Category Archive: News

Burgess Pet Care Sponsor Veterinary Nurse Prize

Burgess Pet Care are giving away either free entry on to their Compass CPD course (usually £243.70) or a £200 cash prize for the veterinary nurse that provides the best case study covering weight loss in small mammals (i.e. any small companion mammal other than a dog or cat) e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, hamsters and gerbils.  The winning entry will also be invited for a tour of Burgess Pet Care’s Cherry Tree Mill manufacturing site in Yorkshire, to see how the Excel Range is made.  There will also be 3 runners up prizes of a certificate and Burgess Excel branded Polo Shirt.

Burgess Excel

The initiative follows Burgess Pet Care’s increased support for the veterinary trade in recent months through the appointment of a dedicated Veterinary Manager, Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS and the announcement of recent research findings from The University of Edinburgh study into animal nutrition that was supported by Burgess Pet Care.

Suzanne comments, “Obesity has become a big problem in pet animals in the UK and many health issues that are presented in practice can be prevented with the correct weight management and nutritional advice”.

The case study reports should include a brief introduction, presenting signs, differential diagnosis of the animal’s condition or illness and a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan, and the eventual outcome of the case.  The reports should be 1200 words +/- 10% (excluding references) and should include good quality photographs of the animal from the lateral view and the dorsal view.

The reports will be judged Burgess Pet Care’s Veterinary Manager Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS and the deadline for submissions is Friday 1st December. The competition is open to RVN’s; qualified VN’s and Student VN’s currently enrolled on Veterinary nurse qualification

For those who are wishing to enter the competition please email for an application and for full terms and conditions.  To find out more about Burgess Pet Care please visit the website.

Burgess Pet Care retains the right to use submitted material, including photographs or illustrations for any purpose, the owner’s permission must be sought at time of entry.


Rabbit Awareness Week

-       Two-year study links muesli-style foods to life-threatening dental and digestive problems in rabbits1


-       Welfare charities and industry experts unite during Rabbit Awareness Week to ‘stop the clock’ and encourage retailers and manufacturers to remove muesli from the pet aisle, with 86% of owners in support2


Rabbit Awareness Week, hopped into action on May 4, and called for muesli-style rabbit food to be removed from supermarket and pet store shelves, following the results of a new academic study that has proved it is dangerous to the health and welfare of Britain’s 1.7 million bunnies.

The announcement of the findings from the two year academic study conducted by The University of Edinburgh1, coincides with Rabbit Awareness Week, an annual event which highlights the health and welfare needs of Britain’s third most popular pet. The research confirms the link between muesli-style rabbit foods, fed with or without hay, and potentially deadly dental and digestive problems that lead to costly veterinary treatment and in some cases can be fatal2.

Rabbit Awareness Week is backed by major UK animal welfare charities and pet experts including Burgess Excel, RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross, MSD Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health, Practice Plan for Vets, Wood Green The Animals Charity and RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund).


Professor Anna Meredith, who conducted the research at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, said: “Vets have suspected for a number of years that feeding muesli-style foods could lead to health issues in rabbits, and now we have the proof.”


This research is welcomed by a number of animal welfare charities including the RSPCA. Rachel Roxburgh, Rabbit Scientific Officer at the charity, commented: “Although muesli is healthy for humans, these findings confirm that muesli-style food is not good for rabbits’ health. Feeding rabbits’ muesli-style food can increase the risk of them developing serious teeth and tummy problems, which can cause terrible suffering. The RSPCA, along with all the animal welfare charities supporting RAW, are urging owners to feed their rabbits a diet of mainly hay and/or grass, with some leafy green vegetables/herbs and a small, measured ration of good quality pellets/nuggets daily.”

A survey of rabbit owners3 was carried out by the team behind Rabbit Awareness Week to gauge their response to these alarming academic findings. Over half of owners (55%) said they will now remove muesli from their rabbits’ diets to improve their bunnies’ health.  In addition, nearly a third (31%) who currently feed a correct diet stated they would help support a move to withdraw this product from sale – that’s a collective 86 per cent in support of the cause!

The leading specialist retailers are clearing their shelves of this problem food and manufacturers are now looking to offer advice and healthy alternatives to owners. Burgess Excel, experts in small animal nutrition, is the first rabbit food manufacturer to cease production of muesli.

