Help: My rabbit has a fever! Causes, symptoms and treatment methods
Fever is an alarming sign not only in humans but also in rabbits.
However, our advice is to stay calm!
In this article, we will show you step by step how to deal with a rabbit that has an elevated body temperature:
How do you recognize a fever in rabbits? Can you avoid fever? When to go to the doctor? What is the right treatment?
We clarify the most important questions and provide proven tips and advice.
How do I know my rabbit has a fever?
There are a variety of clues that can indicate an acute fever.
One of these clues is your rabbit’s ear temperature. If your rabbit’s ears are noticeably warm or even hot, it’s a good bet that your fluffy friend is struggling with a fever.
In addition, you may notice that your pet’s behavior changes: Rabbits with a fever seem listless and lethargic.
Furthermore, fever affects the eating behavior of the animals. It is therefore not uncommon for your fevered rabbit to eat significantly less food and drink than usual.
If this condition persists, you should definitely take your animal to the vet.
Rabbits are not capable of sweating. No matter how high your pet’s body temperature may be, your pet’s fur will always be dry.
Ultimately, only a body temperature reading will tell you for sure whether your rabbit has a fever or not.
If you don’t have a thermometer or don’t dare to take the temperature yourself, a competent veterinarian will be happy to do it for you.
The normal body temperature of a healthy rabbit is between 38,5 and 39,5°C.
Is fever dangerous for rabbits?
First of all, you need to know that fever is not a disease in itself, but merely an accompanying symptom of another disease.
Therefore, fever in itself is not dangerous in the first place.
Fever always occurs when the immune system is struggling a lot. The defense mechanisms of your rabbit are running at full speed to eliminate pathogens.
From this point of view, fever is a positive thing. It shows that your animal has a functioning immune system. However, a prolonged or very high fever brings some dangers with it.
For example, the high temperature and lack of fluids can quickly lead to dehydration.
In addition, the high fever over a long period of time can cause tissue and organ damage.
If the fever lasts for a long time, this is also a sign that the immune system is obviously not capable of successfully asserting itself against its enemy.
The high energy expenditure that the immune system demands from the organism in the fight against its enemy weakens your rabbit and ensures a high stress level. This is due in no small part to the fact that rabbits are prey animals and would be in great danger in the wild if they lacked the strength to escape.
This emerging stress has a negative effect on the recovery process, because the animal actually needs a lot of rest.
Therefore, it is important to find the cause of the fever as soon as possible, so that you can help your animal to get well again.
In the next section, we will take a closer look at the cause of the fever.
Why do rabbits have fever? The most common causes
The causes for your rabbit having a fever can be very diverse.
From infections to a middle ear infection to abscesses, the sky’s the limit. Even simple food intolerances can have such a serious impact on the digestive system, depending on the animal, that fever is the result.
To track down the culprit that is causing your beloved pet’s fever, it is always important to look at your pet’s overall behavior and also pay attention to physical changes.
Is your rabbit perhaps losing more fur than usual?
Is he eating and drinking normally, poorly or even excessively?
Are there any signs of parasites?
Have you changed anything about the diet?
Does your rabbit have diarrhea?
Is the rabbit behaving aggressively and showing pain?
You should ask yourself all these and many more questions and clarify them afterwards.
This way you can gather first clues where exactly the fever could originate from. In any case, a visit to the vet is recommended if the fever persists – even if you are convinced that you know what your rabbit has.
Only the veterinarian has the tools necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Your rabbit cannot tell you what problems it has at the moment, and many diseases are very similar in terms of their symptoms.
Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt, always consult a veterinarian to determine the cause!
It is of no use to you or your pet if you are wrong with the diagnosis and your pet ends up dying from a disease that could have been easily treated if it had been discovered earlier.
Of course, it is best if your rabbit does not develop a fever in the first place.
Find out now if and how fever can be prevented.
Can fever be avoided?
Fever can never be avoided 100%. This is not even necessary. As already mentioned, fever is merely an accompanying symptom of another disease.
No matter how well you care for your animals, they will always get sick – through no fault of their own. However, there are some things you can do to keep the risk of illness as low as possible.
You can take the following precautions to avoid illness and fever in your rabbits:
- species-appropriate feeding
If you feed your rabbit fresh food and make sure that this food is of the best quality, your pet’s organism will be so well positioned that the immune system can do its job optimally.
Pathogens will have a much harder time!
- avoid stress
Stress is not good for health, neither for humans nor for animals.
Therefore, make sure that your animals experience as little stress as possible. Especially noise has a very negative effect on the health of your rabbits.
Ideally, the animals’ enclosure should be in a quiet place where there is not much commotion and the animals can fully relax.
- allow exercise
A rolling stone gathers no moss!
This principle also applies to rabbits. If you offer your rabbits the opportunity to move to their heart’s content, then this movement will have a very positive effect on the health of the animals.
Ideally, the setup of the enclosure should be such that your rabbit even has to move around to meet all of its needs. Even among rabbits, there are one or two candidates that do not move an inch more than absolutely necessary on their own.
- see your veterinarian early in case of symptoms
If you notice changes in your animal, such as the appearance of diarrhea or aggressive, fearful or apathetic behavior, you should clarify the cause directly at the vet.
In an early stage of the disease, fever rarely occurs and the earlier the disease is detected, the better and faster the animal’s recovery progresses.
If all precautions do not help and your rabbit has become ill after all, then you are surely wondering how to treat the animal’s fever.
Therefore, we will now answer this question.
How to treat your rabbit
How you can treat the fever of the animal, of course, depends largely on what is the cause of the fever.
As long as the triggering disease remains, the fever will not disappear completely.
However, you can help your pet by making sure he is drinking enough water. If your rabbit refuses to drink, you can gently instill fluids several times a day using a syringe.
Also, your sick rabbit needs even more rest than usual.
Therefore, avoid unnecessary noise, bustle and other stress so that your rabbit can fully concentrate on his recovery process.
To motivate your rabbit to eat at least a little bit of food, it can sometimes be helpful to offer him his absolute favorite food.
The less your pet eats, the weaker he will become and the longer it will take him to recover.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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