Improving Rabbit Awareness

Improving Rabbit Awareness

From the 18th June Rabbit Awareness Week will spring into action with events and special offers throughout the UK.

Did you know that rabbits are “fibrevores”? This means that fibre is essential for their dental, digestive and emotional health. A massive 85% of your rabbit’s diet should be grass or good quality hay.

Rabbit teeth grow continuously and the only natural way to for them to maintain short and smooth teeth is through chewing grass and hay. A lack of fibre in their diet often means that they are unable to grind their teeth and as a result overgrowths can form, producing painful ulcers on the tongue and cheek. A general anaesthetic and specialist dental surgery usually is needed to resolve this problem.

On the topic of pain, did you know that when rabbits are in pain they can become anorexic and their gut functions can slow down, causing a condition known as Ileus? Ileus causes an imbalance of bacteria, producing excessive gas and severe pain, perpetuating the problem. In severe cases the gut can stop functioning completely, resulting in an untimely death.

Did you know that it’s coming up to ‘Flystrike’ season? Eggs from the Blowfly are laid in a rabbit’s fur and within 12 hours the disease can be severe, with maggots consuming the flesh. Flystrike can occur in any rabbit, but those with intestinal disease or dental disease which result in a ‘claggy’ bottom are more susceptible.

Did you know? A common misconception is that rabbits that aren’t in contact with their wild kin don’t need to be vaccinated. Unfortunately diseases such as Myxamatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease can spread through many vectors, including midges.

It can be very rewarding to own a rabbit, but they are quite unique in their needs, habits and health needs. By being aware of what your rabbit needs you can ensure they have a long, happy and healthy life.

If you have any concerns or questions about the health of your rabbits and how to care for them, make sure to contact your vet.