Textbooks and Reference Materials for the Practitioner

Following is an extensive listing of reference materials for the veterinary professional looking to gain knowledge about all aspects of rabbit health care. I have taken the liberty of putting an * next to those books that I feel are particularly useful for the novice who is just getting started.


  • *Textbook of Rabbit Medicine
    by Frances Harcourt-Brown. Published by Butterworth-Heinemann 2002. A comprehensive yet practical handbook on the diagnosis and treatment of the pet rabbit. Deals specifically with rabbit medicine and surgery. Written
    by an acknowledged expert in this specific field of veterinary medicine. Color plates illustrate common diseases and provide a reference source for diagnosis and treatment. For veterinary practitioners.
  • *Self-Assessment Colour Review of Rabbit Medicine & Surgery
    by E Keeble and A Meredith. Published by Manson Publishing. Over 200 illustrated clinical cases are presented randomly and contain integrated questions and detailed explanatory answers. Questions cover areas such as anaesthesia, biology and husbandry, handling and restraint, infectious diseases, dermatology, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, ophthalmology, urinary tract, oral cavity/oesophagus, GI tract, metabolic disease, reproductive disease, musculoskeletal disease and dental problems.
  • The Nutrition of the Rabbit 
    by C. de Blas and J. Wiseman. Published by CABI Publishing 1999. This collection of articles written
    by an assemblage of European researchers in agriculture and animal science, discusses a range of topics, including the digestive system of rabbits, nutritional requirements, feed manufacturing and formulation, climatic environment. Special chapters address the care needs of angora and pet rabbits.
  • Rabbit Feeding and Nutrition
    by P.R. Cheeke. Published by Academic Press 1987. This is the “bible” of rabbit nutrition. Comprehensive and thoroughly referenced, this book evaluates information on such topics as protein digestion and requirements, nutrition/disease interrelationships, feeding behavior, and nutritional factors involved in enteritis.
  • *Notes on Rabbit Internal Medicine
    by RA Saunder and RR Davies. Published Blackwell Publishing 2005. This book is written in an accessible note-based style, to ensure quick and easy access to clinical and diagnostic information. In this book: Differential diagnosis,
    by presenting complaint and organ systems; Common laboratory abnormalities and their significance in diagnosis; Infectious diseases, their diagnosis and treatment; Therapeutics, and how treatment varies from that of the more commonly encountered companion animals.
  • Manual of Rabbit Medicine and Surgery
    edited by P Flecknell. Published by British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) 2000. Manual written for veterinarians dealing with house rabbits. Chapters on disease are arranged systemically, and follow detailed data on clinical chemistry and general biology and husbandry. Includes tables, lists, and illustrations, many in color..
  • Rabbits Health, Husbandry & Diseases
    by V Richardson. Published by Blackwell Publishing. Very basic practical text begins with an overview of rabbit husbandry. Nutritional requirements and clinical examinations are covered, as well as a body-system approach to describing diseases, their diagnosis and treatment. Includes separate chapters on behavior, anesthesia, surgery, and zoonotic aspects.
  • Laboratory Anatomy of the Rabbit
    by CA McLaughlin, RB Chiasson. Published by McGraw Hill 1990. Detailed, black and white guide to all aspects of the anatomy of the rabbit.


    These textbooks contain information on a variety of exotic pet species but are listed here because they contain valuable information on rabbits. They include both veterinary and veterinary technician/nursing texts.

