At Pittwater Animal Hospital we see more and more pet rabbits every year. They are a good pet for small spaces and can be very social if you spend time interacting with them.
The rabbits we see with health problems are often related to being fed the wrong diets, having incorrect housing or not being vaccinated or desexed.
All rabbits in this area should have a Calici Virus Vaccination every 12 months.
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To protect rabbits from the viral disease myxomatosis they should be protected from fleas and mosquitoes. (There is no vaccination for myxomatosis in Australia.)
Rabbits need to have a majority green leaf diet. Fresh grass or meadow hay is the best low calorie, high fibre diet for rabbits. Small amounts of pellets can be fed. We recommend to feed only 2 tablespoons of good quality pellets a day to the average sized rabbit. Oxbow make high quality pellets which are available at various pet shops. The produce store up at Terrey Hills sells good quality meadow hay.
Small amounts of leafy vegetables are excellent treat foods. Chinese veges, celery and carrot tops plus cucumber are good treats to have your rabbit come to you for attention. Other vegetables like corn and broccoli are junk food treats that should only be given only in very small amounts.
Rabbits need a lot water and always need fresh water available.
Rabbits need good shelter especially in the heat. Many pet rabbits die on hot days in cages that do not have enough shade.
Indoor rabbits are very common. They are quick to train to a litter tray but you should protect any electrical wires from gnawing teeth.
At Pittwater Animal Hospital we recommend all rabbits be desexed at 4 – 6 months old. Our protocols are excellent for rabbit desexing. Unlike other animals they have special requirements before surgery.
Rabbits are very fragile animals and should be handled with care. Small children should sit on the ground and tempt them over with a food treat like celery tops. Rabbits can suddenly struggle and fall from a child’s arms and break bones.
When placing your rabbit back in its cage place bottom first. This avoids them jumping out of your arms and scratching you or hurting themselves. When carrying try to keep your rabbit close and secure against your body.
Rabbits make wonderful pets. We look forward to seeing your rabbit at Pittwater Animal Hospital very soon.
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