Rabbits are considered exotic animals because they have wild counterparts that people see when hiking or walking in the forest. Wild bunnies are smaller than pet bunnies, but they have the skills to survive in the wild.
The classification of bunnies as exotic animals has seen an uptake of people adopting bunnies as pets. Long gone are the days when bunnies were raised as a source of meat and fur. Some organizations protest against the sale of rabbit meat to humans or as pet food.
However, the label of exotic rabbits has had adverse effects on finding a vet clinic for bunnies. There are few exotic pet vets and even fewer vets who have the training to treat pet rabbits.
Let’s take a quick review on whether rabbits are exotic or not.
Are Rabbits Exotic Pets?
Yes and no. It is hard to answer the question considering that rabbits are more common as pets in the USA than they were in the last century. In the veterinary community, rabbits are classified as exotic pets, and their treatments require a vet to have training in exotic pets.
Many governments classify rabbits as exotic pets because they are not part of the standard farm animals. Rabbits need special care because they are prone to gastrointestinal complications when they don’t have a balanced diet.
There are petitions to remove the classification of rabbits as exotic pets to allow more vets to treat the pets. Exotic rabbit breeds are common in the USA as pets in many households.
There are rescue shelters that cater to abandoned rabbits because of how fast they multiply.
The label of exotic rabbits makes it impossible for many veterinary clinics to offer medical care to pet rabbits. Also, changing the title of exotic rabbits will allow vet institutions to add content about rabbits to regular pet training.
Therefore, rabbit pet owners will be able to receive the necessary medical help from regular pet clinics.
What Else Is Considered Exotic?
Many pet animals are considered exotic, and they do have unique care requirements. Here is a list of pets that are exotic.
- Reptiles (Lizards, snakes, turtles, etc.)
- Amphibians (Toads & frogs)
- Potbellied pigs
The list of exotic pet animals changes each year as new pets are added to the list while others are removed. Most pets are classified as exotic when they have issues that affect them due to their breed.
Most vets will send you to a specialized vet when you need medical attention for an exotic pet. Rabbits fall into the category of exotic pets, and you need to find a vet specialist who deals with small exotic animals like rabbits.
Some exotic pets like tortoises can outlive human beings, meaning that you will have a lifetime commitment to taking care of your pet tortoise. Some have special food needs, and you will have to find a pet store that carries food for your exotic pet.
Overall, exotic pets need more care and attention than other domesticated pets.
What Diseases Are Rabbits Prone to Getting?
Rabbits have gastrointestinal issues similar to those horses experience because of the way their digestive systems are. Rabbits require a lot of fiber and water to stay healthy.
A diet that is low in fiber can cause your rabbit to be sick. Also, feeding your unsuitable rabbit foods will lead to intestinal issues that can be severe for your pet rabbit.
Fiber and water ensure that rabbits can excrete toxins from their systems. Rabbits tend to absorb all the calcium in food, and they need water to remove excess calcium from their system.
Lack of water can cause calcium stones to start forming in the rabbit’s system, which is not suitable for your pet.
Also, eating human food or beverages can be toxic to rabbits. Please do not feed them your cereal, drinks, or salad when they have condiments.
There is a specific list of greens that rabbits can eat, including dark lettuce leaves. It would be best to stock up on high-quality hay because that’s what a rabbit’s system can process.
Rabbits can look for alternative sources of fiber if they lack in their diet. A rabbit can turn to eat the lining of a cage as a source of fiber.
Anything that isn’t hay, grass, straw, or green leafy vegetables can cause a blockage in a rabbit’s digestive system. When rabbits are sick, they do not eat or move. A rabbit can die when they don’t get immediate medical attention when experiencing digestive system issues.
Most pet rabbit owners aren’t aware of how delicate their systems are when adopting them. Some realize it later after their pet is sick and can’t find an exotic animal specialist near them. It would be best for pet owners to research rabbits before adopting them.
Why Is It Hard to Find a Rabbit Vet?
As discussed earlier, rabbits fall under the exotic animal categories that fall under exotic veterinary training. Few vets are trained to handle exotic animals, and the animals’ ratio versus exotic animal vets is too high.
There is a high demand for exotic animal vets because more pet owners have exotic animals like rabbits and rodents. Therefore, even when you find a clinic that treats rabbits, they will likely have many appointments to attend to at the time.
It makes it hard to find a specialist to attend to your rabbit pet during emergencies.
Most pet rabbit owners prefer to learn about taking care of rabbits to avoid popular health issues associated with the breed. Also, most pet owners feel like the veterinary community has failed them because it is hard to find medical assistance during emergencies.
Can You Take a Rabbit to a General Practice Vet Clinic?
It would be a bad idea to take your rabbit for check-ups and treatment to a general practice vet clinic. Exotic rabbits are diagnosed and treated as cats in general practices when their treatment is similar to horses.
There are high chances that your pet rabbit may not get well when you seek medical help at a general practice clinic. The internet has made it possible for pet owners to contact vets through long-distance calls for assistance.
However, phone calls can never supplement the value of a physical examination. Overall, communicating with a vet who understands rabbits online is better than visiting a general practice clinic.
Rabbit Care Tips
Understanding the best practices for taking care of rabbits can save you several trips to the vet clinic. Rabbits are simple creatures to take care of and ensure they do not fall sick. A good dies, a clean cage, and exercise should keep your pet rabbit healthy.
A rabbit’s diet should include fiber from hay, straw, or specific green leafy vegetable. Most pet owners choose to buy rabbit pellets because they are readily available.
However, pellets are not a balanced diet and cal lead to obesity because of high carbohydrate levels. Obesity is one of the reasons rabbits develop sore hocks.
The increase in body weight can cause paws to swell because they can’t support the rabbit’s weight. Therefore, opt for organic hay or grass because it is similar to what rabbits fed on in the wild.
Sanitation of a Hutch
A rabbit’s hutch needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid infections due to the accumulation of bacteria. Rabbits are clean animals, and they are uncomfortable living in dirty cages.
Also, it would be best if you cleaned water bowls and bottles every day to reduce the chances of infection.
A cage should stay dry, so it should be able to drain off urine when a rabbit pees. You need to find suitable flooring for the cage to protect rabbit paws, especially when you have a wire cage.
Wire cages are a cause for sore hocks because they hurt rabbit paws. Also, create a bed using soft material like fleece to ensure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep at night.
A pet rabbit’s daily routine should include exercise because rabbits are active creatures. Lack of exercise will lead to obesity and other health issues.
It would help if you endeavored to get your rabbit out of their cages for an hour or two every day. Most pet owners let rabbits out of their cages for a few minutes a day, which isn’t enough time for rigorous exercise.
Alternatively, find a cage that incorporates a play area so that your rabbit can play when inside the cage. Playtime can substitute for exercise if you aren’t in a place where a rabbit can exercise outside the cage. Buy a few toys for the rabbit to encourage it to play during the day.
Are rabbits exotic pets? Yes, they are. As exotic rabbits, they do need special care to keep them healthy.
Rabbits are cute, and many pet owners are adding them to their brood of pets. Rabbits are docile creatures, and you shouldn’t introduce them to a household with aggressive pets.
Overall, rabbits make excellent pets, and most of them have soft fur that owners enjoy touching. It would be best to learn to take good care of your rabbit because it is hard to find a qualified vet to treat rabbits.
Take the time to find an exotic animal vet clinic where you can take your rabbit for annual check-ups and medical assistance when the need arises.
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