Having a first aid kit for your bunny is a great idea, and I recommend that you put one together!
When your bunny gets sick, there are some remedies you might try at home while you are trying to get in touch with your vet for an appointment. You may already have some of these items in your home that you use for yourself. Others can be purchased in pet supply stores, drug stores, grocery stores, or department stores (like Target or Wal-Mart).
Keep in mind, however, that this information is not intended to replace expert veterinary care and should not be used to make a “do-it-yourself” diagnosis. Only a qualified, rabbit-knowledgeable vet can determine exactly what your bunny’s illness is and can recommend treatments for you.
Here is what we have in our first aid box:
- Styptic Powder/Quick Stop – Stops the bleeding of nails cut too close to the quick.
- Neosporin – used to treat wounds (do NOT use Neosporin Plus). Consult your vet before treating a wound since a wound can lead to abscesses.
- Infant Gas Drops – Relieves minor gas symptoms. We always use this when it looks like one of the bunnies is about to start going into G.I. Stasis.
- Plain Desitin Diaper Ointment – Used in the treatment of sore hocks or other sore areas on the rabbit’s skin. Be sure to use only original A&D and plain Desitin – not a variety with zinc, aloe, or other additions. These additives can cause harm to rabbits, in some cases.
- Oral Syringe – To administer liquids, medication, or foods that have been liquefied in the event bunny stops eating (3cc for medication, 40cc for hand feeding).
- Vet Wrap Bandage – We have used this to dress sore hocks.
- Metacam (From Vet) – This is the pain reliever that we use for the bunnies. Our vet has given us a larger bottle to have on hand for emergencies. We use it before we are able to get to see the vet. Our vet recommends a 0.2ml dose.
- Critical Care by Oxbow – We use this when our rabbits refuses to eat when they’re sick. Available through your vet’s office or at Petsmart.
- Revolution (Kitten Dose) – We use Revolution every three months, but I also keep an emergency dose on hand in case of a parasite emergency. Revolution is a bunny safe (when the Kitten dose is used) flea, tick, parasite and worm medicine.
- Nail Clippers – To trim nails.
Other things that we have in the house, but not in this particular box:
- Baby Food – We keep this in the pantry, and use it when the bunnies are sick. We mix it with critical care because it helps make it more appetizing for them. We also use the babyfood to give certain medicines that they refuse to take.
- Benebac – This is a probiotic that we love to use, and we give it to the bunnies about twice a week. It helps keep their guts moving, and I believe that it has kept them from getting into G.I. Stasis before.
- Saline Solution – To rinse out eyes and/or irrigate wounds, you might want to have a special narrow tipped syringe for this.
- Pedialyte – Plain, unflavored Pedialyte is safe for bunnies to have when they seem dehydrated. We have force fed this to the bunnies’ before when they were sick and not drinking water. Always be very careful when force feeding water or liquids, make sure your bunny doesn’t inhale it.
Please keep in mind, a first aid kit is not an option instead of vet care. The intent of having these kits around is that this is the first thing to make sure they live comfortably on the way to seeing a vet. NEVER try to diagnose on your own. You always need to call your vet and get instruction from them. First aid is to buy you time to get the medical assistance you need.
People take baths, dogs take baths, and sometimes there is the occasional rare cat that will hop in the shower with you, but rabbits are an animal that should NEVER be bathed. It might not make sense to you at first. You might think that it is ok because other pets take baths. I know my parents bathe their dog at least once a week– but most dogs love water, you’ll see dogs swimming freely in lakes or pools. You never see a wild bunny swimming in a lake. Its just not in their genetics. They bathe themselves with their tongues. They are actually pretty obsessed with cleaning themselves, maybe even more-so than cats.
So why do so many people bathe their rabbits? I think some of it is just them not knowing that its something that is harmful, which makes sense because a lot of common knowledge for rabbits is wrong. That is why I am trying to help change that. Sadly, there are also instances where a vet will tell someone to bathe their rabbit, but in that case, the vet is not a rabbit savvy vet. I have been to multiple rabbit savvy vets in my area, and ALL of them strongly stress to NOT bathe rabbits.
