What should I do if my rabbits has been poisoned?
If you suspect rabbit poisoning, stay calm and safely remove the source of poison, before calling your vet. Never medicate a rabbit yourself as some medicines may be poisonous to rabbits and remember to keep contaminated rabbits away from other animals. In the case of skin contamination, wash with a mild shampoo, rinse and dry. To avoid poisoning, always keep an eye on your rabbits and don’t keep houseplants or pesticides within reach. Always ensure that housing and exercise areas are free from poisonous plants. Rabbit poisons include rodent poisons, ivy, rhubarb, foxglove and glyphosate herbicide products.
What to do if you think your rabbit has been poisoned:
- Stay calm. Remove rabbits from the poison source.
- Contact your vet immediately; inform them when, where and how the poisoning occurred. If appropriate, carefully take the packaging/plant/substance to the vet. Don’t expose yourself to any harm.
- Follow veterinary advice. If you’re advised to take rabbits to the vet, do so quickly and calmly.
Never treat/medicate rabbits yourself. Some medicines for humans/other animals may be poisonous to rabbits.
If skin/fur is contaminated, wash with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry.
Keep rabbits away from any other animals to avoid cross-contamination.
Never ‘watch and wait’. If you suspect your pet’s been poisoned, contact a vet immediately.
Preventing poisoning in rabbits:
In the home:
- Keep an eye on your rabbit.
- Keep houseplants where rabbits cannot reach them. Collect dropped leaves/petals.
- Keep pesticides away from areas rabbits can access.
- If treating pets with insecticides, separate them from other pets.
- Ensure housing/exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
- Ensure rabbits’ water supplies cannot become contaminated; change regularly.
Common rabbit poisons:
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is a specialist 24-hour emergency service which provides information and advice to veterinary professionals and animal welfare organisations on the treatment of animals exposed to toxic substances.
Some of the most common, potentially severe rabbit poisons reported to the VPIS are:
- Rodent poisons (called ‘rodenticides’)
- Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Rhubarb (Rheym spp)
- Foxglove (Digitalis spp)
- Glyphosphate herbicide products
Read more about these common rabbit poisons, their symptoms and treatment in our most common poisons rabbit webpage.
Other cases of poisoning in rabbits reported to the VPIS have included common household and garden plants such as species of Lily, Clematis, Rhododendron and Lily of the Valley. For more information about what substances are harmful to your rabbit speak to your vet.
Acknowledgement for this information is made to The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). The VPIS is not a public access service. However some helpful information for pet owners is available on their website.