital, the wound was found to have healed well with no infection, and her blood tests were normal. It was thought she most likely had phantom limb pain so medications were started to try and help her manage this neurological pain. Jinx was kept in hospital on medication and became more settled and calmer. She then began the slow process of rehab giving her increasingly larger areas to move around in, all the while helping her walk forward and not get scared and run backwards. She was a regular visitor to the lunch room as many members of the staff helped her with her recovery.
3 weeks later she returned to the Equine hospital merrily getting around on her 3 legs with no signs of phantom limb pain. She was back to her old self, however now she was not only an outside stable cat, she had learned that the couch in the lunchroom is the best place to be. At 19, having survived this massive journey to recovery, we think she well deserves the best place on the couch.
Guy Fawkes and Fireworks
Its that time of year again where we get many loud fireworks being let off that can cause considerable anxiety in our pets.
Here are a few tips for making Guy Fawkes a little less terrifying for your pets this year:
- Provide a den or hiding place where your pet can feel safe.
- Walk your pet during the day and toilet them early in the evening to reduce the possibility of fireworks being set off while close by.
- Make sure all windows, doors and cat flaps are closed during the fireworks, to reduce the chance of escape.
- While fireworks are happening, try to ignore fearful behaviour, such as panting, shaking and whining. If possible attempt to distract your dog with training tasks, new toys, play or delectable food treats or chews. If petting calms your dog then that’s ok. Do not punish your pet!
- Draw the curtains and switch on the TV to mask the noise of fireworks.
- Try not to leave your pets alone while fireworks are going off, as they are more relaxed with a familiar person around.
- Make sure your dog or cat has a collar on with up to date contact details (or better yet, get your pet micro-chipped) just in case they get out and are panicked by the fireworks.
Some pets get so stressed at Guy Fawkes, that giving a calming medication is warranted.
Please contact us as we can discuss this with you and decide what is best for your pet.
Introducing myRover, FREE and online now!
Where’s my pet’s vaccination card?
You’ve received your reminder to say Fluffy is due a health check and vaccination, you’ve booked an appointment, got off work early, caught Fluffy, put her in the cage but……
Where is the vaccination card?……….
You are not alone in this battle. We understand there are many factors that go into getting your pets safely to the vet, and the vaccination card just slips your mind, has grown legs and hidden itself since last year, or even more of a disaster it was the dog’s chew toy.
Introducing myRover, a new FREE online vaccination record that keeps this valuable information in a safe place accessible by yourself, your vet and your kennels, cattery or pet daycare to name but a few.
myRover provides owners with relevant information about their pets in one easily accessible secure cloud-based location. Being based in the cloud means that owners or vets can access their information from any device or browser. It also means a vet can update a pet’s record at any time.
Matamata Veterinary Services is one of the first clinics in New Zealand to sign up to this service as we can see the value it will provide to you and your pets.
Have a look now at www.myrover.co It’s very easy to register an account and load your pets before your next vaccination visit, but we are more than happy to help you in clinic if you require a
MVS looks after a Ruru
Recently, we had a rather unusual patient in to see us. A member of the public found a Ruru (morepork) injured on the road and brought it in to us for assessment.
Examination showed injury to one of the eyes and a small skin wound, but no broken bones. We suspected head trauma due to collision with a vehicle, which can be very serious – however, Ruru showed some promising signs of having a fighting chance. We discussed a care plan with the Department of Conservation.
Ruru stayed with us for medication and supportive care over the weekend and was then transferred to a DOC rehabilitator. Happily, he made a full recovery and was able to be released back into the wild, in a safer area of bush.
If you find a bird that appears injured, remember that they are very fragile. You can transport them carefully and quietly in a closed cardboard box lined with paper towels, to the vet for assessment. You do not need to offer any food or water.
If you find a native bird that is injured, it can be helpful to contact the Department of Conservation emergency hotline (0800 DOC HOT or 0800 362 468) also.
If you find a fledgling on the ground – remember – this may not be injured!
Young birds that have just left the nest can spend time on the ground as they strengthen their wings and muscles while learning to fly. If you find a fledgling, it is best to leave it where you found it and keep your pets away. Usually they fly away after some time. If it is in direct danger, gently place it a little distance away in a safer place. Birds do not have a great sense of smell so the parents are unlikely to reject it.
Freddie is a 6 year old, male, neutered cat whose owner brought him into the clinic when he became very sick.
For the last couple of days the owner had noticed that Freddie had been in the litter tray more often than normal and seemed quite agitated while he was using it, sometimes making yowling noises and licking around his back end frequently.
