4 Things Rabbit Owners Need To Know About Heat Stroke

Your pet rabbits are very susceptible to the heat. This puts them at risk of heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. Here are four things you need to know about rabbits and heat stroke.

Why are rabbits susceptible to the heat?

On a hot day, you can sweat to cool yourself down, but your pet rabbits can't do that. Rabbits don't have any sweat glands. The only mechanism they have to control their body temperature is their large ears. As your rabbit's blood flows through its ears, the blood cools, and this serves to keep the body cool. However, on a very hot day, their ears may not be enough to keep them cool. If they can't get cool, they can develop heat stroke.

What are the signs of heat stroke?

If your rabbit develops heat stroke, you'll notice that their ears have reddened. They may also pant or drool. Rabbits that are suffering from heat stroke will also become very tired, so if your rabbit is lying down or moving very slowly, you should be concerned. Finally, heat stroke can lead to convulsions.

How do vets treat it?

Your vet will need to lower your rabbit's body temperature. This can be done by submerging them in cold water. Once your rabbit has been cooled down, your vet may need to give them other treatments to keep them comfortable like intravenous fluids. Your vet will monitor your rabbit to make sure they're recovering, and once they are out of danger, you'll be able to take them home.

Can you prevent heat stroke?

Rabbits are most comfortable at temperatures between 50°F and 70°F (15°C to 21°C). If possible, set your thermostat to a temperature within this range. If you don't have air conditioning, you can keep your rabbits cool by keeping your windows open and using fans to circulate the air. Rabbits also like cuddling frozen water bottles on hot days; you may want to put the water bottles inside a sock to keep your pet from getting too cold.

Misting your rabbit's ears with cold water can also help them stay cool. Avoid drenching your rabbit's ears with water as they don't like the feeling of water inside their ears.

Rabbits are susceptible to heat stroke, so on hot days, make sure to take precautions. If you think your rabbit has heat stroke, take them to an emergency vet immediately. To find out more, speak with someone like Ark Veterinary Hospital.