Rabbit Emergency Kit

by Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue

Below is a list of items all good rabbit homes should have on hand. Knowing your rabbits “normal” behavior (so you know when s/he is acting “wrong”) and good health care and vet check-ups will go a long way towards preventing emergencies. But you never know when something will happen and it is definitely better to be prepared!

  • Thermometer – rectal, preferably digital, and lubricant such as KY jelly. Lubricate tip of thermometer, insert tip only gently into rabbit’s anus (located just beneath the tail), wait approx. 1 minute and remove. Ask your vet or vet tech for a demonstration.
  • Heating/cold pad
  • Peroxide – for shallow wounds, broken nails, abrasions
  • Betadine – for cleansing bites, cuts, lacerations, broken nails (before using styptic)) NOT for punctures wounds or deep cuts
  • Neosporin -plain, with no pain relief or antibiotic formula
  • Cotton swabs – sterile cotton balls and gauze bandaging
  • Blunt tipped scissors
  • Saline – for eye injuries
  • Toenail trimmers & styptic powder – cornstarch will work in a pinch
  • Simethicone – anti gas, found in baby medicine section of store or pharmacy
  • 35cc or 60cc oral syringe
  • Several 1cc and 3cc syringes
  • Ground/powdered pellets or Ox Bow Hay Co’s. Critical Care – for syringe feeding (good for 3 months, 6 months if frozen)
  • Veggie baby food (carrots, peas) – make sure it is additive free, no sugar, etc.
  • Sugar free fruit juice or Gerber’s baby ‘Apple Carrot Juice’ – to encourage bunny to drink
  • Hairball remedy – malt flavored
  • Flea comb and brush
  • 81mg Baby Aspirin – ask vet dosage for your individual rabbits
  • A large towel for wrapping or cuddling/calming a stressed, frightened, or injured bunny (or one who is difficult to give medicine to!)

In case of general emergency (vet trip, fire, earthquake, etc.) – for each rabbit (or pair)

  • Hard plastic carrier, with metal front gate and adequate floor covering (towel, grass mat, etc. (a bunny can chew through a plastic front gate))
  • Food and water for 5 days, which you will periodically change for fresh supplies. Water should be changed every 4-6 months, if it is store bought and unopened. Store in cool pace, away from sunlight.
  • Pellets, in a well sealed container or zip lock, may be stored for 3 months, 6 months if frozen.
  • Extra food and water crock for ‘traveling’, to vet or on trips.*

*When you travel with your rabbit, whether it is to the vet, to a friends house or a long distance, always make sure you bring a long some food and water and bowls to use, in case your car breaks down or you are somehow temporarily stranded.

SIGNS THAT YOU SHOULD GET TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY

  • Lack of consciousness
  • Unexplained or profuse bleeding
  • Labored breathing
  • Head tilt or lack of coordination
  • Not eating (if your rabbit misses or ignores even one meal, call your vet ASAP)
  • Not drinking
  • No poops for 8-12 hours
  • Not urinating or straining to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Inability to put weight on a limb
  • Signs of distress and/or pain
    • Grinding the teeth and/or sitting in a tight posture
    • Dull eyes

ALL of these symptoms warrant immediate veterinary attention. And of course, if you are in doubt, call your vet.

Know your vet’s schedule. Some vets only work a few days per week or have extended hours on certain days—know this, it will come in handy. Have a back-up vet for when your vet is out of town, busy, not in the office; know local emergency vets, especially those who see rabbits. Keep names, addresses and phone numbers posted where you or anyone caring for your pets can easily find them. Know where all the vets are located, even if you have to do a trial “drive-by’. Getting lost or having to write down directions when you are panicked will lose precious time! If you cannot get to a rabbit vet during an emergency, get to a vet – period! Basic emergency care is similar for all animals (i.e., stabilize, assess, oxygen, wound care, etc.).

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