Paul Miley, Managing Director at Burgess Excel, said: “Once we saw the results of this new study, as a responsible pet food manufacturer, we ended muesli production for these pets. RAW will provide pet owners with the support and information they need to provide the correct diet and care for their pets and all good stores will have advice about how to safely transition rabbits onto a healthy alternative diet4.”

The survey3 also found that 71 per cent of rabbit owners are unaware of the correct diet for their pet: a whole 48 per cent of rabbit owners currently feed muesli-style foods, as they have been led to believe it’s the appropriate diet for their rabbits. Further adding to the confusion, many muesli-style products carry the labelling ‘nutritionally complete’, missing the important element of hay in a rabbit’s diet.

A third of rabbit owners (33%) were also unaware their rabbit should visit a vet roughly every six months for preventative check-ups and regular vaccinations. Luckily for Britain’s rabbits, many vets and rescue centres across the UK are offering FREE HEALTH CHECKS throughout May in celebration of RAW and to ensure Britain’s bunnies are healthy and happy. Visit to find the nearest participating vet practice or rescue centre, together with details of retailers hosting events in support of RAW. The website also houses information about all aspects of rabbit health, welfare and care.

say no to muesli1



  1. The research was conducted by The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership co-funded by B.I.S (Department for Business, Innovations and Skills) and Burgess Pet Care. It was subjected to rigorous controls by the University of Edinburgh Veterinary Ethical Review Committee, and during the trial the rabbits were monitored by a Home Office Inspector and at all points by a vet. The welfare of the rabbits was of paramount importance to all involved in the trial. Further information about the research findings is available on the Rabbit Awareness Week website:

The study is currently under peer review awaiting publication.

  1. The key findings from The University of Edinburgh study were as follows. Feeding muesli-style foods, with or without hay, is linked with abnormalities that can lead to painful dental and digestive problems that require veterinary treatment, such as;

-       Slower gut motility, which can put rabbits at a high risk of gut stasis, a condition which is often fatal as rabbits depend on a constantly moving digestive process which is maintained through a high fibre diet.

-       Eating less hay, which can lead to abnormal growth of teeth. This often develops into painful dental disease, or in extreme cases ‘roots’ so large they penetrate the jaw or eye sockets.

-       Urinary tract problems, as eating muesli reduces the animal’s water intake.

-       Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and flystrike as muesli leads to rabbits not eating their caecotrophs – soft moist droppings that they eat directly from their bottom and which are an essential part of their diet. This can in turn lead to flies laying their eggs in the soiled and matted fur under the tail. Maggots hatch out 12-24 hours later and then burrow into the living flesh. This is known as flystrike.

-       an imbalanced diet lacking in vital vitamins and minerals, due to selective feeding (rabbits picking their favourite parts of the muesli mix) and not eating all their caecotrophs.

-       eating muesli-style foods without hay causes rabbits to become overweight or obese

  1. Research conducted by Censuswide on 26.04.13 among 200 UK rabbit owners.


  1. Most importantly, owners currently feeding their rabbits a muesli-style food should speak to their vet for advice about how to safely transfer their pets onto a hay and nugget/pellet based feeding plan (with leafy greens). This transition must be done very slowly, over a period of between 14-28 days, by gradually reducing the amount of muesli and increasing the proportion of hay and nuggets until they have completely replaced the mix. Good quality hay and/or grass should make up the majority of a rabbit’s diet and water and hay/grass should be available at all times.

  1. Owners should contact their vet for advice about how to provide the best diet for their pet. Advice for rabbit owners is available on the Rabbit Awareness Week website

  1. Will these findings affect other ‘fibrevores’ – small animals that require diets high in fibre? Yes. The study’s findings also have implications for guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus, as these animals have similar dental and digestive physiology to rabbits. Owners should speak to their vet about how to provide the best diet for their pet, and how to safely transition them onto a healthier diet if required.

