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Rabbit eats well but is still losing weight; Your Pets.

Byline: with PDSA vet Kurt Vandamme

QMY rabbit seems to have lost weight. I have been feeding her plenty of food, but does she need to see a vet?

ADEFINITELY as there are quite a few different things that can cause weight loss, including:

Dental abnormalities.

Parasitic infestation.

A chronic form of Tyzzer's disease, a bacterial infection.

Subclinical E coli, another bacterial infection.

Arteriosclerosis (a thickening of the blood vessels).

Pseudotuberculosis, an infection of the intestines.

QMY female cockatiel seemed perky enough when I came home from work. As the evening went on she suddenly became very weak and her breathing became very rapid. Within a couple of hours she had died. Could you tell me what might have happened?

A. IT IS very difficult to determine why a bird dies suddenly, as there are so many different factors and conditions that could be involved. These include:

Arteriosclerosis (a thickening of the arteries), which can cause fatal heart failure or a cerebro-vascular accident (stroke).


Heavy metal toxicity, such as lead or zinc poisoning. Lead poisoning is seen more commonly than people think. It can be caused by many different things such as eating old stripped-off lead paint, or eating lead curtain weights. Zinc toxicity can occur if birds eat galvanised metal from a new cage.

Hypocalcaemia (low blood calcium), usually associated with egg binding, heart failure or fits.

Intestinal blockages can be due to a foreign body, or a large infestation of parasites, especially in young birds.

Respiratory blockage, often caused by a foreign body.

Stress through handling may occur in very small birds or those with respiratory problems. Birds with low blood calcium can also die after handling.

Teflon toxicity. This happens after exposure to fumes from an incorrectly used, overheated non-stick pan. Birds can be affected by these fumes even if they are several rooms from the source.

As you can see, establishing a cause of death is difficult. It may be worthwhile thinking if any of these possibilities could have been factors, and if they could affect any other birds that you might have.

Q AT my son's birthday party, our dog wouldn't stop playing with the wrapping paper from the presents. He was very excited and wouldn't let me throw the paper away for days afterwards. Can you explain his behaviour?

AMANY dogs become excited at the sound of wrapping paper being torn or scrunched up.

It's largely to do with sound. Dog's ears are especially sensitive to sound, and can detect much higher frequency sounds than humans. Humans can hear sounds up to 20,000 cycles per second, but dogs can hear sounds up to 40,000 cycles per second.

Wrapping paper has the edge over other similar items such as magazines and newspapers because, when torn or screwed up, it has many more frequencies.

Many dogs will become very excited whenever presents are unwrapped, such as at Christmas and on birthdays. They may display quite varied behaviour, called states of high arousal.

The best course of action if his behaviour is problematic is to prevent any contact with the stimuli - in this case wrapping paper.

If you have a question for the vet, write directly to: Kurt Vandamme, PO Box 5987, Chelmsford CM1 2GP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 16, 2005
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