Rogue’s Metabolic Bone Disease

01/17/2020 Rogue the juvenille lace monitor
DateJanuary 2020
ClinicJindalee, Brisbane
SpeciesLace Monitor
Medical ConditionNutritional Metabolic Bone Disease
OutcomeImproving with nutritional support

Rogue is a juvenile lace monitor that presented with a severe case of Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism, also known as Nutritional Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).

Rogue had a reduced appetite and was having trouble with hind leg movement. Rogue also had a classic symptom of MBD known as ‘rubber jaw’ which occurs when the calcium stores within the bones are so depleted that they become ‘rubbery’.

Rogue the juvenille lace monitor

The most common cause of Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism is lack of UVB (artificial or natural), decreased calcium levels in the diet or a combination of both.

After a detailed history was taken, a few issues were identified. Although a UVB source was provided to Rogue, the diet was made up mostly of meat. The meat itself does not contain enough calcium for a growing monitor.

In addition to bone health, calcium is also needed for the normal function of the digestive tract, immune system, nerves and muscles. Low calcium levels can result in secondary issues such as gastric impaction, muscle twitching as well as heart problems.

Radiographs were taken to get a baseline for us to monitor the bone density as Rouge hopefully recovers. Calcium was initially administered to Rogue by injection to reduce the neurological signs and was then continued as an oral solution.

Rogue's radiograph

Due to the softness of the jaw bones, a soft supplemental food was given to help with the nutritional deficiencies and also make it easier to digest as solid prey could potentially have caused inadvertent fractures of the jaw and would have been harder for the digestive system to process when not functioning optimally.

a severe case of rubber jaw

Rogue’s case illustrates the importance of assessing the optimal diet and husbandry requirements for the different species we can keep in captivity. For monitors, feeding a balanced diet that contains whole prey is recommended to ensure their nutritional requirements are met. In some cases, the addition of supplements may be required, and this should be discussed with your reptile vet.

𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘙𝘰𝘨𝘶𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦 and publish 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘤𝘦.

For more information on Nutritional Metabolic Bone disease, reach out to your local Unusual Pet Vets team.

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Desexing Your Pet Rat

01/09/2020Desexing, also known as sterilisation, is the term commonly used for when pets have a surgery to remove part of their reproductive tract, making them unable to breed.Whilst most cats and dogs are sterilised, the procedure is often overlooked in small pet mammals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and rats. This article discusses the advantages of desex...Desexing Your Pet Rat

Desexing, also known as sterilisation, is the term commonly used for when pets have a surgery to remove part of their reproductive tract, making them unable to breed.

Whilst most cats and dogs are sterilised, the procedure is often overlooked in small pet mammals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and rats. This article discusses the advantages of desexing rats, and why surgical desexing may not be the best option for every rat.

What Are the Different Types of Desexing?

The most common form of sterilisation is when an animal undergoes surgery to remove part of their reproductive tract. However, in rats there is a medical approach to sterilisation. This is temporary but can last 6-12 months depending on the individual rat’s response.  In rats these medical alternatives have some benefits over surgical desexing and are recommended for many rats, particularly females.

Does It Matter if I Have a Male or Female Rat?

Pet RatThe medical approach uses a drug called Deslorelin in the form of a small implant about the size of a grain of rice. The implant in Australia is known as ‘Suprelorin’.

The effects of this drug have been mainly studied in female rats, which means we have more information about how they respond to this drug. In female rats, the medical approach has been shown to last 10-12 months. At this stage the medication has only been studied in male rats for 6 months. This means it is unknown whether the drug lasts longer than this in male rats.

What Do Surgical and Medical Desexing Involve?

Both surgical and medical desexing involve a general anaesthetic in rats. In medical desexing, the Suprelorin implant is placed between your rat’s shoulders, which slowly releases a hormone over 6-12 months. The anaesthetic for this is quite short, generally lasting for less than five minutes.

Surgical sterilisation, like most surgeries, also involves general anaesthesia to avoid undue pain and stress to the patient. The anaesthetic time is much longer than medical sterilisation, generally lasting around 20-40 minutes.

What if I Choose Not to Desex My Rat?

Whichever form of sterilisation you choose, it is still recommended to get your rat desexed for several reasons: 

What is the Difference in Cost Between Medical and Surgical Sterilisation?

The cost of each is similar. The main advantage of surgical sterilisation is that it is a one-off cost whereas the Suprelorin implant needs to be repeated every 6-12 months.

