Hills Veterinary Clinic boy and rabbits

Taking Your Rabbit to the Vet

It is always stressful having to take your rabbit to the vet. Here are some tips to try and help everything go as smoothly as possible.

When you make your appointment ask to have one at a quiet time of day to try & minimise the number of other pets in the waiting room. It is important to remember that rabbits are prey animals & their natural predators are often found in your vet’s waiting room. Imagine how you would feel waiting to see the doctor sitting between a lion & a tiger!!

When you arrive try & find a quiet place to sit. If the waiting room is busy ask the receptionist if you can wait outside until it is your turn.

If your rabbit is one of a bonded pair it is a good idea to take them both to the surgery. In some cases the vet may need to examine the other rabbit (in case of infectious disease etc) but generally they will just keep each other company. Make sure your pet carrier is large enough for them to travel together comfortably. Rabbits usually travel best in an enclosed carrier & are usually easier to get out of one with a top opening.

If your rabbit is going into the surgery for an anaesthetic they will have to stay in for at least a few hours. Again taking a ‘friend’ with them will help them to relax and will avoid any problems reintroducing bonded pairs.

Rabbits do not require fasting prior to anaesthetic, as they are unable to vomit. They should have food & water available to them until they arrive at the surgery. Food is normally taken away about an hour before the anaesthetic is given so that the mouth and pharynx are clear of food.

Take some of your rabbit’s normal food with you to the surgery as rabbits are fed as soon as they recover from the anaesthetic and it is important to offer them something familiar. If your rabbit drinks out of an unusual container (particular bowl etc) take that as well, as rabbits often wont take to a different type of drinker.

When your rabbit returns home after surgery it is important that you keep him warm and comfortable. He should be kept inside at a temperature of 20-22 C for at least 48 hours after surgery (longer if advised by your vet). If they have any surgical wounds we normally recommend not to bed them on shavings (which gets stuck to the wound) but to use shredded paper or straw instead.

Make sure you are completely clear about any medication or specific instructions given and if not, don’t be afraid to ask.