Authored on: 25 July 2022
Rabbits are the UK's 3rd most commonly kept pet, so for Rabbit Awareness Week this year, we focussed on three main areas: companionship, health problems, and settling a new rabbit in.
Rabbits are extremely sociable animals and can become very depressed without other bunnies for company. They should be kept in at least pairs where possible. All rabbits kept together - even siblings - should be neutered to avoid unwanted pregnancies and reduce the potential for fighting.
Some of the most common health problems seen in pet rabbits in the UK are:
Flystrike - Flystrike occurs when flies lay eggs on a rabbit, usually around their rear, which hatch into maggots and eat the flesh of the rabbit.
Myxomatosis/VHD - These are life-threatening diseases and you should vaccinate your rabbits against them as soon as possible.
Gut stasis - Gut stasis is a condition where the rabbit's digestive system slows down or stops. This can result in a build-up of gas and toxins which can be fatal to the affected rabbit.
Dental disease - Dental disease is the most common health problem found in rabbits. A rabbits teeth are continuously growing, so they need to gnaw and chew to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Overgrown teeth can result in the rabbit being unable to eat and can eventually lead to the rabbit starving to death.
If you are concerned about your rabbits' health, please speak to a vet.
If you are bringing a new rabbit into your home, it is important to give them the right start:
- Make sure that your rabbit is away from noise.
- Place some familiar items in their housing to help them feel more comfortable (e.g. toys or blankets from a previous environment).
- Make sure there is plenty of hay and water.
- Leave them alone to settle and explore before handling.
- Once they're more settled slowly start to approach them, start by quietly talking to them in their housing.
Earlier this month, we held a rabbit education event in the Community Hub at the Derbion centre in Derby. We had a great time talking to everyone, so thank you all for popping by!