A dog just attacked your bunny.
It’s a disaster.
And now that it’s over, your rabbit is frozen in shock.
But before you even get more worried…
Let me tell you how to help your bunny.
Keep reading to find out:
- Whether shock is deadly for rabbits.
- 3 crucial tips when tending to a rabbit in shock after a dog attack.
- 3 immediate assessments you must do on your shocked rabbit (to know how hurt they are after the attack).
- And many more…
Rabbit in shock after dog attack – 3 essential tips
Important: I arranged the tips below like a step-by-step process. You must follow everything immediately but with caution.
#1: Keep your rabbit warm
In humans, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) wrap a blanket around trauma victims.
Fun fact: They don’t put a cotton or fleece blanket over the patient. That’s because heat can pass through those materials. Instead, EMTs use a heat-reflective blanket. Which keeps the victim warm for a longer time.
Now, your bunny needs the same immediate treatment when they’re in shock.
Unfortunately, a traumatic experience can prevent the brain from regulating body temperature.
So when they’re in shock after the dog’s attack…
Your bunny feels colder as their temperature drops.
Note: You can check their ears. They’ll be cool to the touch.
And usually, your rabbit’s system responds by shivering.
But in most cases, that’s not enough to put the heat back into their body.
With that, wrap a towel or shirt around your bunny.
Now, it doesn’t matter if the cloth is heat-reflective or not…
Just as long as it helps them return to their normal body temperature. Which, according to MSU, is between 102°F (38.8°C) to 103°F (39.4°C).
Warning #1: Handle your rabbit carefully before and after wrapping them with a towel. Make sure you don’t make any sudden movements.
Warning #2: Assure the wrap isn’t too tight around your bunny. Some of them don’t like the feeling of restraint. As prey animals, they think you’ll eat them when you wrap them too tightly. Which is too cruel as they’d just escaped a traumatic experience from a predator.
With that, if you overlook both warnings…
You’ll make your bunny’s shock even worse.
#2: Carefully transfer them to a calm environment
Being wrapped and staying warm isn’t enough to calm your rabbit…
You must move them to a quiet environment as well.
Because if they’re going to stay where the attack happened…
Your bunny’s not going to recover.
Instead, their nervousness will escalate.
Warning: PETA reveals rabbits can get a heart attack from extreme fear. And that can lead to their death.
Moreover, be careful when transferring them….
That said, after wrapping your bunny, here’s how you must proceed:
Transfer them using a box or carrier
Your bunny isn’t a fan of being handled, even on their best days.
With that, holding them can make them more scared. Which won’t help their shocked state.
So, to lessen their fear…
Instead of carrying them with your hands, put your shocked rabbit inside a box or carrier.
Those choices aren’t too open like a cage.
But they’re also not entirely closed and restraining.
Therefore, your bun will be less overwhelmed while you walk back inside the house. Or anywhere with a quieter setting.
Picking a calm environment
Here are the criteria when choosing a room or place:
- No loud noises (from TV, radio, etc.).
- Enclosed enough to muffle the noises from outside.
- Less foot traffic (because anyone passing by is a distraction).
Moreover, limit the number of people in that area.
It should be just you with the rabbit. Or only 1 other person can help you care for your fur baby.
And if you have children around, don’t let them near your bunny for now.
#3: Assess and recollect
Now that you and your bun are settled in a calmer environment.
It’s time to:
Assess your bunny’s state
The first thing to do is ensure your bunny’s temperature is back to normal.
So, grab a thermometer. Then, unwrap the cloth from your bunny.
After that, watch this video to learn how to take your rabbit’s temperature properly:
And if their temperature is back to normal…
You can keep the wrap off from your bunny.
If you put it back and their temperature’s fine, you’ll risk increasing it too much. Which will be uncomfortable for your shocked rabbit.
Now that they’re unwrapped…
You finally have a clear view of your bunny’s body.
With that, look for any signs of bites, wounds, or scratches.
Tend to those that are bleeding.
Use a clean and dry cloth to press lightly against them.
That stops blood from coming out.
And while you’re holding the cloth over the wound…
Try to feel whether there’s any trickling or pulsating in the area…
If there is, that’s a sign that your bunny can lose a lot of blood.
So, immediately proceed to tip #4. (While still putting light pressure on the bleeding wound)
#3: Internal injuries
If you don’t see anything on your rabbit’s body…
Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet…
Your bunny might still have internal injuries. Examples are broken bones or hemorrhaging (bleeding).
Warning: Those are difficult to spot. Unfortunately, the symptoms only show up after a day or 2. Which is why a rabbit suddenly and randomly dies after an attack.
Now I don’t want to dishearten you so much…
So know that some of the symptoms might show up earlier…
But since this is an emergency, you can’t wait for those to come around.
With that, carefully press against different parts of your rabbit’s body.
You must look for tender parts, which can indicate swelling.
Your bunny might also react when you press against a spot. That means they feel pain in that part.
Recollect what happened
Next up, recall the events before, during, and after the attack.
Ask yourself the following questions:
“Where did the dog grab your rabbit?”
By the scruff? Or was your bunny’s head inside the dog’s mouth?
These questions will help you think of the affected body parts on your bunny. With that, you can further assess the damage to them.
“How long was the attack?”
Knowing the duration of the attack can help you estimate the amount of shock your rabbit is in.
The longer it was, the more fearful they were.
“How were you able to break off the attack?”
Did you have to risk yourself to get your rabbit from the dog’s mouth?
Or did the canine drop your rabbit, and you immediately grabbed your bunny from the floor?
These are important to recall.
Because during the panic…
You might also have inflicted an injury on your rabbit.
For example, when you immediately clutched them…
You hurt them further by squeezing your bunny too hard.
Note: What you find during your assessment and recollection is vital. The information that you’ll gather will be beneficial for the next tip.
Bonus: Consult a veterinarian
“Why wasn’t this the first tip?”
Let me explain…
The previous tips were like first aid. So, they’re the most immediate response.
Moreover, a sudden car ride to the vet can frighten your rabbit further.
So, it’s best you comfort, settle, and assess them first.
And after you recall in detail what just happened…
You can finally call the veterinarian.
Pro tip: If your bun doesn’t have a regular vet, you can ring any emergency hotlines in your area.
Once they pick up, tell them what happened to your bunny. Also, mention your answers to the questions I listed above.
Then, follow the doctor’s advice on how to proceed.
Now, they might suggest you drive your bunny to the nearest vet hospital.
Note: I’ll emphasize going to the nearest clinic. Again, car rides can be stressful for the already shocked rabbit. So, it’s best to keep the trip short by going to the closest hospital.
And if the moment does call for a drive…
Transport your rabbit inside a car carrier to give them a feeling of security.
This also lessens the stress they’re feeling.
And when you and your bunny arrive in the hospital…
One of the first treatments that the vet might administer is a painkiller, if needed.
According to research, that’s because rabbits are very sensitive to pain. So, going through so much of it can be deadly for them.