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Love your pet ... love your vet - May 2011

Rabbit Awareness Week: 23-29 May 2011
and ensuring your Pet Vaccinations are up-to-date…

Did you know that 23-29 May is Rabbit Awareness Week? Rabbits, like our other pets need to visit the vets from time to time for routine health examinations and ensuring their vaccines are kept up-to-date.

Vaccination: with the onset of warmer weather now is the time to ensure your rabbit is vaccinated – this primes your rabbit’s immune system to recognise and defend against incurable and life threatening infectious diseases like Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic disease.

Myxomatosis is a distressing viral disease spread by rabbit fleas, mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects. Affected rabbits typically suffer from swollen eyes, leading to blindness and in most cases death.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) is another very serious viral infection. It spreads easily between rabbits or via contaminated hutches, bedding or food. Infected rabbits may show a variety of signs including nose bleeds, loss of appetite and lethargy. Sadly most will die despite treatment.

Protection against these deadly infectious diseases is vital, check with your vet to ensure these are up-to-date. Some vets during this week will be holding special promotions to support the campaign so ask yours if they are doing anything.

Flystrike is also a big problem for rabbits during the warmer months – rabbit rear ends often become damp and this can attract flies which lay their eggs there. These eggs hatch out into maggots which are capable of burrowing through the rabbit’s skin and into the underlying flesh. You should inspect your rabbit’s rear end daily for fly eggs/maggots and ensure bedding is changed daily to avoid flies being attracted in the first place.

Dental disease is also very common in rabbits – they have continuously growing teeth with both the check teeth and incisor (front) teeth growing by as much as 1-2mm per week. Therefore, ensuring the correct diet for your rabbit is important – this should include plenty of hay (high in fibre), together with a selection of fresh food and a small amount of commercial rabbit food. Commercial rabbit foods are now available as extruded pellets avoiding selective feeding.

Vaccinations against infectious diseases – Vets strongly recommend vaccinating your dogs and cats against the following potentially fatal diseases:



Parasites also need to be kept at bay: roundworms, ticks, fleas and worms should all be treated for – your vet will advise on the best form of treatment for you and your pet.

Keith Moore BVSc MRCVS is a Veterinary Surgeon at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. For more information visit Follow us on Facebook.

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Last Updated: 29th April 2011