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Rabbit Advice from Anicare for Easter Bunnies and all year round!

mocha

Happy Easter!

With Easter coming up we at Anicare think it’s a good opportunity to remind all rabbit owners how best to take care of your furry friends. Rabbits are the third most common species (after dogs and cats) for our Anicare vets to see at our Dublin based vet clinics. Rabbits can make great pets and our aim is to ensure we have great rabbit pet owners too!

Housing – Rabbits can be indoor or outdoor pets. If they are outdoor pets they should have a large hutch and the freedom of the garden daily for a stretch of the legs. Rabbits can be litter trained and learn to live indoors. Again it is important that indoor rabbits can have daily exercise within the house. Be warned that rabbits tend to chew through cables so you will need to rabbit proof your home before letting your pet loose!

Diet is probably the most important consideration in looking after your pet rabbit. The most important component of your rabbit’s diet is a good quality grass and/or hay. This keeps the intestinal tract healthy and ensures good dental health. Unlimited fresh hay/ grass should always be available. Approximately 75% of your rabbit’s diet should be grass/ hay, while the remaining can be made up of good quality pellets (e.g. ‘Burgess Excel’) and fresh fruit and veg (e.g. cabbage, carrots, apples). Clean fresh water should be available at all times. Signs of dental disease will be a reduced appetite, drooling or wet chin or your rabbit not being himself. Please call any of our Dublin vet clinics if you have concerns about dental disease because this is not a problem that will go away untreated.

Vaccination – Anicare vets highly recommend vaccinating your rabbit against two serious viral diseases – Myxomatosis and Viral Hameorrhagic Disease (VHD). A combined vaccination is available at our Dublin vet clinics. It can be given from 5 weeks of age and a booster vaccination is required annually. A thorough health check and consultation with one of our vets is performed at vaccination time.

Neutering – Anicare recommends that your rabbit is neutered at 6 months old.  Neutered rabbits are generally healthier and live longer than un-neutered rabbits.  Female rabbits can commonly suffer from womb cancers and these are virtually eliminated by spaying your female rabbit. Neutered rabbits tend to be calmer, easier to litter train and handle, less destructive and less aggressive. If a male and female rabbit are housed together neutering may need to be performed at 4 months of age.

Signs of Illness – If your rabbit stops eating or passing poo, it is very important to make an appointment to see the vet immediately. Rabbits can suffer with ‘gut stasis’, where their intestine stops functioning properly. This can be potentially life-threatening. There are numerous causes but poor diet, dental disease or stress are some of the more common causes. The vet can give important effective treatment if detected early by owners at home. Other common ailments we see at our Dublin vet clinics would be respiratory infections, skin infections, dental disease etc.

Please call any of our Dublin vet branches to make an appointment if you have any concerns or if your rabbit is due a checkup.

Above is a picture of Mocha the rabbit. She is a 9 month old dutch rabbit that belongs to Blanchardstown Veterinary Hospital nurse Aine. Mocha was found in the city centre last year by a member of the public and Aine fell in love with her so decided to give her a forever home. Happy Easter from Mocha and all the staff at Anicare Veterinary Group!

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