The three most common rabbit health issues are dental disease, gastrointestinal stasis and obesity, Supreme Petfoods’ recent survey of UK veterinary surgeons has revealed.
These conditions are intrinsically linked to the feeding of poor-quality diets and despite substantial improvements in nutritional knowledge among rabbit owners, 57% of rabbits are still being fed inappropriately.
Dental disease was seen most frequently, with 75% of vets reporting that they see affected rabbits regularly. Dental and other diet-related conditions occur partly because owners do not understand their pets’ dietary requirements, in particular the importance of high fibre nutrition with no added sugar.
Nearly 90% of vets said that rabbits often received inadequate quantities of hay, and the survey also revealed that feeding poor-quality concentrate foods, with low fibre and added sugary ingredients, is commonplace.
Claire Hamblion, marketing director at Supreme Petfoods, said: “Owners want to do the right thing, but all too often lack of awareness about nutrition leads to poor health and wellbeing. The great news is that progress is being made. Well over half of UK rabbit owners now take their pet to the vet at least once a year, and 79% of vets say that nutritional knowledge among rabbit owners has significantly improved.
“We’re keen to build on this and are proud to offer not just high-quality species-specific nutrition but a range of educational materials as well as free samples to help veterinary teams engage with owners.”