This is just a summarised guide to some common medical conditions affecting rabbits. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice and if your bunny is showing any symptoms of illness, please see your vet as soon as possible.
Fly Strike is a nasty and life-
This condition is life-
Always ensure your bunny's bottom is spotless. Should it become soiled then it will need bathing. If a dirty bottom is a regular problem for your bunny this could be an indication of other illness, a dental problem, excess protein in the diet if excessive caecotrophs are being produced or your bunny might be over-
In the straight-
Rabbits, particularly youngsters under 14 weeks, are very susceptible to stress and their bodies respond to this with their digestive system shutting down due to excess adrenaline being produced. Therefore, always minimise any stresses to your bunny.
If you notice that a food bowl has barely been touched overnight or the droppings are reducing in size or number -
The next symptom can be dehydration which can progress rapidly, especially in warm/hot weather. Due to the blockage, your bunny loses his/her appetite, feels bloated and stops drinking and this is the first noticeable symptom. To the inexperienced bunny-
Our treatment methods are summarised below but, much more effective is PREVENTION RATHER THAN CURE. To help prevent stasis occurring, always feed large quantities of fresh long meadow hay (not the often stale, plastic-
The veterinary examination should include taking the bunny's temperature to check for signs of infection and examining the teeth -
Your bunny will be uncomfortable and possibly in pain so your vet might also prescribe painkillers.
We treat straight-
* Offering greens -
* Supreme Science Recovery solution -
* Raw pineapple juice (contains bromelain, an enzyme which helps to break down the substance which binds fur together creating furballs)
* Some vets use liquid paraffin to help lubricate and hydrate the blockage and encourage it to move through the GI system. Furball pastes, used in moderation, can also be helpful in some cases.
* Motility stimulants ie metoclopramide and ranitidine, providing there is no blockage which can be confirmed via X-
* Lots of water to restore hydration. Sometimes a bunny will drink from a bowl when they refuse a bottle. If not, then syringe feeding water is essential to rehydrate a gut. Always aim the syringe towards the side of the mouth -
* Infacol (available from the 'baby' counter at supermarkets or chemists), can help disperse uncomfortable gastro-
* Metacam or Vetergesic for pain relief
* Saline solution given sub-
* Baytril (orally) to prevent GI infection
* Gentle tummy-
* Snugglesafe heatpad or a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to provide soothing warmth.
The first indications of myxomatosis include:
* puffy, fluid swellings around the head and face
* sores around the mouth
* swollen, 'sleepy' eyes
* swollen lips
* swellings inside the ears a
* swellings around the genital area
The disease is spread by the rabbit flea which is frequently found on wild rabbits and can be transmitted by cats which come into contact with infected wild rabbits. However, is less easily spread by simple contact from one rabbit to another. If an infected rabbit shares a hutch with a healthy rabbit and neither have fleas then the disease is virtually never transmitted by contact.
The myxomatosis virus can remain dormant in the blood of fleas for several months. If it should bite a rabbit then the virus is injected into the skin as the parasite sucks blood. The virus is then transmitted to a local lymph node and enters the bloodstream enabling it to move around and multiply in the skin around the eyes, nose, face, ears and genitals. This makes eating and drinking difficult and the swelling around the eyes causes blindness -
The incubation period is 5-
* ensuring wild animals, and animals which might come into contact with wild animals/rabbits, do not come into contact with pet rabbits
* controlling fleas -
* ensuring bedding is always kept dry to avoid attracting mosquitoes
* vaccination with the Nobivac Myxo or the newer (2012) combined Myxo/RHD vaccine.
Vaccination can give good immunity but no vaccination can offer a complete guarantee of protection. Some rabbits may be immunologically incompetent and fail to respond the vaccination. If a vaccinated bunny should contract myxomatosis, then they tend to develop an 'atypical' and milder form of the disease which is not usually fatal. Provided they receive appropriate nursing, symptomatic treatment and support then they will usually survive (possibly with scarring). Treatments could include antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, vitamins, pro/prebiotics to boost general condition, steam/eucalyptus inhalations to aid breathing (popping the patient into a pet carrier and covering it is a good way to provide these) along with any necessary topical treatments to the scars, lumps and bumps which may develop and other treatments for any other symptoms which may develop.
It is a common infection and many, apparently healthy rabbits will carry the bacteria but display no symptoms of infection. However, a bunny with an impaired immune system can develop a chronic form of infection. In many cases, the rabbit will continue to carry on with its daily life, eating and drinking normally, but wiping its nose on its paw after sneezing -
Veterinary attention is required together with a course of antibiotic treatment although effectiveness can be limited to controlling rather than completely eliminating the infection. Secondary infections can prove fatal.
VHD refers to Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. It was first reported in the UK in 1992 and has since spread throughout Britain. VHD is easily transmitted between rabbits or via contaminated food, bedding, hutches, birds or transmitted via owners. The virus can survive on shoes or clothing for 3 months so it is very easy for humans to become carriers without being aware of it. Generally, it affects rabbits aged over 10 weeks.
* loss of appetite
* nose bleeding
* breathing difficulties
The disease progresses rapidly and death usually occurs within 2 days, often without warning. In its acute form, it can be most distressing as blood clots develop on the lungs rendering the rabbit unable to breathe. There is no cure but protection is available via vaccination using vaccines such as Lapinject or the newer (2012) combined Myxo/RHD vaccine.