With a good diet, a clean cage and plenty of attention and handling you should have a happy and healthy rabbit. Check your pet daily, if problems are caught early there is a better chance of recovery. Things to check for would be:
Poor appetite and weight loss Soiling of hindquarters with faeces or urine Discharge from the eyes Drooling from the mouth Overgrown nails Scurfy skin If your rabbit has diarrhoea often withdrawal of greens for a day or so and probiotics (which can be purchased from the surgery) may be enough to put things right. If your rabbit stops eating this could be a sign of intestinal blockage and drooling from the mouth could indicate a dental problem. In dental disease teeth can develop ‘spurs’ which make the gums and tongue sore leading to ulcers. Dental disease can be controlled by cutting/burring back of these spurs under anaesthetic but a good diet as detailed previously will significantly reduce the incidence of dental disease.
Fly Strike This subject deserves a heading of its own as it is an extremely distressing situation for both rabbit and owner. Basically, if a rabbit has faeces on its coat, flies are attracted and lay their eggs on the rabbit’s coat. These subsequently hatch into maggots which then invade the rabbit’s skin. Rabbits are therefore at risk in the warmer weather, especially if they are overweight or elderly and unable to clean themselves properly or have diarrhoea. Check your rabbit twice daily for fly eggs and a soiled rear-end during the summer months. Fly eggs look like tiny, cream, cigar shaped objects and these should be removed as soon as possible. Rabbits can be protected from fly larvae by using a product called Xenex spot-on (available from the surgery) regularly during the summer months along with daily checking and attention to hutch hygiene. In the unfortunate event you should find maggots on your rabbit, telephone the surgery straight away as the toxins released from the infestation can quickly lead to death.