Medicating your rabbit
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.
Here are some resources on giving rabbits an enema:
- Dana Krempels, How Administer an Enema to Your Rabbit
Giving eye drops
Below are some relevant vidoes about giving rabbits eye drops.
Giving ear drops
Below are some relevant vidoes about giving rabbits ear drops.
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.
- Ontario Rabbit Education Organization, Nebulizing
- Bright Eyes Sanctuary, Nebulizing a Rabbit
- Kirk Lowis, M.A., Nebulizing Rabbits
- Lucile C Moore, Kathy Smith, When Your Rabbit Needs Special Care: Traditional and Alternative Healing Methods, Nebulizing
Here are some videos about placing rabbits in a nebulizer.
Below are some experiences with nebulizing as a treatment.
- Amanda Greening, Rabbit Nebulizer Walkthrough (With pictures)
- House Rabbit Network, Lorraine Howard, Case Study: Guinness' Nebulizer Treatment for Pneumonia
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.
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 or another treat either by putting the medication in the middle of the treat or syringing in medication in your rabbit's mouth from the side while the bunny is busy trying to eat the treat. An example.
- Drizzle the medication on a lettuce leaf, fruit slice, or other treat. Banana and apple slices work well at masking most tastes. Small bites of whole wheat bread can also be used to soak up medication and fed as a treat.
- 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.
- Use a bunny burrito. See Grooming#Bunny burrito for tips.
The following links have more information on methods to giving your rabbit its oral medication.
- Suzanne Smith. (2001). Giving Medicine to Your Rabbit
- All Creatures Rescue & Sanctuary. (2008). Tips on hand feeding rabbits and guinea pigs
- Wildpro. Oral Medication and Syringe Feeding of Rabbits
- BunnyHugga. (2010). Nursing rabbits
- Flick. (2009). Syringing Meds 101
- Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund. Syringe feeding guide
Here are some videos you may watch about various processes of orally medicating rabbits.
- Westwood Veterinary Practice. (2020). How to syringe feed your rabbit
- Calgary Avian & Exotic Pet Clinic. (2020). Rabbit Syringe Feeding Demo
- The University of Edinburgh. (2020). Client Support - Rabbit Oral Supplement
- Avian and Exotic Animal Care. (2020). How to give oral meds to a rabbit using a "bunny burrito"
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.
- MediRabbit, Naomi Heinsma, Basic instructions for subcutaneous injections in rabbits
The following are videos of demonstrations of the administration of subcutaneous injections in rabbits.
Here are some resources on taking your rabbit's temperature.
- Georgia House Rabbit Society, How To Take Your Rabbit’s Temperature
- House Rabbit Resource Network, Body Temperature
- BunSpace, Taking A Rabbit's Temperature
- House Rabbit Society, FAQ: Medicating Your Rabbit
- Kathy Smith, Rabbit Health in the 21st century, 2003, p43.