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Quick First-Aid Rabbit Care

Use these emergency treatments to keep your rabbit safe.

By Rabbits USA editors

Bleeding: To control bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with sterile gauze, a clean towel or cloth directly over the wound. Continue applying pressure with the gauze/towel/cloth until you reach the vet.

Superficial bite wound: Thoroughly flush the wound with warm, soapy water. You can also flush it with povidone iodine solution (make sure it’s diluted to an “ice-tea” color using warm water). If the wound is deeper than the thickness of the skin, call your vet immediately for instruction before attempting to clean or flush it out.

Ingestion of poisonous or toxic substance: If your rabbit is excessively salivating, pawing at the mouth and/or has unusual bruising on the skin, it may have ingested something toxic, which requires vet care. (Keep in mind that there may be no immediate signs of poisoning, so if you suspect that your pet ingested something toxic, take it to the vet.) Bruises on the skin can be a sign of rat poison ingestion, as it prevents blood from clotting normally.

Common household toxins include:

  • Lead or zinc from galvanized cages
  • Paint
  • Linoleum and curtain weights
  • Cleaning supplies
  • New carpet fumes and insecticides.

Toxic plants include:

  • Azalea
  • Calla lily
  • Diffenbachia
  • Lily of the valley
  • Morning glory
  • Oleander
  • Poinsettias
  • Pits, seeds or bark of apricot, apple, almond, chokecherry and wild black cherry trees

Posted: April 2, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT


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Reader Comments
I was hoping I could get suggestions for Tyler ( rabbit). He has head tilt and his left eye is getting irritated from foot and the ground. I can bandage his foot but what about an eye patch, and how would you put it to somewhat stay.
Rebeca, Bakersfield, CA
Posted: 9/6/2014 8:16:26 PM
I would like to share an first aid emergency with the readership but responsibly caution this does not replace the knowledge of a veterinary. Our dwarf rabbit suddenly became stiff and unresponsive and feverish. We could not call in the early morning to make inquiries so we communicated our situation with a relative in the Uae who, phoned around for help there. The animal doctor in the Uae said to give the dwarf bunny a 1/4 of an aspirin and feed it water through an eye dropper and some liquidified veggies. It looked like "doom and gloom" for "Fluffy"; a pure white rabbit with baby blue eyes. Within 30 minutes of giving her the aspirin and a veggie shake our pet was perky and was soon back to normal. Thanks for the in-law and that vet and soon "Fluffy" was up to her normal self including "mooching for treats like a spoiled brat"; wioth laughter. Thank you for listening, if this helps your pet emergency, then we all win with open minds and shared communication but a vet knows better.
Kerwin Maude, International
Posted: 3/4/2014 11:54:13 AM
This is a response to Ella's question, re: dripping eye, dated 10/5/11. My bunny tends to have this issue and for him it is his narrow tear ducts that get clogged. Therefore, I have to have the vet, or vet tech, flush the ducts and make sure that they are clear. At first it was only the left eye and then in time it became the right eye that has this issue. If you cannot afford a visit to the vet, perhaps you can call the office of a rabbit-savvy vet (or rabbit rescue organization) and explain your circumstance. Hopefully, they will give you advice to help you help your bunny. Good luck.
T, Long Island, NY
Posted: 2/19/2012 2:51:28 PM
The article is fantastic. My rabbit has a dripping eye, please tell me what I can do, I cannot afford a vetanarion visit. Thank you so much
ella, Peyton, CO
Posted: 10/5/2011 12:21:12 PM
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