And it did for me too. The breeder was told they were no longer needed and became overwhelmed with the number they had. L isa also suggests enquiring at your local rabbit rescue centre — current estimates suggest 67, rabbits pass through over-stretched rescue centres every year. While I was there — chatting to the owner Helen who devotes her time to rescuing and caring for abandoned rabbits — I realised just how little I knew about our new pets. Secondly, forget the TV-sized hutches of your s childhood. So why do so many rabbits get such a rough deal? We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.
Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph Lifestyle Pets News and features. Rabbits can suffer from a hairball in their stomach and if they are not able to break it down, then it can lead to a blockage and this could be fatal. Rabbits cannot vomit, so they cannot pass hairballs like cats can. Present with bunnies that have sensitive stomachs. Bunnies produce two types of droppings: Familiar droppings which are round and dry.
Cecotropes which are like a small bunch of grapes.
Your rabbit should eat these droppings that look like a small bunch of grapes to get their vitamins. Wrap a towel around them if you need to and wrap it diagonally from the shoulder to the hip. Carry out health checks on your rabbit every other day in the summer and once a week in the winter. By carrying out the health check in a room your rabbit is not familiar with, will help if your rabbit is always struggling to get away.
It all depends on how well behaved your rabbit is and how confident you are at handling your rabbit, as to the best way to groom or health check your bunny. If you are not confident placing them on a work top or table, or if your rabbit is likely to jump, then kneeling on the floor with your bunny between your legs is a safe way. You may feel guilty putting your rabbit through health checks and worry about losing their trust. This is very common in rabbit owners but it is very important to still carry out regular health checks, as you will feel much worse if your rabbit becomes sick from something you could of easily spotted or prevented happening.
Never plunge a rabbit into water, as they can die of shock. Rabbits should not be bathed, unless in extreme cases advised by your rabbit savvy vet. All you need to do is use damp cotton wool or tissues to clean the effected area only. Trimming long hair around this area, helps to keep it clean. Use curved scissors when trimming their fur. A wire comb is also very helpful for removing soiled fur. You also need to clean their scent glands.
To do this use a damp cotton bud, to gently clean out the glands. If there are lots of reports of Myxi near you or RVHD, then its a good idea to go before the due date. Speak to your vet to find out what is needed for your rabbit. Female rabbits can be spayed at months old. Male rabbits can be neutered around 3. Finding a good rabbit savvy vet is essential. Rabbits are classed as exotic pets, so look for a vet that specialises in exotic animals. A good Vet should ideally check your rabbits heart rate, teeth, ears, eyes, bottom area, stomach and weight on every visit.
With a sick rabbit, your vet will ask you questions like:. Back to Bunny Care Back to top. Log in Remember me. Lost your password? Health and MOT. Signs something is seriously wrong. Your rabbit is limp, floppy and cold Difficulty breathing Flystrike — maggots visible on back end Severe diarrhoea. Grinding teeth loudly Fitting Loss of weight. Other signs all is not well.
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It is extremely important to monitor your rabbit closely. If you are unsure what to do contact your vet asap. Common illnesses and what to do. Loss of appetite If your rabbit is not eating then you will need to try and encourage them to eat. More on GI Stasis and how to treat: GI Stasis is common in rabbits and can be deadly It is a condition and not an illness and is always secondary to some other issue.
Calaméo - The Free-Range Outdoor Rabbit | Keeping A Bunny Out of Its Cage
Diets high in starch and low in fibre can be the cause too The rabbits gut will slow down and eventually stop working completely. This is when they will get dehydrated and go into shock and it can happen very quickly. Syringe 1ml of Infacol asap Colic relief drops for babies that contains Simethicone. Feed them every 2 to 3 hours and through the night too, until they start to eat on their own again. GI Stasis tips As soon as you see a difference in behaviour, act quickly. Massage their stomachs.
Keep your bunny on the floor, facing you and place your hand underneath, place the other hand behind them to support them and then gently massage their belly by moving your hand forward and backwards quite quickly.
