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Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus is spreading like Ebola Part 1

Dr Karli Du Preez

Cape Town – Experts have likened the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease to that of the Ebola virus in humans, stating it is killing the little animals like wildfire across the country, as it continues to spread a year after it was detected. This is according to Dr Karli du Preez, who is the owner of Exotic Vet in Century City and practices as a Veterinarian. Du Preez told Weekend Argus, the virus was so aggressive it was killing each rabbit in its path. In the Southern Cape, 15 rabbits have died. Du Preez explained that Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is deadly and that it causes internal bleeding and death in rabbits. “It is a rabbit specific virus. It spreads very quickly and easily and unvaccinated rabbits have very little chance to survive it,” she detailed. Du Preez added the current outbreak was ongoing and was becoming problematic.

RHDV Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Vaccination at Exotic Vet Century City

Reggie Ngcobo, The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development announced the outbreak of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) in the Western and Northern Cape provinces a year ago. The department reported die-offs of wild rabbits and hares from the Karoo areas in the Western and Northern Cape Provinces. They said, RHD is a disease caused by a virus (Calicivirus) and this is the first detection of the disease in South Africa. He said the disease results in a high number of deaths in rabbits and hares and animals die suddenly with bleeding in the organs such as the liver, kidney and spleen and that it was unclear how the disease could have entered the country, since the importation of rabbits and hares is not allowed. Investigations are under way to determine whether illegal importation could be the source. Weekend Argus has since approached the Department whether they have determined where it originated from. In January, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s state veterinarian said there were approximately 350 reported deaths. It is unclear what the current number stands at. “The outbreak is very bad, there are rabbits dying every day and the virus can wipe out a whole colony in a few hours,” she explained. “Gauteng and the Western Cape are the provinces that have had the most cases. “It is a horrible death. “In South Africa there have been hundreds of deaths associated with the Rabbit Haemorrhagic disease virus. “The virus is spreading like wildfire and killing every rabbit in its wake. “It can be compared to the Ebola virus in humans, but one that only affects rabbits. “ She said the best treatment was vaccination and advised that all new rabbits be vaccinated and quarantined for one month before any introductions into a rescue centre of flock “In our clinic we have separate consultation rooms for the vaccinated and unvaccinated rabbits, we then have three wards. 1 isolation ward where any unvaccinated ill rabbits go, one ward for the rabbits who are still within the 7 days post vaccine and thus not protected yet and then a third ward for the vaccinated rabbits,” she stated. “We also disinfect between each patient and wear bio security protective gowns and gear when handling any rabbit that is unvaccinated.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease spreading like Ebola Part 2

“I would suggest that all rabbits above 1 month old be vaccinated to try and protect them. There's only a few veterinarians who have the vaccine as it needs to be imported specially so owners must please contact their nearest Rabbit Savvy Vet for the vaccine.” She added that many did not realise how aggressive the virus was, it was like living organism, thriving on objects and insects “The virus can spread through insects making summer a very high risk time with the increase in mosquitoes, it can spread on shoes, clothes, hands and many more ways,” she explained.

RHDV Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Vaccination at Exotic Vet Century City Cape Town by Dr Karli Du Preez

Rabbit owner, Jessica Leibrandt, said it was important to vaccinate and care for the animals: “As a rabbit owner of two beautiful boys, I understand the anxiety and heartbreak of seeing and hearing about the deaths caused by RHDV in the rabbit community. “As there is no treatment for RHD the only thing we can do as fur parents is to vaccinate our babies against RHD, enforce bio security and take responsibility to care for our little ones in order to protect them as much as we can."

