Rabbits are adorable, friendly creatures that can light up any home. Generally, these animals are sturdy and resilient. However, just like other animals, rabbits are often at risk of developing diseases.

As a rabbit owner, you should weary of these illnesses and it always helps to know the symptoms. This can be crucial to maintaining the health of your rabbit, and keeping an eye out for symptoms can help it get early treatment.

Hairballs

Just like any other organism that enjoys grooming itself, rabbits tend to ingest some of their hair. Usually, these are passed out along the digestive tract of the rabbit, however, sometimes the hair can get stuck and form a ‘ball’. This can be dangerous for the rabbit if it acts as an obstruction in the gut of the rabbit.

Symptoms

If your rabbit has hairballs, you may find him or her having difficulty eating. You may also find that the rabbit may not be eating normally, and be acting lethargic or fatigued.

Treatment

The problem with rabbits is that they can’t vomit. So you can treat the problem with tablets that contain enzymes, along with some papaya fruit. These go up to the obstruction in the gut and cause it to be broken down. Lastly, in cases where the obstruction is too great, you may be recommended to go for surgery.

Prevention

If you take proper care of your rabbit, you can actually reduce the chances of hairball formation. Grooming is necessary for this – if your rabbit’s hair is brushed regularly, there are fewer chances of it collecting in the rabbit’s gut. If along with this, you give him or her adequate access to water, you can keep your bunny in the all-clear.

Overgrown teeth

Unlike human teeth, rabbit teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. However, if the rabbits aren’t given something to nibble on to keep their teeth at the right size, their teeth grow out in the form of splinters. These aren’t just a problem on their own, they can also cause injuries in the mouth and other parts of the rabbit’s body.

Symptoms

If your rabbit has overgrown teeth, you may notice wet fur around the mouth, along with abrupt weight loss, and damage to the mouth and surrounding areas. In some cases, you may also see the overgrowth itself, if it is very extreme.

Treatment

Depending on the extent of damage, the teeth may either be regularly trimmed, or the whole tooth may have to be removed. This will also include treatment of the cheek teeth, and the cheek tissue as well, if there is damage.

Prevention

Grass and hay, along with apple or pear branches, if provided to the rabbit act as a good source through which his or her teeth can be naturally trimmed.

Tumors

A tumor is a malignant growth of cells, which is uncontrollable and can spread to other parts of the body. Tumors of the reproductive organs and mammary glands are some of the most common cancers in rabbits, and these can sometimes even be life-taking.

Symptoms

Some of the typical signs of cancer apply here, such as abrupt weight loss, fatigue, unexplained growths, blood in the urine, difficulty with breathing, weakness, and definitive signs of pain. If you see any such symptoms, take the rabbit to a vet immediately.

Treatment

The rabbits are given medications to reduce the cancer growth, through a process known as chemotherapy. Additionally, surgery may be required in order to remove affected organs.

Prevention

Although cancer is a multifactorial disease that can be caused by various sources, a huge part can be played by spaying and neutering your pets. By doing this, not only do you completely reduce the chances of ovarian, uterine, and testicular cancers, but you can also significantly reduce the risk of mammary cancers. This, in turn, will definitely improve the life expectancy of your rabbit as these are common sources of rabbit fatality.

Snuffles

Snuffles

Although the name sounds cute, this disease is anything but that. Officially known as Pasteurellosis, this is a respiratory disease that is highly contagious amongst rabbit populations. It can damage the rabbit’s eyes, ears, and its respiratory tract, and is usually caused by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include excessive nasal discharge, sneezing, yellowish nasal discharge, matted paws and face, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and in rare, extreme cases, you may notice swellings or abscesses. Because of the ear infections, the rabbit’s sense of balance is affected. This means that the rabbit may show signs of a slight head tilt.

Treatment

Once you notice all of these symptoms, your immediate reaction should be to take the rabbit straight to the vet. After he or she diagnoses the rabbit with Pasteurellosis, the rabbit will probably be given an antibiotic course that typically lasts from around 15 to 30 days. If your rabbit is weakened and not getting the right nutrition, the vet may also provide supplementary nutrition or IV fluids. Usually, this can be lifelong or long-term treatment.

Prevention

Because of the severe nature of this infection, prevention is the best case for keeping your rabbits safe and healthy. Make sure that you keep your rabbits in a clean environment, and avoid access to rabbits that are infected, or at risk of being infected. Another way to keep your rabbit safe is to keep it stress-free.

When rabbits are stressed, their immunity is lowered at the end up being at risk for contagious illnesses. You should also be fully aware of this disease and take action early if you see any signs. Don’t delay taking your rabbits to the vet as it may well be a question of life or death for your furry friends.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are a parasite that grows inside your rabbit’s ears, leading to an accumulation of crust and debris, along with causing an infection. Although these are not very serious and very common, untreated ear mites can be a source of a lot of problems, such as secondary infections caused by bacteria.

Symptoms

You ear mite infested rabbit may show signs of shaking their head, flapping their ears, constant scratching, and general irritation in the ear tissue. If you examine these rabbits’ ears, you may seem black or brown crust or pieces of debris. This is a sure indicator of an infestation of ear mites.

Treatment

Treatment needs to be started immediately, and the first step is to completely clean every single thing the rabbit is in contact with to avoid re-infestation. Take your rabbit to the vet, and they will probably recommend some kind of oil. Place a few drops of this into your rabbit’s ears, to drown out the mites and kill them. Always check to see if the oil or chemical you are using is safe for your rabbit and only use one of the vet’s recommendation.

Prevention

When it comes to preventative measures, your best bet is to keep an eye on your rabbit and to make their ear health a regular priority of yours. Make it part of your routine to check up on the rabbit’s ears, along with the rest of the grooming for the rabbit. You can also get a recommendation for a cleaning solution from your vet which you can use at regular intervals to ensure your rabbit’s ear health is maintained.

Common Rabbit Illnesses

 

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