Rabbit care is completely different from how you would treat a cat or dog. Bunnies are usually seen as low-maintenance animals because they are masters at hiding signs of illness. They still require proper nutrition, medical and home care. By bringing your rabbit to the vet regularly you can protect them from overgrown teeth, hairballs, parasites, sore hocks and even arthritis when they are older. Working with a veterinarian while caring for your rabbit can expand their lifespan to 10-12 years.
What should I feed my rabbit?
Your rabbit's diet should have mainly grass hay as this helps prevent hairballs and digestive issues. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach are safe food options for bunnies. Commercial pellets can also be included in their diets with fruits such as pineapple and berries given as treats. You should always ensure that your rabbit has an adequate amount of water.
What are signs that my rabbit is unwell?
Although the signs may be subtle, you should never wait to see if they improve. Rabbits tend to hide their pain as this is a sign of weakness in the wild, so whenever you notice anything abnormal, schedule a veterinary visit. Here are signs that you should look for:
- Head tilting
- Discharge from eyes or saliva around the mouth area
- Noisy breathing/breathing difficulties
- Hiding, staying still or slow movement
- Change in thirst levels
- Facial swelling
- Eating less
- Passing less stool or abnormal-looking stool
These symptoms can develop into something much worse overnight so you should take your bunny to a veterinarian immediately. Call us at 780-428-8802 to book an appointment.
Why should I spay or neuter my rabbit?
There are many good reasons to have your bunny spayed or neutered. The two major reasons are related to their physical and behavioral wellbeing.
- Rabbits who are left intact are at an increased risk of uterine (Uterine Adenocarcinoma is a malignant type of cancer that is unfortunately quite common in intact female rabbits) and testicular cancers. It is easier to prevent these cancers from developing rather than trying to do surgery to remove tumors on an older bunny that may be quite sick.
- Something that not a lot of people know about rabbits is that both male and female rabbits will mark and spray with urine – females sometimes being worse than males! This can become worse as your bunny becomes older and more hormonal. It is easier to curb this behavior if they are spayed and neutered before it has time to develop into a very hard to break habit.
- Spaying and neutering can also help to decrease aggression between your rabbit and other rabbits or even people. It will make bonding between rabbits much easier as well as ensuring that female rabbits do not become pregnant if they are housed with male friends. Female rabbits that are not spayed will sometimes begin to pull their fur out due to nesting behaviors.