Helping an Injured Rabbit

Apr 3, 2016

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If you’re here, it’s because you’ve seen a rabbit whom you think may need your help.

If it is an uninjured baby, please use the following link:

http://rabbit.org/faq-orphaned-baby-bunnies/

If you have found an injured rabbit, first check if it is wild or domesticated. The following link will help you determine whether the bunny is domesticated or wild:

 http://rabbit.org/stray-rabbits/

If it is a wild rabbit, contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

The regulations on treating wildlife vary according to state law.  Most states require anyone working with wildlife to have a permit, but the rules for veterinarians can be different based on their own policies and state laws.  Some vets will stabilize wildlife and then contact licensed wildlife groups to come pick them up, but there are many vets who simply do not treat wildlife, as it can be time-consuming and expensive, and veterinarians often do not get paid or feel they do not get paid enough. Many states will not allow you to keep and/or treat wildlife in your home without a license. Check your state government website for more information.

If you’ve found a domestic rabbit, find an exotics vet who treats rabbits using this link:

http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/

Establish if you will be paying the bill or if you want the veterinarian to transfer the rabbit to a rescue group.  Some exotics vets will stabilize animals and then contact rescue groups or humane societies who will look after the rabbit. Please be aware that not all have this option or are willing to do this and the rabbit may be euthanized immediately, even if it is a treatable injury.  Be clear about your needs and goals when you talk to the veterinarian and their staff (over the phone before arriving is best). They may refer you to a different vet or agency.

If you are thinking of taking the rabbit directly to a shelter or humane society, call first to be sure they have a rabbit program and accept injured animals. Many shelters do not have funding set aside for injured animals and will euthanize them instead of treating. If they can’t help, ask them for a referral.

If after hours and the veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators are closed, call your local 24-hour emergency vet and ask if they treat rabbits. Some vets won’t treat rabbits at all and many won’t treat wild bunnies.  Be sure to tell them if it is a wild or domesticated rabbit. See above for information on vets.

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