Rabbits are not small dogs or cats and cannot be treated as such at home or at a veterinary hospital.  They have a natural instinct to hide illness from us as long as possible.  It is very important that you, as their caregiver, carefully observe their day to day habits and appetite, and alert us to any changes you see.

Dr. Cindy Brumbelow is the Grassmere veterinarian who sees our rabbit patients.  Please call first to be sure Dr. Brumbelow is here and schedule your visit with her.  Her schedule for rabbit appointments is:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Friday  -  from  8 AM to 12:00 noon  and from 4:00 to 6:00 PM

  • Wednesday  -  2:00 to 6:00 PM

  • Saturday  -  if on duty, sees only emergency and seriously-ill rabbits (not wellness exams)

Saturday's are usually extremely busy and our waiting room is usually filled with dogs and cats (predators!).  That will make your bunny very afraid.  For that reason, we prefer not to schedule routine visits on a Saturday for the safety and comfort of the bunnies.  Of course, in an emergency situation, we will see rabbits regardless of the time.

Always bring your rabbit in a carrier for his safety.  Cages are OK but bulky.  Cat carriers work great.

 

ROUTINE RABBIT EXAMINATIONS

Rabbits do not receive annual vaccinations, but still need yearly examinations for good health.  These should start as soon as you adopt a rabbit, and continue throughout its life.

The average life span of a rabbit is 7-10 years with the larger ones living a bit longer.  This means that they age more than 10 "people years" for every calendar year.

For most, the annual check-up is fairly stress-free.  It includes an examination of the eyes, ears, teeth, (front and back), heart and lungs, abdomen, musculoskeletal system, and the skin.  As they get older, we may increase the frequency of the examinations to every 6 months and start doing some basic diagnostics, such as blood screens, to help us catch problems early.

 

SPAYING AND NEUTERING

We recommend neutering and spaying all rabbits.  This surgery can be scheduled after a wellness examination has been completed.  These surgeries are done by Dr. Brumbelow on Wednesday mornings only, and there is limited space for rabbits since they go home the same day.  Rabbit surgeries are performed first so they are awake to go home in the afternoon.  For that reason, we ask that they arrive between 7 and 8:30 AM.

There is no need to withhold food since rabbits don't vomit, but be sure to bring a little extra hay and greens so we can feed them their own food as soon as they are awake.

Males may be neutered as early as 4-5 months.  Females need to be at least 6 months old.

 

SOME DIETARY SUGGESTIONS

The majority of medical problems we see are related to dietary problems.  We have a tendency to want to feed rabbits in the simplest fashion possible, which means we pour the pellets to them!  What we tend to forget is that pelleted food is very concentrated and not available as a natural food for rabbits.  Rabbits do best when they are fed similar to their wild cousins. 

  • plenty of fresh grass or timothy hay (usually free choice is fine), and fresh green veggies

  • feed no more than 1/8 cup pellets per 3-4 pounds body weight. They can do fine without them at all.

  • treats can be an occasional strawberry or banana slice

  • avoid pellet brands with seeds or dried veggies in them and use only the straight pellets

  • avoid starchy vegetables, crackers, candy, chips and other empty calories

  • avoid grapes and raisins

 

HUSBANDRY AND ADOPTION INFORMATION

For extensive information and references on rabbit husbandry, visit the national House Rabbit Society web site:

 

This page last updated 10/02/2011

   

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