Good News for Tubby Bunnies

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With the recent boom in the UK pet rabbit population, vets have really seen an increase in the number of rabbits carrying excess weight, or that are obese. It has even been suggested that now as many as 1 in 3 rabbits may be suffering from weight-related health problems.

Why are so many rabbits over weight?

There are many factors contributing to this problem:

1. Many rabbits are still being fed muesli-like diets, that are low in fibre and too high in starch;
2. Frequently they pick out their favourite, sugary bits from these diets and leave the boring, more healthy bits, which then get thrown away when the bowl is re-filled;
3. Rabbits can also suffer from lack of mobility due to under-sized living space;
4. Many rabbits suffer from lack of exercise especially within the winter months. Ideally rabbits should get 4 – 6 hr exercise a day.

Health risks associated with obesity

The health risks are plentiful and varied, and include:

  • Difficulty grooming, which leads to
  • Sticky bottom, which can lead to
  • Fly strike;
  • Heart failure;
  • Cystitis and other urinary tract problems;
  • Arthritis;
  • Diabetes;
  • Fatty Liver, an often fatal condition.

But don’t despair if your rabbit is overweight, good new is at hand. Burgess recently launched Supa Rabbit Excel ‘Lite’, to help in a weight reduction programme. It has a slightly lower energy content than normal Supa Rabbit Excel, and considerably less starch and energy than rabbit muesli, yet all the vitamins and trace elements that are need to maintain good health.

How to help your rabbit lose weight

  1. Feed a measured amount of Supa Rabbit Excel Lite;
  2. Cut out all treats and sugary foods, including fruit;
  3. Feed ad lib good quality forage, such as hay;
  4. As dieting alone will not cure obesity, it is important to increase your rabbits exercise level;
  5. Weigh and record your rabbit’s weight regularly to monitor his or her progress, to ensure gradual weight loss.
  6. The practice nurses run free-of-charge weight clinics, offering advice on tailoring a weight loss programme to your bunny. Why not call in to see them?