Thursday, 18 September 2014

Perticular Pens - welcome to the RWAF retailer charter

Perticular Pens offer something a bit different and are working with rehoming charities to produce welfare friednly accommodation in their centres. This is what they told us: At Perticular we wanted to put our support behind the A Hutch is Not Enough Campaign help to highlight the misinformation regarding rabbit welfare and dedicate ourselves to improving the accommodation currently available. Working closely with charities to help improve conditions for rescue rabbits we hope to educate potential owners in the care and welfare that rabbits not only need but deserve. As a former rabbit owner I understand the needs of what we feel is a misunderstood animal that needs as much, if not more care than any other pet and endeavour to exceed the current recommendations conscience of the rabbits welfare during their time at the rescue centres. At Peticular we will not design, sell or encourage any animal housing that falls below the recommended standard but will openly promote the thesis behind the A Hutch Is Not Enough Campaign and continue to champion the RAWF's cause. What they offer is bespoke, so why not check out their website to see if there is something that you think your bunnies would appreciate!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Think Run!

Think Run! Sadly, we're close to the last knockings of summer and before we know it, the winter months will be upon us For pet rabbits that are kept in a hutch with no attached running enclosure, that's when their exercise time goes down to virtually zero. The Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) are the UK's largest charity with the sole aim of improving the health and welfare of domestic rabbits, a pet that all too often are kept in conditions that fall well short of the needs of the species. They are advising rabbit owners to take advantage of the few remaining weeks of summer to attach a permanent exercise run to their rabbits' hutch in time for the weather to turn. "In the summer, owners will often lift their rabbits from the hutch to the run, or give them supervised exercise time in a walled garden," said Richard Saunders, Expert Veterinary Advisor to the RWAF, "even this isn't ideal because the time is still limited to well below their natural requirement, but in the winter it is a great deal worse because owners don't want to put their rabbits out into the rain or snow." As the charity points out in its literature and on its website, Rabbits keep different hours to humans so shouldn’t be reliant on their owners to be lifted from their hutch into the run, and they should be able exercise in all weathers. Having a hutch inside or connected to a large secure enclosure is vital to allow them to display their natural behaviours. The exercise area should be at least partially covered with tarpaulin which is inexpensive from garden centres and DIY stores. There has been a recent increase in the availability of better quality products that meet rabbits' needs and it is now much easier for people to get hold of 6 foot hutches and large exercise runs. The RWAF recommend a minimum floor space of 10ft x 6ft for a pair of rabbits (rabbits should be kept in netuered pairs or compatible groups). The RWAF urges owners to use their imagination when providing accommodation for their rabbits. As Richard Saunders explained, "There are several manufacturers that stock good quality runs that fall short of the minimum recommended size but that doesn't mean they can't be combined to double the space!" Check out for more information about the importance of an attached exercise area for your rabbits.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

To burr or not to burr? When is a dental required?

We have been contacted by several people regarding something very interesting they have read on another page so here are our thoughts on dental issues in rabbits: 1) Incisor teeth should always be burred and not clipped. Clipping causes further damage to the tooth roots and should be avoided. It is also painful and should not ever be attempted as a DIY measure at home. We consider this to be barbaric. 2) Have regular dental checks with a rabbit savvy vet. (Don't forget we hold a rabbit friendly vet list e-mail us at 3) Weigh your rabbits at home every week. 4) If your rabbits are eating normally, not loosing weight, not slobbering, , and have no abscesses that you can feel along the jaw then there is generally no need for the rabbit to under go a dental. The main reasons for a rabbit to require a dental are: A) A molar spur or significantly elongated molar tooth which is pressing in to the tongue or cheek and causing discomfort,change in food preference, ie avoiding hard foods, loss of appetite, slobbering. B) Misaligned teeth are sadly very common, and very few rabbit mouths will look good under inspection, however this does not mean that a dental is required. If in doubt, then have a check the following week or so to make sure that the problem has not worsened and that weight has been maintained. C) Abscesses or bone infection developing around teeth. This may not be detected with the naked eye, and is one reason why your vet may recommend xrays of your rabbit's skull

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Preparing for a trip to the vets