RHDV Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Vaccination at Exotic Vet Century City

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Vaccination for Rabbits

At the Southern Cape’s Bunny Haven, 15 rabbits have died. The sanctuary took to Facebook to explain how these animals were dying just moments after one another. They said in a statement “ RHD, 15 of the Haven's Bunnies in foster care in George passed yesterday within 4 hrs of being well and alive. “Four hours later, upon checking on them and going to feed them, she found them all passed, some with blood from their noses. “All 15 in the group passed in just this short time. “Correct and extreme bio security measures have been taken. “They were well looking and alive in the morning, though subdued, which was thought to be due to the extreme weather. “These bunnies fell under the haven, they were all rescued a while back, they were all sterilised already, and under foster as the Haven premises itself is overfull.” They said they had over 200 rabbits in foster care and that most were vaccinated and that only 10 % were not yet vaccinated. “We organised a mayday emergency call yesterday afternoon and had the other four bunnies that were in our George Foster mom's care still from the Haven, that had been kept in a separate quarantine area, to be vaccinated.” “We have begged the state vets to become involved earlier in the week while hundreds of dead rabbits have been reported to us, from all over the country.”

Exotic Animal Vet Tales & Stories

Exotic animal veterinarians have a unique and fascinating job that takes them beyond the realm of traditional domestic pets. These professionals provide care and support for a wide range of creatures, from reptiles and birds to mammals you might not have even known were kept as pets. In this article, we'll explore some captivating tales from the world of exotic animal veterinary medicine.

Guinea Pig Patient

  1. The Loveable Lizard: A Gator in the Bathtub One exotic animal vet in found themselves in a rather unusual situation when a concerned owner brought in their pet alligator. The gator had outgrown its enclosure and was taking up residence in the owner's bathtub. The vet had to come up with a creative plan to safely relocate the reptile while ensuring its health and well-being.
  2. Parrot Problems: A Feathered Escape Artist A parrot owner experienced a bizarre issue when their pet macaw, known for its mischievous nature, kept escaping from its cage. This talented escape artist managed to pick locks and had a penchant for flying around the house. The vet had to work closely with the owner to find a solution to keep the parrot safely contained.
  3. An Unusual Bond: The Capybara and Guinea Pigs One exotic pet owner introduced their capybara, the world's largest rodent, to a group of guinea pigs in an attempt to create a unique interspecies bond. The vet had to ensure the safety and compatibility of these vastly different animals while addressing various health concerns related to their interaction.
  4. A Case of the Hopping Hedgehog A hedgehog owner was alarmed when their pet began exhibiting unusual behaviors, including hopping around like a rabbit. The exotic animal vet discovered that the hedgehog had a rare neurological condition, which required a combination of medical treatment and specialized care.
  5. Scales and Skins: The Snake Sanctuary An exotic animal vet found themselves caring for a dedicated reptile enthusiast's collection of snakes, including a variety of venomous species. Maintaining the health and safety of these animals presented unique challenges, and the vet had to develop comprehensive protocols for their care and handling.
  6. Feathered Friends: A Parrot with a Taste for Adventure A pet parrot, known for its adventurous spirit, once swallowed an unusual item—its owner's car key! The vet had to perform a delicate surgery to safely retrieve the key while ensuring the parrot's well-being.
  7. Lemur Love: An Unexpected Adoption A family who visited a sanctuary for exotic animals decided to adopt a baby lemur they had formed a strong connection with. The exotic animal vet played a crucial role in educating the family about the unique needs of their new family member and ensuring the lemur's health and happiness.

These tales provide just a glimpse into the diverse and captivating world of exotic animal veterinary medicine. Exotic animal vets are not only skilled professionals but also passionate advocates for the well-being of unique and extraordinary pets. Their stories serve as a reminder of the incredible bond between humans and animals, regardless of species, and the dedication required to ensure their health and happiness.

Exotic Animal Hospital Equipement

Exotic Vet Hospital Equipment and speciality requirements

Exotic animal veterinary hospitals have unique equipment and specialty requirements to provide specialized care for a wide range of non-traditional pets, such as reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Here is a list of equipment and special considerations for an exotic vet hospital:

1. Enclosures: • Cages and enclosures suitable for various species, including terrariums, aviaries, and custom-designed habitats.

2. Handling Equipment: • Specialized tools for safely restraining and handling exotic animals, such as snake hooks, nets, and protective gloves.

3. Anesthesia and Monitoring: • Anesthesia machines and equipment specifically designed for small animals and exotics. • Monitoring equipment for vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation.

