What To Do If Your Rabbit Is Choking?

Categorized as Bunny Care

Last Updated on July 30, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Rabbit’s inability to vomit makes choking a life threatening issue that can quickly kill a rabbit.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your rabbit is really choking in the first place. The procedure to help a choking rabbit is in of itself dangerous because it could break their neck and back.

If you’re sure that your rabbit is choking, you must perform the Heimlich maneuver on your rabbit as shown on the video below.

After successfully helping your choking rabbit, you must still bring them to a rabbit savvy veterinarian because they could suffer from aspiration pneumonia, sinus problems, and respiratory infections.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail what to do if your rabbit is choking:

Signs that your rabbit is choking.

A choking rabbit. rabbit choking

In order to help your rabbit if they are choking, we must first discuss how to spot the signs that they are indeed choking in the first place.

You don’t want to do the Heimlich maneuver on rabbits that are not choking because the procedure itself is quite dangerous.

You can accidentally break your rabbits neck or back while doing this procedure. You should only do this if you’re 100% sure that your rabbit is choking.

Here are the signs that your rabbit is choking:

  • Unnatural breathing patterns (panting, gasping, etc.)
  • Blue lips (lack of oxygen)
  • Lifting head (them trying to breathe)
  • Unusual behavior (panicking, frantic, screaming, etc.)
  • Mucus on mouth or nose.

Here’s a video on what rabbits looks like when choking:

https://youtu.be/o2BYduJsriE

What to do if your rabbit is choking?

If your rabbit is choking, you must perform the Heimlich maneuver as soon as possible. Remember, only do this to your rabbit if you’re absolutely sure that your rabbit is choking. This procedure itself can injure a rabbit.

Here’s a video from specialbunny.org on how to do it properly:

How to prevent your rabbit from choking?

Choking in rabbits due to a medical condition is rare. Often times, their diet is the one that causes them to choke.

Choking hazards like seeds being left to fruit are the most common.

Avoid feeding your rabbit small seeds from fruits like oranges, pears, plums, cherries, papaya, grapes, olives, etc.

As for choking due to a medical problem, a regular checkup with a rabbit-savvy vet can prevent it if it’s caught early.

Dental problems are the most common medical related choking in rabbits, its routine for a rabbit-savvy vet to check your rabbit’s dental health.

When should you bring your rabbit to a veterinarian?

A fat flemish giant
richie graham, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You should bring your rabbit to a veterinarian right away after it experiences choking.

Even if you successfully dislodge what’s choking your rabbit, it’s important that you still take him to a veterinarian.

This is to make sure that your rabbit doesn’t have any underlying condition that could have led them to choke in the first place.

Conditions like Mega Esophagus and dental problems can lead to choking.

Also, your rabbit could have aspirated. Aspiration could lead to aspiration pneumonia, sinus problems, and respiratory infections.

Can rabbits die from choking?

Yes, rabbits can easily die from choking. Everything about choking can kill a rabbit. The procedure itself to help a rabbit from choking could end up killing them.

Finally, even if you successfully save your rabbit from a choking event, they could still die a few days later if they develop conditions like aspiration pneumonia.

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Welcome to Bunnyhorde

Make sure that you bring your rabbit to a veterinarian after a choking event. Your veterinarian might also find a problem that could prevent your rabbit from choking in the future.

Conclusion

Choking in rabbits due to a medical condition is rare. Often times, their diet is the one that causes them to choke.

If your rabbit is choking, you must perform the Heimlich manuever as soon as possible. Remember, only do this to your rabbit if you’re absolutely sure that they are choking.

Avoid feeding your rabbit small seeds on fruits like oranges, pears, plums, cherries, papaya, grapes, olives, etc.

A regular checkup to a rabbit-savvy vet can prevent them from choking due to a medical problem.

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By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.