Rat Desexing Summary:

 Surgical sterilisationMedical sterilisation (Suprelorin)
Is an anaesthetic required?YesYes
Does it need to be repeated?NoYes, every 6-12 months
Does it work for both sexes?YesYes, however, males need more frequent implants
How often does it need to be repeated in male rats?OnceEvery 6 months
How often does it need to be repeated in female rats?OnceEvery 10-12 months
Does it prevent pregnancy?YesYes
Does it prevent other reproductive diseases such as mammary tumours?YesNot yet confirmed

 

Where Can I Get More Information on Rat Desexing?

The Unusual Pet Vets are available to provide information by email, phone call or by booking a consult.

Our website has many helpful articles about rat health, as well as further contact information for each of our clinics.

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Louie and Fae’s Ear Problems

10/07/2019 Ear problems
DateAugust 2019
ClinicBalcatta
SpeciesVelvet Lop Rabbits
Medical ConditionEar Infection
OutcomeSuccessful

This is a story of two orange velvet lop twins who are very much loved by our whole team. They recently presented to our Balcatta team as they were both showing signs of bilateral ear infections.

Case study

In order to assess the level of ear infection present Louie and Fae both had a CT performed. This identified that the ear disease was severe for both rabbits on both the left and right sides, however slightly worse on the right in both patients. CT is an incredible technology that allows us to get 3D images of your pets’ problem areas, which can greatly help us to assess any areas of concern in more detail than x-rays and is a particularly valuable tool for assessing ear conditions in rabbits.

In order to assess the level of ear infection present Louie and Fae both had a CT performed. This identified that the ear disease was severe for both rabbits on both the left and right sides, however slightly worse on the right in both patients. CT is an incredible technology that allows us to get 3D images of your pets’ problem areas, which can greatly help us to assess any areas of concern in more detail than x-rays and is a particularly valuable tool for assessing ear conditions in rabbits.

Case study

"We often get asked what level of hearing the rabbit has after this procedure."

We have found that most rabbits undergoing this surgery generally already have a lot of pus present in their ear canals meaning that their hearing is already reduced considerably (think of a rabbit wearing thick ear plugs right at their ear drum), so we tend to find their hearing is fairly similar after the procedure to what it was before.

Case study

In this case both rabbits were scheduled to have the surgery with Dr Sam on their right ears to begin with. Loui has previously had an enucleation (eye removal surgery) and relies heavily on his sister Fae for support. So, on the day we performed Fae’s surgery first so she could have some time to recover before supporting Louie through his recovery.

During the surgeries, both bunnies had their vitals monitored carefully, and they received warmed fluids intravenously to support their vascular system. Their airways were maintained with a specialized rabbit laryngeal device known as a V-Gel, this allows us to have total control over their breathing. We used a specialised air blanket to keep them warm which unlike some heat mats and heat bags has no risk of accidentally over-heating and burning them – it’s like floating on a small warm cloud.

Case study
Case study

"Both surgical procedures were a success"

Louie and Fae were up and about eating only hours after their surgery and able to go home that night. Once they fully recover, the second surgery on their left ears will be performed. We have no doubt that soon Louie and Fae’s ear problems will be a thing of the past!

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Ferret Enrichment Ideas (11 Ways to Keep Your Pet Busy)

07/24/2019Ferrets are incredibly playful creatures, but they’re also very intelligent (and mischievous)! It’s important to find ways to stimulate your ferret both mentally and physically, while making sure that they’re safe from harm.Your ferret may sleep for up to 18 hours each day, but once they’re awake they’ll be ready to bounce off the walls, steal yo...Ferret Enrichment Ideas

Ferrets are incredibly playful creatures, but they’re also very intelligent (and mischievous)! It’s important to find ways to stimulate your ferret both mentally and physically, while making sure that they’re safe from harm.

Your ferret may sleep for up to 18 hours each day, but once they’re awake they’ll be ready to bounce off the walls, steal your things, escape through a small space, and swallow something they shouldn’t!

How to Keep Your Ferret Busy

Walkies

Did you know that your ferret can be trained to walk on a harness and leash just like a dog? Many pet stores will sell harness and leash sets for ferrets in their small animal section. If your ferret has never walked on a leash before, start off slow to get them used to the feeling. You can let them wear the harness around the house while you play their favourite games or feed them their favourite food. Once they have gotten used to this, do the same again, but with the leash attached.

The next step is to try going for a little walk in your own backyard. Once you are confident that your ferret is comfortable with going for a walk, it’s time to go to the park! Just make sure your ferret is fully vaccinated, and avoid off-leash areas for your ferrets safety.

Sand Pit

Ferrets love to dig, it’s a very natural behaviour for them! You can set up a small sand pit in your own yard, using a half shell childrens pool and play sand (available from Bunnings).

