Medicating your rabbit

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Giving an enema

Enemas can help hydrate hardened fecal matter when facing a GI stasis crisis. Please contact your vet first before trying to give an enema to your rabbit, as the risk of colon puncture is a real possibility.[1]

Here are some resources on giving rabbits an enema:

"How to Give Your Pet Bunny an Enema" staring Zuma.

Giving eye drops

Below are some relevant vidoes about giving rabbits eye drops.

Rocky getting his eye drops

Nebulizing

Schiller being a good boy and doing his nebulizing for his chronic snuffles. Image (c) and used with direct permission from wannabecanuck.

Nebulizing is a treatment often given for upper and lower respiratory infections. Here is an example of a medical nebulizer for small animals.

The following are some resources on nebulizing rabbits.

Here are some videos about placing rabbits in a nebulizer.

MediRabbit, Nebulizer
NebulizerChamber
How to Nebulize a Rabbit

Below are some experiences with nebulizing as a treatment.

Oral medication

While some rabbits may enjoy the taste of their medication and eat it from the syringe directly with pleasure, most often, rabbits do not like having syringes near their face and liquids squirted forcefully in their mouths. Syringe-feeding oral medications can be stressful and a struggle.

How to Give a Rabbit a Pill
If you need to feed a pill to your rabbit, obtain a pill crusher to help convert it to a more liquid form.

Some of the tips below may help you medicate your rabbit properly and make it easier for you and the rabbit.

  • Tricking your rabbit with fruit either by putting the medication in the middle of the fruit or syringing in medication in your rabbit's mouth from the side while the bunny is busy trying to eat the fruit. See the video "Sneaking medication for bunny - another dose" below.
  • Drizzle the medication on a lettuce leaf or fruit slice. Banana and apple slices work well at masking most tastes.
  • Dress their pellets with the medication. This can be done either in a spoon or a bowl depending on pellet quantity. Often, if the rabbits won't consume the pellets immediately, they will nibble on them over the next hour and consume their medication effectively that way. Here is an image album from /u/PeppermintBee demonstrating the technique.
  • Mixing the medication with baby food, a sugar-free jam, or applesauce to mask the taste.
  • Ask your veterinarian to compound the medication with something sweet like apple or banana.
  • Catch your rabbit in a two-door carrier, and use the top entry to corner your rabbit to stuff a syringe in its mouth.
  • Hold your rabbit firmly between your thighs when kneeling on the ground and block the rear entry with your feet so they can't back out of the trap. Bend over your rabbit to put the syringe in their mouth.

The following links have more information on methods to giving your rabbit its oral medication.

Here are some videos you may watch about various processes of orally medicating rabbits.

Pet Emergency & Specialty Center San Diego, Administering Oral Medication to a Rabbit
Pet Care Veterinary Hospital, How to Syringe Feed a Rabbit
Howcast, How to Give Medication to a Rabbit
/u/ret-conned, Sneaking medication for bunny - another dose
/u/LadyFleata, Bunnies taking medicine.wmv
/u/Foinz, Rabbit feeding and giving medicine with syringe (critical care)

Subcutaneous injections

Subcutaneous injections, also abbreviated as SC, SQ, sub-cu, sub-Q, or subcut, are given in the fatty layer of tissue under the skin. This method is commonly used to inject medications as well as fluids for hydration. Subcutaneous fluids are also known as Lactated Ringer's solution.

Below are some additional resources about giving subcutaneous injections to rabbits.

The following are videos of demonstrations of the administration of subcutaneous injections in rabbits.

MediRabbit, Subcutaneous fluid administration
FastUpOnRabbitCare, Subcutaneous Fluids
Tai Wai Small Animal & Exotic Veterinary Hospital, How to Give a Rabbit Injection (scruff)
pickles0809, Subcutaneous injection-RABBIT (shoulder)

Taking temperature

Here are some resources on taking your rabbit's temperature.

How to Take a Rabbit's Temperature

Further reading

See also

References

  1. Kathy Smith, Rabbit Health in the 21st century, 2003, p43.