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Caring for your pet rabbit

Rabbits are becoming increasingly popular as pets and, like all pets, your rabbit needs to visit us from time to time for a routine health examination and vaccinations. Here we look at some of the health issues facing rabbits. 

Flystrike is a really big problem in rabbits during the warmer months. Rabbit rear ends often become damp  and this moist area attracts flies, which lay their eggs there. These eggs hatch out into maggots, which are capable of burrowing through the rabbit’s skin and into the underlying flesh. This is a very painful and serious condition, which frequently can be fatal. 

Throughout the summer months, rabbits’ rear ends should be inspected daily for fly eggs and maggots. Soiled bedding should be removed on a daily basis to minimise flies being attracted to the hutch. 

Vaccination: we recommend vaccinating your rabbit against:

  • Myxomatosis: a distressing viral disease spread by rabbit fleas, mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects. Affected rabbits typically suffer from swollen eyes, leading to blindness and death in most cases.
  • Viral haemorrhagic Disease (VDH): is another very serious viral infection. It spreads easily between rabbits or via contaminated hutches, bedding or food. Infected rabbits may show a variety of signs including nose bleeds, loss of appetite and lethargy. Sadly most will die. 

Feeding your rabbit the correct diet is very important. Their ideal diet includes plenty of good quality hay, together with a selection of fresh food and a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets. HIgh fibre diets promote dental health, reduce obesity and keep them occupied for several hours each day! Commercial rabbit foods are now also available as extruded pellets and this helps to avoid the problem of rabbits selectively feeding- leaving vitamins and minerals uneaten. 

Please don’t hesitate to ask us further information on these or any other heath issues affecting your rabbit.