How to Ensure That Your Carpet Remains Rabbit-Proof and Rabbit Friendly

09/12/2017How to Ensure That Your Carpet Remains Rabbit-Proof and Rabbit Friendly This article has been kindly put together by Chemdry Express. Rabbits are a welcome addition to any home because they make great pets. You should make sure that your house is completely suitable for pets before they are allowed to roam free in the home. One of the first things to do ...

How to Ensure That Your Carpet Remains Rabbit-Proof and Rabbit Friendly

This article has been kindly put together by Chemdry Express.

Rabbits are a welcome addition to any home because they make great pets. You should make sure that your house is completely suitable for pets before they are allowed to roam free in the home. One of the first things to do is to make sure that the carpets in every room of the house are suitable.

How can you ensure that your carpet remains rabbit-proof and rabbit-friendly at the same time? The process is much simpler than you might think.

1) Occasional dry cleaning without chemicals

2) Sweep rabbit food from the floor when it drops from the bowl

3) Make sure that waste is not left on the carpets for people to tread in

4) Make sure that rabbits have limited contact with the carpets in the house (where possible)

5) Make sure that the carpets are securely fastened to the floor

Have the Carpet Cleaned Occasionally

Even if rabbits chew on the carpet (which is important to avoid occurring where possible), you should have some dry carpet cleaning performed by professional carpet cleaners with a proven record. This can get rid of waste stains that the rabbit has made on the carpet. You will not have to worry about people making comments about marks on the carpet because the marks generally completely disappear once the cleaning process has been completed. The dry-cleaning process does not use any harmful chemicals, so this means that the health of your rabbit is protected.

Sweep Rabbit Food Off the Carpets

Some people feed their rabbits with bowls of food placed in the living room. Some of this food can accidentally fall onto the carpet and you might not notice it at all.

You can have the carpet serviced by dry carpet cleaners so that all of the food will be removed even if it has been trodden into the fibres by unsuspecting people.

Make Sure That Waste Is Not Left on The Carpet

Some rabbits take a while to be toilet trained, so they go to the toilet wherever they please. Rabbit urine and faeces should not be left on the carpet for a long time because this can cause the carpet to become marked.

When you want to deal with urine and faeces stains caused by the rabbit, make sure that you call a professional company to complete the cleaning job.

Keep Rabbits in Rooms Without Carpets

You might have many rooms in your house which are not carpeted. Once the carpets have been cleaned by the professionals, you should think about housing rabbits in carpet-less areas of your home. This ensures that the carpets are going to remain in perfect condition.

Check That the Carpet Does Not Have Any Sharp Edges

The carpet can sometimes come loose and start to stick up at the corners. Rabbits can accidentally cut themselves on these corners, so it is important that the carpet is fully-fastened down before you let a rabbit wander.

When the carpet has been fully fastened to the floor, it is going to be much easier to clean. Inspect all of the carpets to make sure that they do not have any sharp edges.

Summary

Your carpet needs to be properly cared for when you have a rabbit in the house. When the rabbit is not toilet-trained, they can leave stains which will need to be dry cleaned as soon as possible. Also, urine and faecal stains can be lifted out of the carpet using this method.

At some point, you may want to consider a professional cleaning company that will make sure that they explain every step of the process to you so that you are comfortable with what is going to happen to your carpet. A clean carpet is going to benefit the health of your rabbit. The dry carpet cleaning method, that is used by Chemdry Express, is one of the safest and ecologically-friendly ways of making sure that the carpets are spotless, even when a rabbit has chewed or soiled them.

Reptile Sexing 101 – is my reptile a boy or a girl?

07/18/2017It can be difficult to work out if a reptile is a male or female as often there is very little (if any) external differences between the sexes. This is in contrast to most mammals where gender determination is generally straight forward. Birds are also becoming increasingly easier to sex as we now have access to incredible DNA technology where we can tell the ...

