BBQ dangers

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Faecal testing

Rabbit Vaccination

Does my rabbit need vaccinations?

Rabbits need vaccinations to protect against myxomatosis, Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease (R(V)HD) and a new strain of R(V)HD – R(V)HD2 – all of which are often fatal and cause intense suffering to rabbits. Vaccinate all your rabbits to stop deadly diseases.

There are different vaccines you can get for your rabbits.

Combined vaccines
Combined vaccines offer annual protection against both myxomatosis and R(V)HD. Rabbits can be vaccinated with this from five weeks of age.

A single separate vaccine is required to protect against R(V)HD2. Rabbits can be vaccinated with this from 10 weeks of age.

A vaccine that protects against all three
An annual vaccine is now available which protects against myxomatosis, R(V)HD1 and R(V)HD2 in one dose and can be given from five weeks old. A second separate vaccination for R(V)HD2 is not required.

This new vaccine may not be suitable if your rabbit has previously been vaccinated against myxomatosis but not R(V)HD2. Speak to us to find out which vaccination schedule will work best for your rabbit.

Vaccines are essential as there are no treatments
Unfortunately, there are no effective treatments for these diseases, and so vaccinations really are essential. Get veterinary advice about the most suitable vaccination course and best ages to vaccinate.

Prevent and Protect

  • Give regular boosters throughout your rabbit’s life; see your vet to arrange this.
  • Controlling insects may reduce infection risk.
  • Deter flies and mosquitoes, for example by using insect-proof screens.
  • Ensure your home and all pets are treated for fleas as advised by your vet.
  • Fleas from cats and dogs can infect rabbits.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect your rabbits’ enclosure and any areas they access, using a rabbit-safe disinfectant.
  • Change bedding and litter regularly. Never use housing or bedding from any rabbits who could have had these infections.
  • Prevent contact with affected domestic rabbits and all wild rabbits. Don’t allow your rabbits to go into any areas where they’ve been.

A virus spread by blood-sucking insects such as fleas, mites or mosquitoes and is widespread in British wild rabbits.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. Early symptoms include – puffy swellings around the face, ears and or eyes which can cause blindness. The swellings can also affect the anus and or genitals. This often progresses to a high fever. Eating and drinking becomes increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, the disease is often fatal with death occurring within 10-14 days. Occasionally myxomatosis is more prolonged – multiple lumps appear.

How Myxomatosis spreads

  • By blood-sucking insects
  • Contact between infected rabbits
  • Spread via contaminated objects or the environment for example – via bedding, hutches, grass, feed bowls, carriers, clothing, shoes etc.

Can you treat Myxomatosis?
There is no specific treatment, and unfortunately, recovery is rare. This means that euthanasia is often the kindest option for infected rabbits. Regular vaccines are therefore essential. Although the vaccine does not prevent transmission in all cases, vaccinated rabbits experience milder forms of the disease and recovery rates are good with prompt veterinary care.

Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease (R(V)HD)

  • Prevalent in Britain’s wild rabbits.
  • Extremely serious causing high fever/internal bleeding/liver disease.
  • Unfortunately, the disease is almost always fatal.
  • Pet rabbits are often found dead with blood-stained fluid at their mouth and nose, or there may be no visible signs (cause of death only confirmed by post-mortem).
  • Doesn’t affect rabbits under six weeks but causes severe disease in older rabbits.

How R(V)HD spreads

  • Rabbit-rabbit contact
  • Spread via contaminated objects or the environment
  • Insects

Can you treat R(V)HD?

There is no effective treatment, so vaccination is essential.

Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease 2 (R(V)HD2)

  • R(V)HD2 was detected in France in 2010 and has been in the UK since 2013 with confirmed cases seen across the country.
  • R(V)HD2 has a lower mortality rate than R(V)HD, but often the only signs seen can be sudden death.
  • Unlike R(V)HD1, rabbits of all ages can be affected.

How R(V)HD2 spreads

  • Rabbit-rabbit contact
  • Spread via contaminated objects or the environment
  • Insects

Can you treat R(V)HD2?

There is no specific treatment, and although some rabbits can recover from infection it is fatal in many cases. Vaccination is therefore essential.


We highly recommend vaccinating rabbits as well as regular preventative treatment. Our Well Pet Club helps spread the cost of this with a monthly direct debit for only £9.95.

Cat vaccinations

Vaccinating cats and kittens

Cat vaccinations help to protect your pets from severe infectious diseases. It also prevents them from passing anything nasty on to other animals in the area. Vaccinating your kitten is one of the most important things you should do in your first few weeks as a cat owner.

