Ears: It is important to check your rabbits ears and make sure there is no waxy buildup. Lops are especially known for dirty ears. If you do see a waxy substance, you can take a q-tip with a little Chlorhexadine or water on it, dab or squirt the inside of the ear where the wax is. Let it sit, while the water breaks up the waxy build up, then you can clean the wax out with a dry q-tip. For Ear mites, take your bunny to the vet. You can sometimes see bloody dots in the ear and/or a brown thick substance. Constant ear scratching is a symptom of this.
*Note: Normal body temperature is between 101F and 103F. The rabbits ears can act like a temperature gauge. It is the release point for heat, unlike humans who sweat. To cool a rabbit wet the ears with cold water or provide a frozen water bottle for bunny to lay next too.
Mouth: Check bunnies teeth periodically, keep tabs on how long they are so you can compare with the next check. Rabbits’ teeth grow throughout their lives, it is necessary for rabbits to chew to keep their teeth ground down. If they become too long the teeth can prevent the rabbit from eating. Sometimes teeth can become misaligned; vertically or horizontally, this is called malocclusion it means the teeth are not wearing properly. If you see this take your bunny to the vet, they will need to trim the teeth.
Eyes: Rabbits can build up sleep in the corners of their eyes just like humans. This is normal but if you notice lots of drainage from the eye, or it’s always wet and weepy looking you should take your bunny to the vet. Weepy eyes can be caused by teeth issues or many other complications.
Nails: It is important to trim your rabbit’s nails as they start to grow out. Very often people forget to do this and their bunny will catch its long nails and twist its leg. Long nails are also prone to painful breaks.
The process isn’t complicated but can be tricky.
- Get cat nail trimmers
- Try to work with a partner, one holding bunny (who is wrapped in a towel) & the other person ready to trim the nails.
- Push hair away from nails and look for the quik (red line, this is blood).
- Then trim nail just above the quik. If you accidentally trim the nail to short, you can put a product called kwik stop on the nail to stop the bleeding.
Feet: If housing a rabbit in a cage try to get a plastic bottom cage. If you have a wire bottom cage put carpet samples, pieces of cardboard, or linoleum down for bunny to lie on. Wire bottom cages are abrasive to rabbits feet and cause sore hocks(red swollen abrasions).
Skin: Rabbit skin is very delicate and stretchy. If trimming mats or tuffs of fur be sure to keep the scissors away from bunny’s skin.
Brush bunnies hair the opposite direction it naturally flows to check for fleas or fur mites. If you see dry flaky patches, it’s a strong indication of fur mites. Look for black dots or fleas. You can treat it with the following products; Ivermectin, Program or Revolution. Always consult your vet before treating your rabbit, they can give you the proper dosage and tips.
Shedding: Rabbits shed several times a year. When you notice mass shedding it is very important to brush your rabbit as frequently as possible until the shedding subsides. Unlike cats, rabbits can not cough up hair balls. The hair needs to naturally pass through it’s system. Brushing your rabbit minimizes hair intake and the possibility of a hair ball blockage.
Baths: NEVER give a rabbit a bath unless recommend by your vet. They are self sustaining and clean themselves. Baths can be very stressful and contribute to health issues. It also makes them prone to hypothermia.
Drooling : This can be an indication of abnormally long molar teeth. You will want to take your rabbit to the vet ASAP.
GI Stasis (Silent Killer): Symptoms are usually running stool or very small fecal pellets. Bunny may become lethargic, loss of appetite or not eating at all. The rabbit may hunch in a ball and loudly crunch teeth. GI Stasis is very serious, the cause is static movement in the rabbits intestines potentially creating a blockage. If your rabbit stops eating and creating feces for 12 hours or more it is a medical EMERGENCY! Take your rabbit to a rabbit savvy vet ASAP!
Abscesses (Bacterial Infection): This starts with a wound that becomes infected usually creating a lump filled with pus. This will need to be drained, cleaned and the rabbit will need an antibiotic. Please see a vet, if you see or suspect this.
Pasturella (Upper Respiratory syndrome): Commonly known as the snuffles. Usually caused by a bacterial infection. The main symptom and most noticeable is a wheezy/grunting sound. People may also see discharge from the nose. This is a serious condition, take your rabbit to the vet.