4. Diagnostic Tools: • Radiography and fluoroscopy machines capable of imaging small and delicate creatures. • Ultrasound equipment for imaging internal structures. • Endoscopy and laparoscopy tools for minimally invasive procedures. • Hematology and blood chemistry analyzers tailored for exotic species.

5. Surgical Suite: • Surgical instruments designed for small and delicate anatomy. • Microscopes for microsurgery. • Sterile supplies and surgical drapes. • Anesthesia and ventilation machines for surgeries.

6. Dental Equipment: • Dental instruments for small mammals, birds, and reptiles. • Dental radiography equipment.

7. Laboratory Equipment: • Specialized equipment for conducting tests on exotic animals, including fecal analysis, cytology, and blood tests. • Incubators for eggs and neonatal care.

8. Environmental Control: • Temperature and humidity control systems to mimic the natural environment of various species. • UVB lighting for animals that require UV radiation.

9. Quarantine Facilities: • Isolation rooms to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

10. Nutritional Support: • Equipment for preparing and administering specialized diets. • Tools for force-feeding or assist-feeding when necessary.

11. Knowledge and Training: • Veterinarians and staff with expertise in exotic animal medicine and husbandry. • Continuous education to stay updated on best practices for various exotic species.

12. Medications and Supplies: • A well-stocked pharmacy with medications suitable for exotic species. • Specialized veterinary diets and nutritional supplements. • Reptile-specific vitamin and mineral supplements.

13. Environmental Enrichment: • Tools and materials for creating a stimulating and enriching environment for animals during hospitalization.

14. Education and Client Communication: • Educational materials for clients about the care and husbandry of exotic pets. • Effective communication tools and strategies for discussing treatment options with clients.

15. Legal and Ethical Considerations: • Compliance with local and national regulations governing the treatment and possession of exotic animals. • Ethical considerations in the care and treatment of exotic species.

16. Record-keeping: • Software or systems for maintaining detailed medical records and histories for each exotic patient.

Specialty requirements vary depending on the specific focus of the exotic vet hospital, such as avian, herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), or small mammals.

Maintaining a well-equipped facility and a team of knowledgeable professionals is essential to provide the best care for these unique and diverse patients. Additionally, building strong relationships with organizations and individuals involved in exotic animal conservation is a asset for an exotic vet hospital.

Exotic Pet Tales: Fun in the Sun!

Exotic Pet Tales: Fun in the Sun!

When you think of exotic pets, you might envision creatures like reptiles, birds, or small mammals that come from far-off lands. But did you know that many of these unique animals thrive in the great outdoors? In this edition Dr Karli du Preez of Exotic Vet Century City explores how these extraordinary pets enjoy their time in the sun, showcasing their playful antics and the joy they bring to their owners.

1.   Parrot Paradise: Parrots, known for their vibrant plumage and dynamic personalities, absolutely love soaking up the sun. Whether it's perched on your shoulder during a morning stroll or hanging out in their outdoor aviary, parrots relish every moment of fresh air and natural light. Just ask any parrot owner, and they'll tell you that these feathered companions are at their most talkative, playful, and colourful when basking in the sun.

Dr Karli Du Preez

2.   The Lizard Lounge: Reptile enthusiasts know that lizards, such as bearded dragons, iguanas, and geckos, are sun-worshippers. Not only do they require the warmth of the sun to regulate their body temperature, but it's also essential for their overall well-being. Providing your scaly friend with ample time outdoors not only keeps them happy but also helps them absorb the essential UVB rays they need for healthy bone development.

3.   Bouncing Bunnies: Rabbits are not just cute and fluffy; they also adore the outdoors. Whether hopping around your garden, munching on fresh grass, or simply lounging in a rabbit-friendly enclosure, these adorable creatures revel in the freedom and diversity of the outdoor world. Just be sure to provide shade and plenty of fresh water during hot summer days to keep your bunny happy and healthy.

RHDV Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Vaccination at Exotic Vet Century City

4.   Agile Ferrets: Ferrets are known for their playful and mischievous nature, and they are just as enthusiastic about outdoor adventures as they are about indoor escapades. With a secure harness and leash, you can take your ferret for a stroll in the park or let them explore a ferret-proofed backyard. Their boundless energy and curiosity are truly a sight to behold.

