Code of Practice for the Operation of



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For example,

A business with 80 animal equivalents may set up the following staffing roster during business hours of 7.30 am–3.30 pm:

Monday to Friday

7.00 am–1.30 pm — Proprietor

7.00 am–3.30 pm — Operations manager

7.30 am–1.30 pm — Animal attendant 1

7.30 am–1.30 pm — Animal attendant 2

1.30 pm–7.00 pm — Animal attendant 3

1.30 pm–7.00 pm — Animal attendant 4

1.00 pm–3.30 pm — Animal attendant 5

Weekend

7.00 am–1.30 pm – Saturday —Operations Manager

7.00 am–1.30 pm – Sunday — Proprietor

7.00 am–1.30 pm (Sat and Sun) —Animal attendant 5

7.30 am–1.30 pm —Animal attendant 3 (Saturday)

7.30 am–1.30 pm — Animal attendant 4 (Sunday)

7.30 am–1.30 pm — (Sat and Sun) Animal attendant 6

1.30 pm–7.00 pm — Animal attendant 1 (Saturday)

1.30 pm–7.00 pm — Animal attendant 2 (Sunday)

1.30 pm–7.00 pm (Sat and Sun) —Animal attendant 7

Overnight this business may have the following roster:

3.30 pm–7.00 am —Proprietor

Operations manager or Animal attendant 5, 6 or 7 to fill in on an as-needed basis.

2 (7) Staff health

Potential health risks for humans exist when working with animals. Animals can harbour disease causing organisms, which can be transmitted to humans (zoonosis).

To protect staff health, a list of common zoonoses and hydatids associated with animals must be prominently displayed throughout the business (for example in the staff common area or lunch room) and staff must be educated in the prevention of zoonoses.

All personnel working with cats, especially women of childbearing age, must be made aware of the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis.

Staff health must be protected through the provision of, or access to:

• a business induction upon commencing work

• tetanus immunisation

• adequate information and training on health, hygiene and safety at the induction session

• personal protective clothing and equipment (such as boots, coats, overalls, etc.)

• hot and cold hand washing facilities with soap at the business

• hand disinfectant placed at various locations around the facility to allow staff to disinfect their hands between attending to different animals.

3 Facility operation

3 (1) Visitor facilities

Visitors to the business must be provided with access to hot and cold water hand washing facilities with soap.

3 (2) Business animal transport vehicle

Where more than one animal is to be transported, business vehicles used for the transport of animals must have provision for non-compatible animals to be physically separated and restrained or individually enclosed by compartment or cage; that is,

• a design that is both escape-proof and prevents the protrusion of head and/or limbs of any animal carried

• weatherproof with adequate ventilation of vehicles, both when stationary and in motion

• constructed of materials and a design that allows for effective cleaning and disinfection

• areas of the vehicle containing animals must be maintained between 10 and 320C at all times.

Cats must be individually caged within a vehicle. Queens with kittens may be caged together where the cage is sufficiently large enough for all cats to lie comfortably.

Dogs must not be transported in the cabin of animal transport vehicles unless restrained or enclosed in a compartment or cage.

No animal may be transported in the boot of a sedan.

This clause does not apply to working dogs when they are working livestock. When dogs are working, owners must adhere to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

3 (3) Security

All breeding and rearing businesses must securely confine all animals to the property, preventing escape of animals from the business. It is recommended that businesses be protected from the entry of unwanted animals.

Kennel or cattery buildings must be able to be securely locked.

Each individual kennel, cage, module or colony cage must be fitted with a secure closing device that cannot be opened by the animals.

Any security methods used must allow for ready access to animals and exit for staff and animals from the premises in the event of an emergency.

Dogs and cats in breeding and rearing businesses must be safe from attack, stress or injury from other animals or people.

3 (4) Euthanasia

Euthanasia must be by barbiturate overdose carried out by a veterinary practitioner, except in emergency situations.

In emergency situations, businesses may carry out euthanasia under the direction of a veterinary practitioner only.

The veterinary practitioner providing approval to carry out euthanasia by a business must provide the business with a written certificate or letter stating that permission was given, when the permission was given, why permission was given, and the approved form of euthanasia.

Any method of emergency euthanasia must be humane. Blunt force trauma is not considered a humane form of euthanasia for dogs and cats.



Note

In an emergency situation the business owner, manager or animal attendant should contact (by phone) the veterinary practitioner and request advice. If the veterinary practitioner is unable to attend the facility within a reasonable amount of time, or provide suggestions with respect to alternative care, and both the veterinary practitioner and owner/manager/attendant agree that immediate euthanasia is required, the owner/manager/attendant may carry out that euthanasia in a manner agreed to by the veterinary practitioner. A template emergency euthanasia certificate is available on the DEPI website at www.depi.vic.gov.au/breedingcode.

