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Tortoise owners urged to delay hibernation
Owners should be advised to delay hibernation until November or December by keeping their pet warm using heat lamps.
Lack of understanding leading to health problems, say vets  

British veterinary organisations have joined forces to ensure hibernating pets have a happy and healthy rest this winter.

The move follows BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession Survey, which showed over 50 per cent of vets saw tortoises with weight loss or anorexia following their last hibernation.  

The survey of more than 1600 BVA members revealed that many vets believe lack of understanding directly contributes to the animal developing such health problems.

“With modern advice having moved away from the traditional idea of placing your tortoise in a shoebox in the attic, many vets believed these health problems stemmed from the way the tortoise was hibernated,” said the BVA.

To ensure good hibernation husbandry, the BVA, BSAVA and BVZS have put together some tips for owners to make sure their pets stay healthy while having the best possible winter rest. The tips include:

    •    A pre-hibernation health check and weigh-in with a vet

    •    Weekly weight checks to ensure weight loss does not exceed five per cent of the starting body weight

    •    A temperature recommendation of between 5-8 degrees Celsius during hibernation to prevent problems like excessive weight loss or blindness

Although the weather is getting colder, the BVA said vets should advise owners to delay tortoise hibernation until November or December by keeping their pet warm using heat lamps. This will avoid an overlong hibernation that can result in depletion of energy stores, dehydration and accumulation of toxins.

BVZS president Mark Stidworthy also suggests tortoise owners use a fridge to hibernate their pet to avoid some of the hazards of traditional methods, like frostbit or rodent injury.

“We have a far greater knowledge now of a tortoise’s health and welfare needs; however, it’s possible those who have had tortoises for decades may not be aware of the new practices,” said Gudrun Ravetz, president of the BVA.

“We would always encourage tortoise owners make sure their pet has regular health checks with their vet to ensure good health and that they are equipped with the most up-to-date advice to prevent health problems.”

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Prestigious veterinary awards open for nominations

News Story 1
 Nominations for the prestigious PetPlan Veterinary Awards 2022 are now open, with five accolades up for grabs including: Practice of the Year; Vet of the Year, Vet Nurse of the Year, Practice Manager of the Year and Practice Support Staff.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding veterinary professional or practice for an award, from colleagues to pet owners, friends and family. Nominations remain anonymous, and Petplan will send everyone who receives a nomination a certificate to display in their practice.

Nominations can be made at petplanvet.co.uk and remain open until Monday 10 January. 

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News Shorts
New online CPD otitis podcast created

A new 15 minute podcast on treating animals with otitis has been created by Dechra Veterinary Products. Featuring general practice vet Carolyn Kyte and veterinary dermatology specialist Natalie Barnard, the two vets will discuss their experiences treating otitis, and why owners are significant in successful treatment.

Dechra Brand Manager Carol Morgan commented: "What Carolyn and Natalie bring to the table with their new podcast for the Dechra Academy is a light and insightful discussion about communication and education being the keystone for better otitis outcomes and how vets can improve on their consultation skills to handle cases better."`

The podcast, called 'Think Differently about Otitis', is available to access for free on the Dechra Academy on-demand learning platform here.