When Freddie came into the hospital he was lethargic, weak on his feet and his heart was racing. When his abdomen was palpated he was uncomfortable and a large, rock hard bladder was felt. An x-ray was taken to confirm this finding and Freddie was diagnosed with urethral obstruction (a blocked bladder).
Several underlying issues can cause obstruction of the narrow urethra in male cats
• A hard plug made up primarily of crystals, cells and other debris from the bladder that accumulate and bind together.
• A small bladder stone that has left the bladder and passed down the urethra.
• Bacteria and inflammatory cells from a urinary tract infection
• Spasm and/or swelling of the urethra caused by inflammation.
A blocked bladder is a painful and life threatening condition and can lead to kidney failure and death within 24 – 48 hours if left untreated.
Freddie was anaesthetised and a urinary catheter was very carefully used to remove the obstruction and pass up the urethra into the bladder where we were able to flush the bladder of any remaining debris and crystals.
Freddie remained in the hospital for 2 days on IV fluids, after 24 hours he was back to his normal smoochy self but we still kept a close eye on him for another day to make sure he didn’t block again.
What caused the obstruction in this case was a mixture of crystals and debris formed in the bladder. The photo shows what crystals look like under the microscope.
Freddie made a full recovery and went home with appropriate medications and a special medicated food that will help dissolve any remaining crystals. He is a real lucky cat who has definitely used up one of his nine lives!
* Cat photo supplied by i-stock
The vaccination protocols we use here at MVS are guided by up to date scientific information collated by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. We aim to ensure all of our pets are covered as best as possible against diseases they might come in contact with, but also minimize the amount of vaccines given.
Each and every pet has different risks based on where they go and what other animals they come in contact with and we take this into consideration with every vaccine we give.
PANLEUKOPAENIA is the cat equivalent of Parvovirus and is highly contagious. This vaccination is very robust and after the kitten vaccine course, a vaccination every 3 years is protective.
CAT FLU: The cat flu viruses that we vaccinate against are Calicivirus and the Herpes virus, which cause nasty infections in the eyes nose and mouth. Depending on where your cat goes and how many other cats it contacts will determine how frequently we vaccinate for the cat flu.
PARVOVIRUS is a highly contagious viral infection in dogs is a highly contagious viral infection in dogs, especially young pups, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Even with hospital admission and aggressive treatment, the chances of survival and recovery are low. Transmission is through contact with infected dogs, their faeces, or any surface or object that has been in contact with an infected dog. Vaccination provides good protection.
We advise starting vaccinating pups from 6-8 weeks, with the puppy course ideally finishing at 16 weeks or older. A booster at a year old is needed, then we can vaccinate adults every 3 years.
LEPTOSPIROSIS is an extremely contagious, very severe life threatening bacterial disease which can infect many species including humans. The clinical signs of leptospirosis are mainly related to the damage done to the dog’s muscles, kidneys and liver.
The strain usually contracted by dogs is spread by rats, mainly in their urine. Leptospirosis can also be spread by cattle, pigs, deer and wild animals. Vaccinating dogs for lepto is highly recommended in the Waikato.
The vaccination for Lepto doesn’t last as long as some other vaccines, so we need to give 2 shots 4 weeks apart initially then every year thereafter to ensure your dog remains protected.
CANINE COUGH is a highly contagious group of viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory signs including a nasty cough that lasts for weeks. If complicated it can lead to a serious pneumonia. The canine cough is spread from dog to dog so kennels are a high risk situation where vaccination is compulsory.
Clinical Case: Patient Rocco
Rocco is a handsome young man with loads of energy, particularly when he is around his mates. Unfortunately sometimes this exuberance with his friends can be quite excessive and can get him into some trouble.
One sunny afternoon Rocco was playing with his mates when his head came in contact at full speed with someone else. The outcome wasn’t pretty even though he wasn’t at all worried! However a trip to the vet was definitely required.
A general anaesthetic and some clever stitching by Dr Sue had the lower eye lid looking as good as new.
Now we just have to convince Rocco to leave his Cone of Shame on long enough for the wound to heal. Rocco just wants to get back out to play again. Hopefully next time with not so much force!
Clinical Case: Patient Charlie
A very sad looking Charlie came to see us recently with an upset tummy. He had been vomiting and did not want to eat anything. Medications and an IV drip made him feel a little bit better, but he was still feeling sick and was in pain. An xray was taken and showed some gas in his stomach, but no other problems. An ultrasound showed that he had an object lodged in his intestinal tract. Xrays are good at detecting thinks like stones or metal objects but are not very good for fabric, plastic, or wooden objects and this is where ultrasound is very useful.
