Although there are a growing number of specialised exotic pet and rabbit practices, many veterinary practices and individual vets are more than happy to see rabbits at their clinics and have a lot of experience with the species. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know which vets to choose for your bunny. And whether they will be equipped to deal with them correctly. You’ll obviously want to know that they’re in good hands with a vet that’s up to date with the latest in rabbit medicine and surgery.
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What is the “Rabbit Friendly Vet List”?
The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) is a key source of trustworthy information for rabbit owners. It aims to promote responsible rabbit ownership and safeguard rabbit welfare, and it’s definitely worth a look at their website. Aside from providing disease and care guidelines for rabbit owners, they lead campaigns aimed at improving the standards of care and welfare in rabbit ownership. The Rabbit Friendly Vet List is an initiative set up by the RWAF. It helps rabbit owners find vets that have a greater knowledge of rabbit care, local to them. The website provides a user-friendly map pinpointing the vets that are on the list.
How do vets get on the List?
Not all vets with experience in rabbit care and handling will be specialists, in fact very few are. This requires many more years of rigorous, dedicated training and it isn’t always a feasible route to go down. The RWAF recognises this, and the fact that there are many vets that are capable of providing wonderful rabbit care regardless. Veterinarians must obtain membership of the RWAF and then can apply to be included on the list.
During the application, veterinarians must describe their current practices and policies in rabbit care, anaesthesia, surgery, as well as the facilities and equipment available, and the details of any rabbit-specific training or continuing professional development (CPD) that they or any other practice staff have undertaken. This is then reviewed by the RWAF’s specialist veterinary advisor before being accepted (and allocated to Silver or Gold status) or declined if the application does not meet the appropriate criteria. Inclusion on the ‘Rabbit Friendly Vet List’ must be renewed annually. Which also helps make sure that the practices stay up to date with the latest in rabbit veterinary care.
What’s the difference between Silver and Gold
Silver level practices demonstrate a good level of rabbit-specific clinical knowledge. They must meet certain requirements, like having a dedicated rabbit waiting area, and the ability to appropriately hospitalise rabbits when necessary. Gold level practices must comply with the requisites of Silver level. But have additional features unique to rabbits, including dedicated hospitalisation facilities that can accommodate rabbits who need to stay in the hospital for extended periods of time (the ability to house bonded pairs and sufficient space for adequate movement). They must also have a member of staff that’s undergone further qualification in rabbit medicine; either through specialist training or completion of a certificate recognised by the UK veterinary governing body, the RCVS.
The Rabbit Friendly Vet List makes it easier for owners to choose an appropriate veterinarian for their precious bunny
The list is continually being updated and practices can apply for inclusion at any time. So it’s worth having a look regularly to check if there are new practices included that are near to you. However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that in an emergency, any vet will be able to attend to your rabbit and provide urgent care. This can be lifesaving if the vets you might normally use is situated quite a distance away.