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The Frequently Asked Question or FAQ section will help you find answers to the most common questions. If you need an answer to something that is not here, please send mail to info@RabbitMeadows.org and let us know. We will be glad to look into your questions.

What kinds of questions should I ask the vet?

The following may seem like a lot of work to go through to find a veterinarian but your rabbits' well being depends upon finding the most experienced veterinary care available. We hope that within a few years, vet schools will begin to understand rabbits well enough so that vets can be properly trained before they run across a rabbit in their practice. The other problem is that veterinarians not trained in rabbit medicine should be responsible enough to refer you to another veterinarian. Instead some just see the green of your money and say to themselves, "sure I'm a vet, I can see your pet, after all it's only a rabbit". When you find a vet who is honest enough to refer you to someone else, be sure to refer people to him/her and if you have cats or dogs, give him that business. It's really great to work with an honest vet! To Do: 1) Start the search before you have an emergency! 2) Check the yellow pages for vets who advertise as "exotic" (includes rabbits and rodents). Then randomly select 5 vets who do NOT advertise as avian or exotic. Phone those vets and ask who they refer their clients to if they have a serious rabbit case. If all 5 vets give you the name of the same veterinarian, OK. If not, then randomly select another 5 vets and continue the process until you have a clear "winner". 3) Phone several (start with 3) vets in cities within 50 miles of you and ask the same question: who do they refer their clients to if they have a serious rabbit case. (I pass by at least 15 clinics to get to my vet who is 35 miles away.) 4) After you have either a clear "winner" or several vets to choose from: Phone the vet. Let the front office person know that you are concerned with finding the very best veterinarian to care for your rabbit and that you would like to speak directly with the doctor at his/her convenience. Leave both your work and home phone number and specific times that the vet can get hold of you (and be there) or ask what would be a good time for you to call back (when the vet is between appointments). 5) When you get the vet on the phone (or you can ask if you can talk to him/her in person): a) If you are looking for someone to spay/neuter your rabbit, ask how many spay or neuters s/he has done and what is the rate of success. (90% is way too low as it means 10 out of every 100 rabbit they spay/neuter will die.) Every doctor, whether for animals or humans, will occasionally lose a patient; usually because of an undiagnosed problem. Vets across the country who spay/neuter rabbits for the HRS have lost on average less than 1/2 of 1%. Even if you're not having the surgery done, it may be a good question to ask to gauge experience. How many spays have you done in the last year? What anesthesia do you use? Do you recommend spaying for female rabbits and if so why? A knowledgeable rabbit vet should be telling patients about the cancer risk. b) Ask if they know which antibiotics are dangerous for rabbits (amoxicillin and most of the "-cillin" drugs - like penicillin - also see below) c) Casually ask about preventing hairballs. Q: "What's the best way to prevent hairballs?" A: "Provide your rabbit with hay every day, preferably 24 hours a day. Provide daily exercise and brush frequently." d) Ask if food has to be removed the night before surgery. The answer should be "no". Rabbits should never be fasted. They cannot throw up and since they re-eat their cecal pellets it would take many days to empty their stomach, which would make them quite ill. e) You might also want to ask which conferences they've attended lately that had talks about rabbit medicine and what journals they read. We want our vets to be up on the latest in rabbit treatment. 7) If you don't get the "right" answers to the above questions, continue your search. NOT to do: 1) Do not make your choice based on how close the vet is to your home (unless that vet is the clear "winner"). Paying money to a vet who does not know anything (or very little) about rabbits is just throwing money away and can cost you the life of your companion. 2) The following antibiotics should never be given to rabbits. Even one dose can be deadly: Amoxicillin, lincomycin, clindamycin.

Rabbit Meadows
aka Best Little Rabbit & Rodent House

12487 Old Military Rd NE
Poulsbo, WA 98370

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Tax ID 91-1873550
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