General Health Checkups
Six monthly veterinary checkups are important to pick up early signs of illness in your pet rabbits and guinea pigs. These little critters are experts at hiding signs of pain or sickness, and catching disease early will make all the difference. Your veterinarian will do a full clinical examination from nose to tail.
At the Melbourne Rabbit Clinic we also recommend regular faecal tests for internal parasites and fur pluck examination for mites. This is included in our annual vaccination and general health check up consultations. Please bring along a fresh faecal sample for examination.
Dental checkups every three to six months are a minimum depending on the state of your pet’s teeth. A dental check up is always included in a general health check up at the Melbourne Rabbit Clinic.
Rabbits have 28 teeth in total, while guinea pigs have 20 teeth.
Rabbits and guinea pigs teeth are open-rooted which means that they are constantly growing at an astonishing rate of 3-4mm per week. Inadequate wear of the teeth can lead to malocclusion, spurs, mouth ulcers and anorexia.
A diet high in fibre is essential to provide dental exercise and help prevent dental disease.
Ask your vet to perform a dental checkup with oral scope on your pet now!
For our geriatric patients (rabbits that are older than six years, guinea pigs that are older than four years) a three to four monthly veterinary check up is recommended. This enables early signs of disease to be picked up and treatment commenced as soon as possible.
Pet rabbits can live to the age of eight to twelve years old, and pet guinea pigs can live to the age of six to ten years, and we hope to travel with your family through your journey with your pet to an old age. Remember that one ‘rabbit/guinea pig year’ is equivalent to 8-10 ‘human years’.
There are easy things that you as an owner can monitor at home to ensure that your pet rabbits and guinea pigs are well. The following can be done as you play with your pets and as you clean their environment. They include:
- Observing your pet’s appetite and body condition daily. Healthy rabbits and guinea pigs have a ravenous interest in food
- Checking both eyes to ensure there is no discharge or change in colour
- Looking in their ears to check for any discharge or wax build-up. This is especially important for lop-eared rabbits
- Checking your rabbit or guinea pig’s nose and front feet to ensure there is no discharge or crusting
- Checking their front teeth for length and shape. Rabbits have six front teeth (there are two peg teeth behind the top two incisor teeth) and guinea pigs have four front teeth. This is what normal front teeth look like:
- Feeling under the cheekbone and under the jaw to make sure there are no unusual lumps or swellings. Also look for slobbering
- Checking their bottom for buildup of faeces, urine staining, fur matts and chances of flystrike
- Giving your pet rabbit or guinea pig a good body massage. Not only will they enjoy this interaction but it is also a great way to check for any lumps or bumps along the body
- Observing for changes in level of exercise, and breathing effort
- Observing the amount of defaecation and urination as you clean your pet’s environment daily. There should be a reasonable amount of large and solid formed faecal pellets. There should be no remaining caecotrophs, as rabbits and guinea pigs should eat them as soon as they are passed