Rabbit Health & General Care
As owners, we are responsible for the health and wellbeing of our rabbits.
To explore other possible health conditions, please visit the RWAF Website:
A lot of vets now have pet plan packages which include an array of services. We pay £6.50 per rabbit each month which includes health checks every 6 months, their yearly vaccinations, nail clippings and various discounts on products such as Rear Guard, and services such as Dental Procedures.
I would recommend checking with your vets to see if they offer any services such as this. Rabbit's are prone to many health problems and will suffer in silence without showing any signs or symptoms. Taking your bunnies for regular check ups will help monitor their overall health and identify any issues.
Yes, Poo! A rabbit's poo is a great way to check their health and should be checked daily. Rabbit Poo's should be on the larger side and golden in colour. You should be able to see plenty of fibre (hay) in each dropping. If they are on the smaller and darker side, we would recommend speaking to your vet for advise. You may need to review your rabbit's diet.
You may also notice your rabbit eating Poo straight from their bottoms. These poo's are called caecotrophs. These are an essential part of their diet and if your rabbit is not eating these or if they are producing these often, there may be an underlined issue. Caecotrophs kind of look like shiny grapes that have merged together - they look unpleasant but they are an essential part of your rabbit's digestive system.
If you are regularly seeing droppings joined together with fur, you will need to review their diet and ensure your rabbit is eating enough hay. The fur is ingested when your rabbit grooms either themselves of their bonded partner. Please ensure you are regularly brushing your rabbit which will help keep hair intake to a minimum.
It is important to keep an eye on your rabbit's nails to ensure they do not get to long. If a rabbit's nails are to long, it can cause a deformity in their feet as they will start to bend in an unnatural direction. Your rabbit is also at risk of hurting themselves. For example, if their nails get caught in something, they can complete rip off - OUCH! They are also at risk getting sore hocks on their feet which is extremely hard to treat.
When it comes to cutting your rabbit's nails, you need to be confident. Your rabbit will most likely not enjoy the whole experience however it is necessary. If you have any worries, your vet will be able to do this for you. Use the fur on their feet as a guideline. You have to be careful not to cut their nails to short otherwise you can cut into the "quick" which will cause a bleed. We would recommend cutting smaller amounts from the nail. If your rabbits nail bleeds, the RWAF recommend dipping the nail into cornflour which will cause the blood to clot and stop the bleeding. The RWAF has some great advise on how to handle your rabbits when cutting their nails. It is important to keep your rabbit as safe as possible and to not stress them out.
Obesity can be a huge problem for rabbits. And the two main causes are lack of exercise and a poor diet.
Obesity can cause a whole range of other complications in a rabbit. If a rabbit is overweight, they would be unable to clean themselves properly and reach the areas that need to be cleaned, specifically the rear end.
As part of their diets, rabbits eat their caecotrophs straight from the bottom which are essential. If your rabbit is obese, they would be unable to eat these pellets which can lead to a messy bum as they would sit in these.
If a rabbit has a messy bun, this will attract flies which can lead to flystrike and other skin conditions.
Please review your rabbit’s diet and make changes if necessary.
Just like us, obesity can cause stress on our organs and bodies. It can make them sluggish and unmotivated to exercise. It is important to make sure your rabbit is getting enough exercise and for this, they must have the right housing.
Flystrike occurs when Flies lay their eggs on your rabbit, usually around the rear end. The eggs hatch into maggots which eat away at their flesh. The maggots can also make their way internally as well. Once a rabbit has Flystrike, if not caught in time, it is impossible to treat which can lead to death.
Flystrike mostly occurs around the summertime, so it is important to regularly check your rabbits. A poor diet can also be a huge factor when it comes to Flystrike. A poor diet can mean excess caecotrophs which will attract the flies.
Also any open wounds will attract flies so it is important to keep infected and wounded areas clean.
To help avoid flystrike, we would recommend the following:
Check your rabbit’s rear end daily. I would recommend checking twice daily especially during the summer. If there is any urine staining or mess, clean and thoroughly dry the area (DO NOT PUT YOUR RABBIT IN A BATH!)
Make sure their bedding and area is cleaned daily. A dirty litter tray and area will attract flies.
Apply Rearguard regularly. This product is used to help prevent flies. Please speak to your vet first before treating.
If you have any concerns such as your rabbit having a messy bum, urine stains or any other health problems, please speak to your vet urgently.
If you see any maggots – Please call your vet immediately.
E-Cuniculi is a parasite that attaches itself to a rabbit’s brain and kidney. Rabbit’s can carry this parasite with no symptoms presented however others can display a range of side effects.
The parasite is transferred from rabbit to rabbit. It can be passed on from a mother rabbit to their babies, later in life from a new partner or can be picked up by a rabbit in an area where an affected rabbit has been present.
There are many side effects to look out for:
Weakness in the hind limbs or paralysis
Urinary incontinence and/or scalding.
As stated above, there are many cases where rabbits do not show any symptoms or side effects. There are tests a vet can run to identify the infections however these are not necessarily 100% accurate.
Panacur and Lapizole are the 2 most common treatments for E-Cuniculi. Both these medications are given orally for a period of 28 days.
Realistically, there is no way of preventing E-Cuniculi. Most rabbits do not show any symptoms and will live a full and happy life.
If your rabbit is showing any of the above symptoms, please contact your vet.
Benefits of getting your male Rabbit neutered:
Unneutered males will breed with any un-neutered female. We do not need any more baby rabbits.
Unneutered males will spray to mark their territory and can be possessive. They can also be very aggressive until they have been neutered. Once the male has been neutered, he will be easier to bond and will have a calmer temperament.
They will be harder to litter train.
Unneutered males can develop cancer.
Benefits of getting your female Rabbit neutered:
Roughly 60% of unneutered females will have a tumour growing in their uterus and the risk increases the older the bunny gets.
Unspayed females will have phantom pregnancies.
Unspayed females will get pregnant. They at risk of getting pregnant straight after giving birth to a litter. (Keep your unneutered male and unspayed female separate)
They can be very territorial and aggressive to us, their owners, a female rabbit or a male rabbit. (Rabbits will fight until serious damage is done)
As owners, I think we can over think and read into risks of certain procedures.
I personally think it is unfair for us to let an animal suffer for the benefit of us, their owners.
There are obviously risks from any operation however the risks of the operation are minimal compared to that if your rabbits live their life un-neutered.
As soon as we take any animal into our care, our priority after getting them settled in is to get them neutered/spayed, vaccinated and microchipped.
I dread every time any of fosters go into the vets for their operation, but this is to benefit the rest of their lives!
I also cannot begin to tell you how many “accidental litters” posts we have come across over the last year.
If you have an unfixed bunny, unless you have had professional advise not to neuter/spay your rabbit, please call your vets, and get them booked in as soon as possible.
We have seen many excuses from people like “I haven’t had time” or “my vets haven’t had any appointments...”
Ring around, find a vet who will understand the urgency of this!
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