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Rabbits are the UK's 3rd or 4th most common pet. There are an estimated 1 million rabbits in the UK.
In common with most "exotic" species, most of the problems we see have some origin in diet.
Please feed your rabbit a diet that is at least 80% hay.
We'd generally recommend a Timothy hay due to it's lower calcium levels resulting in a lower risk or urinary problems.
We'd recommend fresh leafy greens make up the rest of the diet with up to 5% made up of a pelleted diet.
DIET, DIET, DIET
Most of the common diseases rabbits are seen for have some origin in diet- particularly dental problems. Getting the husbandry right will give you a longer lived happier rabbit and lower vet bills.
Core: myxomatosis, viral haemorrhagic disease. Vaccinations recommended once yearly from 5 weeks of age. We use the combined vaccine which has a lower incidence of side effects and gives better immunity than some previously available vaccines.
WORMING and E. Cunniculi
Encephalitozoon cunniculi is the most commonly found parasite of pet rabbits. There are no current reports of rabbit to human transfer though human to rabbit transfer has been reported!
While E.Cunniculi is often blamed for head tilt or torticollis in Rabbits many other causes exist and I'd suggest all such cases have their heads x-rayed as part of a diagnostic work up to look for other causes. While E. Cunniculi can be neurological it is more commonly renal disease causing chronic renal failure - an often undiagnosed cause of wasting and eye problems.
While there are various different prevention protocols in the literature we don't believe in a one size fits all approach and will recommend treatments depending on your rabbits lifestyle and level of risk.
Certain well known TV vets have said on film that it is dangerous to anaesthetise rabbits, there is no reason this should be the case and shows how much misinformation is out there.
Rabbits as a post-gastric fermenter have some unique physiological adaptations and are prone to heat stress but due to our special protocols we work with these adaptations rather than treating them as small carnivores.
Our Vets use multimodal anaesthetics requiring much lower doses of anaesthetic drugs to maximise safety for your rabbit. This means fewer side effects and quicker recoveries.
Please ask Stan about this at your next consult.