Snow flurries no fun for small furries warn vets

Owners warned not to forget about small pets as temperatures plummet.
Owners warned not to forget about small pets as temperatures plummet.

As temperatures start to drop, vets are warning owners not to forget about small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs that usually live outdoors yet are vulnerable to the cold and damp despite their furry coats.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) are asking owners with outdoor hutches and runs to be vigilant during cold snaps and make sure that their pets’ living space is well-protected from snow, frost and winter rain.

BVA President Gudrun Ravetz said: “Despite their warm furry coats, domestic rabbits and guinea pigs are vulnerable to extremes in weather. That’s why we’re asking owners to make sure that their pets do not suffer in the cold and that their home keeps them protected and comfortable. If owners have any concerns about their pet they should consult their local vet for advice.”

Owners should:

· Ensure pets’ homes are waterproof, draught-proof, dry and ventilated as well as escape-proof and predator-proof, checking regularly throughout the winter for water marks or other signs of damage.

· Keep the temperature of their rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ home between 0 - 20⁰C for rabbits (the lower temperature assumes rabbits are healthy and kept with other rabbits, with lots of bedding for warmth) and 5- 20⁰C for guinea pigs, avoiding too many fluctuations in temperature change for both rabbits and guinea pigs.

· Check your pets’ water bottle or bowl regularly as they can freeze when the temperature drops.

· Place your pets’ home in a sheltered position, away from wind, rain and snow at least 10 cm off the ground.

· Make sure your rabbits and guinea pigs have extra bedding to keep warm during colder weather - line hutches with plenty of newspaper, provide lots of hay and cover with an old duvet/blanket/tarpaulin.

· If weather becomes very severe consider moving outdoor pets inside to a well-ventilated space with light and room to exercise – but never place them inside a garage you are using as vehicle exhaust fumes are harmful to rabbits and guinea pigs.

BVZS President Mark Stidworthy said: “The small body size of these animals makes them very susceptible to hypothermia if they get cold or damp. They are powerless to alter the environment provided for them as conditions change, and so they rely on their human carers to make sure that their housing is safe and warm enough.”

Thomas Saveall won the Project Spotlight Volunteer award at the Citizens Advice Scotland conference. He was presented with a silver Quaich by HRH Princess Anne. Picture - Stewart Attwood''''All images � Stewart Attwood Photography 2019.  All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission. No Syndication Permitted.

Taylor Wimpey have confirmed directly with local Councillor Nathan Wilson that the organisation retains its commitment to building a park and ride at Shieldmuir Train Station. In response to recent enquiries made by Councillor Wilson, Taylor Wimpey have advised that engagement is taking place with Network Rail over the latter’s approval procedures and that once this process is complete, work will be able to begin on site. The developer has informed the Motherwell Councillor that during the period of investigation undertaken since the commencement of building work was delayed in January 2018, an unrecorded service chamber has been discovered on site. The project cannot move forward until further clarification is provided on the nature of the service chamber and Taylor Wimpey are in the process of commissioning a contractor to assess the situation. The developer’s initial judgement is that this is likely a redundant service. A senior representative of the organisation has also informed Councillor Wilson that a member of the Taylor Wimpey production team will be sent out to inspect the vacant land following a request he made at the beginning of 2019 for maintenance work to be carried out on site should construction of the park and ride remain some time away. Councillor Nathan Wilson said: “Taylor Wimpey have communicated to me directly that the park and ride facility is a project that the organisation remains committed to delivering. “However, it goes without saying that the lengthy delay is still very disappointing and frustrating. “An unrecorded service chamber has been identified on site and progress is unable to be made until this has been investigated. “Taylor Wimpey have relayed to me that an on-site inspection of the vacant land will take place and I hold to the view that maintenance work should be carried out in the short term to improve it’s current condition. “I will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders and re-inforce to them the importance of the park and ride project locally. Motherwell and Wishaw CAB takes home 40 per cent of the prizes