Giant rabbit breeds have a docile and friendly temperament which makes them ideal pets. Some owners usually prefer them over them your average-sized bunny for one reason or another. However, the bigger the rabbit, the more care they need. Whether you’re a novice or avid grooming who’s probably wondering what giant rabbit health problems are, then this article is for you. Below are all the health issues affecting each specific giant rabbit breed and the best solution or treatment for each health condition.
Are giant rabbits healthy?
Yes, giant rabbits tend to live a healthy life if they’re properly taken care of. The average life expectancy for most giant breeds is 5 to 8 years. However, large rabbits just like miniature or medium-sized breeds, have occasional health problems. The common ones that may likely affect all giant rabbit breeds in their lifetime include arthritis, sore hocks, spinal injury, flystrike, and heart issues.
The types of giant rabbits and their health problems
Below are all the giant rabbit health problems common with each specific breed, in addition to their average weight and life expectancy.
Altex Giant rabbits have a life expectancy is 5 to 7 years and usually weigh 13 to 15 pounds. They’re susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. In other words, Altex giant rabbits are prone to ear mites and conjunctivitis.
This breed is also likely to have intestinal problems such as bloating, coccidiosis, and hairball ingestion. Extreme temperature, a poor diet, exposure to draft, and stress often contribute to Altex’s overall health decline. It’s worth pointing out however that this particular giant breed is neither recognized by the American rabbit breeders association nor the British rabbit council.
Blanc de Bouscat
The common diseases that this giant breed is susceptible to are GI stasis, Myxomatosis, flystrike, ear mites, overgrown nails, and teeth. For the latter, always ensure that you provide Blanc de Bouscat with unlimited hay to keep their teeth in check. This giant breed is also likely to develop sore hocks and pneumonia. Lastly, blanc de Bouscat weighs between 12 to 15 pounds with an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
The British giant is considered to be the largest rabbit breed in the United Kingdom. They weigh between 11 to 15 pounds and are susceptible to viral diseases such as Myxomatosis which causes puffy eyelids with pus. The other ailment is Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease with symptoms such as fever and anorexia that leads to exhaustion.
Another ailment the British Giant is prone to be infected with is Encephalitozoon Cuniculi which causes a head tilt, neck spasm, or weakness of its hind legs. Poor hygiene is the main flystrike contributor that causes maggot infestations, especially under their tail in summer. Another common health issue is malocclusion or overgrown teeth. British giant’s average life expectancy is 5 to 8 years.
This giant breed is active and tends to gain weight easily if they don’t exercise. They also get stressed out if they’re cooped up in a cage for too long. A checkered giant weighs between 11 to 13 pounds and just like most rabbits, is prone to a variety of health issues.
GI tract stasis is one of the common diseases that tend to slow down a checkered giant’s digestion and is often fatal if left untreated. Other common health problems include ear mites, sore hocks, overgrown nails, and teeth. The latter often leads to drooling and difficulty in chewing or sometimes swallowing. The checkered giant rabbit’s average lifespan is 5 to 8 years.
Continental Giant Rabbits are among the largest breed that weighs between 12 to 30 pounds and have an average life expectancy of 4 to 7 years. Due to their large size, they tend to overheat easily and also grow overweight if they don’t exercise regularly.
The other health problem related to continental giants is Pododermatitis or sore hocks. In other words, the joint in their hind legs specifically between the fetlock and keen bends backward.
Arthritis of the spine or spondylosis is also another health problem that may affect continental giants in the long run. You might also want to look into your rabbit’s hygiene. Poor hygiene or improper grooming especially around their backside may lead to fly strikes.
When it comes to health problems, English Lops are prone to obesity. This is simply because their large ears often hinder their movement which in turn keeps them inactive. The other common health issue that affects English Lops is an ear infection also known as Otitis, which causes inflammation and an itchy ear canal. The main reason is due to the extra outer ear fold on their massive ears that often causes infections as a result of wax buildup.
Other common health issues associated with the English lop are spinal injury and overgrown teeth. This droopy-eared giant breed has an average weight of 11 pounds with an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years.
Flemish Giant rabbits are among the largest and most popular breeds. They weigh between 15 to 22 pounds and have an average life expectancy of 5 to 8 years. Some of the common health-related problems associated with the Flemish giant include sore hocks, GI stasis, obesity, malocclusion, ear mites, respiratory illnesses, and uterine cancer for unsprayed Does or females. Lastly, these gentle giants are also prone to heat stroke due to their larger bodies being sensitive to heat.
Weighing on average between 10 to 15 pounds, French lops have a life expectancy of 5 to 8 years. One of the common health issues this giant breed has is an ear infection. This is mainly due to its floppy long ears that reach below its jawline. French lops are also prone to suffer from sore hocks, obesity, and overgrown nails and teeth.
Among the common health-related issues with Giant Angoras is wool bock. The long coats tend to cause health problems by creating a fur ball when ingested, hence slowing down digestion. In addition, Giant Angoras are also likely to suffer from heat stroke due to their fluffy coat. Other common health issues include diarrhea and tooth misalignment.
Giant angoras are considered to be the largest among other angora breeds weighing on average 9 to 12 pounds. In terms of lifespan, this large breed has an average life expectancy of 7 to 12 years, a few years more than your average giant rabbit.
Weighing between 12 to 16 pounds, giant chinchillas have a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. They’re typically among the few giant rabbit breeds with a slightly longer average lifespan. When it comes to health concerns, they’re susceptible to flystrike, ear mites, and sore hocks. Giant chinchillas are also prone to suffer from heat stroke and Pasteurella, a respiratory infection caused by improper ventilation or a dirty living environment.
