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Rabbits

Looking after your rabbit

  • Neutering
  • Vaccinations
  • Major Health Issues
  • Dental Problems

Neutering

Male rabbits can be castrated from 12 weeks of age.

Female rabbits can be spayed from 12 weeks of age.

One of the biggest advantages to spaying rabbits is the prevention of uterine cancer which is very common in unspayed female rabbits. Incidence can be from 50-80% of rabbits over 4 years old depending on breed. Our receptionists will be happy to discuss booking your rabbit in.

Vaccinations

Rabbits should be vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease. This is now available as a single injection given yearly.

It is especially important to vaccinate your rabbit as this is a HIGH RISK area due to the huge wild rabbit population all around. The diseases are spread by biting insects rather than direct contact with an affected rabbit so house rabbits are at risk too.

Sadly, every year we have seen cases of myxomatosis in unvaccinated pet rabbits.

Major Health Issues

Flystrike

We see cases of fly strike every year. This is a very unpleasant condition where flies are attracted by the smell of faeces, urine, damp fur or wounds on the rabbit. They then lay eggs on the surface which quickly hatch into maggots (within hours) and then the maggots begin eating the rabbit's flesh. This causes pain and distress and can lead to shock and death.

Please ring if you ever see maggots on your rabbit as this is an emergency condition.

You can help minimise risk by keeping hutches and runs clean and dry, checking rabbits twice daily for signs of eggs or maggots, trimming hair around rear end if getting wet/dirty, maintaining a good high fibre diet to help prevent diarrhoeas and by getting treatment for other problems which can prevent the rabbit looking after itself e.g. dental problems, arthritic pain in older rabbits, obesity, urine problems.

Dental Problems

Dental problems in rabbits can quickly become severe as rabbits have continuously growing teeth which can grow as fast as 2mm per week. If the teeth become misaligned they can grow unevenly causing painful spikes on the molar teeth pointing towards the tongue or cheeks, or overgrowth of the incisors curling round into the mouth or forwards from the mouth impeding the rabbits ability to pick up food.

Likelihood of an individual having dental problems is partly to do with conformation and breeding and partly to do with diet. It is extremely important to have rabbits on a good quality, high fibre diet as close to a wild rabbit diet as possible. This means plenty of grass, hay and fibrous greens and a smaller amount of other veg and a preferably pelleted high fibre food as most rabbits are selective feeders and will pick the tastier pieces out of a mixed diet leaving the other essentials behind.

If you notice your rabbit having trouble eating or picking up food or any sign of drool around the mouth, chin or dewlap or wiped onto the inside of the front paws, it is advised to bring the rabbit in for a check up.

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