Veterinary Services for Rabbit Care
Few things are quite as sweet as a pet bunny. If you’re considering adding one (or preferably more!) of these bundles of joy to your life, take time to learn more about their care requirements. Rabbits are different from cats and dogs with their fiber-rich diets, different social habits, and unique dental care needs. Specialized rabbit care from our specialty trained veterinarians in Grapevine gives your pet bunny the best chance at a long and happy life.
Rabbit Wellness Exams
Rabbits are prey animals. Their lives in the wild consist of constant vigilance for predators and instincts that drive them to hide any vulnerability. It is this instinct of concealing illness and injury that makes regular wellness exams so crucial to the health of your rabbit. We recommend annual exams for younger rabbits and biannual exams for rabbits over the age of 5.
At a wellness exam, we will perform:
- Physical exam
- Weight measurement
- Fecal test
- Blood work
Common Health Problems in Rabbits
Many common issues with pet rabbits begin and end with dental problems. A rabbit has a total of 28 teeth! These teeth all grow continuously throughout their lifetime, making dental issues complex and varied. Improper diet, not enough hay to provide time for chewing, vitamin deficiencies, and genetics have all been associated with contributing to dental disease in rabbits. Overgrown teeth and malocclusion (uneven wearing) are common problems as well. Our skilled rabbit vets have both the know-how, and the proper equipment to perform safe dental exams and procedures on your pet rabbit if necessary. The good news is that a normal, healthy rabbit should never need its teeth trimmed!
Many dental disorders can be treated effectively if caught early—again, regular visits to us are essential! In regards to preventive dental care, it all boils down to diet. In the wild, rabbits constantly grind their teeth down naturally with hearty plant material, so the same must be offered to your pet rabbit. A diet rich in hay and other fibrous plants such as greens and vegetables keeps your rabbit’s teeth in good condition.
Other common issues for rabbits include:
- GI-Stasis – the slowing of intestinal contractions secondary to underlying illness. This is the most common presentation of sick rabbits to the vet.
- Respiratory infections
- Ear mites and fleas
- Head tilt (which could indicate any range of problems)
Tips for Husbandry
Rabbits have special care needs at home. They should ideally be kept indoors with you, rather than in a hutch outside where extreme weather, disease-carrying insects, and other animals pose serious threats to your pet’s wellbeing. Consider the following for your rabbit’s husbandry needs:
- Environment. Ideally, rabbits should be kept in a large cage with plenty of room to hop around. They should also have several hours outside of their cage daily for exercise. While out of their cage they should be monitored closely as they are chewers and can be quite destructive. If you have space you can also set up a bunny-proof room or area for them to explore freely.
- Nutrition. Rabbits thrive off of a high-fiber diet full of mostly hay (80%), leafy greens and vegetables (a pile about the size of their body a day), about ¼ cup of pellets a day, and the occasional piece of fruit as a treat.
- Socialization. Rabbits are social animals and prefer to be in places where there’s a lot of traffic, rather than off in their own corner. Still, your rabbit should have some sort of hiding place in their enclosure where they can retreat for some time alone. Rabbits are also best kept in pairs. They thrive with a companion and two rabbits snuggling together is quite possibly the cutest thing on earth!
- Handling. One of the best ways to interact with your rabbit is play time. Toys and play help with mental stimulation and keep them happy and occupied. Playing with them also is an excellent way to bond with your rabbit. Do keep in mind, however, that rabbits often times do not like to be picked up and cuddled. Try sitting on the ground and petting them instead!
Want to learn more about dental care for rabbits?
Signs of Illness
Signs of an ill rabbit can be subtle. As noted before, they will hide illness for as long as they can to avoid showing any signs of vulnerability. However, there are indicators to watch for including:
- Not eating! This is the most important clinical sign that your rabbit is sick. If your rabbit is not eating, don’t delay, get them to a rabbit vet asap!
- Tooth grinding
(louder and more aggressive than tooth “purring”)
- A decrease from normal or complete lack of stool
- Runny eyes or nose
- Labored breathing
- Head tilt or loss of balance
- Loss of appetite
If your rabbit exhibits any of these signs, call us to schedule an appointment for rabbit vet care, so we can assess their condition and get them on a path to wellness.
Learn About Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease
Are you curious to learn more? Check out the most common species we see and learn more at the Association of Exotic Small Mammal Veterinarians for more insight!
Schedule an Appointment
Whether you’ve welcomed a new bunny to your family, or are looking for specialized care for your pet rabbit, we are here to deliver exceptional rabbit vet care!
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.