Rabbits need care too!

Rabbits are susceptible to a variety of illnesses. Many of these illnesses can be prevented when a rabbit care giver works in combination with their veterinarian. Rabbits make excellent pets and when well cared for can achieve ages of 10 to 12 years.

Diet is the hallmark of good rabbit care. The bulk of their diet should consist of hay. Hay contains fiber that stimulates the rabbit’s intestinal tract to keep contracting. This helps prevent things like hair ball obstructions and over growth of toxin producing bacteria. The next important ingredient is dark leafy green vegetables. These provide most of the nutrients to the rabbit’s diet. And lastly pellets should be included in the diet although adult rabbits actually are healthier without any pellets at all! Avoid foods such as nuts, seeds, fruit, crackers, breads and cereals. These diets do not have enough fiber and encourage the growth of disease causing bacteria in the intestinal tract. If your rabbit is not eating his hay it likely means that he is filling up on too many pellets.

Brushing your rabbit and removing hair from the cage are very important to help prevent hair ball obstructions.

Managing weight helps prevent things like arthritis and sores on the bottoms of their feet. The biggest cause of obesity is not getting enough exercise and eating too many pellets. Did you know there are about 400 calories in a cup of pellets! Routine examinations help us to chart your rabbits’ weight and make recommendations to keep your bunny slim.

Checking their teeth, including the back molars, is important to do every 6 to 12 months so that overgrown teeth can be detected early. Sometimes the teeth become overgrown and sharp damaging the inside of the mouth. During a physical examination all teeth are examined including the back molars with a scope.

Did you know that during a physical examination we listen to the sounds of your rabbit’s intestinal tract with our stethoscope? This helps us to know that your rabbit’s intestinal tract is active and healthy.

Other common illness that rabbits can experience are ear infections, abscesses, bladder stones, dental abscesses, eye ulcers and infections, ear mites, skin mites, arthritis and intestinal worms. We also treat rabbits for things like broken limbs and wounds.

Did you know that 85% of female rabbits develop uterine cancer by the age of two? This is one of the reasons that spaying is such an important preventative procedure for your rabbit. Rabbits are also susceptible to uterine aneurysms (sudden life-threatening hemorrhage). Again, spaying prevents this health problem.

Neutering male rabbits helps control aggression and loss of toilet training rabbits. Unaltered male rabbits can develop testicular cancers which are reasonably common.

In general anesthesia for rabbits is safe as long as the anesthetic procedure does not exceed 45 minutes. After this period of time the lungs of rabbits start to collapse. This is why it is very important to pick an experienced rabbit veterinarian when booking the spay or neuter procedure. 

At Martindale Animal Clinic all rabbits are monitored with anesthetic monitoring equipment. Particularly important is care of blood pressure and good ventilation (breathing). All rabbits receive intravenous fluids to maintain their blood pressure, receive chest x-rays (with owner authorization) to assess the health of the lung tissue before the surgery begins.

With all of this in mind rabbits should be spayed and neutered and receive a physical examination every year. 

Don’t delay your rabbits first visit to the veterinarian. Addressing potential health problems for your rabbit now will make for a healthier and loving rabbit! Call us today! 905 682 5551 or click here to book an appointment for your rabbit. 

Please see a digital copy of our Rabbit Care booklet. We will have a copy waiting for you at your first appointment! Click here to download a copy of our Rabbit Care booklet.