Rabbits were born to eat! They eat for most of the day and require a high fibre diet to keep them happy and healthy. Feeding your rabbit the appropriate diet is possibly THE most important thing you can do as a rabbit owner.
Rabbit teeth grow continuously throughout their life, so the food they eat must wear their teeth down in the correct way. Inappropriate diets result in painful dental problems which can be life-long and debilitating. Many commercial rabbit mixes do not contain enough fibre for proper gut and dental health and are generally nutrient-deficient.
We recommend feeding rabbits a diet that consists of 80% hay or grass. Recommended hay types include pasture/grass hay, Timothy hay or oaten hay. Lucerne or clover hay is not recommended. The remainder of the diet is made up of fresh leafy greens and vegetables, and a measured amount of rabbit pellets (not mixes). We recommend and stock the Oxbow brand of rabbit pellets. Some examples of delicious vegetables for rabbits include broccoli, endive, bok choy, carrot tops and spinach leaves. They also enjoy herbs such as parsley, mint, coriander and basil. Fruit should be given as a treat only.
Please ask us for more detailed printed information on rabbit nutrition when you are next at the clinic.
Rabbit calicivirus disease occurs in wild and domestic rabbits in Australia and causes bleeding, internal organ damage and sudden death. Since the government released a new strain of virus to help control wild rabbit numbers, The Australian Veterinary Association has recommended that:
Kittens are vaccinated against calicivirus at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age, then every 6 months; and
Adults should be vaccinated twice, one month apart, then every 6 months.
This vaccination protocol is now widely used and appears to be very safe, but note that this is off-label use of the vaccine. Your rabbit will have a health check at each visit.
Desexing is recommended at 6 months of age for both females and males. Cancer of the uterus is extremely common in undesexed females, and for this reason, speying of females is strongly recommended. For males, desexing can help with territorial soiling of the house and other behavioural problems, and of course eliminates unwanted pregnancies.
Our veterinarians are very experienced with rabbit anaesthesia and surgery, having desexed countless rabbits at a large Melbourne animal shelter. Dr. Shelley has also worked alongside The Rabbit Doctors in Melbourne, who perform gold-standard rabbit anaesthesia, surgery and critical care.
Microchipping is recommended and can be done at the time of desexing.