Important Information for Rabbit Owners
Wild rabbits contribute to significant losses in agricultural production and are linked to the decline of native animals and plant species. In order to reduce their numbers, a biocontrol is being introduced by the NSW Government to target the wild European rabbit population. The virus has not been found to cause infection in any other animal except the European rabbit and it is not being released into native rabbit populations.
The biocontrol is being released via the NSW country areas of Orange, Gundagai and Hay, however as a precautionary measure it is recommended that all healthy domestic rabbits are vaccinated against the virus which is being used as the control. Vaccination is recommended as follows:
- Kittens: At the ages of four, eight, and 12 weeks of age, then annually for life
- Adults: Two vaccinations one month apart, then annually for life
We strongly advise keeping rabbits in a clean, dry, and mosquito free environment and avoiding exposure to wild rabbits. It is also recommended that cut grass is not fed to rabbits if there is a chance of contamination from wild rabbits.
To arrange vaccination of your rabbit, please contact us to make an appointment. The biocontrol will be released from March 2017 therefore we recommend prompt attention to vaccination schedules. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Important Information for Cat Owners
What is Panleucopaenia and how is it spread?
Panleucopaenia is the “cat version” of canine parvovirus which is a life-threatening virus. It is spread between infected cats and the virus enters the body via the mouth or nose. It survives in the environment (for up to a year) and can tolerate freezing and some disinfectants. Because of this, most cats at some point in their life are exposed to this virus. An infected cat can spread disease for up to 6 weeks post infection.
What are the effects?
Over 2 – 7 days after infection, the virus affects a cat’s lymph nodes, bone marrow and the intestine. In the bone marrow, the virus suppresses white blood cells hence the name panleucopaenia which means “all-white cell shortage”. The virus can cause a secondary bacterial infection in the intestines which can rapidly lead to death. Treatment involves intensive supportive care and isolation.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms vary from cat to cat, and include general depression, listlessness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Skin loses its elasticity due to dehydration which is caused by vomiting and diarrhoea.
How can I protect my cat from it?
Standard cat vaccinations include protection for this virus and even cats whose vaccination is slightly overdue should still be protected. We recommend checking with your vet and updating their vaccination if required. Rest assured that if your cats are up-to-date with their health checks and vaccinations, then they are immune to this virus and are unlikely to get any symptoms even if exposed.
How prevalent is it?
Like many local hospitals we have seen a couple of cases in unvaccinated cats. We follow strict isolation protocols to ensure the remainder of our hospitalised and boarded animals are safe and at NO risk of exposure.
What should I do if think my cat could be affected?
Contact us immediately if your cat shows any sign of illness. North Shore Veterinary Hospital is available 24/7 for after hours emergencies.