Euthanasia must be performed in an area that is separate from any animal housing areas at the business and must not be carried out in view of any other animals.

Puppies and kittens 8 weeks and under requiring euthanasia must be euthanased by intraperitoneal injection of barbiturate by a veterinary practitioner as per the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals.

3 (5) Health management plan

Every business must have a health management plan which is reviewed annually. Health management plans must be formulated in consultation with a veterinary practitioner. Plans must be signed by a veterinary practitioner on
an annual basis and whenever veterinary practitioners change, whichever is
more frequent.

Note

Proprietors and operations managers should draft their health management plan prior to consulting their veterinary practitioner. This will reduce the time and cost associated with having the plan approved by a veterinary practitioner.

A checklist for the health management plan and guides for developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) can be found on the DEPI website at www.depi.vic.gov.au/breedingcode.

The health management plan must include protocols for:

• assessment for admission of new breeding animals to the business

• protocols for quarantine and movement of animals, including new animals introduced to the business

• provision of appropriate diet for all animals at the business

• hygiene, disinfection and disease prevention

• vaccination programs

• external parasite prevention and treatment programs including screening for ear mites, dermatophytes, ticks, and ringworm

• internal parasite prevention and treatment programs

• investigation and treatment of animals showing signs of chlamydia

• a procedure for the investigation and management of FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). Businesses with repeated cases of diarrhoea leading to the suspicion of FIP must undertake investigation by means of autopsy of cats that die or are euthanased due to their symptoms. Cats showing clinical symptoms must be provided with palliative care prior to humane euthanasia. A management and breeding plan should be developed where businesses have confirmed multiple cases

• response to a general outbreak of disease

• grooming requirements

• approved methods of euthanasia for emergency situations

• birthing protocols

• management of isolation facilities (where isolation facilities are constructed at the business)

• exercise, environmental enrichment and socialisation programs

• assessment programs for the health and welfare of animals being reared for sale or as replacement breeding animals

• health assessment for puppies and kittens for sale

• behavioural and welfare assessment of animals on a daily basis

• processes for determining the suitability of breeding animals to continue breeding within the business

• processes for long term management, desexing and/or assessing suitability for rehoming or euthanasia of retired breeding animals

• risk assessments of housing and exercise areas and risk management plan/s

• pest management protocols

• development and display of emergency response plans for both humans and animals including evacuation procedures at the business.

4 Records

The proprietor of the business must ensure that the records detailed below are collected and kept for a period of no less than 5 years after the animal has been sold, given away, or become deceased.

When the business ceases all animal health and sale records must be retained by the proprietor for 5 years.

All records must be kept in a location that will allow for physical inspection by an authorised officer immediately upon request.

All records must be produced for physical inspection by an authorised officer immediately upon request, either electronically or in hard copy.

4 (1) Business records

Business records must include the following:

• current Domestic Animal business registration paperwork

• a copy of a council registration certificate for each animal over 12 weeks of age in the business

• a complete and up to date list of staff working for the business, including, the following details for each individual: contact details, experience and/or qualifications, training history and tetanus vaccination status

• emergency management and evacuation plans for the business including site maps

• the current health management plan for the business

• the written agreement/s for the business veterinary practitioner and complete contact details

• any other contracts and contact details for external animal service providers

• the business’s insect, ectoparasite and vertebrate pest management program and evidence that the program is being maintained and adhered to

• all records related to selling of animals, hire out of and/or giving away of animals to and from the business

• all records relating to the purchase or acquisition of animals into the business, including previous owner, microchip number, copies of transfer of ownership papers, health record and vaccination status at the time of entry into the business

• a complete copy of all records relating to staffing on a daily basis, for example, a daily staff roster

• a complete copy of the guarantee health statement and rearing/care literature provided by the business to new owners of animals sold from the business

• copies of all standard operating procedures for the business

• monthly animal inventory under each age class of animal.

4 (2) Staffing records

Where staff are employed by the business, a complete set of (daily) staffing rosters must be kept for a period of no less than 5 years.

4 (3) Animal records

All treatment records of any type must include the date and time of the treatment administration, person prescribing the treatment, dosage and details of treatment, person administering treatment, dosage administered and any relevant observation of the animal during and post treatment, and the name and signature of person administering the treatment corresponding to the animal being treated.

Records of daily observations and inspections, in accordance with the requirements of this Code, must be kept and retained for a minimum of 5 years.

4 (3) (a) Animals under 12 weeks of age

Animal record files must be established at birth for each individual animal born and maintained according to the following requirements until the ownership of the animal changes hands or the animal is deceased. Copies of records of animals sold from/retained by the business must be kept for a minimum of 5 years.

