Friday, September 5, 2008


Spring and Autumn are high-risk periods for myxomatosis in the UK. Rabbits who are not regularly vaccinated (most vets recommend vaccination at 6 monthly intervals) are at high risk of contracting the disease and dying. This is the case even if your rabbit does not normally go outside and you live in an urban area, because the virus is spread by biting insects, such as mosquitos and midges.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Breeding like... Rabbits!

Most of our intake of unwanted rabbits are fostered with the rabbit residence rescue who have suitable facilities to keep rabbits long-term with a good quality of life until they are adopted. They've just had an influx of 21 unwanted bunnies - mainly the result of people allowing a pair to breed, then not separating the babies so they all breed... until the result is a nightmare of over-crowding, fighting and stress.

If you are thinking of getting a pet rabbit please do not buy one from a pet shop. In fact don't get one rabbit - they are highly social animals who will not be happy alone. (The slightly sinister-sounding reference to "bonding" in Rabbit Residence's introduction refers to the process of pairing up two neutered rabbits so that they become good friends).

If you already have rabbits and urgently need to get them neutered to prevent further population growth and are on benefits: we can help with the cost. If you live within reasonable traveling distance of Cambridge, the most economical choice is to use our clinic (see the article on neutering below this one). If you cannot get to the clinic, or if you need to get your rabbits neutered immediately rather than going on a waiting list, then we can send a voucher for part of the cost of having the operation done at a private vet. You need to be resident within our branch area (see the map on the side-bar). To ask for a neutering voucher email - giving your name, address to send the voucher and the name of the vet you want to use.

Low cost pet neutering

If you are on state benefits (including working tax credit and pension credit, but not child tax credit on its own) and live within our branch area, you are eligible to have your pets neutered via our animal clinic in Cambridge. This is not free, but is significantly cheaper than the cost a private vet would have to charge.

The Wednesday morning session (9 am - 10.30 am) is reserved for pre-neutering checks and vaccinations, so is the best time to bring your animal along to be booked onto the waiting list. Charges are £55 for a bitch, £40 for a dog, £35 for a female cat, £20 for a male cat. We can also neuter rabbits and ferrets at the same charge as for a cat. Payment must be made in advance, and your pet will be given a health check to see that they are fit enough to have the operation. Once this has been done, your pet will be added to the waiting list and called in when they reach the top of the list (currently this is a few weeks).

Dogs and cats should be at least 4 months old before they can be checked to go on the waiting list for neutering. If a bitch is in season or just finishing a season she can not be put on the waiting list, but should  come back for a vet check to be put on the list in about 2 months. 

Ideally bitches should be neutered 3 months after their last season.

Neutering will prevent the birth of unwanted offspring who may not find good homes and it also has important health benefits for your pet - particularly in the case of bitches and female ferrets and male cats. Another great benefit in the case of rabbits is that it enables a male and female to be kept together as a pair which will make them much happier and more contented.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Experimental Lost Cat Notification Form

There's now an experimental form to enable us to receive information about missing cats on our branch website at

This is only useful for missing cats within our own branch area (see the sidebar), and I strongly recommend that you also contact other local animal welfare organisations and vets by telephone. The main aim is to give us a sensible list of missing animals instead of lots of scrappy notes on pieces of paper that get lost or are unavailable because they're in the wrong jacket pocket!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Having been inundated with adults throughout the summer we now have kittens as well. If you could spread the word we'd be grateful as the sooner we find homes the better whilst they're still young.

Details are as follows:

Lynx (silver tabby) and Tiger (black) - about 7 weeks old. Were quite nervous but now coming on well but could do with getting into a home for more socialisation ASAP.

Bubble, Squeak, Fleck and Speck - 3 black and whites and one black kitten - about 11 weeks - not sure of sexes of them. Very friendly and good with stefs children. Could be homed in pairs. (pics attached)

We also have 4 black/dark tortie kittens who are about 6 weeks are also at a cattery in Peterborough (because our local cattery was full).

If you would be interested in adopting any of them, please email

Two more cats

One with both hind legs broken, but a reasonable prognosis that they can be operated on with an implant screwed across the broken sections to hold them together (The implant is basically a titanium plate, not too different from the "mending plates" carpenters use to join pieces of wood). The other is more problematic because she has a ruptured diaphragm which will need surgical repair.

Many thanks to the nurses at Arbury Road vets, who brought her down to our clinic themselves when time was too short to organise a volunteer driver.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hamster of the day

This is Hammy, who is a fairly young Syrian hamster. He does nip!

If you might be interested in adopting him, please email

July statistics

Just got the records for July collated. During the month, our branch:

Provided low-cost veterinary treatment for 205 dogs, 115 cats, 11 rabbits and 14 miscellaneous small animals.

Rehomed 4 dogs, 3 cats and 2 birds.

Microchipped 11 dogs and 10 cats

Neutered 13 dogs, 12 cats and a rabbit

Our total outgoings were £16,904 (this amount also covers wages for our three shop staff, rent for the charity shop in Newmarket and our annual audit fee). We raised £7,811, mostly from sales at the charity shops and clinic fees.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Protecting animals from suffering

Call last night from the daughter of an gentleman in great distress because his elderly jack russell was in great pain to the extent that he wasn't able to pick the dog up. These situations always seem to happen at weekends and, quite apart from the increased financial cost of getting out of hours treatment, very few vets are now able to make home visits. Sadly this is a reflection of the times we live in, and the potential liability of their employers if staff members are attacked or injured during a call-out. We were fortunate that Royston Veterinary Centre is one of the few local vets who still do call-outs in their area and that they don't use another veterinary practice for their out of hours cover.
We keep statistics of the numbers of animals which are put to sleep at branch expense and these are reported annually in the combined Annual Report of the society, together with the numbers of animals rehomed or given veterinary treatment. Euthanasia tends to be seen as a situation where the RSPCA has failed to help an animal and I believe we need to challenge this. It certainly is a failure of animal welfare if healthy animals who should have their lives ahead of them are put to sleep. We have not failed when we ensure that animals who have reached the end of their natural lives are released from suffering and indignity instead of dying in pain and fear.