When Teddy the rabbit needed help with his arthritis, a treatment was hard to pin down.
There are no pain killers licensed for use on rabbits of any age and Teddy is 12 years old so they could not risk giving him the stomach upset bunnies on drugs often have.
So when Eastgate Vets in Mildenhall suggested to his owner Marion Cowan that she take him to their Bury St Edmunds clinic where partner Alex Wylie is qualified for acupuncture, she decided it was worth a try.
Marion, from Denham, said: “I’m a staunch bunny lover and would do anything for my bunnies. If you love your pets and you’ve had them for so long they are part of the family.
“He’s a house bunny — you can house train them. He even goes away with us.”
Alex had never given a rabbit acupuncture before and told Marion she was unsure how he would react to the needles. But Teddy has been well handled since Marion got him from Wood Green Animal Shelter at five-months old, so he is a good patient who is well behaved during treatment.
Marion said: “He went in because he wouldn’t use his front leg at all.
“Now he uses that leg and Alex has done his whole back and hips so he’s much more agile now.”
Alex said: “It does appear to be working. He’s certainly lively.
“Quite a few of us vets have been trained up in acupuncture, but doing it on a rabbit is unusual.”
Marion hopes hearing how long lived Teddy has been, and how dedicated some rabbit lovers are, will make parents think twice about buying one on a whim for children in the run up to the Easter bunny boom.
“People don’t realise their needs,” she said. “If you look after your rabbits, as I’ve shown, they’re actually quite long lived.
“If you want one, look at rescue centres because they give support and the rabbits come vaccinated and neutered, and if its not the pet for you, they’ll take them back.”