For each animal under 12 weeks of age in the business, the following records must be available:

• name (or other identification)

• microchip number (when implanted)

• sex

• breed


• birth date (or where the animal was purchased from another breeder or private person and birthdate is unknown an approximate age based on veterinary assessment)

• distinguishing features

• home pen location at the business (pen/cage location and details)

• dam breed and sire breed, birth date, microchip number and owner details

• a complete health care and veterinary history including:

− vaccination records

− internal and external parasite control

− heartworm records (dogs only)

• disposal records including date and method of disposal, and the name and address of new owners

• a copy of the vaccination certificate and breeder health declaration for the animal

• name, address and contact number of the purchaser

• return records, including date, reason for return and copies of supporting documentation, where applicable.

4 (3) (b) Animals 12 weeks of age or older

Animal record files must be established at birth for each individual animal born and maintained according to the following requirements until the ownership of the animal changes hands or the animal is deceased. Copies of records of animals sold from/retained by the business must be kept for a minimum of 5 years.

For each animal 12 weeks of age or older in the business, the following records must be available:

• council registration certificate

• name (or other identification)

• microchip number

• sex

• breed


• birth date (or where unknown an approximate age based on veterinary assessment)

• distinguishing features

• home pen location at the business (pen/cage location and details)

• dam breed and sire breed, birth date, microchip number and owner details (where known)

• animal acquisition date and details of previous owner (where applicable)

• a complete health care and veterinary history including:

− vaccination records

− internal and external parasite control

− heartworm records (dogs only)

− breeding status

− complete breeding history for each fertile female including dates of mating and birthing, number of offspring born for each litter including weeks gestation at birth, number of offspring born alive, number of offspring born dead, any birth complications and a record of treatment administered; number of offspring alive at
8 weeks of age, and microchip number for all offspring alive at 8 weeks of age; any veterinary treatment provided post birthing and/or during lactation

− complete breeding history for each fertile male including dates of mating and identification of female mated with

• disposal records including date and mode of disposal, and the name and address of new owners

• return records, including date, reason for return and copies of supporting documentation, where applicable.

4 (3) (c) Individual animal identification

The name, description, breed, sex, and microchip number of each animal in a pen/cage must be displayed clearly on every pen/cage in the form of an identification card.

Each identification card must also indicate whether the animals are receiving additional care and the type of care and, for females, the number, birthdate, sex and details of offspring.

5 Sale of animals

All animals being sold from the business must be accompanied with a breeder health declaration, including details of any known physical abnormality at the time of sale and how that abnormality may affect the short- and long-term health and welfare of the animal, and a vaccination certificate stating the date of the last vaccination and due date of the next vaccination. When kittens/cats that have been vaccinated by the breeder, are sold, the new owner must be provided with a certificate signed by a veterinary practitioner (or a copy of the veterinary health notes) stating that the kitten/cat has had a general health check, the outcomes of that general health check and the date of the general health check.

All animals being sold must have current vaccinations in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and their vaccination, heartworm (dogs only) and parasite control records must be provided to the new owner.

All animals being sold or given away from the business must be implanted with a microchip by an authorised implanter and must be accompanied by a signed transfer of ownership form which is provided to the new owner upon collection of the animal.

Purchasers of animals desexed prior to sale must be provided with a copy of the desexing certificate.



Note

It is recommended that breeders obtain a signature on the microchip transfer form from the purchaser and submit the form on behalf of themselves and the purchaser. This will ensure that microchips are transferred into the new owner’s name promptly. A photocopy of the signed form should be provided to the purchaser.

Animals may be sold at any time but must not permanently leave the business before 8 weeks of age. They may be transported away from the business for short periods for the purposes of grooming, training and veterinary care.

New owners must be provided with literature about:

• appropriate feeding

• desexing

• parasite control

• health, including procedures for emergency treatment during the guarantee period

• housing

• responsible pet ownership, including current legislation covering the registration of pet animals and training opportunities available

• importance of training dogs and socialisation for cats and dogs

• vaccination.

Literature is available free of charge on the DEPI website, through local councils, or breeders may wish to develop their own.

5 (1) Guarantee

Where an animal is returned to the business within 3 days of sale, for any reason not supported by a statement from a veterinary practitioner, the business must take back the animal and refund 75% of the purchase price.

Where an animal is returned to the business within 21 days of sale accompanied by a statement from a veterinary practitioner that the animal is unacceptable for health reasons, the business must take back the animal and refund 100% of the purchase price.

If an animal is diagnosed with, suffering from, dies of, or is euthanased from a physical defect or disease that is traceable to the point of sale within 3 years of purchase, the business must refund 100% of the purchase price where the owner of the animal provides supporting statements from a veterinary practitioner, including test results where a suitable test is available. Owners of the animal must make veterinary reports and test results available to the breeder for the breeder to obtain their own veterinary advice (second opinion) for the purpose of informing future breeding management.

