Sadly there are many domestic rabbits that are not registered with a vet. This is worrying news as rabbits are at risk of several unpleasant and often fatal diseases, not to mention fleas and general ailments that can make their lives miserable. When you commit to a rabbit you commit to giving them the care that they need and this includes trips to the vets. Many of the rabbits that end up in rescue centres are abandoned simply because owners don’t consider the medical needs of a rabbit when they bring one home. So here’s a quick list of 5 reasons showing why rabbits need to have a vet.
Rabbits can suffer terribly with their teeth and according to RAW 75% of rabbits that are seen by vets are diagnosed with dental problems. Rabbits’ teeth don’t stop growing and domestic rabbits often fail to get the rough vegetation they need to keep their teeth in check. They can also suffer with dental disease, abscesses and cuts and irritation caused by sharp teeth. Take your rabbit to the vet if you notice they are not eating, they’ve lost weight or you notice they have a wet chin or notice they’re dribbling.
Flystrike can be deadly but it can be prevented by keeping the hitch and rabbit clean. Flystrike is caused by flies laying their eggs in sores on the rabbit, often around the rear end, the eggs hatch and turn into maggots that will eat the tissue and even ear into the abdomen. This causes a significant amount of pain and distress for the rabbit and many need to be put to sleep. Rabbits must go to the vets if you see any signs of flystrike or if you are concerned. It’s a sensible idea to go and ask your vet about the vaccination for flystrike as prevention is always better than the cure.
Mites and Worms
Mites can live in the fur and in the skin and ears of the rabbit, leading to sores and discomfort. Mites can be easily treated at the vets and it’s worth doing as mites can spread across species. Worms are also common in rabbits and they can lead to serious health conditions such as kidney diseases, loss of sight and seizures. Use a rabbit wormer available from your vet to protect your bunny.
Rabbits need to be vaccinated against myxomatosis as soon as they reach 6 weeks old and then every 6 months after, for as long as they live. This disease is spread by fleas and causes swellings around the face and backside of the rabbit. Flea protection is also required all year round for added protection.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease
Go and visit the bet to get the annual vaccination against VHD as soon as your rabbit reaches 10 weeks of age. There is no cure for this disease, which is spread by direct and indirect contact with sources such as people, bedding, fleas and clothing. Rabbits often die within 36 hours of getting the fever and symptoms of the disease are:
- High temperature
- Nose bleeds
- Problems breathing
If you haven’t registered your rabbit with a vet yet, now’s the time to do it.