Care of wounds in your rabbit can be a tricky time. Discover how to offer your rabbit a happy recovery!

To overview

Wound care

Keeping wounds clean, dry and protected from chewing or other trauma is often difficult. In dogs and cats, Elizabethan collars are still used to prevent the patient accessing wounds to lick, chew or scratch. However, dogs and cats often have problems with vision, accessing food and drink and grooming while wearing a pet cone. 

These problems exist for wound management in rabbits too but being unable to access their back end to groom is much more of a health risk than for cats and dogs. This is because rabbits need to be able to eat their caecotrophs(1). Caecotrophs are small, soft, dark and moist pellets which contain essential fatty acids and vitamins and are expelled and re-ingested straightaway. Caecotrophs are essential to maintaining good gut health in rabbits and if owners see them, its a very early sign that something may be wrong. Therefore, keeping a cone on overnight and denying the rabbit the opportunity to eat their caecotrophs is not only very stressful for the rabbit but is also incredibly messy. As stress or pain are primary contributors towards gastric stasis in rabbits, blocking their ability to ingest caecotrophs is an added risk that they could do without in a post-surgical or healing process.

Rabbit recovery

However, leaving them without any protection at all though is a big risk as rabbits are naturally curious and notorious nibblers. It wont take long at all for them to remove dressings or nibble sutures out and damage their skin. They are also crepuscular, which means they are at their most active and dawn and dusk which are the times of day when their owners are least likely or able to keep a close eye on them.

So whats the answer?

A practical option is available in the form of the Medical Pet Shirt® Rabbit. This shirt has been specifically designed with patient comfort in mind, including sizes specifically designed to fit rabbits. The light, stretchy material means that surgical or dressed wounds on the body can be protected from licking and nibbling while your rabbit is still able to move around freely and exhibit normal behaviours.

Crucially, there is an opening at the back of the shirt which allows the rabbit to urinate, pass droppings and eat their caecotrophs without affecting the fit of the shirt. And if the shirt gets soiled at all, its machine washable up to 90ºC. 

The Medical Pet Shirt® is available in a range of 6 sizes to suit the smallest and largest bunnies.  Anatomically designed with soft, deep cuffs at the neck and legs mean that these delicate areas are cushioned so that your rabbit can move around as normal, keeping your rabbit warm which helps to keep the guts moving. All of which contribute towards a smoother recovery and a happier, healthy rabbit!