Protect against health issues caused by dietary problems with ProC Probiotic

In honour of Rabbit Welfare Awareness Week, why not consider adding a probiotic to your rabbits diet? They'll thank you for it.

Probiotics are a positive addition to a rabbit’s healthcare routine to strengthen their overall health as opposed to just treating symptoms.

Most pet rabbits will display a stress-related response at some point in their life. The factors that cause stress are always a reaction to a wide range of environmental issues that vary depending on the individual. As rabbits are prey animals trouble is usually first presented as gut issues. This can upset the careful balance of gut flora responsible for protecting the stomach and breaking down foods the rabbit has consumed.

ProC probiotic is intended as a long-term support for all small animals including rabbits. It helps build the rabbit’s digestive defenses against illness by ensuring the best flora balance and nutrient absorption are maintained. This long-term protection offers improved condition and health for the pet’s life, not a quick fix solution to a visible problem.

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 Heat stroke is one of the biggest pet killers during the summer, which is a shame because it is so avoidable. Follow our tips to avoid falling victim to it this year:

1. ALWAYS make sure your pet has access to clean drinking water. Keep it out of the sun to make sure its cool.
2. Shade is critical; make sure your animals have access to shade throughout the day. For rabbits and guinea pigs the hutch should always be kept in the shade to mimic the cool of a burrow.
3. Let your pet exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when its coolest to prevent them getting worn out.
4. Grooming (yes, even on short-haired) will help by completely removing the winter coat so they don’t hold in excess heat. Clip long-haired breeds or tie their coats up to allow air circulation.
5. Never, ever leave an animal locked in a car - even if a window is open or you’ll on be a few minutes. It takes just minutes for the heat to reach 40 degrees or higher and is the most common cause of heatstroke in dogs despite the annual campaign. The same goes for conservatories, tents, caravans and any room that gets particularly hot.
6. Panting is not an effective way of keeping cool, but it can be a useful warning sign of discomfort in your pet.
7. Small animal? Try frozen pieces of fruit for an animal-friendly ice lolly. Alternatively, try a bottle of frozen water with a cloth over for them to sit or lean on. You might need to show them what to do by placing it against their body though!
Signs of danger include fast and shallow breathing, slobbering/ wet nose or chin, rapid pulse, listlessness, staggering, hot to touch (especially the ears on rabbits and guinea pigs), dark or bright red tongue and gums or seizures. If you see or suspect any of these, immediately move the pet to somewhere cooler and ALWAYS seek veterinary help.

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Battersea Dogs Home Appeal - Can you help?

England’s most famous dog and cats home launched it’s biggest ever appeal yesterday to raise £1.9m for abandoned animals. Work has finally begun on its new building, which will allow it to continue caring for around 6000 dogs and cats each year. The building will replace the old Victorian kennels with a state of the art facility to offer the dogs the best chance for a new start.
Unfortunately, the charity’s service are in higher demand than ever before with 1000 calls a month from owners needing to giving up a pet. There has been a significant rise in the number of animals being abandoned as the recession bit into people’s pockets and the cost of living rose, while pay packets didn’t. 111,986 animals were picked up in the past year – ranging from more traditional animals like dogs and cats to an 8ft python discovered in a repossessed house. While this is a fall from the height of the recession – 126,000 animals were handled in 2011 – animal sanctuaries are overwhelmed by the volume of pets needing their help. It doesn’t look like the situation will get any easier in the near future.
Centers are currently in the busiest period of their year as people begin to tire of the pet they bought for Christmas. As a result, charities are urging people to seriously consider the true cost and responsibility of being an owner in a bid to ensure fewer pets enter their doors. Until then, something needs to be done to ensure no animal is turned away. Battersea’s new building will allow space for these pets to be saved and hopefully rehomed. 
Donating is simple and easy. Text 70800 to donate £5 or click donate on Battersea Cats and Dogs Home website ( to see all the options available. It is a tough decision to admit that you can no longer give a pet the life it deserves – you can help to make sure every rescue gets a second chance at love.

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Rabbits were introduced to Britain by the Romans

An archaeological dig in Norfolk uncovered the remains of a 2,000-year-old rabbit - by far the oldest of its kind found on these shores and regarded as final proof that the creatures are now on the list of what the Romans ever did for us.

Many people had claimed that the Normans introduced rabbits for their meat and fur. However, others have always insisted that the creatures were brought in by the Romans, citing Marcus Terrentius Varro (116-27BC) who wrote that the legions brought rabbits from Spain, where they were reared in walled enclosures and then served up as a gourmet dish.


The remains were found at Lynford, near Thetford. The manager of the Norfolk Archaeological Unit, which conducted the dig, said: "We can date the rabbit to the first or second century AD from the pottery fragments found beside it. Some of these fragments included domestic pots which could have been used for cooking. "We could tell the bones had been butchered."



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New probiotic for rabbits

 Vetark has been involved in probiotics for over 20 years. Our in-house vet developed a product initially for use in birds – to support sick birds being kept in the surgery under serious stress.

Avipro was based around a
Lactobacillus and he developed a ‘support system’ of electrolytes and vitamins which assisted the product in doing what we wanted. After a few years we added prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) to support the organisms in the product.

Avipro Plus was developed as a ‘veterinary grade’ treatment /support level product but after pressure from pet owners we were asked to develop a cheaper ‘routine use’ product especially for small mammals, this is ProC. ProC contains a licensed probiotic organism for rabbits, plus prebiotic and vitamin. It is recommended for all small animals, especially those going to new homes.

