Rabbits have long been considered ideal children’s pets, but their variety of complex needs makes them unsuitable to be cared for solely by children.
To fulfil a rabbit’s welfare needs takes responsibility, time and cost. If done correctly, rabbits can lead fulfilling and stimulating lives making them hugely rewarding pets.
Here are some health issues to be aware of as a responsible rabbit pet owner:
As spring turns into summer and the temperature rises, rabbits become vulnerable to flystrike. Flystrike happens when green bottle flies lay eggs in the wet, dirty fur around a rabbit’s bottom and the eggs hatch into maggots. If not treated immediately the rabbit will suffer and it can be fatal. To avoid flystrike it is important to keep the rabbit’s hutch clean and dry and to check the rabbits twice daily for wet, dirty fur and maggots. Flystrike is a veterinary emergency. Preventions are available and it is important to speak to your veterinary surgeon about how to prevent this in your rabbits.
It is recommended that rabbits are neutered. Female rabbits are prone to uterine and ovarian cancer and will live better with other female rabbits if they are neutered. Neutering also stops the risk of pregnancy and false pregnancy. Male rabbits should be neutered to reduce male dominance behaviour which allows them to live more harmoniously in groups.
Rabbits have continually growing teeth and wear them down by chewing. However many rabbits suffer with teeth problems that, amongst other things, can cause pain and stop them eating. Overgrown teeth can also affect the lacrimal ducts (associated with tear production) and rabbits with poor teeth may also develop eye problems. It is important that veterinary attention is sought quickly to treat the problem and that teeth are checked at the rabbit's regular health check-up.
For an excellent website about understanding more about the needs of your rabbits; visit www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk
Content taken from Simplyhealth Blog by Katrina, Rabbit Health and Wellbeing