Do you have a longhaired bunny, such as an Angora, Lionhead, or Lop? These fluffy rabbits are adorable. Your pet’s basic care needs will be the same as any other rabbit: a good cage, a proper diet, lots of chew toys, and, of course, veterinary care. However, Floppy will need help with all that fur. As your Cedar Rapids, IA vet, I discuss caring for longhaired rabbits below.
Believe it or not, just getting wet can cause problems with these guys. Don’t let Floppy get wet! Don’t bathe her or let her get rained on, and clean up urine spots or stains right away. Wet skin can cause many issues, including flystrike, which is both painful and dangerous. Rabbits are also very scared of water, which can make baths traumatic for them. Ask your vet for more information.
Hairballs are a potential problem with any rabbit, but longhaired bunnies are at even greater risk. Rabbits don’t shed continuously, the way dogs and cats do. Instead, they pretty much explode a few times a year, and grow new coats. Floppy can easily ingest fur during molts. This is very dangerous for bunnies! Unlike cats, rabbits can’t expel their fur by vomiting them up as hairballs. This may at first seem like a good thing, but it can cause major medical issues. Ask your vet for recommendations on hairball prevention formulas.
Floppy should be brushed daily, or at least every other day. You’ll need to get a few different brushes. Don’t use anything with sharp points. When brushing your bunny, always go in the direction of her fur. Be careful not to pull too hard! Rabbit skin is very thin and delicate, and rips easily.
Mats can form close to rabbits’ skin. You may not see these right away. Once a mat starts, it will keep getting worse. You will at some point find yourself having to clip mats out. Be very careful! Only use blunt-end scissors, and take extra care to ensure that you don’t cut your bunny.
Because longhaired rabbits need so much grooming, you’ll need to make sure that Floppy is comfortable being held and handled. Socialization is a must, and should start when your bunny is young.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns about bunny care. As your Cedar Rapids, IA veterinarian, I’m here to help!