Just like any other animal, rabbits need quality care to live a comfortable and full life. At Cochrane Animal Clinic, we have veterinarians who take special interest in rabbit care. These active and intelligent animals require special attention to live out their average lifespan of 7-10 years. Our team is happy to provide quality services to your pet bunny. Please feel free to call us at 403-932-5875 to schedule an appointment.
How can I make sure my rabbit is well cared for?
Rabbit care should always include regular veterinary exams. The medical services we provide to rabbits improve their quality of life and overall lifespan. We recommend they see the vet every 6-12 months. Here's how you can ensure your bunny is well cared for:
- Provide a suitable environment: Ensure their closure is well-ventilated, comfortable, cleaned regularly, and has enough space.
- Get your bunny spayed or neutered; this makes them healthier, reduces mood issues and problematic behaviour.
- Feed them high-quality grass hay or rabbit pellets based on your veterinarian's recommendations; you can also offer them green leafy vegetables and fruits in moderation.
What is the life expectancy for rabbits?
This can vary due to breed or the general care the rabbit receives. If your bunny is spayed or neutered, they can live between 8 to 12 years of age. Some breeds, such as the Flemish Giant, may have health issues which can shorten their lifespan to 5-8 years. It can be helpful to do research on different breeds and discuss any health issues with a veterinarian prior to committing to your new pet.
What are common illnesses in rabbits?
Even with the best care, bunnies can still develop health issues. It's important to recognize the signs early so they can be treated promptly. Rabbits can develop:
- RCV (Rabbit Calicivirus): This is a hemorrhagic disease which can result in death. Rabbits contract the virus from rodents, other infected rabbits, contaminated cages, etc. The signs will include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, foaming at the mouth, convulsions, or bloody nasal discharge.
- Gastrointestinal Stasis (hairball): When they groom themselves, some hair will lodge in the GI tract, and as the hair accumulates in the stomach, the rabbit will have problems. Hairballs decrease food movement. They also result in loss of appetite, dehydration, and change the nature of the gut bacteria.
- Dental Disease: Overgrown teeth like molars can become abscessed at the root which causes pain. When rabbits have dental disease, they tend to drool, stop eating, and stop passing stool.
- Uterine Tumours: Research shows that 70% of unspayed rabbits develop uterine cancer after 3 or 4 years. Uterine cancer can spread to other parts of the body including the lungs; it must be treated before it gets to this stage. The signs will include weight loss, decreased appetite, bloody urine, and swollen belly.
- Head Tilting: This is often caused by an ear infection or a parasitic infection that affects the brain and spinal cord. Some rabbits may be lethargic, have involuntary eye movements, tilt their head to the side of the infected ear, or appear to have vertigo which makes them roll over on the side their head is tilting.