If the reason for diagnosis, death, or euthanasia is a result of a heritable defect, the parents and any offspring from those parents still held by the business must be tested and managed for that heritable defect as per Sections 6 (3) (a) and 7 (3) (a).

Test results and death certificates must be linked with the animal’s microchip number.



Note

The payment of refunds should be made upon presentation of:

the animal for the 3-day return clause

the animal and a signed veterinary certificate for the 21-day return clause.

For refunds being sought under the 3-year clause, breeders should be given sufficient time to have an independent veterinary assessment of any test results, veterinary statements, etc. It would be reasonable to assume this independent veterinary assessment could be accomplished within 6 weeks of the owner of the animal supplying the necessary documentation. Therefore, the refund should be made within a period of 6 weeks of initial presentation of veterinary statements and test results or as soon as practicable after that.

Under the 3-day and 21-day clauses, the owner cannot keep the animals and request a refund. Under the 3-year clause the owner may choose to keep the animals, but request a refund to help cover veterinary/care costs.

7 Management of cats

7 (1) Nutrition

Food must be provided in sufficient quantity and nutritional quality; it must be feline appropriate and scientifically balanced to meet the daily requirements for the condition and size of the animal.

Minimum quantity and nutritional quality of feed must be detailed within the health management plan developed in conjunction with, and signed off by, a veterinary practitioner for each classification of cat in the business.

All adult and adolescent cats must be fed a minimum of once daily from a food receptacle.

Pregnant and lactating queens must be fed at least twice daily, or under instruction from a veterinary practitioner, from a food receptacle.

Kittens between 3 weeks of age and weaning must be provided with a suitable food in accordance with the business’s health management plan.

Fully weaned kittens less than 16 weeks of age must be fed a minimum of 3 times daily from a food receptacle, and must not be left without food for a period of more than 12 hours. Kittens may share a food receptacle.

Kittens between 16–24 weeks of age must be fed a minimum of twice daily from food receptacles.

Orphaned and pre-weaned kittens must be fed under the direction of a veterinary practitioner.

When multiply housed, each cat must be provided with sufficient water and food receptacles to ensure all cats can feed at one time, should they choose to. The proprietor must ensure all cats multiply housed are socially compatible to feed together and are able to eat a sufficient quantity of food without duress.

If cats are being fed raw offal, it must be part of the business’s health management plan and be in conjunction with a complete worming program. Feeding raw offal to cats is not recommended as it is a zoonosis risk to humans.

Food must be stored in sealed, vermin proof containers and refrigerated according to manufacturer’s directions.

At any time the business must hold a minimum of 5 days’ food supply, sufficient to feed all classifications of animals kept at the business to ensure food is available for the animals in the case of any emergency event, such as illness, accident or large scale emergency.

The preparation of food must be conducted in hygienic areas which must be cleaned and disinfected after food is prepared.

Food receptacles must be non-spillable and made of a material that can be cleaned and disinfected.

Receptacles must not cause injury to the animals.

The main meal of the day must be provided in a food receptacle that has been cleaned of all uneaten food.

7 (1) (a) Water

All animals must have access, in their housing area, at all times, to a permanent supply of fresh, clean water daily. The recommended volume of water required daily is approximately 50 milliliters of water per one kilogram of body weight.

This amount may vary depending on a number of factors including health status, environmental temperature, amount of exercise, lactating animal, water content of diet, age, etc.

Water receptacles:

• must be non-spillable and made of a material that can be cleaned and disinfected

• must be large enough to hold sufficient water for all cats to be able to drink at any one time

• must hold sufficient water for all cats in a cage

• for young kittens must be shallow enough to prevent injury or drowning.

7 (2) Health care

All cats, regardless of breeding status, must have a complete health check by a veterinary practitioner at least once per year, or more frequently as directed by a veterinary practitioner.

All cats must have a general health check by a veterinary practitioner prior to their first mating. Veterinary practitioners must provide a certificate to state that, at the time of examination, the cat was suitable to breed.

Any health issues identified must be recorded in the animal’s individual health record and evidence provided that a treatment plan was devised in conjunction with a veterinary practitioner, and implemented.

All cats with medium and long coats must be groomed by brushing at a frequency sufficient to prevent coats becoming tangled or matted.

All businesses must have an internal and external parasite control program and screen regularly as per the business health management plan.

7 (2) (a) Vaccination and parasite prevention for cats under 12 weeks of age

Kittens must be vaccinated against and treated for the following, in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, (except where a veterinary practitioner advises and records that treatment would prejudice the animal’s health):

• Infectious Feline Enteritis

• Feline Respiratory Disease (Feline Calicivirus and Feline herpes virus)

• Internal and external parasites (for example fleas and ticks).

