Here are some of the key ways you can help keep your rabbit healthy.
Vaccination is the only proven method of protecting rabbits against potentially life-threatening diseases such as myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD). Your vet will be able to advise you on vaccination and will also carry out a health check to ensure your pet is in tip top condition.
Parasites can cause serious damage to rabbits if left untreated. One particularly nasty internal parasite is Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E. cuniculi) which affects as many as 50 per cent of domestic rabbits.
Fleas are a very common problem for rabbits and in some cases can cause skin reactions to both rabbit and owner. They can also spread the potentially fatal disease, myxomatosis. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, fleas are a problem that can easily be eliminated
Your vet, country store, pet shop or pharmacist will be able to advise you on an appropriate product to treat parasites in your rabbits – don’t use a product made for a dog or cat as it may not be safe for use in a rabbit.
Dental problems are a major health issue for rabbits. Rabbits need to eat fibre to wear down their continuously growing teeth. If teeth don’t get worn down enough this can cause drooling and lack of appetite. Your vet will be able to advise you on your rabbit's teeth.
If rabbits’ nails grow too long and start curving they can be trimmed, but avoid cutting the pink bit in the middle of the nail (called the quick) as this will hurt and bleed if cut. Your vet will be able to advise you on how to cut your rabbit’s nails.
Neutering female rabbits (does) is recommended to help prevent unwanted litters and behaviour such as nesting, aggression and mood swings. It’s also advisable to neuter male rabbits (bucks) to prevent aggression. Your vet will be able to advise you on neutering your pet.