It can be difficult to work out if a reptile is a male or female as often there is very little (if any) external differences between the sexes. This is in contrast to most mammals where gender determination is generally straight forward. Birds are also becoming increasingly easier to sex as we now have access to incredible DNA technology where we can tell the sex of your bird from 1 drop of blood – unfortunately this technology is not yet available for reptiles.

Many reptile owners couldn’t care less if they have a boy or a girl however knowing the sex of your reptile can help you to be aware of what behavioural and reproductive conditions they may be at risk of. A good example is if your reptile is a male it cannot suffer from conditions like dystocia (difficulty giving birth) but may be more aggressive towards other males in the cage. If you have a male python it may be more prone to brumating (similar to hibernating) and not eating for longer than a female during the cooler months of the year.

Today’s article looks at the different methods of reptile sexing commonly offered by most reptile vets in Australia.

Visual sex determination
Some reptiles have obvious sexual dimorphism where the males look quite different to the females. Many geckos are a good example of this as the males develop a much larger bulge just caudal (towards the tail) to their cloaca. Several dragon and monitor species also have external differences with the males often having larger heads, more obvious femoral pores, growing to a larger size and in some cases having larger spurs at their tail base. Some species of turtles also have external differences in shell shape and tail length with the males tail generally being longer.

In many species you can also look for a ‘hemipenal bulge’ which is a tubular bulge that runs towards the tail tip for a short distance on both sides of the bottom of the tail starting at the cloaca. This bulge shows where the hemipenes (the reptile equivalent of a penis) sits and is only present in males.

Illumination
Some species are able to be sexed by placing a bright light source up against the tail base (while in a dark room) and looking for the blood vessels that run inside a males hemipenes. This works well in species that are lighter in colour with a relatively thin tail however is challenging in other species.

Probing
Probing is the most common method of snake sex determination and involves placing a smooth and round-ended metallic needle into the cloaca then directing it towards where the hemipenes would sit in a male. If the probe advances only a short way then the snake is a female as there is no hemipene for the probe to advance into.

There is a lot of potential to cause damage if this technique is done incorrectly and because of this it should only be performed by someone with an appropriate level of experience and training.

Popping
Popping involves placing a small amount of pressure at the tail base to evert the hemipenes (if the animal is a male). This technique also has the potential for harm so please do not attempt this unless you have experience.

Radiography (x-ray)
Radiography can help to determine the sex of some lizard species (and any species if they have eggs present). One method that is often used in large monitors involves plain radiography where we are looking for the ossification of the end of a males hemipene. This technique has its limitations as if this is not present it doesn’t guarantee that the animal is a female as many males do not have hemipenal ossification.

A second technique commonly used involves inserting a small amount of specialized dye into the reptile’s cloaca in a caudal (towards the tail tip) direction. The distribution of the dye looks different in males and females which allows us to determine the gender. This technique is particularly handy for bluetongue species.

Ultrasound
An ultrasound can easily determine a reptile’s gender and can also help to tell if the reptile is reproductively active. It is non-painful and can be performed in most species that are large enough (some really small species are just too small to get accurate results).

Endoscopy
Many reptiles can also have their gender determined by inserting a small (generally 1.9mm or 2.7mm) endoscope into their body cavity to be able to visually identify whether they have ovaries or testicles. This technique requires general anaesthesia so other techniques are often preferred where possible.

As you can see there are lots of different techniques for determining the sex of a reptile. Every reptile is different so if you would like to know any more about what the best way would be for your animal then please get in touch with us.

Bad birds!! Birds eating things they shouldn’t!

06/16/2017Bad birds! There are very few people that eat a perfectly balanced diet. Whether it be too much ice cream or a whole block of chocolate, we all have our weaknesses. Our pets often take this to the next level with some dogs eating socks, ferrets ingesting ear plugs and cats chewing on wool! Birds are no exception to this and todays article looks at some of t...

Bad birds!

