RABBITS

If my rabbit stops eating what should I do?

In this practice, the nurses have been told to book appointments for any rabbit that hasn't eaten for 2 days, irrespective of what is wrong. If a rabbit doesn't eat for 2 days their stomach ceases to function - which is a serious enough problem on its own. So don't leave it - see your vet.

How old does my rabbit have to be to have vaccines? How many are there? What are they?

1. The Old System involves a Myxomatosis (Myxo) vaccines, then 2-3 weeks later another vaccine against VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease). Both of these diseases are fatal and a little can be done once your rabbit gets these diseases and they are highly contagious. Generally the diseases are more common in October through to December.

The only preventing is vaccination. If you do nothing else for your rabbit, vaccinate him. They can be vaccinated from 10 weeks of age. The Myxo vaccine needs to be repeated every 6 months and the VDH vaccine once per year.

2. The New System involves one combined injection once per year. This vaccine can be given from 5 weeks of age. I have been using this for the past 18 months with good results.

3. Ask the vet which system they are using.

How do I make rabbits hutch as safe as possible from foxes etc.?

The average rabbit hutch you buy from a pet shop will not stop a fox if he knows there is a rabbit inside.

Simple paddle latches on the doors, thin wire and pine wood boxes with no floor are really no match for a determined fox. They can be stopped with concrete and heavy gauge wiring but you should make an effort to get rid of the fox. Female foxes are very active hunters in winter when food is scarce. The Fox Project can help, phone 01892 824111.

How to tell if my rabbit is pregnant?

Difficult, unless it is obvious. Ask your vet. Rabbit are usually pregnant for only 29-32 days.

How old does my rabbit have to be to be neutered?

A rabbit should be 6 months or more for males and females. It can be done earlier but you risk other problems later in life.

As with dogs and cats, bunnies are capable of falling pregnant from 3-4 months, so keep them separate - including siblings.

The most common reason given for neutering a female is they get very aggressive when they come into season. Spraying stops pregnancies and also uterine cancers.

Males are usually neutered to stop pregnancies.

Do rabbits have season?

Yes, but they do not come into season as regularly as dogs and cats, it tends to be seasonal. They are similar to cats in that they are Induced Ovulators (induced to ovulate by mating).

How many kittens can a rabbit have in 1 litter?

Up to 10 kittens but usually 3-5.

What food is best to give my rabbit?

Hay and grass and they will thrive on it.

Ideally 70% Hay and Grass, 20% vegetables and ONLY 10% pellets or mixer. This translates to 2-3 eggcups full of pellets for each 1Kgm of hay fed, which is very little.

Too many pellets cause rabbits' teeth to grow extremely long, in the wild they are chewing on grass constantly which helps to 'file' the teeth and keep them to their correct length. Pellets should only be given in moderation, like chocolate and kids - kids will eat chocolate all day and get rotten teeth. In moderation - it's ok.

Over grown teeth is the most common problem I see with rabbits, this is a problem with domestication of rabbits when pellets are quick and easy to feed, and the rabbit likes pellets and the breeder/pet shop told us just to give the rabbit pellets.

Remember -  in the wild, rabbits thrive on dried up hay and grass and an occasional mouldy vegetable. - They don't get any pellets and there have been a lot of healthy wild rabbits around for thousands of years.

How old can rabbits leave their mother?

4-5 weeks.

 

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