Though rabbits can be fragile…
It’s not impossible to save them from dying.
Even if you feel uncertain about what to do to help them…
What matters is you try everything you can to save them.
Know what to do before it’s too late.
Read to learn:
- 25 ways to save a dying rabbit.
- Tips on how to keep your rabbit healthy.
- Common rabbit diseases to watch out for.
- What to avoid to prevent making their condition worse.
- And many more…
How to save a rabbit from dying?
You can save a rabbit from dying by giving them the right medicine. Keep them well-fed and hydrated. Make sure to keep their body temperature normal. You must also keep their room clean. Avoid causing stress and loneliness. Give them all your comfort and attention as much as you can.
25 tips to save a rabbit from dying
#1: Know the signs of common rabbit diseases
Before taking any big steps, it’s important to know the main cause of the issue first.
This is to avoid giving them the wrong treatment or giving them the wrong medicine.
There are a lot of diseases that can be dangerous for a rabbit.
It can put them in a critical life-threatening situation.
To know the right steps to take, here are some common health problems in bunnies:
- Viral diseases.
- Dental issues.
- Lung damage.
- Brain damage.
- Bacteria infection.
- Gastrointestinal issues.
If a rabbit falls victim to any of these issues, it can turn into an even worse problem if left untreated.
In a sense, you can think of their health’s “security system” as very poor.
One disease is enough to affect their entire health.
Here are 11 symptoms to watch out for:
- Runny nose.
- Signs of fever.
- Lack of energy.
- Signs of paralysis.
- Blood in pee or poop.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Personality changes.
- Having red, watery eyes.
- Not eating and grooming.
- Making weird noises such as screaming.
Once you can tell the main problem…
You can proceed to the next tips.
#2: Regulate their body temperature
Check your rabbit’s temperature to know if they have a fever or hypothermia.
According to a study…
A healthy rabbit’s temperature must be around 101°F to 103°F (38.3°C to 39.4°C).
To check their body temperature, you can use a regular thermometer. Hold your rabbit still and insert it in their anus. Make sure it’s no deeper than 1 inch.
A temperature of 100°F to 30°F (37°C to -1.11°C) is a sign of hypothermia.
Anything above 103°F (39°C) is a sign of fever.
You can regulate their body temperature in simple ways.
Use small ice cubes and rub them against their ears. Make sure it doesn’t get their ears too wet.
You can also use cold vegetables. Place it next to them to cool them off.
Another option is to use a cold bottle of water. Wrap it in a towel and place it next to them.
In case of hypothermia, you can warm them up by using a hot bottle of water.
You should also wrap it in a soft cloth or towel to avoid burning them from the heat.
Observe until their body temperature improves.
#3: Keep them fresh and clean
When your rabbit is weakened, they might be unable to groom themselves.
As a result, their body can get covered in dirt.
Sometimes they can also sit in their waste.
This can make them feel very uncomfortable, and the stress can make it harder for them to recover.
Keeping them clean is a way to make them feel fresh.
Warning: Don’t bathe your rabbit. The shock from water can kill them.
Rabbits aren’t used to the water. Soaking them wet can be bad for their health.
You can use cotton wipes to wipe them clean. Or you can use damp towels too. Make sure it’s not too cold to keep them relaxed.
Dry them clean to avoid getting them cold.
#4: Avoid triggering allergies
Rabbits can have allergies, too, as revealed by a study.
To avoid making their condition worse…
You need to keep them away from things that can trigger an allergy.
Here are 5 things that can cause it:
- Insect bites.
- Air pollution.
- Chemicals from cleaning products.
To know if your rabbit has an allergy, you can watch out for these symptoms:
- Fur shedding.
- Excessive scratching.
- Changes in their skin.
- Red, itchy, and watery eyes.
- Abnormal swelling in bite areas.
Sneezing is also a common symptom of an allergy, as stated by a study.
#5: Start syringe feeding
If your rabbit is too weak to eat on their own or if they lost their appetite…
You need to start force-feeding them.
With their small bodies, they will need all the nutrition that they can get.
Rabbits can’t afford to miss out on that.
Otherwise… their condition can get worse.
To force-feed a rabbit, you can use any regular syringe as your tool.
You can buy food formulas from a vet, or you can make them on your own.
Soften up their food pellets using water or goat milk. Put it inside the syringe to get ready for feeding.
Then, get on the floor with your rabbit.
This method is more comfortable for most bunnies since many of them don’t like getting picked up.
But if you want to feed them on a table, you have to hold them still to avoid resisting.
Some rabbits might try to jump off too.
