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Serious concerns for welfare of pet rabbits

One in five vets have raised serious concerns about the health and welfare of pet rabbits in the UK, according to findings from the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

As Easter looms the fear is that parents may make impulse purchases due to misconceptions about how ‘easy’ rabbits are to care for.

Loneliness is a particular issue, with a recent report by veterinary charity PDSA showing that over half of owners (57 percent) keep a rabbit on its own, despite them being highly sociable animals.

This Easter, BVA and other leading veterinary organisations, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS), are offering would-be or current rabbit owners some top tips on how to best care for their pets.

Sean Wensley, president of BVA, said: “The concerning rabbit welfare problems that vets see in daily practice prompt some of them to think that the public should actually be discouraged from owning rabbits, especially if they are being acquired as a child’s or as an ‘easy’ pet to keep.

“Like most vets working in companion animal practices, I have seen some terrible cases, for example, where simply feeding too little hay and grass to rabbits has resulted in dental ‘spikes’ growing on their teeth that cut in to their cheek and tongue.

“This is all too common and BVA would always recommend anyone thinking of getting pet rabbits to do their research and speak to their local vet first to find out about their pet’s welfare needs.”

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