So the Easter Bunny decided to stay after the Easter break…… It probably was an exhausting period for the wee tyke and after such adventure and hard work delivering Easter eggs around the world, it would be great idea to have him/her health checked by your nearest Vets4Pets rabbit veterinarian.
Bunnies are great pets, and if looked after well can live as long as dogs and cats. There are a few important things to realise about owning a rabbit that we would like you to know. Firstly, they should be health checked by your vet and vaccinated for calicivirus yearly. Their dental health will also be assessed as bad teeth can lead to a very crook bunny. Your vet will also talk about other aspects of their care
Other routine aspects of care should include being wormed monthly and faeces dropped off once to twice a year to be screened for coccidia. Another important point is that they are desexed around 4-6months old to avoid some tumours and behavioural problems.
Despite delivering chocolates to everyone, good bunny food is critical to its health! Please talk to one of our vets in this regard, as most rabbit health problems are due to poor nutrition. Importantly, they should be fed mostly hay (growing rabbits = lucerne hay whilst mature rabbits grass, timothy hay or meadow hay), and then given a cup of vegetables (dark leafy greens are best with brassicas only given a few times a week). Rabbit pellets are too high in protein and low in fibre and often cause dental and intestinal disease. They should be avoided unless very high quality and only about 50g/kg/day. We recommend Oxbow Rabbit Pellets. Food and water should be changed daily.
They are very affectionate and can be trained to do tricks, and should not just be left in a hutch without interaction and entertainment. Ideally, they should be allowed to have a supervised run around the house for at least an hour to decrease the chance of obesity and to entertain them. Their hutch should be sheltered from the elements, especially heat as they can suffer heat stress at temperatures over 25°C. The litter tray should be changed daily, and hutched cleaned weekly to avoid ammonia build up which can cause respiratory diseases.
Finally, groom your rabbit daily especially if you only have one rabbit. Using a soft brush to gentle stroke out excessive fur can prevent matts forming and reduce the chance of hairballs obstructing your bunny.
And most of all, have fun. They are great little critters, full of personality which can be quite cheeky.
Happy belated Easter from Vets4Pets!
Dr Robert Turner
Vets4Pets Dernancourt Clinic