Lulu and Jake had their vaccinations last week, and as part of this had a full check. Our vet, Orlaith noticed that Lulu had the a spur on her molar. She was eating well, not slavering, so we booked her in today to have it burred. If she had been showing any signs of discomfort or not eating she would have needed it doing much sooner. So, we had 5 days to prepare Lulu for her dental today. We get a lot of calls to the helpline from people that have brought rabbits home from the vet who are not eating for example so we thought the following would be useful. Before any of this of course make sure you have a rabbit savvy vet. We hold a list of rabbit friendly vets and this is available to anyone from the helpline, 0844 324 6090 or by e-mailing us on 1) Carry case. Make sure you have a carry case that opens at the top. You do not want to be trying to get a rabbit out of a front opening carry case because they always splay their back legs and it ends up being a battle. Much easier if they are easily accessed from the top. Also, if you know your vet trip is a few days away, place the carry case in the rabbits' environment and let them get used to it, feed them in it, so that the journey to the vet is less stressful. 2) Food. On the morning of the vet trip make sure you give your rabbit her favourite breakfast. Take a packed lunch with you, of all of your rabbit's favourite foods (herbs and dandelions are a favourite. and some of their usual pellets) We do not recommend fruit as part of a daily diet, but after an operation we can relax a little bit, we want them to be eating asap so we need to tempt them. A juicy nectarine or bit of apple would not be something we would give every day, but it might be just the thing to get the rabbit to start to eat again on her own. And don't forget to have some critical care / recovery sachets to hand in case you need to syringe feed too. 3) Travel. Sounds obvious, but rabbits find car journey's stressful, so no loud music, and make sure the carry case is secure on the seat with the seatbelt secured through the handle. 4) Companion. If your rabbit lives with another rabbit companion, take them both to the vet. Bonded pairs should not be separated and it will be less stressful for them to be kept together. This can often help the recovery of the rabbit that is having the operation. 5) Back home. Your rabbit should be alert and eating before being discharged. Make sure you keep them warm overnight, so this might mean keeping them indoors unless it is very warm outside, and be vigilant. Make sure they are eating and drinking as normal, otherwise you will need to syringe feed. Rabbits that are in pain will not eat, so make sure that your rabbit has had pain relief if needed, and you have some to give at home in the days following the procedure. If in any doubt, ring your vet!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Rabbit Awareness Week 2014

PET AND VET INDUSTRIES REUNITE FOR THE BIGGEST EVER RABBIT AWARENESS WEEK - RAW 2014 confirmed to start from 10 May - Record numbers have signed-up to be part of annual initiative Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) 2014 is set to be the biggest yet with more than 3,400 vet practices, retailers, rescue centres and schools taking part in the initiative. Exceeding forecasts, 2,650 vet practices are supporting this year’s ‘One Small Hop’ campaign, a 19 per cent increase on 2013’s RAW. 110 rescue centres have also joined the fight for better rabbit welfare, an increase of a fifth since 2013; along with 635 retailers, up by 9 percent on last year, and 69 schools, over two fifths (41%) more than last year. The RAW initiative highlights the health and welfare needs of the nation’s third most popular pet. The aim of this year’s campaign is to encourage the one million rabbit owners in the UK to make ‘One Small Hop’ of change to the care routine of their rabbits. Free health checks are available throughout the month of May, not just the week of RAW. By offering these free health checks over a one month period, we can ensure pet retailers and veterinary practices can health check more rabbits than ever before and provide those who sign up to the service with more opportunities to speak to potential new clients and customers. The high profile 2014 event will run from 10th May this year and is backed by leading pet food company Burgess Excel and last year’s RAW partners, including MSD Animal Health, RSPCA, PSDA, Blue Cross, Wood Green, The Animals Charity, Bayer Animal Health, Practice Plan for Vets and RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund). Once again, the organisers are urging vets, retailers and rescue centres more than ever before to offer a helping hand to consumers to highlight the importance of preventative healthcare and welfare advice for rabbits, by signing up to the 2014 initiative at

Thursday, 10 April 2014

If you need to complain to your vet.

