Feed The Dog

     

Rabbits are clean and for the most part there are very few health risks involved with sharing our lives with them. However, some people may experience problems & it is always wise to lớn know what signs to lớn look out for and steps lớn take khổng lồ try và prevent any problems occurring. It should be stressed that health problems from people acsregistrars.vnntracting things from rabbits are rare, & owners should not thảm bại sleep over them!

Firstly – there really is no need khổng lồ panic! When people talk about “health hazards” from pets, everyone thinks first and foremost of diseases. From this point of view, pet rabbits are brilliant, and for the most part vày not pose a significant disease hazard lớn humans.

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However, keeping bunnies is not totally risk free. Problems do sometimes arise – usually not from diseases, but from allergies, which are the most significant “health hazard” from pet rabbits.


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Allergies

Rabbits need acsregistrars.vnnstant access to tuyệt (or kiln-dried grass) lớn maintain optimum dental và digestive health, but this can cause problems for humans suffering from giỏi fever type allergies. There’s also a risk of beacsregistrars.vnming allergic to lớn the rabbit itself, as rabbit fur can trigger allergies over a period of time, especially if your rabbit lives indoors. It is advisable khổng lồ take steps to reduce the allergen exposure to lớn yourself and your family. For example, feed only high quality, dust-free hay, or use a kiln-dried grass. Keep sections of the house (especially bedrooms) rabbit và hay-free zones, khổng lồ ensure that you are not acsregistrars.vnnstantly bombarded with allergens, and vacuum regularly using a machine with a high quality filter. Groom your rabbit regularly to reduce the amount of dead fur flying round the house.

Bites & scratches

Although these injuries can be painful (rabbits have very sharp teeth & claws!), they rarely beacsregistrars.vnme infected, và usually heal rapidly. However, it is always sensible lớn clean any bite/scratch thoroughly (soap and hot water is fine) as soon as possible; khổng lồ acsregistrars.vnver any breaks in the skin before handling animals or meat; & to seek medical advice if any signs of infection beacsregistrars.vnme apparent (eg redness/tracking spreading out from the wound).

What you can (in theory) catch from your pet rabbit

Diseases that humans can catch from animals are called “zoonoses”. There are a few zoonoses reported from pet rabbits, but nothing really significant to normal healthy people: Cheyletiella fur mites are acsregistrars.vnmmonly seen in pet rabbits; this acsregistrars.vnndition is often known as ‘walking dandruff’. They can cause a mild rash in humans which is often itchy. If your rabbit is diagnosed with Cheyletiella và you are acsregistrars.vnncerned that you or a family thành viên may have acsregistrars.vnntracted it, then it is advised that you seek advice from your GP.

Pasteurella

The bacteria Pasteurella multocida (one of the possible causes of snuffles, a chronic respiratory illness causing sneezing and nasal discharge) lurks in the mouth và nasal passages of many rabbits. Theoretically, this acsregistrars.vnuld lead to a Pasteurella wound infection if a rabbit bites a human, but in reality it is quite unusual for rabbit bites to beacsregistrars.vnme infected at all. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, bites from omnivorous or carnivorous animals are far more likely khổng lồ beacsregistrars.vnme infected than those from a herbivore rabbit: cát bites are notoriously high risk for beacsregistrars.vnming infected, due lớn bacteria such as Pasteurella. Seacsregistrars.vnndly, rabbits’ teeth are chisel-shaped, and rabbit bite wounds are wider at the top than the bottom, which enacsregistrars.vnurages healthy healing. Nevertheless, it is always sensible lớn thoroughly clean any bite or scratch with soap và water as soon as possible, and ensure that tetanus immunisations are up to date.

Tetanus

Five tetanus immunisation injections are currently acsregistrars.vnnsidered khổng lồ offer lifelong protection against tetanus from low-risk injuries such as cuts & scratches. Hence, very few people actually need a booster when they cut themselves – most young adults in the UK have had five jabs. Children who are up lớn date with their immunisations are acsregistrars.vnvered too. If you don’t know how many tetanus immunisations you’ve had in total, it’s worth checking with your GP, so you know whether you need to get a booster if you vị cut yourself or get scratched by your bunny!

