Rabbits are a popular and loveable pet. With the right diet, housing, and medical care, your rabbit can live a long and happy life. We offer complete medical care for rabbits, including dental services, and surgery.
Rabbits are susceptible to a variety of diseases and conditions, including overgrown teeth, hairballs and other digestive issues, parasites, and cancer. They also tend to hide signs of illness or pain. Rabbits have a very sensitive digestive system, and need to eat and defecate on a continuous basis. If your rabbit stops eating, we recommend you make an appointment right away to avoid serious medical complications. An annual wellness exam, including a thorough dental exam, is the best way to monitor your rabbit’s health.
Contact us as soon as possible if your rabbit:
- Stops eating, or has a decrease in appetite
- Stops producing stool
- Has discharge from the eyes or nose, runny stool, or a gurgling stomach
- Has an elevated or low temperature
- Begins drooling, scratching at the ears, or sneezing
- Becomes lethargic
- Starts tilting his or her head
- Develops bald patches in his or her fur
Rabbits have strong teeth that allow them to chew a wide variety of grasses and vegetation. Unlike humans, a rabbit’s teeth grow continuously. As the rabbit eats, the tooth surfaces are ground down at a rate of about 3mm per week. When a rabbit’s jaw is at rest, its incisors touch but its cheek teeth do not. After using its incisors to shear off a mouthful of food, the rabbit adjusts its jaw position to allow the cheek teeth to meet and grind together. The rabbit does this by chewing with a wide side to side motion. Because of their specialized jaws and continuously erupting teeth, any abnormalities in jaw shape quickly lead to dental problems. Rabbit teeth also curve when they grow. If they become overgrown, they can rub against the cheek or tongue causing painful ulcers. Skull and jaw abnormalities are common in domestic rabbits. Small abnormalities in the bone structure result in the teeth not meeting together properly. When the teeth do not occlude properly, the do not wear down evenly. This causes overgrown teeth, overgrown roots, spikes and spurs. Rabbits that have this condition need regular dentals to even out their teeth.
Rabbits are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and do best when housed indoors. They love to be let out of their cage as much as possible so they can socialize with their family. You should buy the largest cage you can afford and fit in your home. Solid bottom cages are easier to clean, and don’t cause the trauma to the feet that wire bottom cages can cause. You should clean your rabbit’s cage daily. Rabbits need stimulation or they become easily bored. Provide your bunny with non-toxic chew toys (especially wood toys) and hiding places to keep him or her entertained. Rabbits can also be easily litter trained. You should also examine your rabbit’s hind end daily for mats, and for urine or feces adhering to the fur.
Your rabbit’s teeth and digestive system are designed for almost continuous eating. The majority of your rabbit’s diet should consist of hay, such as Timothy or Orchard (avoid Alfalfa as it is too rich). Rabbits should also receive about 1/2 cup of fresh veggies per kg of body weight per day. You can include things like leafy greens, squash, and brussel sprouts. Pellets should be fed in very small amounts, no more that 1/8 of a cup per day for an average sized rabbit.
Should you spay or neuter your rabbit?
We strongly suggest that you have your rabbit spayed or neutered. Not only can rabbits potentially give birth once a month, but they can also have up to 14 babies at a time! Even in households with a single rabbit, spaying or neutering has plenty of benefits: It can protect your rabbit from several types of cancer, and reduce or eliminate aggression and other undesirable behaviors, such as spraying, mounting, destructive chewing, and biting. Spaying or neutering will not change your rabbit’s personality.