Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bunny care: The bunny home health exam

No #2 pencils required for this exam.
Just your bunny and your hands and eyes.

A recent Rabbit Ramblings Facebook post led to questions about the bunnies' weekly (we hope) home exams. It seemed worthy of its own post.

Ethel demonstrates:
Love those blue eyes!

Here's a Bunny Home Health Exam:
Put your hands on both sides of your bunny - start at the head and move down the body … head, neck, ears, body and extremities. Look for lumps and bumps, anything uneven when comparing one side to the other; take your time, especially when checking around the jaw area. At the stomach, lightly press in just a little – it should be soft and easy to compress; the bunny should not flinch or act like it hurts (the reaction to this may vary with your bunny’s personality). Look for missing fur, sores or other skin irritations.

Are the eyes and nose clear? Any discharge or weeping?
Check in the ears - any crust or liquid stuff that doesn't belong?

Turn your bunny over to continue the visual exam: Look at the abdomen and area under the tail for any problems, irritations or mess (like poopy butt or urine stains).

Check the paws, too, including the nails to see if it’s time for a mani-pedi.

This is also a good time to gently groom your bunny with a very soft bristle brush or, if they are shedding, maybe a furminator, too (again, gently - bunny skin is very sensitive). If you have certain types of bunnies, like a lionhead or Angora, more frequent grooming will be required.

If you spot problems, call your rabbit-savvy vet and/or local HRS chapter for assistance.

Of course, things can happen between exams or may not manifest in such a way that your exam finds them, so it's important to monitor your bunny's mood and be alert to changes in personality/behavior, too. A good example of this is when they decline a favorite treat.

(P.S. Your bunny may not stand up like Ethel does in this picture; she usually doesn't but got a little ticklish here. We just thought she was cute and you could see those blue eyes.)

1 comment:

  1. I have such a bunny crush on Ethel! It would be nice if Lola were more... malleable, but I have to be sneaky about exams, with him, or he goes from sweet & lovey to disapproving & hiding, lickety-split.