Hi ThereA cat got into our rabbit's cage and removed a small amount of her fur. There is no wound that we can see but our rabbit has become extremely subdued. She is in a warm safe cage with our other rabbit at present. We assume she is in shock...she does not want to eat or drink. Any advice?Thanks, Rachel
Type of Animal: rabbit
Age: 6 months
Keeping her warm and safe.
Hello, I am Dr. Zoe. Welcome to Just Answer. Yes, this is concerning. Do you think your cat picked up the rabbit, and perhaps shook her?
It was not our cat. I heard the rabbit cry out and ran outside and the cat ( I assume it was a cat) took off, managing to jump over a four foot high enclosure. I did not see as it was dark.
My top concern is even though we see no obvious external lesions that she may have internal injury. If a cat shook her then there could be bleeding or things ruptured inside. This can be a problem that kills the rabbit. :( Is she showing any heavy breathing?
Her breathing seems ok, she is just subdued. She showed no sign of pain when being touched.
I do feel obligated to recommend you take her in to be examined, if you have an emergency clinic nearby that is comfortable seeing rabbits. If not, then the best you can do is monitor. Try to encourage her to eat. Bring out those fresh things that usually are popular. If she eats nothing for 8 - 12 hours, then you need to syringe feed her. Have you done this with a rabbit before?
I don't think there is a clinic open now, how do you use a syringe
Syringe feeding can be a challenge but you would first need a syringe (without needle) and I prefer the 6 ml (1ml = 1 cc) syringe. For feeding you can use pellets that you have ground in the blender with water OR you can use people baby food of the vegetable or fruit variety (they love the fruity stuff). Then you would feed about 12 ml every 6 to 8 hours. To actually do the syringe feeding, you draw your food into the syringe. Place the bunny on a counter (on a non-slick surface like using a towel or mat) facing away from you. And then put the syringe into her mouth from the side. Inject small amounts of food and let her lick/swallow. They don't love this but it works. You would do this unitl she starts eating on her own. YOu are also welcome to syringe water. Keep all her normal favorite foods available.
There are not over-the-counter drugs I can recommend you use becuase they are not in small enough doses or not available in liquid. If she is still not right tomorrow, then get her regular vet to take a look!
I will definitely take her into the vet first thing and try feeding her with the syringe now. Rabbits need to eat and drink really regularly don't they, will every 6-8 hours be enough?
Yes, rabbits eat fairly continuously. This is why we give a rabbit who is not eating about 8-12 hours and then if nothing is happening, we must help. And yes, every 6 hours should be fine to keep her system going.
Thank-you so much, is there any other advice for tonight?
There is not much else I can recommend. Monitoring is the best. If there is internal damage, then she may decline. :( I am very worried about this. If her current behavior is just shock and she is otherwise find with no trauma then she should pick up and back to normal within a day
That doesn't sound good, would a vet put her on antibiotics or something straight away tonight?
Yes, after evaluating her and if she seemed fine, we would probably start an antibiotic to protect against infection, and consider a pain relief drug if she had any evidence of pain (such as meloxicam).
I would also give fluids (usually subcutaneous if she was stable or if she was very shocky recommend hospitalize with IV fluids). This helps her combat shock.
so it is probably too long to wait until morning?
I must say if it is possible to have her seen tonight, then do so. If not, then you must do the best you can at home.
We will try and find someone then.
This is probably the best, safest plan!
You are welcome. Keep me posted with her progress. And, of course, let me know if you have further questions that I may be of assistance with.
OK, now that we are signing out, how do I let you know?
You can always respond at a later time to this particular question (even if you "accept"). Or you can address a new question to me by starting your question with "Dr. Zoe:". I am not online all the time but do check a lot during the day.
You are welcome. I
12 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
Hi Dr Zoe
I am very happy to report that Miffy our Rabbit is making an excellent recovery. She did have a wound and was given a stitch and an antibiotic. We fed her with a syringe (thanks for that advice) for 1-2 days and then she started eating. She is now happily grooming her friend Sooty!! We are so relieved and greatly appreciate your help. Her stitch comes out on Monday.
This is so great! I am so happy to hear she is doing well. Thank you very much for updating me.
Please let me know if you have future questions!