Rabbit Health Concerns

Dental Disease

Rabbits have very long front teeth (incisors) and molars along the sides of their jaws (the cheek teeth). Their teeth grow for their entire lives. It is fairly common to have irregular growth of the cheek teeth. The incisors can be broken or may grow in poor alignment due to the rabbit’s genetic makeup. If your rabbit is not eating well or is drooling, a full assessment of the teeth is needed. Often, anesthesia is needed to evaluate the teeth. Radiology of the teeth is needed to understand the full extent of abnormalities in some rabbits.

Pasteurella Multocida (Snuffles)

This is a chronic bacterial infection that rabbits are often exposed to at the rabbitry when they are very young. The most common problem caused by this bacteria is “snuffles”, a chronic respiratory infection. The bacteria can cause eye problems and can cause internal abcesses. It can be managed with certain antibiotics. Although it is a common infection, many rabbits avoid this and remain healthy.

Teariness on the face

If the tear ducts become blocked the tears drain onto the face and can cause skin irritation. Blocked tear ducts can actually be related to dental disease because the tips of the tooth roots are quite close to the tear ducts.

Uterine Cancer

Female rabbits frequently develop uterine cancers. Because this is a known risk for females, we recommend removing the ovaries and uterus when the rabbit is young.

Sore Hocks

Irritation of the soles of the feet is the result of the rabbit being kept on a wire mesh that is too large or being kept on a solid surface that is not kept clean enough. These sores can be treated but it is best to avoid the condition.