First treatment/vaccine must not be given before 10 days of age.

Vaccination certificates, including dates of treatment, details of the treatment required, and a record of who administered the treatment, must be signed by the person administering the treatment at each vaccination.

Refer to Section 5 for pre-sale veterinary health check requirements.

7 (2) (b) Vaccination and parasite prevention for cats 12 weeks of age or over

All animals 12 weeks of age or over in the business must have current vaccination against and treatment for the following, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, (except where a veterinary practitioner advises and records that treatment would prejudice the animal’s health):

• Infectious Feline Enteritis

• Feline Respiratory Disease (Feline Calicivirus and Feline herpes virus)

• Internal and external parasites (for example, fleas and ticks).

Vaccination certificates, including dates of treatment, details of the treatment required, and a record of who administered the treatment, must be signed by the person administering the treatment at each vaccination.

Refer to Section 5 for pre-sale veterinary health check requirements.

7 (3) Breeding

Breeding mates must not be closely related to one another. They must not be first degree (for example, father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister).

Second degree (for example, grandfather and granddaughter; grandmother and grandson) pairs are not recommended without appropriate prior expert advice.

A female cat must only be bred with one male cat per breeding cycle.

All new breeding animals must be isolated and confirmed free of Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV/Feline AIDS) in blood tests, prior to moving into the main housing facility at the business. Partially tested or positive FeLV or FIV breeding animals must not share accommodation with negative status breeding animals.

All animals testing free must be vaccinated against FeLV in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions before breeding.

Cats testing positive to Feline AIDS/FIV must be kept separate from all breeding animals and non-vaccinated cats and must not be bred.

7 (3) (a) Heritable defects

All breeders must comply with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, particularly with respect to the Code of Practice for the Responsible Breeding of Animals with Heritable Defects that Cause Disease.

The proprietor of any business notified that an animal sold by the business has been diagnosed by a veterinary practitioner to have a heritable defect, or provided with reasonable evidence of a heritable defect in such an animal, must stop breeding from the parents of this animal until the following have been completed:

• test the parents if they are still breeding where an acceptable test is available, or if a test is not available have the parents assessed by a veterinary practitioner for the defect, and

• test any existing offspring of those parents still currently residing at the business where an acceptable test is available.

− If one or both of the parents have the heritable defect, genetic counselling must be obtained from a veterinary practitioner prior to continuing to breed those animals.

− If any offspring have the heritable defect, a sale or euthanasia plan must be developed in conjunction with a veterinary practitioner and all details about the heritable defect and likely outcomes for the animals and their owners must be fully disclosed to prospective purchasers.

Any pair of animals in the business, for whom any heritable defect that causes a disease has been identified by a veterinary practitioner, must not continue to be bred together.

7 (3) (b) Breeding males

Male cats must be physically mature and at least 12 months of age prior to their first mating. Male cats that are fertile and considered physically mature may be bred prior to 12 months of age with veterinary certification stating they are in good health and breeding would not prejudice their health.

All male cats must have a general health check by a veterinary practitioner prior to their first mating. Veterinary practitioners must provide a certificate to state that, at the time of examination, the tomcat was suitable to breed.

Males must have an annual health check by a veterinary practitioner.

If evidence of heritable defects in the offspring produced by the male are identified the cat must not be used for further breeding, except where written approvals is given by a veterinary practitioner.

Male cats must only mate with one female at any given time and must have at least 2 days’ rest every 47 days.



7 (3) (c) Breeding females

Females must have a general health check by a veterinary practitioner prior to first mating. Veterinary practitioners must provide a certificate to state that, at the time of examination, the queen was suitable to breed.

Female cats must be at least 12 months of age prior to their first mating. Female cats that come into oestrus prior to 12 months can be bred with if:

1. there is a risk of pyometra due to repeated calling (3 or more callings); and

2. the cat is not in her first oestrus; and

3. a veterinary practitioner has provided written approval that the cat is sufficiently mature to be bred with.

Females must have an annual general health check by a veterinary practitioner, or more frequently as directed by a veterinary practitioner.

If evidence of heritable defects in the offspring produced by the female are identified the cat must not be used for further breeding, except where written approval is given by a veterinary practitioner.

A female cat must not have more than 2 litters in a 12 month period.

A female must have no more than 8 litters in her lifetime, after which she must be retired.

7 (3) (d) Retirement of cats

Where:


• queens have reached their maximum number of litters; and/or

• cats are no longer suitable for breeding or no longer required by the business, and the cat is suitable for rehoming, every effort must be made to rehome that cat to an appropriate home.

When a cat is no longer suitable for breeding the business must consult their health management plan to determine suitable retirement options for that individual.

