Village Vets Centre Liverpool 0151 428 8600 0151 428 8600
Village Vets  Centre Liverpool    0151 428 8600   0151 428 8600

Rabbits

Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK after dogs and cats and are known for their intelligent, inquisitive and strong-minded personalities. The days of a lonely bunny cooped up in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden are long over and they are being recognised for their excellent memory and training abilities (See RWAF's A Hutch is not Enough campaign). Some people even compete their rabbits in agility competitions! There are many varieties of rabbit used for pets, show animals or their fur, from the small Netherland Dwarf to the huge Giant breeds and the hare-like Belgian hare. We perform many procedures on rabbits and recognise that they require a lot of routine healthcare, which is why we have extended our VIP plan to include rabbits.

Caring For Your Bunny

Rabbits make excellent pets, but they must have all of their needs and requirements catered for to ensure they have a happy and healthy life. We strongly advise bringing in new rabbits for a complete check-up to ensure there are no problems. Rabbits should have health checks at least once a year, ideally every 6 months.

 

Rabbits should eat predominantly hay or fresh grass with the occasional leafy green (except for lettuce which can cause diarrhoea). Root crops such as carrots should be given as a very occasional treat as they are high in sugar. If you wish to supplement your rabbit's diet with commercial foods then give no more than 10-15% of their daily intake as pellets. DO NOT feed your rabbit coarse mix (muesli-type) as this can cause obesity and tooth problems in your rabbit. We stock a wide range of veterinary recommended rabbit diets. Do not allow your rabbit onto grass that has been treated with pesticides, weed killer or rat bait as it is very poisonous. do not feed ivy or rhubarb to your pet as these can make them sick.

 

Rabbits are highly social and should be kept in single-sexed or mixed-sexed neutered pairs as a minimum. The best choice is a neutered male and female pair. Rabbits are not suited to live with guinea pigs as they can bully each other, they also transmit the pathogenic bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica to each other.

 

Rabbits can be housed indoors or outdoors. Outdoor hutches must allow them to stand up, stretch and hop three times from one end to the other, they should be raised off the floor with a waterproof roof and not facing the sun or wind. If it is very cold or there are due to be fireworks, we advise bringing your rabbit inside your house temporarily as these can both kill your rabbit. Indoor rabbits can kept in plastic-based wire cages and trained to use litter trays. However, both groups of rabbits must be let outside of their housing several hours a day for exercise and play. They should be provided with toys (plastic bird toys are fine) and plenty of pipes or tubes to hide in if they feel threatened. Their roaming areas should be secure and fenced off if needed with no access to poisonous plants or electrical cables.

Vaccinating Your Rabbit

It is very important that you have your pet rabbit vaccinated regularly. There are two diseases we currently vaccinate against:

  • Myxomatosis
    • A highly contagious and fatal infection in rabbits spread by biting insects.
    • Even house rabbits are at risk.
    • It causes conjunctivitis, facial and genital swelling and skin lumps.
    • There is no effective treatment for the disease.
    • It has been on the increase in recent years due to disease in the wild rabbit population.
  • Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)
    • A rare but fatal infection which causes clotting problems and internal bleeding.
    • There is no effective treatment and nearly all affected rabbits die.

 

A new vaccine is available which covers both diseases in a single injection. The vaccine is given from 5 weeks of age with an annual booster.

Neutering Your Rabbit

Rabbits can be neutered from 4-5 months of age and there are many good reasons to get your pet neutered:

 

  • No unwanted pregnancies.
    • Rabbits that fall pregnant while they are still growing can experience health problems during and after the birth as their bodies are not able to cope with it fully.
    • No pregnancy is a 100% safe. Some pets need a caesarean section to help them give birth at great cost to their owners. There is also a risk that mothers and their offspring may die.
    • Rescue centres are already full of pets looking for new homes, adding new animals to the population means fewer pets can be rehomed and may have to be put to sleep. It is also very stressful when you cannot find new owners for your own litters and have to look after more pets than you expected.
  • It reduces or removes some problem behaviours.
    • It removes the desire for male and female rabbits to spray their territory (such as in your house).
    • It reduces territorial and destructive behaviour.
    • It reduces human-related or rabbit-related aggression. It will help your rabbits get on better if they are fighting. Although this reduces aggression it may not entirely remove this problem.
  • It prevents pets from developing serious diseases in later life.
    • Spaying female rabbits prevents them from developing ovarian or uterine cancer. Almost 100% of female rabbits over the age of 5 years that have not been neutered will develop these cancers.
    • Female pets will not suffer from the life-threatening infection of their uterus called pyometra that requires expensive medical treatment or surgery. Spaying a pet costs much less than the surgery to cure this problem!
    • Male pets will not develop testicular cancer.
  • If your pet is difficult to handle, you want other small procedures doing (such as microchipping, checking teeth or lumps) we can do this all under the same anaesthetic with a lower cost to you and lower risk to your pet.

