Rabbits General Health Care

Rabbit Diet

Feeding the wrong diet is one of the main reasons for most of the health problems with witch rabbits present to the vet. These can include:
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Overgrown incisors
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Sharp edges on the molar teeth cutting the tongue or cheeks
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Tooth root abscess
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Diarrhoea
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White Discharge from the eye corner due to blocked naso-lacral duct
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Poor condition leading to susceptibility to other disease

The correct rabbit diet

Rabbit teeth grow continuously and if they don’t grind them down it leads to overgrown teeth. They need lots of fibrous food like grass and hay and even twigs (from fruit trees or indigenous plants) to keep the teeth short.
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80% Hay and grass (Timothy Hay)
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12 % Green leafy vegetables
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6 % Pellets
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2 % Treats like apple and carrots

Rabbit Sterilisation

Rabbits reach sexual maturity at 16-24 weeks (4-5 months) and can become pregnant any time after that.
Best time to sterilise your rabbit is from 4 months of age.

Getting Your Rabbit Spayed at Hilton Vet

The big ears made it easy to insert the drip and monitor vital signs during the procedure

Reasons to sterilise Females rabbits

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Prevention of uterus tumours. (70% of unsterilized rabbits will develop uterine tumours by the age of 7 years)

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Stop aggression towards other rabbits and people

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Prevents pregnancy

The Procedure:

Do NOT fast your rabbit before you bring her to the hospital. Please bring a small lunch pack with when you drop her off at Hilton Vet. We need to give it to her as soon as she wakes up from anaesthesia.

Your rabbit will get an intramuscular sedation that will make her fall asleep in 5 to 10 minutes. Once she is asleep the vet will place an intravenous fluid drip in the lateral ear vein. The drip fluid is warmed and will maintain a good body temperature. It will make sure the blood pressure is stable and she is nicely hydrated. We then clip the fur on the tummy and prepare the area for surgery. She will then be placed on gas anaesthesia for the duration of the surgery. A two cm incision in made just behind the bellybutton and the uterus and ovaries are removed. The abdominal muscle and skin is closed with absorbable sutures. The sutures are hidden underneath the skin so our rabbit won’t be able to pull them out. There is no need to remove any stitches later on. Once she wakes up we give her the lunch pack that you left with her in the morning. As soon as she eats her food we know she is fine to go home. You will then get a phone call from us to organise a discharge time.

Rabbit Castration

Castration can be done from 4 months of age.

Reasons to castrate your male rabbit

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Stop him making female rabbits pregnant
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Stop aggression towards other rabbits and people
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Slow down the urge to escape to look for female rabbits

Rabbit Vaccination

Rabbits are vaccinated against Rabbit Calici Virus Disease (RCD). This is a deadly virus that spreads quickly through a rabbit population. It causes lethargy, anorexia, abdominal distention and diarrhoea. In only a few days the affected rabbit become hypothermic, can have convulsions and nose bleed. No treatment is effective and deaths follow soon after these symptoms are seen.

Young rabbits are vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks of age.

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Booster vaccinations: Once a year
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Research has found that the current Cylap RCD virus is affective against the new K5 Calici virus.

Fleas

We recommend Advantage top spot for rabbits. The kitten Advantage is the correct size for a fully grown rabbit and is safe to use. It can be used once a month. Make sure you treat all the pets in the household. Spray the environment with a Pyrethrin product and wait six hours before introducing the rabbit back to that area.

Rabbit Fur Mites

Fur Mites (Cheyletiella parasitovorax) cause a mild dermatitis in rabbits that can sometimes be inapparent to their pet parents. It presents as an area of dry skin, dandruff and mild hair loss on the back of neck or body. It can sometimes cause a mild irritation to the rabbit. Diagnosis is done by microscopic examination of a skin scrape or sticky tape test. The eggs are attached to the hair shafts and shed with the hair to contaminate the environment.

Treatment can be done with Advocate top spot for kittens. A dose of 0.1 ml per kg is applied between the shoulder blades. One treatment every 2 weeks for 3 treatments.

It is worthwhile to spray the environment with a Pyrethrin product and wait six hours before introducing the rabbit to that area.

Rabbit Ear Mites

Ear mites (Psoroptes Caniculi) causes inflammation and crusting in the ear canal. Affected rabbits shake their heads and scratch at the ears. The mites can spread to other parts of the body in debilitated rabbits. Diagnosis is made by observing the mites with an otoscope or under a microscope.

Treatment can be done with Advocate top spot for kittens. A dose of 0.1 ml per kg is applied between the shoulder blades. One treatment every 2 weeks for 3 treatments.

Maggots

The area under the tail is most often affected. To prevent maggot infestation, make sure the area below your rabbit’s tail is always dry and clean. Prevent flies from reaching your rabbit, by putting fly screen over the outside rabbit hutch.

Veterinary treatment is most often needed. The hair is clipped around the affected area and the maggots physically removed. Advocate top spot can be used. A dose of 0.1 ml per kg is applied between the shoulder blades. Antibiotics is often needed to treat the dermatitis.