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Common Health Problems for House Rabbits Part I

The list of health issues faced by mature bunnies and their owners may seem overwhelming to the novice.  However, some problems can be easily remedied at home, and avoided altogether by maintaining the proper diet, keeping a healthy environment, and taking care of your pet.  Once you’ve established a bond with your rabbit, care and concern will be second nature to you.

Gastrointestinal Stasis is a fairly common, but potentially life-threatening, condition which can effect your pet rabbit.   GI Stasis occurs when the digestive system slows down or stops and there is a build up of bacteria.  Your pet will suffer bloating due to a build up of gas and this will limit his or her desire for food or water.  The less your pet eats and drinks, the more dehydrated and malnourished he or she will become.  Eventually the impacted digestive tract will release toxins into your pet’s system, causing the liver to fail.

Stress, urinary tract issues, improper diet and lack of exercise are all causes of GI Stasis.  Seek attention from your vet immediately if you suspect your pet is suffering and/or if your rabbit has stopped pooping or eating.

By keeping your bunny clean, you can prevent the deadly occurrence of a parasitic condition call fly strike in which flies are drawn to an area, usually the rear-end, lay their eggs and the larvae literally eat the rabbit’s flesh, causing infection and disease.  The best way to clean your rabbit’s butt is with lukewarm water and some pet shampoo.  Using a cloth, clean the poopie area everyday.  Also, make sure your pet is consuming enough roughage and has no molar issues which could interfere with the digestive process. 

Conditions such as heat stroke and conjunctivitis are also quite common.  If your rabbit is lethargic, has reddening of the ears, is panting, or convulsing,  and outside conditions are hot, you may suspect heatstroke.  Begin treatment immediately by spritzing the ears with cool water.  Never immerse your rabbit in cool water as he or she could go into shock and die.  Call your vet immediately if you suspect heatstroke. 

Conjunctivitis can be it’s own condition, caused by an infection of the eye, or a secondary condition brought on by many things.  If your pet has a swollen eye, with redness and a pus-like discharge, seek medical attention immediately.  Not knowing if the conjunctivitis is it’s own condition or because of an underlying affliction makes it impossible to treat at home.

Avoiding Problems

Of course, avoiding the common health problems to begin with is a smart move.  Always adopt from a reputable shelter or breeder.  Frequent chronic problems can be traced to breeding or early weaning. 

Preventative medicine is best and establishing a good relationship with a veterinarian you trust is essential.  Always keep routine and well-bunny appointments and keep up with vaccinations and health check-ups to ensure continued good health.  Knowing you can trust your vet means you won’t ever feel as though your bothering him or her with a question or concern.  After all. Your rabbit’s health is in your hands.

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