Lift their back end up gently and slowly, so their back legs stretch out full length. Make sure their head and back are supported. This helps relieve gas and helps get the stomach moving. Make them run about a bit too as this helps get their stomach working. You can add some of their normal pellets also. Never use boiling water as it will reduce its nutrient content, use hot water only and allow to cool.
Listen for gurgling sounds in the stomach as this is a good sign the stomach is working. Bloat or gas Symptoms to look out for: Are they laying down and getting up again quickly. Are they trying to stretch out a lot. Have they stopped pooping? Does their stomach feel larger than normal and does it feel quite hard. If yes to any of the above: Give your rabbit 1ml of Infacol asap.
Pineapple juice can also help but it needs to be pure pineapple juice. Only put a few drops in water as it is very sugary and can upset the lining of the gut. Massage their belly. You could even use something like an electric toothbrush wrapped in a tea towel to help massage their tummy.
Stuff About Indoor Bunnies
Sit them on top of this and keep them reassured, as they will naturally wonder what it is at first. Encourage them to run about to get their stomach moving. Dental problems Symptoms to look out for: Are they interested in the food, but not actually eating it? Are they trying to eat it and opening their mouth a bit funny when chewing? Are they putting a paw up to their mouth?
Look for wet fur at the side of their mouth, like they have been dribbling. Day of dental Your rabbit will usually spend the day at your vets. Mega colon or Cowpile syndrome or Mucoid enteritis This is a condition that causes blockages. Symptoms: Bloating Picking at food Soft large droppings with visible mucus. Feed them every 2 to 3 hours and through the night too, until they start to eat on their own again Massage their stomachs regularly Feed fibreplex for days. Avoid feeding cabbage and broccoli Encourage them to run about Provide plenty of hay and encourage them to eat as much as possible.
If your rabbit is showing symptoms of EC, then your vet is highly likely to provide medication to treat them over 28 days or even up to 6 weeks. Abscesses Abscesses are lumps filled with pus and are usually caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms: Constantly itching or scratching at a certain area A lump above or under the skin which feels hotter than the rest of the skin Loss of appetite Lethargic Loss of weight. Flystrike Flystrike is something every rabbit owner should dread and work hard at avoiding. Flies can lay the eggs deep into folds of skin, so always check very thoroughly.
There are quite a few sprays to help prevent this, but its better to purchase the stronger ones from your vet, than buy ones available from pet shops. Speak to your vet for more information on the sprays available and how to use them. You can also use these scents in pure essential oils, but only dot the oil in places your rabbit cannot reach Never delay in getting your rabbit to a vet if you do suspect flystrike. Hairballs Rabbits can suffer from a hairball in their stomach and if they are not able to break it down, then it can lead to a blockage and this could be fatal.
Symptoms: A change in eating habits Weight loss Smaller droppings than usual Diarrhoea Teeth grinding Staying hunched up in the corner of their accommodation. If you think your rabbit is suffering from a hairball, then seek advice from your vet asap. In the meantime you can: Massage your rabbits stomach Encourage them to run around to help get their stomach moving Give your rabbit 1ml of Infacol During moulting season you can help your rabbit by feeding them small bits of fresh or dried Papaya.
These help break up hairballs. Also help your rabbit by grooming them regularly, especially when moulting. Always make sure your rabbit is drinking water as dehydration adds to the build up of hair in the stomach.
General Health Concerns
Add a few drops of pure pineapple juice to their water. Excessive cecals cecotropes Present with bunnies that have sensitive stomachs. Feed limited vegetables to your rabbit Keep a diary each day to work out what foods suit them best It takes time to see a difference, sometimes days, sometimes months, so be patient when working out what diet is best suited for your rabbit Encourage them to eat a lot more hay Do not overfeed them pellets. Syringe Feeding. When to syringe feed and what to feed? This will help stop their stomach from shutting down.
Never syringe feed your rabbit if you are unsure about them having a blockage. Have your vet check your rabbit first. Mash some of their pellets up and add this also to things like critical care mixtures.