Is my rabbit fighting fit?
They can’t tell us where it hurts and won’t let on for ages that it does. Due to this pet owners often only first notice an illness in their rabbits when it has reached its advanced stages. The vets from Maxi Zoo give advice on what to look out for and how to notice the first stages of an illness. If the animal is then taken to the vet, his chances of survival are good.
Keeping a watchful eye out, when performing the daily feeding routine, can lead to a lot of discoveries. Do all the animals coming hopping over happily as usual? Do they chew heartily with full cheeks? Are they active? Do they all have healthy fur, clear non-sticky eyes and clean noses? If so your animals are healthy. However every few days it’s worth making extra sure, especially if you have older rabbits. Is a particular animal constantly scratching? Is he slower than the others or does he sit around tiredly a lot? This could be the first signs of an illness. Therefore check the following areas regularly, at least once a week:
Should be thick and shiny. Straggly fur, crusts and/or bald patches can be indicators of an illness. Fungal infections, mites and also metabolic disorders are possible causes. Dropping encrusted fur at the back is a sign of diarrhoea. Digestive problems in rabbits are a definite cause for concern! Get your rabbits tested for worms and coccidian and fungal infections in the intestine.
Carefully part the lips of your pet and take a look at the front teeth. There should be four, two upper and two lower, straight incisor teeth that meet together. If they are crooked or veer away from each other at the side, you should get your bunny to the vet as soon as possible. Sticky eyes and dirty, crusty ears are also signs of disease! Sticky, saliva covered fur around the mouth is normal after the consumption of juicy foods, but if the breast is dirty or if the animal is particularly “slobbery” in comparison with the others, this could indicate a tooth problem.
You should be alert if your rabbit is clearly less active than normal, does not seem to eat, refuses any food offered, wanders slowly around or lies down more than often. Another sign that your pet is not feeling well is a bent posture and half closed eyes. If the animal is limping or tends to avoid using a certain leg, it could be due to a breakage. If the animal tries to do his business but does not succeed he could be constipated. Whimpering whilst weeing is an indication that the animal is in pain – he could have a bladder stone.
Here you should check your rabbits’ droppings. Nice, dry round pellets are a sign that everything is ok. Squishy pellets are a sign of diarrhoea – find out which animal is leaving them.
Weigh your rabbits at least every two weeks. A large weight loss is a sign of illness.
To make the health check easier, take the least trusting animals more often out of their enclosure for a few minutes quiet stroking time and a treat. In this way the animal will begin in associate being taken out of the cage with something positive.
Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts