First aid for rabbits

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Wound care

The following are a few helpful articles on first aid wound care for rabbits:

Please see First aid kit for rabbits#Wound care for a list of supplies.

Choking

If you notice your rabbit is choking, this is an immediate emergency. Please do your best to dislodge the blocking food/object and take your rabbit to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian afterwards for antibiotics to prevent infection from aspiration.

Mickki Langston. (2019). Rabbit Choking Example

Rabbits that are choking will likely display some of the following symptoms:

  • Respiratory distress - lifting their heads up in the air to try and breathe around the blockage.
  • Making gurgling and whistling noises.
  • Excessive mucus production and drooling out of their mouths.
  • Throwing their heads around and pawing at their face to try and dislodge the food.

The following are some more pages with details on how to help a choking rabbit.

The following are a few experiences with choking rabbits.

E-collars

E-collars (AKA elizabethan collars or ecollars) are occasionally used for rabbits to prevent them from chewing on stitches, incisions, or the rest of their body in general. Most of the time, a hard e-collar is not very practical due to the inability to eat their cecals and movement difficulty. Other alternatives made with socks and other objects are often more comfortable for rabbits.

Some more resources on using e-collars and alternatives for rabbits:

Rabbit Rescue Sanctuary. (2020). HOW TO MAKE A SOFT COLLAR FOR YOUR RABBIT
Somebunny Luvs Me. (2019). BUN E COLLAR
Kong Yuen Sing. (2013). Making an e-collar

Syringe feeding

When a rabbit needs nutritional support, assisted feeding with a liquid food in a syringe is often effective. Oral nutritional support provides calories, nutrients, electrolytes, and fluids as well as help to rehydrate stomach contents and stimulate normal GI motility. The recommended intake for recovery food is 50ml/kg body weight divided into 3-5 meals per day.[1]

Oxbow's Critical Care is what is commonly fed to rabbits requiring nutritional support. This product can be obtained from your vet or some pet stores and online retailers. Otherwise, you can use your rabbit's normal pellet feed and grind it to powder and mix 1:1.5 with water to form a paste for feeding. Any remaining formula may be refrigerated for 48 hours.[1]

Common rabbit recovery food brands include the following:

For further instructions and tips for syringe feeding methodology, see Medicating your rabbit#Syringe feeding.

An electrolyte solution is also good to have on hand in case of dehydration, and you are unable to give subcutaneous fluids.

While unflavored Pedialyte can be bought from most grocery stores, the following products may be more useful as they have been formulated for rabbits:

Further reading

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Keeble, E. & Meredith, A. (2006). Rabbit medicine & surgery: Self-assessment color review.