A trio of veterinary organisations have joined forces to remind pet owners to take special care of their rabbits this summer as they are susceptible to suffering in hot weather.

Rabbits in shade. Pixabay.
Rabbits retreat to shaded areas when it gets too hot outside.

The BVA, the BSAVA and the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) put together the following tips:

  • Ensure your rabbits’ home and enclosure is kept shaded from the sun, with good airflow and constant access to fresh water.
  • Place a ceramic tile or paving slab in your rabbits’ enclosure for them to lie on and cool down. Make sure this is kept in the shade, otherwise it will heat up in sunlight.
  • Lightly misting rabbits’ ears with cold water is an effective way to help cool them; however, never submerge a rabbit in water as this can cause shock and anxiety, which will increase their core body temperature.
  • Freeze plastic bottles of water and place them in your rabbit’s enclosure so they can lie against them.

Mixture of shelters

BVZS president Mark Stidworthy said: “Wild rabbits retreat into the cool of their burrows when it gets too hot outside. Rabbits in hutches or smaller pens can find themselves trapped in full sun without the freedom to escape into shade.

“Owners should make sure hutches and pens are properly shaded in summer. Ideally, a larger secure pen with a mixture of shelters, including natural areas of deep shade, will give rabbits the control they need to keep comfortable on very hot days.”

Fly strike is also a life threatening risk in warmer months, so ensure rabbits have clean bottoms and their living space is kept clean to prevent maggot infestation. Vets should be contacted immediately in cases of infestation.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Vet groups offer tips on caring for rabbits in summer"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Gurth Scriven
Guest
Gurth Scriven
10 months 22 hours ago

Excellent – every practice should be “borrowing” these notes/suggestions – printing them out and handing them to every bunny client as they leave the clinic.

wpDiscuz

related content

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham has urged companion animal vets not to “talk down to” clients and understand they are not just treating pets, but also their human owners.

5 mins

Byre Vets in Werrington, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire is the latest to be added to a network of practices located in the nearby towns of Oundle, Thrapston, Corby and Stamford.

4 mins

Vets and VNs can play their part in improving rabbit welfare in clinics by taking part in an online study from the University of Bristol.

3 mins

The veterinary profession could be on the verge of its biggest shake-up in half a century as the RCVS considers if new regulatory legislation is required.

5 mins

Former NOAH chairman Philip Lowndes has been announced as the new chairman of the BVA board.

3 mins

Owen Atkinson delves into the history of the herd health plan, before explaining why “herd health management” is perhaps a better term – and going on to explain how vets could successfully implement excellent on-farm protocols.

44 mins