Definitely follow the advice on the house rabbit society's website. Also, the Bunny would benefit from a critical care pack. See if she can get the Oxbow Critical Care pack for herbivores. You can order it online http://www.oxbowhay.com/link.sp?page=critical-care
She may be able to find it in town. Some places carry it. It is very, very important that the bun eat. If buns go without eating it will shut down their digestive system and they will die and this doesn't take much time at all.
Get her to the vet asap- a bunny savvy vet- look for someone with training in exotics. Some vets can do real harm to a rabbit because they aren't familiar with appropriate treatment.
Here is some info on how to find a vet and bunny health (including Bunny Porridge)-Finding a Good Veterinarian
Try offices that list rabbits and exotics, if they are not listed, chances are they do not work on rabbits. When you call, ask if they have a vet who works on bunnies. If not, hang up and call another vet. When you find a perspective vet, ask how many bunnies they see a week. It should be in the 20+ range. If it is 1-2 per week, try to find another one. The more experience, the better. You can also ask the shelter, rescue place, or breeder where you got your bunny if they can recommend a vet nearby. If you are bringing your bun in for neutering or spaying and they tell you to with hold food and water before the operation, then find another vet. Bunnies cannot vomit, so there is no need to with hold food and water A good vet will know this, and it may cause the bunny problems to go with out food anyway.
Anesthesia for bunnies is not as straight forward as it is for cats and dogs. In the beginning of my bunny ownership, I lost 3 buns when I brought them to a low-cost spay and neuter clinic to save some money. Rabbits are expensive to spay and neueter, and it's tempting to try a cheaper vet because of the cost involved, but it is not worth it. The danger exists when the rabbit is coming out of anesthesia. If proper attention is not made to the rabbits health before anesthetizing, and during the time they come out of their "sleep", bunnnies can go into respiratory distress and heart failure can occur. There are anesthesias that are safer for bunnies than the ones typically used for cats and dogs, but they cost more. This is why it is more expensive to spay and neuter a bunny than it is for a cat. If your new vet is not aware of this, consider finding a different vet to spay or neuter your bunny.
Using the Right Medications
Some antibiotics are deadly to bunnies such as amoxicillin and pennicillin. These antibiotics will kill the healthy bacteria in your rabbits intestines and cause severe diarrhea and/or bloating that results in death in most cases. Some vets will prescribe amoxicillin along with another prescription of probicin. Probicin is a pill which will help re-establish the good bacteria in the intestines. Don't allow this for your bunny. There are so many safe antibiotics out there for bunnies, why take the risk?
Some Bunny Safe Antibiotics: Baytril, Bactrim, Dual-cillin (procaine G with Benzathine), Chloramphenicol, Tetracycline, Sulfa-drugs based like Septra or TMS, Cipro, Diprofloxacin, Sulfamethazine, and Amalcacin. Topical: Tetracycline
Good Bunny Pain Relievers Aspirin, Butorphenol (torbugesic), and Flunixin (banamine).
Bad Bunny Antibiotics: Amoxicillin, Penicillin, Clavamox
Remember, it is best to only give medications under the care and supervision of your vet.
Does My Bunny Need a Vet?
Sometimes it is hard to know if you need to see a vet. If you aren't sure, a vet visit is always the best thing; better safe then sorry! The most important thing to monitor as a bunny parent is intake and output. If your bunny is eating, drinking, and pooping nice healthy raisinette-type poops, you are probably OK to wait until your vet opens. If your bun is eating, but not pooping, you might be OK to wait, but a vet visit ir recommended as soon as possible. If he is not eating or pooping, and seems listless and mopey, this is cause for concern. Diarrhea is also cause for concern, especially if the diarrhea is severe. You should not wait to take your bun to the vet, these situations kill bunnies quickly.
Soft poops can be helped by feeding your bunny uncooked oatmeal, along with fresh hay and pellets. Withhold fruits and snacks with high sugar content, as this will exacerbate the problem. Listlessness, severe diarrhea, bloating (your bunny seems fat and is not eating), and not pooping are all serious reasons to go to the vet as soon as physically possible.
If you absolutely cannot go to a vet, and your bunny isn't eating or drinking, you can try to syringe feed him water and food. Try to feed him slowly so he will not choke. The following recipe is tasty and good for your bun:
1/2 Fresh Carrot
3-4 Fresh Broccoli Spears
1 Cup Fresh Spinach
2 Tablespoons Fruit Yogurt (not sugar free, aspertame can cause serious problems for bunnies!)
1/2 Cup Uncooked Oatmeal
Put the carrot, apple, broccoli, spinach, and yogurt in a blender. Puree ingredients until smooth (add water to get it going). Add oatmeal and continue to puree, adding water until you have the consistency of yogurt and it can be fed from a syringe. You may also use different vegetables, but make sure you use oatmeal. The porridge is ready for feeding. Store extra porridge covered in the refrigerator, and do not use after more than 12 hours.
Syringe feed your bunny water too, in order to make sure she is not becoming dehydrated. For bunnies that have diarrhea, feed them a serving of ben-e-bac once per day. Both syringes and ben-e-bac are available at our Bunny Products Store.