All retiring breeding animals must be desexed (unless advised otherwise by a veterinary practitioner for health reasons), microchipped, and

1. rehomed to a suitable home- where health and temperament of the cat have been assessed as suitable for rehoming; or

2. kept by the business as a pet; or

3. when dictated by health and/or behaviour problems, or when an acceptable home is unable to be found, may be euthanased via lethal injection by a veterinary practitioner.

7 (3) (e) Mating

Mating pairs must be physically separated from other animals.

Mating pairs must be monitored at all times during mating and veterinary advice sought:

• if there is a risk of injury to either cat; or

• for any other concern.

Prior to returning to normal housing both animals must be physically separated, assessed for signs of injury, and treatment provided where necessary.

7 (3) (f) Queening

Compatible pregnant females (lactating queens and their litters) can be housed individually or in pairs.

Each queen must be provided with a separate sleeping area for resting and privacy during birthing.

As soon as the queen shows signs of contractions she must be monitored every 30 minutes until birthing is complete.

Veterinary advice must be immediately sought if:

• the queen displays excessive or consistent contractions with no effect; and/or

• there are prolonged intervals between the birth of each kitten; and/or

• there is excessive bleeding; and/or

• there are any other abnormalities observed during the birthing process.

Contractions should not become prolonged without the appearance of a kitten.

After birth is complete, the queen must be monitored every 6 hours until contractions have ceased. If contractions do not stop, veterinary advice must be sought and treatment provided as advised.

The birthing area must be completely cleaned and all bedding changed within 24 hours of the completion of birthing. This time frame for changing of bedding should be determined on an individual basis allowing for the queen’s response to interference.

7 (3) (g) Lactating

Queens and their kittens must be monitored every 6 hours until lactation and feeding is established.

Monitoring of lactating queens must include visual observation of all kittens feeding and confirmation that the queen is lactating.

If weight gain in kittens is not observed during the first 7 days of life, veterinary advice must be sought by the proprietor and action taken as directed by the veterinary practitioner.

For the first week post birth, queens must be examined twice daily for mastitis and treatment provided immediately upon diagnosis.

Soiled bedding must be removed and clean bedding provided on a daily basis during lactation.

Kittens must have a health check by a staff member within 12 hours after birth.

Daily handling of kittens must begin within 7 days of birth.

7 (4) Enrichment, socialisation, and handling

Enrichment, socialisation and handling are essential elements to ensuring the welfare of cats in a breeding business.

All cats of all age and breeding status must be provided with a minimum amount of daily socialisation, handling and enrichment as detailed in Table 7.

An enrichment, socialisation and handling management plan must be established as part of the business’s health management plan, in conjunction with a veterinary practitioner, specific to each breed/type of cat maintained at the business (including retired animals).

Table 7. Enrichment, socialisation and handling of cats




Category

Environmental enrichment requirements

Socialisation

Handling

Kittens
0–4 weeks


Must be provided with exposure to a variety of textures/surfaces (such as hard surfaces, soft bedding, paper, etc.)


Must be provided with daily exposure to humans via daily handling from 7 days of age

Must remain with mother and other littermates unless under veterinary advice



Must be weighed daily from birth to ensure weight gain

Must be handled for a minimum of


5 minutes per kitten per day

Orphaned kittens
0–4 weeks

Must be provided with exposure to a variety of textures/surfaces (such as hard surfaces, soft bedding, paper, etc.)

May wish to provide noise simulation CDs



Must be provided with daily exposure to humans via daily handling from 7 days of age

Must remain with other littermates where possible, except under veterinary advice



Must be weighed daily from birth to ensure weight gain

Must be handled for a minimum of


5 minutes per kitten per day

Kittens
4–8 weeks

Must be provided with:

  • climbing and perching areas

  • scratch poles

  • hide areas

  • a variety of toys they can roll, pounce on, capture and bite

  • exposure to variety of items that stimulate the senses (ie. catnip, cat grass, Feliway®, etc.)

Toys must be rotated weekly

May wish to provide noise simulation CDs



Must be provided with daily exposure to humans via daily handling

Must remain with mother and littermates except under veterinary advice

May begin socialisation with other animals/cats of appropriate vaccination status and temperament


Must be handled for a minimum of 15 minutes per kitten per day.


Kittens
8–16 weeks

Must be provided with:

  • climbing and perching areas

  • scratch poles

  • hide areas

  • a variety of toys they can roll, pounce on, capture and bite

  • exposure to variety of items that stimulate the senses (such as catnip, cat grass, Feliway®, etc.)

Toys must be rotated weekly

Must be provided with daily exposure to humans through handling and interactive play using toys outside of daily cleaning/feeding routine

Must be provided with opportunity to socialise with other animals/cats of appropriate vaccination status and temperament

May begin harness/lead training


Must be handled for a minimum of 30 minutes per kitten per day


Adolescent and adult cat 16+ weeks

Must be provided with:

  • climbing and perching areas

  • scratch poles

  • hide areas

  • a variety of toys they can roll, pounce on, capture and bite

  • exposure to variety of items that stimulate the senses (such as catnip, cat grass, Feliway®, etc.)