Muesli Research Conducted by the University of Edinburgh and Burgess Pet Care


New research conducted by The University of Edinburgh & Burgess Pet Care has shown that rabbits fed on a muesli diet are more likely to suffer more likely to suffer from dental and digestive problems. Pets at Home have taken a HUGE step by announcing the following: “We’re phasing out rabbit muesli in our stores & advising all our rabbit customers to transition onto rabbit nuggets and hay.”

Why are Pets at Home discontinuing rabbit muesli?

Pets at Home support the latest thinking in pet welfare standards and this decision has been taken in light of the weight of feeling amongst the veterinary community towards the feeding of muesli based diets, and their potential negative effects on the health of rabbits.

What is selective feeding?

A muesli diet consists of lots of different ingredients that make up the mix. A rabbit fed on muesli may pick out their favourite bits and ignore the rest, which can mean your rabbit isn’t getting the crucial vitamins and minerals they need to stay happy and healthy.

Why are nuggets ok?

A nugget diet contains all the ingredients, vitamins and minerals in one kibble; this means they cannot pick and choose which bits they prefer. These kibbles also contain longer strands of hay which will help to keep their teeth nice and healthy.

Do I still need to feed hay?

Yes! Rabbits are herbivores and good quality hay should always make up 80% of their diet. It’s important that there is always a fresh supply of hay available for your bunnies.

Why are Pets at Home not doing this for guinea pigs?

As the studies were performed on rabbits Pets at Home are advising the change for rabbits only at this time. This may change in the future.

How do I transition my rabbit from muesli to nuggets?

Changing a rabbit’s diet suddenly can upset their digestive system, so always introduce nuggets gradually over at least a week, unless your vet tells you otherwise.

Please read the info leaflet ‘Muesli and your rabbit’s diet’ which is currently available in-store or online at for more details.

For more information on the research and to find out more about a rabbits diet, please visit

Join the RWA – Veterinary Practice Subscription

The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) has provided a ‘rabbit-friendly’ vet list to its members for some years.  However, because of heavy demand from the general public via our helpline and online enquiry service, we have taken the decision to make the list available to all.

This will increase exposure for vets on the list and should mean more long term responsible rabbit-owning clients coming onto their books.

Because enquiries about rabbit-friendly vets come from such a range of locations in the UK, we need to make the list as comprehensive as possible, so we are looking for practices who provide a good standard of rabbit care to be included.  To apply for inclusion, practices must be members of the RWA and the application includes a series of survey questions.  Practice Membership of the RWA is a bargain at £45 a year, a price that’s hugely outweighed by the fantastic benefits of membership:

  • 75 copies of the ‘Hop To It’ care guides
  • £50 discount for our highly acclaimed annual vet conference
  • Free e-mail advice service from our Vet Executive Advisor Richard Saunders
  • Quarterly update from Richard for Clinical Staff to keep your practice up to date with the latest in rabbit health and medicine
  • Quarterly e-newsletter written by Vet Nurse Claire Speight to send to your clients
  • Opportunity to apply for inclusion on rabbit friendly vet list

Quarterly issues of our flagship magazine Rabbiting On; the magazine for rabbit lovers To join, please click here:–Veterinary-Practice-Subscription

You can also click the image to sign up!

Complete our Survey and be in with a chance of winning Burgess Sensitive Cat Food

Calling all CAT OWNERS!

If your cats use a litter tray then we need your help. Please could we take 5 minutes of your time to complete our short survey on cat litter. Everyone who enters stands a chance of winning a bundle or our new hypoallergenic cat food, Burgess Sensitive.

The survey can be found here and it closes at midnight on on 30th October 2012.

Please feel free to share this survey with your fellow cat owning friends and family.

hypoallergenic cat food

Burgess Pet Care Sponsors RWAF Vet Conference 2012

The RWAF are holding a second vet conference this year, with an owners stream also.  We are delighted to be sponsoring this conference once again and that RWAF are working with Buddies Bunny Rescue and Royal Dick Vet School in Edinburgh.

The conference is on 24th November 2012 and will again be on the Rabbit Interactive format of a mix of lectures and workshops, with many of the same Educators taking part – details are available on Bunny Bazaar, where you can also book.

Please hurry, places on both streams are limited.

Bobby the Bunny Slims to a Healthy Weight with the PDSA Fit Club

The results of the PDSA Pet Fit Club were announced on Thursday 4th October.

