rabbit

Welcome to your Rabbit and you

This leaflet is designed to highlight some of the information you need to care for your rabbit.  If you have any questions about the information in this leaflet, or feel that there is anything that we may have missed, please ask a member of staff who will be more than happy to help.

VACCINATIONS

Rabbits may be vaccinated from 6 weeks of age against myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD).   Myxomatosis is a virus spread by blood sucking insects such as fleas or mosquitoes and can affect all breeds of rabbits including house rabbits.  Myxomatosis is a severe infection and even with intensive nursing many rabbits will unfortunately die.  VHD is spread by direct contact between rabbits and also indirect contact e.g. people, clothing, shoes or inanimate objects.  VHD boosters are given annually.  Both of the above diseases are very serious and vaccination is highly recommended as a preventative measure. We administer a combined vaccination for VHD and Myxomatosis once a year.

WORMING

We recommend worming your rabbit to help prevent intestinal worms and aid in the control of Encephalitozoon cuniculi.  We recommend that you worm your rabbit 2-4 times a year.  E.cuniculi is a parasite which can cause a head tilt, collapse, urinary incontinence, an inability to stand and death.  Transmission is via the urine, contaminated food or water.  We advise that you treat any new rabbit additions to your household.

INSECT PARASITE CONTROL

Myiasis (fly strike) is a maggot infestation caused by blowflies.  This can seriously affect your rabbit’s health. The risk of this occurring is increased in obese rabbits, those with dental problems, diarrhoea or skin wounds.  We recommend that you check your rabbit twice daily.  The vet will also show you how to give your rabbit a mini health check.  Preventative spot-on’s are available at the surgery, which can help prevent fly strike, lice and fleas.

NEUTERING

Both male and female rabbits can be neutered, generally from 3 months of age.  Neutering is recommended for health benefits as just like in cats and dogs.  As with cats and dogs, neutered rabbits can be prone to putting on more weight, so care needs to be taken to encourage exercise and not allow over eating.

FEEDING

We recommend that hay or grass should be available to your rabbit at all times.  This closely resembles their diet in the wild, it will help to wear down the teeth and keep the gastrointestinal system happy and healthy.  Fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, parsley, kale and carrots are also important.  Commercial diets in the form of nuggets (where all of the food looks the same colour and size) are better than muesli, because rabbits pick out the bits they like, leaving the nutritional parts behind leading to an unbalanced diet.  Rabbits should be aiming to eat 80% hay or grass, 10-15% greens and only 5-10% commercial diet.  (No more than 25g per kg bodyweight).  Fresh water should be available at all times.

EXERCISE

It is important for your rabbit to get exercise to stay healthy.  Many rabbits will play football and enjoy other types of play.

TEETH

Rabbit’s teeth grow throughout their life.  It is important for them to be worn down by abrasive hay and grass in their diet.  If teeth overgrow they will require dental work by the vet.  Signs to watch for are drooling, a poor appetite and sometimes discharge around the eyes.

INSURANCE

Like all of your valuable possessions, your rabbit can be insured against problems.  There are many insurance companies offering these services independently of Ark Veterinary Surgery.  We recommend pet insurance since it can bring peace of mind that the best treatment can be given with out the worry of large bills. Membership plans are available which will give you peace of mind and help spread the cost of treatment. Call or pop in for more details.  Click here for more details

APPOINTMENTS

The surgery has appointments for consultations; each appointment is a minimum of 10 minutes. You can make an appointment by phone or in person but if you are unable to attend the appointment, please contact the surgery so that we can offer it to another client.

EMERGENCIES

The practice vets work a shared rota for emergency work.  This provides a vet on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year by way of a paging service.  If you have an emergency situation outside normal hours, please phone the surgery and follow the instructions.  The vet will then phone you back and either offer advice or make arrangements to meet you at the surgery.

PAYMENT

Ark veterinary surgery aims to provide you with the highest standard of care and advice.  Like all businesses we charge for this service and our products.  Invoices are to be settled at the time of treatment.  If your pet has to stay with us for any treatment then we will be happy to provide you with an estimate of treatment costs, just ask!

If you animal is insured and the treatment they are having is over £250 we can offer to do a direct claim from the insurance company, we would ask that you pay the insurance excess and a handling fee of £20 if you choose this option at the time of treatment.

Finally, we wish you well in the years to come and feel free to contact us should you have any concerns.