If your rabbit shows the first signs of illness, you should take it to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Read here what you should consider when visiting the vet with rabbits.
The basics for healthy rabbits are species-appropriate husbandry, a species-appropriate enclosure, species-appropriate nutrition, and sufficient employment opportunities. This is how you lay the foundation for a long, healthy, and happy rabbit life. Of course, it can still happen that your rabbits get sick. In order to detect diseases as early as possible, you should carry out a short health check every day. At the first symptoms of the disease, you should not hesitate and consult a veterinarian.
Find out in advance which veterinarians in your area have experience treating rabbits. Many rabbit forums will give you tips on which veterinarians are recommended for rabbits. If your vet’s practice is closed in an emergency, you may need to visit a veterinary clinic.
Basics of visiting the vet with rabbits
At every vet visit you should be able to provide information about:
- age of the rabbit
- Rabbit sex and castration
- current symptoms of the disease
- Previous illnesses + any medication that the rabbit is already taking/has taken in the past
- if necessary, own healing attempts
If your vet makes a diagnosis, ask them to explain the nature of the disease and possible causes in detail. Write down exactly how you want your rabbit treated:
- Which drugs should be administered?
- In what quantities, how often and for how long should the medication be administered?
- Are additional vet visits necessary? At least one follow-up visit is often required.
- Are special care measures necessary to support healing?
- Do the husbandry and/or nutrition of your animals need to be improved or adapted to the disease?
Transporting rabbits to the vet
Regardless of the reason why you have to take your rabbit to the vet, whether for preventive care, for vaccination, or in an emergency: you always need a good transport box. Such a box is part of the basic equipment of every rabbit owner. Suitable plastic boxes with carrying handles are available in pet shops. You should meet the following criteria:
- The transport box must be large enough for two rabbits to lie comfortably in it.
- It is important that the box is not transparent, but as dark as possible.
- The box must have ventilation slots.
- There is often a lattice door at the front. Some boxes can also be opened from above.
Place an old towel, for example, on the bottom of the transport box. Litter and hay should not be placed in the box. The trip to the vet should be as short and stress-free as possible. Never leave your rabbits alone in the car, e.g. to do something for a short time. Especially at high temperatures, there is a risk of life-threatening heatstroke!
Operations in rabbits
Rabbits, unlike cats or dogs, should never be operated on an empty stomach. Therefore, always provide your rabbit with fresh water and food until the date of the operation. It is best to talk to your veterinarian in advance about what you need to consider in the days or hours before the operation.
Warmth is particularly important for rabbits after an operation because they cool down easily when they are asleep after anesthesia. Wrap the little patient in a towel – the head should remain uncovered – and place him under an infrared lamp.
Regularly check the temperature under the lamp with the back of your hand so that the pet does not get too hot. In the first few days after the operation, the patient should be kept separate from the other animals, not on litter, but on lint-free hand towels or paper kitchen towels. Because litter could impale itself in the wound and cause infections. Otherwise the same applies to large pets.