Basic healthcare for rabbits

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By JeraldDossantos

Basic healthcare for rabbits

Before you go to the surgery, call the vet and make sure to have a pen handy in case they give you another number. You may not be the only one in the waiting area, so make sure your pet is in a carrier or box.

Rabbits are quick to develop illnesses. They often don’t look sick until they are truly sick. This is because they do not want predators to see them. You should immediately contact your vet if you suspect that your pet might be suffering from illness.

How can you tell if your rabbit has a fever?

Your vet should be contacted immediately if your rabbit becomes quieter than usual, is unable to move, hasn’t eaten in 12 hours or is not moving for any reason. Urgent veterinary care is required for teeth grinding, severe diarrhoea and breathing difficulties, as well as signs such as maggot attack or straining to urinate.

Fly strike, rabbits!

This is not a tabloid sensation. Unfortunately, it is all too often true. Maggots can attack all rabbits, indoor and outdoor, during the summer months. They eat through the flesh and release toxins that can cause shock, severe illness, and even death. This is known as fly strike.

Maggots in your rabbit’s ear are an emergency. Contact the vet immediately. In severe cases, euthanasia might be required. It is common to require intensive treatment. Large areas of damaged skin can take several weeks to heal.

Conditions that cause dirty fur attract flies, increasing the risk. Particularly at risk are rabbits who are unable to clean their fur properly due to being overweight, arthritic or longhaired, elderly, with a large amount of dewlap, and/or have dental disease. Your vet can also help you to identify and treat open wounds or abscesses.

Any rabbit can be struck by a fly. Your rabbit must be checked at least twice daily under and around the base for any faecal soiling or sore spots.

Vaccinating your rabbit

All rabbits should be vaccinated against myxomatosis, viral hemorhagic disorder, and other diseases. Myxomatosis, a viral disease that can lead to death, is sometimes fatal. However, milder forms do occasionally occur. It can be spread through biting insects like mosquitoes and fleas as well as contact with infected rabbits. As with all vaccines it does not provide complete protection. However, vaccinated rabbits are less likely to contract the disease. The UK recommends that the vaccine be administered every six months to high-risk areas, such as areas with lots of mosquitoes or wild rabbits, and areas where there is a lot of flat marshy land. It should also be administered annually elsewhere.

The best time to give annual vaccinations is spring when bites insects are more prevalent. Ask your veterinarian for the best flea and mosquito treatment for your pets. Use mosquito-proof screens to protect your garden from stagnant water.

What does a rabbit eat?

The rabbit’s digestive system has more similarities with horses than it does with dogs and cats. Because their bowels cannot function properly without fiber, rabbits require a high-fiber diet. The best source of grass is grass hay or good quality grass, but make sure it is not contaminated with dust, mould and grass seeds that could get in their eyes.

Keep fresh vegetables small and avoid cereal-based diets. High-fibre pellets in small quantities are better. To avoid digestive upsets, introduce new foods slowly. Caecotrophy is a characteristic of rabbits. This means that they eat special “faecal” pellets. These pellets are paste-like and covered in jelly-like mucus. They are similar to faeces but are softer and more bulky. These are consumed daily, usually during grooming at night. They also contain essential nutrients.

Seek out a veterinarian immediately if your rabbit is having trouble eating or passing feces. Your pet may become unwell due to digestive problems or other issues. Stress and dental disease are two examples. It is important to eat healthy food or else you may have other problems.

Grooming your rabbit

Wild rabbits will groom one another – it’s a social activity. A short-haired pet bunny needs to be groomed weekly. Long-haired bunnies need to be groomed more frequently. You can trim longhairs instead. Ask your vet for instructions.

In the wild, rabbits moult two times a year. However, pet rabbits may do so more often. There are bald patches and hair that appears to fall out of the hair in a few places. Although it is common for the hair to grow from the scalp, it does not always follow a specific pattern.

Sometimes there is a clear line between old and new fur. You should groom your fur frequently to prevent bowel obstructions. To remove loose hair, you can either use your fingers to pick it off or wet your hands. You should check the amount of faeces each day and consult your vet if there is any reduction or drying. You should ensure that there is plenty of hay.

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