"8 Conditions Rabbits That Affect Pet Rabbits
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"8 Conditions Rabbits That Affect Pet Rabbits

Rabbits make great family pets with people of all ages keeping them either as house rabbits or in hutches as outside pets. House rabbits have become very popular pets that many people living in towns and even in the country love to share their homes with. In fact, people's attitude towards bunnies has changed for the better, and there's a lot more understanding of not only their nutritional needs but the way they need to be kept too.

Below are 8 conditions that affect pet rabbits and which you need to keep an eye out for so you can catch the condition early which means your pet gets the right sort of treatment as soon as possible.

Mucoid Enteritis

Mucoid enteritis is a condition that's more commonly seen in kits, usually when they are between the age of 7 to 14 weeks old. However, older rabbits too, can suffer from the condition. The symptoms to watch out for as are follows:

  • Diarrhoea which is coated in a jelly-like mucous
  • Weight loss

Very often mucoid enteritis is caused by stress associated with being kept in an unhygienic environment. Diet too, plays an important part in causing the condition. If a rabbit is not fed a good quality diet that includes lots of fibre and roughage, they may end up with mucoid enteritis. However, if you do need to change your pet rabbit's diet, you have to do this gradually over a two week period otherwise you may cause more health problems for your pet.

Mucoid enteritis is a life threatening condition so if you do notice any of the above symptoms, you would need to take your rabbit to see a vet so they can get the right sort of treatment as soon as possible. The chances are your pet will need to be re-hydrated too.

Sore Hocks

Rabbits with sore hocks have to put up with a lot of discomfort. The signs to look out for are pretty obvious with your pet tiptoeing around rather than placing any weight on their footpads. When you examine them, you'll find they're cracked, chapped, bloody, very irritated and sore.

It's usually a rabbit's back feet that are affected but front feet can get very sore and infected too. If your rabbit has to stand on wire in their enclosure, you'll have to put some matting on the bottom to prevent them from getting sore hocks in the first place. You also need to check your rabbits weight and the length of their nails which could be other reasons for them to have sore hocks.

Treating sore hocks would mean taking your pet rabbit to the vet so they can recommend/prescribe the right antiseptic cream or ointment to use. You would then need to check your pet's environment and give their cage a good clean, making sure it is clean and dry.

Snuffles

Rabbits with snuffles are very poorly little creatures and they need immediate veterinary attention. The symptoms to watch out for include the following:

  • Thick creamy/white discharge from their eyes and nose
  • Matted front paws which happens because they rub and wipe their noses

If you have more than one rabbit, the chances are they will all get snuffles because it is easily transmitted from one rabbit to another just by your pet sneezing.

When it comes to treating the condition, you would need to take your pet to the vet so they can prescribe the right course of antibiotics for your rabbit. However, not all antibiotics are effective when treating snuffles and if your pet gets stressed at all, they may well have a relapse of the condition.

Wry Neck

A rabbit with wry neck will tilt their heads sideways and in very severe cases, they roll or move around in a circle as if they are disoriented. They become very uncoordinated which can be extremely worrying to witness. The symptoms to watch out for as follows:

  • Lethargy
  • Shaking of the head
  • Loss of hearing

You would need to take your pet to the vet so they can advise on the best treatment and depending on what has caused the condition, they may prescribe a course of antibiotics. However, rabbits tend to recover very slowly from wry neck with some never fully recovering at all.

Bladder Sludge & Stones

This is a nasty condition which often occurs as a result of a rabbit being fed a bad diet that does not contain enough roughage or fibre in it. The symptoms to watch out for are as follows:

  • Thick creamy urine or sludgy urine
  • Weight loss
  • Depression

Your vet will be able to diagnose whether your rabbit is suffering from bladder stones and if they are, they will want to remove these surgically. However, to prevent the condition from happening in the first place, a rabbit would need to be fed the correct diet, with lots of fibre and very little protein in it - not forgetting that calcium too is a very important part of their diet because it promotes healthy teeth and bones.

Bloat

Bloat is another nasty and painful condition which can happen very quickly and if the rabbit is not treated immediately, can prove fatal. The symptoms to watch out for are as follows:

  • Firm swollen stomach
  • Depression
  • Loud gurgling in rabbit's stomach

It's crucial to take a pet rabbit suffering from bloat to see a vet as soon as you can because it is a life threatening condition and if not treated within 24 hours, rabbits usually die.

Ear Mites

Rabbits with ear mites will shake them continuously because of the irritation. They will scratch their ears until they are extremely sore too. The signs to look out for that mites are causing the problem are as follows:

  • Brown crusty waxy material in the ear canals
  • The canal itself will be red and inflamed

The mites are visible to the naked eye and can be as big as 0.7mm in size. If you have more than one rabbit, the chances are they will all have ear mites because they are highly contagious. If you get a new bunny, you need to check their ears to make sure they are not carrying any mites before you introduce them to any other rabbits you might have.

Your vet will be able to prescribe the right treatment for your pet but you can also apply a little olive oil in the ear canal and then very gently massage the area. However, you need to be very careful when you clean out the ear canal with a cotton bud so you don't hurt your pet in the process.

Gastro-Intestinal Stasis (GI Stasis)

This is a condition that is caused by the wrong diet being fed to rabbits which includes giving them muesli-style food. The obvious signs there is a problem are as follows:

  • Very small faecal pellets – sometimes none at all
  • A loud gurgling from your rabbit's stomach
  • Rabbits with the condition show a reluctance to move
  • They may stop eating altogether

To prevent gastro-intestinal stasis from happening in the first place, means feeding the correct diet to your rabbit. This includes lots of good quality fibre and lots of fresh greens. You also need to make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Rabbits need lots of exercise so make sure your pet gets to run around during the day in a safe and secure enclosure. You should avoid feeding a rabbit any sugary treats and never feed any muesli-style food to them.

If you notice your rabbit is showing signs of the condition, you need to get them to the vet as soon as you can, so a correct diagnosis can be made followed by the right treatment.

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