5.   Turtle Treasures: Turtles might be slow and steady, but they love spending time in the sun. Whether they are basking on a rock, lounging in a pond, or exploring their surroundings, turtles thrive in the great outdoors. Just make sure their outdoor habitat is safe and secure to protect them from potential predators.

Exotic Vet Century City Cape Town

Conclusion: Exotic pets come in all shapes and sizes, and their enjoyment of the great outdoors is a testament to their adaptability and charm. Whether you have a parrot that loves chattering in the sun, a lizard that relies on it for warmth, a bunny that enjoys hopping through the grass, a ferret that explores new territory, or a turtle that basks in the rays, the fun these exotic pets have in the sun is truly a sight to behold. So, if you're lucky enough to have one of these unique creatures as a companion, don't forget to share the sunshine and create unforgettable memories together.

Squawk-tacular and Feathered: Hilarious Parrot Fun Facts! Part 1 

Welcome to the Exotic Vet Century City's Parrot Fun Facts Extravaganza! Parrots are not just colourful companions but also the life of the avian party. These feathered chatterboxes bring joy, mischief, and an uncanny ability to mimic almost anything they hear. Let's dive into the whimsical and often hilarious world of these intelligent winged wonders.

Lovebird Seen by Dr Karli DU Preez

  1. Polly Wanna... What?: Ever wondered why parrots are famous for their ability to mimic human speech? It turns out, their vocal skills are more than just mimicking. Parrots have a unique vocal organ called a syrinx, allowing them to imitate sounds they hear around them. From imitating doorbells to mimicking your laughter, they’re the ultimate sound copycats!
  2. Show-offs with Feathers: Parrots aren't just masters of vocal imitation; they're also top-notch performers. Some parrot species, like the charming African Grey, have astonishing dance moves. They can bob their heads, shuffle their feet, and groove to the beat. Who knew birds had such rhythm?
  3. Colour Riot: Parrots are living rainbows! Their vibrant plumage isn't just for show; it serves as a way to attract mates and blend into their colorful habitats. From the electric blue of the Hyacinth Macaw to the fiery reds of the Scarlet Macaw, parrots are nature's walking color palette.
  4. Party Tricks Galore: Besides their knack for mimicking sounds, parrots are notorious pranksters. They love to surprise their owners by imitating phone ringtones, car alarms, or even imitating the sound of a sneeze at the most unexpected moments. Who wouldn’t crack a smile when a bird impersonates a cough or a whistle?
  5. Einstein in Feathers: Parrots aren't just pretty faces; they've got brains, too! They possess problem-solving skills that would make Sherlock Holmes proud. Some species showcase remarkable intelligence, solving puzzles and even learning to count and recognize shapes and colours.
  6. Infinite Appetite for Fun: Parrots are notorious foodies with a twist. Besides enjoying their regular diet, they have a penchant for stealing food, especially snacks they see their humans enjoying. Don't be surprised if your parrot tries to sneak a nibble of your sandwich when you aren't looking!
  7. Wingman and Companionship: Parrots are incredibly social creatures. They bond deeply with their human companions and can become lifelong friends. Some even show signs of empathy, comforting their owners when they're feeling down.

Cockatoo Avian Veterinarian

Squawk-tacular and Feathered: Hilarious Parrot Fun Facts! Part 2

Avian Veterinarian Dr Karli DU Preez

These feathered comedians bring a whole lot of joy and laughter into our lives with their antics. However, owning a parrot comes with responsibilities. They require proper care, attention, and an environment that stimulates their intelligent minds.

Avian Parrot Exotic Vet Century City

At Exotic Vet Century City, we're dedicated to ensuring the health and happiness of your exotic pets. Whether it's routine check-ups or handling any parrot shenanigans, our team is here to provide expert care for your beloved feathered friend.

So, if you're ready to embrace the squawks, chirps, and feathered fun, come join us at Exotic Vet Century City, where laughter and love for parrots never cease!

Remember, owning a parrot is a lifelong commitment filled with endless moments of joy and laughter. Let's celebrate these colorful chatterboxes for the marvelous companions they are!

