Rabbit Friendly Centre


Rabbit FriendlyWe have a Silver award as a Rabbit Friendly Centre. We understand that rabbits will find the whole experience of visiting the vets very stressful and therefore we are committed to doing what we can to minimise this stress as much as possible.

Some of the features to receive this silver award include:

  • separate waiting area away from inquisitive dogs
  • rooms that allow rabbits to be completely separate to any predator species whilst they wait to see the Vet or Vet Nurse.
  • separate wards with large kennels for hospitalisation
  • allowing bonded pairs to be kept together
  • up to date training on behaviour and handling
  • up to date anaesthetic protocols
  • specialised equipment including v-gels (a supraglottic airway device that gives quick and safe airway during anaesthesia) 

We are constantly reviewing and updating our anaesthetic protocol as we understand this carries a slightly higher risk than in cats and dogs. We use quiet fur clippers and Emla local anaesthetic cream, before routinely placing an intravenous catheter so we have access should it be required urgently.

We continuously review our pain relief protocol for rabbits. Being prey animals, they are very good at hiding their pain and we understand the need to recognise the signs as early as possible and administer the correct pain relief as required by the individual rabbit.

We do ask that you bring the rabbits their own food in with you so as not to upset their delicate digestive system during their stay. Keeping thing familiar for them also helps to reduce stress.

Thinking of Getting a New Rabbit?

If you are considering getting a rabbit, please read our fact sheet for everything you need to know- from housing to diet to preventative healthcare. They can be more complicated than you thought! Download Rabbit Factsheet PDF

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Rabbit Vaccinations

Vaccinations are available to protect against myxomatosis and rabbit viral haemorrhagic (strain 1 & 2) disease. Both are fatal diseases which can affect indoor and outdoor rabbits.
Myxomatosis vaccine can be given from 6 weeks of age. It is recommended to give the vaccine annually in April / May as myxomatosis is most prevalent in the summer months. Where there is a high risk of myxomatosis a second dose should be given 6 months later.

Rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease vaccine can be given from 12 weeks of age. An annual booster vaccine is needed to maintain immunity.

The myxomatosis and rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease vaccines cannot be given on the same day and should be given at least 2 weeks apart.

A combined vaccine for Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is available which can be administered from 8 weeks old and lasts one year. This is also cheaper than the previous use of the separate vaccines.

RHD2 is a relatively new strain of the disease seen in the UK. We recommend you also get your rabbit vaccinated against this strain as it is highly contagious and can result in sudden death with little or no symptoms prior to this. This vaccine needs to be given at least 2 weeks following the first RHD vaccine, and generally requires an annual booster. 

Rabbit Neutering

At Astonlee we offer a high quality neutering services.

There are several medical benefits to neutering, including helping to prevent infections of the womb and tumours involving the mammary glands, testicles and prostate problems later in life. Neutering can also be beneficial in reducing unwanted behaviours such as roaming and some aggression problems.

We recommend neutering your rabbit from approximately 4-5 months of age. However, it can be carried out slightly earlier if you have a male and female bonded pair. Speak to a Vet or Vet Nurse for advice.

For more information on our neutering service here at Astonlee, please click here.

Fly Strike (May-Oct)

Fly strike, also known as ‘myiasis‘, occurs when a fly lays eggs on your rabbit, which then hatch into maggots. Unfortunately, this conditions is an emergency as these maggots can hatch in hours and eat your rabbits flesh, causing death in a very short time. If you notice any signs of maggots on your rabbit, bring them into the practice immediately.

Prevention is much better than cure in this condition, and between the months of April till October we advice you to apply RearGuard to your rabbit rear end every 10 weeks. We also recommend checking your rabbits bottom twice daily and keeping the area clean as dirty bottoms will attract far more flies. Keep their environment clean, and remove any soiled bedding daily.


If your rabbit has an unusually dirty bottom, it may be worth a visit to the vet. This can occur for a number of reasons, including a change in diet, digestive upset, arthritis, obesity, and many more.

Ferret Vaccinations

Ferrets can be vaccinated to protect them against distemper. There is no licensed ferret vaccine available in the UK but part of a dog vaccine can be used. The vaccine can be given from 12 weeks of age. It is usually given annually, though some people prefer to give it every 6 months.

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