Unlike humans, dogs, and cats, rabbits can get mortally ill very quickly. With rabbits, it is best to err on the side of caution.
If your rabbit is not eating or pooping, get medical attention IMMEDIATELY.
Use the information below to assess your rabbit and to begin treatment on the way to your vet's office. Remember, in an emergency, TIME IS CRITICAL.
Take your file of your rabbit's medical records with you if you are not going to your regular vet. This helps a new vet establish baseline information about your particular rabbit so that a diagnosis can be made more quickly.
Normal Rabbit Vital Signs
- Rectal Temperature: 103.3-104F; 38-40C
Don't use an ear thermometer. They are not reliable.
- Heart Rate (pulse): 130-325 beats per minute
- Respiratory Rate: 32-60 breaths per minute
If you haven't been trained in how to take a rabbit's temperature safely, don't worry! If the rabbit isn't behaving normally (for example, is lethargic and unresponsive, is panting and shaking, or is hunched up, slitty-eyed, and/or grinding its teeth), check its ears. Do they look and feel normal? If they're unnaturally cold, assume the rabbit's temperature is too low. If they are hot, with swollen red veins, assume the temperature is too high. (You don't need to know the exact temperature to know there's a problem!)
If the temperature is too low (rectal temperature is less than 100F), keep your rabbit warm by placing him/her on a towel wrapped hot water bottle or a towel wrapped heating pad turned on low.
If the temperature is too high (rectal temperature is greater than 105F), moisten the rabbit's ears and bottom of the feet with rubbing alcohol and/or place him/her on a towel wrapped ice bag or a towel wrapped bottle with cold/frozen water in it.
GET TO YOUR VET OR EMERGENCY CLINIC IMMEDIATELY!
Before It Becomes an Emergency
⇒"Detecting Rabbit Illness Before It's An Emergency"
by Dana Krempls, PhD.
This article includes instruction about how to take your rabbit's temperature (once you have been trained).
See "First Aid For Rabbits," by Laura Lathan, DVM, at Rabbit References.
In the Health & Medicine section, select the topic "Emergencies."
⇒Rabbit Health / Emergencies at Lagomorphs.com.