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Category: General health care

Routine healthcare is as important in rabbits as in other pets. You should regularly examine your pet paying particular attention to their teeth and claws to make sure these are not overgrowing. If you groom your rabbit regularly you should be able to detect any problems with their skin or fur quite quickly. Particularly in summer months, it is essential to check that there is no soiling around your rabbit’s bottom as this is quite a common problem and can result in fly strike (where flies lay eggs in the soiled coat and maggots infest the skin) which can make your pet very sick very quickly.

If you suspect that your rabbit is unwell in any way it is important to seek advice from your vet as soon as possible. Rabbits can often go downhill very quickly particularly if they stop eating for any reason. Your vet will able to discuss with you what the best treatment for your rabbit is.

Muscular dystrophy and other muscular conditions in rabbits

Generalised muscle weakness in rabbits has numerous causes, many of which are extremely rare or have never been conclusively diagnosed in rabbits, but are important to discuss. By its definition, muscular dystrophy is defined as a degeneration of muscular tissue sometimes

Hip luxation in rabbits

Luxation (dislocation) is defined as 'dislocation of a joint so that there is no contact between the articular surfaces'. Rabbits have very delicate skeletons, and as their muscle mass is large relative to their skeleton injuries to joints can easily be

Arthritis in rabbits

Arthritis is a well-known, documented condition affecting humans, cats and dogs; however rabbits can often be affected, especially as they get older, and sometimes this can go un-noticed. What is arthritis? Arthritis is a general term given to the inflammation

X-rays and ultrasound of the rabbit

Veterinary medicine has made many advances in the last 10 years and many local veterinary practices will now be able to perform x-rays and ultrasound examinations. Why does my vet need to do tests on my rabbit? Your vet can

Vaccinations – essential protection for your rabbit

There are several highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases that can affect your rabbit. Fortunately, vaccines have been produced that will protect your rabbit against two of these - myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease. To ensure that your rabbit is

Syringe feeding your rabbit

Syringe feeding (or force feeding) your rabbit is a very important part of recovery from gastrointestinal stasis (gut stasis), and in some cases is the most important part of recovering from surgery or illness. If you need to continue syringe

Red urine in rabbits

Bloody urine is rare in rabbits and rodents. Cases of bloody urine in rabbits often turn out to be normal rabbit urine which is simply a deep red colour due to the extretion of plant pigments within the diet. True cases of

Rabbit samples – how they help your vet

Laboratory tests are used by vets to help them diagnose disease in sick pets. Increasingly they are also used as part of a routine health check to detect hidden disease before the development of obvious symptoms. This allows your rabbit

Rabbit emergencies

Unfortunately, rabbit owners may have to deal with an emergency involving their pet. It is essential to know how to recognize and deal with such emergencies before they arise and to know who to contact when they do. Immediate veterinary

Peritonitis in rabbits

Peritonitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs. Peritonitis can be very severe in rabbits and life threatening in many

Overgrown teeth in rabbits

The incisors, premolars, and molars of rabbits grow throughout life. Rabbits do not possess any canine teeth, but do have peg teeth which sit just behind the upper incisors. The normal length is maintained by the wearing action of opposing teeth. Malocclusion

Options for euthanasia in the rabbit

The life expectancy of a pet rabbit is generally much longer than that of a rabbit living in the wild. On average a pet rabbit may live for about 6-8 years and some even survive past 10 years. But at

Injection techniques in rabbits

Administration of medicine by injection is often referred to as giving by the parenteral route (this means that the treatment does not enter the body via the gut). Effective administration of medicine is a key part of most veterinary treatments

Hyperthermia in the rabbit – overheating

With their dense fur, healthy rabbits in a sheltered environment are tolerant of low temperatures, but cannot tolerate damp or draughty conditions. On the other hand, they cannot pant effectively and don't sweat, therefore are susceptible to overheating. Unfortunately, even

How to clip your rabbit’s claws

Clipping your own rabbit's claws may be something that you feel you would like to do instead of taking your rabbit to the vets and asking your vet or nurse to do it for you. If your rabbit is known to

How to check your rabbit’s teeth

Small dental problems often go undetected in the early stages but as rabbit's teeth grow continuously (2-3 mm per week), small problems can quickly become major problems. It is therefore important to check your rabbit's teeth frequently - perhaps on

Giving your rabbit medicines

Effective administration of medicine is a key part of most veterinary treatments. In many cases Veterinary Nurses are responsible for administration of medicines to hospitalised patients. It is also important to ensure that you are able to continue medicine administration

Giving your rabbit a health check

It is important to give your rabbit a thorough health check every so often to ensure they are healthy and so any problems can be detected early and treatment commenced as soon as possible. Problems that are treated early stand

Computed tomography and Magnetic resonancy imaging

Until a few years ago, diagnostic imaging was limited to radiography (x-rays), ultrasound and endoscopy. Although these are still very useful diagnostic tools, there are now far more advanced diagnostic imaging methods, such as Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance

Common cancers seen in rabbits

Sadly, from time to time, rabbits can be affected by cancer, which can take many different forms. Some cancers are more common than others and this factsheet will aim to look at those more commonly seen in pet rabbits. What is cancer?

Caring for your rabbit before and after surgery

Many rabbits will have an operation at some stage in their life, eg for neutering (spaying or castration) or to treat a disease. Nowadays most operations in rabbits are fairly safe but the success of treatment and recovery depends to

Caring for an ill rabbit

At some point it is highly likely that you will have to look after an ill rabbit. Rabbits are often stressed in a veterinary environment, so when your vet feels that your rabbit is well enough to go home they