Common Bunny Illnesses-
Bunny illnesses can be fatal if not taken care of in a timely manner by an experienced bunny vet. Waiting too long can result in very expensive vet bills and many times death. Most of the time, bunnies get sick due to an imbalance in their digestive system. They have bacterial and fungal flora in their intestines which are essential to their digestion.
Gastrointestinal Stasis, or GI Stasis, is an illness where the rabbits intestine becomes static due to poor diet, stress, dehydration, intestinal blockage, or insufficient dietary crude fiber, the latter being the most common cause. If this condition is not treated, it can result in a painful death in a relatively short period of time.
Symptoms of GI Stasis include very small or no fecal pellets, sometimes clinging to the bunnies backside fur. Sometimes, clear yellowish mucus will encase these small pellets. A "runny stool" is sometimes also a symptom. Normal gurgling sounds your bunny usually makes are replaced with loud violent gurgles, or no sound at all. Lethargy, loss of appetite, crunching into a ball and crunching his teeth in pain are also symptoms of GI Stasis. If your bunny has any of these symptoms, he should be treated by a veterinarian immediately!. For more information on GI Stasis, click here.
Myxomatosis is a fatal disease spread to rabbits by mosquitos, fleas, and biting flies. The virus is a type of pox virus which grows in rabbits. A mosquito, flea, or biting fly will bite an infected rabbit, and some of the virus will remain on their proboscis. The next animal that gets bit will be infected when the proboscis is inserted. The initial symptoms are fever, and decreased appetite and activity. Puffy fluid swellings around the head and face follow shortly after. A classic sign is sleepy half closed eyes. Additional swelling in the lips, insides of the ears, and around the anus and genetalia area can occur. The swellings can become so severe that it blocks vision and the face, mouth, ears and nose become distorted. After 14 days it is almost always fatal. The best way to prevent myxomatosis is to use a flea control product such as Advantage, and keep your bunny in during the early morning and early evening when mosquitos are most active. Mosquito nets can be purchased for outside bunnies,and make sure all standing water is removed to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitos. Unfortunately, myxomatosis is nearly always fatal, although a search on Google will bring up a few success stories.
Diarrhea is a serious condition in rabbits and must be taken care of as soon as possible. If your bunny is having very serious diarrhea, he must be rushed to the vet immediately. This is a very serious situation and could easily take the life of your bunny within a few hours. If you notice a soft stool, blobs of squishy poops clustered together in the litter box which are not the normal clustered soft caecotropes, your bunny is experiencing a digestive system imbalance. One way to clear up this condition is to remove all food, and replace it with uncooked oatmeal until his poops firm up to normal consistency. As always, you should consult a veterinarian, especially if you are a first time bunny owner and inexperienced in bunny health.
Sniffles, or respiratory congestion, has noticeable symptoms such as sneezing and nasal discharge. Your bunny may also have labored breathing or sound "snorkley". It is possible that your bunny has allergies to his bedding, dust, or cigarette smoke. Respiratory conditions can be very serious in rabbits so he must be checked out by a veterinarian in order to rule out anything life threatening.
Crooked teeth, or malocclusion, is a condition where the rabbits teeth do not close together properly. Therefore, he is not able to wear his teeth down through normal chewing and his teeth grow too long. This is a condition which may cause malnutrition, or root and jaw infections. There are two choices for treatment: Have your bunny's teeth trimmed about every 4-6 weeks by a veterinarian, or have his front 4 teeth removed. If his teeth are removed, he can resume a normal life and eat just fine with some help by being served chopped veggies and such. The drawbacks of this operation is if all of the tooth growing cells are not removed during the extraction, the tooth will grow back. Then he will have to have the extraction operation again. Trimming is sometimes a better option, but these decisions should be made with advice from your veterinarian.
Head tilt, where your rabbit sits with his head to one side, or in severe cases, cannot stand without rolling in one direction uncontrollably, is usually a bacterial infection in the inner ear. This can only be cured with antibiotics, both oral and through ear drops. Your bunny will need to be syringe fed until he can stand and feed himself, and should see a vet as soon as possible. Scarring can occur in the inner ear if it's not treated in a timely manner, resulting in permanent head tilt.
Ear mites can be recognized by head and ear shaking, and dark scabby looking stuff inside the ears. This can be treated with an ear and flea treatment purchased over the counter or by your vet. If you buy an over the counter remedy, select one for ear mites that uses pyrethrins. Your vet can also treat this condition with an oral medication or shot. The shot will need to be administered twice, in a two week interval.
Fleas are evident by actually seeing them, or seeing the little black "crumbs" left by them in your rabbits fur. These crumbs are actually flea feces or dried blood. The best way to eliminate fleas is to use Advantage on your bunny. Although this product does not list that it can be administered to rabbits, I have used it many times on my bunnies and never had a problem. In fact, my veterinarian said it was originally tested on rabbits. Use the correct dosage according to your bunnies weight. Do not use it on extremely young rabbits less than two months old.
NOTE: Unless you are an experienced bunny Mom or Dad, your bunny should see a vet when you notice something wrong with him or her. As you get more educated, you will have a better idea about your bunny's need to see a doctor.