31 July 2017 by Grahame Howe
We certainly love our floppy eared friends. Rabbit ownership is on the increase. Recent stats show that they are now the UK’s third most commonly kept furry pet.
Here at Carterton Veterinary Surgery we place the wellbeing of your pet at the centre of our practice, which is why we are so passionate about preventative healthcare.
We don’t want your pets to get ill, we want to support you to keep them as healthy as possible, so this month we want to bring you some important information about keeping your rabbits happy and hopping!
The most important thing you can do is to vaccinate them against life-threatening infections such as Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) and myxomatosis.
These two viruses are very nasty for your pet rabbit, and unfortunately easy to catch. A yearly vaccination can help keep them safe and munching on carrots well into their twilight years!
Why do I need to vaccinate my rabbit?
Both myxomatosis and RHD are viral infections, which are widespread in the wild rabbit population. They are both highly contagious and can be passed onto your pet rabbit through:
Wild rabbits visiting your garden and having a quick nose to nose with your pet rabbit, sharing the latest bunny news. They may also soil your garden with their infected urine and droppings.
*Contaminated straw and ha*y that has been made from grasses that infected rabbits have had access to.
Biting insects such as fleas and mosquitoes, which have fed off the blood of infected rabbits, which then pay your bunny a visit!
Other furry friends (e.g. cats and dogs) picking up rabbit fleas whilst on their adventures and bringing them home.
Contracting infections from your home or garden (RHD can survive in the environment for up to 105 days!)
Contact with you! You can pick up infections on your clothing or hands, which can be passed onto your bunny when you give them a cuddle.
You and your pets can also pick up infections on your feet whilst out walking and can introduce it into your home and garden.
By ensuring you vaccinate your rabbit against RHD and myxomatosis, you can keep them safe from these nasty, and in most cases, fatal diseases.
How often and from what age should I vaccinate my rabbit?
Given the range of ways rabbits can become infected, regular vaccination provides the best defence. Vaccination against both diseases can be started from as young as 5 weeks of age. Vaccines should be repeated annually to keep bunnies safe from these disease threats indoors and out throughout the year.
How will I know if my rabbit has myxomatosis?
One of the first signs you will notice is a nasty eye infection. This is followed by swellings around your rabbit’s eyes, head, face, ears, lips, bottom and even their genitals, making it difficult for your bunny to eat and drink. This disease is not curable and, in most cases, is sadly fatal. Prevention is key!
What about the symptoms of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD)?
Signs to look out for include: bleeding from the nose, convulsions, fever, collapse, difficulty breathing and extreme tiredness. Again, no rabbit is safe and it can affect all rabbits of all breeds, including house rabbits.
The good thing is, we can help you to keep rabbit healthy. We’ve set up our Pet Health Care Club which is a great value, easy to budget way of providing your pet with excellent preventative healthcare against common complaints and diseases. There are 25% discounts on consultations and other services too.
Please call us today to book an appointment