The rabbit is a very sweet and affectionate animal that inspires tenderness. In other words, owning this animal gives the feeling of having a very sweet and nice being next to you. That is, it is a harmless animal that nature has evolved to be a prey. In other words, evolution has compensated for its high vulnerability with great prolificacy. For example, rabbits have a pregnancy period of 4 or 5 weeks depending on the breed. In addition, they can be inseminated after only two or three days after giving birth. The number of bunnies born per birth is on average between 5 and 8 but could also exceed ten. Then it is necessary to specify that these high growth and reproduction performances are typical of the breeds selected for breeding and meat production. In other words, these performances are lower in the pet rabbit.
A PET THAT REQUIRES A LOT OF ATTENTION
That is, it is now very common to have a rabbit as a pet because it is a very sweet animal. But we must not forget that they are very sweet and vulnerable living beings. In short, I want to say that they need to be treated, cared for and nurtured with a lot of care and love. To explain, it must be said that they are easily manageable animals but that they have some particular needs.
IMPORTANCE OF TEETH CARE
That is, nature has given these sweet and affectionate animal sharp incisor teeth that grow continuously. In particular, living in freedom they often gnaw on something hard, even if not necessary. That is, in this way, they cause a regular consumption of the incisors which limits their growth. In addition, during my work as a veterinarian, I happened to treat rabbits that did not have the opportunity, at home, to nibble on something hard. As a result, not being able to behave naturally, they had tooth growth not sufficiently compensated by their regular consumption. That is, the teeth grew exaggerated to prevent regular chewing. Then they become long enough to be dangerous. In other words, they could also pierce the animal’s palate. In particular, the teeth are a very important element in the life of the rabbit.
That is, excessive dental growth causes, in addition to the risk of injury, also problems of malocclusion. That is, we should give the rabbit a chance to gnaw on something. In particular hay, corn kernels, small specific woods. That is, if the teeth grow excessively it would not be possible to close the mouth correctly. That is, with consequent problems in eating. A balanced diet from a vitamin and mineral point of view is also essential for the health of the rabbit’s teeth. In addition, dental hygiene must be taken care of. That is, after each meal, we should remove the excess with a toothbrush. In particular if we observe an excessive tendency to accumulate food residues between the teeth.
CONSTANTLY ASSESS THE HEALTH CONDITIONS OF THE RABBIT
In addition, it is essential that the this sweet and affectionate animal always has fresh water available. That is, we should change the water at least twice a day. In fact, it is a very sweet and delicate animal. It is also important to regularly check the animal’s state of health. That is, it is necessary to evaluate the consistency of the stool. Then also the health of the hair. That is, we must be attentive to any problems of alopecia (hair loss). In addition to skin lesions, ocular problems such as opacification of the lens, the presence of an ocular discharge that would indicate a possible inflammation.
Then another element to pay attention to would be excessive tearing. After that it is useful to evaluate the position of the eyes within the orbits. That is, an excessive protrusion of the occular globes called exophthalmos. In fact, it could indicate the presence of infections in the eye socket. Then it is important to be able to evaluate the body temperature of the rabbit. That is, under normal conditions it should be between 38.5 ° C and 40 ° C. That is, it requires a lot of attention because it is a very sweet and quiet animal that does not easily show any discomfort. In particular, it would be useful to buy a small thermometer suitable for measuring the rectal temperature of the rabbit.
MEDICINES FOR THE RABBIT TO ALWAYS HAVE AT HOME
In addition, the owner of this sweet and affectionate animal should have a place in his medicine cabinet for some useful medicines to care for the pet. That is, a 5% iodine solution should not be missing for the disinfection of small wounds. Then it is advisable to have an ichthyol-based ointment which is useful for small skin problems. In addition, it is also useful to have a streptocide-based ointment available to treat small infected lesions and small burns. Then a period of malaise in the rabbit can cause a lack of appetite. That is, the animal can have a drop in blood sugar and could go into ketosis. So, it would suffer the consequences of a self-limiting problem. That is, resulting in a further decrease in appetite which could have dangerous outcomes.
In particular, ketosis is fought by eliminating ketone bodies. That is, by providing the rabbit with a sufficient amount of glucose which metabolizes the ketone bodies and solves the problem. In short, this metabolic pathology is evident with symptoms such as anorexis, apathy, slow heartbeat, constipation. Then the inoculation of a few cc of 5% glucose solution would be sufficient to solve the problem. Also I realize that few people would be able to give a rabbit intravenous drip. But it would be much easier to do a simple subcutaneous injection of glucose solution. That is, we slowly administer 3 or 4 cc and evaluate the effects. Then, if necessary, we administer a little more of the solution.
ADVICE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF DRUGS
The rabbit is by nature a very sweet, fearful and delicate animal. That is, we should always handle it with great caution. Particularly when we give him drugs. That is, we should approach him very calmly and handle him with great delicacy. Then we must consider that there are rabbits with a collaborative nature but this is not always the case. In particular, we should lead him to a room that is not too bright and quiet. Then wrap it in the so-called “rabbit roll”. That is, place it inside a soft blanket that hugs it in a reassuring way. After that we can administer the medicine to him with great delicacy.
That is, with this system we can give the rabbit intramuscular drugs, oral or eye drops. In particular, the most used antibiotics for the rabbit are enrofloxacin (Baytril) to solve respiratory problems. Then the only precaution for this medicine is to avoid administration to very young animals. In addition, another useful drug is benzylpennicillin. That is, it is useful because it is a broad spectrum antibiotic similar to pennicillin but much better tolerated by the rabbit. then there is also the Oxytetracyclina.
Then another very important element to take into consideration is that of not neglecting the importance of blindness. That is, it is important not to remove most of the feces from the rabbit’s bedding. That is, nature has created a very particular nutritional mechanism for these animals. In other words, it is essential for them to be able to ingest part of their feces. Especially because, in this way, they recover the food substances not absorbed with digestion. Then a bacterial flora is formed in the faeces which produces substances useful for the life of the rabbit.
doc. Massimiliano Mangafà