The Cost of Rabbit Ownership

Rabbits are often portrayed as cheap and easy to keep pets. In reality owning a rabbit can be a very expensive under taking. As well as the initial costs of housing, neutering and the rabbit itself you also have to consider vet bills which are much harder to plan for.

Preparation Costs

Before you bring a rabbit home you must have the correct facilities to house and care for it. A large hutch will cost in the region of £150-300 or an indoor cage £50-70. You will also need equipment such as a litter tray, bowls, water bottle, cleaning equipment, carry case and toys, expect to spend another £30-40 on these.

Obtaining a Rabbit

When you adopt a rabbit from a rescue it may have already been vaccinated and/or neutered. The rescue had to pay the vet for these (and often they do not receive discounts). In exchange they will ask for a donation to help cover these costs.

Rescue adoption fees usually range between £25-60 depending on whether the rabbit is neutered and vaccinated. If you need to arrange neutering and vaccinations yourself, you should budget for the following costs:

The Rabbit £20.00
Vaccination for VHD £15.00
Vaccination Myxi £15.00
Neutering £50-100

Neutering and vaccination costs vary between vets and location, call your vets to find out exactly what you will need to pay.

Maintainence

Once you have your rabbit you need to pay for itís upkeep. This includes food, bedding and vet care.

Per Week Per Year
Pellets £0.90 £46.80
Hay £2.50 £130
Greens £3+ £156
Bedding/Litter £3 £156
Vaccinations for VHD & Myxi £30
Total £9.40 £518.80

This is for one rabbit, as itís recommended to keep rabbits in pairs you should budget for double the amount of food. So, expect to spend £500-£800 a year on food, bedding and vaccination costs.

Vet Bills

Vet bills can run into the hundreds of pounds and you will get little or no warning if your rabbit becomes ill so you need to plan a head.

Pet Insurance is one way to plan ahead for the cost of vet bills. Cover is usually around £7-10 per month depending on your rabbit and where you live. You should read the terms of the policy carefully though. Some insurance policies exclude common conditions such as teeth problems and anything your rabbit has received treatment for in the past. You will also need to pay an excess. This means you pay a certain amount of the bill (approximately £30-60 pounds) and the insurance company pays the rest.

Another way to plan for vet bills is to open a savings account and pay regular amounts in, then in an emergency youíll have money on hand to cover costs.

Here are some actual vet costs owners have had to pay out on their rabbits in the last year:

Flint: £20 VHD vaccination, £90 operation for removal of abscess, £50 home call out charge re abscess/not eating, consultation at vet re abscess £25. Total: £185

Millie: £69.62 dental, £398 intensive treatment for stasis, £30.64 myxi vacc x 2, VHD vacc £14.90. Total: £513.16

Sidney: £12.45 eye drops, £35.29 treatment for eyes, £26.82 treatment for eyes, £88.55 tear duct flush, £35.47 treatment for eyes, £30.64 myxi vacc x 2, VHD vacc £14.90. Total: £244.12

Tilly & Humphrey: £862.22 on diagnosing and treating Tilly's eye and teeth problems and Humphrey's teeth problems, £320.57 on Tilly and Humphrey for check-ups, dentals, medicine, and both myxi and VHD vaccs. Total: £1182.79

For more examples of vet costs, please see this forum thread: Vet Costs

Conclusion

As you can see, owning a rabbit is not cheap. There are certainly ways to save money perhaps by buying a second hand hutch or growing your own greens but vet bills are not optional - itís illegal not to get treatment for your rabbit when it needs it. Budget for owning a rabbit to be expensive and if you find you have money left spare then buy your rabbit an extra toy or two.

If this all sounds too expensive but youíd still like a rabbit, think about fostering for a rescue. That way they cover the costs and you provide the care.

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