Nine Lives Vets

 Redbourn: 01582 793636            Harpenden: 01582 763265 

Rabbits and Small Mammals

Top Quality Care, at an Affordable Price

We believe rabbits and small mammals deserve good quality, affordable, veterinary care.

We have a dedicated rabbit ward to ensure they are hospitalized away from cats and dogs, with large kennels so they have the freedom to exercise and importantly can bring their companions with them if they need to stay.

All our vets are experienced with rabbits, and regularly treat guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus.

Anaesthesia is always a worry for rabbit and small mammal owners, but we use the very best anaesthetics available - our 'Sevo' gas is particularly important in ensuring a smooth and stress free operation.

We are pro-active in using advanced medicine - we can discuss the pros and cons with you of using penicillins for rabbit abscesses, cabergolin for rat mammary cancer and veraflox for rat respiratory disease.  

Although we are purely a GP practice not a Specialist Hospital, we happily take referrals from other vets who may feel your pet would benefit from our experience and 'sevo' anaesthetic. Having the right equipment to treat smaller pets easily, often means we can provide this referral service at a more affordable cost than your normal practice

Vaccinations: when & why?

We recommend all rabbits have an annual vaccination to protect them against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease. Both these diseases are fatal, untreatable and endemic in the area. 

Rabbits can be vaccinated from 12 weeks old, and we always give them a thorough check up first to make sure they are healthy and doing well. We can clip their nails and bottoms if needed at the same time.

A rabbit vaccination costs £36.50, this includes the health check with the vet, and nail clipping if required


Guinea Pig Bladder Stones: Prevention better than cure:

Guinea Pigs suffer more than most species with Bladder Stones. Too many minerals in their diet like Calcium and Oxalate build up in the urine and congeal together to form a stone. This is painful and they start passing tiny amounts of blood stained urine. Surgery is the only option once a stone has formed, so prevention is much better. Feed your Pigs the best quality food you can - SupaExcel is good, 'MultiModal' is even better. They must have veg daily and it should always be varied. 

A guinea pig x-ray under sedation costs £29.50, the operation to remove a stone costs £95-120, and most guineas will need at least 3 days in hospital with supportive care and pain relief costing £10-15 per day

Dental Disease in Chinchillas: 

Chinchillas often get dental disease. The early signs are taking longer to eat then a gradually reducing appetite. You will then notice some weight loss, drooling or a wet chin and smaller faeces. The upper incisors often loose their V-shape and look slanted. 

We take an x-ray to see how bad things are, then rasp the teeth back into alignment. Often the x-ray shows tooth root infection, so we use a course of antibiotics - usually Azthromycin

A chinchilla dental costs £46.50, including xrays. A course of Azithromycin (zithromax) costs £15

Treating Mammary Masses in Rats

One of the most common problems we see in our rat patients is mammary masses. They can form in any of these glands. Most are benign and do not spread internally but they can rapidly grow into substantial tumors.

We always recommend surgical removal, unless they are elderly or suffer chronic respiratory disease. For those rats that are not good surgical candidates, we recommend using Galastop (cabergoline) - a liquid given orally every day until the tumor shrinks then every 3 days to keep it at bay.

If your rat develops a second mass, we will operate again, but preventing further masses is important. Speying can help reduce this risk, as can a dose of Galastop (cabergoline) every 3rd day.

Rat lumpectomies cost £67-120, with an additional £20 to be speyed at the same time

New from Oxbow: Natural Science Supplement

We love this new range of supplements for rabbits and guinea pigs. They are ideal for rabbits and guineas who need some extra help, but not their entire diet changed. 

There are a range of formulations:

1. Multi-vitamin = full of vitamin E, C and D ideal for older or poorly rabbits

2. Joint Support = contains glucosamine, ginger and turmeric. Ideal for older animals who have got stiff joints or seem less keen on jumping around 

3. Urinary Support = great for those rabbits and guinea pigs that get recurrent cystitis or have had bladder stones

4. Digestive Support = contains chicory and ginger for healthy guts

They are tasty and easy to use, one a day for rabbits and half daily for guineas. A pack of 60 tablets costs £8.50.

Top Tips: keeping your rabbit healthy:

Rear Guard

Prevent fly-strike for 12 weeks after one application. We recommend this is applied during a visit to the nurse in April and repeated in July. (£17.50 per bunny)


Rabbit guts are full of bacteria fermenting and digesting those long fibers in hay and grass. If the flora or bacteria get out of balance, then their faeces can become sticky and collect around the tail. Avipro provides a dose of the good bacteria, with some essential vitamins


We all know a rabbit must eat continuously. 24 hours without food can result in dangerous amounts of gas forming inside the guts. Be armed and ready with either fiber-plex or bio-lapis