It’s advisable to keep a ‘rabbit first aid’ kit in case of emergencies. This kit should include a tick remover, bandages, adhesive tape, water wash bottle, sterile gauze, swabs, cotton wool and antibacterial cream. For a more comprehensive list, please follow the PDSA’s advice.
Cuts, grazes and wounds
Treatment should include bathing the wound with salty water to remove debris and if your rabbit licks the cut, this should be prevented by covering it up with a bandage. If your rabbit has a deep wound, you should take him to the vet as he may need to be stitched.
If you think your rabbit has broken a bone, take your pet to your vet immediately. Your vet will x-ray the injured area to determine if a break has occurred and advise you on treatment.
Burns and scalds
Run cold water over burns and scalds for a minimum of 10 minutes. Then contact your vet for advice. As with burns on people, don’t apply any creams as this may exasperate the injury.
If your rabbit has ingested a foreign body, he will need to see your vet who will examine and x-ray your pet. If a foreign body is confirmed, then an operation will probably be needed to remove the object.
If your rabbit has eaten a potentially poisonous substance or plant, try and find the packaging or identify the plant and phone your vet immediately for advice. Don’t try and induce vomiting, unless your vet has advised you to do so.
Heatstroke is a distressing condition in pets and, of course, prevention is strongly advised. However, if your rabbit is panting heavily and is distressed on a hot day, it is advisable to try and cool your pet down with cool water and by wrapping him in wet towels. Contact your vet for further advice.
If your rabbit is having a fit, don’t try and hold him down as this can prolong the fit as well as risk injury to you and your pet. Simply clear a space around your rabbit and allow the fit to pass. It may also help to darken the room and reduce noise. Contact your vet for further advice.
Injuries to the eye are quite common. If your rabbit has a foreign body (eg a grass seed) in his eye or his eyes look swollen, contact your vet for advice.
If your rabbit has been bitten, the wound should be cleaned with salty water and then regularly bathed for several days. If the bite is a deep wound, contact your vet, as antibiotics and stitching of the wound may be required. The golden rule is, if in doubt, contact your vet. If it’s out of normal working hours and it is an emergency, your vet will have an after hours number that you can call for advice.