Author: Amy Holloway
As rabbits are prey animals they try to hide illness and pain so as not to alert any predators – super helpful in the wild, but not so much at home when you want to ensure your rabbit is happy and healthy.
Call us in an emergency
Alun explains that the best thing you can do is understand which conditions are classed as rabbit health emergencies and the symptoms to look out for. If you’re ever in doubt though, always contact your veterinary practice.
11 rabbit health emergencies that need urgent veterinary care:
- Flystrike is ALWAYS an emergency – If you can see maggots, they will be eating your rabbit. Don’t wet the fur, call your vet immediately.
- Not eating, no droppings, and looking depressed – Your rabbit could have teeth problems, gut slowdown, or a blockage and will be in pain. Time is of the essence as not eating for 12 hours or more can cause deadly gut stasis.
- Mouth breathing – Rabbits breathe through their nose, so doing it with their mouth open indicates distress.
- Severe diarrhoea – Producing jelly-like faeces and being all hunched up and miserable looking is a big concern, especially in young rabbits.
- Blood in urine – Don’t panic if you see red spots in the urine, this can be from food they’ve eaten. Act fast if there’s blood and your rabbit’s straining to urinate.
- Wounds – Severity will vary. Your rabbit may need the wound cleaning and stitching by a vet, and some pain management. Remove any hay, but not objects.
- Haemorrhage – Blood escaping from a wound (apply pressure) or an orifice needs urgent veterinary attention. Shock can be an added complication.
- Broken leg or bone – The pain alone can cause your rabbit to go into shock, so a bone break must be tended to by a vet quickly.
- Screaming – This is not normal. Check for wounds and obvious injuries.
- Seizure – Prolonged fitting can cause the body temperature to rise dangerously. Stay calm and quiet. Pad out your rabbit’s carrier with towels and call the vet.
- Collapse – Are they hot or cold? Don’t try to change their temperature too quickly. Put an icepack on the outside of the carrier if hot (could be heatstroke) or a heat pad outside & blanket inside if cold. Keep your pet steady and get to the vets.
It’s better to be prepared, so pop our emergency number in your phone just in case.