Domesticated rabbits are a fairly popular household pet, with about 90,000 kept in hutches across the country. Like all animals, they can easily fall ill, and it's important to keep an eye on your pet rabbit to make sure that its health is in check.

Here are some of the most common illnesses faced by rabbits, and how to keep an eye on them.

Overgrown teeth

Rabbits' teeth grow continuously, no matter how old they are. This is where the term 'rabbit food' comes from - rabbits must eat fibre and hard vegetables to keep their teeth ground down. If they are not getting this with their diet their teeth can grow too much and can damage their cheeks or tongue. Eventually, they will stop eating - so it is very important to get overgrown teeth checked straight away.

This can easily be prevented by ensuring that 80-90% of a rabbit's diet is fibre. If they get too bad and need medical intervention, the teeth can be burred flat, but this is quite an intense operation for the rabbit.

Snuffles

This is passed from rabbit to rabbit, or potentially in hutches without much ventilation. Snuffles is a bacterial infection that gives the rabbit watering eyes, nasal problems and makes them sneeze. It can be chronic once it is caught, so prevention is key. Make sure that hutches have a lot of ventilation and that your rabbit does not go near any sick ones. Treatment is antibiotics, but these may need to be administered for a long time and repetitively.

Uterine tumours

The most common cancer in female rabbits is Uterine Tumors. This can be very serious, so it is important to bear it in mind if the rabbit is un-desexed and becomes sick. If the rabbit is desexed early in life, around 4-6 months, they will be immune to this condition.

A vet may need to use a <a href="https://www.vetimagesolutions.co.uk/veterinary-ultrasound/small-animal-ultrasound-scanners.html">small animal ultrasound scanner</a> in order to detect tumours.

Hairballs

When rabbits groom themselves, they can ingest hair that locks together and creates hairballs. This only becomes an issue if they cannot pass it naturally; rabbits cannot vomit, so this does happen more so than in cats. Treatment for severe hairballs that are causing gut issues is an operation.

If you'd like to learn about professional small animal diagnostic equipment, contact Vet Image Solutions today.

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