Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

What Bunny Parents Need to Know About the Special Needs of Rabbits

Did you know that jackrabbits can run as quickly as 45 miles per hour? Or that hares can learn almost as many tricks as dogs?

If you’re the proud parent of a rabbit, you know that they are remarkable creatures. With lifespans of about ten years, our long-eared friends also have unique needs. If it’s been a while since your bunny has had the chance to say “What’s up, Doc?”, here are some ways our veterinary professionals can help your rabbit stay hoppy and healthy.

1. Bunnies Benefit from Annual Exams

Just like cats and dogs, rabbits need consistent veterinary care. Regular physical exams ensure rabbits stay healthy and provide them with the preventative care needed to live a long life. During a visit, we’ll check your rabbit for illness, including common diseases like:

  • Dental disease like molar elongation
  • GI issues like bloat
  • External and intestinal parasites
  • Cancer
  • Bladder and kidney stones

We will also check to make sure your rabbit is at a healthy weight. We’re happy to advise on the best food and treats for your bunny.

2. Prevent Your Bunnies from Multiplying Like… Well…

If you have two or more rabbits, an obvious benefit of spaying or neutering your pets is not winding up with bunny babies. They may be cute, but caring for newborn rabbits requires time, money, and space in your indoor or outdoor pen.

Even if you just have a single rabbit, having them spayed or neutered can lengthen their life. Altered rabbits have a lower chance of developing cancer and urinary tract infections. Bunnies not only have improved physical health from being spayed or neutered, but they also tend to be calmer and better behaved.

How old should your bunny be to be fixed? Male rabbits can be altered once they reach three to five months of age. Female rabbits should be four to six months old. Rabbits can actually age out of being able to be spayed or neutered. Once rabbits are about five to six years old, they may not be a candidate for alteration.

3. Rabbits Need Manicures

Rabbits often need to have their nails trimmed. If your rabbit’s nails grow too long, it can cause them to injure themselves or struggle to walk and hop. Long nails can also cause your rabbit pain. If you’re worried about accidentally causing injury or bleeding with an at-home manicure, our trained staff can trim your rabbit’s nails to a healthy length.

4. Bugs Can Bother Bunnies

Rabbits can suffer from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites. If you allow your rabbit to have outdoor time, particularly if you have other pets in your home, protect your companions from these harmful parasites. We can prescribe your rabbit the right dose and mode of parasite prevention to keep them protected.

What Else Should You Know About Your Rabbit?

Your rabbit is an intelligent and loving companion animal who can learn to respond to their names and bond with their owners. Still, domestic rabbits are dependent on humans for their health and wellness. Because your rabbit relies on you for their needs, be sure you know what symptoms indicate your pet needs veterinary attention.

If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment ASAP:

  • Limping 
  • Blood near the mouth, ears, nose, or rear end
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Scratching
  • Blood in urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trouble breathing
  • Not going to the bathroom
  • Tilting head
  • Lack of coordination

By caring for your bunny’s special needs, you’re giving them the best chance for a happy, healthy life with your family. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we provide expert care for companions big and small and specialize in caring for hares. If you have questions about what treatments or medications are right for your rabbit, give us a call today.

Photo Credit: Serafima / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Pain Awareness Month: What Do You Need to Know?

Wouldn’t life be easier if our pets could tell us about their aches and pains? Unfortunately, until they master our language, our ability to identify an animal in pain relies on observation alone. Yet we find many pet parents aren’t sure what signs to look for to determine if their pets are suffering from illness or injury.

September has been proclaimed Pain Awareness Month, dedicated to identifying, diagnosing, and treating pain in pets and people. As veterinary professionals, we’re committed to helping pet owners interpret the actions and behaviors that may communicate their companion is experiencing pain. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about pain in your furry family members.

The Pain Our Pets Experience

In the animal world, vulnerability can be the difference between life and death. Because pain can be a sign of weakness, pets are hardwired to disguise their discomfort. While cats are characterized as aloof and unbothered, dogs can be just as stoic. This leaves humans at a disadvantage when recognizing our pets aren’t feeling their best.

Pain is Categorized into Acute Pain or Chronic Pain

Acute pain is often sharp and short-lived. It is a response from the nerves to the brain that something is wrong and to stop further damage to the body. When experiencing acute pain, an animal usually can’t focus on anything else.

Chronic or long-term pain is typically duller than acute pain. Still, the constant aches and soreness can drain the fun out of day-to-day activities for many pets.

While both forms of pain are very serious, often chronic pain is more challenging to recognize. People may overlook signs of chronic pain or mislabel symptoms as the natural progression of aging. And the cause and symptoms of long-term pain can develop gradually, making them harder to spot.

Why Does Recognizing and Treating Pain Matter?

Effective treatment of pain is vital for the wellbeing of your pet. Acute pain can signal a serious injury like a ligament sprain, broken bone, or severe internal damage. As for chronic pain, when your pet is always feeling aches and soreness, they cannot enjoy all the fun, love, and happiness you provide. As a pet owner, you’re the only chance your pet has to find relief from pain.

What Are the Signs of Pain in Pets?

We will ask you questions about your pet’s day-to-day experiences with pain during your pet’s annual exam, especially as they grow older. But don't wait until a yearly appointment if your pet is exhibiting symptoms of pain now.