We are occasionally contacted when something has gone wrong at the vets and the owner is wondering what action to take. Our sympathies are with the owners following any incident but we are unfortunately unable to discuss individual cases or recommend specific treatment, although your vets are welcome to contact our veterinary advisor for specific advice. We have, however, the following advice regarding reaching as satisfactory an outcome as possible for you and your pet. there are two issues here. The first is obtaining the best possible ongoing care for your rabbit. This may be with your existing practice, with another practice, by obtaining a second opinion, or by being referred to another practice, particularly one with a specific expertise in rabbits, or the particular condition with which your rabbit is affected.This MUST involve communicating your concerns with the practice, to give them a chance to give you the greatest level of assistance possible, and to ensure that, if your rabbit is seen elsewhere, that all his or her details are transferred fully to best care for him or her. The second issue is to resolve any complaint that you may have with the vet or the practice, if necessary. The first stage in this process is to discuss things fully with the senior person (practice owner, principle or manager) at the practice in question. If the practice is part of a group or chain, you may then, or if unsatisfied, decide to take the matter higher up the management line. The best way to initially communicate is in writing, as this gives you an opportunity to order your thoughts and to express them logically, and for them to reply to that. depending on the outcome at this stage, you may both decide to meet and discuss things further. If these avenues have not solved the problem, then the correct course of action is to take the matter to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (the RCVS).

Monday, 31 March 2014

A new addition to the Retailer Charter - Ingleby Pet Supplies

A warm welcome to Ingleby Pet Supplies who are the newest addition to the Retailer Charter. They told us: Ingleby Pet Supplies are happy to sign up to the RWAF retailer charter as we realise the importance of giving your rabbits the best home and environment possible. We are rabbit owners ourselves and have 4 happy bunnies at home! We are constantly looking for new suppliers for our small animal department and hope to carry on expanding our offering of rabbit accommodation over the coming months. Ingleby Pet Supplies will continue to educate our customers on rabbit welfare issues by promoting the Hutch Is Not Enough campaign in store. Please support them if you are local.

Richard Saunders gains his Specialist certificate

We are very lucky to have the wonderful Richard Saunders on our team and could not be more proud to share this news with you all. Richard is now a 'Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife' medicine, he is one of only twelve vets in the UK to have this certificate so this is obviously a huge achievement. What has Zoo and Wildlife got to do with rabbits? Rabbits are classed as 'exotics' and not covered in depth via the standard vet training, but by obtaining this standard Richard has demonstrated that he is indeed a specialist where our favourite animals are concerned. As our 'Vet Specialist Advisor', Richard guides our health and welfare strategy and also supports our Vet members.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Severe Weather - please bring bunnies indoors

Severe weather warning - please bring rabbits indoors

As the next round of rainfall and gales storms its way across the UK, Rae Todd of the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), the Somerset-based national charity dedicated to improving the welfare of rabbits, writes an open letter of concern for domestic rabbits still being kept outside. "It looks like the miserable weather is going to carry on even longer, with forecasts of storms, snow and floods for the UK. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) sympathise with everybody who has been affected by the terrible conditions and wish everybody luck with what's to come. "We know that people have a lot to worry about but please take a moment to think about your pet rabbits if they're kept outside, please make sure you take steps to protect them, both from the cold and the wet. "If you have outdoor rabbits we are urging owners to please consider bringing them indoors until the worst of the weather has passed. Rabbits are very clean animals and can be litter trained easily. Pick an area like a utility room or spare room and make sure they have their litter tray, hayrack and water. "Take care to make sure they can not get to any cables and if they will be going back outside, you will need to keep them in an unheated room as they will suffer if taken from a warm place and put back out into the cold. "If you must keep them outside, please bear in mind that a lot of the hutches available, especially cheap imports, will not be able to withstand this extreme weather. Lids can blow off, hutches will leak and offer no protection at all to the rabbits inside. Hutches should be moved to an unused shed or garage where possible. "If you are in a flood area, you need to ensure hutches are high enough off the ground even if in a building. In some areas this is entirely impractical and you need to move them somewhere safer. "We know this is a difficult time for everybody but domestic rabbits can't take steps to protect themselves so please take the time to do it for them." RWAF