There are very few people that eat a perfectly balanced diet. Whether it be too much ice cream or a whole block of chocolate, we all have our weaknesses. Our pets often take this to the next level with some dogs eating socks, ferrets ingesting ear plugs and cats chewing on wool! Birds are no exception to this and todays article looks at some of the things birds commonly chew on and how to avoid this from happening to your bird.

What are some of the things birds commonly eat?
It really depends on the species and where they have access to. For example, a budgie that is always kept in its cage will only be able to eat what is placed into its cage. This doesn’t mean that caged birds are safe as many owners inadvertently place dangerous toys into the cage without realising that they may cause a problem. Examples of commonly sold potentially dangerous toys include those made from rope/string/fibre as well as some metallic items.

If your parrot has free access around the house, then the potential to ingest things that they shouldn’t increases considerably. Whether it be a bite out of the avocado that you have in your fruit bowl, nibbling on the chocolate you are eating or chewing on the curtain rails, all have the potential to cause serious harm. For this reason, parrots that are allowed free access around the house should be monitored closely.

Chickens also can eat things they shouldn’t. Ingestion of scrap metal that is lying around in your garden is commonly seen as is the ingestion of long grass which can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction in some cases.

What signs should I watch out for?
The signs vary considerably depending on what they have eaten however common signs that you should look out for include vomiting or regurgitation, diarrhea, inappetance, becoming unbalanced, weight loss or simply being lethargic.

Do all rope-related toys cause problems?
Not all birds will chew on rope toys however if they have access to them then there is always a risk. For example, some birds have always had access to rope toys and have never had a problem. Other birds will chew on them as soon as they are placed in the cage. We have also seen birds that have been fine with having rope toys in their cage for years and then one day they have just started to chew.

How do I stop this happening to my bird?
Prevention is the best cure! Avoid allowing your bird access to anything that might cause a problem. Avoid rope toys and instead choose safe bird toys made from natural wood. Provide a range of different enrichment activities like allowing your bird access to native foliage encouraging them to forage. Behavioural training can also really help to both increase your bond with your bird as well as keep them occupied so they aren’t bored and looking for something to chew on.

Guinea Pig Information Night!

05/11/2017Recently we hosted our Guinea Pig Education Night at Murdoch University, with over 100 guinea pig owners attending to learn more about their furry friends. Below is a summary of what we covered on the night: What to feed your guinea pig and why? – Dr Kelly Giles Hay: feeding your guinea pig a diet high in a good quality hay, whether that is by using oate...

Recently we hosted our Guinea Pig Education Night at Murdoch University, with over 100 guinea pig owners attending to learn more about their furry friends. Below is a summary of what we covered on the night:

What to feed your guinea pig and why? – Dr Kelly Giles
Hay: feeding your guinea pig a diet high in a good quality hay, whether that is by using oaten, timothy or meadow hay. Lucerne hay (also known as alfalfa hay) is also available at many pet stores for guinea pigs and rabbits, and is okay for juveniles but not generally recommended for adults. Ideally, at least 80% of a guinea pig’s diet should just be hay.
Vegetables: Just like for people, vegetables are an important part of a guinea pig’s diet. They provide essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, that guinea pigs have a daily requirement for. Interestingly, humans and guinea pigs are the only two animals that are unable to synthesise their own vitamin C, and must eat it daily. Good vegetables for guinea pig include the ‘green leaves’, such as silverbeet and bok choy.
Pellets: these are a treat for guinea pigs, and they should be kept to a minimum. Offering a tablespoon of pellets a day is the maximum any guinea pig should have a day, but pellets can provide a great way to lure your guinea pigs back into their huts at night!

