While studying veterinary medicine, vet students learn 8 times more about pigs than about rabbits in their initial 4 year degree. This is because the highest demand and most money to be made for vet surgeons in the UK is for treating dog, cat and farm animals. The reasoning: a rabbit costs £20 so why spend thousands on vet care? Of course, anyone who truly cares about their rabbits will go above and beyond to ensure the best medical treatment for them. This includes finding a good vet.
In order to be a 'rabbit vet', vets do further training and studies on exotics and then specialise in a specific field. Just like doctors specialising once qualified to be a specific type of doctor: Pediatrician, Cardiologist, Neurologist etc. Why do we expect vet surgeons to know everything about every species? It is impossible! If you are a general practice vet, this is the equivalent of being a GP. If you want your rabbit treated and diagnosed correctly, you should aim to go to a rabbit vet. One who specialises in 'small exotic mammals'.
What should you look for when choosing a vet practise?
You should look for a vet practice who has at least 1 exotic small mammal vet. Read through the 'Meet the Team' sections on the practice website and see if there is a vet who has additional qualifications in rabbits as well as a special interest in rabbits and small mammals. Not just someone who has their own rabbits or likes rabbits, that is not enough and does not equal knowledge.
Ask the vet practice on the phone if you registered, would you get to specially request a rabbit vet. A knowledgeable practice should enthusiastically encourage you to see the rabbit vet/s.
Ask the practice about their success rate with rabbits under GA being neutered; is this something they do often and with good success? There should be no reason to lose a rabbit under GA unless the rabbit has a n underlying health issue.
They should have a separate kenneling area for rabbits only.
They should always tell you to bring your pair/group when coming in instead of just one as bonded rabbits must always stay together.
They should always offer pain relief and after care after a neutering or any surgery.
Red Flags - if a vet says any of the following, it's time to move practise ASAP!
"There is no need to neuter your rabbit, if it's a female then it can live happily with another female. No need to neuter, it's too high risk."
"If your rabbit lives indoors, you don't need to vaccinate. Only vaccinate if they go outside."
"Your rabbit doesn't need a friend, they can be perfectly happy alone."
"Fast your rabbit before surgery."
"They don't need pain relief."
"Routinely worm your rabbit with Panacur." (this is now an outdated practice and no longer advised)
BBBB Recommended Rabbit Vets in Scotland
(this is updated regularly as vets move practices) * last updated 10/05/22
Eileen at Taylors Vet Catkin East Kilbride
Laura, Krissy & Madonna at Ark Vets Coatbridge
Kevin & Emma at the Royal Dick Vet School Edinburgh
Katie & Becky at Lawries Vet Cumbernauld
Julie at Vets4Pets Hamilton
Martin at ICR vet Edinburgh
Alison at Ardene House Aberdeen
John at A&G Vets Bonnybridge
Charlotte at Inglis Vet Dunfermline
Head Nurse Rachel (RVN) Abercorn Vets Portobello (Edinburgh) - for routine check ups, vaccinations etc