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Health Checks at the Vets (Pre-Vaccination)

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Health Checks at the Vets (Pre-Vaccination) Empty Health Checks at the Vets (Pre-Vaccination)

Post by Happy Hoppers on Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:15 pm

Rabbit Vaccination Standard health Check

Receiving vaccinations is often the only time a vet sees a rabbit, and these routine checks keep the vet up to date with your rabbit's general health.

We asked Catharine Tudor to explain the routine standard health check, given to rabbits prior to vaccinations.

We'd like to thank Catharine for taking time out of her busy schedule to submit this article.

Catharine Tudor, BVetMed MRCVS

Rabbits should be vaccinated annually against Viral Haemorrhagic Disease and at least annually against Myxomatosis. In some high risk areas Myxomatosis vaccination is recommended every 6 months.

Generally a standard health check is carried out prior to vaccination to ensure the rabbit is well enough to receive a vaccination. If the rabbit is presented with an illness then vaccinations are delayed until the rabbit has fully recovered. This will prevent it’s condition from deteriorating and ensure the vaccine is at its most effective.

I start by assessing the demeanor of the rabbit when they are in their carrier/basket before lifting the, onto the examination table. I do this whilst asking the owner how the rabbit is. A lot can be gleaned from just looking – is the breathing visible, fast or laboured, is the coat shiny or matted, is the rabbit alert and interested in it’s surroundings?

Once I have taken the rabbit out of it’s carrier I weigh it. Then I start by examining the face. I check that the eyes are clear of discharge, that there is no damage to the surface of the eye (the cornea) and the third eyelids are not inflamed. The nose should also be clear of discharge. I check the ears to ensure they are free form crusty skin and discharge.

Next it’s the teeth – very important. I examine the teeth from side to side to ensure they are correctly aligned, and from the front to check they are not overlong and that there is no sign of horizontal ridging on the teeth, especially on the upper incisors. The ridging is a sign of dental disease. Ocular and nasal discharge can also be a sign of dental disease, as can matted fur on the inner forepaws or under the chin, caused by slobbery mouth. I don’t routinely check the check the molars as most rabbits don’t like having an otoscope in their mouths. I only do this if I am concerned about dental disease. However, palpitation of both sides of the chin (the mandible) can highlight molar problems if this area is bumpy.

I listen to the heart and lungs and then palpate the abdomen where I am particularly checking for uterine masses, a nice soft ceacum and formed faecal pellets plus assessing for any abnormally sized organs.

Next I cradle the rabbit so that I can check the bottom. This should be clean and free from caked faeces, matted fur etc. If this is the rabbit’s first vaccination I would always check the sex as mistakes can happen! Whilst the rabbit is in this position I check the underside of the hind feet for sores and the length of the nails – do they need a trim?

Finally I check the coat for scaly skin which could indicate a mite infestation, flea dirts, matts etc.

If there is ‘Nothing Abnormal Detected’ on the examination then the rabbit is vaccinated.

This article was first published in 'Hopping Mad! Bunny Magazine' - February 2011. The original can be viewed HERE

Copyright © Catharine Tudor, BVetMed MRCVS and Happy Hoppers Forums UK - June 2011 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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