Care FAQ

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Can a rabbit wear a collar like a cat or dog?

"This sweet little bunny was brought into us yesterday as a stray after being found on Balista Street in Riverton. He had a collar stuck around his teeth and jaw and required sedation for removal and treatment. He has recovered well and we are now trying to locate his owner. - Pictures and text used with direct permission from Riverton Rossmoyne Veterinary Hospital

February 17th, 2017: Update. February 17th Final update, after 4 weeks of treatment Buttons is doing great and was adopted by a vet nurses, Stacey and her family at RRBH.

No, rabbits should never wear a collar. A rabbit can break its own neck or strangle itself when the collar catches on something or it tries to get the collar off. The rabbit may also get their jaw or paws stuck in the collar trying to remove it and injure themselves.[1] Additionally, the fur around a rabbit's neck is very thin and rabbit skin is very delicate. Extensive use of a collar can end up with irritated skin from friction, a symptom common with the use of E-collars for injuries.[2] Researchers that used radio collars on rabbits suspected deaths could have been attributed to neck abrasions and other injuries from said collars found on trapped rabbits and observed that there were many accidents with legs or jaws becoming caught under a cable-type collar which were mostly mitigated when switching to a strap-type.[3]

If you are worried about identifying your rabbit in the case that it escapes, please consider microchipping your rabbit. This will allow shelters and veterinarians to identify your rabbit without risking injury with a neck collar.

If you would like to take your rabbit outside for walking, please use a harness. See Walking a rabbit for more details.

If your rabbit must wear a collar temporarily for whatever reason, use a break away collar for kittens to minimize the danger that the rabbit will accidentally strangle itself and never allow your rabbit to roam unsupervised while wearing one. Make sure the collar is snug to minimize the risk of a limb or jaw caught in the collar.

Why does my rabbit smell?

How to Get Rid of Your Rabbit's Odor

How do I know when to euthanize my rabbit?

  • Bill Velasquez with the New Mexico House Rabbit Society (and HRS Podcasts) interviews Christie Taylor (House Rabbit Society Nationally Licensed Educator) on the subject of "End of Life Care." It's a three part HRS podcast conducted between May 12 thru June 14, 2018. @Podbean or index and with notes @RRI.
  • House Rabbit Society, Marinell Harriman, Quality of Life
How to Know When to Euthanize a Rabbit

How can rabbits be temporarily marked for identification?

When working with large-scale rescues or litters of similarly colored rabbits, it can be important to be able to distinguish individual rabbits from each other. Temporary identification marks can be made with the following:[4]

  • Aqueous dyes like food-coloring or stamp ink refills.
  • Permanent dyes, but they will fade as the animal molts.
  • Sprays designed for sheep last about five to six weeks.
  • Felt tip pens can be used on the inside and outside of ear and on the back. These markings will need to renewed weekly. Rabbits may develop dermatitis in reaction to chemicals in the ink with prolonged use.
  • Xylene-free markers last about three weeks and are non-toxic.
  • Colored wax can be used on the ear tips.
  • Fur clipping can be used for short-term marking — rapid growth of fur means these markings last a few weeks.

References

  1. Bobby T. Bond, Jacob L. Bowman, Bruce D. Leopold, L. Wes Burger, Jr. and Christopher O. Kochanny, An Improved Radiocollar for Eastern Cottontail Rabbits
  2. University of Louisville, Office of Research Services, Research Resources, Vol. I, No. 7. August 2006.
  3. Paulo C. Alves, Nuno Ferrand, Klaus Hackländer, Lagomorph Biology: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation
  4. Wildpro, Mammal Identification