Keeping your angora rabbits healthy is the key. If you can provide them with the essentials of good welfare this makes for a happy healthy angora rabbit. However, in some circumstances even when they appear to have everything they may need they can become poorly for a range of reasons so here are some general hints and tips on the main health requirements for angora rabbits.
Regarding greens, never feed too much of any one thing. Try to give a balanced mixture of safe weeds and vegetables. Rabbits cannot live on cabbage and dandelion leaves alone, and in fact it is not good for rabbits to have a lot of either. Rabbits enjoy fruits such as a slice of apple, banana or kiwi fruit, but fruit is high in sugar, and so small amounts only should be given as an occasional treat.
If a rabbit scours (diarrhoea) due to too much greenery then all green food must be removed for a few days and given carefully after that. Some people will give a teaspoon of diarrhoea mixture for babies, but scouring usually settles on its own.
All rabbits must have unlimited access to hay, which is of good nutritional value. Hay keeps teeth in good condition, and is also high fibre, essential for gut health. A high fibre diet will help prevent fur balls. Rabbits enjoy nibbling their barley straw bedding. Whilst barley straw is of poor nutritional value, it is a valuable source of fibre to keep the gut healthy. Readigrass is a very good source of fibre and the rabbits really enjoy it.
Prevention of fur balls
It is a good idea to give ½ a teaspoon of liquid paraffin (as used for constipation) or a blob of ‘kitty moult’ if the rabbit stops eating during moult or immediately after clipping as this will prevent fur balls occurring.
These are balls of fur, which end up in the rabbit’s stomach and can lead to a lot of problems and a possible trip to the vet in extreme cases to have the fur ball removed surgically.
Watch the rabbit’s droppings and if they are getting strung together with fur, and the rabbit is not eating, then 1/2 teaspoon of liquid paraffin can be administered with a dropper or syringe down the side of the mouth when lying upside on your lap as for grooming. If the rabbit is due for clipping, has droppings strung on wool like beads on a necklace, and is eating well and normally, then clipping usually sorts the problem out.
The most important thing is that you study your rabbit carefully, and if there is a change in its behaviour, like not coming forward for food, sitting hunched in a corner, food left untouched overnight, then you need to investigate.
Try putting the rabbit out onto some clean grass and watch what it does, if nothing then you need to see a vet very soon. Rabbits are naturally inquisitive and if they are not it is a bad sign.
Initial signs of ill health
A probiotic powder or Cards Natural feeds (Entracare) can be purchased from a good stockist and can be put in the water to help the rabbit regain its health.
Rabbits should be wormed regularly, suggested brands are Panacur or Lapizole.