The Giant Papillon has an average lifespan of 4 to 7 years and weighs 11 to 13 pounds. Common health concerns with this giant breed are sore hocks and uterine cancer among unspayed females. Giant Papillons are also prone to heat stroke and heart problems such as Dilated cardiomyopathy as they get older.
Hungarian Giant rabbits, formerly known as the Hungarian Agouti are prone to develop arthritis and sore hocks over time. They’re also susceptible to flystrike and heat stroke because of their thick fur and large bodies. Hungarian giants weigh an average of 11 to 15 pounds and have a life expectancy of 5 to 8 years.
New Zealand White
This Giant white rabbit is prone to spinal injury, arthritis, and uterine cancer for Does or females that haven’t been spayed. New Zealand whites are also likely to suffer from malocclusion or misaligned teeth if they’re not fed a proper hay diet. Lastly, their average weight is 9 to 12 pounds with a life expectancy of 5 to 8 years.
These giant breeds are susceptible to flystrike if they’re not properly groomed due to their short dense coat. Silver fox rabbits are also most likely to grow overweight if they lack proper exercise. They’re also most likely to develop cardiomyopathy as they get older. The condition normally weakens their heart to an extent that it fails to effectively pump blood around their body. Silver fox rabbits weigh between 9 to 12 pounds and have an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years, slightly longer than most giant rabbits.
Weighing on average 15 pounds, Spanish giants have a life expectancy of 4 to 6 years. Some of the common health problems for this breed though out their entire lifetime includes flystrike, GI Tract Stasis, sore hocks, and overgrown teeth that often lead to poor eating habits and infections.
Treatment/solution for common Giant rabbit health problems
Treatment involves using anti-inflammatory drugs that will help reduce pain and also inflammation around your rabbit’s joints.
Most giant rabbits with large ears tend to suffer from bacterial infections. The most common is Otitis which causes ear inflammation and itchiness. The best treatment is to have a vet check your rabbit using a CT scan to determine how severe the infection is. Treatment normally involves the use of antibiotics and in extreme cases, it results in ear surgery.
Your vet may recommend dietary modification, antibiotics, fluid therapy, or deworming. In addition, they may recommend restricting your rabbit’s diet to hay and pellets for a week, in addition to providing them with fresh drinking water.
A vet will administer Ivermectin at a dosage of 400 micrograms per body weight. Treatment can take 2 to 3 weeks to be effective for rabbits with a severe ear mite infestation.
A vet will sedate your rabbit and monitor them closely, before clipping away the infected fur that contains maggots.
GI Tract Stasis
Treatment includes rehydration, anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, pain relievers, and most importantly syringe feeding. Recovery normally takes a few weeks.
Hyperthermia, heat stroke, or overheating involves placing your bunnies in a cool and well-ventilated shade. You can also wet their ears or spray their bellies with cold water.
Overgrown teeth often lead to malocclusion or teeth misalignment among most giant rabbits. To manage this condition, feed them more hay or provide them with chew toys to trim their teeth. However, if the case is dire, your vet may need to trim their overgrown teeth or extract their tooth through surgery.
One of the best treatments for obesity is to create an exercise routine. In other words, encourage your rabbits to engage in playful activities such as tunnels or digging boxes. If possible, provide them with a companion or a larger playpen with lots of toys and tunnels to play in. Lastly, also reduce their food portion.
Spot treatment or anti-mite injections may be administered if your rabbit has either Cheyletiella mites or E cuniculi parasite infestation. Lastly, a worming treatment is also recommended if you want to manage parasites in giant rabbits with large ears.
The best way to prevent your giant rabbits from having sore hocks is to place soft thick bedding around their habitat. In addition, avoid placing your giant breeds in cages having wired floors. Instead, place them on a flat surface cage floor with hay bedding and vinyl flooring if they’re housed indoors.
Spinal injury treatment for giant rabbits depends on how serious the fracture is. If the injury is mild, then your vet may use anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain. However, in severe cases such as total paralysis, euthanasia may be the best option.
Unfortunately, there’s no effective treatment once your rabbit has been infected precisely when it comes to the major viral diseases such as myxomatosis and Rabbit hemorrhagic disease. On the bright side, the two main viral diseases have annual vaccines your vet can administer as a preventative measure.
The best solution to deal with Wool block is to feed your rabbits with a high roughage diet instead of commercial pellets. The recommended diet consists of either grass hay, straw, or herbs.
How much does a giant bunny cost?
The average price for a pedigree giant breed is 20 to 50 dollars depending on your location. A breeding quality giant breed costs between 50 to 100 dollars while a show quality giant rabbit cost ranges between 70 to 300 dollars.
How much does it cost to treat my giant rabbit?
Annual veterinary checkups cost on average 20 to 60 dollars. Teeth filling average cost is around 60 to 110 dollars, and eye treatment cost around 30 to 90 dollars, depending on the severity of the condition. Lastly, ear treatment, especially for lop giant breeds, costs an average of 400 dollars if it involves a CT scan and up to 1100 dollars if it involves surgery.
How often should you take your giant rabbit to the vet?
Generally, checkups should be carried out at least once a year. However, if your rabbit has regular health issues, take them to the vet more often to get them treated.
Giant rabbit health problems will be less common if you properly feed, groom, and take care of their day-to-day needs. In the end, their overall quality of life will improve significantly giving them longevity.