Rabbit pet care & advice
Your rabbits teeth will continually grow throughout their life.
To keep their teeth from becoming too long and causing problems your rabbit will need to eat foods that require a lot of chewing and grinding. The best example being grass and hay – as they would eat in the wild! Grass is not particularly high in nutrition in small quantities, therefore, rabbits require almost constant grazing to get the energy from their food – the benefit of which is they keep their teeth under control.
‘Muesli’ type dry diets for rabbits are not generally recommended as they tend to encourage selective eating. This means the rabbit will eat the tasty, soft, coloured bits and leave the brown pellets.
We would recommend you feed non muesli pellets – this removes the rabbits choice to eat the soft bits and leave the healthy part!
However, any pellet type food should only be given as a supplement to hay and grass as it is high in energy. So, if eaten in large quantities, your rabbit will not only miss out on good teeth grinding food but also run the risk of becoming over weight – this can also cause serious health problems for your rabbit.
Your vet will be happy to discuss diet and weight in more detail and make recommendations for your individual pet.
Whether you have one rabbit or ten rabbits and are not planning on breeding from them, we would recommend neutering at a relatively young age. It is beneficial
for both behaviour and physical health throughout their life. Uterine cancer in middle-aged female rabbits that haven’t been speyed is very common.
Castration for male rabbits (bucks). Speying for female rabbits (does).
We generally recommend:
Castration at approximately 5 months.
Speying at approximately 5 months.
Your vet will be happy to explain in more detail and make recommendations for your individual pet.
Worming your rabbit regularly is recommended as a preventative measure. A common parastitic worm they can pick up is called Encephalitozoon cuniculi – this parasite can make your rabbit very unwell with a number of symptoms. However, protection against this parasite is easily achieved.
Ideally, worming should be done at least every 6 months. The wormer comes in an oral paste and is easily administered. A good time to give the wormer is when your rabbit has their 6 monthly health check and vaccination.
Flies can also be a huge problem for rabbits. If your rabbit is unable to groom around his bottom and keep clean (due to diarrhoea, being over weight or simply having a dirty cage) the skin can become sore and smelly, attracting flies. Flies lay eggs on the rabbit which then hatch into maggots in as little as 12 hours in large numbers. This is obviously going to be very painful for your rabbit, and can be fatal, however, careful weight management and keeping your rabbit clean and dry will greatly reduce the risk of this happening.
There are preventative veterinary preparations available to repel flies.
Mites & Fleas
Rabbits can also pick up a number of different mites and also fleas. The treatment depends on the condition, however, there are veterinary spot-on preparations available.
Your vet will be happy to discuss in more detail and recommend preventative parasite control for your individual pet.
If your rabbit was ever to escape from their hutch or dig their way out of your garden and become lost – microchipping can help to reunite you both. The microchip is easily inserted under the skin on the scruff of the neck, just like an injection. It is approximately the size of a large grain of rice and lasts for life.
Each chip has a unique number to which yours and your pets’ details are associated. These details are then stored on a national database.
When lost if your rabbit was to be taken to a veterinary practice or an animal charity centre etc the staff would be able to use a special scanner to read your rabbits chip, locate your details and happily reunite you both!
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