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Rabbits | General Health Care

Pet Rabbits

Rabbit Care. Animal Health Tip No. 14

Posted by Hilton Vet Hospital on Sunday, 18 June 2017

Rabbit Sterilisation

Rabbits reach sexual maturity at 16-24 weeks (4-5 months) and can become pregnant any time after that.
Best time to sterilise your rabbit is from 4 months of age.

Reasons to sterilise Females rabbits

  • Prevention of uterus tumours. (70% of unsterilized rabbits will develop uterine tumours by the age of 7 years)
  • Stop aggression towards other rabbits and people
  • Prevents pregnancy

The Procedure:

Do NOT fast your rabbit before you bring her to the hospital. Please bring a small lunch pack with when you drop her off at Hilton Vet. We need to give it to her as soon as she wakes up from anaesthesia.

Your rabbit will get an intramuscular sedation that will make her fall asleep in 5 to 10 minutes. Once she is asleep the vet will place an intravenous fluid drip in the lateral ear vein. The drip fluid is warmed and will maintain a good body temperature. It will make sure the blood pressure is stable and she is nicely hydrated. We then clip the fur on the tummy and prepare the area for surgery. She will then be placed on isoflurane gas anaesthesia for the duration of the surgery. A two cm incision in made just behind the bellybutton and the uterus and ovaries are removed. The abdominal muscle and skin is closed with absorbable sutures. The sutures are hidden underneath the skin so our rabbit won’t be able to pull them out. There is no need to remove any stitches later on. Once she wakes up we give her the lunch pack that you left with her in the morning. As soon as she eats her food we know she is fine to go home. You will then get a phone call from us to organise a discharge time.

Interesting facts on Pregnancy:

  • Gestation period = 30-33 days
  • Litter size: average 7 (4-12)
  • Weaning age: 7-8 weeks

Rabbit Castration

Castration can be done from 4 months of age.

Reasons to castrate your male rabbit

  • Stop him making female rabbits pregnant
  • Stop aggression towards other rabbits and people
  • Slow down the urge to escape to look for female rabbits

The Procedure:

Do NOT fast your rabbit before you bring him to the hospital. Please bring a small lunch pack with when you drop him off at Hilton Vet. We need to get him to eat as soon as he wakes up from anaesthesia.

Your rabbit will get an intramuscular sedation that will make him fall asleep in 5 to 10 minutes. Once he is asleep we then clip the fur on and around the testicles and prepare the area for surgery. He will then be placed on isoflurane gas anaesthesia for the duration of the surgery. A small incision in made over each testicle and they are removed. There will be absorbable sutures to tie off the blood vessels but no skin sutures are used. A small amount of medical tissue glue is used to close the skin. There is no need to remove any stitches later. Once he wakes up we give him the lunch pack that you left with him in the morning. As soon as he eats his food we know he is fine to go home. You will then get a phone call from us to organise a discharge time.

Rabbit Vaccination

Rabbits are vaccinated against Rabbit Calici Virus Disease (RCD). This is a deadly virus that spreads quickly through a rabbit population. It causes lethargy, anorexia, abdominal distention and diarrhoea. In only a few days the affected rabbit become hypothermic, can have convulsions and nose bleed. No treatment is effective and deaths follow soon after these symptoms are seen.

Young rabbits are vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks of age.

  • Booster vaccinations: Once a year
  • Research has found that the current Cylap RCD virus is affective against the new K5 Calici virus.

Flea control

We recommend Advantage top spot for rabbits. The Puppy advantage is the correct size for a fully grown rabbit and is safe to use. It can be used once a month.

Rabbit Diets

Pet rabbit diets | Caring for your pet rabbit | Hilton Vet Hospital Fremantle

Feeding the wrong diet is one of the main reasons for most of the health problems with witch rabbits present to the vet. These can include:

  • Overgrown incisors
  • Sharp edges on the molar teeth cutting the tongue or cheeks
  • Tooth root abscess
  • Diarrhoea
  • White Discharge from the eye corner due to blocked naso-lacral duct
  • Poor condition leading to susceptibility to other disease

The correct rabbit diet

Rabbit teeth grow continuously and if they don’t grind them down it leads to overgrown teeth. They need lots of fibrous food like grass and hay and even twigs (from fruit trees or indigenous plants) to keep the teeth short.

In total your rabbit needs:

  • 80% Hay and grass (Timothy Hay)
  • 12 % Green leafy vegetables
  • 6 % Pellets
  • 2 % Treats like apple and carrots

Rabbits Surgery Gallery