Do Not Ignore These Signs of Pain

Acute Pain:

  • Yelping
  • Crying
  • Whining
  • Whimpering
  • Limping
  • Drooling
  • Hunching
  • Difficulty getting around
  • Squinting or winking
  • Panting
  • Aggression

Chronic Pain:

  • Withdrawing from social interaction
  • Hiding
  • Difficulty participating in activities 
  • Hesitating when walking or climbing steps
  • Limping
  • Reduced appetite
  • Eating slower
  • Changes in bathroom behavior
  • Vocalizing
  • Increased sleeping and lethargy

If you suspect your pet may be in pain, we encourage you to make an appointment right away. The sooner we can diagnose your pet, the sooner they can feel better. Additionally, early diagnosis often means a shorter recovery period and more effective treatments.

Find the Right Pain Relief for Your Pet

Pain does not have to be permanent. With medication, physical therapy, supplements, and changes to diet and habits, your pet can feel better, no matter the cause of their pain.

We offer a wide array of treatments to restore your pet’s mobility, comfort, and joy. From surgery to pain medications, we’ll partner with you through the process and provide our knowledge and expertise on your pet’s condition so you can make an informed decision. Give your pet relief from pain and make an appointment today.

Photo Credit: Helena Lopes / Pexels

7 Must-Dos for a Happy Healthy Cat

Those of us with pet cats know that our feline friends are the unsung heroes of our homes. They keep our laps warm, make sure we remember to pet and feed them, greet us when we arrive home, and provide us with hours and hours of companionship.

To return the favor and provide your little kitty hero with as much joy as they give you, we have some simple tips. These are sure to extend your kitty’s purr, provide them with a healthy life, and keep them happy for years to come.

How Can You Pamper Your Cat with Good Health?

1. Provide Your Cat with the Purrfect Diet and Keep Them Hydrated

Your cat’s health depends on a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight. When choosing your cat’s food, be sure you choose a high-quality formula and read the ingredients list. Dry and canned food with higher levels of animal protein are better for your feline friend.

Wild cats receive most of their hydration from consuming live prey, and they naturally have a low thirst drive. In domestic cats, this can lead to a higher risk of urinary problems if they don’t drink enough water. Canned foods provide a higher level of hydration and can make a huge impact on your cat’s health. Leaving out extra water bowls or investing in a water fountain can encourage your cat to drink more frequently.

Feed your cat a diet tailored to their needs. If you need help deciding what food is best for your cat, we are here to help. From diets designed for urinary health to those made to fit the needs of a senior feline, we can help you find the perfect regimen for your cat.

2. Playtime is the Secret Ingredient for a Happy Cat

While cats seem aloof and independent, they still need fun and games to enrich their lives. Engaging in play and exercise allows your cat to maintain muscle tone, use their brain, and form a stronger bond with you. Elevating your cat’s heart rate and keeping them active helps burn excess calories, as well. All of these benefits create a recipe for a longer life, less anxiety, and can delay or lessen signs of dementia.

3. Provide Your Cat with Parasite Prevention

It’s hard to enjoy life when you’re scratching at fleas. While the fleas and ticks you find in their fur create a world of mental and physical discomfort for your cat, prevention for internal parasites, like heartworm, is equally as important to their health and happiness.

All of these problematic pests can be deadly when left unchecked, and frighteningly, there is no cure or treatment for heartworms in cats. Luckily, prevention is easy and effective. Not sure if an oral, topical, or injectable preventative is right for your furry friend? Call us with your questions and we’ll be happy to help you find the right solution for your cat.

4. Keep the Litter Box Clean

Cats are naturally clean animals with sensitive noses, so most prefer a sparkling clean litter box. Scooping your cat’s waste daily and periodically washing the box can improve your cat’s relationship with their toilet. Daily maintenance also helps keep you aware of any issues with their urinary and digestive systems.

If you notice signs of blood in your cat’s urine or stool, make an appointment right away. We also want to know if your cat suddenly begins boycotting their box and having accidents around your house. Both of these can be signs of serious internal issues, like infections.

5. Have Your Cat Spayed or Neutered

Having your cat altered improves their life significantly. Spaying female cats reduces the occurrence of breast tumors and uterine infections. Neutering a male cat prevents testicular cancer and reduces the likelihood of prostate problems. Furthermore, when your cat is fixed, they lose the drive to escape outdoors to mate. And male cats are much less likely to develop destructive spraying tendencies.

6. Put Away Potential Poisons

Protect your cat’s health by staying vigilant about potential poisons. These include herbicides, rodenticides, medications, and house plants. When it comes to these common household items, your cat is always safer when you keep them out of paw’s reach.

7. Comb Your Cat

Your cat probably spends hours grooming themselves. This doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate your help by combing and stroking them, too. Cats groom one another as a means of socializing and bonding and most love when humans get in on the fun. Regularly brushing your cat reduces hairballs, untangles knots in long-haired cats, and keeps you mindful of any lumps, bumps, or dermatological issues that may pop up.

Don’t Skip Your Cat’s Annual Exam This Year

August 22nd is a great day to be a cat. Why? It’s Take Your Cat to the Vet Day, a day dedicated to reminding cat parents that their kitties need annual exams to ensure long, healthy lives. We hope you’ll celebrate your cat by making an appointment. Nothing beats celebrating a good bill of health and knowing that your cat has everything they need to continue to enjoy life with you.

Photo Credit: Nitiphonphat / iStock / Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800