Here are the reasons why you should never bathe a rabbit, or submerge it in water for any reason.
- NEVER should you give a sick rabbit a bath, because seemingly healthy rabbits can have undiagnosed problems, it’s best not to subject them to the stress of a bath
- If your rabbit is very badly infested with fleas, there’s a good chance that he is already compromised and may go into shock when bathed. There are many safe alternatives to flea control (see these under “Fleas,” above). Also, a thoroughly wet rabbit takes a very long time to dry, so spot cleaning the dirty area with an application of baby cornstarch (available at any supermarket in the baby section–do not use talcum, as it is carcinogenic) and then gently combing out the dirt with a fine flea comb is better than a wet bath.
- A wet rabbit can quickly become hypothermic. If your rabbit is wet to the skin for any reason, be sure to thoroughly blow dry the bunny until even the undercoat is dry and fluffy. Normal rabbit body temperature ranges from 101oF – 103oF. Because rabbit skin is very delicate, and rabbits are sensitive to heat, never use a blow dryer on a setting higher than “warm,” and constantly monitor the temperature of the air on the bunny’s skin by placing your hand in its path.
- Rabbits have VERY sensitive respiratory systems, and getting water in their ears or inhaling it in their nose can cause lots of problems. Rabbits that get water in their ears could get ear infections, which usually causes head tilt.
All of these reasons are why I started spreading the word about rabbits and bathing.
Our sweet Scully was an “Easter Bunny” present to some kids, and was then dumped at the pound. She was traumatized from her early experiences in life. It took a lot of work and time to make her finally feel safe enough to be touched by humans again. We have finally gained her trust, and she is happier than ever being a free-range house bunny. She has changed our lives and made our Spooky boy so happy. I am so glad she came into our lives, despite the rough beginning she had in life. Help us spread the word with our PSA, so more bunnies don’t have to start their lives like Scully did. Bunnies are not Easter presents, and not Easter bunnies. They are HIGH MAINTENANCE pets that require special care, attention and commitment.
WHY RABBITS AND EASTER DON’T MIX
Before you decide to get a rabbit for a child this Easter, please understand that they do not make good “starter” pets
for children. Rabbits require a life time commitment of care and expense that is the same or greater than that of
a cat or a dog. They need exercise, a proper diet, and indoor housing, an outdoor hutch is not appropriate. Medical
attention is sometimes needed and they should be spayed or neutered. Rabbits enjoy receiving affection from
people, but some do not like being held because it instigates a feeling of being caught by a predator.
Every year, many thousands of rabbits are abandoned to shelters or released outdoors (a sure death sentence for
a domestic rabbit) often because of misunderstandings on the part of the parents who bought them for their kids.
Rabbits are not the cuddly creatures people often assume they are.
Rabbits are prey animals by nature. They are physically delicate and fragile, and require specialized veterinary care.
Children are naturally energetic, exuberant, and loving. However, “loving” to a small child usually means holding,
cuddling, carrying an animal around in whatever grip their small hands can manage— precisely the kinds of things
that make most rabbits feel insecure and frightened. Rabbits handled in this way will often start to scratch or bite
simply out of fear.
Many rabbits are accidentally dropped by small children, resulting in broken legs and backs. Curious children often
poke at a fragile rabbit eyes or laugh in delight at a rabbit who is running away in panicked fear. Not understanding
fear can kill a rabbit. Those rabbits who survive the first few months quickly reach maturity. When they are no longer
tiny and “cute,” kids often lose interest, and the rabbit, who has no voice to remind you he’s hungry or thirsty or
needs his cage cleaned, is gradually neglected.
Parents, please help. Don’t buy on impulse.
Make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first. Consider adopting a rabbit from your local shelter or
rescue group. For the rabbit’s health and well-being (as well as for your child’s) make sure an adult will be the primary
caretaker and will always supervise any children in the household who are interacting with the rabbit. Domestic
rabbits are inquisitive, intelligent, and very social by nature. A rabbit is a delightful companion animal as long as you
remember: he’s not a child’s toy. He’s a real, live, 10-year commitment!