Heart problems in rabbits – can they be avoided?

October 7, 2023

If your bunny’s heart is not functioning as it should, then the rest of their body will become affected. Our Veterinary Surgeon Jürgen Theinert has put together information on the most common heart conditions that can affect rabbits and also tips on how you can improve their heart health below.

We’re hoping to raise awareness amongst Essex rabbit owners, so please do share our article on your social media pages.

Book a rabbit check-up

Our vets have also put together a factsheet to help you Spot Rabbit Heart Problems at Home

Common heart conditions in rabbits

Edgewood Vets wants to spread awareness of what conditions can potentially affect your rabbit. Have a read of the points below and if you have concerns about your own pet, book an appointment with our experienced team of rabbit loving vets at our Purleigh surgery.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that can lead to impaired heart function. It more commonly affects larger rabbit breeds, but all are susceptible. Jürgen advises that early diagnosis and treatment is key to keeping your rabbit’s quality of life – book a rabbit health check now.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure in rabbits occurs when the left ventricle of the heart is malfunctioning. This means the heart is then unable to pump blood effectively, leading to a build-up in fluid.

Hypertension

Hypertension is when your rabbit’s blood pressure becomes elevated which then puts stress on their organs. According to Jürgen, stress is the major contributing factor which is why at Edgewood Vets we treat all our rabbit patients in quiet and calm consultation rooms.

Symptoms of heart conditions in rabbits

Symptoms of heart problems can be difficult to spot in rabbits, especially as they hide signs of pain and illness or purpose – a natural instinct to protect themselves from predators in the wild. You may be able to spot some signs at home. Take a look at our Rabbit Heart Symptoms Fact Sheet.

If you notice any of the symptoms in our fact sheet in your pet, contact us immediately on 01621 828381 as your rabbit may need emergency treatment.

How you can help to keep your rabbit healthy

Regular check-ups at Edgewood Vets

Routine examinations with our rabbit vets will help to provide early diagnosis for many heart conditions.

Proper hydration and a balanced diet

It is essential your rabbit has access to clean, fresh water constantly. They also need a constant diet of good quality hay and fresh vegetables. Rabbit pellets and fruit should be limited in your rabbit’s diet and avoid excessive treats which could lead to obesity.

Exercise and weight control

To prevent obesity, alongside a balanced diet you need to ensure you rabbit has plenty of space and opportunities to exercise. As naturally active mammals, physical activity will get their blood pumping and keep their heart healthy. You also need to provide enrichment – use toys and play tunnels to stimulate your bunny’s brain.

A healthy living environment

Keep their living space as stress-free as possible to reduce the risk of hypertension. Also, reduce their exposure to air pollutants and avoid smoking around your rabbit.

Social interaction

Rabbits thrive in companionship. They are naturally social animals so a bonded companion will help promote their overall wellbeing.

Monitoring your rabbit for any changes in their health is essential in ensuring they receive prompt treatment if they do become unwell. Breathing rates and behaviour will help indicate if they need to see Edgewood Vets’ team of experienced rabbit vets. Contact us on 01621 828381 and remember to share this article with other rabbit owners in Essex.

Before you go, download our:

Heart Disease Symptoms Fact Sheet

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