With rabbits able to live outside happily, they are happy and hardy little critters. However, even if they are looked after perfectly and receive all of their inoculations, there are times when Bugsy can be far from bright eyed and bushy tailed.
If you have rabbits as pets, make sure to read over five of the most common rabbit illnesses below and become au fait with the symptoms. If you notice your rabbit becoming poorly, make sure to seek the advice of your veterinary clinic immediately. However, be sure to keep some of the following in mind…
Scientifically known as Pasteurella, snuffles is caused by a bacteria that is often present in animals which have been through stressful periods or have had a general dip in their immune system. It is essentially the case of having a rundown rabbit and is characterised by nasal discharge, watery eyes, matted paws and sneezing.
The best way to prevent this disease is to ensure your rabbit is receiving a healthy diet and are having their hutch spot cleaned daily. It is best to pop to your vets so your rabbit can be prescribed the correct antibiotics.
Imagine the headlice of children happily nestled in your rabbit’s ears – there are ear mites! If it makes your skin crawl, just imagine how your rabbit must feel. If you gently look in your rabbit’s ear canal you will notice the bugs and a very brown, crusty ear hole. If your rabbit is frantically itching their ears, have a peep inside and you will likely find mites. Lots of owners check their rabbit’s ears daily just to check because they are that common.
Pop to your vet to ensure there is no underlying issues from your rabbit itching their ears and they will be able to send you home with some drops to get rid of the mites.
Fly strike is one of the most horrendous rabbit diseases. Flies like moist places to lay their eggs and will happily do this in the folds of skin and areas around a rabbit’s hindquarters. The eggs will hatch into maggots in 24 hours and live under your rabbit’s skin, releasing a killer poison.
Preventing fly strike is the best course of action. Clean your rabbit everyday if you have to, paying attention to any folds of the skin, particularly in the summertime. Make sure hutches are kept clean and tidy. Also make sure your rabbit doesn’t consume too many fruits and veggies, as diarrhoea can attract flies.
If you notice maggots in your rabbit’s skin around their hindquarters, get them to a vet and they will administer treatment.
Keep your rabbit’s diet high in fibre to help prevent GI Stasis; a fatal disease in rabbits. Essentially, make sure your rabbit has lots of delicious hay! If you notice your rabbit become bloated, go off their food, become lethargic and stop passing faeces or urine, all signals point towards GI statis.
If your rabbit starts showing these symptoms, give them as much fluid and hay as they can handle and gently massage their bellies to get everything moving again. If you notice little change, get in contact with your vet.
One of the biggest killers in the bunny world, particularly with wild rabbits. Myxomatosis is a virus that is transmitted by mosquitos, fleas or between unwell and well rabbits. It is not hard to point out a rabbit with myxomatosis; they will have swelling and discharge from the eyes, nose and anus.
In the UK, rabbits can receive annual injections help prevent and protect them against myxomatosis. Baby rabbits can be vaccinated from five weeks old.