Rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs share similar digestive tracts and thus have similar dietary needs. They require a large amount of fiber to digest normally which is most easily met by feeding grass hay. In addition, they need fresh vegetables and pellets specific to their species. These pets should have hay available at all times and any time any of these animals does not eat for over 24 hours or is not defecating, it should be considered an emergency and veterinary care should be sought immediately. There are many common health problems that plague these two groups of animals with dental disease being one of the most common. Rodent and rabbit teeth grow continuously and sometimes will grow abnormally and may need to be trimmed. For this reason, we recommend exams every 6 months to assess the teeth and any other issues. For some patients, sedation may be needed to fully evaluate the cheek teeth (premolars and molars).
For rabbits, we recommend spaying all females at a young age to prevent uterine diseases which may affect as many as 80% of does (female rabbits) over 3 to 4 years old. Many rabbit owners also prefer to have the bucks (male rabbits) neutered to prevent unwanted behaviors such as aggression and scent marking.