Rabbits make friendly, intelligent house pets. There are more than 60 breeds of domestic rabbit and the average lifespan is six to 10 years, with some reaching the ripe old age of 15. Just like other pets, rabbits need good preventative health care to keep them fit and well.

Your local Millcroft Veterinary Surgery will be able to advise on how to care for your rabbit, so contact your Millcroft surgery as soon as your rabbit comes home.

How often should I take my rabbit to the vet?
Your pet rabbit needs a routine veterinary check-up at least once a year, but your daily checks should include making sure they’re eating correctly and passing plenty of droppings every day, as well as checking that they have plenty of food and water and a clean hutch. It's not always easy to tell when a rabbit is ill as they often hide signs of illness. This makes daily care and regular visits to your Millcroft surgery essential.

Vaccinating pet rabbits
A routine vaccination plan for your rabbit will include defence against Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) and Myxomatosis - both nasty viral diseases that develop quickly and can become fatal in an unvaccinated rabbit and for which there's no cure once infected.

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease
RHD is spread by direct contact between rabbits (both wild and domesticated), or through indirect contact from people, clothing, fleas and other parasites.

Symptoms of RHD
The symptoms of RHD can be hard to spot in the early stages. Signs you should look for include:

  • unusual tiredness or lack of energy
  • loss of appetite
  • high fever
  • spasms
  • blood at the nose, mouth or bottom

Myxomatosis is spread by fleas or other biting insects from wild to pet rabbits, or via direct contact with other infected animals.

Symptoms usually begin with puffiness around the face, ears and genitals. The rabbit may become blind due to the swelling around their eyes. They might also struggle to eat and drink and will develop a high fever.

Your rabbit can receive a combined Myxomatosis-RHD vaccination from as early as six weeks old, with a yearly booster from Millcroft.

Regular health checks for your rabbit
The best way of avoiding many medical problems in your pet rabbit is to have regular veterinary health checks. Your vet will do a full medical examination and check the teeth (particularly the back teeth) for any evidence of malocclusion, which could lead to spikes and tongue ulceration.

If your rabbit shows a change in behaviour, or in their eating and drinking patterns, you should seek the advice of your local Millcroft Veterinary Surgery as soon as possible.

Insuring your pet rabbit
If your rabbit gets ill, the last thing you want to worry about is a vet bill. Insurance is now available for rabbits and if the worst happens and your rabbit does get sick, insurance means your vet can dedicate their effort to doing all that is necessary to diagnose and treat any illness, rather than delaying or avoiding having tests or treatments because of the cost.

To find out more about how to care for your rabbit, or to discuss routine treatment for your pet, call Millcroft Veterinary Group on 01900 826666 or visit http://www.millcroftvets.co.uk/
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