Keeping your bunny at the correct weight, and physical shape, is essential to your bunny having an elongated life. The two week Veterinarian check up once taking your new bunny home is the first step in the right direction. Compliment this with a semi- annual to annual check up and you have your foundation for a healthy bunny. In between that time, it is up to you to keep your bunny in the best physical condition. This does not have to be mistaken for not being able to spoil your bunny, but spoil your bunny in the right ways. This is done with Love, all natural treats, and all natural chews to start. Then as time goes on, and you hit the 4 and a half to 5 month mark, you add your Kale, Parsley, and in moderation some healthy natural sugar from a slice of banana or apple. The best way to monitor your bunny's health when it comes to weight, is through the Body Condition Score, which I will explain in more detail below.
The Body Condition Score is a 5 step rating system, that you can use to give an indication of your bunny's health weight wise. You can use this to check your bunny once a month in order to maintain your bunny's proper healthy weight. Here are the 5 condition levels and what signs to use to evaluate where your bunny falls:
**For Holland Lops, Specifically remember that their average weight ranges from 2.5-4 pounds on average.
1. Emaciated- Hopefully no ones bunny ever hits this level, and by this point you have sought medical attention. Your bunny's ribs will be protruding and feel extremely jagged, they will have a slumped hind, and their pelvis will be easily exposed. This is a very dangerous state. If this is your first time reading about this and you find your bunny in this condition, please take them to the veterinarian immediately.
2. Lean- When your bunny is lean their ribs and pelvis will still have a jagged feel, and their hind will be flat as opposed to slumped. Again this can indicate a variety of issues, and you should schedule a veterinarian visit.
3. Ideal- This is the level we want to hover at. Your bunny's hind is moving away from flat to more rounded, and the ribs and pelvis can still be felt, but instead will have a more rounded feel as opposed to jagged. Being at this weight is going to prevent a number of unseen problems, as well as long term developing problem, such as diabetes.
4. Fat- If your bunny falls on level 4, personally, it makes me feel a little better than level 1 or 2, but still their still should be adjustments made to your bunny's diet and exercise plan to get back to ideal. The main reason being if you pass this level and go to 5 which I will touch on in a moment, then it can be very hard to retract. If your bunny is fat it will take some effort to locate the ribs, and will have a very rounded hind area.
5. Obese- Your bunny's ribs can no longer be felt, their hind is very large, and their movement is lethargic. When your bunny becomes obese it is fairly obvious to tell. This step should require a veterinarian visit to adjust diet schedules, and examine for any health issues that may be putting your bunny into this state unintentionally. This will hamper your bunny's ability to exercise, and can create a number of life shortening health issues.
Using the Body Score Chart once a month is a fantastic way to keep your bunny on the right track living an elongated life, and in some instances can save your bunny's life from an underlying emergency issue. Having this knowledge in your arsenal of bunny care is essential, for reaching our goal of a ten to twelve year life span. So stay vigilant and aware, just as you would any other member of your family.
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