Did you know Rabbit Awareness Week, from the 17th to 25th June?
Every year in the summer The RSPCA, PDSA, Blue Cross and the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, amongst others, join together to promote rabbit health and wellbeing. With rabbits being the fourth most popular pet in the UK, that’s a lot of pets benefitting from increased awareness of their special living and health requirements! For more information visit: http://www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk/
We are bringing you great tips this week to help you care for your rabbit:
Tuesday’s Tip Did you know that rabbits are very social animals? In the wild they live in large groups and need the company of other rabbits to thrive. If your rabbit lives alone, and you can’t spend most of your time with him or her, please consider getting a companion. As demonstrated on the recent TV series ‘Trust Me, I’m A Vet’, rabbits living together show much less signs of stress and are much more active than rabbits living alone.
It can be complicated introducing new rabbits to each other, but we think it’s worth it! We are happy to give advice how to go about it. Give the practice a call today on 0141 889 3010.
Wednesday’s Wisdom Today’s nugget of rabbit information is about healthcare of your pet. One thing to remember is that rabbits are prey species and so will hide signs that they are having problems. Usually, by the time they look sick, they are very ill indeed. Frequent health and weight checks with your vet can help pick up problems as they occur and before they become untreatable.
The most common problems we see in rabbits are obesity, dental problems and flystrike. The first two we will touch more on in Friday’s discussion and are related to diet.
Flystrike is something we see in rabbits where either they are too fat or too painful to get round to clean their back ends, or if they are sitting in damp, dirty areas of their hutches and runs. The skin gets broken and infected, and flies are attracted to the smell and lay eggs. These hatch into maggots which rapidly burrow their way down and effectively eat the rabbit alive. It is important to check rabbits daily by picking them up and checking underneath and around their tails. Rabbits who are overweight or who have mobility problems such as arthritis will need checked more frequently than this.
Other conditions we see often in rabbits are respiratory infections and arthritis. Both are treatable and improve quality of life for your pets. If you would like to find out more about your rabbit’s health, phone us on 0141 889 3010 to book an appointment. Thursday’s Two Cents Rabbits range over a large area (up to the size of 30 tennis courts!) to forage for food. They also have large tunnels and burrows to hide, rest and sleep in. So you can see how keeping your rabbit in a small hutch can result in stress and an unhappy bunny if they are unable to express their natural behaviours.
An ideal hutch should have a separate sleeping area for each rabbit plus a large area to enable them to sleep together if they wish. Your rabbit should be able to make three to four hops in a straight line, stand up on its back legs without touching the roof, and be able to rest fully stretched out. There should be a large outdoor area to enable them to play, run about, and jump in. Adding toys or furniture for the rabbits to investigate and play with can reduce boredom and improve the quality of life of your pets. Plastic tunnels and things to sit up on often go down well, and there should be several things to hide under.
Friday’s Lowdown Today’s discussion is about diet. The most common problems we see in pet rabbits are bad teeth and obesity. Both are a result of poor diet and are easily prevented!
Rabbit have evolved to eat very abrasive material (mainly grasses) and as such, their teeth will continue to grow throughout their lives. When they don’t get enough abrasive food to eat, their teeth tend to overgrow. Mild changes are treatable, but in moderate to severe cases, once the teeth are out of shape they will never be normal. These rabbits require regular dental checkups and often need frequent dental treatment under anaesthetic. Prevention is so much better (and cheaper) than cure, so make sure your rabbit is eating the proper food.
Rabbits should be eating a portion of hay as big as their body every day. If it is good quality hay, they don’t need anything else to eat, but you can supplement their daily ration with SMALL amounts of leafy green vegetables, for example kale, carrot tops or broccoli, or go and pick them some dandelion leaves from outside (but do be careful that they haven’t been sprayed with weedkiller). If your rabbit isn’t that keen on hay, try getting a different variety of hay e.g. western timothy. Some rabbits also prefer eating it if it is kept off the ground (for example in a manger or hay net) – you don’t like eating food off the floor and neither do they! You can also feed pelleted grass/hay, but avoid feeding muesli-type diets: the rabbits tend to pick out the tastier (read: higher calorie!) bits and leave the rest, risking obesity if that is all they get. The muesli based diets are higher in calories and rabbits will eat less hay as a result, leading to tooth problems again. As a rule of thumb, if the rabbit takes more than ten minutes to eat what’s in the bottom of their bowl, it’s too much. Over 90% of what they eat should be hay or fresh grass.
Last but not least, rabbits should have fresh water freely available. Some rabbits prefer bowls, other prefer drinker bottles – try both and find out which your rabbit prefers!
To book an appointment please get in touch with the team: 0141 889 3010 | email@example.com 52 Love Street | Paisley | PA3 2DY