Tuesday, 5 March 2013

#Bringing #Home the #Bunny: #Common #Illnesses & #Symptoms

Bringing Home the Bunny
By Stacey Gonzalez
Photo by Robobobobo Foter.com  CC BY-SA

Bringing Home the Bunny is a seven-part blog series about what to expect when becoming a new rabbit owner.
 

Common illnesses and symptoms
When bringing a new bunny home it is important to make a veterinarian appointment as soon as possible. Annual vet appointments are also important in maintaining a happy and healthy rabbit.
Common signs of illness in rabbits include bare patches of fur, sneezing, discharge from the nose or eyes, diarrhea, decrease in appetite, drop in weight, lethargy, head tilt, shaking and decreased activity. Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes can also be linked to a bigger problem. Difficulty urinating or blood in the urine could be a sign of kidney issues or a urinary tract infection. The most common diseases and illnesses in rabbits are overgrown teeth, upper respiratory infections, gastrointestinal complications, parasites, uterine cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease.

Most indoor rabbits live longer and healthier lives. The average life span of a rabbit is nine to 12 years for dwarf breeds and seven to nine years for medium breeds. It is possible to vaccinate a rabbit although it is not as common as doing so with a dog or cat. Testing for the parasite Encephalitozoon cuniculi is recommended by most vets, especially if your rabbit has had access to wild rabbits. It is also recommended that rabbit owners see a small animal veterinarian so that their furry family member gets the best care.
Rabbit’s size can vary by breed but most medium breeds weigh in at four to eight pounds. Dwarf breeds tend to weigh three pounds or less. Giant rabbit breeds exist weighing in at 10 to 12 pounds or more. Since rabbits will gorge on food it is important to make sure your rabbit doesn’t become obese. Providing lots of hay, a healthy, portioned diet and plenty of activity can help achieve that.
Those are the basics of rabbit care. But remember- every rabbit is different. Each rabbit will have different needs and personalities. It is important to spend a lot of time with your pet and get to know it. Monitor it closely to discover its likes and dislikes as well as its wants and needs. The last part of this blog series is titled Bringing Home the Bunny: New Rabbit Owner Shopping List This list contains all that you will need for your new rabbit pet and a few extras that will make your rabbit's life happy and fulfilled.

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