Survey highlights need for education about rabbit ear health - Veterinary Practice
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Survey highlights need for education about rabbit ear health

The rabbit survey has given us insights into the owners’ perception of the importance of ear cleaning

A recent online survey carried out by pet supplement provider, Vita Animal Health, highlighted that while 89 percent of rabbit owners agreed poor ear health could have a significant impact on rabbits’ quality of life, only 1 percent was aware that rabbits often show no or few symptoms of ear disease. The survey’s aim was to gather information on owners’ perceptions of ear health and cleaning and to help raise awareness of the benefits of regularly checking and cleaning rabbits’ ears.

Vita’s veterinary nurse, Tara Evans, explains, “We know that many rabbits do not show obvious signs of pain, but that ear disease is common, meaning many rabbits may be suffering from ear disease while their owners are unaware. We wanted to raise awareness and start a discussion with rabbit owners about preventative ear care in rabbits, including how and when owners are cleaning their rabbits’ ears.”

Despite Vita Animal Health’s survey revealing that 91 percent of owners agree that cleaning is an important step in aiding rabbits with ear health problems, almost half of the respondents (49 percent) have never conducted any form of cleaning routine on their rabbit’s ears. For those that have, the most common reason for owners to clean their rabbits’ ears was for preventative measures (46 percent), followed by noticing signs of discomfort (25 percent) and following veterinary advice (25 percent).

Tara continues, “These results show us that owners are aware cleaning their rabbits’ ears is important which leaves us plenty of opportunities to educate on what owners should be looking out for. The survey showed that 57 percent of rabbit owners correctly identified lop ears to be a risk factor in ear health yet a contradictory 28 percent thought straight ears posed more of a risk. It is our job as veterinary professionals to share facts and impart our knowledge to our engaged audience.”

The survey looked into different options available for ear cleaning and identified that 51 percent of respondents would choose ear wipes with 25 percent using home prepared solutions and less than a third (31 percent) using a designated rabbit ear cleaning product.

“We want to be encouraging owners to be looking at their rabbits’ ears and cleaning them, however wipes can fail to provide a thorough clean and reach the deeper ear canal effectively” Tara explains, “and homemade remedies may be irritating to rabbit ears. It is important to use an ear cleaner which is designed for and safe to use in rabbits, such as Omniotic. Our survey underscores the critical need for increased education and awareness surrounding rabbit ear health. It’s essential for owners to understand the significance of regular ear cleaning in maintaining overall wellness and preventing potential diseases.”

Vita Animal Health offers a variety of supplements and educational resources to support animal health in multiple species. Sebastian Owen, Commercial Director, discusses the importance of the rabbit survey, sharing that “The rabbit survey has given us insights into the thinking of owners and their perception of the importance of ear cleaning and other core issues. As well as helping us to improve the products and education that we offer to owners, we have plans to share as much information from the survey as possible on social media and on our website.”

More information about the findings of the rabbit owner survey can be found on the Vita Animal Health website, along with Vita’s broad range of supplements and cleaners.

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