How to Diagnose & Treat Rabbit Illnesses

What to Do About a Bunny with Overgrown Teeth?

Bunnies have open-rooted teeth, implying that they continue to grow throughout their lifetime. This, however, is usually not an issue for those living in the wild because their diet includes gnawing at twigs and other fibrous materials, which help keep the teeth at the correct length. However, domesticated rabbits’ diet might not be the same, which could lead to overgrown teeth.

This can lead to serious problems like infections, eating problems, and pain. It is the reason why rabbits with this problem require special care, although the best thing would be to prevent the issue from happening.

The first thing to do is look for symptoms of overgrown teeth. They include changed feeding habits, drooling, and mouth infections.

A rabbit suffering from overgrown teeth will suddenly stop eating since it will have problems chewing and even swallowing. Its fecal production rate will also go down. If you notice that your rabbit is constantly pawing at its mouth, it is an indicator that it is in pain.

Long teeth tend to cause excessive cuts and scrapes in the bunny’s mouth. It will also be harder to clean its mouth, which can lead to infections. You can detect this by excessive drooling and bad mouth odor.

Contact a veterinarian when you realize that your rabbit has overgrown teeth. Your bunny will get a mouth examination and treatments, which include cleaning, tooth-trimming, and removing the tooth in extreme cases.

Follow the veterinarian’s advice about how to feed and care for the rabbit. You might be required to feed it using a feeding syringe. This means you will have to process the food before feeding it to the rabbit. Ensure your rabbit stays hydrated at all times also by providing clean water consistently.

Show more concern to your affected rabbit by offering it extra care. Make sure you do so in a reassuring way as rabbits tend to sense anxiety in other animals, which might cause them more stress.

Are Hairballs a Concern for Rabbits?

Rabbits like to groom themselves regularly, just like cats. This can create hairballs that are also known as trichobezoars in medical terms. Sometimes, these hairballs get lodged inside the rabbit’s stomach and intestinal tract, which can lead to an obstruction. Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit, and these hairballs get stuck, causing ileus.

Hairballs are known to cause serious problems, which is why you should prevent them in the first place. A mass of undigested food can also form when your rabbit is not fed the right diet. This means that it is not only the hairball that causes obstruction.

This problem leads to an inability to digest food in rabbits, which could consequently, lead to your bunny becoming very ill and possibly dying. You can prevent this problem from occurring by:

  • Give your rabbit a diet full of fiber and low in carbohydrates. This kind of diet enhances the normal gastrointestinal movements, which ensure food and any ingested hair moves swiftly through the stomach.
  • Groom your rabbit. You can achieve this by brushing its fur, which will reduce the amount of hair swallowed.
  • Provide a lot exercise for the rabbit. Exercise also helps with digestion and motility of gastrointestinal tract.
  • Keep your rabbit in a stress-free environment. Rabbits that live in stressful environments are more prone to having hairball problems.
  • Give your rabbit large amounts of water. Keeping your bunny hydrated at all times will reduce its stress levels and gastrointestinal problems.

If your rabbit is affected by hairballs, it will have a decreased appetite, low level of activity, and minimal bowel movement. It might also appear depressed, yet it cannot tell you what the problem is. If you see these symptoms, consult a vet as soon as possible. Remember that when you rabbit stops eating, it leads to digestive problems, which could mean poor health and even death.

There a number of treatments that the vet can use to deal with the problem medically, but sometimes, it gets to a point where surgery is necessary. This could reduce the chances of recovery. This is the reason why you should take preventative measures in advance.

Desexing Female Rabbits to Avoid Uterine Tumors

Spaying is very important. Female rabbits tend to become very aggressive and territorial once they become sexually mature. This is why it is not advisable to keep two does together. Spaying has another advantage too. Unsprayed does tend to develop uterine cancer by the time they are 5 years old. This is why you need to spay them at a younger age; around 5-6 months.

Failing to spay does at a younger age while they are still healthy might necessitate emergency surgery later in their life when they develop cancer. At this stage, surgery can be very difficult as the tissues around the ovaries and uterus serve as the primary fat storage areas, making it hard to see the blood vessels.

What Are the Signs of Heat Stroke and What to Do if a Rabbit Has It?

Rabbits tend to be well insulated, which is why you should be keen where a heat stroke is concerned. They can instantly die on cold nights and during summer; a heat stroke can affect them adversely. You will be required to keep your rabbit hydrated and under the shade when it is warm outside. If you notice that your rabbit is extremely tired, you should act fast.

A heat stroke can be countered by spraying the rabbit gently with cool water to lower its body temperature. You should then take it to the vet who will treat the bunny with IV fluids.

The best thing, however, is to prevent the heatstroke altogether. This can be achieved by offering frozen water bottles to your rabbits. They will lie next to them, which makes them cool. Blowing a fan indirectly to your rabbit can also help circulate cool air around them. Just don’t make the mistake of blowing it directly to them as it could mean more problems for your rabbit.

How To Diagnose And Treat Respiratory Issues? (Snuffles)

It is abnormal for any animal to have a cold. This is why you should be concerned when you notice any nasal discharge or sniffling in your rabbit. Other symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and matted paws tend to mean that your rabbit has snuffles, which is a very contagious disease.

A snuffle is usually a bacterium. This means that for you to prevent it, you need to keep your rabbit’s immune system at its peak. You can mitigate this bacterium by giving your rabbit a healthy diet and keeping its house clean to discourage any microbial breeding.

If, after doing all this, your rabbit still gets this disease, it is advisable to try and treat it with antibiotics, although it is not guaranteed that the illness will be treated. Your best option is never let your rabbit contract this ailment since it is very contagious and difficult to treat.

Treating Rabbit Foot Pad Issues (Sore-Hocks)

Sore hocks tend to be a painful condition for any rabbit. They often happen when a rabbit is living in a less ideal environment or if they have nowhere to rest its feet, which can make the bottoms callused and sore. This is why you should provide your rabbit with a nesting box or board where it can rest its feet in. A mat can also do the trick.

If your rabbit breed is big, this could be a huge problem as they tend to have more weight on their hocks. You can avoid this problem by keeping your big furry friend in a squeaky clean environment with enough room to rest their feet.

The best thing about the sore hock condition is that it is easily preventable by following the above guidelines.

How to Know if My Rabbit Has Ear Mites Infection and How to Treat It

Ear mites are usually tiny bugs that attack a rabbit’s ears. This leaves the ear looking brown, crusty, and itchy. If you notice that your rabbit is scratching its ears constantly, you should promptly check it. Mites tend to live in hay, which is one of a rabbit’s favorite diets.

If you see any gunk in your rabbit’s ears, it is a clear indication that it has been infested with mites and you need to take action. You should get a dropper and fill it with any kind of oil. Apply it on the affected area twice a day for one week. The oil will smother the ear mites and sooth the crusty skin from its ears.

You should, however, avoid picking the scabs from the rabbit’s ears as they tend to clear naturally. Picking them could bring pain to your rabbit and a possible infection.

A great preventative mechanism is placing hay in a feeder so that the rabbit doesn’t lay on it. You can also ensure you put oil in the rabbit’s ears on a weekly basis to keep mites at bay.

Whether you are keeping rabbits as pets or for commercial purposes, it is very important to check for any signs of an illness and act accordingly to save their lives and keep them comfortable. Learn the different conditions that affect rabbits and how to deal with them. Also, keep the vet’s number at your fingertips in case of an emergency.

Reviewed By: Tim Winter

Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

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