I Have an Emergency

Note:  If your emergency is with a Bunny Buddies foster, please CONTACT US!

Let’s face it folks:  Veterinary care is not cheap, so it is very important that you have your bunny’s symptoms down pat so that you can make the most of your visit.  Only you the owner know your rabbit’s behavior intimately.  You should be ready to direct the vet’s attention to exactly what is wrong even if it seems irrelevant.  To aid you in this, we have listed just a few of the most common rabbit symptoms.

 

Symptoms Description Seriousness

Inactivity

Does not come for treats. &ampnbspYou know your rabbit, and if he is not doing what he normally does, there might be cause for alarm

Serious

Hunching

Bunny is hunched up. &ampnbspDoes not flop. &ampnbspAt most, the rabbit will sit almost immobile in the &amplsquohen&amprsquo position.

Might be serious. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

Rectal temperature below 101

Any temperature below 101 is considered critial. Get at least two good readings, and verify that the ears are cold.

Critical

Rectal temperature above 103

Temperature above 103 is an emergency.

Critical

Frequent scratching of ears

The rabbit is constantly cleaning/scratching it&amp#39s ears with it&amp#39s back feet. &ampnbsp(This does not include cleaning the outside ear with the front paws and mouth).

Treatable. Needs attention.

Anti-social behavior

Rabbit is unexpectedly attacking other rabbits or you. &ampnbspNote the exact circumstances where the attack occured because this might not be medically related.

&ampnbsp

Monitor it. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

Tilted head

Head tilts to one side, and there is an apparant loss of balance or coordination .

Critical.

Limping

Bunny hops with one foot disengaged.

Serious

Cuts and Wounds

Ripped places. &ampnbspIf you know how these were caused (for example due to fighting), make sure to tell your vet.

Serious

Runny nose

Bunny&amp#39s nose runs or it sneezes constantly.

Treatable. &ampnbspNeeds attention. &ampnbspCould be serious if coupled with other symptoms.

Mucas on the paws

Paws should normally be clean and dry.

Serious

Noticible squeek or rasp in breathing

Some rabbits are just all around noisy. &ampnbspIf you notice new respitory sounds however, something might be wrong.

Might be serious. &ampnbspMonitor it. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

Runny eyes

Water coming out of one or both eyes. &ampnbspNote which eye(s).

Serious

Bottom fur on feet worn.

Fur worn off bottom of rear feet. &ampnbspThis is sometimes accompanied by sores.

Treatable. &ampnbspNeeds attention.

No feces

No feces in litter box for last 12 hours

Monitor it.

No feces (serious)

No feces in liter box for last 24 - 36 hours

Serious

No urination

No urination for the last 24 hours.

Serious

Frequent urination

Rabbit is always drinking and urinating.

Monitor it. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

Excessive gurgling or digestive sounds

Many of these sounds are common in rabbits (especially when drinking). &ampnbspIf you hear them often when the bunny is not drinking, this is a symptom you should note.

Monitor it. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

Cecotropes

If you see soft droppings shaped like bunches of grapes, do not panic. These are normal in small amounts. &ampnbsp

Normal. &ampnbspIf seen frequently however, might be related to something else.

Soft stools

These are not cecotropes. &ampnbspExperienced rabbit people and vets can tell the difference. &ampnbspThe main thing to note when and how often they are happening.

Monitor it. &ampnbsp

Bloody stools

Blood in the stools. &ampnbspStools could be hard or soft

Serious

Diarrhea

Mucas in stools. &ampnbspThese might be uneaten cecotropes

Serious

Bulging eyes

This indicates severe pain.

Critical

Grinding teeth

This is a slow repeated tooth grind... not a &ampldquotooth purr&amprdquo. &ampnbspThe louder, the more pain the rabbit is in.

Serious

Weight gain

This is common before GI statis. &ampnbspIf you note that your rabbit is neither eating nor pooping, take it&amp#39s weight immediatly.

Monitor it. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

Weight loss

Sometimes hard to tell in long furred rabbits. &ampnbspAgain, take the weight when you notice that the rabbit is neither eating nor pooping.

Serious. &ampnbspBy the time you notice, there is probably something else going on.

Bloat

The abdomen is slightly distended.

Serious

Reluctance to be held or handled

Many rabbits do not like being either held or handled. &ampnbspThis is therefore a relative symptom that only an experienced handler will know.

Serious

Sores

These can occur just about anywhere on a rabbit&amp#39s body. &ampnbspIf the sore is an abscess, it will sometimes &ampnbspemit a thick pus when squeezed.

Treatable. &ampnbspNeeds attention.

Strange Lumps

Any lump at all might be a cyst or a tumor.

Treatable. &ampnbspNeeds attention.

Drooling

This can sometimes be caused by eating too fast. &ampnbspHowever, it is also caused by maloculted molars.

Monitor it. &ampnbspLook for other symptoms.

If it looks like you have any of the symptoms above, a trip to the vet is almost certainly unavoidable.  The next logical question however is, “How long can I wait?”  
Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this.  As much as we would love to say “As soon as possible,” we understand that sometimes these medical emergencies happen at very inconvenient times.  Furthermore, unless you have animal medical coverage, you are looking at at least $500 for an emergency vet visit.  We can however venture a few guidelines to our Houston members on the seriousness of the symptoms.

Symptoms Action to Take
“Monitor” Contact a Bunny Buddy friend, or contact us.  We can advise you if a vet visit is necessary. There is a good chance that other symptoms of illness will apear too, so keep the bunny under careful observation.
“Treatable” These will probably require a vet visit soon, but they should be treated before too long.  You probably have enough time to contact us for non-medical advice.
“Serious” These require a vet visit within 24 - 48 hours if not sooner.  If you don’t have a vet you can trust with rabbits, see our page on rabbit savvy vets for one close to you.
“Critical” These require an emergency vet visit.  They are life threatening and must be treated  immediatly.  If it is “after hours” then you might need to go to an animal emergency clinic.  See our vet page for those which offer 24 hour service.

Well, Yes, and No!  It is not our policy to endorse any veterinarian, so we cannot “recommend” anyone.  However, we do offer to our members valuable advice on such things as:

  • How much you can expect to pay
  • Which vets we have worked with in the past
  • How common your symptoms are, and the level of urgency we would personally assign to it
  • In some cases (for example with our foster bunnies), we can set up appointments

 

If you are not from the Houston area we will probably not be of much help.  We might, however, be able to put you in contact with a rabbit rescue near you.  See our Find a Vet page for more information page on Houston area vets!