Dogs and cats are notorious for eating things they shouldn’t and they never learn from their mistakes. We are constantly surprised by what they are able to swallow! The diameter of the small intestine is much smaller than the diameter of the throat and esophagus so this is the region where items get stuck. Unfortunately, the only way to remove them is to operate which is not without risks. The most common intestinal foreign objects we find in our patients include balls, bits of plastic, socks, corn cobs and underwear!
There are times when an owner will see their pet swallow an item that could be problematic and bring their pet to see us right away. If the item is still in the stomach, we can often induce vomiting to retrieve the item before it passes into the small intestine.
Once we knew something was stuck, Charlie was taken to surgery to have the object removed, and is now recovering well and feeling a lot better.
The only question that remains is ‘what is it?’.
Is that cat really a stray?
Cats are notorious wanderers and can often make themselves at home in a variety of situations (particularly if they are getting fed).
We have had many situations over the past few months where “stray cats” have been bought in which are actually owned (most commonly by someone living on the same street).
There are a number of options you can try to find out if your stray cat has an owner:
* Door knocking around the area where the stray cat hangs out/is found.
* Paper collars – These are simple and easy to use, by writing your phone number onto and attaching around the cats neck (ensure it is snug but leave 2-3 fingers between the collar and the cat’s neck). Please click on paper collar for the link to this.
* The public are welcome to take a photo of their “stray cat” and put it on our Facebook page.
Should the cats welfare be in question please don’t hesitate to call your local SPCA for more advice www.spca.nz
If you require further advice please call our clinic and we can let you know the best course of action.
FREE Dental Checks
Due to popular demand we are again running our dental health focus for the months of August and September.
Dental disease is usually silent to begin with. Initially there are no outward signs and symptoms. Yet once it advances, gum disease can devastate your pet’s mouth, causing chronic pain, eroded gums, missing teeth and bone loss. By the time we notice signs such as difficulty eating, a smelly mouth or excessive salivation, the dental disease can often be very bad and significant treatment is needed.
Gum disease occurs five times more often in pets than in people. Our pets have a more alkaline mouth than humans, which promotes plaque formation. Also, most pets don’t normally have their teeth brushed every day, giving plaque-forming bacteria the chance they need to multiply. Smaller breeds are more susceptible due to having smaller mouths with big and sometimes crooked teeth.
- Brushing teeth is the ultimate goal to prevent dental problems, but many pets don’t tolerate this unless started as a puppy or kitten.
- Diet plays a big part in the onset of dental problems, with soft food increasing the likelihood of disease as it sticks to teeth. There are special dental diets that are abrasive on the teeth to mechanically scratch the teeth and prevent plaque hardening to form tartar.
- There are additives for water that can help prevent plaque hardening to tartar.
- Some chew toys and treats can offer help, but often don’t suffice in severe cases.
- Often a veterinary dental scale and polish is recommended and is the best way to treat problems and give your pet a comfortable mouth again.
- Does your pets’ breath smell?
- Is your pet drooling?
- Does your pet struggle with hard foods?
- Is your pet head shy?
- Have you noticed blood on toys/food?
- Have you noticed the teeth browning?
If you answered YES to any of these questions your pet may be suffering from Dental Disease.
Call the clinic today to book a FREE dental check so we can flip their lip and deal with dental disease (promo ends 31.9.19).
Kids Corner Visits MVS
On the 17th June, MVS had fun showing children from the Kids Corner around our small animal clinic and giving them a taste of some of the things our vets do each day. The tour started as many vet visits start- on the scales! Then, guided by vet Sarah and nurse Esther, a trip to the treatment room and surgery to see where sick animals are treated, the x-ray room and the hospital- saying hello to some kittens on the way. Everyone had the chance to dress up in gloves and masks like our vets do for surgery, and to listen to the heartbeat of our lovely gentle doggy ‘patient’ Bailey (a Golden Retriever owned by nurse Kristie). We had a look at some different models of bones and teeth, as well as a giant flea! The trip ended with some fun- giant glove balloons (these gloves are used by our farm vets, but we had fun giving giant high-fives). Thank you to the children of Kids Corner for visiting us and showing your interest in what we do at the vets.
RAT BAIT POISONING
With winter comes an increased number of mice and rats trying to find warmth inside, and therefore an increased use of poisons to try to control these pesky creatures. Unfortunately dogs also seem to like to help themselves to these poisons leading to serious consequences and sometimes even death. Common brands include Talon, Storm, Pindone, Racumin, and Pest Off but there are many other generic brands.
