NEW – Our Clinic Now Provides Rabbit Care
We are very happy to announce that our veterinary clinic has extended its facilities to include rabbit care! In addition to dogs and cats, rabbits are becoming an increasingly popular pet in the Vancouver and Burnaby areas. Their floppy ears, fluffy tails, and hops are all very cute! Don’t forget that rabbits do require some very specific pet care however.
Hastings Veterinary Hospital in Burnaby, BC takes your pet rabbit’s needs seriously. We pride ourselves in making our patients’ checkups as stress-free as possible. Surgical services when required are also provided for, such as general surgery and routine rabbit spaying and neutering. With our digital radiology equipment we are able to offer on-site x-rays for diagnostics when your pet rabbit is ill or injured. With our in‐house pharmacy, we are able to assist with finding the right medication to help with any potential illness that may affect your rabbit.
Rabbits Can Benefit Greatly from Routine Checkups
Like cats and dogs, taking care of a rabbit will require visiting your veterinarian for routine checkups about once a year. Regular exams and checkups will benefit both you and your rabbit by identifying and catching early signs of illnesses and health problems. Baby and adult rabbits cannot tell you what is wrong with them, so early detection during an exam can often save your pet from unnecessary suffering, as well as save you money with early treatment.
During a checkup, we will examine the following:
- Heart – to detect murmurs and ensure your rabbit has a healthy heart.
- Lungs – to listen for any unusual sounds
- Abdomen – to feel for any signs of pain, or abnormal size and shape of various organs
- Eyes – to detect early signs of eye problems, including cataracts in older rabbits
- Ears – to check for infections or parasites
- Teeth – to look for injuries and assess for proper oral health.
- Weight – to track possible obesity or unexplained weight loss
- Skin and coat – to look for mites and external parasites, or fungal and bacterial infections
- Musculoskeletal system – for any signs of injury or illness
- Temperature – rectal temperature is advised. A healthy rabbit’s temperature should be between 38-40 degrees Celsius.
A healthy looking rabbit is alert and inquisitive, and depending on their breed the ears should be erect. You should always report any signs that seem abnormal in your rabbit to your vet. They will work with you to address and treat the following signs of illness in rabbits:
- A poor/un-kept coat
- Soiling around their bum
- A lack of symmetry in the face or facial swelling
- Lameness/stiff movements
- A hunched posture
Stress in rabbits will also be checked by your veterinarian. The only way to tell whether or not a rabbit is stressed is by examining their eyes. If they are bulging, squinting, or the whites of their eyes are showing, then they’re stressed. Your veterinarian will go over with you their current living conditions and how best you can help decrease your poor bunny’s stress level.
Your rabbit won’t tell you if he or she is not feeling well but we certainly can after we examine them! During their annual checkup, you will have the opportunity to ask advice about their diet, behavioural problems, or any concerns you have about your rabbit.
A Rabbit’s Diet Promotes a Longer and Happier Life
Many people make the assumption that rabbits can live on carrots and lettuce alone, but this is simply not true. While vegetables should be included in their regular diet, grass hay (timothy) is in fact the best rabbit food that you can give to your pet. The ideal rabbit diet consists of fresh grass hay, good quality pellets that are relatively high in fiber (20-25% crude fiber), and fresh veggies.
Fruits can be given but only very sparingly; do not make fruit the staple of your rabbit’s diet. Fresh fruit is best provided to your rabbit as a treat. Coloured pellets are not recommended; pellets of the same shape and colour are encouraged to avoid nutritional deficiencies in your rabbit’s diet.
Avoid giving your rabbit any nuts, seeds, crackers, bread, and cereal. The vegetables you should avoid giving as well are onions, cabbage, and uncut celery. Remember, only give your rabbit a very small amount of fruit!
Rabbit Spaying, Neutering, and Other Surgeries
Spaying or neutering a rabbit will prevent you from ending up with more rabbits than you can handle! These are the most common surgical procedures that we offer at our clinic; they involve the removal of the rabbit’s reproductive organs to reduce sexual behaviours and aggression. The procedure also minimizes the risk of health problems and helps to prevent rabbit overpopulation.
It’s important to ensure that your rabbit is spayed or neutered once they become a mature adult. The appropriate ages for spaying rabbits is 4-6 months and neutering should take place as soon as the rabbit’s testicles drop, usually 4-6 months as well. Recovery times for rabbits post-spay or neuter is very similar to cats—7 days for males and 10-14 days for females.
- Spaying – the removal of the uterus and ovaries in female rabbits
- Neutering – the removal of the testicles in male rabbits
- Insertion of microchips – ensures easy identification if your pet rabbit is ever lost. It is a simple and quick procedure that does not require anaesthetic.
Dr. Sheelagh Shanahan will take care of your pet’s needs with our rabbit care program. You can visit our veterinary clinic with your rabbit on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:00am-6:00pm, and on Wednesdays from 9:00am-1:00pm. During these times you can learn more about our preventative treatments and our surgery capabilities. If you have any questions or concerns you can reach us at 604‐291‐6666.