We highly recommend that at you take your bunny to a rabbit-savvy vet at the sign of ANY pain or illness. These items will help your bunny pull through until you are able to see the vet.
– Warm water bottles / blankets / electric pad: A sick rabbit’s temperature drops quickly. Keep him warm and comfy. Just make sure that it’s not too hot as he may not feel up to moving away from the heat while he is ill.
– Treats: Tempt your bun with his favourite treats to encourage eating. This is also how most owners pick up that their rabbit is ill – refusing a favourite treat is very uncommon for a healthy rabbit and this is normally the first sign to look out for.
– 1ml / 3ml Syringes: (without the needles). Have a look at some YouTube videos on how to syringe feed – ALWAYS insert the syringe from the side of the mouth (behind the front teeth), to prevent accidentally squirting food/liquid into your rabbit’s airway (choking hazard!)
– Critical Care / Dual Care: Excellent if you can find it, this is dry, high-fibre food made especially for sick/recovering small animals. It is easily mixed into a paste with some water. You can syringe feed this to your bunny to keep the gut from shutting down.
– Apple / Carrot / Banana Purity: A less-healthy alternative to Critical Care / Dual Care
– Devils Claw herbal drops AKA Analgesic Solution (assists with pain management): Available at most health shops or Dis-chem. Most prescription pain killers can only be given once every 24 hours. These drops can be given much more frequently and will help the bun pull through until his next prescribed medication dose. Safe to give along with prescribed painkillers. Syringe feed 4 drops (0.1ml) every hour for 3 hours, and then 3 hourly.
– Chamomile tea: Keep your rabbit hydrated with water/chamomile or rooibos tea/diluted apple juice. Chamomile is a good choice as it also manages pain (a little) and has calming effects.
– Rescue Remedy drops: Keep your rabbit calm by rubbing 3 drops on the inside of each ear. (Also works well for travelling, bonding and or any other stressful activities)
You can get prescription medicine from your vet to keep at home in case of an emergency. Most dosages depend on your rabbit’s weight. Ask your vet to write down the dosage for each of your rabbits on the bottle. If you have the meds, but not the dosage and cannot contact your vet, at least contact one of our admins or knowledgeable members to assist, rather than guessing. Overdosing could be fatal.
– Clopomon aka Metoclopromide (a gut motility drug): Keeps the gut working to prevent GI stasis but can be dangerous if given to a bunny with a blockage. Important for rabbits that have stopped eating/pooping. Dosage is normally repeated every 8-12 hours.
– Petcam/Metacam/Meloxicam (painkiller): In many cases providing a rabbit with pain relief is the first step towards recovery. Make sure that you know how to read your rabbit’s body language – how to tell when your rabbit is in pain because giving this unnecessarily or for prolonged periods will be bad for your bunny’s kidneys. Dosage is normally repeated every 24 hours.
– Baytril/Enrovet (antibiotic): Rabbits are prone to infections which are normally treated with a course of antibiotics. Some rabbit owners give antibiotics straight away when they suspect their bunny is sick. Do so with caution because this can lead to antibiotic resistance. The vet may prefer to prescribe a better antibiotic to suit the exact ailment and now your bunny has to first finish the course of antibiotic he started with.
Always remember to tell your vet which meds you have already given, in what quantities, and when then they were last given.
Photo: Helena Lopes / Unsplash