01444 456886

Julia’s Weekly Midsussex Times Column

Celebrate your bunny in Rabbit Awareness Week!

Rabbit Awareness Week starts this weekend. It is a week in which we celebrate all things good about rabbit ownership, but also recognise that some rabbits get a raw deal.

At The Mewes Vets, we are offering a free rabbit health check-up, together with the opportunity to discuss any issues you may have with your pet rabbit. Call us on 01444 456886 to book an appointment with one of our caring experienced Vets.

At The Mewes we are a bit bunny mad. We absolutely believe that they should not be considered third class citizens. They even have their own special discount plan with us, which entitles them to a variety of routine healthcare treatments such as their annual booster vaccinations, regular parasite prevention, and frequent check-up appointments. What’s more, all pets on one of our Health Plans receive a 10% discount on everything else at The Mewes: services, medications and even toys!

But at Vet School there was nothing on the curriculum about how to diagnose or treat them. Back then, they weren’t even considered third class! Everything we do to help them had to be learned on the job.

So when I first graduated, and the fashion for miniature lionhead rabbits was all the rage, it came as a bit of a surprise to meet a British Giant called Goldie for the first time. She was quite a small one for a Giant Rabbit, at about 6kg, but still larger than a cat. She was a gentle soul, used to being cuddled, and she had a lump on her belly.

My experience in cattle medicine classes helped me to diagnose that she had mastitis, but treating this in a female rabbit had never come up. I decided it was safe to extrapolate from what I would advise a farmer to do. This starts with the process of ‘stripping out’. You milk the affected mammary gland, attempting to gently squeeze out the infected material, with the associated blood and pus. In the milking yard this is then pressure hosed away.

As I hadn’t done this before in a rabbit, I needed to see what I was doing, so I laid her gently onto her back on the consulting room table. It took a moment to get the right position for my fingers and the right angle. Then suddenly a jet of pus flew out of her nipple, right up to the ceiling. The look I got from the nurse was very telling – she had obviously never been asked to clean pus off the ceiling before!

I was a bit more circumspect with my aim after that, and thanked my luck that I had not sprayed anyone in the eye. Goldie was sent home with antibiotics, and made a full recovery.

For more information on caring for our rabbit friends go to www.themewesvets.co.uk/services/clinics/rabbit-care/ or call the team at The Mewes on 01444 456886.

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