If it’s safer, you can ask for help from someone to hold them for you. This is to make sure they don’t start kicking and end up with a spinal injury.
Be patient with the process.
Because some of them can only eat small amounts at a time.
You might have to feed them every hour to make sure they get enough nutrients that they need.
Read next: Rabbit Syringe Feeding: 13 Safe Tips To Force Feed A Rabbit
#6: Provide medication on time
During a life-and-death situation, it’s important not to miss their medicine.
If you’ve taken your rabbit to the vet, most vets will give you a guide.
They’d tell you how often you should give their medicine. Including how much dosage and how they should take it.
If needed, you can ask for help from a family member or a friend.
They can give the medicine on your behalf if you’re busy or away.
If you’re not sure about medication hours…
Most rabbit medicines are only taken once or twice a day.
But to avoid risks, consult a vet if your rabbit needs medication. Try contacting via phone or email if possible.
This can help avoid the stress of traveling to the vet for your rabbit.
#7: Know which drugs are safe to use
Though there are many options for medicine…
Only a few of them are safe for your rabbit.
Before giving them any drugs, here are some safe to use medicine for rabbits, based on research:
- Injectable penicillin.
These are for cases of infection.
For pain relief, there are also safer options such as:
To know the right amount of dosage to take and how your rabbit should take them…
It’s best to consult your vet.
If you don’t know how to give medicine to your rabbit, you can do it by syringe-feeding.
You can watch this video for reference:
#8: Massage their belly to relieve them from pain
Aside from giving pain relief drugs, there is another way to help your bunny.
In case of GI stasis, massaging their belly can help.
Using your fingers, press on their stomach and push downwards. Be as gentle as possible.
Stop when they show signs of discomfort, such as grunting or crying.
#9: Don’t separate bonded pairs
Research shows that… bonded rabbits should stay together.
Avoid separating a bonded pair because it can make their condition worse.
As social animals, rabbits depend on others for comfort.
Being around their best friend can make them feel safe. When they’re alone, they can get depressed.
This can cause their body to shut down faster.
#10: Stop the bleeding if they’re wounded
In case of open wounds…
Stopping the bleeding is the priority.
You can use a clean, soft cloth and wrap it around the wound. Wrap it tight enough to apply pressure. Keep it on until the bleeding stops.
Once it does, you can consider cleaning the wound.
This is done to avoid infection.
Warning: In this situation, things can turn fatal at any moment. For your rabbit’s safety, take them to the vet ASAP.
#11: Avoid toxic chemicals around them
Rabbits have a sensitive nose; their lungs are also fragile.
Inhaling chemicals can turn deadly for them.
Sometimes, cleaning products can also put them in danger.
For example… air fresheners and wax products can irritate their nose.
This might also trigger an allergic reaction which can make it hard for them to breathe.
Chemicals can also poison them. Carbon dioxide from smoke is an example of a toxic chemical.
Too much exposure will ruin their lungs or even cause damage in the brain.
To help your rabbit recover, make sure they’re away from any health risks.
#12: Offer a healthy and balanced diet
Rabbits always need to eat the right food. It can be deadly for them to skip a meal.
A balanced diet for rabbits should have a fair amount of hay and a small number of vegetables.
Give them a limited amount of pellets and offer unlimited hay instead.
Brome, Timothy, and Orchard are great options for hay.
They are high quality and can cover everything a rabbit needs in their diet.
If your rabbit can’t eat normal food…
You can go back to tip #5.
Break down their food or buy food formulas to make it easier to eat.
#13: Get them vaccinated
Rabbits can be prone to viral diseases.
Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus, a.k.a RHDV, is an example.
It’s a deadly, contagious disease that can be a fast killer for rabbits.
If a dying rabbit catches this virus, their chance of recovery can become lower.
Research shows that…
Vaccine against RHDV is now available for them. Get it for your rabbit to protect them from the virus.
If you also own more rabbits, you should know the common signs of RHDV to avoid spreading the virus.
Here are 7 signs to watch out for:
- High fever.
- Lack of appetite.
- Irregular breathing.
- Changes in their skin color.
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, and rectum.
If you notice these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
#14: Avoid too much handling
Don’t carry your rabbit around or move them unless it’s needed.
Too much handling can be stressful for them, and it can cause unnecessary pain as well.
If they have broken bones or if they’re paralyzed due to a condition…
You need to be very careful with handling. Keep it moderate to avoid making their condition worse.
#15: Move them to a clean room
Cleanliness is very important to rabbits, regardless if they are sick or not.
A clean room can make them feel relaxed and free from potential health risks.
Dust from a dirty room can damage their lungs.
