Excess weight? Check your rabbit

Just like in humans, an unhealthy weight and body composition in rabbits can lead to range of health problems. Our vet Alun Edwards, shares a simple test you can do at home to check whether your rabbit could be carrying more body fat than is healthy. Alun also explains below, why Clent Hills’ nursing team are the perfect people to help you confirm and combat this.

Book a rabbit weight review with a nurse

Why excess body fat is a problem for rabbits

Clent Hills’ Vet Alun Edwards, explains why it’s important to make sure your rabbit isn’t carrying too much body fat as this can cause health problems, such as:

  • Behavioural changes
  • Dental issues
  • Digestive disorders
  • Heart & respiratory issues
  • Heat stress in hot weather
  • Increased risk of flystrike (from not being able to reach their bottom to clean it)
  • Lethargy
  • Mobility issues, joint strain and arthritis
  • Reduced quality of life and a decreased lifespan
  • Reproductive complications
  • Skin conditions
  • Splayed legs
  • Urinary problems

Try this simple test on your rabbit

Alun suggests trying this at home if your rabbit is happy for you to do it:

1. Spine: Run your fingers lightly along your rabbit’s spine - if it feels softly rounded, that’s ideal. If the bones are too prominent or sharp, your rabbit could be under-weight. If the spine is difficult to feel, there is probably too much body fat.

2. Ribs: Feel along your rabbit's sides with both hands; being able to feel their ribs under a slight layer of fat is ideal. If the ribs are difficult to feel, your rabbit may be overweight.

3. From Above: A pear-shaped body with a slimmer waist and shoulders is ideal. A rectangular or boxy shape suggests your rabbit could be carrying excess fat.

4. From The Side: A gentle upward curve towards the chest and shoulders is ideal. A straight line from the belly to the chest indicates excess fat.

If you think your rabbit could be carrying too much body fat, book a weight review with Clent Hills’ veterinary nursing team soon.

How Clent Hills’ nurses can help

Alun recommends talking to our veterinary nurses in Bromsgrove, Hagley or Rubery, as they are highly experienced in caring for rabbits and helping owners manage their pet’s weight. Our nurses will first confirm if your rabbit is overweight and what their ideal weight and body composition should be. Then, from tailored diet and exercise plans to regular weigh-ins and support, you can count on our veterinary nurses to help you help your rabbit reach new goals.

By addressing these issues sooner rather than later, you can help prevent and manage obesity in your rabbit, and promote better health and longevity.

Book a rabbit weight review today