Do rabbits need to go to the vet?
Yes, absolutely. Rabbits, being a domesticated animal most certainly require routine visits to a vet. Ideally, an exotic vet. An exotic vet is a vet that sees a species outside of cats and dogs. Typically, it is not too hard to locate an exotic vet due to the increase in rabbit and bird owners over the years but if you live in a rural area you may need to travel up to an hour or so for an exotic vet. If an exotic vet is not an option within traveling distance of your area, then you may want to ensure that the local vet will be willing and is capable of treating your rabbit before becoming a rabbit owner.
- 1 Why do rabbits needs to go to the vet?
- 2 How do rabbits get fur mites?
- 3 How do I know when my rabbit needs to go to the vet?
- 4 How much does it cost to take my rabbit to the vet?
- 5 Payment plans for your rabbit
- 6 About the Author
Why do rabbits needs to go to the vet?
There are a multitude of reasons that your rabbit may need to go to the vet, first and foremost you should take your rabbit to the vet as soon as you get them. Whether you get them as a baby, an older rabbit or even if you are assured they are healthy, you should take them for their initial routine visit as soon as you become their rabbit parent. You also need to take your rabbit to the vet for the following.
Rabbits should be taken to the vet yearly for a checkup. This is to check their weight, ears, teeth, bone strength, fur, poop, and scent glands. This is strictly routine and just to ensure your rabbit is in tip top shape. Many health issues can be caught early before they become a serious issue.
You can do nail trims on your own at home but if you are not comfortable doing so then your vet or vets’ technician can do this for you. We are not comfortable trimming Mr. Bunny’s nails. He is too comfortable with us and does not like his feet touched so as soon as we pick him up to attempt his nail trim he freaks out. He starts flailing and kicking and we do not feel like we can safely trim his nails so every two to three months we take him into his vets office for a nail trim. Keep in mind that rabbits have very delicate backs that can be broken easily. So always safely secure them in a bunny burrito before you attempt to trim their nails.
Changes in habit
This is literally a change in any habit such as the following.
- Eating more or eating less.
- Drinking more or drinking less.
- Pooping more or pooping less.
- Peeing more or peeing less.
- Less social or has started hiding more.
Any of these changes can indicate a serious issue. Rabbits are prey animals therefore they will not show weakness. You must take note of these, what may seem like, minor changes in their behavior and consult your vet.
Weight loss or gain
If your rabbit has started losing or gaining weight with no identifiable cause. This means if your rabbit has suddenly started losing or gaining weight, but their food intake and exercise level has not changed then it is time to see a vet as they likely have something gastrointestinal going on.
More Information: The best Diet For Rabbits
Snuffles is a disease which affects the eyes and nose and sometimes the lungs, skin, or even the middle ear of rabbits. The symptoms of snuffles can be different from rabbit to rabbit, but they will almost always have a runny nose with some nasal discharge, and you may notice their head tilting a bit. Some rabbits may also experience skin sores. If you notice any of this, then they need to be taken to a vet right away. Snuffles is treatable in rabbits but can be deadly if left untreated.
Also known as sore hocks looks like red or scabbed up sores on your rabbit’s feet. Sore hocks are common in rabbits housed on abrasive surfaces (wire, carpeting or Astroturf) or those that sit in soiled litter boxes or on soiled bedding.
It is important to provide comfortable flooring for your rabbit and to ensure you are cleaning their housing regularly to prevent this from happening but if this does happen it is only treatable by a vet and they should be taken to a vet immediately. Failure to get treatment as soon as possible will cause permanent damage that will have lifelong painful consequences for your rabbit.
If you notice dandruff on your rabbit, particularly in the ears they may be suffering from walking dandruff which can be caused by cheyletiella parasitovorax, commonly known as fur mites. When these mites crawl across the skin and fur they cause flakey skin on your rabbit that causes the dandruff. It is possible that the dandruff is not caused by mites, it can just be due to dry skin.
Mr. Bunny, my pet rabbit, has had dandruff once, we noticed it on his ears, the fur was thinning, and dandruff was present. His vet tested him for fur mites, which was negative. She then provided us with medication to rub on his ears that help moisten his skin and it resolved the dandruff.
How do rabbits get fur mites?
Rabbits can get fur mites from multiple places, the number one place being outside. If you do have a safe place that you allow your rabbit to play outside it is important to ensure this area is regularly treated with a nontoxic bug, flea, and mite repellent. Fur mites can also be contracted from hay and bedding.
There is not much you can do to prevent this, but it is something you can look out for. If you consistently order from one company and do not have an issue and then you make a change and start to notice a change in your rabbits’ fur or notice dandruff, then this may be the case.
How do I know when my rabbit needs to go to the vet?
There are several other reasons and conditions that your rabbit would need to seek veterinary attention, these are simply the most common. A huge part of knowing when your rabbit needs to go to the vet is knowing your rabbit. We can almost immediately pick up on any change to Mr. Bunny’s routine, demeanor, attitude, and habits which makes it easy to identify and address issues immediately. We have highlighted all the things to look out for but the better you know your rabbit the better you will recognize when he or she is not him or herself.
How much does it cost to take my rabbit to the vet?
This depends on what you are going to the vet for, it can range from ten dollars to a few hundred dollars and rarely into the thousand-dollar range.
- Annual Exam – Your rabbit’s annual routine physical is usually between fifty and seventy dollars, this is also the typical cost for a sick visit that did not require blood work, x rays or labs.
- Nail trims are usually around eight to fifteen dollars if done alone but if done during an annual or sick visit they are typically included in the price of the visit.
- Surgery – This can be for an intestinal issue, a spay, neuter or surgery for an orthopedic issue. This will usually vary depending on the type of surgery, how long your rabbit will be under anesthesia and how long the procedure takes. Typically, a spay or neuter will cost any where between $100-$250. An intestinal issue is usually exploratory surgery and can come with a heftier price tag ranging anywhere from $300-$500. Orthopedic surgery requires special tools and sometimes special vets due to the specific skills needed and can come close to the $1,000 range.
- Dental work– Some rabbits require veterinary assistance in shaving down or pulling their teeth if they have an overgrowth due to a malformation or if they have not been properly chewing on things to keep their teeth at proper length. This can be a pricey procedure ranging from $150-$500 depending on the amount of work that needs done and the availability of a vet that will have the proper dental tools for this type of procedure in your area.
Payment plans for your rabbit
If payment is an issue most vet offices will allow you to set up a payment plan, especially in an emergency situation. A lot of offices will also take care credit which is credit used specifically for human and animal medical expenses. It can be applied for online and usually in the vet’s office as well.
If you are not eligible for care credit and your vet is not able to offer payment plan options, you can seek online crowd sourcing options like GoFundMe. There are also local options through the county like PAWS and ASPCA that may be able to offer assistance or may be able to point you in the direction of a cheaper option or a vet that is willing to work with you on payment options.
About the Author
My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.
I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.