Okay, so now you have a rabbit. Ever wonder if your “regular” vet is a good choice for your rabbit? Or do you have to find a new vet just for your new friend. It is important to remember that rabbits are very different animals from cats and dogs, and the medical knowledge needed for good rabbit care is therefore different. Many small animal vets have little, if any, practical knowledge of rabbit medicine. So what’s a rabbit person to do? You can look in the list below for a vet in your area, or interview a vet to determine if they would make a good choice.
The first thing you can do is call your regular vet and ask if they accept rabbit patients. If so, make an appointment to talk with him or her about rabbit medicine. If you don’t have a vet, and you look in the phone book for area vets with a listing that includes “Exotics”, call and make an appointment to meet the vet and discuss rabbit medicine and their approach to rabbit care.
Some vets not already experienced with rabbits are interested in taking on rabbit work, others are already busy enough with their current case load. Ask for an honest assessment. If you are going to your vet who doesn’t have much experience with rabbits, but is interested in learning rabbit medicine, be aware that you may need another, more experienced rabbit vet sometimes.
Remember, regardless of the experience of the veterinarian, every problem is unique, as is every rabbit. You may have to call ahead if you need to have your rabbit seen for something that their regular vet has not dealt with before.
Prepare for your interview visit:
• There are some questions on the national website you can print out and take along with you. This way you can assess the procedures the vet uses and compare them to the ones the HRS recommends.
• Organize your questions in a notebook that has plenty of room for notes. You can use it later to keep a journal of your rabbit’s health and medical history.
• If your vet is just learning rabbit medicine, there are several texts listed on the national website the vet might want to order. They can also contact one of the vets listed below for a consultation. Additionally, there are some very experienced rabbit vets in other parts of the country who are willing to do phone consultations with other vets. Some charge a fee, others do not.
• You might also want to print out selections of the health and nutrition information on the website and take it along. This way your vet can also familiarize him- or herself with the HRS information, and have a handy reference for more research.
• Check the list below. These are some of the vets that rabbit owners go to. We make no claims regarding their expertise. Each of them has agreed to be on our list, which simply means that they are willing to work with rabbits. Experience varies. You may have to travel a greater distance for a rabbit vet, which can be difficult on your pocketbook and schedule. However, your rabbit’s life may depend on it, so if there is not an experienced rabbit vet near you, consider asking your vet if he or she is willing and interested in learning rabbit medicine.