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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Selecting a Rabbit

By Diane McClure, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, Veterinarian, Animal Resource Center Veterinary Services

There are several sources from which you can get a rabbit, including pet shops, humane societies, breeders, and rescue organizations. Questions you will want to consider before choosing a rabbit include who will the rabbit be a pet for; what size, color, and type of fur do you prefer; and where will you keep your rabbit. When selecting a rabbit, make sure the animal is healthy and that its environment is clean. Ask what type of diet the rabbit has been fed and how it was reared and handled. Rabbits are most active in the early morning and evening hours, so visiting at that time of day may give you a better picture of the rabbit’s temperament.

A healthy rabbit should have well-groomed, shiny fur with no bare patches or obvious wounds. Fur that is wet or matted, especially around the chin or the vent, may be a sign of medical problems. There should be no discharge from the eyes or nose, and no discharge or crusting in the ears. Rabbits that are healthy are usually alert and curious when active. They should not be reluctant to move and should not show any lameness or stiffness.

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