Safe examination of a rabbit
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During a visit at the veterinarian, the rabbit is be taken out of the carrier and carried to the examination table. There are several safe methods of carrying, see: Safe carrying of a rabbit
To enable a safe physical examination of the rabbit, it is imperative to cover the examination table with a non-slippery material, covered with a blanket or towel, to avoid sliding. Since rabbits are ground dwelling animals, and do generally not like height, the examination can also be done with the veterinarian sitting on the floor or on a chair, and placing a towel on his/her lap.
After picking the rabbit out of the carrier and placing it on the examination table or lap, it is important to respect the natural curving of the back, arched downwards, to prevent twisting, and not stretch it in the length, with risk of causing a vertebral luxation or fracture.
Before the examination itself, it is important to calm the rabbit. This can be done by petting gently over the head and body, and covering the eyes. Some rabbits are able to calm down to the point of starting to “purr” and softly grind their teeth.
The following illustrations show general and safe methods of containing a rabbit. The assistant stands or sit on the side of the table and approaches the rabbit from the side or the back with slow and calm movements. Depending on the experience of the veterinarian, the size and weight of the rabbit, the approach may slightly differ.
As a rule, the rabbit should NEVER be left without surveillance on the examination table !!!
After the examination, the rabbit is carried back to the transport carrier. The easiest way to bring back into the carrier is to hold the rabbit in a way that its head faces the person holding it when lowering the hind-part of the rabbit through the top opening, followed by the upper body. If the carrier has only a front door, the rabbit is put inside, bottom first.
Thanks to Yara, Kaspi and Grijsje for demonstrating various restraint methods.