Rabbit Care2020-06-07T17:18:26+01:00

Rabbit Care

We are as passionate about your four-legged family members health as you are. We have put together this guide to provide you with the information you need on routine health care to keep them in tip top shape.

We appreciate there are lots of options available these days when it comes to your pet’s care and also that not every patient is the same. We promise to support you in your decision making process and provide personalised care for your pet. This is the only way to achieve the best outcomes.


At Ferndown Family Vets we strongly recommend that you vaccinate your rabbit and then maintain their immunity with six monthly or annual booster vaccinations dependent on their risk. There are unfortunately several highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases in the area with no effective treatment and therefore prevention is essential.

We vaccinate against two main diseases:


Myxomatosis a disease causing swelling or eyes, nose, mouth and genitals along with a fever and breathing difficulties.

Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases (VHD)

Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases (VHD) a disease causing spontaneous bleeding of internal organs and sudden death. There are now two strains of this terrible virus circulating in the area.

These viruses can be spread from rabbit to rabbit but also indirectly via insects for example. Therefore it is worth discussing the risk with the friendly staff at Ferndown Family Vets and booking an appointment.


A microchip is a very small (similar to a grain of rice) electrical device which sits underneath the skin between the shoulder blades. It will provide you with the best chance of being reunited with your rabbit if they ever decide to have a dig and go on an adventure..

It is very important to update your contact details whenever they change otherwise the microchip becomes redundant as there is no way to link the microchip to yourselves.


In hot weather rabbits can very rapidly develop a condition called flystrike. This is where Flies lay their eggs on your rabbit which hatch into maggots and then start to feed on their host. It is a very painful and potentially fatal condition.

We would advise checking your bunnies back end a minimum of twice a day, keeping them clean and well groomed and seek veterinary attention immediately if you suspect they may have it. There are also some preventative treatments that can be applied to reduce the risk.


As many of you will be aware animal charities are currently full to breaking point with unwanted pets. It is therefore very important that rabbit owners are responsible and take steps to avoid unwanted pregnancies. If you have no specific plans for breeding then we would suggest you give consideration to having them neutered (removal of reproductive organs) and our staff would be more than happy to discuss this with you.

In male rabbits the procedure is called ‘castration’ and involves surgical removal of the testicles. This removes the ability of your rabbit to impregnate another. It also reduces levels of testosterone which can reduce negative behavioural traits such as dominant behaviour and spraying. There are also health benefits such as removing the risk of testicular cancer.

In female rabbits the procedure is called ‘spaying’ and involves surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. As a result of this your rabbit will no longer be able to become pregnant. It is believed that 80% of female rabbits over the age of 5 years develop mammary cancer which is strong enough justification to neuter on its own.

We perform lots of castrations and spays each year and would class them as routine. In general most patients will go home the same day and then come back three days later for a check of the surgical incision.

We would suggest neutering your rabbit anywhere from four months of age however this decision will be made on an individual basis so please get in touch to discuss.

Dental Care

Rabbits teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. If they become a little wonky it can become a big issue as the teeth can start growing into the cheek, tongue or even deeper into the jaw.

As is the case with many rabbit health issues, diet is key. We recommend at least three quarters of their diet consists of good quality hay and grass. Chewing on these foods encourages a particular jaw movement which will grind the teeth down and reduce the chance of them overgrowing.

Although they’ve been domesticated for a while rabbits are still very much a prey species and as a result won’t show many signs of tooth pain. It can be as subtle as weight loss, extra saliva, going off of hay. Regular, six-monthly health checks with the vet can help us assess your bunnies teeth and implement any additional dental care when required.

Expert Advice

Looking for guidance on day to day pet care? take a look at our helpful advice and guides pages. If you have any questions just give us a call.

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