 

 Situations where you may not want to neuter your pet include:

 

  • You want to breed your pet
    • Please be absolutely sure that you want to do this! Research the pros and cons well, have all the necessary equipment and support and have homes arranged for the litter. Remember that rescue centres are already full of pets waiting to be rehomed and the effect that pregnancy might have on your pet.
    • Once the surgery has been performed, your pet will NEVER be able to breed again.
  • It might be expensive
    • The cost of surgery or medical treatment to treat conditions that are prevented by neutering can far outweigh the cost of neutering itself. In the long-term you may cost yourself more money by not neutering your pet.
  • You're worried about the surgery or the general anaesthetic
    • Obviously as it is a surgical procedure, it must be done under a general anaesthetic for your pet's safety and welfare.
    • This is a routine procedure in which our vets are very experienced and very few animals experience significant problems during or after the surgery.
    • With any anaesthetic, there is a risk that a patient might die, however, risks can be minimized by performing it on young and healthy pets. Most deaths associated with anaesthetics are due to pets with pre-existing conditions such as kidney or heart disease.
    • Whenever your pet undergoes surgery with us, we give them a full health check to check for any of these problems.

 

Males:

We castrate male rabbits which involves the complete removal of both testicles. We do not perform vasectomies (tying off the tubes from the testicles to the penis) as this is not recommended in rabbits by the wider veterinary profession.

 

Females:

We spay female rabbits (the full name for which is ovariohysterectomy) which involves removing the uterus and both of the ovaries.

Microchipping

A microchip is a small glass chip roughly the size of a grain of rice. Every chip has a unique code associated with it that is registered to your pet on a national database. The chip is scanned with a special machine to identify its code and this can be used to find the registered owner's name and address. This is invaluable to reunite you if your pet is ever lost, injured or stolen. Unlike a collar, your pet cannot lose its microchip.

 

You can request a microchip to be implanted into your pet at our practice at any time. The microchip is implanted between your pet's shoulders and once done, it shouldn't have to be done again. Some people choose to have their rabbit microchipped when it is still young (around vaccination) as they hopefully won't remember it, others wait until they are a little bit bigger. It does not require your pet to have an anaesthetic or sedation, however, if you decide to have your pet neutered then we can also implant it whilst they are under anaesthetic so they don't feel it.

 

Once the chip is implanted, we will ask for your details to be uploaded onto the database, however, if you change address or ownership of the pet, it is ESSENTIAL that you inform the database holders.

Bunny Bothers

There are a whole range of different problems that your pet rabbit can experience, some of which are entirely preventable with the right advice and care:

 

  • Abscesses
  • Allergies
  • Cystitis and urinary stones/sludging
  • Dental disease
  • Ear and eye disease
  • Gut stasis (ileus)
  • Obesity and hepatic lipidosis
  • Mastitis
  • Flystrike and perineal soiling
  • Fighting, aggression, other behavioural problems and injuries
  • Tumour
  • Spinal or nervous problems or splayleg
  • Bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic diseases

 

If you are in any way concerned about the health of your pet rabbit, please contact us for advice and we will be happy to help.

VIP Plan

Our VIP Scheme includes a large number of benefits at a greatly reduced cost for owners:

 

Additional benefits include:

 

  • Exclusive seasonal offers and promotions
  • Personalised & printed treatment planner for your pet
  • Low cost Accidental Injury Cover Option (ask for more details)
  • Payment Scheme to help spread the cost (ask for more details)

 

This complete package can be obtained for only £8.28 per month for rabbits. Please speak to our reception staff about joining our plan. We also offer this plan for cats and dogs.

 

Please note:

  • The VIP plan only covers one rabbit, you will have to purchase multiple packages if you have more than one pet.
  • The plan is applicable to rabbits of any age.
  • The plan does not cover the costs of neutering, diagnostics or any medical treatment that may be required in addition to the routine treatments described above.
  • The plan does NOT provide insurance cover for illness which means that should your pet suffer from a short or long-term problem such as heart failure, kidney failure, allergies, skin problems or other problems that requires continued treatment you will have to cover the cost of this treatment yourself. If you wish to insure your pet against these illnesses, you must contact a private insurance company directly. Please see our insurance page for more information.
  • Any additional appointments for unrelated treatments will incur standard charges.
  • Any items listed that are not used will not be refunded.
  • You can remain in the scheme for the entirety of your pet's life or your time with us, however, if you fail to meet the agreed payment plan, your VIP membership will be revoked and you will be subject to all standard charges. This means you would have to pay for vaccinations and worming treatment each time you required them.
  • We reserve the right to revise these terms or substitute products of equal value.

For more information and advice on rabbit care, visit the Rabbit Welfare Association and the RSPCA rabbit pages.

Contact

Opening Hours

Monday        09.00 - 18.00

Tuesday       09.00 - 18.00

Wednesday   09.00 - 18.00

Thursday      09.00 - 18.00

Friday           09.00 - 18.00

Saturday       09.00 - 12.00

Village Vets Centre Ltd

65 Quarry St  

Liverpool

L25 6EZ


Tel.: 0151 428 8600

 

In case of emergency, please call:

Tel.: 0151 428 8600

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© Village Vets Centre Ltd 2014