It’s hard not to mention the weather again because it so often causes a number of problems with our pets. Rabbits and Guinea Pigs are regularly seen at the clinic during warm, wet weather with a number of ailments that can be distressing or life-threatening.
Fleas, mites and lice can cause chewing and scratching, resulting in scabs and hair-loss. They are treatable, but drugs need to be used with extreme caution. Make sure any products you use are suitable for rabbits or guinea pigs and dosed to individual animals.
Teeth need to be taken care of too. A rabbit or guinea pig that can’t eat properly due to malocclusion (teeth that do not meet normally) may develop drooling, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss and lethargy. Veterinary attention is required urgently.
Fly-strike is a common and serious problem. Many infested pets are well cared for, but the signs of a problem have been missed with normal daily husbandry. Flies can strike a healthy animal that has loose stools, wet skin, or a wound, but at particular risk are aging, disabled, or overweight rabbits that cannot clean themselves. Within a 24-hour period an otherwise healthy rabbit can enter a terminal state of shock due to maggot infestation.
During warm, wet weather, carers need to be extra vigilant with cage or run hygiene, and check their pets daily for signs of a dirty bottom, moist skin, wounds or inactivity, especially if they like to sit where they toilet. If any maggots are seen, call your veterinary clinic immediately.
For more information on how to take care of your rabbit or guinea pig, please download a copy of A Guide to Keeping Rabbits & Guinea Pigs, or come into the clinic for a copy of our brochure. See also our Rabbit Calici Virus brochure and why you need to vaccinate your rabbits.