New post created for rabbit medicine

The popularity of rabbits as pets has led to a post for a lecturer dedicated to rabbit medicine being established.

Brigitte Reusch with her pet rabbit "Franz", a Belgian Hare

It is estimated that there are more than 1.4 million pet rabbits in the UK, which are either kept indoors as house pets or outside.

Brigitte Reusch has taken up the role as lecturer in Rabbit Medicine and Surgery at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Miss Reusch, who has several years' experience in treating rabbits will also run a dedicated rabbit clinic at the School's Hospital for Small Animals as part of its Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service.

In recent years, vets at the Hospital for Small Animals have been treating an increasing number of rabbits, which are proving popular not only with families but also young professionals.

An increasing number of people are buying rabbits as pets, with what is very much becoming a lifestyle decision. Many people, for instance, are deciding to have rabbits as house pets as this fits in better with their busy working lives than having other pets.

Brigitte ReuschLecturer in Rabbit Medicine and Surgery

Keeping rabbits healthy

Miss Reusch said there was a lot of misinformation around about the best way to keep rabbits in optimum health.

Illnesses which often affect Rabbits include dental, urinary tract and digestive diseases, all of which can potentially be fatal.

One of the most common problems relating to rabbit welfare is poor diet.

Owners may not realise that simply feeding rabbits breakfast and dinner is not good for wearing their teeth down as they need to eat hay or grass throughout the day. This also prevents them from becoming bored.

It is also important to ensure that pet rabbits, which have evolved from the European wild rabbit, are not kept too warm to avoid them becoming over heated.

I got Humphrey as looking after a rabbit is easier than say, for instance, looking after a dog or a cat. He does have problems with his teeth but has had scans and all sorts to help with this. The good treatment that he receives means that, although his dental disease is something that will persist, he is a happy chap.

Caroline AdamRabbit owner, Aberdeenshire

UK’s top vet school

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies was recently ranked top among the UK's seven veterinary schools in the national Research and Assessment Exercise.

20 per cent of its research was classed as "world leading".

Kevin Eatwell is another member of staff to join the Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service at the School's Hospital for Small Animals.

Mr Eatwell, who is also a lecturer in exotic and wildlife medicine, is one of two people in the UK to hold a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Diploma in reptile medicine.

As well having reptile and avian veterinary expertise, he also has a keen interest in the area of keyhole surgery.