Toys must be rotated weekly

Must be provided with daily exposure to humans through handling and interactive play using toys outside of daily cleaning/feeding routine

Must be provided with the opportunity to exercise/socialisation with other socially compatible animals

May include walking on a lead and harness


Must be handled for a minimum of 30 minutes per cat per day


Cats/kittens — injured, ill, or recovering from ailment

Under guidance of veterinary practitioner

Under guidance of veterinary practitioner

Under guidance of veterinary practitioner

7 (5) Housing

7 (5) (a) Disinfection and hygiene

Maintenance of hygiene in a business will prevent build-up of disease-causing organisms including bacteria, viruses and parasitic worm eggs.

A business must be clean and hygienic at all times.

All cages and modules used to house animals must be cleaned of soiled litter, soiled bedding and toys at least once per day (or more often as required) by appropriate means.

Soiled litter must be removed daily and litter trays disinfected weekly using a hospital grade disinfectant.

Phenol and pine oil derivative cleaning products must not be used.

All uneaten food must be removed daily.

Uneaten food must be placed in a waste disposal device.

Disposable bedding, food containers, and general waste from the business must be placed in a waste disposal device.

Waste disposal must be in accordance with the requirements of the appropriate statutory authority.

Use of a trade waste service for collection and disposal of wastes is preferable.

Wastes must not be incinerated unless the incinerator is registered with the appropriate authority.

Businesses must have an adequate water supply and must be sewered, on a septic system, or have some other adequate method of disposing of soiled litter which is approved by the appropriate authority.

All watering and feeding utensils must be rinsed daily and washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher at least once per week to ensure bowls are clean and free of food, mould, etc. Watering and feeding utensils must be disinfected if the cat/s using them is/are diagnosed with a disease or internal parasite infection before being used to feed or water another cat.

Enrichment toys must be washed in hot soapy water at least once per week or more often if soiled and disinfected when moved between litters.

Dishwashers are suitable for disinfection of water and feeding utensils, toys and washable enrichment items at a temperature of 650C or above using the appropriate dishwashing detergent in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Utensils must be rinsed after disinfection to avoid poisoning.

Disinfection of pens, using hospital grade disinfectants, must be done weekly and:

• prior to the introduction of a new cat

• prior to queening

• upon the removal of kittens.

Manufacturer’s instructions for the use of disinfection agents must be followed.

Pests including fleas, ticks, flies, mosquitoes and rodents must be effectively controlled at the business.

Management of these pests must be included in the business health management plan for each animal developed in consultation with a veterinary practitioner.

Registered chemicals used for pest control must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and must be either prescribed by a registered veterinary practitioner or used in accordance with the appropriate authority.

Any pest traps used must be in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Regulations.

Material Safety Data Sheets for all chemicals used at the business must be kept on site and produced on request by an authorised officer.

7 (5) (b) Isolation

All businesses must provide an area for isolation for animals suspected of having an infectious disease or must have a written agreement with a veterinary practitioner to provide isolation facilities off site at a veterinary practice.

Isolation housing within the business must be physically separated by an impervious barrier or a distance of at least ten metres from other types of animal housing at the business.

Drainage from the isolation area must not run through other animal housing.

Animals must be maintained in an area approved in the animal health management plan, with particular reference to the area’s airflow, workflow and cage or pen design.

All animals confined in isolation housing must be under the supervision of a veterinary practitioner and a veterinary practitioner must determine when, and if, an animal can be returned to general population.

Cage items, such as bedding, food and water utensils, enrichment items, etc. from isolation areas must remain solely for use in isolation areas and not be used in other areas of the business.

7 (5) (c) Small businesses

Small businesses may house up to 5 compatible fertile cats.

Fertile male cats and female cats in or near oestrus must be housed separately to prevent unwanted breeding.

All fertile adult cats must be confined to the place of residence or an outdoor run area at all times to prevent breeding with other cats outside the business.

Tomcats must be housed individually or with a desexed female.

Each cat must be provided with its own litter tray.

Incompatible cats must be physically separated at all times to prevent fighting and injury.

All areas utilised by the cats must be cleaned daily of contaminated litter, wasted food, and soiled bedding.



7 (5) (c) (i) Housing areas

Housing areas must be cleaned daily and disinfected weekly.

Each cat must be provided with a minimum area of 2 square metres which has a height of at least 1.8 metres and has 2 levels.

When multiply housed, each cat older than 12 weeks of age must be provided with a separate bed/hide/nest of sufficient bedding material that all animals can sleep comfortably.

