Taking care of the rabbits during winter is very important because in the cold season, these cute animals are extremely vulnerable and sensitive to low temperatures, air currents, wind, moisture and cold. Although some owners think that the temperatures are normal in the room housing the animals, it can happen that they suffer from cold and often even die. Since the first days of winter, the rabbits’ bedding should be changed to a richer one and the shelter where the animals stay is to be heated just before the first frost. Most times, these pets may have problems if they stay in the cold even since October-November. To avoid this in the first place, the cage where the rabbit lives should be placed in a clean, warm and dry place. The room must be ventilated daily and carefully, just enough to get some fresh air. It is wrong to wash the rabbit during winter. If the coat gets dirty, it should be washed with a little water and quickly dried with a clean towel. The rabbit should never stay with its fur wet, as it must be completely dry. Usually these animals are very clean, as they take care by themselves of their own personal hygiene. During winter, the rabbits’ food must contain different herbs, dandelion leaves, plantain, clover, burdock, etc… They can also eat twigs and shrubs – acacia, willow, birch, raspberries.
The most dangerous and common disease of rabbits in the winter is cold. When noticing the first symptoms – sneezing, nose dripping, lack of appetite, lethargy – the rabbit should receive help and undergo treatment. If you do not know what to do when the rabbit has a cold, it is best to take the rabbit to a veterinary clinic, for treatment by specialized medical staff. Often the rabbits suffering from colds have a strange position, cannot concentrate and do not respond to external stimuli, while the mucus from the nose has a whitish or greenish colour. The sick animal must always be isolated in a separate cage, placed in a warm place and be given a food with a high content of vitamins and calories. The doctor will prescribe certain medications for colds and some nose drops while, in most cases, after 14 days, the cold will pass and the animal will be returned to its original place, along with the other animals.
Infectious rhinitis is another disease that occurs in the winter months and is manifested by frequent sneezing, redness of the lining of the nose, nasal discharge with pus and sometimes in very severe cases it can lead to big complications that can affect the lungs, pleura and bronchi. This disease is caused by certain germs that enter the nasal cavity of the rabbits. Usually the germs from the nose should not lead to disease but if the nasal mucosa is injured or if they have small lesions, this allows bacteria to reach the animal and thus it gets sick. Infectious rhinitis is considered very dangerous because it can affect the other animals around as the germs can be spread around by the sneezing of the sick animal. The disease can be recognized by the fact that the animal sneezes often, rubs its nose with the front paws and shows muco-purulent nasal discharge. These secretions can often block the nasal passages and because the rabbits breathe only through the nose, this can lead to suffocation. It is therefore very important that the doctor removes them with a syringe. When the disease affects the bronchi and the lungs, the pet wheezes, is exhausted, refuses food or eats less and has an increased body temperature. In this situation the rabbit should be rushed to a veterinarian to be diagnosed, to determine the germs causing the disease by laboratory tests and to be given medical treatment, with appropriate antibiotics. In most cases, people confuse infectious rhinitis with a cold, caused by low winter temperatures and do not go to the doctor; this can lead to very serious consequences that may cause even the death of the rabbit.