Tunnels

Running through tunnels is another natural behaviour that ferrets love to express. From short crinkly tunnels designed for cats, through to clear plastic tubes designed for ferrets, your ferret will have a fantastic time running through these at lightning speed. You may even see them wag their tail! Just be sure the tunnel isn’t so narrow that your ferret could get stuck.

Ball Pit

Playing with balls keeps them occupiedBall pits designed for ferrets are available online, however you can also purchase a childrens ball pit from Kmart. Ferrets love to bounce and wriggle through the colourful balls!

Chasey

All you need for this is a safe area of your home, and your feet! Chase your ferret, and let them chase you. To up the stakes, squeeze a squeaky toy while you run. We bet you’ll get some dooks and a weasel wardance out of it!

Peek-A-Boo

All you need for this is a small blanket or towel. Cover your ferret, then suddenly rip the blanket away. Watch them jump for joy!

Magic Carpet Ride

Another easy game to play that just involves your feet and a towel. Choose a long area of your home, like a hallway. Place the towel on the floor, and your ferret on the towel. Now pick up two corners of the towel and run! Ferrets love a magic carpet ride as much as anyone.

Water Park

This one is just for water babies (those ferrets who just love to get wet!). Water can be added to a half shell pool, along with floating toys, so that your ferret can splash around! The water should be shallow, as we don’t want to risk your ferret inhaling any. Never leave your ferret in the pool unattended. Alternatively, some ferrets will have just as much fun dancing in the shower!

Cat Toys

Ferrets Playing TogetherMost cat toys can also be ferret toys! Crinkle sacks are popular due to the fun noise they make, and so are tunnels. Small balls or toy mice that contain a bell will catch your ferrets interest, as will a wand with a toy attached.

Many ferrets also like to climb scratching towers, but should always be supervised, as often they will try to jump once they get to the top. Never leave any toys with your ferret if there are small parts that they can chew off and swallow.

Dog Toys

Many dog toys can be ferret toys too! A small Kong can be filled with meat or an egg yolk to give them a challenge, or if you feed kibble, a treat dispensing toy such a Bob-A-Lot can be used. Squeaky toys are also a huge hit, but anything made from rubber should not be used without supervision (ferrets love to chew and swallow rubber things!).

Ferret Toys

While there are not many commercially available ferret toys available in Australian pet shops, there are many options available to buy online. One brand with many options is Marshall Pet Products.

*** Always supervise your ferret when they are playing with a new toy, and don’t leave toys with your ferret unsupervised unless you’re sure that they are safe ***

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The rabbit moulting season is upon us!

03/29/2019Attention Rabbit owners! 🐰The rabbit moulting season has been non stop this last few months, which means that your rabbit could be ingesting fur each time they groom themselves or their friends. The most common cause of a bloat (gastric dilation) in rabbits is due to a gastrointestinal obstruction such as a trichobezoar, also known as a pellet of compre...bloat 2

Attention Rabbit owners! 🐰

The rabbit moulting season has been non stop this last few months, which means that your rabbit could be ingesting fur each time they groom themselves or their friends. The most common cause of a bloat (gastric dilation) in rabbits is due to a gastrointestinal obstruction such as a trichobezoar, also known as a pellet of compressed fur. 

When a gastrointestinal blockage occurs, fermentation within the stomach keeps continuing leading to the stomach becoming enlarged/distended with a mix of stomach fluid and gas. If a blockage occurs in the intestines there is now nowhere for the stomach contents to go as rabbits cannot vomit or eructate (burp), which leads to the stomach becoming enlarged or bloated. If this occurs in your rabbit we recommend not to force feed any food, water or medications until a vet has examined and advised whether it is safe to do so.

To diagnose bloat in a rabbit requires abdominal palpation and often radiographs (x-rays) as well as a blood glucose measurement. It is important when your rabbit stops eating to always have a vet palpate the abdomen to rule out the possibility of bloat as symptoms can be quite similar to gut stasis, before treating with any medications. 

If a gastrointestinal blockage is confirmed by your vet then there are two main treatment options that are generally available depending on the severity of the bloat – prompt surgery to relieve the obstruction or medical management with fluid therapy, decompression of the stomach with tubes as well as intensive pain relief (often delivered as a constant rate infusion into your bunnies vein via a catheter). We often utilise a combination of both methods depending on the individual case. We have posted a few of these cases on our facebook page if you would like to have a look.

If you would like further information on bloat in rabbits then please contact one of our clinics. You can also check out the following information sheets by clicking on the below links:

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