Dogs poisoned with rat bait don’t tend to show signs till 3-5 days after ingesting the poison. Clinical signs can be very variable, usually starting off with a lethargic, depressed, quiet dog who may or may not eat food. Some times a soft cough can be heard, and gums begin to go pale. As more internal bleeding occurs more severe signs occur, the most common being an increased breathing rate leading to visibly difficult breathing.
If you suspect your dog has eaten rat bait, present him/her to a veterinary clinic as fast as possible to ensure the best outcome possible.
Queens Birthday Weekend Opening Hours
The clinic will be open the following:
Small Animals Saturday 1st June 10am—12pm.
Dairy Retail will be closed.
Monday 3rd June the clinic will be closed.
There will be a vet on call for Emergencies on 888 8197
Have a safe and happy long weekend!
WINTER WELLNESS – WARRANT OF FITNESS
We appreciate that with the onset of winter our older furry friends are going to start feeling the cold and slow down a bit. However don’t mistake it as ‘just old age’ in our older pets.
There are many reasons for your pet to have changes to their behavior including changes to appetite and mobility.
Early detection of changes in pets’ health enables treatment and lifestyle modifications to begin earlier and immediately ensure quality of life.
For the months of May and June we would like to support you in helping your older pets (over 8 years) by offering the Winter Wellness WOF screen at a 40% discount.
This health screen includes a full physical exam and screening bloods tests.
We will cover dental health, weight management, coat and skin health including lumps and bumps, mobility and osteoarthritis, and assess any possible changes to organ health.
Book your Winter Wellness WOF check now.
Be sure to mention you are booking in for the senior winter wellness promo to get your discount (T & C’s apply).
TRAFFIC LIGHT BANDANAS
Taking the guesswork out for everyone!!
Traffic Light Bandanas are used to make everyone aware of what kind of temperament a dog has. By having your dog wear one of the bandanas while out on walks, you will indicate to people whether it is safe for them (or their dogs/children) to be in close proximity of your dog.
Bailey is seen here modelling the 4 types of bandanas:
Yellow: I’m deaf or blind, ask before petting.
Red: No dogs.
At only $8 each. Its a bargain! Come on into the clinic to purchase one.
Don’t forget it’s Waitangi Day on Wednesday
The clinic will be closed on Wednesday 6th February to observe Waitangi Day.
A duty veterinarian will be available for emergencies on 07 888 8197.
The clinic will reopen 8.00am Thursday 7th February.
Holiday Season Opening Hours
The Holiday Season is upon us, below is a list of our opening days over this period :
- Monday 24 December: Normal Hours
- Christmas and Boxing Day: CLOSED
- Thurs 27 December: Normal Hours
- Friday 28 December: Normal Hours
- Sat 29 December: Small Animals 10-12pm and Large Animal Retail 10-11am
- Monday 31 December: Normal Hours
- New Years Day and New Year Holiday: CLOSED
- Thurs 3 January: Normal Hours
- Friday 4 January: Normal Hours
A duty Veterinarian will be available throughout this holiday period on 07 888 8197
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
Marisa Olivier joined the MVS Team this week as our new Finance Administrator.
Marisa graduated from Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 2002 and then worked in diverse finance roles with multiple companies in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Marisa and her husband, PJ, and their three boys have recently moved from South Africa to New Zealand.
As our Finance Administrator Marisa will be responsible for Accounts Payable, bank reconciliations and general administrative tasks.
Outside of work she enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, baking and making crochet rugs.
We welcome Marisa to the team
New addition to our Retail Team. MVS Welcomes Gavin Ford
We are please to announce that Gavin Ford has now joined the MVS Team as our Stock & Procurement Manager.
Gavin graduated from Lincoln University in 1996 and soon after, began work for PGG Wrightson in the retail sector. He also spent time working as a general shepherd in the Taranaki hill country. An interest in Animal Health has led him to taking up a role with MVS to further increase his knowledge in this area.
Gavin works with Abby in the retail team to ensure stock levels are kept up to a standard to meet the seasonal requirements of our clients and vets.
Outside of work Gavin enjoys most sports including rugby, tennis and golf. He took up triathlons after his rugby days finished, with his most memorable experience coming while participating in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco. He also enjoys woodworking.
Welcome to the team Gavin.
MVS Farewells Neil Brown
After 13 years at MVS Neil Brown, aka Brownie, has decided that now is the right time to retire.
Neil started at MVS in August 2005 after many years of being the local Cobbler, and it didn’t take him long to find his feet at Matamata Vets. He quickly became an integral part of the Retail Team and a valued and respected member of the MVS Family.
