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Rabbit Advice

Information about caring for your rabbit

Vaccinations

There are 2 major diseases that we vaccinate against: Myxomatosis and VHD.

Myxomatosis is a viral disease that causes severe swelling of the face and genital area - it is usually fatal once contracted. It is passed on by fleas and biting insects which is why it becomes more prevalent during the summer months.

VHD (viral haemorrhagic disease) is highly contagious and is spread not only by insect bites but also by contact with other rabbits. They suffer from a severe fever that often leads to fits, again it is very often fatal.

A combined vaccination can start from 5 weeks of age and then booster vaccines annually.

We also offer an additional RHD vaccine Filavac for rabbits at high risk eg those with contact with wild rabbits. This is given every 6 months.

These vaccinations are included as part of our Pet Health Club. Sign up today to receive this benefit and much more!

Diet/Feeding

Rabbits, like humans need variety in their diet, grass, greens, vegetables, hay, a good quality dried food and water – either in a bottle or bowl - should all be present in the diet – all in sensible quantities.

Rabbits are natural grazers so we should try and mimic this natural diet selection as closely as possible. This means:

  • Most of the diet should be made up of hay/grass/haylage – 80%
  • Supplement this with herbs and leafy vegetables e.g. cabbage, kale
  • Fruit and root vegetables should be fed as treats only
  • Dry nuggets should be only fed as a supplement and an egg cup size amount a day is sufficient – 25g/kg bodyweight

We recommend feeding Supa Rabbit Excel as the dried component of the diet. This food is full of all the vitamins and nutrients your rabbit requires. The complete nugget prevents selective feeding of the sweet fruity pieces. It is a single component food, high in beneficial fibre for digestive health and to wear their teeth down. Fresh drinking water must always also be available and should be refreshed daily.

Exercise

In their natural wild habitat rabbits move about all day, therefore daily exercise of some form should be available for pet rabbits. House rabbits of course should be allowed freedom to hop around, if using stairs or steps supervision should be available to prevent falling accidents.

Rabbits kept in hutches need access either to a run or time on the lawn, runs can be a safer option unless your garden is made rabbit proof, again if out on the lawn supervision may be required to ensure safety.

Hutches should be tall enough for your rabbit to stand on its back legs, and long enough to make 3 – 4 hops in each direction. A separate litter area is important.

Keep your rabbit stimulated with toys, hay balls, companionship and regular handling and grooming.

Insurance

Yes, insurance is for rabbits too!

You may think that a rabbit is not going to have expensive vets bills like dogs and cats, they may be not as expensive, but bills can soon mount up for rabbits.

A lot of pet rabbits suffer from dental problems due to poor nutrition and sometimes from hereditary conditions. They may require veterinary attention for the rest of their lives, and. as you can imagine, regular visits for trimming and sometimes dentistry under anaesthetic will become expensive and this is where your insurance will pay off.

Neutering

Just like cats and dogs it is now recommended to neuter domestic rabbits.

Female Rabbits - can spay from 5-6 months old and onwards

Rabbits, like cats have numerous reproductive cycles throughout the year and indeed, if allowed to mate could easily produce 4 or 5 litters each year.

A reproductive cycle will last for around 2 weeks and if she does not get mated will have a break of about 1 week and then start all over again.  This cycle will carry on for about 10 months of each year.  If however the doe does get mated, the baby rabbits (kits) will be born around 4-5 weeks later and then she will come back into season again ready to start the whole process again.

Spaying also prevents uterine cancer, can calm them down and make them less aggressive.

The operation to spay her does require a General Anaesthetic which, of course, carries a risk with smaller ‘exotic’ type animals. However modern anaesthetics are much safer than previous and we would only require her to stay as a ‘day patient’, which would entail you dropping her off with us around 8.45am and collecting her between 3 and 5pm. Full recovery from the procedure should be within 24hours.  

Male Rabbits - can be done from 6 months old and onwards

Buck rabbits become sexually mature around 5-8 months of age and unless castrated can also become quite aggressive and dominating with other rabbits and owners.

Castrating him will help to reduce aggressive an dominant behaviour, and also deter him from territory marking with urine around your house and garden.

As with the female the operation does require a general anaesthetic, but again it is a short procedure with a quick recovery and only requires a day patient stay.

Worming

Rabbits can suffer from intestinal worms such as dogs and cats so we advise treating twice a year with panacur paste wormer. This not only helps prevent intestinal parasites but also the parasite encephalitozoon cuniculi which causes many different forms of illness and can ultimately be fatal.

More Information

Regular grooming and checking of your rabbit is essential to maintain a healthy rabbit. Get him used to being handled on a daily basis – this will make it much easier and less stressful should you need to visit the surgery with him.

When handling, check him over to make sure everything is ok:

  • Eyes – bright and clean, no discharge
  • Ears – clean and free from dirt
  • Mouth – no drooling and eating well
  • Coat – no scurf and clean
  • Under the tail – free from faeces and dry
  • Feet – toe nails are not overgrown

If anything does not look as it should, call the surgery and ask advice from one of our nursing team.  

During the summer months it is even more important to check your rabbit over on a daily basis, rabbits who do not always clean themselves properly or have loose faeces can very quickly develop a build up of faeces around their bottom and their tail.

If this is left and not cleaned off a condition called ‘fly strike’ can develop … flies will buzz round and lay their eggs on the rabbit and the faeces, once these eggs hatch the maggots will then live on your rabbit and if not removed will eat into the skin, causing a severe infection which will quickly debilitate the rabbit and can sometimes even prove fatal if left unattended.

If you see anything on your rabbit that could be fly strike please telephone for an appointment straight away, the sooner we act the sooner your rabbit will recover.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the practice.

Practice information

Boston Spa

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  • Mon
    8:30am – 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am – 6:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am – 6:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am – 6:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am – 6:00pm
  • Sat
    8:30am – 12:30pm
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

01937 842210
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Find us here:

106 High Street Boston Spa LS23 6DR
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01937 842210

Garforth

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  • Mon
    8:45am – 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:45am – 6:00pm
  • Wed
    8:45am – 6:00pm
  • Thu
    8:45am – 6:00pm
  • Fri
    8:45am – 6:00pm
  • Sat
    2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

01937 842210
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Find us here:

Station Yard Station Road Garforth LS25 1PY
get directions with Google Maps
Back

Please call this number for emergencies:

01937 842210