When should kittens be vaccinated?

To help protect kittens they’ll need two sets of vaccinations to get them started. Kittens should have their first set of vaccinations at nine weeks old and at three months old they should receive the second set to boost their immune system. After this, kittens and cats usually need ‘booster’ vaccinations every twelve months. Until your kitten is fully vaccinated (and neutered), you should keep him or her inside.

What diseases can vaccinations protect against?

Cats are commonly vaccinated against:

Cat flu (feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus)
Feline infectious enteritis
Feline leukaemia virus

How much do cat vaccinations cost?

A vaccination course including 2 x health checks will cost £70.00. If you join our Well Pet Club we will give you a 20% discount against the primary vaccination. If your pet is due flea and worm treatment, joining the Well Pet Club will allow you to collect these immediately. The Well Pet Club for a cat will cost £9.95 per month.

How long are vaccinations effective for?

You will receive a vaccination card from our team and all the information you need will be inside this. We will also remind you closer to the time. A booster vaccine is given every 12 months.

What if I adopted my kitten – will they be vaccinated?

This really depends on the breeder, shelter, charity or individual you receive your cat from. It is responsible for any of the aforementioned to have the kitten and mother health checked by a Veterinary Surgeon at around 4-6 weeks old, however it is not mandatory. In an ideal world your kitten should receive the first vaccination at 9 weeks and be up to date with flea, tick and worm treatments.

What if my kitten is not vaccinated and not had any preventative treatment?

Don’t panic! We are here for you. We offer free puppy and kitten health checks, so please do make use of this 15 minute appointment with one of our wonderful Veterinary Surgeons. We will then offer 4 weeks free pet insurance which will help give you a little extra time to get your pet’s insurance sorted, which we highly recommend you do. We can apply the first flea treatment free of charge also. We will likely discuss our Well Pet Club with you as you will be able to spread the cost of gold standard preventative treatment, yearly booster and nurse clinics by way of a monthly direct debit. For only £9.95 per month, you will have the peace of mind that your cat is receiving the very best products the Veterinary market has to offer!

Leptospirosis in dogs

As a pet owner, you try to protect your dog from risk as much as possible. Unfortunately, there are dangers lurking right in your backyard or local park that can cause serious harm to your dog. One of these diseases that has been increasingly reported across the UK is leptospirosis.

What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis, also known as “lepto”, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects most species of mammals, including dogs.

Leptospirosis is zoonotic (which means it can be passed along to humans), so protecting your dog helps protect you. Human symptoms range from flu-like symptoms to kidney failure and even death.

Leptospirosis bacteria (leptospira) penetrates a dog’s body through mucous membranes or open skin and rapidly multiplies in the bloodstream for the following 4–12 days. The bacteria is spread through infected animals’ urine (especially rodent urine) and can survive in soil or water for weeks or months. Dogs can come into contact with the bacteria by walking through, drinking, or even spending time near contaminated water like puddles, mud, standing water, and lakes.

Is my dog at risk for leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis can affect dogs of all shapes and sizes, so your dog could be at risk. Once commonly diagnosed in rural areas, lepto is now being seen more commonly in suburban and urban areas. Dogs that spend time near bodies of water, or even play near mud or puddles, can be at especially high risk for leptospirosis.

Common risk factors for leptospirosis:

  • Walking in the same place as infected wildlife, rodents, or farm animals
  • Contact with or drinking from warm, wet environments like streams, lakes, and puddles
  • Direct contact with infected animals

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs

It’s important to note that dogs can be infected and not even show signs of having leptospirosis.

Symptoms of leptospirosis include:

  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Increased thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the “whites” of their eyes or the inside of their ears, gums, or belly skin)

If your dog is displaying signs of leptospirosis, see your vet immediately. Delaying treatment can result in severe kidney or liver damage, and even death.

How can I protect my dog from leptospirosis?

The best way to protect your dog from leptospirosis is to vaccinate them against it. At Orchard House Vets, a vaccination course is £70 and this includes 3 health checks (normally valued at £46.80 each). So the vaccination offers not only peace of mind, but great value too. Furthermore if you join our Well Pet Club you will receive a 20% discount on the vaccination course.

Well Pet Club members receive the booster vaccine through our health scheme. Booster vaccines are given 1 year after the initial course and cost £39.95. Or of course if you are a WPC member then the cost is spread through monthly payments along with many great benefits!