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Pet insurance warning over rabbits

Thursday April 22nd 2010

Rabbit owners are being urged to seek advice after research found many were ignorant about caring for their pet.

The survey for Rabbit Awareness Week found pets' lives were being cut short because people were frequently misinformed and were caught out if they did not have pet insurance.

It showed that many owners were unaware a rabbit could live for more than 12 years. Instead, 50% said the average rabbit survived for three or four years.

There was also a lack of knowledge about what to feed a rabbit, with nearly half of respondents favouring vegetables, fruit and carrots.

While a small daily amount of green veg is good, a diet based solely on vegetables and fruit does not provide all the nutrients that rabbits need, leaving them malnourished.

In addition, 71% didn't know that fibre, in the form of hay and grass, is the most vital food for rabbits - it is essential for their digestive health - without it they can die.

Sean Wensley, senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA, said: "It is vital that owners understand the commitment involved in owning pet rabbits, both financially and in terms of the time taken to care for them properly.

"It is also essential that owners understand their rabbits' welfare needs, including their need to be fed a suitable diet, to have a large hutch and exercise run, to have company and to receive appropriate health care, including vaccinations against deadly diseases."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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