We have now also gone full circle and developed a veterinary version of ProC for small mammals – ProC Professional.

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Rabbit Welfare Foundation meeting 2012

This years started today with a Mad Hoppers Tea Party - actually a good dinner at Wood Green Animals Shelter. With an opening chat by Richard Saunders and a closing session from Dr.Anne McBride which was particularly fascinating - the evolution of rabbits in society from their introduction as food animals for Romans to present day anthropomorphised pets- With Bugs and Roger along the way!

The lectures were very enjoyable and interesting - Peter Chaired one of the vet sessions and had chance to catch up with  Kevin Eatwell, Molly Varga, Professor Anna Meredith and Dr. Anne McBride. The lecturers worked very hard rushing from session to session giving versions of the same talks to two vet streams and an owners stream!


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Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) meeting 2011

Really useful day attended by owners and about 150 vets and vet nurses!

As usual we had a really good time at the RWAF meeting as on 29th Oct 2011. This was at the Village Hotel in Solihull - much recommended!

We heard talks from Sharon Redrobe (supervised by Jake), Frances Harcourt-Brown, John Chitty, Aidan Raftery, Elisabetta Mancinelli and RWAF vet Richard Saunders. Some really stimulating stuff including a very good solid science study (the first proper one) showing that 'just a hutch isn't enough' rabbits are more natural and 'happy' given access to outside space. Richard reviewed what we think we know about E.cuniculi and raised some questions. All this under the brilliant control of Dr.Anne McBride who showed a great talent for improv/standup when the computer played up for 10 minutes.

There was lots of chat, questions, and a chance to meet (and make) friends. Much recommended.

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pdsa announce ground breaking report

On 2nd March the pdsa have announced a groundbreaking report into the wellbeing of pets in UK. This is in response to CAWC and others identifying the desperate need for surveillance data on this topic. The pdsa have taken the impressive step of involving pollsters YouGov who took veterinary advice to prepare questions which generated the data.

The report was announced at a reception at the Royal Society to add appropriate gravitas and was very well attended.

It can be downloaded from and is much recommended. Here are headlines on rabbits.


PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report - Rabbits

  • The current UK pet rabbit population is around 1.6 million
  • The main reason given for getting a rabbit is 'that the children wanted one'
  • The average lifetime cost for a rabbit is around £9,000.
  • 44% of rabbit owners are familiar with the Animal Welfare Act

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Rabbits prefer to drink from open dishes

Report in the Veterinary Record, Feb 19. 2011

 Vets at the University of Zurich have looked at dwarf rabbits and how they prefer to drink. They showed a clear preference to drink from open dishes rather than the commonly used nipple drinkers, and in particular any rabbits which may be 'compromised' by urinary disease should have water provided this way. Interestingly even rabbits which were used to nipple drinkers preferred the dishes.

Even short term water depravation reduced food intake, so the impact of rabbits not drinking optimally is of potentially great importance.

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Great show!

The London Championship Show was held in Reading again on the 4th & 5th September. We had an interesting two days watching the judging and a fascinating time watching the rabbit show jumping, we had a busy time on the stand and received lots of positive comments abot Avipro, ProC and Critical Care Formula.

Have a look at for information about this hobby in the UK - its big in Sweden and the USA!

Photo courtesy of eternalphotography.

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Rabbits: Health and Management

WIN responded to the results of a survey taken from the UK colleges and universities offering animal care courses looking for more scientific information on rabbits & lagomorphs.

Wildlife Information Network (WIN) has researched and now published its much acclaimed CD-ROM "Rabbits: Health and Management".

This publication covers all aspects of lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, pikas, and the domestic breeds). There are specific sections for veterinary nurses, FAQs, and even information for children wanting to keep a pet bunny. "It is probably the most comprehensive collation of information on this subject", said Iain Boardman, CE of WIN, "and like all Wildpro volumes, it is heavily referenced back to source documents". This makes it very valuable to the vet and informative to everyone else.

WIN also have other fascinating collections, including:
Hedgehogs: Health and Management (Erinaceus europaeus)
Oiled Wildlife Response (with particular reference to the River Thames)
Waterfowl: Health and Management   
Wildlife: First Aid and Care   
Elephants: Diseases & Treatment

Vetark Professional are proud to be among the sponsors of the Rabbit volume.

For more info or to buy the disks, visit

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RWAF meeting in Bury 21st May 2010

 As usual a very good meeting, excellent lectures from Sharon Redrobe, Richard Saunders, Molly Varga, Anna Meredith and Brigitte Reusch. They worked hard speaking to two lecture streams through the day, one of owners and the other for vets and nurses.

This is a must-do meeting now for serious rabbit people. the Village Hotels provide very good facilities (apart from the lack or air-conditioning in the bedrooms - it was very hot). The steaks were superb!

These meetings are important in generating funds for the RWAF to distribute and put into rabbit-benefiting research etc. Funding the studentships is a great way of increasing knowledge.

To learn more go to


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Rabbit Welfare Fund 2010 Conference

The Rabbit Welfare Fund 2010 Conference will be held at the Village Hotel, Bury,Manchester – on Saturday 22nd May 2010.

Once again the conference will comprise two series of lectures. One series will be for veterinary professionals (veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and students) and the other for rabbit owners, rescue workers, animal care assistants, and is open to anyone with an interest in rabbits.

Go to the RWAF new page for info

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