Emergency, Urgent & Standard care for your rabbit - KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
Please read through this BEFORE your bunny has any medical problems. Be aware of the difference between emergency, urgent and standard care situations so that you can act quickly when your bunny needs you.
A Medical Emergency for your bunny means, do not take time to search the internet, research or send emails. Do not even stop long enough to call your vet. Bundle your bunny into your car and head immediately to the nearest animal emergency clinic or your veterinary office. Do not fret if the closest animal emergency clinic does not have a rabbit trained veterinarian on staff. Most medical conditions that fall into the emergency classification require the same initial treatment in a dog, cat, rabbit or any other animal and the staff at the emergency clinic will be able to take care of your furry friend.
Your furry friend is down and does not respond to you. This could be symptoms related to cardiac arrest, shock or coma resulting from chewing on an electrical cord, an attack from a predator, or even a coma from exposure to excessive heat. Protect your friend from chills and rush to the emergency clinic.
Your bunny appears to be gasping for breath. You can easily identify a bunny that is having trouble breathing. Most of the time, they will have their head raised, their sides will be heaving, the mouth may be opening and closing with each breath, and the nostrils will be expanding and contracting in an exaggerated manner.
Your bunny falls over, tilts his head, moves in a circle when trying to hop, or his eyes move in one direction only If your bunny falls on his side while trying to hop, moves continually in a circle, holds his head tilted to one side, or moves his eyes continually in only one direction, these could be signs of seizures, neurological damage, or symptoms of Pasteurella infection. For more information, see Head Tilt or Wryneck
Your bunny has severe and/or continuous bleeding. You can help control the bleeding and prevent debris from entering the wound by folding a number of paper towels, gauze pads or clean wash cloth, press it against the wound and tie it firmly in place using a strip from a sheet or a ribbon, then rush your friend to the emergency clinic
Your bunny’s body temperature is below 100 or 104 and above. Before going to the emergency clinic, if your bunny's temperature is below 100 degrees - the body is cold to the touch - wrap your bunny in warm towels, make sure the ears are covered also. If his temperature is 104 or over - the body is hot to the touch - dampen his ears and put ice or a frozen water bottle wrapped in a towel against his body, then rush to the nearest emergency clinic.
Your bunny has a foreign object (usually string or similar object) protruding from the mouth or anus that cannot be dislodged. Do not pull on it or cut it off. Bring your furry friend to the emergency clinic to have a veterinarian remove it safely.
URGENT MEDICAL CONDITIONS
An Urgent Medical Condition should be handled within the same day the condition is observed. In these situations, when you contact your veterinarian for an appointment, stress the urgency of the matter.
Your bunny has been attacked. Keep your bunny as calm and confined as possible after an attack until you visit your veterinarian. Even if wounds are not evident a veterinarian should examine your bunny. An attack from some preditors can cause internal damage that could be life threatening if not treated. Excessive exercise or movement could increase internal damage
There are no or very small fecal pellets in your bunny’s litter box. Start by orally giving your rabbit as much water as he will accept and make an appointment with your veterinarian. If you tell them that your bunny has small or no fecal output, they should understand that this is urgent and have you come in the same day. Small or no fecal pellets can occur when your bunny's digestive system is not working properly and usually happen if your bunny is not eating or drinking properly and can kill your bunny quickly. If you inspect your bunny's fecal output daily, you should be able to tell if they become smaller or non-existant within 12 hours.
Your bunny has diarrhea, not just a soft stool, but severe watery diarrhea. Start by orally giving your rabbit as much water as he will accept as diarrhea can quickly dehydrate your rabbit. If your rabbit has recently consumed a large amount of fresh greens or fruits and vegetables with a high sugar content, remove them from the diet and give a good amount of hay. If the diarrhea does not clear up within 12 hours, or your bunny has not had green vegetables or food with a high sugar content, make an immediate appointment with your veterinarian.
You suspect your bunny has eaten something poisonous or toxic
Rabbits will chew on everything including different weeds and plants in the yard as well as house plants. Some of those plants are toxic to your bunny. If you suspect your bunny has eaten something he should not have, obtain a sample of what you believe he ate and make an urgent appointment with your veterinarian. See Rabbit Fruits and Vegetables for a list of good and toxic fruits, vegetables and plants.
Your bunny has maggotsBrush off and kill as many as you can and make an appointment with your veterinarian so that they can treat and kill any remaining eggs. Then, thoroughly clean everyplace where your bunny spends time - hutch bars, floors, litter box and food and water dishes, and dispose of any boxes, tubes, tunnels and other play things. The eggs from the maggots are hard to see and if any remain, they will hatch and end up on your bunny again.
Your bunny cannot use his hind legs. This could indicate anything from arthritis to damage to your bunny's back. Make an appointment with your veterinarian and try to transport your bunny with as little movement of the back and legs as you can.
STANDARD MEDICAL CONDITION
A Standard Medical Condition is one that is not life threatening and can be handled within a few days or on a regular annual basis.
Standard medical issues include:
* Annual Health Checkups
* Minor wounds
* Indications of fur mites
* Bunny is not acting quite right but is still eating, drinking and active
If any of these emergency or urgent medical conditions occur and your veterinary office is closed - such as on the weekend - then visit the nearest emergency clinic.