Neil has achieved many feats during his time with us, including but not limited to:
- Getting his forklift license with DG endorsement
- Being promoted to Retail Manager
- Having his 3 children all get married
- Having his 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grandchild
Neil is now awaiting the pending arrival of grandchildren #5 & #6, with his daughter due to have her twins in February 2019.
On behalf of the entire MVS Team, we thank Neil for all his years of outstanding customer service. His dry wit, daily routine of a 3pm cuppa and stories at morning tea will certainly be missed. We wish him all the very best for a long and happy retirement.
Helen Snook started at MVS in 2011 as our receptionist and senior administrator and for many years was the first friendly voice you would hear when you phoned the clinic.
A couple of years ago she transitioned across to the Financial Administration role and has been a huge asset to the company with her attention to detail and vibrant personality.
We have loved following Helen in her theatrical performances, especially in her most recent role as the lead in Dusty Springfield.
Helen has been a key member of the MVS Family for over 7 years and we wish her all the very best in her relocation to Taranaki.
Protect Your Pets Smile
Over the next two months MVS will be focusing on dental awareness for your pets.
Up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from dental disease by the time they’re 3 years old. If left untreated dental disease can affect their general health and wellbeing.
During the months of August and September we will be running FREE dental checks and every dental booked will receive a FREE dental kit goodie bag to help your pets maintain their toothy grin.
Please call the clinic on 07 888 8197 to book in your pets FREE dental check!
Are The Winter Blues Getting Your Pets Down?
Just like us, our pets experience a few winter aches and pains and love to be cozied up in a warm environment when it’s cold out.
This cold weather can be hard on our pets and especially difficult for older or overweight animals that may be struggling with joint pain and arthritis.
If you are noticing your pet sleeping more, struggling to get out of bed or looking a little stiff during the day then it may be time for them to get a check.
Things you can do to support your pet this winter:
- Give them a warm jacket to wear
- Provide more blankets or beds with more padding
- Joint supplements such as ‘Sasha’s Blend’ & ‘Mobilize’
- Ensure covered shelter out of the rain and wind
- Warm up their food with hot water or in the microwave
- Sneak hot water bottles into their beds
- Manage weight to assist with joint pain
Queen’s Birthday Weekend Trading Hours
A duty veterinarian will be available for emergencies on 07 888 8197.
SATURDAY 2 JUNE
- Large Animal Counter Closed
- Small Animal Clinic Open from 10.00am-Noon
SUNDAY 3 JUNE – Closed
MONDAY 4 JUNE – Closed
The clinic will be open for business as usual on Tuesday 5 June
We’d also like to wish farmers all the very best on Gypsy Day. We hope the transition between farms for you, your family and your stock goes smoothly.
WARNING: New Rabbit Calicivirus Strain
Yesterday the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced that a new strain of Rabbit Calicivirus (RHDV2) has been detected in a wild rabbit in Marlborough. It is not certain that this viral strain is confined to Marlborough..
Please note this isn’t the strain RHDV1-K5 that was purposefully released nationwide in March this year.
This strain of Calicivirus is known to cause disease in very young rabbits from 4 weeks of age and can cause a longer severe illness than seen with other strains. This strain is highly infectious.
Measures to reduce spread from infected wild rabbits should include:
- Controlling insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors. Flies are the main vector through which the virus is spread.
- Remove uneaten food on a daily basis as to not attract flies.
- Keep pet rabbits indoors where possible.
- Rabbit-proof backyards to prevent access by wild rabbits.
- Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials (eg. cages, hutches, bowls) with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse off.
- Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits. Take special precautions if attending any events where unfamiliar rabbits are present, such as petting zoos, rabbit shows and rescue centres.
- Use good biosecurity measures (eg. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits.
- Isolate new rabbits for 7 days before introducing to other rabbits.
- Rinse all leafy greens well before feeding them to rabbits. While feeding rabbits leafy greens remains a risk for introducing RHDV2, the benefits of feeding these is considered to outweigh the risks.
If you have any suspicious deaths of pet rabbits please let us know so we can help MPI determine how far this disease has spread.
There is a process underway to import a vaccine that specifically protects against this strain but only 1000 doses are likely to be available and they will be distributed by MPI only.
The vaccine we have that protects against RHDV1 may provide some cross protection to the RHDV2. A protocol has been recommended that begins vaccinations at 4 weeks of age and continues with ongoing 6-monthly boosters. If your rabbit is at high risk from calicivirus infection you can consider this protocol.
Please contact us on 07 888 8197 if you wish to discuss this further.