cute long eared rabbit to see rabbit vets

Rabbit Care

Rabbit vets provide rabbit care that is essential for a healthy rabbit. Our rabbit vets hope you will view our rabbit care guide and sick rabbit signs to ensure your rabbit stays healthy. Rabbits can make wonderful pets and a rabbit vet you trust can help you keep them healthy. Rabbits have their own individual personalities with most being friendly and playful. They can also be trained to use a litter box and learn commands. There are lots of different breeds of rabbits varying greatly in size and appearance. Be sure to always handle your rabbit carefully and provide support to their back and legs – rabbits can be more fragile and delicate than they appear! Call our rabbit vets if you have any questions or see signs of illness.

Download the Rabbit Care Guide

When should I bring my sick rabbit to the vet?

  • Decreased appetite or not eating for 6-12 hours
  • Decreased fecal production
  • Smaller poops
  • Straining to urinate
  • Lethargic
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Actively bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Unresponsive, unconscious or limp
  • Seizures
  • Loss of balance or head tilt

Rabbit Health Care

  • Rabbits by nature hide symptoms and signs of illnesses making early detection of disease difficult
  • New patient exams and yearly examinations are therefore strongly recommended to help your rabbit live a long and happy life
  • From 4 years of age annual bloodwork is also recommended to detect the earliest onset of disease.
  • Spaying and neutering of rabbits are recommended for health and welfare benefits.
  • Approximately 80% of intact female rabbits are reported to have cancer of the reproductive tract by the age of 3 years old. Having your rabbit spayed at an early age significantly reduces this risk.
  • If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s behavior, appetite or bowel movements we would recommend contacting your veterinarian immediately.

Rabbit Housing

Cage:

  • Avoid wire bottom cages as these can cause injuries and pressure sores
  • Minimum of 2×3 feet for small breeds and 3×4 for large breeds

Bedding/litter:

  • Always use unscented bedding and avoid cedar and pine shavings – strongly smelling bedding can cause irritation to the nose and lungs and contribute to respiratory disease.
  • CareFresh or recycled newspaper beddings (eg Yesterday’s News) are recommended as they are good absorbable unscented materials.
  • Always have a litter box available
  • Ensure to clean the bedding regularly – spot cleans the bedding/litter box daily and changes all the bedding 1-2 times a week.

Rabbit Diet

  • Always have fresh water available

Hay

  • 75-80% of the diet should be good quality hay as this helps regulate their digestive system and helps prevent dental diseases.
  • Ensure hay is always readily available.
  • Timothy hay is recommended however other alternatives include botanical and oat hays if your rabbit won’t eat timothy hay.
  • If you are having difficulties encouraging your rabbit to eat enough hay contact your veterinarian to discuss tips and tricks to help.
  • Avoid alfalfa hay once your rabbit is an adult as it has a high calcium content that can contribute to the formation of calcium stones within the urinary system
  • Always ensure your hay is fresh and free from mold.

Pellets

  • Rabbit pellets provide a balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • Avoid pellets that are sold as “mixes” containing seeds, fruits or nuts – your rabbit may pick out their favorite food and often not obtain the balanced diet they need. They can also be too high in fats leading to excessive weight gain
  • Use a timothy hay based pellet
  • As a guide feed 1/8th to 1/4 cup of pellets once per day for an average sized adult rabbit. Please discuss specific requirements for your rabbit’s exact needs with your veterinarian.

Fresh Produce

  • Introduce vegetables slowly and one at a time to your rabbit to prevent diarrhea.
  • Avoid dark leafy green vegetables as these are high in calcium which can lead to bladder stones. This includes dandelion greens, collard greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, and parsley.
  • 1-2 cups of fresh greens such as romaine lettuce, red/green leaf lettuce, arugula, and watercress can be offered daily
  • Offer small pieces of fruits and other vegetables such as bell peppers or carrots as occasional treats.

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