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Posts Tagged ‘rabbit’

Dental disease in Rabbits

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Rabbits can also suffer from dental disease, in most cases normally occurring in later life. Dental disease in rabbits can present in a number of ways, such as abscesses, malocclusion and tooth root conformation. Malocclusion may occur due to a tooth root abnormality or missing opposing tooth.

Overgrown teeth in older rabbits is common and can penetrate the gums, cheeks, tongue and lips, which can cause ulcers or even oral abscesses. Rabbit’s teeth are continuously growing around 2-3mm a week. Therefore it is best to keep the diet as natural as possible to grind down their cheek teeth effectively.

If your rabbit is not eating properly or losing weight, we recommend they are checked for abnormal dentition, contact us on 01908 397777.

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Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease in rabbits

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Both these diseases are highly contagious within the rabbit population however are easily prevented.

Myxomatosis is a virus carried by biting insects and mosquitos and can be passed on without direct contact. The symptoms include puffy eyelids, conjunctivitis within the first 7 days and swelling will extend around the eyes, ears and genital regions after 7 days. In severe cases the rabbit may die from the virus.

Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD) is a highly infectious disease that can affect domestic and wild rabbits. RVHD 1, the classic RVHD, has been present in rabbits for decades and vaccinated against. A new strain of RVHD (RVHD2) was first noted in France in 2010. In the last couple of years, it has become an increasing concern regarding this new strain of RVHD in the UK with confirmed cases.

This new strain is less aggressive than RVHD 1 and symptoms may appear from 3 to 9 days post exposure. Symptoms can include high temperature, lethargy, sudden bleeding from areas (nose/mouth), reduced appetite and possible seizures. Even though this strain is less aggressive if not treated can cause death in severe cases

Myxomatosis and RVHD 1 can be prevented by vaccination and will provide the rabbit with 1 year immunity to the viruses.
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What external parasites affect pet rabbits

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
At Milton Keynes Veterinary Group, we feel rabbits are just as important as any other pet and this is why our Healthy Pet Care Scheme for Rabbits also includes treatment for external parasites during the months of March to October.

There are a number of external parasites that can affect our pet rabbits. External parasites are parasites which live of the outside of the rabbit. Below are the most common external parasites for rabbits:
  • Fleas – Rabbits can pick up fleas the same fleas Ctenocephalides as your dog or cat as well as Spilopsyllus cuniculi which is the rabbit flea. This parasite can be involved in the spread of myxomatosis between rabbits. If you see fleas on your rabbit, it is important to treat both your rabbit, the environment and any other pets in the household.
  • Mites – The most common mites associated with rabbits is Cheyletiella parasitovorax or otherwise known as walking dandruff. This will tend to appear as an area of white scurfy skin, typically on the back or between the shoulder blades. If you believe your rabbit may have mites, we would advise a check-up with your veterinary surgeon, as they can also be indicators of other disease. Another mite rabbits can diagnosed with are ear mites Psoroptes cuniculi. Signs of ear mites might include crusting, itching and ulceration of the ear canals. It is advised to treat the rabbit for mites prior to removal of the ear crust as this can be extremely painful to remove. The rabbit fur mite (Leporacus gibbus) can infest rabbits without symptoms, however some rabbit may have allergy reactions to these mites. Demodex cuniculi is another mite which can be found on rabbits, however does not appear to cause clinical issue.
  • Lice – The rabbit biting louse otherwise known as Haemodipsus ventricosus can be seen with the naked eye. This are more common in large colonies.
  • Flies – these are not technically an external parasite however can be a nuisance to our pet rabbits and can cause serious health concerns. Flies can lay eggs on susceptible animals causing fly-strike or myiasis. These eggs will then hatch out and start to feed on the animal.
The product available on our Healthy Pet Care scheme deters flies, fleas and other biting insects. Find out more here – http://www.mkvetgroup.co.uk/healthy-pet-care-for-rabbits/
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How to check if your rabbit is a healthy weight?

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
Do you ever wonder if your rabbit is at a healthy weight? Your pet’s weight can depend on their breed, sex and age and therefore it will be individual to each animal.

We can assess whether our smaller pets are over or under weight by first looking at their overall size, look at your pet from the side and from above. You should be able to see a waist, if the waist is pronounced your pet may need to put on a few pounds or if the waist is not defined your pet may need to lose a few pounds.

You can also assess by feeling under your pet’s tummy, their tummy should go in and not bulge out.

By running your hands over the side of your pet, you can assess if the skin moves freely over their ribs and should be easy to feel under a thin fat layer.

You can also run your hands along their back, you should be able to feel their hips and spine easily under a thin fat later. For rabbits, check the area of the base of the tail also where the tail joins the spine, there should not be any build-up of fat here.
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Looking after your rabbit and their teeth

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
One of the most common reasons your rabbit may need to see a vet is due to dental problems. Rabbit’s teeth grow continuously so they need to grind them down through their diet by eating lots of hay and grass. This is one of the important reasons why a rabbit’s diet needs to be correct. If a rabbit’s teeth become too long then they often become sharp and start to dig in to their gums causing pain. Rabbits will then stop eating due to this pain, and if a rabbit isn’t eating it can be life threatening.

It is important to monitor your rabbit to make sure they are not experiencing a decreased appetite or passing smaller faeces, and there are no signs of lethargy or drooling. If your rabbit has these signs, then please contact the practice for advice.
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