Keeping Rabbits Healthy

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Keeping Rabbits Healthy

Vaccinations Which diseases are covered by vaccination? Health care Flystrike Fleas, Lice, Mites and Worms Neutering Register your rabbit with a vet When you get a new rabbit you should register with a vet as soon as possible for a health check and to arrange vaccinations.   Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation.  Vaccinations When your rabbit is about 8 weeks old you should start their vaccinations.  There are 2 shots which are given 2 weeks apart.   Boosters are given twelve months after the starter course and your vet will tell you when they are next due.  If you live in a high risk area your rabbit should receive vaccination against Myxomatosis every 6 months. BackTo Top Which diseases are covered by vaccination? Myxomatosis – a fatal, highly contagious disease.  Transmitted by biting insects and direct contact with infected rabbits or hares.  Symptoms include swollen, runny eyes, blindness, swollen genitals, swelling in the head, thick pus discharge from the nose and lumps on the body. Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) – a fatal, highly contagious disease.  Transmitted by direct contact by biting insects or infected rabbits and indirect contact via contaminated food, bedding or water.  VHD is also transmitted via humans or animals that are carrying the disease on clothing, hands or fur.  Symptoms include lethargy, collapsing, convulsions, lack of co-ordination, paralysis, breathing difficulties, bloody discharge from the nose, jaundice, weight loss, fever and groaning.  However many rabbits show no symptoms at all and are simply found dead. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation.   BackTo Top Health Care You can tell if your rabbit is feeling ill or is in pain by their behaviour.  If you notice that they are not eating or drinking, or are quieter than usual this could be a sign of illness.   Rabbits that are stressed are much more likely to become ill. Ears - Always check your rabbit’s ears regularly.  If your rabbit is shaking their head constantly, scratching at their ears or if you notice any signs of brown matter it could be a sign of ear mange (canker) caused by mites.  There are lots of anti-parasitic products available that you can use against mites and its also best to dispose of all dusty hay and bedding as well.  Ear infections can also cause Head Tilt – this can be very serious and you should seek veterinary attention immediately. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Eyes - Your rabbits eyes should be bright and clear, with no signs of runniness, redness, swelling or soreness.  Sore or swollen eyes can also be a sign of dental problems such as abscesses – if in doubt ask your vets advice.  Rabbits can develop eye infections caused by dust and bedding that they kick about in their hutch.  Eye gels are available for rabbits that suffer from this and you should contact your vet for anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatments.  Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Nose - Your rabbits nose should not be crusty, or runny.  If your rabbit is sneezing and snuffling you should contact your vet. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation.   Teeth - Your rabbit’s teeth continue to grow throughout their life and this can become a problem for pet rabbits.  To keep your rabbits teeth trim supply them with abrasive hard food (root vegetables and pellets) and gnawing blocks.  Overgrown teeth can be trimmed by your vet.  If your rabbit goes off their food it can mean that there is an underlying dental problem and urgent veterinary attention is needed. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Visit our rabbit Products section for a selection of mineral, bark and twig treats for rabbits. Diarrhea – Diarrhea can be fatal for rabbits and if your rabbit has severe symptoms they need the immediate attention of a vet.  Your rabbit may have diarrhea from an underlying illness, a dietary disorder or most commonly being fed too many greens/vegetables.  Mild diarrhea in adult rabbits may be cured by not giving any greens for 24 hours. Feed only hay and water. View our rabbit Feeding Advice to learn more Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Hairballs – Rabbits are prone to hairballs as they ingest fur when they are grooming themselves.  As rabbits are unable to vomit, the swallowed fur can cause digestive problems and blockages in your rabbits stomach. Signs that your rabbit may have a hairball are pieces of fur in their faeces, lethargy and weight loss.  Rabbit hairballs must be treated immediately or they may cause the animal to stop feeding and ultimately die due to dehydration.  There are products available that act as laxatives to relieve the symptoms and it is best to ask your vet for advice. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Claws - in the wild rabbits claws are worn down naturally by burrowing; in captivity they will need clipping.   A rabbits claws are living tissue with a blood filled vein (a quick).  If you clip your rabbits claws too close to the quick this can hurt them and cause bleeding.  