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I would like to let my rabbit run outside in my yard during the summer. Is this safe for her?
Rabbits benefit enormously from exercise, and your yard may be the perfect place for her to get some. However, a yard is not an enclosure, so follow these guidelines to ensure your pet is safe:
My rabbit is starting to have her head slightly titled to the left; does she have an ear infection?
Rabbits and guinea pigs are both susceptible to bacterial infections that can cause head tilting, spinning, and sometimes flipping upside down accompanied with or without leaky eyes and nose as well as sneezing. Often the culprit in these infections is a bacterium called Pasteurella, but other bacteria can be at the origin of the problem. Once the bacterium reaches the brain, it affects the central nervous system and disorients your rabbit.
As soon as you see the beginning of any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. If caught early, the infection can be brought under control through the use of aggressive anti-biotic therapy and supportive treatment. While treatable, it is difficult to completely eradicate, and sometimes treatment can be long.
In the meantime, keep your rabbit as stress free as possible. Stress can trigger attacks of these bacterial infections, and is often seen following heatstroke, light traumas and if your rabbit is suffering from another medical problem.
Does my 2 months old female rabbit need to be spayed?
Yes, but not just yet. Spaying your female rabbit is highly recommended around 5-6 months of age, which is close to their sexual maturity. Once operated, female rabbits have a longer expected life span, are friendlier with people and other rabbits, have less aggressive / destructive behaviour and are more easily trained. This procedure is reviewed on our rabbit care page.
My rabbit is shedding a lot, what should I do?
The best thing you can do for rabbit right now is brush her several times a day. The main concern with shedding in rabbits is that they might develop GI stasis due to increased ingestion of fur. So, the more fur you can brush out, the better.
Increasing exercise and fiber intake will help the gut push through the ingested fur. For those rabbits that do not tolerate brushing, run a damp cloth over them daily, or pet them wearing wet rubber gloves.
My rabbit has orange urine, is this blood?
It is unlikely. What you are most probably witnessing is a change in urine colour due to plant pigments. Often this occurs after a rabbit eats carrots, spinach or other vegetables that contain beta carotene. Normal rabbit urine ranges from pale yellow to orange to rusty-brown red.
White or chalky urine, with or without orange colouration, is a sign your rabbit is consuming an excess of calcium rich foods, and he may be producing bladder sand (crystals of calcium). These crystals can cause blockages and be a serious health concern. Review and correct your rabbit's diet.
Your veterinarian can verify the presence of blood in your rabbit's urine by performing a urinalysis.
Fresh visible red blood in urine is cause for concern as is straining to urinate (where a rabbit sits for a long time but does not produce much urine). This behaviour may indicate a blockage or infection.
Finally, blood on the cage floor can be the result of uterine cancers in unspayed females.
Call your veterinarian immediately in these situations.