Part 1: Common Domesticated Rabbit Diseases and How to Avoid Them

Whether we like it or not, sometimes our domesticated rabbit can contract diseases even if we try to give them the best diet and activities, and even if we shower them with lots of love and affection. Sometimes the only thing we can do is to prevent these rabbit diseases or conditions from taking place especially when we see the signs coming.

As a rabbit pet owner, we need to be observant about the things our rabbits do as we certainly do not speak their language but through their actions and the way they behave, we can understand what they are trying to tell us. Below are some of the most common diseases or conditions that our pet rabbits can acquire.

Possible Domesticated Rabbit Diseases/Conditions and How to Prevent Them

  • Overgrown Teeth

This condition is also known as malocclusion where the rabbits’ teeth grow longer than usual thus affecting their ability to chew and use their mouth normally. Both molars and incisors of the rabbits grow continuously in their lifetime but when these teeth, particularly the molars and incisors grow excessively, it could wound the rabbit’s cheek and tongue and could affect his eating. The incisors, on the other hand, would curl up and form a tusk like appearance depending on the direction and will hinder the rabbit from closing its mouth properly. When this condition becomes severe, then rabbit will become unable to eat and will die as their gut will stop functioning.

rabbit diseases overgrown teeth

Photos: staci myers | Flickr

Prevention and Treatment:
Not all rabbits could experience this but if your rabbit has this condition you can trim your bunny’s teeth when necessary. You can do this by using a safe clipper or some experts would recommend using Dremel tool. Do not use a dog nail trimmer as it could damage the rabbit’s teeth down to the roots making it even worse. Dremel tool has a sanding disk attach that can make the clipped part straight and fine. Dental burr is also a good option.

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It is also important that your pet rabbit’s diet is composed mainly of fiber such as fresh hay grass. Chewing frequently on foods that are high in fiber can help rabbits avoid this kind of condition because they easily digest the food and will keep them chewing for more. Also always provide them with chewable stuff that can help hinder their teeth from overgrowing.

  • Snuffles

Snuffles is one of the most common rabbit diseases that affects their respiratory system. It is common among domesticated rabbits that are frequently under stress and those with weak immune system. This is a bacterial infection acquired from the bacteria Pasteurella multocida that grows in the rabbit’s nasal tract. It is contagious among rabbits and could affect the eyes, ears, and other organs.

The symptoms of this disease includes:

  • watery nasal discharge
  • sneezing accompanied by thick and yellowish nasal discharge
  • snuffling and snoring sound because of the mucous and fluid that blocks the nasal passage
  • if not treated early, could cause conjunctivitis as the bacteria can travel to the eyes
  • head shaking, twisting of neck, or excessive scratching on the ear area could also become prominent when the infection spreads through the ear which causes “torcollis”.

 Prevention and Treatment: For breeders and pet owners, it is important to implement strict sanitation where your pet rabbits often stay. As much as possible, if the area has been infected before, do a quarantine before putting back or housing your rabbits again on that area. When acquiring a new rabbit, select a healthy one by examining their physical appearance and making sure that they don’t have signs or symptoms of any infection of rabbit diseases as mentioned above.

Strengthen your rabbit’s immune system by providing them with healthy diet composed of high fibrous rabbit food like fresh grass hay, fruits, and vegetables. Daily mental and physical activities is also recommended. Reduce any stress inducing factors to your rabbits such as poor nutrition, overcrowding, and improper housing. Aside from weak immune system, stress is one of the trigger points of this disease in rabbits.

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If your rabbit has already acquired snuffles, bring it to the veterinarian as soon as possible so that it could be given antibiotics immediately. If detected early on, antibiotics could cure this disease. While under medication, make sure that you provide your pet with healthy rabbit foods and fresh, clean water for faster recovery. Isolate your sick rabbit from your other pets to avoid spreading the disease.


Continue to : Part 2: Common Domesticated Rabbit Diseases and How to Avoid Them

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