Bobby, the mini lop rabbit from North Yorkshire, has done extremely well, and has been placed in the Highly Commended category after losing 690g over the six month competition.

As the top rabbit, Bobby wins a year’s supply of rabbit food from Burgess Excel. Her vet has advised that Bobby has now reached her ideal weight so should move from dieting onto more of a maintenance food plan.

Owner Becky said: “It’s clear that Bobby is so much happier now – she even does binkies now, which I never saw her do before. She can also groom herself properly and is much more alert. Her relationship with my other rabbit, Lucy, has blossomed and they have become great playmates, and this has also had the added benefit of increasing Bobby’s activity levels.”

You can read Bobby’s full story by visiting the PDSA Fit Club website.

Head Vet Nurse Stephanie Williams gives Bobby a health check at the start of the challenge

Bobby in April

Bobby in June

Vet Helen Dyson weighs Bobby and confirms she has lost 690g

Burgess Pet Care Sponsors Greyhound World Record

Burgess Pet Care is delighted to announce sponsorship of a world record breaking event – the Guiness World Record for the Largest Dog Walk (single breed), which is being organised by the Greyhound Sanctuary.

greyhound world record

The event aims to not only break the world record but also to raise money and awareness for the pressing need to rehome and rescue greyhounds.

Marketing Manager at Burgess Pet Care Richard Rockett comments, “we are delighted to be sponsoring this fantastic event.  At Burgess Pet Care we are committed to the health and welfare of Greyhounds and Lurchers.” Burgess have been supporting Greyhound and Lurcher rescue centres for a number of years, with 20p from every sack of food donated to the Greyhound and Lurcher Fund.  Last year alone they donated over £5000.

Richard continues, Sadly far too many of these wonderful animals have had a far from happy start in life.  Many are left unwanted and abandoned.  The lucky ones eventually reach the safe haven of a rescue centre before finding their loving forever homes.  These rescue centres play an invaluable role by providing the care needed to bring these dogs back to full health, restoring broken spirits and rebuilding broken trust”.

“This is a fantastic event.  Not only should this be a lot of fun it will hopefully raise awareness of a very worthwhile cause.  At Burgess we love Greyhounds and Lurchers, and believe they make the perfect companions and family pets. That is why we created the SupaDog Greyhound and Lurcher complete food.”

Designed specifically for the breeds, Supadog Greyhound & Lurcher contains glucosamine for stiff and tired joints; Omega 3 for a shiny coat, healthy skin and to help with temperature regulation; pre-biotics to aid digestive health; and 17% protein as greyhounds and lurchers require less protein than other dogs due to their laid back and sedate nature.  It is, of course, free from artificial colours, flavourings and has no added preservatives.

Burgess SupaDog Greyhound and Lurcher is available at Pets at Home and all good pet stores.  It is also available online at or on

Burgess Pet Care representatives are look forward to meeting everyone on the day at our trade stand and have donated some fantastic prizes to be won in the raffle.

To find out more about the event or to apply to take part, visit the Greyhound World Record website today!

Polaris Sled Dogs

Polaris Sled Dogs headed off to the Ross on Wye Carnival for a Hug a Husky Day.  We all had a wonderful day despite the rain showers and thunder and lightning in the afternoon.    The Huskies were a real attraction and drew the crowds where they were in their element with all the attention.

Mike the musher and his team

Guinea Pig Story Time with Wood Green at the London Pet Show

Wood Green, The Animal Charity Presents Story time – Guinea pig Adventures

Are you attenting the London Pet Show 2012?

Wood Green, The Animal Charity invite you and your children to come and listen to the adventures of wise Peggy and her nine friends.  The two chapters presented on both Saturday and Sunday at this years London Pet Show will follow the guinea pigs’ first few days at the Charity and the adventures they have during their quest to find a new family to love them.

Wood Green, The Animals Charity is also offering the opportunity for 10 children at each story time to interact with wise Peggy and her friends whilst they listen to the teacher reading the story.

To be in with a chance of taking part in story time visit the Wood Green stand to register, 10 names will be drawn at random 30 minutes before the story.

For further information about the charity and the opportunities available visit or follow them on Facebook