On the 23rd of February when storm Doris was heading our way, we went to feed our horses early so we could avoid much of the bad weather. While we were out my son, who was at home, rang to say there was something wrong with our Chihuahua’s (Phoebe’s) eye, he said it was twice its normal size and very red.

We raced back home. While driving I was hoping that my son was exaggerating and this was just a sore eye and not what I feared it might be. When I got home I could see immediately that she had prolapsed her eye (the eye had come out of it’s socket) and that she had been rubbing at the eye. This can happen in this breed with a bang to the head and she had been playing with one of our other dogs.

We took her to our surgery in Bourne where I immediately gave her an anaesthetic and assessed her eye. It is normally possible to replace the eye if there is immediate surgical intervention. Sometimes to achieve this you have to take some fluid out of the eye and collapse it temporarily to help replace it, I was unable to do this as she had bled into the eye. I had to make the decision to remove it, her anaesthetic was unstable during this whole process.

As Vets we are often so busy just dealing with emergency in front of us that we either forget or just haven’t experienced the raw trauma involved in these situations for the owners. There is the pure horror of seeing your much loved pet severely damaged and the fear of what will happen next.

What I also find frightening is how quickly these accidents happen and that things are never the same afterwards. Your day starts off in its normal fashion and then suddenly everything is different. My experience here is relatively minor in that the outcome is that we have a one eyed dog who can live her life quite normally.

This was a difficult experience for me in that it combined the stresses involved in dealing with an emergency with the trauma of seeing my own pet injured, a situation I am hoping not to repeat.



Please think twice before buying bunnies as presents this Easter

With Easter approaching, the sale of rabbits from pet shops usually increases. Rabbits can be lovely pets to have but a lot of people don’t always realise the responsibility that goes with owning one.

Rabbits need a lot of space and really shouldn’t be kept in small hutches, they are very active and like to be out and about so a large cage for overnight is needed and lots of outdoor space during the day to run around. Rabbits are also very sociable animals and don’t like to be on their own so should ideally be housed in pairs. There is a saying ‘at it like rabbits’; they breed very quickly so make sure that when they are in pairs that you make sure they are neutered if they are apposite sexes.

They need lots of access to fresh good quality hay all day long and their diet should be made up of about 90% hay, only small amounts of rabbit pellets and greens should be fed and fruit only as a treat. Rabbits must have access to fresh water and food at all times, their guts are constantly moving and can stop working if they are starved; this is a medical emergency.

Rabbits can also suffer from teeth problems; this is very common as their teeth are constantly growing. The front teeth can be burred by your vet to keep them trimmed down but when the back ones become overgrown and get spurs on them then the rabbit needs to be put under a general anaesthetic to have these dealt with; this can be costly when it’s ongoing.

As with dogs and cats it’s important to make sure your rabbit is vaccinated, rabbits can contract viral haemorrhagic disease and myxomatosis, they require injections every year to keep them protected.

In the summer months you need to be checking your rabbits bottom at least twice a day for fly strike, when it gets warmer the flies can be attracted to your rabbit and they can lay their eggs which again is a medical emergency and you must see your vet ASAP.

easter bunny Rabbits can make such lovely pets but as with any animal, before considering buying one you should take the time to research. If you have any questions, please talk to your veterinary practice staff, who will be happy to advise you further.

We wish you all a very happy Easter.