At the RVC's Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital and vet practice, you can be reassured that you are getting exceptional rabbit vet knowledge and expertise.   

Rabbits are the UK’s third favourite pet. Due to their size and quiet nature, they can often be seen as an ‘easier’ option when it comes to looking after by pet owners. This is a misconception and rabbits also need as much looking after as other domestic pets, such as cats and dogs. Our team have had specialist rabbit vet training and extensive rabbit care experience so from the day you get your rabbit and throughout its lifetime - we can support and advise you every step of the way.

Our hospital and vet practice have been awarded the Gold Standard accreditation by the Rabbit Welfare Association Fund (RWAF). The Gold standard is the highest possible endorsement awarded by the RWAF and signifies the best standards in rabbit care and well-being at a veterinary surgery or hospital. To achieve the RWAF gold award -  hospital premises have to have the appropriate equipment and be ‘rabbit friendly’. This includes having fully trained staff, as well as a rabbit advocate to co-ordinate policies that address specific rabbit-related issues within the practice.

We have a specialist hospital ward area dedicated only to rabbits (and other non-predator species) with staff with in-depth species knowledge and medical expertise.

Rabbit Healthcare Tips

Neutering   

  • We recommend spaying of female rabbits from five months of age in order to prevent unwanted litters, aggressive behaviour and most importantly uterine adenocarcinoma (cancer). Up to 80% of unneutered female rabbits have been found to suffer from this painful fatal condition which will be totally prevented by spaying
  • We recommend castration of male rabbits from four months of age in order to prevent fighting, urine spraying, breeding and other undesirable behaviours

Rabbit Vaccination

  • Vaccination is recommended in all rabbits whether kept outside or inside in order to prevent Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease which are both very infectious and potentially fatal conditions
  • Rabbits should be vaccinated with the combined vaccine from 5 weeks of age and will need yearly booster vaccinations
  • Recently, we have also started to see a new strain of Viral Haemorrhagic Disease in the UK. The classic vaccination does not appear to protect against this new strain, but a new vaccination is now available. This cannot be given at the same time so please allow at least 3 weeks between vaccinations. Further information can be found at http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk

Parasite treatment in rabbits

Rabbits do not usually need regular worming treatment but may need treatment for other parasites including fleas.

Rabbits may pick up fleas if they are given access outside or if they are in contact with dogs or cats which go outside. Fleas carry diseases such as myxomatosis so treatment is important to prevent the spread of disease. Imidacloprid is the only licensed flea product for rabbits and will prevent fleas for one-week post-application

Flystrike in rabbits    

Flystrike is a potentially fatal condition caused by flies laying eggs on your rabbit (usually around their back end or any warm moist areas). These eggs then develop into maggots which rapidly cause tissue damage and death. We recommend checking your rabbit every day for flystrike, particularly during warm periods. Preventative treatment with cyromazine may be necessary at high-risk times. One treatment will help prevent flystrike for 8-10 weeks in combination with environmental control of flies.    

Rabbit dental checks

We recommend dental checks every 6 months for pet rabbits as dental disease is such a common problem and more easily treated if detected at an early stage – you can register for automatic reminders.

Rabbit fact care sheets - Click on title to view/download

Resources/useful links

Rabbit Welfare Association

RVC Research about rabbit health

Lop-eared rabbits study: ear and dental disease (June 2019)
Rabbit Lifespan and mortality research (Oct 2019)
Most common pet rabbit health issues research (Oct 2019)

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