Rabbits

Basic Facts

Size: Varies greatly based on breed
Live span: 5-10 years
Herbivores
Highly Social
Active primarily at dawn and dusk
Puberty: approximately 4.5 months (although is more dependent on size than age)
Gestation Length: 31-32 days
Average of 4-10 kits per litter

Some reasons why Rabbits make great pets
  • Generally docile and make good house pets
  • Can be litter trained

Husbandry
  • Housing
  • Based on Size of the rabbit
  • Minimum 3 square feet for 4-6 pound rabbits
  • Minimum 4-5 square feet for rabbits greater than 6 pounds
  • 4+ hours of exercise per day (supervised or in an exercise pen)
  • Well ventilated
  • Solid flooring on at least part of the cage
  • Hide boxes
  • Avoid wood shavings
Temperature
  • 60-75F
  • Especially important for Rabbits- they are prone to heat stroke at
  • temperatures > 80F
  • Low to moderate humidity (30-60%)
Diet
  • High in fiber
  • Require free choice dry Timothy or grass hay
  • Alfalfa hay is not recommended, can predispose them to forming
  • urinary stones
  • Fresh Leafy Greens
  • Limited amounts- approximately 1 cup per day
  • Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, parsley, endive,
  • kale, mustard greens
  • Pellets
  • 1/8 – ½ cup per day
  • Low protein, low fat, high fiber
  • Overfeeding can lead to obesity and soft stools
  • Free Choice water
  • Either bowls or sipper bottles
Treats
  • Should be fed in limited quantities
  • Hard foods to gnaw like wood chew toys
  • When should my Rabbit see the Veterinarian?
  • Any new pet should be examined by a veterinarian, then have yearly check-upswith a veterinarian as long as they are healthy
  • Below are some common problems seen in Rabbits and recommendations ofwhen to see your Veterinarian. If you are ever concerned about the health of yourpet do not hesitate to call.
Common problems with Rabbits and Signs to watch for
  • Teeth Malocclusion
  • Can lead to laceration of the tongue and cheeks – this can lead to discomfort and difficulty chewing
  • Signs of dental disease include difficulty prehending food, anorexia, facial-swelling and drooling
  • If you notice any of these signs please make an appointment to have your rabbits teeth evaluated
  • Snuffles aka Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Purulent nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing
  • Lethargy, anorexia
  • Please take your rabbit to the veterinarian if you notice any of these
  • symptoms

GI Stasis
  • Anorexia, decreased or lack of stool production
  • Is often associated with high carbohydrate low fiber diets, stress, lack of
  • exercise, and can be associated with hairballs
  • If your rabbit is not eating and has stopped producing stool please contact
  • your veterinarian immediately
Fungal disease- Ringworm
  • Crusty red lesions associated with hair loss, which may or may not be
  • itchy
  • Lesions are most often on the head, legs, and shoulders but can be
  • anywhere on the body
  • Please make an appointment for your rabbit to see your veterinarian
  • Parasites
Bot fly larva (cuterebra) and fly strike are common in rabbits housed outdoors in the summer months
  • Please make an appointment for your rabbit to see your veterinarian the fly larva needs to be removed
Ear Mites
  • Ear debris from one or both ears, itchy ears
  • Please make an appointment for your rabbits ears to be treated
  • Heat Stroke- -EMERGENCY
  • Lying on their side, panting, drooling, reddened ears and gums, bloody diarrhea, cyanosis (glue gums)
  • Call your veterinarian immediately
Vertebral Luxation or Fracture
  • Rabbits have very strong muscular hind legs and when inappropriately restrained can kick and cause trauma to their delicate vertebral column. Signs include hind-limb paresis or paralysis
  • Contact your veterinarian immediately
This list contains the most common problems seen in pet Rabbits. If your Rabbit is not eating, is acting lethargic, or if you are at all concerned call your veterinarian immediately and they can assist you further.
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