Where cat housing is constructed indoors, but not inside a place of residence (such as a cattery building), natural daylight during daylight hours must be provided and temperature, humidity and ventilation must be managed.

Ventilation must be adequate to keep animal housing areas free of dampness, noxious odours and draughts and must provide access to natural daylight during daylight hours.

Fully enclosed cattery areas must:

• have an air change rate of 8–12 changes per hour to prevent the build-up of foul odours

• have ventilation devices that avoid draughts and distribute fresh air evenly to all of the boarding areas.

Where forced ventilation is the only form of air, all of the following are required:

• air recirculation units incorporating effective air cleaning and filtration to ensure the removal of infectious organisms and chemicals

• a back-up and alarm system in case of power failures or breakdown of ventilation and temperature control mechanisms must be maintained

• temperature must be maintained in the range of 10–320C.

Where sleeping areas are outdoors the following minimum standards must be met:

• weatherproof housing must be provided for each cat

• materials must be selected for ease of maintenance and cleaning, durability and non-toxicity

• beds/hides/nests must be protected from the weather (wind, rain, sun and extremes of climate), vermin and harassment from other animals

• beds/hides/nests must not be made of concrete or metal

• beds/hides/nests must be raised off the ground to prevent draughts

• soft, warm bedding must be provided in all housing and changed weekly or more often if required

• bedding must be able to be kept dry at all times

• housing must be cleaned daily and disinfected weekly.

Where small businesses choose to construct colony cages or walk-in modules they must meet the minimum requirements set out for large businesses, including the provision of exercise colony cages for cats housed in walk-in modules.

7 (5) (c) (ii) Mating areas

When cats are mating, they must be provided with an area physically separated from all other animals at the business.



7 (5) (c) (iii) Queening/kittening/lactating areas

Kittening/queening facilities, separate from general housing, must be provided for each queen and her kittens. Compatible queens and their kittens


may be housed in pairs.

Each queen requires an area of at least 2 square metres, with a vertical height of at least 1.8 metres, containing two levels joined by a non-slip climbing plank or pole. Care must be taken in the construction of these areas to prevent young kittens from climbing to higher levels and falling.

Queening and lactating housing must be maintained at a temperature between 10 and 320C at all times.

Note

Newborn kittens prefer an ambient temperature of 310C up until about 1 week of age. Between 1 and 3 weeks of age, the temperature can be gradually reduced to about 270C. During colder weather it is important to provide a heat source for the kittens to ensure they can maintain their body temperature as their internal temperature regulations systems do not begin to work until about 3 weeks of age.

Breeders should consider installing lamps over bedding areas (25 watt globe is sufficient) for kittens, however it is important to provide an alternative cooler area for the queen.

Queening areas must be physically separate from all other animals.

Queening areas must contain a fully screened bedding area to allow the queen visual separation from all other animals.

Sleeping areas must be raised off the floor and constructed so that if kittens were to fall out of the bed they would not tumble to the floor.

Queening areas must contain bedding that is soft, absorbent and easily disposed of or cleaned and disinfected when soiled.

Queening areas must have access to natural daylight.

Appendix

Body condition score chart - Cat


Body condition score chart - Cat

Emaciated





  • Individual ribs, spine and pelvis prominent and evident from a distance.

  • Lack of muscle mass.

  • Little or no body fat.

  • Rump hollow.

  • Waist prominent when viewed from above.

  • Neck thin.

  • No flank fold (under belly), abdomen very tucked up.

Veterinary advice must be sought.

Thin





  • Ribs, spine and pelvis bones visible and easily felt.

  • Little body fat.

  • Neck thin.

  • No flank fold (under belly), abdomen tucked up.

  • Obvious waist when viewed from above.

Increase feeding and worm cat if not wormed recently (ensure all-wormer used – some products do not cover all worms).

Seek veterinary advice if cat remains underweight or unsure of feeding or worming regime.


Ideal





  • Ribs and spine can be felt, last few ribs may be visible.

  • Flank fold (under belly) maybe visible from side.

  • Cat should have a waist when viewed from top.

  • Good muscle mass.

Overweight





  • Ribs and spine not visible but can be felt.

  • Little or no waist when viewed from above, rounded appearance.

  • Flank fold (under belly) clearly visible and will wobble when cat moves. Belly and chest rounded.

  • Large ventral fat pad covering hind legs.

Reduce feed intake or provide lower calorie feed. Consider options to increase exercise level of cat.

Obese





  • Ribs and spine not visible and difficult to feel.

  • Tail has obvious fat deposit.

  • No waist and back broadened when viewed from above.

  • Flank fold (under belly) hangs down and will sway when cat moves, belly and chest very rounded.

Seek veterinary advice on diet and exercise regime.

www.depi.vic.gov.au/pets

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