It’s always a little nerve wracking to take your bunny, or any other little pet, in for their first vet visit, isn’t it? What’s most important is for you to limit the stress that both of you will be under. Your bunny will be nervous and you’ll be nervous, too, and you can’t explain to your rabbit that everything will be fine.
Let us help you prepare for this visit! Learn more about what information your veterinarian will need, what you can expect during your rabbit’s examination, and what items you can bring that can help comfort and reassure your little bunny that all is well.
Our Veterinarian is Experienced in Rabbit Care
If you live near our veterinary clinic in Burnaby, then we have a rabbit vet who may be able to help your little pet. She is compassionate and caring, and will answer any questions you may have prior to necessary treatments.
We recommend that when you make your appointment with Dr. Shanahan you arrive a little early so that you can fill out the necessary paperwork.
Bring Information Needed by the Vet
As well as providing your name and address and your pet rabbit’s name, this is the information you will be expected to provide:
- How long have you owned your rabbit?
- Where did you acquire your pet? Was it from a breeder, a pet shop, a shelter, a farm, or as a gift?
- How often is your rabbit handled, picked up, and carried? This information helps the vet understand how nervous your bunny may be at being touched or lifted.
- Is your rabbit housed indoors or outdoors? If housed inside, is bunny allowed to roam in a yard or is he or she frequently taken outside?
- How many other rabbits do you own and are they housed together?
- What is the size of the cage in which bunny is kept, how often is it cleaned and what cleaner do you use?
- What is your bunny’s diet? How much and what kind of hay is in the cage? Is your bunny given pellets, and, if so, what kind and how many? What veggies, fruits, and treats does he or she receive? How much does your bunny eat in general?
- Do you know if the bunny has been neutered or spayed?
- Bring any medical records that you have.
- Bring a stool sample that is no more than 24 hours old.
- Bring a list of any questions you want to ask your rabbit veterinarian.
Bring These Items to Comfort Your Bunny
- Have a comfortable and easy-to-use pet carrier.
- Put a soft blanket or towel at the bottom of the carrier so the bunny won’t slide around, and bring a replacement in case it is soiled.
- Have a towel or small blanket to put over the carrier in case your bunny gets frightened by the journey or by the other animals and odours in the waiting room.
- Bring along some comfort food, like one or two small pieces of your bunny’s favourite fruit.
Expect a Thorough Physical Exam
After your veterinarian has checked your pet’s history, diet, and living conditions with you, the physical examination will be conducted:
- Ears – If there is any debris, the vet may swab the ears and check for mites, yeast, and bacteria under a microscope.
- Eyes – The eyes should be bright and alert. The vet will look for any signs of infection, swelling, and tear duct obstructions.
- Teeth – The front teeth, or incisors, will be examined to make sure they have not overgrown and can no longer meet the bottom teeth properly—this is called malocclusion, which puts pressure on the other teeth and creates various tooth problems. The back teeth will be examined to make sure the molars have no sharp points—called spurs—that can damage the gums. The lips will also be examined for sores, drooling, or swelling.
- Fur and Skin – The vet will check for parasites and any fur loss, and the skin will be checked for lesions and signs that your rabbit is biting or scratching, which signals a problem. The areas around the neck and tail will be examined for mites.
- Body – The vet will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, and will palpate the abdomen to check the size and shape of the organs and for irregularities. Any lameness, stiffness, or hunched posture will be noted as these are signs of health problems.
As well as testing the stool you have brought along, the vet may recommend a blood test, and an urinalysis, as means for further testing. The vet will check under the tail to make sure your bunny is male or female—whichever you were told! Expect a discussion about the benefits of spaying or neutering if surgery has not already been done.
Take your pet rabbit in to the office for a checkup every year so that your vet has a record of the signs of your bunny’s good health and will be able to quickly identify problems if they are beginning, or have already occurred. Health problems are easier and less expensive to treat if they are caught early.
You can expect your bunny’s first vet visit to go smoothly if you gather the information needed by your veterinarian, understand what to expect during a physical examination, and have a few items of comfort for your pet. After it’s all over and you are back home, you and bunny deserve a good rest and a treat. You’ve both earned it!
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