At the same time, it can also cause an allergic reaction.
Bacteria can also build up in dirty cages, which can lead to infections.
So, while your rabbit recovers, keep them in a temporary room.
This is to avoid exposing them to the same health risks.
After all, there’s a chance they could’ve gotten sick from their old living space.
#16: Clean their bedding at least once a day
Following tip #15…
You should also keep their bedding clean.
A dying rabbit might soil their bed since they can be too weak to move.
They might also lose control of their bladder or their bowel movements.
To avoid bacteria building up…
You should clean their bedding at least once a day.
If possible, doing it twice a day can help too.
One in the morning and one in the evening to ensure they can be comfortable in their sleep.
This can also avoid dust build-up which can irritate their nose.
As much as possible, clean up their living space whenever there’s a mess.
#17: Keep their room free from strong odors
A rabbit’s nose is twice as good as a human’s. Which means that their nose can be susceptible.
What smells bad to you… can be worse for their nose.
This is why it’s important to avoid strong odors around them.
Here are 5 examples of odors to avoid:
- Strong perfumes.
- Spices like chili powder.
- The scent of other animals.
- Cleaning products such as air fresheners.
The best thing to do is to try keeping their room free from any bad smell.
#18: Keep them away from loud noises
Like their nose, rabbits have very sensitive ears.
As shown by a study, they have a hearing range of 360 hertz up to 42,000 hertz.
Even the slightest noise can make them anxious.
So it’s best to keep them in a peaceful, silent room.
This will help avoid causing stress in your rabbit. Their mental health is also important to save them from dying.
#19: Avoid contact with other animals
If they’re not bonded with another animal…
It’s best to keep them away from other pets in the meantime.
This is because their health can be very sensitive.
Note: Other animals can carry bacteria that can harm your rabbit. This can make their condition a lot worse than it already is.
The presence of other animals can also cause stress for your rabbit.
Especially if they are the active type of animals like dogs.
In the healing stage, your rabbit needs to relax as much as they can.
To improve their chance of survival, avoiding all risks as much as possible is crucial.
#20: Give them fresh air
Rabbits also need fresh air regardless if they’re healthy or not.
There can be pollution in the air due to dirt or chemicals.
The room your rabbit stays in needs proper air circulation.
This will work with the right ventilation system.
Don’t keep them in a room where the air gets trapped. It will also make the humidity and room temperature worse.
The air needs to be purified to improve their chance of survival.
A study reveals that…
Humidity can infect a rabbit’s lungs.
This is why it’s important to keep them in a room with fresh air.
#21: Be wary of the room temperature
Following tip #20…
The temperature in the room is also crucial.
For most bunnies, their ideal room temperature is around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18 degrees Celsius).
If the room is too cold, they can develop hypothermia.
But when the room is too hot, they can get a heatstroke.
Either way, both situations are bad, especially for a very sick rabbit.
Check out this article: Why does my rabbit shake?
#22: Avoid causing stress
Stress can kill a rabbit.
So if they’re already sick or dying, do whatever you can to avoid it for them.
Know what causes stress in rabbits so you can prevent it.
Here are 5 examples:
- Loud noises.
- Feeling alone.
- Being ignored.
- Dirty living space.
Learn more: 21 Quick & Effective Ways To Reduce Stress In Rabbits
#23: Keep them hydrated
With their tiny bodies, rabbits can get dehydrated fast.
This is why it’s important to be close to them as much as possible, to make sure that they get enough water that they need.
An average rabbit needs to drink at least 1.69oz to 5.07oz (50 to 150ml) of water per day.
If your rabbit can’t drink on their own, go back to tip #5 and syringe-feed them.
#24: Stay beside them as much as possible
When you’ve tried everything and know you did all that you can…
All that’s left to do is stay beside them.
Try not to leave their side. Sometimes, all your rabbit needs is your presence.
Give them all the love and support, shower them with care and attention.
When they know that you’re there for them, it can give them strength and comfort.
Remember, loneliness can be bad for your rabbit’s mental health. So try to be with them as much as you can.
If you need to leave for work or other reasons…
You can ask help from a family or a friend.
Make sure there’s always someone watching over them.
For your rabbit’s best interests, it’s better if they’re around someone they already know.
This is to avoid causing fear in your rabbit.
Don’t forget to check out: How to comfort a dying rabbit?
#25: Take them to the vet
Only a professional can give you better help.
You can try all the tips you can find, but it’s still best to seek help from a vet.
Some rabbits need to be operated on or receive care 24/7, and only a vet can do that for them.
In a life-threatening situation, don’t hesitate. Bring them to the vet before it’s too late.