Routine exams can save your rabbits life! Your giant’s health is fully dependent upon you. Since rabbits are natural prey animals, regardless of what size they are, they are often quite brilliant at hiding problems. After all, the law of nature is “only the strongest survive!” So, it is very important to learn and understand how to tell when there may be a problem. The best and only way to do this is to spend time with your furry pal. Even when there is no apparent reason for alarm, a basic health exam (as described below) should be done no less than once a week.
Never discredit small changes in appearance and attitude. As soon as your bunny sees you, he/she should greet you in what-ever-way is normal for him/her. Pay attention to this. If he/she is sitting in a corner, not moving or reacting, or making unusual noises? (yes, they are and can be rather vocal at times) If yes, then be sure to take the extra time to pick your rabbit up. If there doesn’t seem to be an obvious problem, take a closer look. Did he/she eat all of the previously fed pellets? Is the usual amount of water gone from the crock or water-bottle? If the answer is no – there is a possible problem!
If you suspect there is a problem, place your rabbit on a solid, sturdy surface. Rub your hand over his back, and be sure to also check for injuries. If you notice any dandruff or flaky skin, then fur mites may be present. If you see any little brown dots, perhaps fleas have invaded! Look at teeth, eyes, and nose. They should be healthy, and mucous free. Next, look at the inner ears. Do you see any brownish or yellowish flaking or “crusty” looking skin? If so, you will need to treat for ear mites. Also be sure to check all four feet. Make sure there are no calluses, sores, or other abnormalities. Check for broken toes and toenails, and make sure the tail is in good condition. Then dont forget the rear parts. Look for any thick substances or sores, which are signs of vent disease. If your rabbit has diarrhea or feces stuck to the fur this could mean out big trouble; those are signs of internal problems such as GI Stasis, Enteritis, or maybe even Coccidia.