Are you lucky enough to own a pet rabbit?
This is the time of year, as spring gets its grip, that we start to think about all of the little tasks that rabbit owners need to be doing ready for another spring and summer of letting their rabbit outside.
It’s time to check the run to make sure there are no sharp edges and that it is still rabbit proof. It’s also time to plan the vaccine appointment to get the myxomatosis and haemorrhagic virus disease (HVD) protection updated, if not done recently. These are given together in one shot, and are repeated every 12 months. Vaccination is especially relevant as the days get longer and wild rabbits start spending more time outside again, as they form a reservoir of potential infection for our pets.
There is a new rabbit disease now in the south of England that has been called HVD2. It has some similar characteristics to HVD, and is equally fatal, but not prevented by the vaccine for HVD. Luckily, at the Mewes, we have imported doses of the vaccine needed for the new virus, so that all our pet rabbits can have protection from this too for 12 months. This is administered a few weeks after their regular vaccine.
Vaccine time is a great opportunity for a health check, a clip of the claws, a dental check-up, and a conversation about the perfect diet for rabbits. Did you know that fruit should not be offered to a bunny? And that carrots are best eaten by their owners, leaving only the long feathery leaves from the carrot tops for the buns? It’s also worth knowing that bunnies need a daily dose of vitamin D from sunshine, just as we do – I encourage time in the run every day, weather permitting.
I also recommend routine worming and protection against the brain parasite E. cuniculi at this time of year. Both of these can be done with one medication, which has been conveniently made carrot flavoured for our bunny friends.
If you have any bunny-related questions, do call our bunny buddies on 01444 456886, who will be happy to help.