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Dobby the little miracle

Meet Dobby, owned by two of our qualified veterinary nurses.

Dobby is well and truly a little miracle. She managed to survive being away from her parents from around 2 days old. Successful hand rearing of rabbits is practically unheard of, so her mummies are very proud of their achievements and Dobby’s determination to survive.

Paula and Gail were visiting their local farm shop when, whilst walking past the pets corner, they noticed a baby rabbit squirming around outside the nest box. There were a few nesting rabbits, so the owners of the farm seemed reluctant to intervene, as it was unclear who the mother of Dobby was. If Dobby had been put into the wrong nest she may have been attacked. Gail and Paula felt that Dobby would die from hypothermia or be attacked by another rabbit if left there much longer. So, after asking the owner, they decided her best chance at life would be home rearing (despite the poor success rate).

The surrogate mummies used Royal Canin Kitten Milk Formula (kitten milk is the closest to rabbit milk) and combined this with Avipro Plus (this provided the youngster with much needed healthy bacteria which is very important in rabbit digestion).

Around day 7 they were very concerned that she wasn’t going to make it, even saying goodbye to her at one point. But, against all odds, she fought on and in the coming days started to thrive. She opened her eyes on day 11 and was weaned onto food shortly after that.

Dobby turned 1 year old in March and to celebrate Rabbit Awareness Week she was treated to a new house. A four story indoor suite! She is well loved by all the family, including the other pets in the house - 2 Labradors (Roly and Lunar) and the 2 cats (Milly and Ava).

Gail and Paula, as veterinary nurses, are all too familiar with the dangers of feeding rabbits the wrong diet and are therefore very strict with Dobby's feeding regime. She has a constant supply of high quality hay, an egg cup full of kibble daily, a small amount of green leafy vegetables daily and ad lib access to grass. They avoid muesli type diets which can lead to selective feeding from rabbits. They pick out the tastiest bits and leave behind the highly nutritional bits. They also tend to ‘fill up’ on these diets and leave the hay - leading to problems with their teeth. Rabbits teeth do not stop growing  (around 1-5mms a week), meaning they need to be chewing almost continuously to wear their teeth down. Rabbits barely chew the kibble and muesli diets so it’s chewing the hay that keeps their teeth healthy. If rabbits don`t eat enough hay their teeth  may become misaligned or overgrown, causing painful spurs or physical problems with eating. A healthy diet is the most crucial part of owning a rabbit. Unfortunately a lot of owners are given the wrong information, leading to problems fairly early on in their rabbit’s lives.

Dobby has regular vaccinations & health checks (especially checking her teeth and weight), she is micro-chipped and has been neutered. Feel free to pop in and talk to one of our nurses about the benefits associated with these procedures. More information on rabbit healthcare can also be found on our Rabbit Awareness Week Page.

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