Prior to your visit, we ask that you take some photos of your rabbits enclosure and any areas he/she has access to around the house. You can bring samples of food, treats, and hopefully a fresh sample of stool as well. These things will help us in our overall evaluation of your bunny.
The first time you come to us for a wellness visit, we like to have a veterinary nurse/technician evaluate your rabbit’s diet, housing, and daily life routines to identify if there are any changes that need to be made that will prevent illness or improve quality. As with most pets, having a good diet and lifestyle can keep them healthy longer. Unfortunately, sometimes people are given misinformation long before they get to us, and we want to be sure to correct any problems before they turn into something more serious.
The doctor will then perform a physical exam. During this time, your veterinarian will listen to the heart, lungs, and intestines of your rabbit to be sure that everything sounds appropriate. The vet will also check the ears, eyes, nose, teeth, skin, and palpate the abdomen to be sure there are no obvious abnormalities. If abnormalities are present, the vet will go over what the next steps are to address the potential health issue.
Next, the doctor will recommend some diagnostic testing based on age and history. A fecal test is recommended at least once, and depending on your rabbit’s lifestyle, up to once a year, to ensure that there are no intestinal parasites that might be causing harm to your pet’s intestinal tract. This is particularly important in young, and immune compromised rabbits.
E. cuniculi is a single-celled organism that is endemic in rabbit breeding facilities, shelters, and pet stores. Rabbits can be exposed from the mother or from the urine of other rabbits, and may be carriers for this disease. Some rabbits appear completely healthy, but may still be harboring the organism. (For more information, check out our article here: EC article). Testing can help prepare you for knowing whether your rabbit may one day present with a severe head tilt, among other possible signs. If antibody titers are high, indicating an infection, then treatment may be recommended as well.
General blood work can be helpful in learning about your rabbit’s overall health status. As a prey species, rabbits are very good at hiding their illnesses; in the wild, the day that they look sick, is the day they are eaten. So showing signs of illness is something rabbits try not to do. If your rabbit is showing you that they are not feeling well in any way, it is safe to assume that the illness could have started 2 weeks, or even 2 months ago, and they’ve been hiding it. Having baseline blood work when they are healthy can help us catch diseases before they pose a significant threat to your rabbit’s overall health. So we will most likely recommend some preventive general blood work to establish that baseline and see what is normal for your specific pet.
Finally at the end of the visit, the staff may make suggestions for some products we recommend. We stock a variety of the highest quality rabbit foods, bedding material, and enrichment toys to keep your rabbit healthy and happy. Our goal is for you to leave educated about care, confident in the health of your pet, and happy with the knowledge we have given you about your companion.