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Rabbit Awareness week

It’s rabbit awareness week!

With their little twitchy noses, fluffy bobtails and happy binky’s it’s easy to see why rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK with an estimated 800,000 pet rabbits ( Behind their very cute appearance rabbits have a variety of different needs which can make them at sometimes a challenging pet to have, but they can be a very loving, intelligent and affectionate pets.


❤️🐇 Rabbit pairing and bonding

Rabbits are social creatures and should be kept in pairs, ideally a female and male neutered pair however some do get along fine if they are in a same sex pairing but some do fight. If you are wanting to bond rabbits then this should be a slow introduction, as the case with many pets. This will usually be done by allowing them to see one another and sniff but not being together, so a partition can be used such as two different enclosures close together. You can place items that have the rabbits scent in each enclosure so they get used to their smell. This can then increase to short periods of introduction, but they must be kept closely monitored because they can be quite vicious if they do fight and should be done in a completely neutral zone where neither rabbit has been. This can be increased again to longer periods until they are fully happy with one another, usually when they show signs of grooming one another. You may not need to bond your rabbits if they are siblings but it is always important to closely monitor them. has lots of useful information about bonding rabbits.

💉🐇 Vaccs and diseases

Rabbits can be vaccinated annually, like our dogs and cats. Our pet rabbits are at risk of picking up myxomatosis which can be a fatal viral disease. It is passed through blood sucking insects such as fleas, ticks mites and mosquitos as well as from one rabbit to another and objects contaminated with the virus. The clinical signs of the virus can take up to 3 weeks to show, these include:

  • Swelling/Redness around eyes, nose and genitals
  • Runny nose
  • Milky discharge from eyes
  • Blindness
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargic


Being vaccinated doesn’t necessarily prevent your rabbit getting the disease but they are more likely to get a mild form and fight off the disease to make a full recovery. Unvaccinated rabbits are more to succumb to the disease.

Rabbits are also at risk of contracting another disease called rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease. It is virus that attacks the internal organs and cause internal bleeding. There are two strains of this disease which we vaccinate against RHD1 and RHD2. This is spread by rabbit to rabbit contact, the air and biting insects. It is fatal in most cases. Clinical signs include:

  • Blood around the nose, mouth or anus.
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • High temperature
  • Sudden death (RHD1 develops within 1-2 days on contracting the disease and RHD2 develops in 1-2 weeks)


With both diseases there is no cure, so vaccination is the best chance of survival. Contact us today if you would like to book your rabbits vaccination. Even indoor rabbits should be vaccinated, as biting insects can still come into the house. All enclosure need a thorough deep clean after any infection to prevent any other rabbits contracting the disease.

Flystrike is another fatal condition that rabbits can get if left untreated. This is where fly’s lay eggs on the rabbits fur, usually around the anus, as this is a common area that becomes soiled with both urine and faeces. When the eggs hatch, maggots will eat the flesh of the rabbit and can create large wounds as they borrow into the rabbit. This is a preventable condition with good husbandry making sure your rabbit has clean bedding and soiled areas are removed daily. Daily checks of your rabbit should be carried out year round, but especially during the warmer months around their back end to spot the signs early and get them treatment. There is also a product called Rearguard which repels fly’s and prevents them from laying eggs, our veterinary nurses are happy to apply Rearguard if you do not feel comfortable to do so yourself.

🏡🐇 Housing


When it comes to housing our pet rabbits, they do actually require a lot of space.


According to RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund) rabbits should be in an enclosure L 3m x W 2m x H 1m and should have access to a shelter, you could choose to have a large enclosed space or a large open space. Lots of people have made garden sheds into rabbit enclosures, do any of our clients have an enclosure different to just a hutch? Rabbits can also live indoors and the same measurements do apply.


Some of our household items can be hazardous to rabbits such as electrical wires so do pick an area free from these and rabbits do like to chew so be warned your furniture is up for grabs!



More information about space recommendations

🥕🐇 Diet

Rabbits main dietary needs is hay, it makes up 85% of their diet, 10% is leafy green veg and 5% is rabbit nuggets. We have a growing problem of obesity in our pet rabbits due to being fed too many pellets or muesli, muesli should be avoided as it encourages selective feeding so your rabbit likely won’t get the correct nutrients.

Rabbits really can never have too much hay, it’s important in digestion as it helps to keep the guts moving and prevent gut stasis, which can be a fatal condition where the guts stop moving and can cause a blockage. It also aids in keeping rabbits teeth an appropriate length, rabbits teeth constantly growing and due to hey being abrasive it helps to file the teeth, if the teeth are not filed then it can lead to spurs which can be painful and stop the rabbit from eating. If a rabbit stops eating it can lead to gut stasis so it is important to contact your vet immediately if you notice this.

Leafy greens are fibrous and help to maintain gut health, but should only be fed in a small amount. Things like cabbage, broccoli, and kale are safe for rabbits and has an extensive list of safe foods as well as safe wild plants such as dandelions.

💡🐇 Enrichment

Rabbits believe it or not can be clicker trained just like a dog or cat and you can even do rabbit agility! Rabbits love to jump so you could set up your own agility course at home. Like all pets, rabbits do require stimulation and will love playing with toys, some can even play fetch!

In the enclosure, you could place an old plant pot on its side with some soil to encourage digging, because as you know, this is also something rabbits love to do; you could also place some food items to help display natural foraging behaviour. This will help to stimulate your rabbits brain and prevent them from becoming bored and preventing unwanted behaviours such as chewing things they shouldn’t and over grooming. Rabbits like to hide in tunnels and get up on different levels, so these should be provided as well.

You have questions or want more advice? Contact us!