  • *Radiology of Rodents, Rabbits and Ferrets: An Atlas of Normal Anatomy and Positioning
    by Silverman S., Tell L.A. Published by Elsevier/Saunders, 2005. Excellent source of information on normal positioning and interpretation of radiographs in mice, rats, hamster, chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets.
  • *The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Ferret and Rabbit
    by B. Oglesbee. Published by Blackwell Publishing 2006. Provides concise, practical information for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases in the ferret and rabbit. The unique format provides consistency and breadth of coverage unparalleled
    by other texts. Like other books in The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult series, the ferret and rabbit book is divided into identically formatted topics based on presenting problems and diseases.
  • *Avian and Exotic Animal Hemotology and Cytology
    by T.W. Campbell and C.K. Ellis. Published by Blackwell Publishing 2006. This new book builds on the avian foundation of Campbell’s earlier work Avian Hematology and Cytology, Second Edition and has grown to include coverage of several other important exotic animal groups including small mammals, reptiles, fish, and amphibians. It includes hundreds of full-color images with case studies and color plates to aid the reader
  • *Laboratory Medicine: Avian and Exotic Pets
    by A. Fudge. Published by W.B. Saunders 2000. A reference devoted exclusively to laboratory testing for avian and exotic animals. 31 leading experts thoroughly describe how to select, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests for pet birds, common reptiles, rabbits, and ferrets. They also discuss pathophysiology, where appropriate, to help readers understand what various test results mean.
  • *Rabbit and Rodent Dentistry Handbook
    by V. Capello and M. Gracis. Published by Zoological Education Network 2005. Pictorial manual on identifying and treating the most common dental disorders in rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters, rats, prairie dogs and other rodents. Contains comparative dental anatomy, radiography and physiology with more then 1000 full color photos.
  • *Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 2nd Edition edited by K.E. Quesenberry and J.W. Carpenter. Published by Saunders 2003. Addresses the common questions and concerns of the practicing veterinarian who works with rabbits, ferrets and other small mammals. Text includes basic biology, husbandry, and routine care of the healthy animal. Also features chapters on disease management, surgery, and radiology.
  • Handbook of Rodent and Rabbit Medicine
    edited by K. Laber-Laird, M.M. Swindle, P. Flecknell. Published by Elsevier 1996. Written
    by internationally renowned experts, this text contains chapters covering rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, mice, rats and gerbils. Each specific animal chapter covers nutrition, infectious diseases, anaesthesia, metabolic diseases and parasitic infections.
  • Exotic Pet Behavior: Birds, Reptiles, and Small Mammals
    by T. Bradley Bays, T. Lightfoot, J. Mayer. Published by Elsevier/Saunders 2006. In addition to coverage of all normal behavior patterns — sensory, communication, social and antisocial, reproductive, eating, and elimination — this resource helps you identify medical implications of abnormal behavior, pain-associated behaviors, and effects of captivity. Client education handouts provide important information about caring for a variety of avian and exotic pets.
  • The Biology and Medicine of Rabbits and Rodents, 4th Edition
    by J.E. Harkness and J.E. Wagner. Published by Williams and Wilkins 1995. Fourth edition of a concise, yet thorough manual on the care and use of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and mice in the laboratory. Previous edition 1989. Uses a species-specific approach. Illustrates restraint and clinical techniques.
  • A Colour Atlas of Anatomy of Small Laboratory Animals: Volume One: Rabbit-Guinea Pig
    by P. Popesko, V. Rajtova and J. Horak. Published by Elsevier/Saunders reprint 2002. A large full-color atlas of rabbit and guinea pig anatomy.
  • Exotic and Laboratory Animal Ophthalmology (Special Edition of Veterinary Ophthalmology)
    Edited by T Kern. Published by Blackwell Publishing 2002. This collection of primary peer-reviewed papers will be essential for specialist veterinarians working with exotics, laboratory animal personnel and veterinary ophthalmologists worldwide.
  • Skin Diseases of Exotic Pets
    edited by S Paterson. Published by Blackwell Publishing 2006. This book provides a practical guide to dermatological problems in birds, reptiles, fish and mammals. Divided into the four groups, each section has a chapter introducing the structure and function of the skin of each group, a chapter on examination and diagnostic tests, and further chapters on species specific skin diseases and treatments.
  • Pathology of Laboratory Rodents & Rabbits, 2nd Edition
    by D.H. Percy, S.W. Barthold. Published by Iowa State Press 2001. Discusses common diseases of laboratory animals, such as mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, and gerbils. Features more than 300 illustrations, new material on transgenic animals, and suggestions for further reading.
  • Clinical Anatomy and Physiology of Exotic Species: Structure and function of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians
    edited by B. O’Malley. Published by Elsevier/Saunders 2005. This book deals with the comparative anatomy and physiology of small mammals, reptiles, and birds. The book is heavily illustrated with clear line diagrams, radiographs, and color illustrations, with detailed notes on individual species including some guidance on sexing, venipuncture sites and some clinical information
  • Manual of Clinical Procedures in the Dog, Cat, & Rabbit, 2nd Edition
    by SE Crow and SO Walshaw. Published by Blackwell Publishing 1997. In-office diagnostic and therapeutic procedures commonly performed in treating dogs, cats, and rabbits. Step-
    by-step instructions on restraint, anesthesia, surgical technique, and medical management are provided and include the whether to in addition to the why to and how to. The book discusses purposes of the procedures, indications, precautions, possible complications, equipment needed, and preparations.
  • Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Pets
    by S. Girling Published by Blackwell Publishing, 2003. Covers husbandry, nutrition and handling, anatomy, chemical restraint and an overview of diseases and treatments in birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals.
  • A Technician’s Guide to Exotic Animal Care: A Guide for Veterinary Technicians
    by T. Tully, and M. Mitchell Published by AAHA Press, 2001. Provides technicians with the knowledge necessary to perform essential functions like proper handling, restraint, and diagnostic testing. Authored
    by leading experts on exotic care, this comprehensive manual covers husbandry, nutrition, restraint, diagnostic sampling, and common diseases for many species.
  • Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician
    by R. Cheek, B Ballard. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 2003. The book’s coverage extends to basic anatomy, physiology, reproduction, husbandry, zoonotic diseases, restraint, radiology, surgery and anesthesia, parasitology, hematology, emergency and critical care, and nutrition. Although intended primarily as a textbook for students in veterinary technician programs, the complete coverage of exotic animal clinical procedures makes this an invaluable reference for veterinary technicians and practicing veterinarians alike.


