What Bunny Parents Need to Know About the Special Needs of Rabbits

Did you know that jackrabbits can run as quickly as 45 miles per hour? Or that hares can learn almost as many tricks as dogs?

If you’re the proud parent of a rabbit, you know that they are remarkable creatures. With lifespans of about ten years, our long-eared friends also have unique needs. If it’s been a while since your bunny has had the chance to say “What’s up, Doc?”, here are some ways our veterinary professionals can help your rabbit stay hoppy and healthy.

1. Bunnies Benefit from Annual Exams

Just like cats and dogs, rabbits need consistent veterinary care. Regular physical exams ensure rabbits stay healthy and provide them with the preventative care needed to live a long life. During a visit, we’ll check your rabbit for illness, including common diseases like:

  • Dental disease like molar elongation
  • GI issues like bloat
  • External and intestinal parasites
  • Cancer
  • Bladder and kidney stones

We will also check to make sure your rabbit is at a healthy weight. We’re happy to advise on the best food and treats for your bunny.

2. Prevent Your Bunnies from Multiplying Like… Well…

If you have two or more rabbits, an obvious benefit of spaying or neutering your pets is not winding up with bunny babies. They may be cute, but caring for newborn rabbits requires time, money, and space in your indoor or outdoor pen.

Even if you just have a single rabbit, having them spayed or neutered can lengthen their life. Altered rabbits have a lower chance of developing cancer and urinary tract infections. Bunnies not only have improved physical health from being spayed or neutered, but they also tend to be calmer and better behaved.

How old should your bunny be to be fixed? Male rabbits can be altered once they reach three to five months of age. Female rabbits should be four to six months old. Rabbits can actually age out of being able to be spayed or neutered. Once rabbits are about five to six years old, they may not be a candidate for alteration.

3. Rabbits Need Manicures

Rabbits often need to have their nails trimmed. If your rabbit’s nails grow too long, it can cause them to injure themselves or struggle to walk and hop. Long nails can also cause your rabbit pain. If you’re worried about accidentally causing injury or bleeding with an at-home manicure, our trained staff can trim your rabbit’s nails to a healthy length.

4. Bugs Can Bother Bunnies

Rabbits can suffer from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites. If you allow your rabbit to have outdoor time, particularly if you have other pets in your home, protect your companions from these harmful parasites. We can prescribe your rabbit the right dose and mode of parasite prevention to keep them protected.

What Else Should You Know About Your Rabbit?

Your rabbit is an intelligent and loving companion animal who can learn to respond to their names and bond with their owners. Still, domestic rabbits are dependent on humans for their health and wellness. Because your rabbit relies on you for their needs, be sure you know what symptoms indicate your pet needs veterinary attention.

If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment ASAP:

  • Limping 
  • Blood near the mouth, ears, nose, or rear end
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Scratching
  • Blood in urine
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trouble breathing
  • Not going to the bathroom
  • Tilting head
  • Lack of coordination

By caring for your bunny’s special needs, you’re giving them the best chance for a happy, healthy life with your family. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we provide expert care for companions big and small and specialize in caring for hares. If you have questions about what treatments or medications are right for your rabbit, give us a call today.

Photo Credit: Serafima / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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