Critical Care for Rabbits: How It Can Save Your Bunny’s Life

Published: May 7th, 2023
Last Updated: May 9th, 2023
Written By: Bradly Spicer
Critical Care For Rabbits

Rabbits are prone to health issues, some of which can be life-threatening, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong. When your rabbit is poorly or in pain, they usually won’t show it verbally, it’s likely to be body language or behavioral.

In this article, we will discuss critical care for rabbits, including how to identify emergency situations, what to do, and how to prevent such situations from happening.

What is Critical Care?

Rabbit Critical Care
Our favorite critical care and digestion support (Rodevit Gastro)

Critical care is considered the magic medicine for rabbits. It’s a powdered solution that provides your rabbit with calories and hydration via a syringe feed method. You should always have critical care available (We recommend Oxbow) if your rabbit’s gut needs stimulation and you cannot access your veterinarian.

Making Critical Care is extremely easy; mix the powder with clean water until it becomes a smooth paste. This may require constant mixing to smooth the mixture as best as possible, lowering the chances of choking.

In most cases, your rabbit must be given Critical care during GI Stasis and after surgery. If you’re unsure, call and ask your local veterinarian.

We also use RodeVit as a Rabbit Probiotic, but this should be given regularly if your rabbit has issues with their gut and is not a replacement for Critical Care.

When should you use Critical Care?

When giving critical care to rabbits, you should act quickly if you notice any signs of an emergency. As mentioned earlier, some of the signs that your rabbit may be experiencing a critical care situation include:

  • Not eating or drinking
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Rapid breathing or labored breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Abnormal discharge from nose or eyes
  • Trauma

If your rabbit exhibits any of these symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately. Rabbits are fragile animals, and their health can deteriorate quickly, so time is of the essence.

If you’re unsure whether your rabbit is experiencing a critical care situation, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary care.

How to Make Critical Care for Rabbits?

If your veterinarian recommends that you give critical care to your rabbit at home, you can prepare the Critical Care solution yourself.

Instructions will usually be on the back of the Critical Care packaging. However, if you don’t have those to hand, we have attached an image of the Oxbow Critical Care solution.

Oxbow Critical Care Ingredients

Make Your Own Critical Care

This isn’t the optimal route and should only be done if you have no alternatives. Critical Care for Rabbits is a high-fiber, high-protein, and nutrient-dense formula that is easy to digest. This is the DIY recipe. If you’re missing anything, don’t worry. Just use what you can.

  • 1 cup of high-quality grass hay, such as timothy hay
  • 1/4 cup of pellets designed for adult rabbits
  • 1/4 cup of fresh vegetables, such as kale or parsley
  • One tablespoon of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of water

Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until it becomes a smooth paste. You can administer the critical care formula using a syringe or a feeding tube.

How much should I give my rabbit?

The amount of critical care to give your rabbit depends on its weight and the severity of its condition. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with specific instructions on how much critical care to give your rabbit and how often to administer it.

Generally, critical care for rabbits is given in small amounts, typically 10-20ml at a time, every few hours. The amount and frequency of critical care administration will depend on your rabbit’s needs, and your veterinarian may adjust the dosage based on your rabbit’s response to treatment.

If your rabbit cannot swallow or is struggling to breathe, do not attempt to give it critical care at home. Seek veterinary care immediately, as your rabbit may require emergency intervention.

Here is a table that calculates, based on your rabbit’s weight how much formula they should have per 24 hours:

Rabbit WeightDaily Formula (mL)Daily Formula (tbsp)
2lbs (0.9 kg)45 mL6 tbsp
3lbs (1.3 kg)68 mL9 tbsp
4 lbs (1.8 kg)90 mL12 tbsp
5 lbs (2.2 kg)113 mL15 tbsp
6 lbs (2.7 kg)135 mL18 tbsp
7 lbs (3.17 kg)158 mL21 tbsp
8 lbs (3.6 kg)180 mL24 tbsp
9 lbs (4 kg)203 mL27 tbsp
10 lbs (4.5 kg)225 mL30 tbsp
This should be divided into 4-6 feedings a day. 1 tbsp = 9 grams.

How to syringe feed your rabbit

This can be incredibly difficult, especially if your bunny isn’t used to being handled. We recommend wrapping them like a burrito during this process, and it can make the task much easier as they cannot struggle as much.

If you need to syringe feed your rabbit critical care at home, it’s essential to do it correctly to ensure your rabbit receives the nutrition without causing harm or discomfort. Here’s how to syringe feed your rabbit:

  1. Prepare the critical care solution according to your veterinarian’s instructions. Make sure the solution is at room temperature.
  2. Fill a syringe with the appropriate amount of critical care solution. Use a syringe with a soft, flexible tip to avoid injuring your rabbit’s mouth.
  3. Approach your rabbit calmly and gently. Hold your rabbit securely but gently in your lap or on a table.
  4. Insert the syringe into the side of your rabbit’s mouth, behind the front teeth. Be careful not to insert the syringe too far, which can cause discomfort or injury.
  5. Slowly and steadily depress the plunger to administer the critical care solution. Be careful not to give your rabbit too much at once, as this can cause choking or aspiration.
  6. Observe your rabbit’s response to critical care. If your rabbit is struggling or choking, immediately stop feeding and seek veterinary care.
  7. After feeding, offer your rabbit water to drink. You can use a syringe or a bowl, depending on your rabbit’s preference.

It’s important to note that syringe feeding should be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can provide specific instructions on how much critical care to give, how often to administer it, and how to monitor your rabbit’s response.

If you’re unsure how to syringe feed your rabbit, or if your rabbit is not responding to treatment, seek veterinary care immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give my rabbit critical care without a veterinarian’s recommendation?

Yes, you can, but it is highly recommended to do this under a veterinarian’s recommendation, even via a phone call. Critical care should only be administered if your rabbit needs it.

Can Rabbits Recover from Critical Care Situations?

Yes, rabbits can recover from critical care situations with proper care and attention. However, the success of the recovery depends on the severity of the situation and the quality of the veterinary care provided.

How can I prevent Critical Care situations in my rabbit?

You can prevent critical care situations in your rabbit by providing a healthy diet, a clean living environment, regular exercise, and regularly monitoring your rabbit’s behavior and health.

Can I give my rabbit Critical Care if they’re not eating after being spayed/neutered?

You should call the veterinarian practice that performed the procedure as your rabbit may not be eager to eat due to pain, nausea from the operation, or being uncomfortable.

What to feed a rabbit downloadable sheet
Get our FREE rabbit care eBook! to help look after your rabbit and give them the best care possible!

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Cottontailclub. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.