Bird Vet Century City Cape Town

Do Lizards have Teeth ? Part 1

Do Lizards Have Teeth? A Guide to Exotic Veterinary Care for Reptile Owners

Bearded Dragon seen by Dr Karli Du Preez

Blog Article by Dr Karli Du Preez – Exotic Vet Century City.

When it comes to exotic pets, reptiles like lizards have become increasingly popular. These scaly companions, known for their unique appearance and behavior, require specialized care to ensure they lead healthy and happy lives. One common question that many lizard owners have is, "Do lizards have teeth?" This article aims to shed light on this question and provide valuable insights into exotic veterinary care for lizard owners.Reptile Crested Gecko at Exotic Vet Century City Cape Town

The Truth About Lizard Teeth

Yes, lizards do have teeth, but they are not quite like what you'd find in mammals or humans. Lizard teeth come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the species. Some lizards have small, needle-like teeth, while others have serrated, jagged teeth designed for gripping and tearing prey. It's essential for lizard owners to understand their pet's specific dental structure, as this can influence their dietary requirements and overall health.

Dental Function

Lizard teeth serve a variety of purposes. Here are some of the primary functions:

1.   Hunting: Lizard teeth are essential for capturing and holding onto prey. They help secure the animal's food source and are vital for their survival.

2.   Defensive Mechanisms: Some lizards use their teeth for self-defense. When threatened, they may bite to protect themselves.

3.   Food Processing: Lizards don't chew their food like mammals do. Instead, they use their teeth to grip, tear, and break down food into smaller, manageable pieces.

Dental Health in Lizards

Maintaining proper dental health is crucial for your lizard's overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you ensure your scaly friend's teeth are in good condition:

Leopard Gecko treated by Dr Karli Du Preez at Exotic Vet Hospital in Cape Town


Lizards require a balanced diet to maintain healthy teeth. Depending on the species, their diet may consist of insects, vegetables, fruits, and even small vertebrates. It's important to research your lizard's specific dietary requirements and provide a diet that meets their nutritional needs.

Do Lizards have Teeth? Part 2

Environmental Enrichment

Lizards need opportunities for natural behaviors, such as hunting and exploration, to keep their teeth and jaws strong. Providing them with appropriate habitats, hiding spots, and enrichment activities can help keep their teeth healthy.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Just like other pets, lizards need regular check-ups with a qualified exotic animal veterinarian. These specialists have the expertise to assess your lizard's dental health, overall well-being, and can recommend necessary treatments or adjustments to their care.

Signs of Dental Problems

Be vigilant about any signs of dental issues in your lizard. If your pet is experiencing discomfort, you may notice symptoms such as difficulty eating, drooling, or a noticeable change in their eating habits. If you observe any of these signs, it's essential to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals.

Iguana Reptile  Lizard at Exotic Vet Century CIty Cape Town South Africa

Choosing an Exotic Veterinary Care Provider

Finding a veterinarian who specializes in reptile care is critical for the well-being of your pet. When selecting a veterinary professional for your lizard, consider the following:

1.  Experience: Look for a vet with experience in treating reptiles, specifically lizards. They should be familiar with various species and their specific needs.

2.  Reputation: Ask for recommendations from other reptile owners or consult online reviews to find a reputable exotic veterinarian in your area.

3.  Facility and Equipment: Ensure that the veterinary clinic is well-equipped to handle reptile patients. They should have the necessary tools and technology for proper diagnosis and treatment.

4.  Communication: A good vet should be willing to educate you about lizard care and answer your questions.

In Conclusion

Lizards do have teeth, and their dental health is vital for their overall well-being. As an exotic pet owner, understanding your lizard's dental structure and ensuring proper care is essential. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet, and providing an enriched environment are all part of responsible lizard ownership.

Grested GEcko lizard licking eye at Dr Karli Du Preez

If you notice any signs of dental problems in your lizard, don't hesitate to consult with a qualified exotic animal veterinarian. By taking proactive steps to care for your pet's dental health, you can help ensure they enjoy a long and healthy life as a cherished member of your family.