How To Find A Rabbit Veterinarian – Essential Questions – Rabbit Pros

How To Find A Rabbit Veterinarian – Essential Questions

Choosing a veterinarian for your new bunny is a big decision. The animal doctor you choose will be a big part of your and your bunny’s life so take the time to make a good choice.

To find a good rabbit veterinarian you need to prepare a short list of questions to help you understand the veterinarian’s experience with rabbits and their medical philosophy. Then you’ll call each of the veterinarians in your area and ask them those questions.

Don’t worry I’m going to help you with that list of questions and even give you some pointers on how to make those calls.


What To Ask Before Choosing A Bunny Veterinarian

We need to keep our list of questions short to be respectful of the good doctor’s time. We also want to make sure that each question is clear and concise to avoid confusion.

I like to limit my list to five questions. A list this long gives you a breadth of information without sounding like a daunting task to the person you are talking to.

List Of 5 Questions To Ask A Rabbit Veterinarian

#1 – About how many rabbits do you see a year?

We ask this question to gauge their experience with rabbits. If a veterinarian responds with a very small number (less than five), you can probably just thank them for their time and move on.

However, there isn’t a magic number that indicates ‘enough’ bunny care experience. In some areas, veterinarians see lots of rabbits because there are simply lots of rabbits in the area. In other areas, most vets will have a small rabbit clientele.

Primarily, you are going to be comparing the veterinarians in your area to each other and choose the best available. More experience is better.

#2 – Do you see mostly pet bunnies or breeder & show rabbits?

We ask this question because a veterinarian who sees lots of breeder or show rabbits might think of rabbits more as livestock than as pets. This mindset will change the treatments they recommend.

This can be a really big deal, even to the point that a good livestock doctor will help animal owners decide when euthanasia is the best choice because the cure would cost more than the value of the animal.

Rabbits are not terribly expensive animals to purchase (compared to most livestock), so some livestock veterinarians will suggest euthanasia for nearly any ill rabbit. A veterinarian with more experience with companion animals will treat sick rabbits more vigorously.

#3 – How much do you charge to spay a female rabbit and what’s included in that price?

Most people choose to have their rabbits spayed or neutered because doing so has health and behavioral benifits.

The cost of getting a rabbit spayed or neutered varies wildly. By asking this simple question, you’ll be able to compare your area veterinarians’ rates. We specify male or female so we’re comparing apples to apples (it’s cheaper to get a boy fixed).

We also ask ‘what’s included in that price’ so we can better compare prices and to give us a better feel for what level of care the vet offers bunnies.

It’s common, but not universal, to offer a few days of pain meds included in the price of fixing a bunny. If pain meds aren’t included you might want to ask if they recommend pain meds and consider their answer carefully.

Don’t feel bad about including pricing as a consideration in your choice of a bunny vet. Choosing a veterinarian who sets budget-friendly prices will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over your bunny’s lifetime. More importantly, a relationship with a reasonably priced veterinarian will make you more likely to take your bunny in as needed. It’s better for everyone.

P.S. If any veterinarian will not give you a price, or at least a range of price, then you should move on. Service providers who won’t give you upfront prices are not to be trusted with your bunny or your money.

#4 – How do I prevent GI Stasis in my new bunny?

GI Stasis is short for Gastrointestinal Stasis, which is a common digestive issue in rabbits. Basically, the digestive system gets all clogged up and they can’t poop or eat. It’s a serious health issue when it happens.

GI Stasis is not a disease. Instead, it’s a condition usually caused by diet.

The answer we want to hear from the vet is one that focuses on feeding hay. Hay is high in fiber and natural food for your bunny. If a rabbit’s primary source of food is high-quality hay they are way less likely to develop GI Stasis. { Click Here to see our recommended brand of bunny hay. >>> }

Any answer that isn’t focused on feeding hay should probably give you pause in choosing this veterinarian as your rabbit doctor. If there is any suggestion of medical treatment to prevent GI Stasis, I’d encourage you to move on.

#5 – Are you available for emergencies after-hours?

I don’t expect a bunny veterinarian to come running when a new bunny parent is a little freaked out, but I do expect them to be available via text or phone.

If a veterinarian isn’t available at all for after-hours care, that would be a serious strike against inviting them into your life.


Which Veterinarians To Call About Caring For Your Bunny

You want a big pool of veterinarians to choose from and, to that end, I think you should plan to call everyone you can find that’s in your area.

Rabbit experience and cost of services vary wildly between vets, so you owe it to yourself to explore all your options. A good choice today could save you not only stress and heartache but a ton of money.

Don’t get too hung up on how close each veterinarian is to your home unless transportation is a significant hardship.

I encourage you to even look in nearby communities. When I was looking into the real cost of getting a rabbit fixed (spayed or neutered) I found that vets in more rural communities were sometimes significantly more affordable. Besides, you might find a nearby small town that will just charm your socks off.

Would a thirty-minute drive be worth it to visit a true rabbit expert? Sure.

Would an hour drive be worth it to visit a true rabbit expert and also save $100? It sure would be for me!


How To Call Potential Rabbit Veterinarians

I understand that making a cold-call to ask a veterinarian questions can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.

You’ve designed your list to be clear, concise, and respectful of their time. The good vets are going to understand what you are doing, and the bad ones aren’t going to have time to talk to you.

You’re not going to be talking to anyone who doesn’t want to talk to you, so don’t worry about it. Instead, just prepare to talk to the nice people who want to talk to you about your bunny.

Know what you’re going to say to the receptionist who answers the phone.

A nice way to start the conversation is with some short and clear. Maybe something like this?

“Hi my name is Stacey and I’m looking for a veterinarian to help take care of my new pet bunny. I’m considering a number of veterinarian offices, and I have a list of five quick questions that I was hoping to ask the doctor. Would be possible for the doctor to return my call at their convivence?”

How nice and polite is that? The receptionist is going to love you right away!

With your brief introduction done, a few things might happen next.

The receptionist might say “No”, in which case you’re done with this call and you won’t be choosing this vet. This is unlikely to happen. If it does, just thank them for their time and move on.

They might say, “Let me see if the doctor is available now.” in which case you’ll just hang out on the phone for a moment and see what happens. Be ready with your list of questions in case the doctor is soon talking to you.

However, it’s most likely that the receptionist will say, “Sure, let me get your phone number and your name. I’ll have the doctor give you a call later today.”

When you talk to the veterinarian, thank them for their time and let them know that you’re questions are really short so you won’t be taking much of their time.

Then just ask your questions. Easy.

Remember that your goal with these calls is to hear their answers. Fight any temptation to share your own thoughts on the questions or their answers. Sharing your thoughts will gain nothing for either of you so you’ll just be wasting everyone’s time.

At the end of the questions be sure to thank them for their time and let them know that you might be calling back later to make an appointment.


Lists Of Rabbit Veterinarians

When finding a bunny veterinarian, if you want to start with a shorter list, there are a few online resources that list experienced bunny doctors. Keep in mind that none of these are comprehensive lists and many will even be a little dated.

Still, these list of rabbit vets might be helpful in getting you started.


I hope you feel more comfortable about choosing a bunny veterinarian. With this plan, you’ll get a good feel for each potential veterinarian in just a few minutes.

Keep in mind that you’re forming a long-term relationship with this person, and investing some time before starting that relationship just makes good common sense.

~Stacey

Stacey

My name is Stacey Davis and my family has kept rabbits for decades. Here on RabbitPros.com we share our love of rabbits, our experience, and lots of research to help you enjoy your pet bunny even more.

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