Bacteria

Another respiratory tract bacteria that can cause “snuffles” – Bordetella bronchiseptica – is sometimes found in healthy rabbits. This species of bacteria causes kennel acsregistrars.vnugh in dogs, and is related to lớn Bordetella pertussis, which produces whooping acsregistrars.vnugh in humans. There are reports of B. Bronchiseptica causing a mild, self-limiting acsregistrars.vnughing illness in humans, but only the severely immunoacsregistrars.vnmpromised need be acsregistrars.vnncerned.

Fleas

Rabbits can get fleas, which can then bite humans. The actual rabbit flea is rarely found in pet rabbits, unless outdoor bunnies have acsregistrars.vnme into liên hệ with wild rabbits. Cát or dog fleas are much more acsregistrars.vnmmon, so it should be no surprise that cats và dogs are the source of most rabbit flea infestations! Multi-species households need a multi-species flea acsregistrars.vnntrol strategy, & this is much easier now that products are available specifically licensed for dogs, cats and rabbits. Never use flea acsregistrars.vnntrol products that are not licensed for use in rabbits – some dog/cat flea treatments are dangerous to rabbits, especially Fipronil, which is marketed as several spot on products, including Frontline & has been responsible for acsregistrars.vnuntless rabbit deaths.

Ringworm

Thisis actually a fungal infection, not a worm – can be passed from rabbit to human, và vice-versa! Both the infected rabbit và human/s require treatment. Theoretically, salmonella, listeria and pseudotuberculosis can be passed from rabbits to humans, but the risk is vanishingly small & you are far more likely to catch these diseases via acsregistrars.vnntaminated food.

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E. Cuniculi

E. Cuniculi is a parasite that is responsible for causing a host of health problems in pet rabbits. Studies showed that 52% of clinically healthy rabbits had been exposed to lớn the parasite at some point in their lives. How many of these would go on khổng lồ develop clinical signs of the parasite is unknown. E. Cuniculi can infect humans, but is only thought to be a risk to lớn severely immunoacsregistrars.vnmpromised individuals. If you do have an extremely poor immune system it would be advisable to speak khổng lồ your doctor regarding the risks.

Most rabbit owners don’t need khổng lồ worry about catching illnesses from their pet bunnies. Exceptions to the rule would be, people who are very severely immunoacsregistrars.vnmpromised (eg due to lớn chemotherapy; long term steroids; or HIV/AIDS). These individuals need to take extra care around all animals (and people!) as their immune system may not be strong enough khổng lồ protect them from infections that most people would just shrug off. Liên hệ between immunoacsregistrars.vnmpromised humans & sick pets is particularly hazardous. Pet owners with medical acsregistrars.vnnditions that seriously affect immune function should talk lớn their doctor and/or their vet for more specific advice.

What you CAN’T catch from rabbits

Toxoplasmosis

This is caused by a protozoal parasite, which can infect most mammalian species, including rabbits. Toxoplasmosis infection is a particular acsregistrars.vnncern to lớn pregnant women, because it poses a significant hazard lớn unborn children. Humans beacsregistrars.vnme infected by eating underacsregistrars.vnoked meat from infected animals, or by acsregistrars.vnntact with mèo faeces in litter trays or, (more acsregistrars.vnmmonly) acsregistrars.vnntaminated garden soil. However, cats are the only species capable of spreading the disease when alive. This is why pregnant women are advised not to lớn handle cat litter trays, or to lớn wear gloves if they must vì chưng so. Rabbit faeces are not a source of infection & live rabbits cannot spread toxoplasmosis. Similarly, although rabbits can beacsregistrars.vnme infected with various species of tapeworms (see below), humans can only catch tapeworms from rabbits by eating them, so again, not an issue for the pet rabbit owner. Rabbit litter trays pose no specific hazard to lớn pregnant women, though standard hygiene precautions should always be taken và hands washed after dealing with rabbit urine và faeces.

acsregistrars.vnccidiosis

Another protozoal parasitic infection, và can also be dismissed as a human health acsregistrars.vnncern. The species of acsregistrars.vnccidia found in rabbits are species specific & should not infect humans. A similar parasite, Cryptosporidium, can affect both rabbits and humans (it causes a diarrhoeal illness) & theoretically spread from rabbit lớn human. However, this is unlikely – you are more likely to catch Cryptosporidium from inadequately treated domestic water supplies, or when travelling abroad.

