Rabbits as Pets
Rabbits are becoming more and more popular pets amongst animal lovers for a variety of reasons. Some who are allergic to dogs and cats can tolerate rabbit fur and dander a little better. They’re also (generally) smaller, and some find them easier to maintain (no long walks or poop scooping!) Others still, recognize rabbits for their unique personalities and other attributes that set them apart from basic domestic pets like dogs and cats near Westbank, LA.
While rabbits are not commonly known to need annual vaccinations, deworming, or flea and tick prevention, they still need regular veterinary pet rabbit exams for other reasons near Westbank, LA.
It’s always a good idea to establish a relationship with a veterinarian near Westbank, LA when your pet is healthy, that way if an illness or emergency arises, you know who you can contact us with questions, or to schedule an exam.
Routine Health Checks
Annual, or semi-annual pet rabbit exams near Westbank, LA can help you and your veterinarian closely monitor your beloved’s weight, heart and lung function, skin and coat, and so many other bodily functions. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for you to discuss your rabbit’s needs with their doctor. You can discuss their habitat and nutrition, get recommendations on how to improve their health and longevity. And with regular monitoring, any problems can be caught early, by tracking changes in weight or physical exam findings over time.
Going to the Vet
Rabbits are similar to cats, in that trips to the vet should be planned carefully and intentionally. Rabbits can easily become stressed and risk injury to themselves when stuffed in an uncomfortable carrier, taken on a bumpy car ride, and then jostled on their way from the car to the waiting room to the exam room. When considering a carrier, make sure it’s solid and sturdy, has multiple access points (doors, or a removable top), and that there’s some kind of comfortable bedding in the bottom that provides traction. Consider bringing a towel too, so your rabbit can be sheltered from other animals at the vet hospital near Westbank, LA that look like predators.
Offer something tasty too! Stressed bunnies can become hypoglycemic quickly, so keep hay, pellets, and some fresh veggies in the carrier for them to munch.
Dental problems are extremely common in domestic rabbits near Westbank, LA. It can be a combination of genetics, inappropriate diet, and poor management. Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously for their entire lives, they need normal tooth contact and rough food materials to keep them worn down to normal lengths. Malocclusion, or misalignment of teeth, causes the teeth wear down unevenly. Diet is also important- if a rabbit isn’t fed hay on a regular basis, soft and chewy foodstuffs like pellets and veggies don’t do enough to keep teeth wearing down at a normal rate.
When teeth are worn unevenly, or aren’t worn well enough by diet, sharp and protruding edges develop, and cause injury and abscesses within the mouth. It’s nearly impossible for owners to see inside a pet rabbit’s mouth well enough to determine if their teeth are helpful, and completely impossible for owners to fix safely. This is where routine pet rabbit exams come in. Veterinarians can, with professional restrainers, see inside the rabbit’s mouth and make a recommendation about dental care.
Rabbits with dental issues likely need pain management and sedation to fix the problem, and antibiotics to treat them afterwards. Depending on the severity of the issue, they may need to come back for multiple recheck visits until the teeth are healthy again.
Fix That Bunny!
You’ll need to visit a veterinarian near Westbank, LA to get your rabbit spayed or neutered. The House Rabbit Society recommends spaying or neutering for a variety of reasons, including improved overall health, reduced risk of cancer, prevention of unwanted litters, and reduction of behavioral problems.
“Intact” rabbits are at higher risk for cancer, and females can develop ovarian cysts, or even a deadly uterine infection known as pyometra. Spaying/neutering significantly reduces or eliminates these risks, meaning rabbits will live longer, healthier lives.
They’re also much more likely to develop hormone related behavioral problems as they age if they still have their reproductive organs, potentially making them less wonderful companions for your household.
Not to mention that rabbits mate like, well, rabbits. Rabbit overpopulation is a very real issue, and irresponsible breeding leads to genetic problems that can plague a rabbit for their lifetime.
A female can get pregnant as early as 4 months of age, their gestation is just over a month long, they can have litters of two dozen babies, and they can be bred again almost immediately. If you do the math, that’s nearly 11 litters every year, and over one hundred babies in just a year. Considering their lifespan is 8-10 years, that’s over a thousand babies over a lifetime! Rabbits might be increasing in popularity, but they’re not THAT popular. It’s far better to get rabbits spayed and neutered near Westbank, LA when they’re old enough to tolerate the surgery.
Building a good relationship with a veterinarian near Westbank, LA is always a good idea for any domestic animal. House rabbits are no exception- regular pet rabbit exams can provide valuable information and a solid foundation of good care for the life of your pet. Consider establishing your rabbit with a local veterinarian for annual pet rabbit exams!
About Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana
Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana, formally West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic, is Louisiana’s only veterinarian that provides care exclusively to avian and exotic pets. From parrots to rabbits and ferrets to a wide variety of reptiles, as well as a multitude of small mammal exotic pets, we welcome them all to our practice!