At least one in five vets have serious concerns about the health and welfare of pet rabbits in the UK, according the BVA.  

Rabbit in hand.
One in five vets would recommend against owning a rabbit, according to the BVA.

According to the association, 21.6% of vets feel the general public should be “discouraged” from keeping the lagomorphs, especially if they are to be looked after by children.

Problem pets

The association said many misconceptions exist about how “easy” rabbits are to care for, with vets citing the three main health and welfare problems as:

  • inappropriate diet
  • loneliness
  • unsuitable housing

Loneliness is a particular issue, with a report by the PDSA showing 57% of owners keep a rabbit on its own, despite them being highly sociable animals.

Discouraging ownership

BVA president Sean Wensley said: “The concerning rabbit welfare problems vets see in daily practice prompt some of them to think the public should actually be discouraged from owning rabbits, especially if they are being acquired as a child’s or ‘easy’ pet to keep.

“Like most vets working in companion animal practices, I have seen some terrible cases; for example, where simply feeding too little hay and grass to rabbits has resulted in dental ‘spikes’ growing on their teeth that cut in to their cheek and tongue.

“This is all too common and the BVA would always recommend anyone thinking of getting pet rabbits to do their research and speak to their local vet first to find out about their pet’s welfare needs.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

A flexible, reversible alternative to surgical castration provides a choice to pet owners. Explore the role of GnRH and the use of deslorelin with the Suprelorin® hormone implant.

25 mins

The BVA has announced a £10,000 donation to Vetlife after Veterinary Times revealed a near tripling of annual contacts to the charity dedicated to helping vets in crisis.

4 mins

Despite never meeting him or even speaking to him, the late, great Bob Michell had a profound influence on Nick Marsh's veterinary career and on his outlook in general.

10 mins

Shield Veterinary Centre in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire celebrated with demonstrations, games and quizzes, as well as raising money for charity.

3 mins

The BVA is looking for nominations for the 2017-18 junior vice-president post, as well as three members of its newly formed electoral college.

5 mins

Owners are “killing pets with kindness” in the face of a UK animal obesity crisis, according to BVA president Gudrun Ravetz.

4 mins