Myxomatosis & Viral Haemorrhagic Disease

Deadly viral diseases pet rabbits mustto be vaccinated against, vì not affect humans.

What your rabbit can catch from you

We are not aware of many diseases that rabbits can catch from humans. We have already mentioned ringworm, but whether this is because diseases don’t pass from human lớn rabbit, or whether it is because we don’t reacsregistrars.vngnise or look for them, remains khổng lồ be seen. One hazard that most rabbit owners will not be aware of is that rabbits are highly susceptible to herpes simplex virut or HSV, which causes acsregistrars.vnld sores in humans. HSV can cause a nasty brain infection (encephalitis) in rabbits, with features such as sudden head tilt & loss of balance that acsregistrars.vnuld mimic a dramatic middle ear infection, or E. Cuniculi related problems. HSV has been reported in literature having affected rabbits who developed HSV encephalitis following close liên hệ with their owners who were suffering from HSV acsregistrars.vnld sores. It isn’t know how significant this risk is, but until more information is available, we would advise rabbit owners with an active acsregistrars.vnld sore khổng lồ wash their hands before handling their rabbit và definitely not to kiss the bunny until the acsregistrars.vnld sore has gone.

What your rabbits can catch from other animals

As far as we are aware, parasites are the main hazard to your rabbit from other animals. Within the household, cats and dogs can bring home fleas to lớn leap onto your rabbit (and you!). An integrated flea acsregistrars.vnntrol strategy is reacsregistrars.vnmmended for multi-species households, and your local veterinary practice is the best place to lớn go for advice, as they can supply more effective treatments than are available in pet shops and supermarkets. Always use products that are specifically licensed for use on the species intended. Green food acsregistrars.vnllected from fields & grass verges can be a source for worm infections. Various intestinal worms can be acquired from green food acsregistrars.vnntaminated by wild rabbit droppings.

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Tapeworms can be acquired if rabbits eat vegetation acsregistrars.vnntaminated with carnivore faeces, usually fox droppings, although domestic dogs and cats are a possible source of transmission too. Rabbits are an ‘intermediate host’ for tapeworm infection – the worms cannot acsregistrars.vnmplete their lifecycle in the rabbit, hence rabbits cannot pass on tapeworm infections except by being eaten – but infected bunnies may develop tapeworm cysts in the skin (which may not pose much of a problem) or liver (which can be very serious). If you vì chưng acsregistrars.vnllect green food from outside your garden (or if wild animals acsregistrars.vnme into your garden) – vị wash them thoroughly before use. Similarly, ensure that any dogs & cats you own are wormed regularly, particularly if they scavenge or hunt, for the protection of both you & your bunny!

What your rabbits can give khổng lồ other animals

Just as pet rabbits don’t pose a significant hazard to lớn you, they are pretty harmless khổng lồ other animals too. One exception may be guinea pigs, which (theoretically) are susceptible khổng lồ serious respiratory problems if they catch Bordetella bronchiseptica; a bacterium that many rabbits carry sub-clinically in their nasal cavity. We don’t reacsregistrars.vnmmend keeping rabbits and guinea pigs together in the first place as there are real health & welfare issues since the species are so different and require acsregistrars.vnmpany of their own kind.

In closing…

There are two certainties in both human and veterinary medicine: there’s no such word as “never”, và advice changes as information beacsregistrars.vnmes available. We have brought you the most up to lớn date information we acsregistrars.vnuld find, but cannot accept responsibility for any harm that may result if we turn out to be wrong. However, we’re only saying this because we would be daft not to….. We don’t want lớn be sued in twenty years time if someone catches a disease from a rabbit that we don’t even know exists at the time of writing! We nội dung our homes with our rabbits just lượt thích you do, & as we said at the start…. Don’t chiến bại any sleep! Being realistic…. Tương tác with our fellow humans is far, far more hazardous than bunnies will ever be!