The Valley, May 2014 chance of survival you have. Once inside, dampen the ears with cool (not cold) water, and call your vet for further instruction. Heat stroke is not something to mess with. As long as you keep your rabbit in the shade, with access to nice cold water, something cool to lay on, and a fan to keep air circulating, you should be fine, but as I said, just keep a watchful eye on them, and you are set! Happy spring! a Heat is one of the quickest killers in rabbits, Rabbits can overheat and get heatstroke in one afternoon. One day you have a perfectly healthy bunny, and the next, a dead one. Heat is not something to take lightly with these critters! I know, it’s still a little chilly, our stock tank was frozen over on Easter morning, but trust me, the heat is heading our way! The number one thing to do is to avoid heatstroke all together. If your rabbits are housed outside, be sure to take all precautions you can to keep your bunnies cool. Here are a few things you can do, to keep your bunnies happy! Keep the hutch out of direct sunlight: I realize this is not always possible, I mean come on, it’s outside, it’s going to have sun on it. And some sunlight is fine, but if possible, keep the hutch under a tree, or against a building so that when the sun is at its worst, the bunnies are in the shade. You can also help the situation by giving your rabbit a box to hide in to get out of the sun (If your hutch does not already have one built in.). The ideal box would be a square wooden box (cardboard will work just as well, but the bunny may chew on it. Again, that’s fine, you may just need to replace it a few times.) that is big enough for your rabbit to comfortably sit and turn around in. It should have an entry hole and an exit hole. Rabbits, being prey animals, will feel much safer if they have an escape route if something tries to come in the entry. Also make sure the box has a roof, to keep the sunlight out. Keep air circulating: Even if your rabbit is in a shed, this is a good idea. Keep a fan blowing on the cage (Not so hard it blows the rabbit away, obviously.) so that cool air is constantly moving through the cage. You can buy cheap little office desk fans that should do fine for most of the time, unless it gets into the 90s or above. If it is 90 or above, I recommend you bring your rabbit
in anyway, but more on that later. Give your bunny something cool to lay on: A lot of people freeze water in water bottles and give them to the bunnies to lay against when it gets hot out and this works very well, I personally like to use tiles for my rabbits, just 12” X 12” tiles, when put in the freezer over night, will give bunnies something cool to lay on for a few hours. They do not last as long as a water bottle, but I like them better, since the rabbit can actually lay on it, instead of just against it. Besides, you can stack 4-5 tiles up in the freezer, and it will still not take up a lot of space, so then you can just switch the tiles out every hour or so. Make sure your rabbits have cool water ALL the time: Now more than ever it is imperative for rabbits to have fresh, cool water 24/7. They can dehydrate very quickly, and once they dehydrate, you are in trouble. Check rabbits water 2-3 times a day, and refill often with nice cool water. If you can, even put ice cubes in the water, the bunnies love to lick them, and it will keep the water cooler longer. Sometimes I freeze the bunnies favorite treats into ice cubes, then give them as treats to keep the rabbits drinking. Be watchful: We can try to prevent the bunnies from getting too hot all we want to, but we still have to be careful to watch them for any signs of distress. If you notice that your rabbit is flopped out, panting with its mouth open, it’ hot. Take a spray bottle of cool water and gently spray the rabbits ears. The ears are how rabbits cool themselves, since they cannot sweat. (Hence why breeds that originated in Africa, like the English Lop, have such huge ears.). If you notice that your rabbit is lethargic (they will be a little bit because of the heat, but if it gets bad, that is a sign of heat stroke) or if your bunny is tossing its head back while panting with an open mouth, GET IT INSIDE. Heat stroke can kill fast, so the sooner you catch it, the better
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9 Providing shade is a VERY important thing to consider with the approach of warmer weather— heat can kill, FAST!
Published on May 9, 2014