Is your guinea pig happy? – Dr Sam Loughridge
We get up each day, feed the pets, make sure they have fresh water and go out to work, but have you ever paused to consider; “is your guinea pig happy?” Dr Sam investigated this question and presented his findings on Thursday night, and also spoke about a number of ways to enrich your guinea pigs life. These included some easy home projects like making houses and runs out of cardboard boxes, or stuffing hay into cardboard toilet rolls. There are also a range of toys you can purchase through our online shop 🙂

Guinea pig sex education : what you should know about the birds and the bees – Dr Nicole Su
Guinea pig sterilisation is not something that is as well known as it is in other species however it is recommended and can help prevent some nasty conditions from developing. Female guinea pigs commonly develop cystic ovaries, these cysts can cause pain, discomfort and hair loss. Males can develop daily constipation (faecal impaction) by the age of 3 years, which becomes a smelly, ongoing issue to manage at home. If you are interested in desexing your guinea pig, UPV offers discounted “Hopstart” packages that includes desexing, microchipping, a health and dental check as well as some recommended food.

Calcium and the urinary system: is calcium bad? – Dr James Haberfield
Guinea pigs fed a diet that is excessively high in calcium can cause them to develop problems such as stones forming in the bladder, ureters and/or kidney, which leads to a very painful condition. The stone causes significant damage to these organs and in the most severe cases, can obstruct urination entirely leading to fatal rupture of the bladder or kidney. Guinea pigs with bladder stones are often noticed straining to urinate, or have blood in their urine. If you notice these signs in your guinea pig, please contact your vet for treatment.

Stay tuned for our next education night, which will be announced on our Facebook page in the next few months!

A little bit about Axolotls!

04/17/2017Axolotls! Axolotls are increasing in popularity and we have been seeing more and more people bring their axolotl in to our veterinary clinics for various problems. A lot of the problems we see are related to incorrect husbandry as many people don’t realise that axolotls require a specialized set up to ensure they can live a healthy and happy life. Today...

Axolotls!

Axolotls are increasing in popularity and we have been seeing more and more people bring their axolotl in to our veterinary clinics for various problems. A lot of the problems we see are related to incorrect husbandry as many people don’t realise that axolotls require a specialized set up to ensure they can live a healthy and happy life. Today’s article dispels a few myths about axolotls, discusses some interesting facts and also looks at a case we had in recently that required surgery.

Myth 1 – Axolotls are fish.
Axolotls are commonly referred to as Mexican walking fish however they are actually not fish at all! They are amphibians and are more similar to a frog than a fish.

Myth 2 – Axolotls like warm water.
Axolotls come from cool, still, fresh water mountain lakes in parts of Mexico. They like their water temperature to be between 17-18oC and can develop serious problems if their water becomes over-heated. This is particularly problematic in some warmer parts of Australia as it can be difficult to keep the water cold enough for them. It is very important to monitor the water temperature of your axolotl aquarium closely.

Fun fact 1
Axolotls have amazing regenerative ability where in some cases they can completely regrow their appendages if they are accidently damaged or cut off. They are so good at regrowing parts of their body that human doctors are looking into how they do this to see if there is any way that this ability could be used to help people.

Fun fact 2
Axolotls can breathe by 4 different mechanisms! They can use their lungs to ‘gulp’ air from the surface of their tank as well as using their gills, buccopharyngeal (throat) area and skin to absorb oxygen from water.

Fun fact 3
Axolotls are actually carnivores and like to eat a range of fish, crustaceans and insects.

Case Study – Axel the axolotl

Axel came in to see Dr James as he had developed a lump on one of his gills. After examining him and performing some testing it was determined that the best course of action was to remove the lump and to send it to the lab to be analysed. This involved anaesthetizing Axel to allow the surgery to be performed.

Axolotls can be anaesthetized by adding a specialized solution to their water. We achieved this with Axel by using a number of different bathes that all had different concentrations of the anaesthetic solution. Once anaesthetized the lump was able to be successfully removed and Axel recovered well.

Unfortunately the analysis on the lump showed that it was an aggressive form of cancer. The good news is that Axel is going well and we are hoping that he will continue to do so for many years to come.

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