Health checks are extremely important to ensure your rabbit is healthy. Rabbits are delicate creatures and illness can progress very quickly, so contact your vet immediately if you notice your rabbit seems unwell.
Rabbits feel pain in the same way as other animals, including people, but they are not very good at showing outward signs of pain and may be suffering a great deal before you notice anything is wrong. Regular health check-ups with a vet is the best way of detecting any problems with your rabbit early, but remember – if any of your rabbits show any signs of injury or ill health, you must take them to their veterinarian immediately.
There are a number of things to monitor to ensure your rabbit is healthy and happy. Here’s a quick guide that highlights what to look out for:
- Temperature: Rabbits are very susceptible to changes in temperature. They can become very sick or even die if exposed to the elements. Make sure they are kept in environments that vary between 10-20 degrees. Plan ahead so you don’t suddenly change your rabbit’s body temperature (for example, by taking them from hot outdoor environment into an airconditioned, cold house.)
- Ears: Should be clean and smooth with no signs of redness, odour or excessive discharge. Rabbits, in particular lop-eared breeds, can be susceptible to ear infections.
- Eyes: Check for any redness or debris that may be irritating the eye. Watery eyes or eyes with excessive discharge must be seen by a vet.
- Skin: Check the skin and fur for any signs of parasites or skin irritation. Itchy or flaky skin with bald patches may be a sign of mites or allergies.
- Teeth: Rabbit teeth grow continuously so they must be checked to ensure that they are being worn down properly. It’s almost impossible to see your rabbits back teeth at home, but check out the front teeth as often as you can! Your rabbit’s top front teeth should naturally line up and extend slightly in front of the bottom row. If your rabbit’s teeth are overgrown or starting to grow sideways, contact your vet immediately.
- Body condition: Weigh your rabbit weekly and take note of any deterioration in general body condition. Weight loss may indicate a more serious medical issue.
For more specific information on other important rabbit health topics, check out these webpages below: