This is a viral infection spread by rabbit fleas, and despite popular belief does not require direct contact with wild rabbits.
After an incubation period of 1 – 2 weeks, it produces puffy swellings of the eyelids and genitalia, discharge from the eyes and nose, followed by blindness and pneumonia.
Recovery from this awful disease is extremely rare.
Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)
This viral disease is spread by direct contact with infected rabbits but also indirectly via food, hands, insects, etc.
The signs of illness include bleeding, convulsions, coma and death. The incubation period is 12 hours to 3 days and it is usually fatal.
Both of these diseases are easily preventable by an annual vaccination which can be from 6 weeks of age onwards.
Rabbits, as prey animals, are notorious for hiding signs of disease and are particularly susceptible to stress. As most rabbits live outdoors, signs of early illness can be easily missed if Rabbits are not handled every day.
See vaccination for Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD)
Unfortunately this is a common problem during the summer months. It is incredibly distressing for the rabbit and potentially fatal.
Blowflies are attracted to the rabbits bottom if it is unable to clean itself properly or has diarrhoea. The flies lay eggs in the fur, which within 12 hours can hatch into maggots. The maggots then burrow into the skin and eat the rabbits flesh. This will cause extreme distress and life threatening damage.
It is therefore very important to check your rabbit over at least once a day, especially during the warmer weather, checking underneath and around the tail area for any evidence of diarrhoea or the little white eggs stuck to the fur. Any faeces MUST be quickly washed away and the fur dried again.
If flystrike is seen or suspected the rabbit must be taken to the vets immediately. Time is of the essence.
Overweight rabbits are more prone to this problem as they may not be able to clean themselves thoroughly.
Recent diet changes or a poor diet, leading to diarrhoea makes rabbits more susceptible. Spot-on insecticides and creams can be used as a preventative measure.
Dental disease is by far the most common problem seen in domestic rabbits today.
The scientific term for dental disease is malocclusion, referring to the misalignment of teeth. The lines of teeth in a rabbit’s top and bottom jaw should match up perfectly when the rabbit grinds its food. As a rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout their life, when the teeth do not meet correctly they are not ground down at the same rate. This leads to overgrown front teeth (incisors) and/or spikes forming on the back teeth (molars). These spikes cut into the rabbit’s cheek or tongue and can cause abscesses.
The most common cause of dental disease is diet.
In order to grind their teeth down, Rabbits need to eat foods of a high fibrous material. Therefore at least 80% of your rabbits diet should be hay or grass with the other 20% made up of dry food and vegetables.
Symptoms can include runny eyes, salivating, weight loss and whilst appearing to be hungry is reluctant to eat.
See the advantages of neutering your rabbit/s and details on the procedure. Click here!