Common Rabbit Diseases
Rabbits can be a great family pet. They are full of energy and personality. Rabbits are great for people of all ages, but if you are thinking of adopting one, you may want to have them checked out at your local veterinarian's office before bringing them home to the family.
You can read more at https://www.unusualpetvets.com.au/rabbit-disease-information/ and other sites about common ailments for rabbits. You can also check with the pet store or animal shelter to find out specific health information about the rabbit you want to adopt.
Here are some information about some of the more common rabbit diseases:
- Heat stroke.
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Rabbits' natural fur coating generally keeps them well insulated in winter. However, that coating can be a hindrance during hot, humid summer days. Rabbits need to spend time in the shade if they are outdoors. The hotter a day is, the worse your rabbit can feel. Make sure they have enough food and water. Some ways to help avoid heat stroke for your rabbit are keeping them indoors in air-conditioned facilities during summer, blowing fans indirectly around them and giving them frozen water bottles to rest by.
- Coccidiosis. This is a potentially fatal disease for rabbits. It is caused by parasites and spread through feces. It is commonly found in rabbits who are bred in large groups. Symptoms of coccidiosis include diarrhea, lack of appetite and bloating. There are different strains of this disease. It usually affects rabbits at ages four to sixmonths. Antibacterial medications are used to treat this disease. If left untreated, coccidiosis could seriously impact a rabbit's liver and intestine.
- Snuffles. If your rabbit is experiencing runny eyes, frequent bouts of sneezing or matted paws, they may look like they have a human cold. In reality, they are experiencing snuffles. This is a disease caused by bacterial infection in the rabbit's sinuses or tear ducts. The disease is usually spread through nasal secretions from other rabbits who have snuffles. The best way to treat it is through antibiotics, although success is not guaranteed. This disease can re-appear if the rabbit is experiencing stress or is dealing with another type of infection. Surgery may be required if abscesses that result from snuffles persist.
- Sore hocks. Also known as pododermatitis, sore hocks are bruising or calluses that appear on a rabbit's feet. This can be caused by hard flooring, wire mesh cages or excessive thumping of their feet. This can be alleviated by providing rubber mats or nesting boxes for your rabbit.
- Bloat. This is a bacterial infection that can cause a rabbit's belly to swell abnormally. Bloat is caused by irregular dietary habits. Some of the best ways to avoid bloat is to feed your rabbit a diet with healthy greens and foods that contain enough protein. Watch what you feed them, as moldy or spoiled food or having too much greens can contribute to bloat.
- Flystrike. This is an ailment caused by flies, who lay their eggs in a rabbit's skin. When these eggs hatch, the maggots burrow underneath the rabbit's skin and eventually release toxins that can be fatal to your pet. If this does happen, contact your veterinarian immediately. If that's not an option, you can pick out the maggots carefully by using tweezers and shaving off any damp fur that you find. Keeping your rabbit's feeding and nesting area dry can help prevent flystrikes from happening.
- Ear mites. This is another tricky condition to handle. Ear mites are small insects that nest in a rabbit's ear. The inside of the ear may look brown and irritated. If your rabbit has been scratching its ears more than normal, check them for ear mites. You can treat ear mites by putting a few drops of vegetable oil in the infected ear twice a day for several days in a row. There are also several over-the-counter products that are effective. While it may look painful, the brown scabbing inside their ears will dissipate over time. Picking at these scabs is not only painful for the rabbit, but it can leave them open for more possible infections.
- Rabbit haemorrhagic virus. Also known as rabbit calicivirus, this disease is spread through contact with flies, mosquitoes or other rabbits who have been infected. Common symptoms are restlessness, lethargy and fever. If left untreated, rabbits can experience problems with blood clotting, liver damage and even death. Monthly vaccinations and proper insect control can provide some protection against different strains of this virus.
- Rabies. This is a disease common to many animals. Rabies is spread through animal bites, and can affect the health of both people and animals who have been bitten. Some common symptoms are pain, nausea and fatigue. Vaccinations are highly effective when administered as soon as possible after being bitten.
- Myxomatosis. This is another virus that is spread through contact with flies, mosquitoes or other infected rabbits. The disease can cause swelling or other infections in a rabbit's ear, nose, lips and genital area. Because myxomatosis frequently happens during the spring and summer months, vaccinations during these seasons are the best method for reducing pain, swelling and other symptoms.
- Cellulitis. This is a bacterial infection which is usually seen as swelling or redness on the surface of your rabbit's neck. This area of their body may become very warm, and your rabbit may seem feverish. Your veterinarian can prescribe pain medication to help reduce the swelling. Giving your rabbit a cool bath can also help reduce their body temperature. If the infection causes lesions on the surface of the rabbit's skin, surgery may be necessary to remove them.
Rabbits can also contract other diseases, such as conjunctivitis, pneumonia, scabies, red urine, cataracts and even cancer. Regular veterinary check ups can help diagnose these and other health conditions and prevent other possible maladies. Pay close attention to your rabbit's health. They can require constant care sometimes, but the energy and effort is worth it for the many years of happiness that they provide for you and your family.