There are two potentially fatal infectious diseases rabbits can be vaccinated against, myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD).
Myxomatosis is a viral disease spread by blood sucking parasites like rabbit fleas. It affects the skin and eyes mainly and will eventually stop the rabbit from eating and drinking. VHD is another viral disease that only affects rabbits and hares. It is spread by saliva and nasal secretions and can pass directly from rabbit to rabbit. Often no illness is seen and the rabbit will unfortunately just be found dead.
Vaccination provides protection for your pet rabbit against these two diseases and can be carried out from five weeks of age. Vaccination last approximately one year so your rabbit will require a booster vaccination every year when they will also receive a full health check by one of our vets.
Spaying (female) and castration (male) is important in order to give your rabbit a healthier life. It reduces the risk of unwanted kittens (babyrabbits) and helps reduce the risk of some cancers and urinary tract problems. Neutering can also reduce the likelihood of pet rabbits fighting between each other and make them easier to handle.
Neutering can be carried out at any stage from three months of age, speak to one of our vets or nurses about the benefits of neutering your rabbit.
It is important to provide your pet rabbit with protection against parasites. They can be affected by worms (roundworms and tapeworms), fleas and flies (causing flystrike).
Worm infections can cause weight loss and diarrhoea whilst fleas cause skin irritation and transmit tapeworms and myxomatosis.
Flystike is a horrible condition that can affect rabbits, especially in warmer weather. Flies lay eggs on your rabbit that hatch into maggots which eat the rabbits flesh. This is extremely distressing to you and your rabbit and can often cause death. Flies are particularly attracted to rabbits that have faeces stuck to their rear end or wet dirty hutches. It is therefore important to check your rabbit thoroughly twice a day and keep their hutch clean and dry at all times. There are products that can be used to repel the flies to reduce the risk of flystrike affecting your rabbit.
Which parasites you need to protect you rabbit against depends on their lifestyle and if they are indoor or outdoor bunnies so speak to one of our staff to find the best protocol for your pet.
Appropriate feeding is incredibly important to rabbits and if done correctly can stop a variety of health problems form developing in the future. Correct feeding can reduce the risk of dental disease, urinary tract disease, obesity and gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhoea.
The main component of any rabbit’s diet should be fibre, which can come in the form of hay or grass. It is important that your rabbit does plenty of chewing so only a small part of their diet should be pelleted food or fresh fruit/vegetables.
We all know how important it is to microchip our cats and dogs but do not forget your rabbit!
Many companies now provide health insurance for your rabbits as well as your cats and dogs. This helps you to cover the cost of any illness or injury your rabbit may suffer from.
Rabbit Health Plan
Speak to one of our staff about the rabbit health care plan available here at Rutland Veterinary Centre. This includes routine vaccinations, health checks and parasite control and allows you to spread the costs throughout the year.