Rabbits and guinea pigs: handling, husbandry and health

Rabbits are the third most common pet in the UK and are increasingly the subject of veterinary attention. Welfare problems are common and public education is important.

Information sources

Rabbit care and feeding

Manual of Rabbit Medicine Chapter 3


Rabbit housing

Manual of Rabbit Medicine Chapter 2


Rabbit Behaviour

This chapter and this podcast are by the same author – take your pick!

Manual of Rabbit Medicine Chapter 5

Rabbit behaviour Speaker: Anne McBride

The Rabbit Grimace Scale

Guinea pigs – care and feeding

BSAVA lecture – Notes and Podcast: Guinea pigs: nutrition, husbandry and medicine Speaker: Thomas Donnelly




How to put a rabbit back in its hutch or kennel

How to put a rabbit back in its box

How to get a guinea pig out of its box

How to restrain a guinea pig for injection

The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation also has this tutorial which is very useful though the background is laboratory animal welfare.

Note on sources. Apart from the BSAVA there are relatively few non-commercial sources of information on small mammals. The following three websites are hosted by companies and are good starting points. Burgess and Supreme are two UK firms specializing in small mammal care and nutrition. Their websites have a considerable amount of advice and information for pet owners that is useful for vet students wishing to become more familiar with these species. Lafeber are a USA based, veterinary-owned company specializing in avian species but have a lot of information on small mammals as well. There are other firms in the USA and UK that may also offer advice.




Suggested work

(1) Read the chapters suggested and watch the videos.

(2) Consider the problems with feeding rabbits a museli-type food. What is likely to be the most persuasive point that you could make to an owner who was feeding this type of food to get them to change? Why did you pick this one reason over the others?

(3) Sketch out a design for a good guinea pig house that you might suggest to owners who want to build one themselves.

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