Taking care of an older rabbit
Owners of pet rabbits have to pay special attention as their rabbit ages to ensure the animal’s continued good health, and there are a few basic tips to care for older rabbits that combine a small amount of knowledge with common sense to get the task done.
In a large sense, older rabbits face many of the same health issues that are associated with the aging process of any other species – diet, disease, and activity all impact health and contribute to the individual overall well-being.
By applying proper care for an older rabbit a pet owner can ease the normal stresses of aging while helping an older rabbit address detectable and treatable ailments.
One of the best ways to help to care for an older rabbit is to recognize that a rabbit’s diet and nutrition requirements change as they age. Obesity can lead to serious health issues of many types, and by changing a rabbit’s diet these can be prevented from becoming problematic. An older rabbit needs two to three servings daily of leafy greens of varying types along with a few servings of vegetables in order to remain at a healthy and manageable weight.
Along with this an older rabbit requires no more than one-half to three-quarters of a cup of rabbit pellets every day, and the introduction of fruit into an older rabbit’s diet should be limited to a small amount. Too much fruit given to an older rabbit can promote obesity due to the high sugar content.
Older rabbits face a common lack of mobility as they age, and a wise pet owner will back off somewhat on the normal exercise routine and make alterations to create a less stressful one.
This can be simply accomplished by cutting play and exercise sessions in half, and making participation a little more frequent. Along with this change, softer bedding will help an older rabbit to recuperate more quickly and in greater personal comfort.
Health issues common in older rabbits include skin abscesses, heart disease, clogged tear ducts, cataracts, kidney disease, dental problems and urinary tract infections. An owner of an older rabbit should be keenly aware in changes in their rabbit’s general health, and question their veterinarian of warning signs and home treatments for common, rabbit health problems.
As always, an owner of an older rabbit should follow their instincts in caring for older rabbits and seek medical assistance any time a rabbit is in distress.