How to Give Medication to a Rabbit
How to Deliver Eye Medication to Rabbits
If your rabbit has an eye infection or an injured eye, the veterinarian will probably prescribe medication. Most eye medications come in the form of liquid or gel that you administer directly into the eye. Since your rabbit will probably try to resist this, you'll need to control her so she doesn't kick and injure herself. Fortunately, there are several ways to restrain your rabbit so you can correctly give her the medication she needs.
Calming and Restraining Your Rabbit
Gather your supplies.Don't corner your rabbit until you have everything ready. You'll need the medication, clean tissue, and a restraint towel (if you're using one). Take the time to read the medication instructions thoroughly so you completely understand the directions.
- Never leave your rabbit alone on a table or counter while you get supplies ready. Instead, leave her in her cage or hopping around until you're ready.
- Remember to wash your hands before administering any medication. This can prevent the spread of disease to your rabbit.
Calm your rabbit.Choose a quiet area away from other people and pets so that your rabbit remains relaxed. Consider having another person nearby in case you need help restraining your rabbit. Make sure your rabbit is comfortable and not frightened by her surroundings.
- Your rabbit can pick up on your attitude so be positive and give a lot of reassurance during this process. If you're stressed or anxious, your rabbit might be too so stop and try another time when you're both relaxed.
Hold your rabbit in a towel.One of the easiest ways to restrain your rabbit is to wrap her in a towel. Place a large thick towel across your work surface. Set your rabbit on it, about a third of the way towards the end. Wrap the short end of the towel snugly around your rabbit's body. Bring the longer end of the towel over your rabbit and tuck it snugly underneath her.
- With the towel technique, only your rabbit's head should be exposed. This will prevent her from kicking or squirming while you give her the medication.
Get help holding your rabbit.If you don't feel comfortable restraining your rabbit by yourself, you may want to get another person to help you. Have the helper hold your rabbit by taking a firm grip on her scruff (the skin behind the ears). The helper should wrap the free arm around your rabbit's body to cradle her.
- Neverlift your rabbit off of a surface by the scruff (or ears). This will injure your rabbit.
Hold your rabbit close to you.If you don't need help restraining your rabbit and your pet is calm, try sitting on the floor with her. Set your rabbit in your lap so that her bottom is against your abdomen. Wrap an arm around her body to hold her snugly against your arm and body.
- If your rabbit begins squirming and wiggling, wait till she calms down before giving the medication. If you feel uncomfortable restraining your rabbit, ask a veterinarian or vet tech to show you the best way to restrain her.
Giving the Eye Medication
Pull your rabbit's eyelid open.Take the cap off the bottle or tube of medication. The medication will come in liquid or gel form. Gently pull your rabbit's lower eyelid so that a small pouch forms between the eyelid and the eyeball.
- If you have a hard time doing this, you could try to pull the upper eyelid back instead so that you deliver the medicine directly onto the white of the eye.
Squeeze the medication into the eye.To deliver drops, carefully squeeze the bottle or tube so the correct number of drops fills the pouch between the eyelid and eyeball. To deliver ointment, hold the tube about an inch away from the corner of your rabbit's eye. Gently squeeze while moving along the edge of the lower eyelid so you end up with a long ribbon of ointment along the lid.
- Keep the nozzle of the bottle or tube pointed away from your rabbit's eye so that if she moves, you don't injure her.
- Make sure not to touch the nozzle of the bottle or tube to any part of your rabbit’s body.
Encourage your rabbit to blink.Once the medication is in your rabbit's eye, gently massage her eyelid so the medication spreads around the eye evenly.Let go of your rabbit's eyelid and let her naturally blink a few times. Replace the cap on the medication bottle or tube for future use.
- Take a piece of tissue and wipe anything that drips out of your rabbit's eye. This keeps medication from getting on her fur.
Reward your rabbit.As soon as the medication is in the eye, give your rabbit a treat for good behavior and release her from your hold. Immediately rewarding her good behavior will help her associate the medication with a positive experience.This is especially important if you'll need to give her medication for several days.
- You may want to keep an eye on your rabbit and help her for a few minutes after giving the medication. Eye medications usually cause temporary blurred vision.
Know when to contact the vet.If you've successfully given your rabbit the eye medication, but it doesn't seem like her symptoms are improving, contact your vet. Make sure you give the full dose for the prescribed amount of time. Contact your vet if you notice:
- Change in tears
- Change in the white of the eye
- Color changes in the iris
- Irregular edges to the pupil
- Cloudy cornea
- Give all medication as directed by your veterinarian and for the time period indicated.
- Be very careful not to touch the medication nozzle to your rabbit’s eye. Doing so may contaminate the medication or injure your rabbit's eye.
- If you're having trouble or don't know how to give your rabbit her medication, ask the veterinarian for help.
Video: 387 Vets - How to give a rabbit medication
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