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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20639
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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6 week old rabbit is lethargic , breathing fast and making

Customer Question

6 week old rabbit is lethargic , breathing fast and making clicking noise
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

First, I have to say that I am quite concerned about Panda.

The problem I am sure you will appreciate with rabbits is that they do a very good job of covering up when they are sick. This is because as a prey species, attention to your illness will make you a target for predation. So, we often don’t catch illness until it is quite advanced. And if we are seeing these signs like this with your wee one, it tells us that this is quite serious and we need to address this as soon as possible.

Specifically, increased respiratory rate, effort, and clicks are all signs that your wee one may have a respiratory tract infection. And if Panda is lethargic and making it clear that he is unwell then this does tell us that it is likely already in an advanced state. This condition is terribly common in rabbits and often these are the only hints we get before the rabbit collapses on us. Therefore, it would be best to consider getting Panda seen today if possible (or first thing tomorrow morning if it is not).

While you are organizing having him seen, if he sounds very congested, you can try steam treating him just now. To do this, you can put him in his carrier and take him into the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will at lease decongest his upper airway but can also help open lower airways to ease his breathing a bit.

Further to this, you do want to make sure that he keeps eating and drinking for you. The reason is because we don't want to compound one health issue with dehydration nor gastric stasis (a rabbit emergency in its own right). So, it is important to keep a close eye, hand feed or even syringe veggie baby food if his appetite does drop off.

Just to note, while I appreciate that Panda's timing is inconvenient, I would strongly advise having him checked today. If you wish to do so, it is worth knowing that some veterinary practices in our country have office hours today. As well, most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get him seen today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local vets or Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get him checked today there are options to do so.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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