We are aware that, due to COVID-19, many people are understandably restricting where they go and what they do to minimise the risk of spread. And that also many veterinary practices are, quite reasonably, trying to limit visits for non-urgent procedures, again to minimise spread, and also because of limited staff due to self-isolation or childcare commitments.
On the other hand, the health and preventative health or your pet is important, and so the risks and benefits of visiting the vet should be carefully considered. We have put together the following advice, but if in doubt, visit your vet’s website or contact them to discuss individual animals.
Emergencies (see our poster): contact your vet on the phone or emergency out of hours phone, and discuss directly with your practice if you suspect an emergency condition, such as open mouth breathing, difficulty breathing, severe blood loss, collapse, loss of consciousness, paralysis, eye injury, refusing food, not passing faeces or urine, significant wounds, broken limb.
Urgent but not emergencies: Contact your practice for advice on when best to be seen, within the next 24-48 hours: respiratory or eye/ear discharge, altered food preferences, lameness, less serious wounds, etc.
Non-urgent and routine events: eg vaccination, neutering, regular scheduled health checks for ongoing conditions. Depending on the individual rabbit, and practices and owners own health status, some checks may be possible over the phone or via remote viewing, eg for medication refills and prescriptions. neutering may be delayed, but with young rabbits kept together, definitely contact the practice, or, if left too long, the result may be an unplanned litter, or fighting. Vaccinations are a particularly tricky one, as the duration of immunity is not as fully known for rabbits as dogs and cats, and may be only just 12 months. Again, its best to discuss your particular rabbit with your vet.
Richard Saunders BVSc DZooMed MRCVS European Veterinary Specialist in Zoo Health Management