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.
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.
It is very important that you have your pet rabbit vaccinated regularly. There are two diseases we currently vaccinate against:
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.
Rabbits can be neutered from 4-5 months of age and there are many good reasons to get your pet neutered:
Situations where you may not want to neuter your pet include:
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.
We spay female rabbits (the full name for which is ovariohysterectomy) which involves removing the uterus and both of the ovaries.
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.
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:
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.
Our VIP Scheme includes a large number of benefits at a greatly reduced cost for owners:
Additional benefits include:
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.
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
Tel.: 0151 428 8600
Tel.: 0151 428 8600