    These texts are considered valuable for the veterinarian and veterinary technician because they contain important information on natural history, husbandry, behavior, diet, and handling. This information is vital to being able to understand and treat rabbits appropriately.

  • *House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live with an Urban Rabbit, 4th Edition
    by M Harriman. Published by Drollery Press 2005. An excellent handbook on all aspects of rabbit care including environmental set up, handling, behavior and and diet. A “must have” addition to the library of anyone wanting to learn how to properly manage these wonderful animals.
  • *Rabbits for Dummies
    by Audrey Pavia. Published by Wiley Publishing Inc 2003. (Technical Editor Susan A. Brown, DVM). Detailed text on all aspects of rabbit care with information on breeds, reproduction, husbandry, diet, behavior and common ailments. Written for caregivers but valuable for the veterinarian and veterinary staff as well that are new to rabbit care.
  • *Why Does My Rabbit…
    by A McBride. Published by Souvenir Press 1998. This guide to troubleshooting rabbit behavior clues owners in to the history of the domesticated rabbit and describes how rabbits live and breed. Common problems among rabbit owners are discussed, as are probable causes for irregular behavior, including instincts that make rabbits behave in certain ways. Both hutch and house rabbits, as well as troubles specific to each, are covered..
  • *Rabbit Health in the 21st Century: A Guide for Bunny Parents, 2nd Edition
    by K.R. Smith. Published by iUniverse 2003. This user-friendly book on pet rabbit health from a caretaker’s perspective is written for people with little or no medical or veterinary background. Its goal is to help rabbit owners play a more active, informed role in their rabbit’s health care decisions. It should never substitute for a trip to the veterinarian! Rabbit Health 101, received a favorable review in Exotic DVM Veterinary Magazine. The revised edition incorporates feedback from veterinarians across the country and includes the latest information for the new millennium.
  • The European Rabbit: The History and Biology of a Successful Colonizer
    by HV Thompson and CM King. Published by Oxford University Press 1994. Fascinating book examining the natural biology, history, behavior and colonization of the European rabbit, the progenitor of the domesticated rabbit. Covers the colonization of the European rabbit in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Private Life of the Rabbit
    by RM Lockley. Published Andre Deutsche Limited 1978 (3rd Edition). This book is currently out of print but it can be found in used book stores from time to time. It remains a fascinating and important text describing the behavior of the European rabbit, the progenitor of our domestic rabbit.


  • *Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine . Published by Elsevier, Inc, New York, NY. Months of issue are January, April, July and October. This publication covers special topics on all exotic species. It is also the official publication for AEMV where articles pertaining to small mammals are . Published in each issue.
  • *Exotic DVM Veterinary Magazine – . Published by Zoological Education Network.
  • *Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice . Published by Elsevier, Inc. in January, May and September. Each hard cover edition covers one topics in depth across all companion exotic species.


  • *Exotic Animal Formulary, 3rd Edition
    edited by J.W. Carpenter. Published by Elsevier 2005. Excellent referenced formulary for fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, rodents, rabbits, ferrets, miniature pigs, primates and wildlife. Also contains information on allometric scaling, determining basal metabolic rate, efficacy of antimicrobials in exotics and classification of antibacterials used in exotic animal medicine.
  • *Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians
    by C.A. Johnson-Delaney. Published by Zoological Education Network 1996. Two-volume pocket-sized set with color tabs includes husbandry, quick facts, rule-out charts based on clinical signs, reference values, formularies. Quickly find data on: psittacines, pigeons, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, sugar gliders, chinchillas, prairie dogs, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, skunks, iguanas, snakes, turtles, amphibians, and more.
  • Formulary For Laboratory Animals
    by Hawk C.T. Leary S.L., Morris T.H., Blackwell Publishing, Ltd., 2005. The updated version is an excellent source of drug dosages and information on Small Mammals

Compiled by Susan Brown, D.V.M. (March 2007)