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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19671
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Our rabbit has eaten a piece of chocolate, approx 10g, she

Resolved Question:

Our rabbit has eaten a piece of chocolate, approx 10g, she seems fine, is acting normal, what should we do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

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

How much does Coco weigh?

How long ago did she have this?

Was it dark, milk, or white chocolate?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She is medium sized rabbit, dont know weight. Milk chocolate. we dont know how long ago as it was discovered when one daughter came home, 30 mins to 3 hours

She is now eating her hay and behaving normally.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Anders,

Just as in cats and dogs, chocolate is toxic to rabbits. The methylxanthines in chocolate can severe GI upset (appetite loss, diarrhoea), excessive thirst, urination, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and death in our bunnies. Just to note, we often won't see signs of these issues until 2-4 hours post ingestion (the neurological signs can even be delayed 24 -36 hours). Therefore, we do need to monitor her closely and tread with care.

Now in dogs and cats, we induce vomiting in situations like this, but this is not possible in rabbits due to their stomach design. Therefore, our treatment at this stage would focus on binding the toxins in this chocolate. To do so, you can consider administering activated charcoal (LINK) available from the pharmacy to bind any remaining material in her stomach. For activated charcoal, we tend to give 1-4 grams per pound of her body weight every 8 hrs. This can be mixed with food or water to syringe feed (do note that it stains, so keep it away from white carpets/clothes). It works to bind the non-absorbed material and can limit the dose she has had.

Otherwise, it will be a case of monitoring her for the signs I mentioned and making sure that she doesnt' go off her food (since secondary gastric stasis is just as dangerous for Coco). As well since diarrhea is a risk here, do make sure she is offered increased fiber/hay and has access to fluids. If she develops diarrhea but doesn't drink well, you may need to syringe feed fluids to keep her hydrated.

Overall, chocolate is very dangerous for our rabbits. In this case, I am glad to hear that she is well so far but we are not out of the woods yet. Therefore, in Coco's situation, it'd be best to administer activated charcoal now to offset the risk here for her. If you cannot, then you may want to consider having your local vet do so +/- put her on IV fluids to flush this out of her system before it can do any harm. Otherwise, we need to closely monitor and provide symptomatic treatment should any of these signs arise.

In this situation, just in case you do wish to see an emergency vet, you can check HERE and @ http://www.vetlocator.com/.

I hope this information is helpful.

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

All the best,

Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** how I am supposed to monitor these symptoms though, she eats when she wants, drinks when she wants etc etc. Will she behave differently/strangely?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,

Rabbits are more subtle then other species, since being a prey species means they are used to hiding when they feel unwell. Therefore, you just need to keep a close eye on her. You just need to make sure that you see her eating and drinking (either actively herself or the food you put in disappearing). You can put a mark on her water bottle to make note of where it is filled to and compare it over time to determine if she is drinking. Otherwise, warning signs may include her appearing more quiet, hunched with belly discomfort, hiding, or passing large volumes of urine or diarrhoea. If you see any of those signs, then we'd need to be cautious and consider having her checked.

All the best for Coco,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks, ***** ***** period of time should we monitor? It is evening now so wondering if we need to stay up all night to check on her or if its a 12-24 hour thing

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hi again,

As I noted before, we can see delayed effects with this type of toxin. Still as it was a small dose (in hopefully a large bunny), I would expect to see signs within the next 24 hours but advise keeping a close eye for a further 24 hours after that before we assume she is in the clear and free of any harm from this.

Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19671
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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