Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Recognize Illness in Your Rabbit

  1. Step 1

    Take your rabbit to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian for a well-bunny check when he first comes to live with you. Ask your vet to show you how to examine your rabbit at home.

  2. Step 2

    Play with your rabbit for at least a few minutes every day. As he bonds with you, he'll let you touch him more often. He may even let you pick him up occasionally.

  3. Step 3

    Do a full body check of your rabbit during your daily petting sessions. Gently check his ears, eyes, paws, legs, tummy, back and teeth, based on your veterinarian's instructions.

  4. Step 4

    Observe his normal condition so that you will immediately recognize anything out of the ordinary such as lumps, sores, bruises or cuts. Note whether there's something in his ear, if his stomach seems full or tight, or if his teeth seem out of line.

  5. Step 5

    Check the color of his urine daily; it can range from orange to yellow to brown. If you're not sure whether the urine looks normal, ask your vet to test a sample. Milky white or sludgy urine (containing a grainy, sandy material) means that your rabbit may be eating foods too high in calcium. The grains are calcified crystals, which can form painful bladder stones.

  6. Step 6

    Check your rabbit's feces daily to get familiar with how they look when normal. If his feces are smaller than normal or oddly shaped or colored, his stomach or cecum may be blocked. Dry feces mean your rabbit may be dehydrated and needs subcutaneous fluids immediately. If his feces are too soft, he may have a virus. Bring your rabbit to the vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

  7. Step 7

    Take your rabbit to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect he's suffering from a blockage. Most vets will treat a blockage with medication and subcutaneous fluids.

  8. Step 8

    Take a lethargic rabbit to the vet immediately. House rabbits are generally very active, unless they are napping. If your rabbit's usual activity level lessens, try to tempt him with his favorite vegetable, treat or toy. If he refuses his favorite treat, take him to the vet.

  9. Step 9

    Keep some rabbit-safe supplies in your pet's medicine chest. If he is suffering from gas pain, ask your veterinarian for the correct dosage of Phazyme, based on your rabbit's body weight. Phazyme provides quick relief from gas pain for most rabbits. Also keep styptic powder or baking powder on hand to stop bleeding from broken toenails.

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