I want to talk to you about rabbits you may have one at home or may be thinking of getting one, rabbits are just like dogs and cats when deciding how, where and what type to go for, it can be tough deciding how to go about purchasing a rabbit either at the pet shop, a breeder or at an animal sanctuary.
I had a rabbit called Dasher at 12, he was purchased at a local pet shop as a surprise as I had wanted a pet to look after, I had him for 9 years and miss him.
It is up to you how you want to find a bunny to own but let me say I didn’t know what a proper rabbits diet was until I went onto study about animals for a career.
Where ever you purchase a new rabbit you want to make sure that you are receiving the information you need to know before you take a bunny home for the first time.
Also remember purchasing a rabbit from a pet shop or a breeder comes with many risks. This means you do not know what their life was like before, It is hard to know if they have been previously treated for deadly diseases, the best way to know is by verifying from the veterinary practice which treats them.
Most pet shops get their stock of rabbits from breeding farms so it is best to look into a private breeder or through the rescue.
Here are a few useful tips that you a rabbit owner need to know:
Rabbits are fibrevores as they need a fibrous diet of good quality hay, grass, high fibre nuggets, fresh green leafy vegetables, and fresh water. See for further reading on A Rabbits Diet
Rabbits have front incisors, premolars and molars which continuously grow throughout their life, your rabbits need to be provided with natural grass or good quality hay and things to grind on daily to keep their teeth worn down, commons signs of dental problems are excessive drooling, loss of appetite and can even lead to death. See for further reading on Rabbit heath know the signs
There are around 50 rabbit breeds in the UK.
They have a lifespan of up to 5 to 12+ years old.
Proper handling of your bunnies is important, incorrect handling can cause your rabbits spine to break if they are not supported properly, as they kick their back legs out to flee their spine splits causing paralysis. See for further reading How To Handle My Bunny Edit
Rabbits can live happily indoors or outdoors, as long as a suitable accommodation is used, a hutch is not enough for your rabbits, this is a big issue so make sure you provide plenty of space, security and enrichment. See for further reading Bunny Housing
Many are being abandoned as their owners no longer have the time to look after them. My recent rabbit was brought into our practice found in someone’s garden, he is now called Louie and has a home where he is happy and well looked after.
It is important to take your rabbits health into consideration, as they are a pray species so it is quite difficult to know when they are in pain.
Vaccinations are important, yearly inoculations should be kept up to date, this prevents your bunny from catching myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) which is spread by direct contact between rabbits but also via indirect contact from contaminated environments and also by mechanical transfer from insects.
You should be aware what to look out for when spotting an illness in your bunnies, a rabbit should look and sound healthy see for further reading Rabbit heath know the signs
Written by Michelle Darby SVN