Rabbits are great pets that have character, are extremely sociable, enjoy the company of humans and are a great way of introducing young children to pet ownership. They are quiet, clean and are easily toilet trained. At Kangaroo Flat Veterinary Clinic, our Dr Kara is an advid rabbit (and small mammal) lover and is experienced at rabbit surgery and medical cases. She has recently attended a rabbit sepcific surgical course, to further advance her surgical skill set.
While rabbits love company, they can be left alone during the day and are therefore suitable for people who work or are away from home. A predator-proof enclosure to ensure their safety is essential. An appropriate enclosure is a hutch that is divided into two connecting compartments, one a wire mesh to allow access to natural light and fresh air, while the other is enclosed to provide protection against weather and a secure sleeping place. The floor of your rabbit's hutch should be covered with newspaper, with a layer of bedding material like straw, grass, hay or shredded paper for warmth, comfort and to prevent pressure sores on your bunny’s feet. Consider extreme weather conditions and ventilation when choosing a location for your hutch. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to the hot summer temperatures we experience in Australia and may die of heat stroke if their hutch is not in a cool, shady position.
Rabbits should have at least two hours outside of the hutch for exercising each day. Handling them will also be of benefit in keeping them tame.
Using a firm brush to remove dead hairs, tangles and pieces of garden matter should form part of your daily routine.Grass seeds can commonly become stuck in their eyes, ears and nose, causing irritation or even infection. Check your rabbit’s rear end daily to make sure it is clean and dry, if soiled it is very prone to fly strike.
Routine veterinary care for rabbits includes vaccination against calicivirus and desexing (females can become quite aggressive when mature and are very prone to reproductive cancers). Like all animals, rabbits should have regular veterinary checks, especially to check their teeth and claws.
Desexing is recommended for your rabbit, both male and female. It is recommended at approx 6 months of age for a female and approximately 5 months of ge for a male.
- Reducing aggression
- Reduce sexual behaviours such as humping
- Prevent pregancy
- Protect against reproductive cancers(especially Uterine adenocarciomas in females).
Up to 60% of all undesexed female rabbit will get uterineadenocarcinoma (uterine cancer)
Desexed Rabbits are much easier to bond and there is less risk of agression resulting in injuries.
Rabbit Nutrition, By Dr Kara Frost:
Nutrition in a rabbit is very important. The wrong diet can predispose your rabbit to many health issues such as obesity, dental disease and urinary issues.
Fibre is a very important part of a rabbits diet. 80 percent of a rabbits diet should be a good quality grass or oaten hay. Having this available at all times for rabbits to graze on is recommended. This is important for normal gut function and is key to normal dental health as it helps with the normal wear of teeth. Hay with a good portion of green material makes it much more appealing. Lucerne hay is very high in calories and is only appropriate for pregnant or very young rabbits and may cause adult rabbits to become overweight.
15 percent of a rabbits diet should be leafy greens. These should be fresh and good quality. Avoid iceberg lettuce as it causes diarrhoea and may make your rabbit quite sick.
Fruit and carrots should be used as occasional treats as these have quite a high sugar content.
Good quality pellets should make up 5 percent of a rabbits diet. This means only a small handful per day. These are very high energy and low fibre and very appealing to rabbits. It is important to limit how much you feed your rabbit to promote good dental health. Oxbow Pellets are the only brand that has been tested and proved to 100 percent meet the nutritional requirements of a rabbit.
Rabbit mixes that are available at pet stores and supermarkets aren't always ideal for rabbits. It can be equated to junk food and has a very high sugar content and low nutritional value. This makes them very prone to obesity and associated urinary issues.
It is very important that any change in diet is done gradually to allow the gut to adapt to the new food. This can be achieved by mixing the new food with the old food and gradually increasing the ratio of new to old over a period of 2 weeks.
If you have an further questions don't hesitate to contact us.
Dr Kara Frost, DVM
We are now stocking Oxbow Rabbit food, we are competively priced, call in today to pick up some for your rabbit.