Rabbits

Alternative Medicine for Rabbits

Rabbits are common pets and are often kept without caging. If they are to be caged, please observe the important care precautions, discussed on the caging page.

Rabbits are technically different from rodents (rats, mice, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters etc.) and, with hares, belong to a mammalian group (order) called lagomorphs or lagomorpha. One of the distinctions is the number of incisor teeth.

Rabbits can suffer some diseases to which other creatures do not appear to be so prone. Especially, they are prone to back injury and Paralysis, if picked up wrongly, allowing them to kick violently and can suffer Haemorrhagic Disease (Calici virus, RHDV, VHD, RCD), Myxomatosis, Encephalitozoonosis, Pasteurellosis, otitis media and otitis externa. If they become soiled or moist around the anus or genitalia, in the summertime, they can attract flies, with consequent maggot infestation. This can be very rapid and can lead to death.

Their normal faeces is usually formed into discrete small balls or pellets (sometimes called ‘bumbles’) and comes, broadly-speaking, in two types. There is a dark, more shiny form (caecotropes/cecotropes), which they will usually eat for a second time, in order to gain valuable vitamins and nutrients. There is a dry, friable and greenish form, which is dung from the second eating and which will usually be deposited away from the nest. When cleaning out a rabbit hutch, it is important not to prevent the ingestion of the first type of ‘dung’.*

Like many species, they can exhibit idiosyncratic drug reactions, with modern conventional drug therapy. Happily, they respond well to homeopathic input (which does not carry this risk) without these adverse effects. This makes the treatment of sick rabbits very rewarding to the veterinary homeopath.

We usually see rabbits at the AVMC premises but house visits can also be arranged, more or less UK-wide.

Whether we see a rabbit at the AVMC or at home, we look closely at previous veterinary history and results of any tests or investigations. We take an extensive history, enquire into diet and lifestyle, ask about management of the cage, home, garden and other environments and examine the patient closely.

Natural medicine represents an alternative approach to the conventional norm but the use of homeopathy and other alternative therapies does not rule out the need for a proper examination and assessment of each individual patient, necessary diagnostic tests, appropriate measures to repair injury and a study of natural lifestyle and diet (special for each species or type), in order to be able to speed recovery. We have enjoyed a good measure of success through this methodology, seeing, as in other species, recoveries from diseases which are usually associated with a poor prognosis in conventional terms and wisdom.

Holistic medicine and management implies that the environment, the diet, the animal’s individual nature and demeanour and the interaction with humans are all taken into account and modified for optimum health.

  • Have you ever been told that your rabbit is now untreatable?
  • Are you concerned about the safety of modern drugs for your rabbit?
  • Do you know what is in the foods or supplements you are using?
  • Are you confused by manufacturers’ claims?

There may be another way …. Holistic methodology may provide some of the answers you are seeking.

Homeopathy, as with all species, is able to offer an alternative for the treatment of chronic disease. Herbal medicine is ideal for rabbits, since their herbivorous biology is well-suited to herbs. Rabbits generally accept Acupuncture extremely well.

See also:

  • First-Aid
  • Cage Mammal Topics
  • Flea Control
  • Nutrition & Natural Feeding
  • Case Histories
  • Cage Mammal Diseases
  • Vaccination
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Defaecation – Dunging
  • Zoonoses
  • Notifiable Diseases
  • Paralysis

While the only promises that can be made are that we will always concentrate and put in maximum effort on your rabbit’s behalf, and strive for excellence in the application of natural medicine techniques (i.e. we cannot promise success), we are able to report an encouraging level of success in such troublesome and chronic conditions. A great many creatures have surprised their human companions with their ability to defy prognosis and recover. Follow a full holistic programme and rely on the rabbit’s innate healing ability.

See also: Pet Care

Rabbit vital information:

Reasonable life expectancy 7 – 12 years

Rectal Temperature Respiratory Rate Heart Rate Gestation Period
100.5oF / 38oC 45 breaths per minute (30 – 70) up to 150 30 days

Main Treatments offered (see Therapies):

These approaches represent a philosophy that is alternative to the current conventional norm but the use of alternative therapies does not do away with the need for a thorough examination and assessment. Nor does it preclude the use of modern diagnostic techniques where necessary. A holistic vet will take into account all these things, in addition to closely scrutinising lifestyle, diet, environment etc.