Understandably owners can be nervous of clipping their own rabbits claws.  If you have not clipped your rabbits claws before we recommend that you contact your vet who can either clip them for you or show you how. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Obesity – obesity can affect rabbits that are shut up for long periods in a confined space.  Your rabbit needs 4 hours of exercise and active play in their rabbit run every day.  A good diet will help your rabbit stay fit and trim - feed more hay and less high calorie foods such as grains and pellets. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Visit our rabbit Feeding Advice to learn more about healthy foods for rabbits. BackTo Top Flystrike Flystrike can be fatal. Flies lay their eggs in soiled fur under the rabbit’s tail and can be a particular problem in summer.  Long haired rabbits are especially vulnerable. The maggots hatch out 12-24 hours later and burrow into the flesh.  Check every day to make sure your rabbit and the hutch and bedding are clean and fresh.  In the summer, Flystrike can happen in as little as a few hours, so its advisable that your rabbit is checked at least twice a day during this time of year.   To help prevent Flystrike remove soiled bedding daily.  Products are available to prevent Flystrike but if you think your rabbit is affected seek immediate veterinary attention. Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Visit our rabbit Products section for a selection of flystrike prevention products. BackTo Top Fleas, Lice, Mites and Worms Fleas - Fleas can be a problem at any time of year and if your rabbit is scratching a lot she probably has fleas.  Fleas are hard to spot but you may see small black bits of dirt on their skin and coat which are their feaces.  Fleas spread the disease Myxomatosis (see Vaccinations above). To get rid of fleas you have to treat your rabbits hutch as well as your rabbit to break the flea life cycle.   Bedding should be destroyed and the hutch scrubbed with an appropriate insecticide.  Your rabbit should have regular treatments for fleas to prevent them reoccurring. There are several treatments for your rabbit - Flea Drops, Tablets, Spray and Powder.  Only use rabbit flea products and not ones for other animals as they may seriously harm your rabbit.    Petstop is licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic, that provide an effective, long lasting treatment. Our qualified staff can dispense these treatments without consultation fees.    They are much stronger than the standard off the shelf products and have faster acting active ingredients. Visit our rabbit Products section for a selection of flea treatments Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation. Lice – Signs that your rabbit has lice are continued scratching and tiny white eggs (nits) attached to their fur.   Lice can be destroyed by insecticide powders and sprays.  Several applications are necessary to eliminate the succeeding generations of lice emerging from the nits. Mites – There are several different mites that can affect your rabbit.  Signs of mites are scratching, brown matter in the ears, bald patches on the coat and irritated broken skin.   Our qualified staff at Petstop are licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic.   Visit our rabbit Products section for a selection of mites and lice treatments Call Vet Clinic at Petstop for a consultation.     Worms – Worms can cause ill health in rabbits as well as posing a risk to people. Symptoms are difficult to spot, but can include loss of condition and diarrhea. Petstop is licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic, that provide an effective, long lasting treatment. Our qualified staff can dispense these treatments without consultation fees.    They are much stronger than the standard off the shelf products and have faster acting active ingredients. Visit our rabbit Products section for a selection of worm treatments BackTo Top Neutering We highly recommend that you neuter your rabbit.  Neutering your rabbit not only prevents unwanted breeding, but it also has significant health and behavioural benefits.  Neutered rabbits are more sociable, live longer and are easier to manage.  They are also less destructive and less aggressive.   80% of female rabbits (does) die of uterine cancer by the age of 5 but this is an illness that can easily be prevented by neutering your female rabbit while she is young and in good health. If you keep a male rabbit (buck) and a doe together that have not been neutered be warned - a doe can become pregnant at 5 months old, produce approximately 30 young in a single breeding season and can become pregnant again within hours of giving birth! Neutering reduces aggression and territorial behaviour.  Bucks that have not been neutered can spray urine and attack other rabbits.  Does that have not been spayed can also be aggressive towards other rabbits and can suffer from repeated phantom pregnancies, constantly pulling out their own fur in order to line a nest. While bucks can be neutered as soon as the testicles descend (usually around 14 weeks of age), the operation is not carried out on does until they are around 6 months old. BackTo Top